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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Chevron, Merck, Walgreens Boots, FedEx and Loews

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – July 1, 2019 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Chevron (CVX - Free Report) , Merck (MRK - Free Report) , Walgreens Boots (WBA - Free Report) , FedEx (FDX - Free Report) and Loews (L - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Chevron, Merck and Walgreens Boots

The Zacks Research Daily presents the best research output of our analyst team. Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Chevron, Merck and Walgreens Boots. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

You can see all of today’s research reports here >>>

Outperform-rated Chevron’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Integrated Oil industry year to date (+13.2% vs. +7.9%). The Zacks analyst thinks Chevron is poised for further capital appreciation, riding on its healthy earnings growth prospects.

America’s No. 2 energy company’s financial results have greatly improved over the past few quarters, primarily aided by surging production and free cash flow turnaround. In fact, Chevron's free cash flow and upstream production for 2018 hit a record. The company’s existing oil and gas development project pipeline is among the best in the industry, targeting a CAGR of 3-4% through 2023 thanks to the planned expansion in the Permian Basin.

Moreover, growing free cash flow should enable Chevron to deliver stable and rising dividends in the foreseeable future. Consequently, Chevron is viewed as a preferred supermajor to own now.

Shares of Outperform-rated Merck have increased +9.7% year to date, outperforming the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry’s gain of +2% during the same period. The Zacks analyst thinks Merck’s new products like Keytruda, Lynparza and Bridion are contributing meaningfully to the top line.

Keytruda sales are gaining momentum with approval for additional indications, especially in the first-line lung cancer setting. Keytruda has strong growth prospects based on increased utilization, recent approvals for new indications and potential additional approvals worldwide. Animal health and vaccine products are also performing strongly and remain core growth drivers for Merck.

However, generic competition for several drugs and pricing pressure will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Rising competitive pressure on the diabetes franchise and products like Isentress (HIV), Zepatier (HCV) and Zostavax (vaccine) remain concerns.

Walgreens Boots’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Drug Stores industry over the past three months, losing -13.8% vs. -6.4%. Walgreens Boots’ third-quarter fiscal 2019 adjusted earnings and revenues outpaced their respective expectations.

The Zacks analyst thinks the Retail Pharmacy USA division is witnessing comparable prescription growth and benefitting from a strong retail prescription market. The Pharmaceutical Wholesale division too continues to register strong growth.

On the flip side, Walgreens Boots believes that pharmacy trends, which are hurting the overall market, are likely to continue to do so over the coming months. Walgreens Boots reported poor margins in the third quarter largely due to turbulence in the UK consumer markets, low generic deflation, brand inflation and increased reimbursement pressure.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include FedEx and Loews.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.