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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Caterpillar, Walmart, McDonald's, Pfizer and Marsh & McLennan

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –August 5, 2019 – Zacks.com 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: Caterpillar (CAT - Free Report) , Walmart (WMT - Free Report) , McDonald's (MCD - Free Report) , Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) and Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Caterpillar, Walmart and McDonald’s

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 Caterpillar, Walmart and McDonald's. 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 >>>

Caterpillar’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Construction and Mining industry (-3.2% vs. -3.1%) over the past six months. Caterpillar’s second-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings per share declined year over year despite higher revenues. In fact, both earnings and revenues missed the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate.

The company anticipates earnings per share at the lower end of its guidance of $12.06-$13.06 for 2019. With regard to the Construction Industries segment, North America will primarily aid growth while China will act as a hindrance. Improving commodity prices will support capital expenditure in the mining sector, which in turn will drive the Resource Industries segment.

Investments in expanded offerings and services, and digital initiatives like e-commerce will also fuel growth. Its cost reduction efforts will help sustain margins despite material cost inflation. However, the recent downward trend in monthly retail sales remains a concern.

(You can read the full research report on Caterpillar here >>>).

Shares of Walmart have outperformed the Zacks Supermarkets industry in the year to date period, gaining +17.4% vs +13.8%. The Zacks analyst thinks Walmart’s focus on strengthening e-commerce and store operations has aided the company retain sturdy comps trend in first-quarter fiscal 2019, wherein earnings marked its fifth straight beat.

Further, U.S. comps rose for the 19th straight time. Further, e-commerce sales surged on robust Walmart.com and online grocery performances. Encouragingly, e-commerce sales are expected to rise nearly 35% in fiscal 2020.

The company is also making efforts to improve its International unit by shifting focus to profitable countries. However, the addition of Flipkart was a drag on Walmart’s operating income.

Moreover, transportation costs, compelling pricing strategy and tariff-related worries are threats to margins. Nonetheless, the Flipkart deal bodes well for the long term.

(You can read the full research report on Walmart here >>>).

McDonald's’ shares have gained 7% in the last three months, underperforming the Zacks Restaurants industry, which has gained 8.9% over the same period. The Zacks analyst believes McDonald's various sales and digital initiatives as well as positive comparable sales bode well for the company. Furthermore, global comps at McDonald’s have been positive over the trailing 16 quarters.

The company’s increased focus on delivery and accelerated deployment of EOTF restaurants in the United States is an added positive. These apart, efforts to drive growth in international markets are encouraging. However, high labor costs and currency headwinds remain concerns.

Additionally, revenues have been under pressure for quite some time. Even its heightened focus on refranchising might cut the capital requirements and facilitate EPS growth.

(You can read the full research report on McDonald's here >>>).

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Pfizer and Marsh & McLennan Companies.

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