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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Merck, Walmart, Coca-Cola and Visa

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –August 20, 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: Microsoft Corp. (MSFT - Free Report) , Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK - Free Report) , Walmart Inc. (WMT - Free Report) , The Coca-Cola Co. (KO - Free Report) and Visa Inc. (V - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Buy 5 Dow Stocks That Surged Despite Market Gyrations

Wall Street started 2019 with a lot of vigor, quickly erasing the loss it suffered in 2018. However, of late, investors are highly concerned about the lingering trade dispute between the United States and China, and an impending global economic slowdown. After an impressive bull run in the first four months, volatility has once again reared its ugly face in Wall Street with extreme fluctuations in stocks prices, almost on a regular basis.

As the Wall Street mayhem continues, the Dow 30 Index –- popularly known as the stock market’s blue-chip index –- is showing volatility. However, a closer look into the index reveals a different picture. Some members with a favorable Zacks Rank have provided impressive returns in the past three months and still have upside left.

Dow Still in Green Despite Fluctuations

Just like Wall Street, the Dow is feeling the weight of intensifying trade conflict between the United States and China this month. The index has shown regular fluctuations in the previous seven or eight trading sessions.

The blue-chip index lost 1.5% in last five trading days. On May 14, the Dow plunged 800.49 points or 3.1%, marking its worst-ever, single-day loss since Dec 4, 2018. However, on Aug 13, the index jumped 372.54 points or 1.44%, and on Aug 16, it recovered 306.62 points or 1.20%.

Despite the market turmoil in May, the Dow is still in positive territory with a gain of 11% year to date. Moreover, 16 components of the 30-stock index have provided double-digit returns so far this year.

5 Dow Stocks That Popped in Past Three Months

We have narrowed down our search to five such Dow stocks that surged in the past three months overcoming a severely volatile market. Year to date, all six stocks also provided fabulous returns. Each of these stocks carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Microsoft Corp. is one of the largest broad-based technology providers in the world. Although software is the most-important revenue source, its offerings also include hardware and online services.

In the last reported fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, the company’s adjusted earnings per share of $1.37 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.21. Revenues of $33.72 billion also outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate $32.83 billion.

Microsoft has a dominant position in the desktop PC market, with its operating systems being used in the majority of PCs worldwide. Robust execution and better-than-expected demand from customers for hybrid cloud offerings drove the quarterly results. Moreover, strong Commercial business positively impacted the top and the bottom line.

The company has expected earnings of 9.9% and 12.8% for the current year and next year, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.6% over the last 30 days. The stock has surged 7.8% in the past three months.

Merck & Co. Inc.is a global research-driven pharmaceutical products company. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia and inflammatory diseases.

In second-quarter 2019, the company’s adjusted earnings per share of $1.30 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.16. Revenues of $11.76 billion also outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate $10.91 billion.

Merck has many pipeline candidates in advanced stages of development targeting multiple disease areas such as oncology, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, infectious diseases, neurosciences, respiratory and immunology diseases, and vaccines. Strength in cancer drug, Keytruda, and Gardasil vaccine and a strong performance in international markets, especially China were the key features of the company’s second-quarter results.

The company has expected earnings of 12.4% and 10% for the current year and next year, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 3% over the last 30 days. The stock has surged 7.8% in the past three months.

Walmart Inc. operates retail stores, restaurants, discount stores, supermarkets, supercenters, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs, apparel stores, Sam’s Clubs, and NeighborhoodMarkets, as well as the websites, walmart.com and samsclub.com.

In second-quarter 2019, the company’s adjusted earnings of $1.27 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.22. Revenues of $130.4 billion were marginally below the Zacks Consensus Estimate $130.5 billion.

Walmart has been gaining from its sturdy comparable store sales (comps) record, which in turn is driven by its constant expansion efforts and stellar e-commerce performance. The company is trying every means to evolve with the changing consumer environment to compete with brick-and-mortar rivals and e-commerce behemoths.

Although the company’s expected earnings growth is 0% for the current year, next year’s earnings growth has improved to 4.4%. Notably, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 1.4% over the last 30 days. The stock has jumped 11.3% in the past three months.

The Coca-Cola Co.is the world's largest total beverage company.  It manufactures and distributes various nonalcoholic beverages worldwide including sparkling soft drinks, water, enhanced water, and sports drinks, juice, dairy, and plant-based beverages, teas and coffees, and energy drinks.

In second-quarter 2019, the company’s adjusted earnings per share of $0.63 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.62. Revenues of $9.997 million also outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate $9,702.6 million.

The second quarter performance was driven by the focus on consumer-centric innovation, solid core brand performance and improved execution in the marketplace. The increase in organic revenues was attributed to robust performance across all segments as well as balanced volume and price/mix.

The company has expected earnings of 1% and 8% for the current year and next year, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.5% over the last 30 days. The stock has jumped 11.3% in the past three months.

Visa Inc.operates as a payments technology company worldwide. It facilitates commerce through the transfer of value and information among consumers, merchants, financial institutions, businesses, strategic partners and government entities.

In the third quarter fiscal 2019 (last reported quarter), the company’s adjusted earnings per share of $1.37 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.33. Net operating revenues of $5.8 billion beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.7%

The third-quarter upside was primarily driven by an increase in all the components of net revenues such as service, data processing, international transaction revenues and others. For Visa, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, minority investments are some of the ways to achieve growth. These moves have helped the company to remain the leader in the global payment network space.

The company has expected earnings of 17.1% and 15.6% for the current year and next year, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.6% over the last 30 days. The stock has soared 9% in the past three months.


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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 http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.