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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Home Depot, AbbVie, Disney and Host Hotels

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –September 9, 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 (MSFT - Free Report) , Home Depot (HD - Free Report) , AbbVie (ABBV - Free Report) , Disney (DIS - Free Report) and Host Hotels (HST - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Stock Reports for Microsoft, Home Depot and AbbVie

The Zacks Research Daily presents the best research output of our analyst team. Today's Research Daily features updated research reports on 16 major stocks, including Microsoft, Home Depot and AbbVie. These research reports have been hand-picked from roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

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

Microsoft’s shares have gained +29.4% in the past year, outperforming the S&P 500’s’ gain of +2.4% during the same period. Microsoft is benefiting from growing user base of its different applications like Office 365 commercial, Dynamics, Outlook mobile and Teams. Moreover, Azure’s expanding customer base is a key catalyst.

Microsoft’s gaming segment is performing well, primarily driven by a combination of Xbox Live, Game Pass subscriptions and Mixer, which are driving user engagement. Further, acquisitions like PlayFab and GitHub expand Microsoft’s total addressable market (TAM) and penetration. Additionally, expanding partner base is notable.

However, projections of a moderating growth rate in commercial cloud gross margin, and OEM Pro and Windows commercial businesses is a headwind. Moreover, stiff competition from the like of Google, Apple, Sony and Nintendo remains a headwind.

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

Shares of Home Depot have gained +32.8% year to date, outperforming the Zacks Retail Building Products industry’s +28.3% increase. The Zacks analyst thinks that this is attributable to a positive earnings surprise trend recorded for more than five years, which continued in second-quarter fiscal 2019.

Earnings benefited from progress on strategic investments as well as a favorable U.S. consumer backdrop and a steady housing market. Meanwhile, the company’s top line lagged estimates but improved year over year on robust comps performance. Its efforts to provide an interconnected shopping experience to customers, with innovative products and improved productivity, position it for growth.

Despite these gains, lumber price deflation remained a drag on the company’s sales and comps in the fiscal second quarter. Further, it slashed its sales and comps view for fiscal 2019 on lumber price deflation and fears of potential impacts of the newly enacted tariffs.

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

AbbVie’s shares have lost -27.3% year to date, versus the Zacks Large-Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's decline of -0.6%. AbbVie beat estimates for earnings and sales in the second quarter and raised its earnings guidance for the second time this year.

The Zacks analyst thinks AbbVie’s key drug, Humira, is performing well based on strong demand trends despite new competition. Imbruvica has multibillion dollar potential. AbbVie has been successful in expanding approvals for its cancer drugs, Imbruvica and Venclexta.

Moreover, it has an impressive late-stage pipeline, comprising several products with multibillion-dollar potential expected to be launched in the near term. The acquisition of Allergan, if successful, should diversify AbbVie’s revenue base and accelerate its non-Humira business. Sales erosion due to direct biosimilar competition to Humira in international markets is a big headwind in 2019.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Disney and Host Hotels.

It’s Illegal in 42 States, But Investors Will Make Billions Legally

In addition to the companies you read about above, today you get details on the newly-legalized industry that’s tapping into a “habit” that Americans spend an estimated $150 billion on every year.

That’s twice as much as they spend on marijuana, legally or otherwise.

Zacks special report revealing how investors can profit from this new opportunity. As more states legalize this activity, the industry could expand by as much as 15X. Zacks’ has just released a Special Report revealing 5 top stocks to watch in this space.

See these 5 “sin stocks” now>>

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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.

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