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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, United Technologies, Procter & Gamble, Walmart and Intel

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – December 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 Corp. (MSFT - Free Report) , United Technologies Corp. (UTX - Free Report) , The Procter & Gamble Co. (PG - Free Report) , Walmart Inc. (WMT - Free Report) and Intel Corp. (INTC - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Blue Chip Stocks to Buy on the Dip for a Stronger Portfolio

Wall Street rally, which was the second-best this year in November, faded in the last five trading sessions owing to uncertainty over the phase-one trade deal between the United States and China. All the major stock indexes are likely to finish the first week of December in negative territory.

As stock market volatility continues, the Dow 30 Index — popularly known as the market’s blue-chip index — is showing fluctuation. However, a closer look into the index reveals that not all stocks are erratic. Several blue-chip stocks have rallied more than the index itself and still have upside left.

No Abatement in U.S.-China Trade Conflict

The more than 18-month old trade war between the United States and China is not showing any sign of ending. Nothing concrete has appeared for the much-hyped phase-one interim trade deal between the two countries. Trade-related conflicting news feeds are almost regularly resulting in choppy trading.

It’s not yet clear whether the deal will be signed this year or postponed to the New Year or will materialize at all. Meanwhile, investors are keenly watching trade-related developments as the Dec 15 deadline is approaching.

President Trump set this deadline for signing the phase-one deal failing which his government will implement a fresh round of 15% tariffs on $160 billion of Chinese goods mostly used as inputs for consumer goods.

Moreover, on Dec 2, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the government may also hike tariff rate on $250 billion of Chinese goods, which are already in the 25% tax bracket.

Dow Firmly in the Green Despite Fluctuations

Just like Wall Street, the Dow is feeling the weight of intensifying trade conflict between the United States and China this week. In the last five trading sessions the index has lost 1.75%. In the first four trading days of December, the Dow is down 1.3% and likely to finish the week in the red.

However, on Dec 5, the Dow closed at 27,677.79 well above its 50-day and 200-day moving averages of 27,229.61 and 26,506.24, respectively. In financial literature, the 50-day moving average line is generally recognized as the short-term trend setter, while the 200-day moving average is considered as the long-term trend setter.

It is widely recognized in the technical analysis space that whenever the 50-day moving average line surges ahead of the 200-day moving average line, a long-term uptrend for the index becomes a strong possibility.

Despite severe market volatility, the Dow is well in positive territory with a gain of 18.7% year to date. This is an excellent performance after a disappointing 2018 when the blue-chip index had lost nearly 6%. Moreover, the index is at present 1.8% away from its all-time high of 28,174.97, recorded on Nov 27.

Our Top Picks

At this stage, it will be prudent to invest in Dow stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank and strong dividend yield, which will act as a regular income stream to investors. Therefore, these stocks will likely benefit from both market rally and attractive dividend.

We have narrowed down our search to five such stocks, each carrying 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. Microsoft has a dominant position in the desktop PC market, with its operating systems being used in the majority of PCs worldwide.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current fiscal year (to end in June 2020) and next year is 12.6% and 12.3%, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current fiscal year and next year has improved 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively, over the last 60 days. The stock has jumped 47.6% year to date and has a dividend yield of 1.4%.

United Technologies Corp. provides high-technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries. The operations of the company are primarily classified into two principal businesses: Commercial and Aerospace.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year (ends Dec 2019) and next year is 7% and 7.4%, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 1.6% over the last 60 days. The stock has soared 36.4% year to date and has a dividend yield of 2%.

The Procter & Gamble Co.provides branded consumer packaged goods to consumers in North and Latin America, Europe, the Asia Pacific, Greater China, India, the Middle East, and Africa. It operates in five segments: Beauty; Grooming, Health Care, Fabric & Home Care, and Baby, Feminine & Family Care.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year (ends Jun 2020) and next year is 9.3% and 5.9%, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year and next year has improved 2.1% and 1.7%, respectively, over the last 60 days. The stock has surged 35.6% year to date and has a dividend yield of 2.4%.

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.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year (ends Jan 2020) and next year is 1.4% and 5.9%, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year and next year has improved 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively, over the last 60 days. The stock has climbed 27.4% year to date and has a dividend yield of 1.8%.

Intel Corp.is the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductor products. It supplies to the computing and communications industries with microprocessors and system building blocks that are integral to computers and other connected devices, servers, and networking and communications products. Intel also offers associated hardware and software products, security products, and services.  

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year (ends Dec 2019) and next year is 0.7% and 2.4%, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year and next year has improved 5.5% and 6.3%, respectively, over the last 60 days. The stock has gained 19.5% year to date and has a dividend yield of 2.2%.

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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.