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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Walt Disney and Microsoft

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – February 26, 2020 – 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: Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) , The Walt Disney Company (DIS - Free Report) and Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Give Your Child a Head Start in Investing: 3 Big Brand Stocks

Investing in stocks for your children is a smart way to save up for their college expenses, business ventures or any other financial need. And by investing early, kids will learn the concepts of finance and value of money better.

Big brand stocks are a wise choice here as kids find such names relatable. Moreover, big brand companies have established business models and tend to draw consumer and investor attention even when the equity market is choppy. These stocks generally boast stable cash flow, and being big brands, consumers have confidence in their products' quality, durability and consistency. We are thus suggesting the following solid branded stocks that are great long-term investment choices for a child’s portfolio.


Our first pick is Apple Inc. because of its enormous brand recognition. Its products are not only used daily but are also vital for our daily activities

Apple is known for creating huge wealth for its shareholders. Notably, the iPhone maker returned almost $25 billion to shareholders in its last reported quarter, which included $20 billion in share buybacks and $3.5 billion in dividends. Buybacks, by the way, boost earnings per share, leading to an uptick in the share price. In fact, over the past 12 months, Apple has repurchased $81 billion worth of shares. What’s more impressive is that the company has huge amount of cash, which can be easily used for operations, R&D activities and planned acquisitions.

In the meantime, the coronavirus outbreak in China has affected Apple in several ways. The company had to close an array of stores in China and many of the iPhone maker’s suppliers have been asked to halt production.

But let’s admit, Apple is doing just fine. The month of February anyhow doesn’t see high iPhone sales. And since iPhone is a big-ticket purchase, any drop in sales in February gets compensated in March and April. Moreover, iPhone launches are mostly slated for the end of a year. And by 2020-end, the outbreak should be a thing of the past.

Nonetheless, Apple has witnessed an uptick in the sales of smartwatches, AirPods wireless earbuds and services like mobile payments and streaming-music subscriptions of late. Growth in such segments helped Apple offset an almost 14% decline in its iPhone business last year, which accounts for the bulk of its sales.

Services, in the meantime, has become the second-most important division for Apple. After all, more than 450 million customers are buying the company’s streaming content, news and warranties. Apple earned a staggering $46 billion from the segment last year, which accounted for 18% of its overall sales. Apple is also benefitting from the strong adoption of Apple Pay and expanding Apple Music subscriber base.

Apple currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 4.4% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter and year is 11.8% and 14.8%, respectively. In the next five years, the company’s projected earnings growth rate is 10.5%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


The Walt Disney Companyis one of the world’s largest entertainment companies and is especially popular among kids. Universally known as the house of mouse, Disney is known for its Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm; TV networks like ESPN, Fox’s media assets, theme parks and, streaming platforms like Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu.

It’s worth pointing out that an investment of $1,000 in Disney back in 1957 when it went public will now value $3.9 million.

Moreover, Disney’s initiative to produce new movies for generations to come and building attractive parks for kids across the globe will certainly fuel growth over the next five decades. Notably, Disney+ has already gained 6.5 million paid subscribers since its launch last November and is well poised to gain traction in the long run.

Lastly, the acquisition of majority of Fox’s assets, launch of direct-to-consumer service and robust visitor growth rate are key catalysts. Disney currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved 0.7% north over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the next year is 20.6%. In fact, in the next five years, the company’s projected earnings growth rate is 5.1%.


Another top brand that a child is familiar with is Microsoft Corporation. Its share prices are much poised to scale up and that’s mostly because of the growth in Intelligent Cloud.

In second-quarter fiscal 2020, the company saw Intelligent Cloud grow a healthy 27% quarter over quarter. What’s more, over a year, Microsoft has generated $43.76 billion worth of revenues from its Intelligent Cloud offering. And during the same period, Azure grew 62%, largely boosting overall growth of the segment.

To top it, Microsoft’s gaming segment, including Xbox Live, Game Pass subscriptions and Mixer, drove the trillion-dollar-plus company. Acquisitions like that of PlayFab and GitHub helped Microsoft expand its total addressable market. Lastly, securing of the 10-year, $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project from the Department of Defense bodes well.

Microsoft currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has climbed 5.4% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter and year is 16.7% and 18.7%, respectively. In the next five years, the company’s projected earnings growth rate is 13.2%.

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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 for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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