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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: UnitedHealth, Sanofi, United Parcel Service, Caterpillar and Activision Blizzard

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 19, 2020 – 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: UnitedHealth Group (UNH - Free Report) , Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) , United Parcel Service (UPS - Free Report) , Caterpillar (CAT - Free Report) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for UnitedHealthcare, Sanofi and UPS

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 UnitedHealth Group, Sanofi and United Parcel Service. 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 >>>

UnitedHealth’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Medical Insurance industry over the past six months (+4.9% vs. +2.5%). The Zacks analyst believes that the company’s revenues should continue to grow driven by its strong market position and attractive core business that continues to be driven by new deals, renewed agreements and expansion of service offerings.

UnitedHealth Group stands apart in the industry by virtue of healthcare services, technology and innovations offered by its unit, Optum. Its numerous acquisitions have led to inorganic growth. Its membership in the public and senior business has been growing consistently over the years and the trend is expected to continue.

Its solid balance sheet and consistent cash flow generation enables investment in business. Strong earnings guidance by the company instills investors' confidence. The company is, however, witnessing a slowdown in its international operations.

Shares of Sanofi have lost -3.4% over the past year against the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry’s fall of -7.1%. The Zacks analyst believes that Sanofi’s focus on streamlining operations and pursuing business development deals is encouraging. Sanofi’s Specialty Care segment is on a strong footing, particularly with regular label expansion of Dupixent.

The drug has, in a very short time, become the key top-line driver for Sanofi. The performance of the Vaccines franchise has also improved of late. Sanofi’s R&D pipeline is strong and it delivered several positive data read-outs and achieved regulatory milestones in 2019 with the momentum expected to continue in 2020.

Its cost savings and efficiency initiatives are supporting bottom-line growth. However, headwinds include weak performance of the Diabetes unit, generic competition for many drugs and slower-than-expected uptake of core products like Praluent.

United Parcel’s shares have lost -18.4% over the past three months against the Zacks Transportation - Air Freight and Cargo industry’s fall of -23.2%. The Zacks analyst is impressed with the company’s efforts to reward its shareholders through dividends and buybacks. The latest shareholder-friendly move came in February when UPS hiked its quarterly dividend payout by 5.2% to $1.01 per share.

UPS expects the coronavirus outbreak to dent its first-quarter 2020 results as shipment of goods is being hampered. The weak air freight market due to lackluster demand from China is another negative as UPS has significant exposure to China.

High capital expenditures and debt levels pose further challenges to UPS. Robust free cash-flow generation by UPS is an added positive and might lead to an uptick in shareholder-oriented activities. Adjusted free cash flow for 2019 exceeded $4.1 billion.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Caterpillar and Activision Blizzard.

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