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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Union Pacific, Duke, Apple and UBS

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – June 24, 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 Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , Union Pacific (UNP - Free Report) , Duke Energy (DUK - Free Report) , Apple (AAPL - Free Report) and UBS Group (UBS - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Stock Reports for Microsoft, United Pacific and Duke Energy

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 Microsoft, Union Pacific and Duke Energy. 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 >>>

Microsoft’s shares have outperformed the S&P 500 over the past year (+46.9% vs. +5.9%). The Zacks analyst believes that Microsoft is benefiting from momentum in Azure, impressive Teams user growth led by coronavirus-induced work-from-home wave, uptick in Surface devices and significant demand for Windows 10 PCs.

Moreover, the company is gaining from growing user base of its different applications like Office 365 commercial, and Dynamics. Azure’s expanding customer base remains a key catalyst. Furthermore, it is well poised to expand the total addressable market through acquisitions of GitHub and PlayFab.

However, broader macroeconomic weakness and lower spend on advertising owing to the coronavirus outbreak are likely to weigh on LinkedIn and Search revenues. Further, delays in consulting business contract renewals and supply chain constraints in China are anticipated to limit growth.

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

Shares of Union Pacific have lost -5.6% over the past six months against the Zacks Rail industry’s fall of -6.5%. The Zacks analyst believes that the uptick in e-commerce demand in these coronavirus-ravaged times is aiding the company's parcel business immensely.

Union Pacific’s cost-cutting measures are aiding its bottom line. The company's ability to generate free cash flow is also a positive and supports its shareholder-friendly activities as well. In this respect, Union Pacific’s decision to continue paying out dividends despite the current turbulence is reflective of its strong cash flow-generating ability.

However, due to coronavirus-led disruptions, second-quarter 2020 volumes are expected to plunge close to 20%. Moreover, operating ratio will not improve in the June quarter despite the cost-controlling measures. Notably, the company withdrew its 2020 view with respect to operating ratio, headcount, volumes and buybacks due to the coronavirus woes.

(You can read the full research report on Union Pacific here >>>)

Duke Energy’s shares have gained +14.8% over the past three months against the Zacks Electric Power industry’s rise of +16.8%. The Zacks analyst believes that its unfavorable financial ratios indicate that the company may face difficulty in paying off its debt obligations, at least in the near term.

Duke Energy invests heavily in infrastructure and expansion projects. The company expects to invest $42.7 billion in its overall growth projects within the 2020-2024 time frame. Backed by its clean energy initiatives, the company plans to at least double its portfolio of renewables by 2025. 

Duke Energy has been an industry leader in driving down methane emissions, which also forms part of its transition toward clean energy. However, the coronavirus pandemic has started to affect the company’s operations since the beginning of the second quarter. For 2020, the company expects a decline of 3-5% in total retail volumes.  

(You can read the full research report on Duke Energy here >>>)

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Apple and UBS Group.

These Stocks Are Poised to Soar Past the Pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted consumer behavior dramatically, and a handful of high-tech companies have stepped up to keep America running. Right now, investors in these companies have a shot at serious profits. For example, Zoom jumped 108.5% in less than 4 months while most other stocks were sinking.

Our research shows that 5 cutting-edge stocks could skyrocket from the exponential increase in demand for “stay at home” technologies. This could be one of the biggest buying opportunities of this decade, especially for those who get in early.

See the 5 high-tech stocks now>>

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Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

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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 information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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