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Analyst Blog

Northrop's (NOC) Arm Wins $38M Deal to Support DDG 51 Ships

Posted Mon Jun 14, 02:58 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Northrop Grumman Corp.’s NOC business unit, Northrop Grumman Systems, recently secured a $37.8-million contract for repairing items to support the inertial navigation system AN/WSN-7, the AN/BPS-15/16 radar set and bridge navigation systems for Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyers.

The contract was awarded by the Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Mechanicsburg, PA. Work related to the deal will be performed in Charlottesville, VA, and is expected to be completed by June 2026.

Growing Importance of DDG Ships

The Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyer ships have gained widespread importance within the U.S. Naval forces, particularly because these warships are equipped with Lockheed Martin’s LMT Aegis Weapon System, a highly integrated naval weapon system. These missile destroyers also contain SH-60 helicopters along with advanced anti-aircraft and land-attack missiles.

Notably, Huntington Ingalls HII, the largest military shipbuilding manufacturer in the United States, and defense giant General Dynamics GD co-manufacture the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-Class destroyer ship for the U.S. Navy.

The DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyers’ importance continues to grow over time as these ships offer a wide range of advanced warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments. It also offers protection against a wide range of threats, including ballistic missiles.

Our View

Northrop Grumman’s military integrated bridge systems are widely used in U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, amphibious assault ships, submarines and landing craft, as well as in Coast Guard ice breakers and international naval vessels. Notably, the rising demand for these major warships and submarines will positively impact Northrop Grumman’s growth prospects.

Furthermore, recently in June, the first DDG 51 Flight III destroyer has been launched by Huntington Ingalls, which is expected to provide much-enhanced warfighting capabilities to the U.S. Navy. So, in the near future, we may expect Northrop Grumman to design and provide integrated bridge systems and other important components to the upgraded version of the DDG 51 ship. Such prominent demand trends and favorable projections place Northrop Grumman in an advantageous position in serving the global shipbuilding market.

Price Performance & Zacks Rank

Shares of Northrop Grumman have gained 18% in a year compared with the industry’s growth of 17.2%.

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Northrop Grumman currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything

Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities.

Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>

Here's Why You Should Hold Onto Sealed Air (SEE) Stock Now

Posted Mon Jun 14, 02:52 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Sealed Air Corporation SEE is gaining from continued solid demand for packaging of essential products, such as food, medical supplies and consumer staples amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company is also witnessing increase in e-commerce activity during this global health crisis as customers are staying indoors. Apart from this, benefits from its Reinvent SEE Strategy and focus on acquisitions are stoking growth.

The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and has a VGM Score of B. Our research shows that stocks with a VGM Score of A or B, combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) 2 (Buy) or 3, offer the best investment opportunities. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The company has a trailing four-quarter average earnings surprise of 21.41%.

Solid Growth Expectations & Positive Estimate Revisions: The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings is currently pegged at $3.51, suggesting year-over-year growth of 10.03%. Over the past 60 days, the same has been revised upward by 4.2%. The company has a long-term projected earnings per share growth rate of 8.3%.

Price Performance: The stock has gained 29.1% year to date, outperforming the industry’s growth of 12.2%.

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Growth Drivers in Place

The company’s more than 75% of the revenues generates from end-markets that are deemed essential and are witnessing elevated demand amid pandemic-induced stay-at-home restrictions. Out of this, 63% of revenues comes in from packaging of protein, foods, fluids and goods for the medical and life-sciences industries, while around 14% of the company’s sales generates from e-commerce sales. These are likely to fuel Sealed Air’s top line in the near term.

The food care business continues to benefit from the shift in demand for case ready, shrink bags, and pre-packaged meals and snacks designed for home consumption. Sealed Air anticipates food services to recover on the reopening of restaurants and other public venues.

Also, demand for temperature assurance packaging solution is high as it ensures safe and secure distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The company is seeing elevated demand for automated equipment and sustainable packaging solutions that maximize food safety, protect goods, reduce waste

Sealed Air projects net sales in the range of $5.25 billion to $5.35 billion for 2021. This indicates an improvement of 7-9% as reported and 6-8% in constant dollars from the prior year.

Notably, Sealed Air is also gaining from its reformation plan — Reinvent SEE Strategy. The new strategy is focused on innovations, SG&A productivity, product-cost efficiency, channel optimization and customer-service enhancements. One of the most vital aspects of this strategy involves investment in technology and resources focusing on new and existing high-growth markets.

In the ongoing year, the company is on track to realize benefits of around $65 million from Reinvent SEE. During the 2018-2021 time frame, the company estimates approximately $355 million of Reinvent SEE benefits, $105 million higher than originally projected. This will continue to drive bottom-line performance in the near term.

In addition, the company has been active on the buyout front, and focusing on growing core business. The acquisition of Automated Packaging Systems strengthened Sealed Air’s automated solutions and sustainable packaging offerings. The company had previously acquired AFP, Inc., which expanded its protective packaging solutions in the electronics, transportation and industrial markets with custom-engineered applications.

Bottom Line

Investors might want to hold on to the stock, at present, as it has ample positive prospects of outperforming peers in the near future.

Stocks to Consider

A few better-ranked stocks in the industrial products sector are Tennant Company TNC, Encore Wire Corp. WIRE and Arconic Corp. ARNC. All of these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 at present.

Tennant has an anticipated earnings growth rate of 49.5% for the current year. The company’s shares have gained around 18%, year to date.

Encore Wire has an estimated earnings growth rate of 49.5% for the ongoing year. Year to date, the company’s shares have rallied nearly 36%.

Arconic has a projected earnings growth rate of 447% for the current year. The stock has appreciated around 21%, so far this year.

Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything

Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities.

Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>

Roper (ROP) Shares Gain 18% in 3 Months: What's Driving It?

Posted Mon Jun 14, 02:33 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Roper Technologies, Inc. ROP have gained notably in the past three months. Growing opportunities in segments, healthy inorganic actions and sound shareholder-friendly policies seem to have boosted sentiments for the stock.

The Sarasota, FL-based company belongs to the Zacks Manufacturing - General Industrial industry, which comes under the ambit of the Zacks Industrial Products sector. The industry is in the top 28% (with a rank of 71) of more than 250 Zacks industries. Roper has a $48.3-billion market capitalization and it currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

In the past three months, the company’s shares have gained 17.5% compared with the industry’s growth of 4.9%. Notably, the S&P 500 has risen 7.3% and the sector has declined 0.8% during the same period.

 

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

 

Factors Influencing the Stock

In the past three months, Roper delivered first-quarter 2021 results. Its earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8.4%, whereas, sales exceeded the same by 1.3%. On a year-over-year basis, the company’s earnings increased 18% on the back of revenue growth and margin improvement.

Impressive performance and solid growth opportunities seem to have favored the hike in the stock price. The company’s segmental performance might benefit from solid product offerings, focus on innovation and strengthening demand in markets served in the quarters ahead. Also, effective marketing strategy and operational execution might be tailwinds.

For 2021, the company anticipates adjusted earnings of $14.75-$15.00 per share, up from the previously mentioned $14.35-$14.75. Earnings for the second quarter of 2021 are expected to be $3.61-$3.65 per share. Revenues for the year are anticipated to increase in double digits, with organic sales expanding in high-single digits.

In addition, Roper’s buyout actions have been proving beneficial. Acquisitions had a year-over-year positive impact of 12% on first-quarter 2021 sales. Notably, the company expects WELIS and Impact Financial Systems, both acquired in September 2020, and EPSi (added to the portfolio last October) to boost sales by $75 million. Further, the company’s policy of rewarding shareholders through dividends adds to its attractiveness.

Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s earnings is pegged at $14.99 for 2021 and $16.01 for 2022, marking increases of 2.7% and 3.5% from the respective 60-day-ago figures. Also, the consensus estimate for the second quarter improved from $3.59 to $3.66. Such an upward revision in earnings estimates is reflective of healthy operating conditions for the company.

IDEX Corporation Price and Consensus

 

IDEX Corporation Price and Consensus

IDEX Corporation price-consensus-chart | IDEX Corporation Quote

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the industry are Tennant Company TNC, Applied Industrial Technologies, Inc. AIT and Dover Corporation DOV. While Tennant currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both Applied Industrial and Dover carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

In the past 60 days, earnings estimates for the companies have improved for the current year. Further, earnings surprise for the last reported quarter was 82.81% for Tennant, 35.64% for Applies Industrial and 23.13% for Dover.

Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything

Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities.

Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>

Big Lots (BIG) Strong on Omni-Channel & Transformation Efforts

Posted Mon Jun 14, 01:26 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Robust omni-channel efforts and gains from transformation initiative including the Operation North Star are consistently acting in favor of Big Lots, Inc. BIG. The company is experiencing strong e-commerce growth, buoyed by the success of the “Buy Online Pick-up In Store” functionality and curbside pickup. Also, the company’s same-day service in collaboration with Instacart seems profitable. Further, its store-growth strategies are consistently contributing to its performance.

Coming to the company’s Operation North Star strategy, it focuses on driving its top line, executing cost containment and enhancing its systems and infrastructure. This initiative also aims at streamlining the company’s cost structure. Management also remains committed to expanding the Broyhill brand, which is on track to become a $1-billion w0th brand. Impressively, shares of this Columbus, OH-based company have surged 97.8% in the past year, outperforming the industry’s 37.1% rally.

This share price upsurge is also attributed to the company’s stellar performance that continued in first-quarter fiscal 2021 wherein both the top and the bottom line outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate and grew year over year as well. Results were driven by strength in the company’s underlying Operation North Star initiative and a positive customer response to the third round of stimulus distributions. Also, the company witnessed a double-digit increase at all its merchandise categories except for Food and Consumables. As it moves through the fiscal second quarter, it sees growth in its core underlying business, aided by the Operation North Star strategic initiatives.

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Let’s Delve Deeper

Speaking of the omni-channel initiatives further, we note that Big Lots integrated web and store capabilities to boost returns, pricing, consistency and order visibility. Additionally, it looks to reinforce the payment-type choices on sites including Apple and GooglePay. Its Rewards program also appears robust.

During the fiscal first quarter, the company’s e-commerce business surged 30% while its Rewards program achieved a record high of 21.4 million members, growing 12% year over year. More than 72% of quarterly sales came from rewards membership, reflecting growth of 800 basis points (bps) year over year. It witnessed continued increases in traffic and conversion.

Moreover, the company’s Store of the Future strategy is worth a mention. The company looks to enhance in-store experience. For instance, given strength in its furniture assortment, management has been testing new sales and staffing model in about 35 stores for a while now. Impressively, it is seeing steady double-digit sales growth across such stores. Thus, it remains on track to expand the program to a broader group of pilot stores in the next few months with the potential to roll out the same in fiscal 2022. For fiscal 2021, management anticipates opening about 50-60 stores, of which 20 will be relocations. Additionally, the company’s Lot and Queue Line strategies augur well.

Wrapping Up

Well, all the aforesaid factors raise optimism in the stock. However, increased freight costs have been bothering Big Lots for a while now and compressing its gross margin. Accordingly, the metric is likely to contract nearly 200 bps in the fiscal second quarter due to macro headwinds in freight and certain mix impact from pantry optimization. Adverse freight effects and supply-chain disruptions are likely to linger throughout the fiscal year.

Nonetheless, the company is on course to deliver and surpass $30 million of structural expense savings in fiscal 2021. This will bring its cumulative savings under Operation North Star to more than $130 million. Further, we believe, all the aforementioned business strategies will contribute to the company’s performance. Big Lots currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Key Picks in Retail

Target TGT has a long-term earnings growth rate of 13.3% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), currently. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Burlington Stores BURL, presently a Zacks #1 Ranked stock, delivered an average earnings surprise of 74.7% in the trailing four quarters.

Dollar General DG has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 11.3% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present.

Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything

Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities.

Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>

Will 2021 Hurricane Season Hurt Allstate's (ALL) Margins?

Posted Mon Jun 14, 01:23 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

The Allstate Corporation’s ALL exposure to property and casualty insurance makes it prone to catastrophe losses.

The insurer may face earnings volatility this year as the ongoing catastrophe season, which already started Jun 1 and will last through the end of November is expected to be stronger than last year.

Above-Average Catastrophe Season

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center expects a busy 2021 Atlantic hurricane season due to the rising temperature of the ocean surface. It estimates that there can be 13 to 20 named storms this time around. Of these, six to 10 will be hurricanes, of which three to five will be the major ones.

Per the Colorado State University, the 2021 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1996, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2017. If we go by the year last mentioned, it was the most intense season since 2011. The year 2017 witnessed insured hurricane losses of $58.79 billion. If insurers suffer a similar setback as in 2017, then they should better pull up their socks for staggering levels of losses

Allstate’s underwriting profit might be hit by the unusual catastrophe activity. In the first quarter of 2021, the company suffered gross catastrophe losses worth $1.67 billion, nearly eight times more than the 2020 reading. These losses were, however, offset by $1.08 billion of reinsurance and subrogation recoveries.

This shows that Allstate can effectively deal with weather related losses via its catastrophe management strategy and reinsurance programs. It also aims at limiting its exposure to riskier geographies by raising premiums. This may, however, reduce the number of policies in force.

Other property and casualty insurers that  are exposed to catastrophe losses Chubb Limited CB, The Travelers Companies, Inc. TRV and The Progressive Corporation PGR among others.

Allstate Seems Well Placed

Despite Allstate’s vulnerability to Mother Nature’s wrath, our confidence in its ability to deliver strong underwriting results is intact.

This property and casualty insurer has been witnessing annual revenue growth since 2011 and also tided over the pandemic-ravaged 2020 with a 0.3% revenue rise. The company’s ability to stay in a positive territory against the backdrop of a tough operating environment is quite appreciative. In the March quarter, the top line grew a good 14% while the bottom line was up a whopping 73%.

Allstate’s long-term strategy of boosting its personal property-liability market share and expanding protection offerings will fuel growth.

While increasing its personal property-liability market share, the company acquired National General in January 2021. The transaction will expand its market share in the said space by more than one percentage point and enhance its independent agent-facing technology.

It will significantly fortify its distribution footprint, thus leading the company to be one of the top five personal lines carriers in the independent agency distribution channel. Additional expansion opportunities through independent agents also exist in the standard auto and homeowners’ insurance realm.

Recently, Allstate also announced that it will acquire SafeAuto. The deal will broaden the company’s already vast product and distribution presence in auto insurance, which represents a significant portion of its overall business.

Additionally, Allstate sold its Life insurance businesses in the March quarter to focus on its core business areas, namely the auto and homeowners insurance.  

Further, the company is also investing in technology. This should increase its efficiency and save operational costs.

We believe, it is firing on all cylinders for growth and that the catastrophe losses will not dent its profitability.

Year to date, Allstate has gained 19.4% compared with the industry's growth of 18.6%.  

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Allstate currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here

Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything

Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities.

Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>

Southwest (LUV) to Boost Network as Travel-Demand Picks Up

Posted Mon Jun 14, 01:19 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

With air-travel demand picking up in the United States following a sharp rise in the strength of people getting vaccinated each passing day, management at Southwest Airlines LUV announced that it will add flights to its domestic network. In addition to this domestic expansion, the Dallas-based low-cost carrier decided to boost its international schedule.

Southwest Airlines, which extended its bookable flight schedule through Jan. 5, 2022, announced that it will start operating flights to Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York on Nov 14. The carrier will initially operate three flights (on a daily basis), connecting Syracuse and Baltimore/Washington. Notably, Syracuse will be the carrier’s sixth destination in New York.

Moreover, from Nov 7, Southwest Airlines will operate non stop flights connecting Bellingham, WA with Las Vegas and Oakland. While the flights on the Bellingham-Las Vegas route will operate daily, the ones on the Bellingham-Oakland route will be in service twice a day.

In a bid to revive international demand, Southwest Airlines aims to restart its services on all international routes by Nov 7, which were operational prior to the coronavirus era. For example, the once-daily non-stop service on the Ft. Lauderdale-Nassau, Bahamas, Ft. Lauderdale-Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Ft. Lauderdale-Providenciales, Turks and Caicos routes will be initiated on Oct 7.

Similarly, the once-daily non-stop flight on the Ft. Lauderdale-Cancun, Mexico and Ft. Lauderdale-Montego Bay, Jamaica routes will commence on Nov 7. Also, daily flights connecting Houston and Belize City will take to the skies Nov 7 onward.

The low-cost carrier also decided to add international routes to its network. For example, it will start offering a new, seasonal, daily service between Chicago (O'Hare) and Cancun.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Southwest Airlines  currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Zacks  Transportation  sector are  Landstar System, Inc. LSTR, Triton International Limited TRTN  and  Herc Holdings Inc. HRI. Both Herc Holdings and Landstar sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Triton carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see  the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term (three to five years) expected earnings per share growth rate for Landstar, Triton and Herc Holdings is projected at 12%, 10% and 42.9%, respectively.

Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything

Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities.

Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>

 

California Water's (CWT) Arm to Acquire HOH Utilities' Assets

Posted Mon Jun 14, 01:15 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

The subsidiary of California Water Service Group CWT, Hawaii Water Service, inked a deal to acquire the assets of HOH Utilities Company, thereby expanding the utility’s footprint on the island of Kauai. The agreement is subject to approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission along with some other customary closing conditions.

The acquisition when completed will add nearly 1,800 customers to California Water Service unit’s existing customer base of 6,000 customers.

Initiatives to Strengthen Operation

The utility is consistently making investments to improve reliability of its water and wastewater services, and to focus on renovating its aging infrastructure. In April, the company began installing new water main on the streets of Dolores and Eureka, which is likely to be completed in August. Prior to this, it started enhancing its water infrastructure in western Torrance. In March, it completed overhauling a water infrastructure in Hamilton City to increase its reliability by providing high-quality services to its customers.

The company is not only making steady efforts to grow organically but is also trying to boost operations inorganically. Washington Water Service, another unit of the utility, inked a deal to operate and maintain Stroh’s Water Company’s water system while another unit California Water Service signed an agreement to acquire the water system assets of Skylonda Mutual Water Company.

Notably, after investing $298.7 million in 2020, the utility spent $66.8 million in the first three months of 2021. The company reaffirmed its 2021 capital estimates within $270-$300 million.

Need for Investments in Water Space

Delay in revamping the pipelines could result in wastage of potable water on a daily basis while pipeline cracks might increase the possibility of potable water contamination. Per the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association, an estimated investment of $750 billion is needed to meet demand over the next 20 years.

The aging U.S. water and wastewater infrastructure requires bulk expenditure to ensure 24x7 supply of drinkable water and continuous wastewater services. Hence, large water utilities are actively investing heavy capex in enriching their quality of services.

American Water Works Company AWK has plans to invest $10.4 billion in the 2021-2025 time period and $22-$25 billion in the next decade. Middlesex Water MSEX — under the Water for Tomorrow program — is making regular capital investments to enhance system reliability, resilience and overall service quality. Another water utility Essential Utilities WTRG aims to invest $3 billion through 2023 to fortify operations and efficiently serve its expanding customer base.

Zacks Rank & Price Performance

Shares of this currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) utility have gained 9.5% in the past six months, outperforming the industry’s rise of 2.7%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Six Months Price Performance

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything

Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities.

Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>

Cheniere's (LNG) QMRV Pact With 5 Gas Producers to Curb GHG

Posted Mon Jun 14, 01:11 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Cheniere Energy, Inc. LNG recently forged an alliance with five natural gas producers and several reputed educational organizations to test the quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification (QMRV) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at natural gas production hubs.

Aethon Energy, Ascent Resources — Utica LLC, EQT Corporation EQT, Indigo Natural Resources LLC and Pioneer Natural Resources Company PXD, Inc. are among the producers involved in the project.

The motive behind the company’s goal to interact with the natural gas producers is gaining better knowledge of the upstream GHG emissions and accelerating the adoption of sophisticated monitoring technology and methods. Further, this will aid the currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) Cheniere's climate-strategy initiatives, such as its intention to begin issuing Cargo Emissions Tags (CE Tags) to clients in 2022. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

To establish baseline emission levels, this joint R&D endeavor will use a variety of ground-based, aerial, drone and satellite-monitoring methods. The initiative will measure carbon dioxide levels as well as fugitive and vented methane emissions at several sites. The effort will also verify emission performance and suggest emission-cutting possibilities.

The QMRV R&D alliance will also look into technical and policy issues surrounding the GHG emission control at production sites, such as the scalability and efficacy of a strong QMRV program and its monitoring systems.

Researchers from the Colorado School of Mines' Payne Institute for Public Policy, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, SLR International and other emission-monitoring technology providers, such as Montrose Environmental, SeekOps, Bridger Photonics Inc., and GHGSat are supporting the project.

Company Profile

Cheniere is primarily engaged in businesses related to liquefied natural gas (or LNG) through its two business segments, namely LNG terminal, and LNG and natural gas marketing. The company through its controlling interest in Cheniere Energy Partners L.P. CQP owns and operates the Sabine Pass LNG terminal (North America’s first large-scale liquefied gas export facility) in Louisiana.

Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything

Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities.

Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>

Humana (HUM), League Tie Up for a Digital Health Platform

Posted Mon Jun 14, 01:09 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Humana Inc. HUM partnered with technology-focused health company League to introduce a novel digital health and benefits platform, which is expected to help a huge number of Humana Employer Group and Specialty insurance members.

This comprehensive and personalized solution will be deployed by Humana starting late 2021 and continuing throughout 2022 with phased launches across various markets. With its main objective to improve health outcomes, this is not the first time that the company collaborated for better digital transformation of people.

Notably, League will design and implement the platform by leveraging the health insurer’s systems. The partnership is aimed at connecting benefit information, health resources and support so that individuals can undergo a convenient experience.

Humana looks forward to empowering its members owing to AI-driven technology and next-generation personalization capabilities.

Previously, the company also announced a series of strategic moves to boost capabilities in the field of technology, digital health and analytics.

More and more medical care centers are opting for digital tools and platforms to offer a more enriching and personalized patient care as well as reduce chances of medical errors. Technology and innovation also bridge the gap between hospitals and members, connecting various constituencies in the healthcare system.

Health insurance players in the United States were slow to embrace digitization and are still behind other industries in their use of AI and automation but the coronavirus pandemic now accelerated this process.
Strong digital skills are a must have for the health insurers. Evidently, digital technology began redefining the health insurance markets. It is expected that the combo of analytics and digital health will help overcome all the barriers in this sector going forward.

The currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company expects to develop an advanced capability with this effort, which will act as a giant leap in the direction of providing an improved and connected health care experience to its members. Blockchain and AI-driven technology have been revolutionising the health insurance sector over the past few years.

Companies like Centene Corporation CNC and Anthem Inc. ANTM have also been forging alliances for enhanced AI technology solutions that are aimed at better healthcare and comprehensive administrative activities. Last month, Anthem teamed up with Epic for a safe and seamless, bi-directional health information exchange between healthcare providers and the company’s affiliated health plans. The move is made at an opportune moment as better communication can lead to enhanced data-driven insights for improved health outcomes.

Also, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated UNH is constantly investing heavily in its technology platform to stay ahead of peer pressure in the rapidly-changing industry, which embraced technological innovations following the COVID-19 breakout.

Price Performance

In the past year, Humana has gained 10.6%, underperforming its industry’s growth of 35%. You can see  the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

 

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>
 

Petrobras (PBR) Places $2.3B Order for Eighth Buzios FPSO

Posted Mon Jun 14, 01:07 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

PetroleoBrasileiro S.A.or Petrobras PBR has inked a contract with the joint venture formed between the Italian oil field services company Saipem and South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. (DSME) for the construction of the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel at the Buzios field, offshore Brazil. Notably, this will be the eighth FPSO unit to be built in the Búzios field of the Santos Basin pre-salt area.

The deal worth $2.3 billion is the latest in a line of bids announced to expedite the development of Buzios, widely regarded as the largest and the finest geological structure in Brazil's subsalt area.

The FPSO, named P-79, will have a distillation capacity of 180 thousand barrels of oil per day (bo/d) and 7.2 million cubic meters of gas per day. The order is expected to be delivered by the end of 2025. Once installed, the FPSO P-79 will be linked to eight production wells and six injection wells.

Last month, Petrobras ordered an FPSO vessel from Keppel Shipyard in the Santos Basin, offshore, Brazil for the construction of the seventh FPSO unit in the Búzios field. The FPSO, which will be called P-78, will have a distillation capacity of 180 thousand bo/d and 7.2 million cubic meters of gas per day and is estimated to be delivered by the end of 2024.

Founded in 2010, the Buzios field is located 188 kilometers off the coast of Rio de Janeiro and the state-run energy giant is its chief operator with 90% interest. The rest is held by Chinese producers CNOOC CEO and China National Petroleum,the parent of PetroChina PTR.

The Buzios field is known as the largest deep-water oil field, globally. It is believed that Buzios will have a daily production of more than 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by the end of this decade, making itself the largest oil-producing asset of Petrobras.

At present, four units at Buzios are in operation, accounting for more than 20% of Petrobras' total output. The field's fifth, sixth and seventh platforms (FPSOs Almirante Barroso, Almirante Tamandaré and P-78) are now under construction while the ninth unit (P-80) is in the contracting process.

Company Profile

Petrobras is the largest integrated energy firm in Brazil and one of the biggest in Latin America. The company’s activities include exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks as well as refining, processing, trading and transportation of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons in addition to other energy-related activities.

Zacks Rank & Another Key Pick

Petrobras currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Another top-ranked player in the energy space is SilverBow Resources Inc SBOW, presently flaunting a Zacks Rank of 1. You can see  the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything

Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities.

Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly.

See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>

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