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Top Analyst Reports for UnitedHealth, Blackstone & Cigna

Monday, December 5, 2022
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 Incorporated (UNH), Blackstone Inc. (BX) and Cigna Corporation (CI). 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 shares have gained +16.6% over the past year against the Zacks Medical - HMOs industry’s gain of +18.3%. The company’s top line has been growing and the momentum should continue in the years ahead on the back of a strong market position, new deals, renewed agreements and expansion of service offerings.

According to the Zacks analyst’s estimate the revenue for 2022 will rise to 12% from the 2021 level. Its solid health services segment provides diversification benefits. UNH's Government business remains well-poised for growth. Adjusted net earnings per share are anticipated in the $21.85-$22.05 band, up from the prior projection of $21.40-$21.90. A sturdy balance sheet enables investments.

However, softness in commercial business due to COVID-induced volatilities persists. Rising operating costs are hurting margins. As such, the stock warrants a cautious stance.

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

Shares of Blackstone have underperformed the Zacks Financial - Miscellaneous Services industry over the past year (-36.8% vs. -18.9%). This reflects the company’s exposure to the uncertain macroeconomic environment, particularly the outlook for its substantial commercial real estate holdings.

However, Blackstone remains well-poised to benefit from its strong fund-raising ability, revenue mix and global footprint. Further, continued net inflows are likely to keep supporting Blackstone's AUM growth in the upcoming period. The buyout of DCI further enhanced its digital capabilities.

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

Cigna shares have outperformed the Zacks Insurance - Multi line industry over the past year (+58.4% vs. +5.3%). The company’s revenues have been increasing consistently for the past few years, driven by acquisitions, superior operating performance and a high-quality product portfolio. Business streamlining by divesting its life, accident and supplemental benefits businesses to Chubb helps it to focus on core growth areas.

Increasing medical membership on the back of a diversified product portfolio, wide agent network and superior service are major positives. The company has been resorting to prudent capital deployment moves. For 2022, Cigna expects adjusted income from operations to be at least $22.90 per share.

However, high leverage can affect its financial flexibility. Rising operating costs might dent the company's margins. As such, the stock warrants a cautious stance.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Canadian National Railway Company (CNI), Airbnb, Inc. (ABNB), and PG&E Corporation (PCG).

Sheraz Mian

Director of Research

Note: Sheraz Mian heads the Zacks Equity Research department and is a well-regarded expert of aggregate earnings. He is frequently quoted in the print and electronic media and publishes the weekly Earnings Trends and Earnings Preview reports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here>>>

Today's Must Read

Solid Top Line & Strong Cash Flows Drive UnitedHealth (UNH)

Fund-Raising Ability Aids Blackstone (BX), High Costs Ails

Cigna (CI) Benefits from Strategic Acquisitions, Costs High

Featured Reports

Dividends & Buyback Aid Canadian National (CNI), Expenses Ail
The Zacks analyst likes the shareholder-friendly measures adopted by Canadian National. However, rising operating expenses are concerning as they are likely to keep the bottom line under pressure.

Solid Investments Aid PG&E Corp (PCG), Weak Solvency Woes
Per the Zacks Analyst, solid capital expenditures in infrastructure bode well for PG&E Corp in the long haul. Yet, its weak solvency position remains a bottleneck

PerkinElmer's (PKI) Expanding Product Range Offsets Headwinds
Per the Zacks analyst, PerkinElmer's expanding product portfolio along with accretive acquisition provide growth opportunity amid unfavorable foreign exchange and a sluggish European macro environment

Campbell Soup (CPB) Benefits from Robust Snacks Business
Per the Zacks analyst, Campbell Soup is benefiting from its its growing Snacks business. The segment formed almost 53% of the company's top line in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, with sales up 6%.

William-Sonoma (WSM) Rides on E-Commerce, High Costs Ail
Per the Zacks analyst, continued enhancement of e-commerce channel and focus on product innovation to drive growth. Yet, higher backorder fulfillment and incremental freight costs are risks.

Cirrus Logic (CRUS) Benefits from Strong Product Portfolio
Per the Zacks analyst, momentum across its high-performance mixed-signal and audio segments is driving Cirrus Logic's performance. Global macro weakness and supply chain constraints remain concerns.

Catalyst (CPRX) Thrives on Firdapse But Overdependence a Woe
Per the Zacks Analyst, Catalyst's Firdapse approved for treating Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome has witnessed a solid uptake since its launch. Sole dependence on Firdapse for growth remains a woe.

New Upgrades

Airbnb (ABNB) Banks on Strong Nights & Experiences Bookings
Per the Zacks analyst, strengthening gross nights booked in non-urban areas, and recovery in both long-distance and cross-border travel are benefiting Airbnb's Nights & Experience bookings.

Booz Allen (BAH) Benefits From Differentiated Business Models
Per the Zacks analyst, Booz Allen Hamilton has developed its solution business strategically which allows it to create differentiated business models and sales channels and increase client acquisition

ProPetro (PUMP) to Benefit from Debt-Free Balance Sheet
The Zacks analyst likes ProPetro's strong balance sheet, having zero debt along with total liquidity of $155 million including cash balance and available borrowing under the revolving credit facility.

New Downgrades

Zebra Technologies (ZBRA) Hurt by Supply Chain & Forex Woes
The Zacks analyst is concerned about persistent supply chain challenges, foreign currency headwinds and a softening demand which are affecting the company' operations.

Geopolitical Issues, High Costs Hurt SVB Financial (SIVB)
Per the Zacks analyst, geopolitical headwinds will keep weighing on market liquidity flows, thus hurting SVB Financial' growth. Higher costs due to investments in technology will likely hurt profits.

PC Shipment Decline, Stiff Competition Hurts AMD's Prospects
Per the Zacks analyst, lower PC shipment is hurting AMD's prospects. Moreover, stiff competition from the likes of NVIDIA and Intel is a headwind.

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Blackstone Inc. (BX) : Free Stock Analysis Report

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PCG) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Canadian National Railway Company (CNI) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Cigna Corporation (CI) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Airbnb, Inc. (ABNB) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research