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Top Research Reports on Wells Fargo, Altria and Dow

Mark Vickery

Monday, March 13, 2017

Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Wells Fargo (WFC), Altria (MO) and Dow Chemical (DOW).

Wells Fargo shares have gained +20.1% over the last six months, underperforming the Zacks Major Banks industry which has gained +31.9% over the same period. The bank has yet to fully recover from the scandal even after a $190-million settlement with regulators, but the company’s fourth-quarter 2016 earnings outpaced estimates and prior-year quarter’s earnings.

The new management team is making all the right moves and further downside risks in the stock are low at this stage. But it will likely take a while for clouds to be fully lifted, though continued growth in loans and deposits and expansion moves should support its growth profile. Also, the company raised its prime lending rate to 3.75%, following Fed interest rate hike to 0.50%–0.75%, which is likely to alleviate margin pressure in the coming period. (You can read the full research report on Wells Fargo here.)

Altria have outperformed the Zacks Consumer Staples sector in the past three months, gaining +14.6% vs a +5.6% increase. Altria reported mixed fourth quarter earnings though earnings and revenue increased year-over-year. The Zacks analyst is optimistic about Altria’s subsidiary, Nu Mark LLC, which has expanded the distribution of MarkTen XL e-vapor products.

Also, the company enhanced its smokeable segment with the takeover of Nat Sherman. Further, the recent takeover of SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch InBev's helped Altria maximize the value of its SABMiller investment. However, strict anti-smoking regulations by governments globally in the form of restrictions on packaging and high excise duties coupled with currency headwinds remain woes. (You can read the full research report on Altria here.)

Shares of Dow Chemical have gained +9.1% over the past three months, outperforming the Zacks Chemicals Diversified industry (up +4.4% over the same period). The Zacks analyst likes the planned merger with DuPont, which is expected to create significant synergies. Dow should also gain from cost synergies associated with Dow Corning Silicones business and its strategic investments in the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Middle East. Estimates for first-quarter 2017 have also been stable of late.

However, Dow’s agriculture business remains affected by depressed crop commodity prices. The company also faces pricing headwinds, feedstock cost pressure as well as weak demand in the energy market. (You can read the full research report on Dow Chemical here.)

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Colgate (CL), John Wiley & Sons (JW.A) and Papa John's (PZZA).

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Mark Vickery

Senior Editor

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

Wells Fargo (WFC) Poised to Growth; Cost Woes Linger

Altria (MO) Continues to Grow Backed by Innovation

Dow (DOW) Gains from Cost Cuts, Growth Actions Amid Headwinds

Featured Reports

Boston Scientific (BSX) Poised to Grow, Currency Woes Remain

The Zacks analyst thinks Boston Scientific is growing on approvals for products and use of new technologies.

Enbridge Energy (EEP) Beats Q4 Earnings Estimates

The covering analyst thinks higher deliveries from the Lakehead pipeline system helped Enbridge Energy Partners beat Q4 earnings estimates.

John Wiley & Sons (JW.A) Tops Q3 Earnings, Efforts Bode Well

The covering analyst thinks endeavors to metamorphose to a more digital services oriented company bodes well.

Papa John's (PZZA) Tops Q4 Earnings; Well-Poised for Growth

Papa John's strategic partnerships, large scale expansion plans, focus on franchising, digital and other sales-boosting initiatives are appealing

Colgate's (CL) Growth Strategies on Track Amid Currency Woes

The covering analyst thinks Colgate expects robust organic sales growth in 2017, backed by solid product portfolio, appealing marketing and advertising programs.

New Upgrades

Diverse Product Line & Merger Synergies To Aid Orbital (OA)

The Zacks analyst believes that Orbital ATK's wide array of products, robust backlog and merger synergies are expected to boost performance going forward.

H&R Block (HRB) Shows Promise with Core Business Focus

H&R Block has made several enhancements to online digital tax software to improve monetization and conversion. It remains focused on expanding client base and lowering costs to drive future growth.

New Downgrades

Natural Resource (NRP) Q4 Earnings & Revenues Miss Estimates

The Zacks analyst believes the ongoing weakness in the coal demand is taking a toll on the Natural Resource Partners coal royalty revenues and hurting its prospects.

Universal Forest (UFPI) Down to Sell on Escalating Expenses

Escalating expenses remain a major issue for Universal Forest Products. Also, issues in the housing market and foreign exchange impact might hurt near-term results.

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Wells Fargo & Company (WFC): Free Stock Analysis Report
Papa John's International, Inc. (PZZA): Free Stock Analysis Report
Altria Group (MO): Free Stock Analysis Report
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (JW.A): Free Stock Analysis Report
Dow Chemical Company (The) (DOW): Free Stock Analysis Report
Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL): Free Stock Analysis Report
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