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Top Stock Reports for Comcast, Ecolab & General Dynamics

Mark Vickery

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

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 Comcast (CMCSA), Ecolab (ECL) and General Dynamics (GD). 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 >>>

Comcast’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Cable Television industry in the past three months, gaining +1.5% vs. +2.9%. Comcast’s second-quarter 2019 results were driven by Cable’s solid performance. The segment benefited from expanding residential high-speed Internet customer base and business services user base.

Moreover, increase in wireless user base, and expansion in the security and automation services customer base drove results. Further, Theme Parks revenues grew significantly in the reported quarter. Although Sky’s top line declined, subscriber base expanded.

Meanwhile, Comcast continues to lose video subscribers due to cord-cutting. However, its focus to add subscribers aided profitability. This also prompted the company to increase Cable EBITDA margin guidance for 2019. Nevertheless, a high debt level remains a headwind.

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

Shares of Ecolab have gained +39.6% year-to-date, outperforming the Zacks Specialty Chemicals industry which has increased +22.4% over the same period. Ecolab ended the second quarter on a tepid note.

The Zacks analyst thinks the company continues to gain from its core Global Industrial and Global Institutional units. Strength in Pest Control and Colloidal technologies in the quarter drove its Other unit. Management is optimistic about the spin-off of its Upstream Energy business as a stand-alone publicly-traded company and acquisitions, which are likely to prove beneficial in the quarters to come.

Ecolab’s cost-efficiency initiative is expected to result in approximately $200 million of SG&A savings by 2021. Expansion in operating margin is encouraging as well. However, softness in the Global Energy arm raises concerns.

Quarterly EPS was impacted by unfavorable currency movement. In fact, management expects adverse foreign exchange impact to mar EPS in the quarters to come. A highly competitive market adds to its woes.

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

General Dynamics’s shares have gained +7.2% in the past three months, outperforming the Zacks Aerospace & Defense industry's increase of +2.7%. General Dynamics ended second-quarter 2019 on a solid note, with both earnings and revenues having surpassed their respective expectations.

The Zacks analyst thinks the company boasts a strong position in the U.S. defense space and overseas, and continues to witness strong order growth, securing pivotal contracts from the U.S. government and overseas clients. Deliveries of G600 can be expected from the third quarter. However, rising interest expenses can be a potential headwind for the company’s bottom-line growth going ahead.

Moreover, delayed payments related to one of its large international vehicle programs in Canada are hurting its cash flow reserves. A comparative analysis of its historical EV/EBITDA ratio depicts a gloomy picture.

(You can read the full research report on General Dynamics here >>>).

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include American Electric Power (AEP), Illinois Tool Works (ITW) and O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY).

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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

High Speed Internet Subscriber Gains Benefit Comcast (CMCSA)

Global Industrial Segment Aids Ecolab (ECL) Amid Forex Woes

Order Growth Aids General Dynamics (GD), Poor Cash Flow Ails

Featured Reports

Margin Growth to Aid Illinois Tool (ITW), Demand Woes Hurt

Per a Zacks analyst, Illinois Tool is benefiting from margin improvement backed by its Enterprise initiatives. Weakness in demand is likely to hurt organic sales.

Investments Aid American Electric (AEP), Rate Dependency Hurts

Per the Zacks analyst, the company plans to invest $33 billion over 2019???2023 period in regulated operations to boost earnings. Dependence on regulatory commissions for rate relief is a headwind.

Strong Distribution Network Aids O'Reilly (ORLY), Costs Ail

Per the Zacks analyst, opening of stores and distribution centers aid O'Reilly's dual-market strategy to expand in large and scarcely populated areas.

SBA Communications (SBAC) Rides on Robust Leasing Business

Per the Zacks analyst, SBA Communications should continue to benefit from strong activity in its leasing segment as U.S. wireless carriers remain on a multi-year path to provide 5G services.

Contracts Aid Republic Services (RSG) Amid Leachate Cost Woes

The Zacks analyst likes Republic Services' strategy to grow internally through long-term contracts for collection, recycling and disposal of solid waste materials.

Cummins (CMI) Rides on Increased Demand, Costs Ail

Per the Zacks analyst, high truck production in North America and strong demand in power generation markets aid Cummins.

Loan Growth Supports M&T Bank (MTB), Rising Costs a Woe

Per the Zacks analyst, M&T Bank's increasing loans and deposits balances will get a further boost from improving economy.

New Upgrades

New Content Creation to Lift World Wrestling's (WWE) Revenues

Per the Zacks analyst World Wrestling's focus on content creation, driving subscriber count, raising TV rights fees and monetization of video content across digital and DTC platforms bodes well.

FTI Consulting (FCN) Benefits from International Operations

Per the Zacks analyst, FTI Consulting excels as a partner for global clients dealing with international arbitration issues, thus generating continued revenue growth from international operations.

Rising Assets & Higher Rates Aid Federated's (FII) Top Line

Per the Zacks analyst, Federated's strategic acquisitions have resulted in asset growth and expansion in market share. Also, higher interest rates positively impacts the top-line performance.

New Downgrades

High Debt Increases Financial Risk at Global Payments (GPN)

Per the Zacks analyst, Global Payments' debt has been increasing over the years and is higher than the industry average. Its lower than average interest coverage ratio raises concerns.

Weak Auto Markets, High Costs Ail Rockwell Automation (ROK)

The Zacks analyst is worried that Rockwell Automation's performance will be weighed down by the sluggish automotive and semiconductor markets as well as higher costs due to the imposition of tariffs.

High Costs & Lack of Diversified Loans Hurt Cullen/Frost (CFR)

Per the Zacks analyst, steadily increasing non-interest expenses and high exposure to real estate loan portfolios continue to keep Cullen/Frost's financials under pressure.

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O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. (ORLY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW) : Free Stock Analysis Report
General Dynamics Corporation (GD) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Ecolab Inc. (ECL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
American Electric Power Company, Inc. (AEP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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