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Top Stock Reports for Pfizer, Biogen & Schwab

Mark Vickery

Friday, January 18, 2018

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 Pfizer (PFE), Biogen (BIIB) and Schwab (SCHW). 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 >>>

Pfizer’s shares have outperformed its peer group in the past one year. (the stock is up +14.8% over this period vs. a -0.5% decline for the Zacks Large-Cap Pharmaceuticals industry). Pfizer is facing top-line headwinds like genericization of key drugs, supply challenges in the legacy Hospira portfolio, pricing pressure and rising competition.

However, the Zacks analyst thinks products like Ibrance, cost-cutting efforts, a lower tax rate and share buybacks can support bottom-line growth. Pfizer also boasts a strong pipeline and looks well positioned to deliver several potential new breakthrough innovative medicines in the next five years, which can drive long-term growth. Bavencio, though approved for two small indications currently, is being considered a key long-term growth driver for Pfizer if it can gain label expansion approvals.

Pfizer gained FDA approval for four new cancer drugs in 2018, which can boost oncology sales. Estimates have gone down slightly ahead of Q4 earnings release. Pfizer has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.

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

Shares of Biogen have outperformed the Zacks Biomedical and Genetics industry in the past one year (-1.8% vs. -19.8%). Biogen has a strong position in the MS market with a wide range of products.

The Zacks analyst likes its efforts to diversify beyond MS to other areas like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's and stroke. Spinraza is performing strongly and has multi-billion dollar potential. Biogen’s efforts to regularly in-license assets to build its pipeline are encouraging since several of them have transformative potential. Multiple data readouts are expected in 2019.

However, the launch of Ocrevus by Roche is having a negative impact on MS franchise sales in the United States. Also, potential competition to Spinraza from competitors’ gene therapy programs for SMA is a concern.

Though Biogen’s CNS pipeline is attractive, it is a high-risk area. However, estimates have gone up slightly ahead of Q4 earnings results. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.

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

Schwab’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Investment Brokers industry over the past three months, gaining +0.1% vs -6.2%. The Zacks analyst emphasizes that the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed expectations in each of the trailing four quarters. Its fourth-quarter 2018 results were driven by a rise in interest income and trading revenues.

The company remains well positioned to gain from the rising rate environment and its initiatives to strengthen trading income. Further, its steady capital deployment actions reflect a strong balance sheet position. However, continuously rising operating expenses remain a major concern and hurt bottom-line growth to some extent. Also, the company's significant dependence on fee-based revenue streams is cause for apprehension.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include CSX Corporation (CSX), Sysco (SYY) and Philips (PHG).

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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

Pfizer (PFE) Boasts Solid Pipeline of Potential Blockbusters

Biogen (BIIB) Rides on Spinraza and In-Licensing Agreements

Trading Focus, Higher Rates Aid Schwab (SCHW), Costs a Woe

Featured Reports

Sturdy U.S. Business Drives Sysco (SYY), Cost Woes Linger

Per the Zacks analyst, Sysco's U.S. Broadline operations have been gaining from rising local case volumes for 18 straight quarters.

Increasing Revenues Aid Growth at Discover Financial (DFS)

Per the Zacks analyst, the company's strong Direct Banking business and soaring card sales volume have driven the company revenues thus leading to overall growth.

SBA Communications (SBAC) Defies Merger Trends for Expansion

Per the Zacks analyst, SBA Communications aims to expand in select international markets with high growth characteristics despite industry consolidation and proliferation of satellite-based services.

Ulta Beauty's (ULTA) E-Commerce Business to Boost Sales

Per the Zacks analyst, Ulta Beauty is witnessing solid e-commerce sales growth, which is aiding the company's results.

MGM Resorts (MGM) Banks on Improving Las Vegas Tourism

Per the Zacks analyst, strong portfolio, focus on non-gaming actions, with improving economy and tourism in Las Vegas should drive growth.

Cooper Companies (COO) Rides on Core CVI Amid Competition

The Zacks analyst is apprehensive about intense competition in the MedTech space.

Program Wins, Robust Healthcare Sector Aids Plexus (PLXS)

According to the Zacks analyst, new program wins coupled with strong demand for Plexus' services in the healthcare end-market aids growth.

New Upgrades

Development Programs, Strong Financials Aid Edison (EIX)

Per the Zacks analyst, focus on transmission-related infrastructure development will help Edison boost its top line. It boasts a solid financial position backed by strong cash generation capacity.

Volume Growth & Favorable Pricing Buoy CSX Corporation (CSX)

The Zacks analyst likes the overall volume growth which is aiding the company's top line. Pricing strength and improvement in operating ratio are further positives.

Yum! Brands' (YUM) Rides on Digital Innovation & Franchising

The Zacks analyst expects Yum! Brands' digital initiatives to drive growth. Further, by refranchising, the company is facilitating EPS growth and greater return on equity.

New Downgrades

Concerns over Tariff, Personal Healthcare Hurt Philips (PHG)

Per the Zacks analyst, tariff related concerns due to U.S.-China trade war along with sluggishness in Personal Healthcare business do not bode well for the company.

Higher Costs, Risky Loans Hurt Hancock Whitney (HWC) Growth

Per the Zacks analyst, as Hancock Whitney has been expanding inorganically and hiring additional employees, costs are expected to remain elevated. Exposure to risky loan portfolios is a concern.

High Input Costs, Low Tow Volumes Ail Eastman Chemical (EMN)

Per the Zacks analyst, Eastman Chemical faces headwinds from raw material cost inflation. Lower acetate tow sales volumes and prices are also hurting sales and margins of its fiber business.

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Sysco Corporation (SYY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
The Charles Schwab Corporation (SCHW) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Koninklijke Philips N.V. (PHG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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CSX Corporation (CSX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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