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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alibaba, Mondelez, Norfolk, Petrobras and Sprint

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –November 12, 2018 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Alibaba BABA, Mondelez MDLZ, Norfolk Southern NSC, Petrobras PBR and Sprint S.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Alibaba, Mondelez and Norfolk Southern

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 Alibaba, Mondelez and Norfolk Southern. These research reports have been hand-picked from roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

Alibaba’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Internet Commerce industry year to date, declining -13.5% vs. +6.1%. The Zacks analyst thinks that Alibaba continues to benefit from its core e-commerce and retail business. Its strong momentum in both domestic as well as international market remains positive.

Moreover, the company’s New Retail strategy is aiding growth in its Tmall Import, Hema fresh food grocery business and Intime Department Stores. Alibaba’s strengthening cloud business with its expanding customer base will continue to drive its top-line growth.

However, rising competition from domestic as well as foreign e-commerce companies poses risk. Additionally, the company’s increasing investments and macro headwinds in China are major concerns.

Shares of Mondelez have gained +4.7% in the past three months, outperforming the -1.7% decline of the Zacks Food Preparation industry. The Zacks analyst thinks that the company has been gaining from a strong earnings history.

The company’s third-quarter 2018 bottom-line performance was backed by benefits from taxes, fewer outstanding shares and operating gains. Notably, the quarter marks the company’s seventh straight quarter of positive bottom-line surprise. Further, Mondelez has been gaining from improved pricing and productivity savings. In fact, such factors fueled margins during the third quarter.

Apart from these, the company continues to focus on strategic acquisitions and innovations. It has also been gaining from continued business growth in the emerging markets, specifically India and China.

On the flip side, sluggish sales in North America, stemming from operational challenges, dented the company’s performance during the third quarter. This, combined with negative impacts of currency, continue to remain as threats.

Buy-ranked Norfolk Southern’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Rail industry (+35.5% vs. +23.9%) as well as fellow railroad operator Union Pacific (+30.6%) over the past one year. Norfolk Southern reported better-than-expected earnings per share and revenues in the third quarter of 2018. Both metrics also improved year over year.

The Zacks analyst thinks the company is benefiting from volume growth. Norfolk Southern's efforts to reduce costs are also impressive. Meanwhile, operating ratio is constantly improving mainly owing to its cost reduction initiatives.

Norfolk Southern’s efforts to reward its shareholders are impressive, too. In fact, the positivity revolving around the stock is evident from the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings, which moved north approximately 1.2% over the last 60 days. However, its high debt levels and operating expenses raise concerns.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Petrobras and Sprint.

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See Zacks' 3 Best Stocks to Play This Trend >>

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras (PBR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Sprint Corporation (S) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Mondelez International, Inc. (MDLZ) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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