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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Microsoft, General Electric, Ecolab and Celgene

Zacks Equity Research
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Twitter

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – May 3, 2019 – 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 Apple AAPL, Microsoft MSFT, General Electric GE, Ecolab ECL and Celgene CELG.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Apple, Microsoft and GE

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 Apple, Microsoft and General Electric. 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 >>>

Apple’s shares have gained +33.4% year to date and have outperformed the broader market with the S&P 500 increasing +15.8% over the same period. Apple’s second-quarter 2019 results were hurt by continued weakness in iPhone demand, particularly in China and emerging economies.

The Zacks analyst thinks the company continues to lose share in the smartphone market due to stiff competition from Chinese handset makers. Although Apple’s Services segment and newer products like Apple Watch hold promise, they are yet to deliver results strong enough to negate the decline in iPhone shipments.

However, iPhone demand is expected to improve in China, driven by lower VAT, and the company’s financing and trade-in programs. Moreover, price reductions are also expected to boost iPhone demand in certain emerging countries. Meanwhile, the Services segment is expected to grow strongly on solid App Store sales and increasing adoption of Apple Music and Apple Pay.

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

Shares of Buy-Ranked Microsoft have gained +36% in the past year, outperforming the Zacks Computer Software industry’s gain of +29.6% during the same period. Microsoft reported stellar third-quarter results. Robust execution and better-than-expected demand from customers for hybrid cloud offerings drove the quarterly results.

The Zacks analyst thinks Microsoft is benefiting from growing user base of its different applications like Office 365 commercial, Dynamics, Outlook mobile and Teams. Further, acquisitions like PlayFab and GitHub expand Microsoft’s TAM and penetration.

However, projections of a moderating growth rate in commercial cloud gross margin, and OEM Pro and Windows commercial businesses is a headwind. Also, competition is stiff and its dominant position in the PC market continues to be challenged.

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

General Electric’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Diversified Operations industry year to date (+33.5% vs. +23.9%). The Zacks analyst thinks the company is poised to become more competent on the back of the portfolio-restructuring program. In sync with this, it intends to focus on three core businesses — Power, Aviation and Renewable Energy — and gradually exit all others.

Also, reduced quarterly dividend rate and reorganization in the Power business are likely to benefit results going forward. In the first quarter of 2019, the company's earnings surpassed expectations but declined year over year due to weakness in revenues and margins.

In the quarters ahead, a weakening Power business remains a key cause of concern for the company. General Electric expects internal and external challenges to continue hurting this business arm. Also, headwinds related to unfavorable movements in foreign currencies are a concern.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Ecolab and Celgene.

Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2019

In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest buy-and-holds for the year?

Who wouldn't? Our annual Top 10s have beaten the market with amazing regularity. In 2018, while the market dropped -5.2%, the portfolio scored well into double-digits overall with individual stocks rising as high as +61.5%. And from 2012-2017, while the market boomed +126.3, Zacks' Top 10s reached an even more sensational +181.9%.

See Latest Stocks Today >>

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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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Ecolab Inc. (ECL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Apple Inc. (AAPL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
General Electric Company (GE) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Celgene Corporation (CELG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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