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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Facebook, American Tower, Southern Company, Intuitive Discover Financial and Cintas

Zacks Equity Research
Let's check out three blue-chip tech stocks that have been flagged by the Zacks Rank to consider buying right now.

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 28, 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: Facebook FB, American Tower AMT, Southern Company SO, Intuitive Discover Financial DFS and Cintas CTAS.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Facebook, American Tower and Southern Companies

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 Facebook, American Tower and Southern Company. 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 >>>

Buy-ranked Facebook’s shares have gained +27.7% year to date, outperforming the S&P 500’s increase of +12.6% during the same period. The Zacks analyst thinks Facebook will benefit from mobile ad revenues driven by robust performance of Instagram Stories and an expanding user base in 2019.

Further, the company’s plan to introduce commerce in Instagram is estimated to be a major growth driver. The growing appeal of the company’s Workplace platform, which has now more than two million paid users, is another key catalyst.

Additionally, its plan to integrate messaging apps – WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger – will boost user experience by making the services more secure through end-to-end encryption. The company’s initiatives to curb the "fake news" menace and data breaches are other positives. However, continued mix shift toward Stories is expected to hurt ARPU. Increasing regulatory headwinds is also a concern.

Shares of American Tower have outperformed the Zacks REIT and Equity Trust industry in the past three months (+23.2% vs. +16.3%). In fourth-quarter 2018, the company posted better-than-expected results backed by revenue growth. The Zacks analyst thinks increased use of mobile data is fueling demand for space on the company’s telecom towers.

This enabled American Tower to experience splendid leasing activity and organic tenant billings growth in the recently-reported quarter. With higher investments in 4G and the upcoming 5G technology, wireless carriers will raise the density of their networks. Hence, the company is strengthening its portfolio and focusing on innovation to capture underlying opportunities.

Further, efforts to increase shareholder value through dividend hike and stock repurchases bode well. Yet, it has a substantially leveraged balance sheet. Also, the accelerated Indian carrier consolidation-driven churn and high customer concentration remain risks.

Buy-ranked Southern Company's shares have outperformed the Zacks Electric Power industry over the past six months, gaining +19.7% vs +13.2%. Following the U.S. federal government's approval of $3.7 billion in loan guarantees for the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, Southern Company retains its Buy rating.

The Zacks analyst thinks that it will provide substantial support and encouragement in the completion of the troubled nuclear project and will also help to reduce financing costs. Southern Company is one of the largest and best-managed electric utilities in the U.S., dominating the power business across the southeastern region.

With good rate base growth and constructive regulation, it is expected to generate steady earnings and dividend growth in the coming years through long-term power contracts. Additionally, the utility's $12 billion AGL buy has significantly increased its customer base and diversified its offerings. Sporting a low beta – translating into less volatility – and a reasonable valuation, Southern Company is seen as an attractive investment.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Intuitive Discover Financial and Cintas.

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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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Southern Company (The) (SO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Facebook, Inc. (FB) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
American Tower Corporation (REIT) (AMT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Discover Financial Services (DFS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Cintas Corporation (CTAS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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