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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Mastercard, UnitedHealth, Merck, Qualcomm and CVS Health

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – November 11, 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: Mastercard MA, UnitedHealth Group UNH, Merck MRK, Qualcomm QCOM and CVS Health CVS.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Mastercard, UnitedHealth and Merck

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 Mastercard, UnitedHealth Group and Merck. 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 >>>

Mastercard’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Financial Transaction Services industry year to date (44.2% vs. 38.2%). The Zacks analyst believes that the company's revenues are gaining from higher switched transactions, increase in cross-border volume and gross dollar volume.

Numerous acquisitions made over the years have fueled its inorganic growth. Its solid capital position enables investment in business. However, escalating costs might put pressure on margins. In order to gain customers and new business, Mastercard has been incurring high levels of costs under rebates and incentives, which remains a concern.

Shares of UnitedHealth have gained 7% in the past six months against Zacks Medical Insurance industry’s rise of 8.3%. The Zacks analyst believes that company stands apart in the industry by virtue of healthcare services, technology and innovations offered by its unit, Optum.

Numerous acquisitions made by the company have led to inorganic growth. Its solid balance sheet and consistent cash flow generation enable investment in business. Also, capital management by dividend payout and share buyback is another positive. Strong earnings guidance by the company instills investors' confidence.

The company's third-quarter earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.5% and grew 13.8% year over year, on the back of higher revenues, and strength in both segments, UnitedHealthcare and Optum. However, slowdown of growth in international operations and underperformance in Medicaid business are some concerns.

Merck’s shares have declined 1.9% over the past three months against the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry’s rise of 3.8%. The Zacks analyst believes that products like Keytruda, Lynparza and Bridion are driving sales. Keytruda sales are gaining from continued uptake in lung cancer and increasing usage in other cancer indications.

Keytruda has strong growth prospects based on increased utilization, recent approvals for new indications and potential additional approvals worldwide. Animal health and vaccine products are also performing strongly and remain core growth drivers for Merck.

However, generic competition for several drugs and pricing pressure will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Rising competitive pressure on the diabetes franchise and on products like Isentress and Zepatier remains a concern.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Qualcomm and CVS Health.

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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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Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CVS Health Corporation (CVS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Mastercard Incorporated (MA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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