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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Union Pacific, Danaher, Travelers and Northern Trust

Zacks Equity Research
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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – September 20, 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 Microsoft MSFT, Union Pacific UNP, Danaher DHR, Travelers TRV and Northern Trust NTRS.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Stock Reports for Microsoft, Union Pacific and Danaher

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 Microsoft, Union Pacific and Danaher. 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 >>>

Microsoft’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Technology sector on a year-to-date basis (up +32.3% versus +9.5%). Microsoft has a dominant position in the desktop PC market, with its operating systems being used in the majority of PCs worldwide.

The Zacks analyst thinks the company is benefiting from growing user base of its different applications like Office 365 commercial, Dynamics, Outlook mobile and Teams. Moreover, Azure’s expanding customer base is a key catalyst. Microsoft’s gaming segment is performing well, primarily driven by a combination of Xbox Live, Game Pass subscriptions and Mixer, which are driving user engagement.

Further, acquisitions like PlayFab and GitHub expand Microsoft’s total addressable market (TAM) and penetration. Additionally, the company’s expanding partner base is a key catalyst. However, projections of a moderating growth rate in commercial cloud gross margin, and OEM Pro and Windows commercial businesses is a headwind.

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

Shares of Buy-ranked Union Pacific have outperformed the Zacks Rail industry (+42.4% vs. +29.9%) as well as fellow railroad operator CSX Corporation (+40.3%) over the past one year. The upbeat freight scenario is an added positive for the company as bulk of its revenues is derived from this source.

The Zacks analyst thinks strong freight revenues will boost its third-quarter results, scheduled to be released on Oct 25. Furthermore, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-quarter earnings moved north approximately 0.5% over the last 60 days, reflecting the positive sentiment surrounding the stock. Its efforts to reward investors through share buybacks and dividend payouts are also encouraging.

The company intends to repurchase shares worth $20 billion during 2018-2020 period. Dividend payout ratio in the period is anticipated between 40% and 45%. Union Pacific’s focus on promoting safety and enhancing productivity are impressive too. However, high operating expenses and debts remain major concerns.

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

Buy-rankedDanaher’s shares have gained +7.7% over the past three months, outperforming the Zacks Diversified Operations industry, which has gained +7% over the same period. The company reported better-than-expected results for second-quarter 2018. Danaher believes sturdier demand for innovative products like DxH 520 analyzer will continue to drive its revenues in the quarters ahead.

The Zacks analyst thinks robust top-line performance and effective Danaher Business System (DBS) implementation will likely bolster profitability. Moreover, Danaher anticipates that the acquisition of Integrated DNA Technologies and divestiture of its dental business will boost its competency.

The company even remains on track to roll out capital-deployment programs with stronger free cash flow generation. Over the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the stock remained unchanged for 2018, but moved up for 2019.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Travelers and Northern Trust.

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About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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Many are little publicized and fly under the Wall Street radar. They're virtually unknown to the general public. Yet today's 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" were generated by the stock-picking system that has nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015. Its average gain has been a stellar +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>.

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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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Union Pacific Corporation (UNP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Northern Trust Corporation (NTRS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Danaher Corporation (DHR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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