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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Union Pacific, Lowe's, Gilead, Target and Emerson

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –August 23, 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: Union Pacific UNP, Lowe's LOW, Gilead GILD, Target TGT and Emerson Electric EMR.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Union Pacific, Lowe’s and Gilead

The Zacks Research Daily presents the best research output of our analyst team. Today's Research Daily features updated research reports on 16 major stocks, including Union Pacific, Lowe's and Gilead. These research reports have been hand-picked from roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

You can see all of today’s research reports here >>>

Union Pacific’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Rail industry (+22.2% vs. +19%) year to date. The Zacks analyst thinks Union Pacific's initiatives to reward its shareholders are very encouraging. Since November 2017, the company hiked its quarterly dividend payout five times.

The latest dividend hike came in July, when the company increased its quarterly payout by 10.2% to 97 cents a share. It is also active on the buyback front. Union Pacific's efforts to check costs in a bid to drive the bottom line are also impressive. In fact, the company’s operating ratio has been improving mainly due to its cost-cut plans. The metric is expected to improve further going forward.

However, sluggish freight revenues represent a major headwind for the company. Moreover, its high debt levels are worrisome. The massive capex also might play a spoilsport. Hence, investors are advised to wait for a better entry point before buying Union Pacific’s shares.

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

Shares of Lowe's have outperformed the Zacks Building Products - Retail industry over the past three months, gaining +14.4% vs. +9.7%. The Zacks analyst thinks the company is gaining from key sales initiatives like focus on Pro customers, better product presentation and in-store merchandising, among others.

Such efforts drove sales in second-quarter fiscal 2019, wherein top and bottom lines were strong. While earnings gained from higher sales and lower SG&A costs, sales were backed by solid spring demand, robust execution of its holiday event, and improvement in Paint and Pro businesses. Also, Lowe’s experienced comparable sales growth in all 15 U.S regions.

However, supply-chain woes and adverse mix continued to hurt gross margin, which contracted in the quarter. Also, the company is exposed to competition. Nonetheless, solid demand in the home improvement space and Lowe’s retail fundamentals keep it well positioned.

(You can read the full research report on Lowe's here >>>).

Gilead’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Biotech industry year to date, gaining +3.1% vs. a decline of -1.2%. Gilead reported better-than-expected results for the second quarter of 2019 on strong sales of Biktarvy. It also raised its annual sales guidance.

The Zacks analyst thinks Gilead’s HIV franchise maintains momentum on continued uptake of Genvoya and Odefsey, and the rapid adoption of Biktarvy. The company has shifted focus to the HIV franchise, and newer avenues like CAR-T therapy and NASH, owing to a decline in sales of the HCV franchise.

Gilead’s collaboration with Novo Nordisk for NASH treatments is a step in the right direction, given its recent debacles. The company suffered a setback with the failure of a late-stage study on selonsertib in patients with compensated cirrhosis due to NASH. However, the HIV franchise is also expected to face stiff competition.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Target and Emerson Electric.

It’s Illegal in 42 States, But Investors Will Make Billions Legally

In addition to the companies you read about above, today you get details on the newly-legalized

industry that’s tapping into a “habit” that Americans spend an estimated $150 billion on every year.

That’s twice as much as they spend on marijuana, legally or otherwise.

Zacks special report reveals how investors can profit from this new opportunity. As more states legalize this activity, the industry could expand by as much as 15X. Zacks’ has just released a Special Report revealing 5 top stocks to watch in this space.

See these 5 “sin stocks” now>>

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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
Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Target Corporation (TGT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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