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Top Analyst Reports for Mastercard, UnitedHealth & Merck

Mark Vickery

Friday, November 8, 2019

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 (MA), UnitedHealth Group (UNH) and Merck (MRK). 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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Qualcomm (QCOM), Danaher (DHR) and CVS Health (CVS).

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Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

Note: Sheraz Mian heads the Zacks Equity Research department and is a well-regarded expert of aggregate earnings. He is frequently quoted in the print and electronic media and publishes the weekly Earnings Trends and Earnings Preview reports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here>>>

Today's Must Read

Revenue Growth, Solid Balance Sheet Aid Mastercard (MA)

Strong Service and Benefit Business Aids UnitedHealth (UNH)

Newer Drugs Drive Merck's (MRK) Sales as Competition Soars

Featured Reports

Qualcomm (QCOM) Rides on Innovation & 5G Chip Design Wins

Per the Zacks analyst, Qualcomm aims to retain its leadership in 5G, chipset market and mobile connectivity with design wins and innovative product launches.

Buyouts to Benefit Danaher (DHR), Forex Woes & Debts Ails

Per a Zacks analyst, Danaher's (DHR) Life Sciences segment is poised to benefit from the acquisition of BioPharma business of General Electric.

Strong PBM Selling Season, Aetna Synergy Aid CVS Health (CVS)

The Zacks analyst is impressed with the huge synergy benefit that CVS Health is gaining from its $70 billion buyout of Aetna.

Loan Growth Supports U.S. Bancorp (USB), Higher Costs a Woe

The Zacks Analyst believes that improving economy and initiatives to expand market share have helped U.S. Bancorp witness growth in loan and deposits.

Strong Pricing Aids Altria (MO), Low Cigarette Volumes a Woe

Per the Zacks analyst, Altria has been gaining from higher pricing, which drove the company's top-line during third-quarter 2019.

Goldman (GS) Exhibits Cost Control; Legal Issues Linger

Per the Zacks analyst, Goldman depicts cost control efforts to drive operational efficiency.

Solid Acquisitions Aid, Rising Expenses Hurt Humana (HUM)

Per the Zacks analyst, a number of acquisitions have helped Humana expand its portfolio, which in turn, aided its top-line. However, rising costs continue to weigh down the margins.

New Upgrades

Strong Asia Business, Acquisitions Aids Manulife (MFC)

Per the Zacks analyst, Manulife continues to witness new business volumes, in its Asia business which is driving up revenues. A number of acquisitions made over the years have driven inorganic growth.

Toll Brothers' (TOL) Expansion Efforts to Drive Growth

Per the Zacks analyst, Toll Brothers to gain from geographic expansions, robust economy, improving demographics and solid job market.

Select Medical (SEM) Rides on Revenue Growth, Acquisitions

Per the Zacks analyst, the company's revenues have increased over the years due to its high-quality, cost-effective services. A number of acquisitions made over the years have driven inorganic growth.

New Downgrades

Weak Lithium Prices, Higher Input Costs Ail Albemarle (ALB)

Per the Zacks analyst, lower global prices for lithium carbonate and hydroxide will hurt results in the company's Lithium segment. Higher raw material costs will also weigh on its margins.

Persistent Softness in Used Vehicle Sales Plague Ryder (R)

The Zacks analyst is concerned about a slowdown in used vehicle sales, which forced the company to slash its 2019 earnings forecast significantly.

High Debt Level, Escalating Expense Hurt Ensign Group (ENSG)

Per the Zacks analyst, its rising debt level leading to interest expenses continues to be a financial risk. Escalating operating expenses also remain a concern for the company.

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