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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, PetroChina, Lockheed Martin, Morgan Stanley and Square

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – January 31, 2020 – 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: Apple AAPL, PetroChina PTR, Lockheed Martin LMT, Morgan Stanley MS and Square SQ.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Earnings Season Scorecard and Research Reports for Apple, Petrochina and Others

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 Apple, PetroChina and Lockheed Martin. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today. We have also provided below an update on the ongoing Q4 earnings season.

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

Earnings Season Scorecard

Including all of today's earnings releases, we now have Q4 results from 199 S&P 500 members that combined account for 52.1% of the index's total market capitalization. Total earnings for these 199 index members are up +4.2% from the same period last year on +2.5% higher revenues, with 72.9% beating EPS estimates and 67.3% beating revenue estimates. This is better performance than we have seen from these companies in the first three quarters of the year.

Please check out our weekly Earnings Trends report to get a complete picture of the earnings picture here >>>Earnings Outlook Improving  

Apple’s shares have outperformed the S&P 500 over the past year (+93.8% vs. +20.1%), with the momentum expected to continue on the back of the company's better than expected first-quarter fiscal 2020 results. The Zacks analyst credits Apple's outperformance in the quarterly report on continued momentum in the Services segment and a rebound in iPhone sales, which grew on a year-over-year basis.

Customer response was exceptional for new iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. Moreover, sales benefited from trade-in programs, which doubled on a year-over-year basis. Wearables’ top-line growth was aided by strong demand for Apple Watch and AirPod. AirPod sales benefited from the launch of AirPod Pro, which features active noise cancellation.

Moreover, Apple Watch’s adoption rate grew rapidly. The solid adoption of Apple Watch is now helping the iPhone maker strengthen presence in the personal health monitor space. The Phase One deal between the United States and China is also a positive. 

Shares of PetroChina have lost -14.9% in the past six months against the Zacks International Integrated Oil industry's decline of -10.7%. The Zacks analyst believes that there are concerns regarding drop in the company’s downstream segment earnings owing to higher domestic refined products oversupply & narrowing profit margin. Losses on the domestic resale of imported natural gas below cost also keep shareholders worried.

PetroChina has managed to lower its exploration & development cost as a means to shore up profitability. On that front, a tight leash on oil & gas lifting costs helped the company lower the expenditure thereby boosting its upstream earnings outlook. Its natural gas business offers lucrative growth prospects in the coming years as China moves from coal to natural gas.

Lockheed’sshares have gained +14.9% over the past three months against the Zacks Aerospace Defense industry's rise of +1.6%. The Zacks analyst believes that Expansionary budgetary provisions made by the current U.S. administration will immensely boost this defense prime's business.

Lockheed Martin ended the fourth quarter of 2019 on an impressive note, with both earnings and revenues surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company, being the largest defense contractor in the world, enjoys strong demand for its high-end military equipment in domestic and international markets.

However, the company’s higher debt-to-equity ratio shows that the stock is highly leveraged when compared with its industry. Lockheed Martin also faces intense global competition for its broad portfolio of products and services. Furthermore, forced cost reduction initiatives for the F-35 program might hamper its operating results.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Morgan Stanley and Square.

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Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Our recent biotech recommendations have produced gains of +50%, +83% and +164% in as little as 2 months. The stocks in this report could perform even better.

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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 for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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Square, Inc. (SQ) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Apple Inc. (AAPL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Morgan Stanley (MS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
PetroChina Company Limited (PTR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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