May 4, 2017

Microsoft Earnings: Don’t Believe The Disappointment, Cloud Growth Explodes



Tech giant Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) reported fiscal-third quarter earnings on Thursday, April 27th. Judging by the market’s reaction, Microsoft’s quarter was a disappointment. The stock fell 2% after reporting. But, the stock quickly retraced its losses, as investors focused once again on the bigger picture: Microsoft is in growth mode.

The company’s cloud-based offerings like Office 365 and Azure are growing like weeds. These platforms represent the technology of the future, and will fuel Microsoft’s growth for many years ahead. In the meantime, Microsoft is an excellent dividend stock. It is a Dividend Achiever, a group of 265 companies in the S&P 500 Index that have raised their dividends for 10+ years in a row. 

Investors should not be fooled by the market’s initial reaction: Microsoft’s quarterly report was anything but disappointing. Its hardware sales came up slightly short of expectations, but more importantly, its cloud platform continued its explosive growth.




May 3, 2017

Buy Pfizer Inc. (PFE) Stock While Its Dividend Is on Sale


PFE beat earnings estimates, but fell short on revenue



Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is slipping in pre-market trading after announcing earnings that beat estimates on the bottom line, but missed on the revenue side. If you’re looking for growth, stay away from PFE stock. But if you’re looking to scoop up a dividend at a discount, Pfizer stock is for you.

Adjusted income was $4.19 billion, 69 cents per share, on revenue of $12.78 billion. This compared with net income of $4.17, 67 cents per share, and revenue of $13.01 billion during the same quarter a year ago.

Earnings beat analyst estimates by 2 cents per share, and even beat the “whisper number” of 68 cents. The revenue number, however, was well below the estimate of $13.05 billion, and even below last year’s figure.

As a result, PFE stock lost 35 cents per share, after dropping another 35 cents in trading on May 1. For those who buy stocks for capital appreciation, Pfizer once again proved a name to avoid.




May 1, 2017

3M Dividend History: The Story Behind an Impressive Growth Streak


The innovative conglomerate has put together an amazing track record of boosting its payouts to shareholders. Can it last?




3M (NYSE:MMM) is a company that most people know about but few fully understand. Going well beyond its most visible products like Post-It Notes and Scotch tape, 3M has its fingers in a huge number of different sectors of the economy, and its innovative spirit has enabled it to get profits from an impressive number of sources.

For dividend investors, 3M has been even more lucrative. With a streak of 59 straight years of dividend increases, 3M numbers among the elite dividend stocks in the entire U.S. stock market. Yet investors want to know if 3M's dividends are sustainable and whether its pace of dividend growth will continue into the future. Let's take a closer look at 3M and its dividend history to get some ideas about what's likely to come down the road.




April 30, 2017

Notable Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades for Week of April 24, 2017



Upgrades:


Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (NYSE:SWK) was upgraded by stock analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report issued on Monday. The firm presently has a $152.00 target price on the industrial products company’s stock, up from their previous target price of $140.00. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s price target indicates a potential upside of 11.05% from the stock’s current price. Continue reading here.

Argus upgraded shares of Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday morning. They currently have $132.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock. Continue reading here.

American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was upgraded by equities research analysts at Nomura from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report released on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $78.00 price target on the payment services company’s stock, up from their previous price target of $63.00. Nomura’s target price indicates a potential downside of 2.90% from the stock’s previous close. Continue reading here.

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) was upgraded by equities researchers at Credit Suisse Group AG from an “underperform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. The firm currently has a $40.00 price objective on the network equipment provider’s stock, up from their prior price objective of $27.00. Credit Suisse Group AG’s price objective points to a potential upside of 18.52% from the company’s previous close. Continue reading here.

McDonald's Co. (NYSE:MCD) was upgraded by analysts at Argus from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. Continue reading here.

Downgrades:


C R Bard Inc (NYSE:BCR) was downgraded by investment analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note issued on Monday. Continue reading here.

William Blair downgraded shares of W W Grainger Inc (NYSE:GWW) from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a report published on Monday. Continue reading here.

Wells Fargo & Co lowered shares of C R Bard Inc (NYSE:BCR) from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a report released on Tuesday morning. Continue reading here.

Bank of America Corp downgraded shares of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research report released on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $31.00 price objective on the conglomerate’s stock, down from their previous price objective of $35.00. Continue reading here.

Robert W. Baird cut shares of American Water Works Company Inc. (NYSE:AWK) from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report released on Wednesday. They currently have $82.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock, up from their prior price target of $69.41. Continue reading here.

T. Rowe Price Group Inc (NASDAQ:TROW) was downgraded by stock analysts at Argus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY) was downgraded by research analysts at Argus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday. They currently have a $81.00 price objective on the stock, up from their prior price objective of $64.18. Argus’ price objective would indicate a potential upside of 0.05% from the company’s previous close. Continue reading here.

Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT) was downgraded by stock analysts at Argus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Friday. Continue reading here.