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Best Blue Chip Stocks To Invest In 2018

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A few weeks ago we discussed how you can make 12% annually, forever, from stocks. Now let’s apply those lessons to 2017, and highlight five that should do even better (17%+ returns) this year (and likely beyond).

Remember, projecting our returns from any given stock is simple. We simply add together the three ways it can pay us:

Its current dividend.

A future dividend hike.

Share repurchases.

It also helps if the stock is inexpensive, as buybacks deliver more bang for management’s buck. So let’s stick with stocks that are dirt-cheap, trading for 10-times free cash flow (FCF) or less for this exercise.

Here’s an example of a stock ready to return 17% or more over the next year. Blue chip refiner Valero (VLO) has a great management team that knows how to make money no matter what happens with energy prices.

Best Blue Chip Stocks To Invest In 2018: Shake Shack, Inc.(SHAK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows more recent burger IPOs like small caps Habit Restaurants Inc (NASDAQ: HABT) and Shake Shack Inc (NYSE: SHAK) underperforming while Red Robin Gourmet Burgers andSonic Corporation (NASDAQ: SONC) have remained in positive territory:

  • [By WWW.GURUFOCUS.COM]

    It wasn’t too long ago that Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK) was a darling growth stock. After its initial public offering at $45 per share in early 2015, shares of the high-growth fast food restaurant soared as high as $92 by late May of that year.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap New York City based burger stock Shake Shack Inc (NYSE: SHAK) reportedQ2 2017 earnings after the market closed Thursday. Before earnings were reported, Barrons noted thatthere were twice as many rainy days in the Northeast (where most of Shake Shacks locations are) as there were a year ago and more than half of the burger chains restaurants in New York have outdoor seating.

Best Blue Chip Stocks To Invest In 2018: Investment Technology Group, Inc.(ITG)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Investment Technology Group Inc. (NYSE: ITG) was downgraded to Market Perform from outperform by KeefeBruyette & Woods.

    Liquidity Services Inc. (NASDAQ: LQDT) was raised to Buy from Underperform, and the price target was raised up to $45 from $28.50, at Merrill Lynch.

Best Blue Chip Stocks To Invest In 2018: Atlantia S.p.A. (ATASF)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By SEEKINGALPHA.COM]

    Atlantia (ATASF) (AT.IM), Eiffage (OTCPK:EFGSY) (FGR.FP), Ferrovial (OTC:FRRVF) (FER.SM), Albertis (OTC:ABFOF) (ABE.SM) and Vinci (OTCPK:VCISF) (DG.FP)

Best Blue Chip Stocks To Invest In 2018: Transcontinental Realty Investors, Inc.(TCI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    In trading on Wednesday, financial shares fell 0.23 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Transcontinental Realty Investors Inc (NYSE: TCI), down 14 percent, and Citizens, Inc. (NYSE: CIA), down 5 percent.

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Transcontinental Realty Investors Inc. (NYSE: TCI) saw itschief executive officerpurchasing stock last week. Daniel Moos bought a block of 285,000 shares at $10.60 apiece. The trade cost himright at $3 million.The company acquires, develops and owns residential and commercial real estate properties through acquisitions, leases and partnerships in the United States. Its shares closed Friday at $11.48.

stock market trading

Despite an increasingly challenging beverage environment, PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) managed to deliver a second-quarter earnings beat this morning.

Before Tuesday’s market open, the soda and snacks giant reported second-quarter earnings of $1.50 a share on revenue of $15.7 billion, compared to estimates for earnings of $1.40 a share on revenue of $15.6 billion.

Beverage companies such as PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Co. (KO)  have been struggling recently to boost sales of sugary, carbonated drinks as more and more consumers shift to healthier eating habits. PepsiCo has the upper hand, though, as it does not rely solely on beverages.

Still, most analysts on Wall Street didn’t expect PepsiCo to report a blowout quarter amid challenging conditions in grocery store aisles, namely increased discounting and the shift to healthier products.

stock market trading: Shake Shack, Inc.(SHAK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Rather than panicking, investors seemed to take the stance as a positive sign that the U.S. economy is ready for at least slightly less accommodative monetary policy going forward. Yet some stocks suffered sharp declines, and Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK), Fred’s (NASDAQ:FRED), and Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL) were among the worst performers on the day. Below, we’ll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so poorly.

  • [By Jeremy Bowman]

    No two companies may better represent the opposing poles of the fast-food industry thanMcDonald’s Corporation(NYSE:MCD) and Shake Shack Inc.(NYSE:SHAK). McDonald’s is the biggest fast-food company in the world by sales and market value, and the Golden Arches represent the quintessential burger chain in much of the world. Shake Shack, on the other hand, is one of the companies defining the better-burger space, and its founder, Danny Meyer, likes to call the brand “fine casual.” Shake Shack charges more for its burgers than McDonald’s, but offers better-quality food.

  • [By Brian Stoffel]

    Does that mean Shack Shake (NYSE:SHAK), Chipotle’s competition in today’s battle, is a better buy right now? While that’s an impossible question to answer with 100% certainty, we’ll investigate three different ways to approach the problem, and see who comes out ahead.

stock market trading: Wyndham Worldwide Corp(WYN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    The chief financial officerat Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (NYSE: WYN) wasselling stock this past week. Thomas Conforti parted with 25,900 shares of the hotel giant at $82.41 apiece. The total for the trade was posted at $2 million. The shares closed Friday at $82.65. The 52-week range is $62.60 to $86.72, and the consensus price target is $90.

  • [By Travis Hoium]

    Shares of hotel brand Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (NYSE:WYN) jumped as much as 11.1% in trading Wednesday after reporting first-quarter 2017 earnings. At 3:45 p.m. EDT on Wall Street, shares were still up an impressive 9.6% on the day.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Wednesday afternoon, the cyclical consumer goods & services sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Conn's Inc (NASDAQ: CONN) and Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (NYSE: WYN).

stock market trading: SunTrust Banks, Inc.(STI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin] Related TRST Earnings Scheduled For October 21, 2016 Major Accounting Changes Are Coming To The Financial Industry
    Related MORN One Of The World's Most Powerful Women, Fidelity Personal Investing President Kathleen Murphy, To Tell Her Story At The Benzinga Global Fintech Awards The 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards Will Include An 'Unprecedented Group' Of Judges Morningstar Packs Conference Lineup For Financial Advisors (Investor’s Business Daily) Companies Reporting Before The Bell
    Rockwell Collins, Inc. (NYSE: COL) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $1.31 per share on revenue of $1.33 billion.
    General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.17 per share on revenue of $26.46 billion.
    Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $1.60 per share on revenue of $9.32 billion.
    Interpublic Group of Companies Inc (NYSE: IPG) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.03 per share on revenue of $1.76 billion.
    Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE: SLB) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.26 per share on revenue of $7.02 billion.
    SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.83 per share on revenue of $2.21 billion.
    ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE: MAN) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $1.11 per share on revenue of $4.68 billion.
    Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $1.15 per share on revenue of $593.82 million.
    Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (NYSE: SWK) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $1.19 per share on revenue of $2.74 billion.
    WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE: WBC) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $1.44 per share on revenue of $721.89 million.
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    We believe investors should continue to own three types of bank stocks: “Return of Capital (RC) Stocks”, “Risk On (RO) Stocks”, and “Multiple Revaluation (MR) Stocks.” RC stocks include M&T Bank (MTB), PNC Financial Services Group (PNC), and SunTrust Banks (STI); RO stocks include Bank of America, Popular (BPOP), Citigroup, JPMorgan, and KeyCorp (KEY); and MR stocks include BB&T (BBT) and PNC Financial Services Group (PNC).

stock market trading: Mallinckrodt plc(MNK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Mallinckrodt plc (NYSE: MNK) dropped 39% Tuesday to post a new 52-week low of $19.01 after closing at $31.18 on Monday. The 52-week high is $68.12. Volume was around 32 million, about 16 times the daily average of about 2 million. The generic drug maker missed analysts revenue estimate.

  • [By Keith Speights]

    Although 2016 wasn’t exactly the greatest year for healthcare stocks in general, there really aren’t very many true bargains to be found in the industry. However, three healthcare stocks do appear to be priced well below what they’re worth. Here’s why Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), Lantheus Holdings (NASDAQ:LNTH), and Mallinckrodt (NYSE:MNK) look to be ridiculously cheap right now.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Mallinckrodt (MNK) tumbled to the bottom of the S&P 500 today after Citron Research accused the company of fraud.

    Getty Images

    Mallinckrodt tumbled 12% to $59.60 today, while the S&P 500 declined 0.2% to 2,176.94.

    Leerink’s Jason Gerberry and Etzer Darout explain the allegations:

    Mallinckrodtshares are down -7-8% based on a short report citing CMS dashboard data which call into question Acthar Gel sales derived from government sources (CMS; Medicaid & Medicare). The report appears to overstate Acthar CMS sales as a percent of total product sales, as the methodology utilized by CMS drug spending dashboard for Medicare spend is based on gross sales, not net., although it’s unclear to what extent Acthar CMS sales are overstated.

    The report suggestsMallinckrodt mgmt understated combined Medicaid/Medicare sales on an investor call, saying it was about a little bit higher than a quarter of the business vs. gross sales on CMS dashboard implying sales were 61% of total Acthar net revenue (an apples to oranges comparison). We dont know the exact net sales of Acthar to Medicare/Medicaid, but we believe it is safe to assume Medicaid, after CPI price penalties had high discounts/rebates and assuming an 80% gross-to-net ratio on the Medicare book ($504m gross) suggests Acthar net sales would be closer to 38-45% range vs. the 61% figure cited in the short-report. Why this may matter Acthar Gel is an old product lacking good randomized, controlled data consistent with most products approved in the modern era. The report appears to be an attempt to call into question whether the government should be paying Acthars average $80-100k net price/patient/year by calling to this to the attention of government figures who have been targeting excessive drug pricing issues. This type of issue became a major headache for Mylan (MYL) investors recently with EpiPen.Mallinckrodt is presenting at a compe

stock market trading: NiSource, Inc(NI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    In trading on Thursday, utilities shares fell by 2.01 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Unitil Corporation (NYSE: UTL), down 9 percent, and NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), down 5 percent.

stock market trading: Arista Networks, Inc.(ANET)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Michael A. Robinson]

    Credit Suisse, Instinet, and Stifel glossed over one key fact about Arista Networks Inc. (NYSE: ANET).

    It was founded by one of Silicon Valley’s top technologists of the past 35 years.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Shares of Arista Networks Inc (NYSE: ANET) got a boost, shooting up 17 percent to $117.47 after the company reported better-than-expected results for its fourth quarter and issued a strong outlook for the current quarter.

  • [By WWW.MONEYSHOW.COM]

    My Top Pick for growth investors in 2017 is Arista Networks (ANET), which in many ways looks like the next Cisco (CSCO) — the company was built from the ground up to deal with the realities of the new networking paradigm.

best stock buys

Greetings from Beijing, China…   You probably won't want to hear what I have to say today. You won't want to believe me.   You might even be angry with me… or call me "un-American."   But I'm not being un-American (or pro-Chinese) today. I'm just calling it like I see it…   Beijing – the capital of Communist China – is more advanced than anywhere in the U.S.   Look, I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself…   It's painfully obvious, though – right when you leave the airport.   If you followed in my footsteps after landing in Beijing, here's what you would have experienced in the first hour alone…   After leaving Beijing's beautiful, futuristic, massive airport, you are instantly on high-speed Wi-Fi – in a taxi, on your way into the city.

best stock buys: Raytheon Company(RTN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Five teams are expected to compete for the contract: Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) has joined with Saab to offer a clean-sheet design; Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) has teamed up with BAE Systems and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LLL) on another clean-sheet design; Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) are going with a modified KAI T-50; Raytheon Corp. (NYSE: RTN) has joined with Italy’s Leonardo and Canada’s CAE Inc. (NYSE: CAE) on a version of Leonardo’s M-346 trainer that it calls the T-100; and privately held Sierra Nevada has partnered with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) on another clean-sheet design.

  • [By Michael A. Robinson]

    Key holdings in ITA include…

    Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) makes a full range of unmanned vehicles. That means it can cover air, land, and sea assignments for both military and commercial uses. The company is widely known for military drones like the Desert Hawk III, used by the U.K. military to surveil suspected terrorists. It also makes the Marlin, an oceangoing drone that can conduct underwater surveys and inspections. Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) makes unmanned aircraft for defense applications naturally. It’s also collaborating with Yamaha Corp. (NYSE ADR: YAMCY) to develop an autonomous helicopter with onboard intelligence-gathering equipment for such civilian uses as search and rescue and forest-fire monitoring. Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) is a great backend play because of its drone-support platform. The Common Ground Control System is an open-format control station that can be used to control all manner of UAVs. I expect the system to be adapted for commercial/industrial use as well.

    As exciting as ITA’s drone exposure is, we also get a nice kicker with this ETF – defense spending.

  • [By Stephen Mack]

    Defense contractor Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) beat expectations last week, reporting earnings per share (EPS) of $1.89 compared to an expected $1.76. That’s still a 20% drop from $2.38 in the same quarter last year. But here’s what’s important to understand: It’s not as bad as it looks.

  • [By Money Morning News Team]

    If you’re looking for one of thebest investments today, it’s hard to beat Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN). It doesn’t matter if the market is up or down, defense spending continues to increase. In the past year, global annual defense spending hit $1.6 trillion, and this is considered to be an industry that is likely to continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

best stock buys: magicJack VocalTec Ltd(CALL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Any smidgen of magic left in magicJack VocalTec (CALL) is vanishing quicker than street magician David Blaine can make a new quarter disappear.

    Now the former star of annoying, late-night TV commercials only wishes it could make its melting core business model reappear.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Any smidgen of magic left in magicJack VocalTec (CALL) is vanishing quicker than street magician David Blaine can make a new quarter disappear.

    Now the former star of annoying, late-night TV commercials only wishes it could make its melting core business model reappear.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    magicJack VocalTec Ltd (NASDAQ: CALL) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.30 per share on revenue of $25.00 million.

    Rentech, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTK) is estimated to post a quarterly loss at $0.08 per share on revenue of $81.02 million.

best stock buys: Shake Shack, Inc.(SHAK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Rather than panicking, investors seemed to take the stance as a positive sign that the U.S. economy is ready for at least slightly less accommodative monetary policy going forward. Yet some stocks suffered sharp declines, and Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK), Fred’s (NASDAQ:FRED), and Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL) were among the worst performers on the day. Below, we’ll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so poorly.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows Sonic Corporation outperforming burger stock peers Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc (NASDAQ: RRGB),Habit Restaurants Inc (NASDAQ: HABT) andShake Shack Inc (NYSE: SHAK):

  • [By Chris Lange]

    Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK) reported fourth quarter financial results after markets closed on Wednesday. The burger joint said that it had $0.09 in earnings per share (EPS) and $73.3 million in revenue. The same period from last year had $0.08 in EPS and $51.06 million in revenue. Thomson Reuters forecast $0.09 in EPS and $70.68 million in revenue.

best stock buys: Bavarian Nordic A/S (BVNKF)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By SEEKINGALPHA.COM]

    Leuven, Belgium-based Tigenix (OTC:TGXSF) filed to go public in the U.S. in late 2015, only to become entangled with Bavarian Nordic (OTC:BVNKF) and Basilea Pharmaceutica (OTC:BPMUF) as the European drugmakers pulled back from NASDAQ. Tigenix subsequently increased its bank account following a 23.75 million placement in Belgium, and added an additional 25 million via a relationship with Takeda, before coming back to Wall Street in October 2016 with a revamped slate of underwriters.

best stock buys: Cellcom Israel Ltd.(CEL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    That’s why Cramer said he’ll be listening for news coming from Celgene (CEL) , Amgen (AMGN) , Allergan (AGN) , an Action Alerts PLUS holding, and Regenron (REGN) , all of which are set to present. Of the four, Cramer said he’s sticking with Allergan and Amgen.

best stock buys: Microbot Medical Inc. (MBOT)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Shares of Microbot Medical Inc (NASDAQ: MBOT) got a boost, shooting up 15 percent to $8.77 after the company reported a 700,000 share direct offering for $3.5 million.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Microbot Medical Inc (NASDAQ: MBOT) shares dropped 34 percent to $2.50. Microbot Medical reported a $10 million registered direct offering

    Shares of NewLink Genetics Corp (NASDAQ: NLNK) were down 12 percent to $11.13 after the company reported that indoximod + PROVENGE resulted in statistically significant improvement in rPFS for patients with mCRPC in Phase 2 trial.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Microbot Medical Inc (NASDAQ: MBOT) shares shot up 51 percent to $7.76 after reporting a significant technology patent allowance in the U.S. The patent allowance covers a device for the prevention of shunt stenosis.

market close today

Airport security screeners confiscated a record number of guns in carry-on bags last year, and most of them were loaded.

The Transportation Security Administration said it discovered 3,391 guns in carry-ons at checkpoints in 2016, a 28% increase from the year before. That works out to about nine every day.

The TSA said 83% of the guns were loaded.

The number of guns confiscated at checkpoints has climbed every year since 2007. One obvious reason is that Americans have more guns. The number of background checks conducted by the FBI for gun purchases and permits has climbed almost every year over the same period.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had the most guns discovered last year, 198, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International and George Bush Intercontinental in Houston. Georgia and Texas have relatively lax gun control laws.

market close today: Shake Shack, Inc.(SHAK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Spencer Israel]

    The following are some of the stocks discussed on the show for which co-host Joel Elconin offered technical levels.

    Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) hit a low last week of $22.43, and has a big psychological level of $22.
    Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) has two minor support levels from early December of $221.22 and $220.35. Under $220 it gets dicey, with support at $214.97 and $209.92.
    United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X) has a key low of $31.33 from February 2. That number serves as support.
    Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE: BBY) has a triple top at $45.15. It's currently in a trading range from $43.75-$45.70.
    Shake Shack Inc (NYSE: SHAK) has been range bound over the last four days from $31.68 to $32.62. It has major support at the all-time low from March 15 at $30.36.
    Warren Lorenz, CEO of TechMeetsTrader, joined the show to discuss his "Facebook for stocks" platform, and how he learned how to trade by watching trading communities. Listen to the full interview with Lorenz here.
    Tommy Lackey, managing partner and portfolio manager at Relativity Capital Advisors, told us which stocks are on his nitrous scans and meltdown filters this morning. Those include XOMA Corporation (NASDAQ: XOMA) Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY). Listen to the full interview with Lackey here.
    With the market in a slight selloff following Friday's healthcare fallout, the focus today will be which sectors, if any, rebound throughout the day. With steel stocks looking weak and gold minors and utilities looking strong, co-host Dennis Dick said he'll try to jump into those sectors if they stay weak after the open. Hear what other sectors Dick is watching here.
    With Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP)'s 25-day quiet period for analysts over, the Street was treated to bullish ratings by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and others. It's worth noting, however, most of Monday morning

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows the performance of legacy burger stocks Red Robin Gourmet Burgers andSonic Corporation (NASDAQ: SONC)peaking around the time of the IPOs forsmall caps Habit Restaurants Inc (NASDAQ: HABT) and Shake Shack Inc (NYSE: SHAK) which are now underperforming:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows Sonic Corporation outperforming burger stock peers Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc (NASDAQ: RRGB),Habit Restaurants Inc (NASDAQ: HABT) andShake Shack Inc (NYSE: SHAK):

  • [By Brian Stoffel]

    Does that mean Shack Shake (NYSE:SHAK), Chipotle’s competition in today’s battle, is a better buy right now? While that’s an impossible question to answer with 100% certainty, we’ll investigate three different ways to approach the problem, and see who comes out ahead.

market close today: DepoMed Inc.(DEPO)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Shares of Depomed Inc (NASDAQ: DEPO) got a boost, shooting up 13 percent to $23.90. Depomed is preparing to put itself up for sale, following calls from activist investor Starboard Value LP to explore such a move, just a year after it fought off a hostile acquisition bid, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

market close today: Activision Blizzard, Inc(ATVI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos]

    Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is set to post earnings results for the key holiday sales period on Thursday, Feb. 9. The stock is trouncing the market over the last five years, but investors have pushed it lower since its last quarterly check-in.

  • [By Seth McNew]

    Activision Blizzard(NASDAQ:ATVI) is the maker of some of the world’s best-known games, like Call of Duty, as well as some new hits like Overwatch. Released in May 2016, the latter is the brand’s fastest-growing game ever, with more than 25 million players worldwide.

  • [By Chris Lange]

    Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) will share its most recent quarterly results late Thursday. The consensus estimates are $0.49 in EPS and $1.73 billion in revenue. Shares closed at $64.14 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $35.12 to $66.58. The stock has a consensus price target of $70.04.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Activision Blizzard(ATVI) soared to the top of the S&P 500 today after beating earnings and sales forecasts, and initiating a $1 billion stock buyback plan.

    Getty Images

    Activision Blizzard gained 19% to $47.23 today, while the S&P 500 rose 0.4% to 2,316.10.

    Credit Suisse analyst calls Activision Blizzard’s results “another clean top and bottom-line beat.” They explain:

    Activision delivered another clean top and bottom-line beat with the outperformance relative to our estimates coming primarily from PC – this coupled with the fact that revenue from APAC was up ~83% in FY16 leads us to believe that Overwatch likely was the main driver. This fits in squarely with our core investment thesis for not only Activision but the sector as a whole – for all of the publishers to begin exporting their content beyond Western Markets and expand their addressable markets. Blizzard also saw benefit from ongoing strength in World of Warcraft following the Legion expansion and despite the original game being ~3 years old the Candy Crush franchise grew mobile bookings in 2016. We were not anticipating major changes to the release slate for FY17 as we expect it to be a trough product year – we were again encouraged by the broad based strength in digital revenues as we believe Activision is well positioned to extract more value from its existing user base. We maintain our Outperform rating and our price target increases to $51 vs. prior $48.

    Activision Blizzard’s market capitalization rose to $35.1 billion today from $29.5 billion yesterday.

  • [By John Ballard]

    Activision Blizzard(NASDAQ:ATVI) CEO Bobby Kotick has a special knack for producing games that draw a mass audience. Throughout his tenure, Activision has consistently produced genre leading games.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Note: King Digital Entertainment PLC (NYSE: KING)was acquired by Activision Blizzard, Inc (NASDAQ: ATVI) in February 2016.

    A technical chart for Zynga Inc shows shares recently falling below a key resistance level or floor:

market close today: Western Union Company (The)(WU)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    You don’t need to be an expert technical trader to figure out the price action in shares of $10 billion payment services stock Western Union (WU) . Instead, the price action is more or less as simple as it gets. Since January, Western Union has been a “buy the dips stock”, bouncing its way higher in a well-defined uptrend. And shares are showing traders another buyable dip this week.

  • [By Chris Lange]

    The stock posting the largest daily percentage gain in the S&P 500 ahead of the close Tuesday was The Western Union Co. (NYSE: WU) which jumped 3.6% to $20.28. The stocks 52-week range is $18.07 to $22.70. Volume was 11 million which is well above the daily average of around 5.8 million shares.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Western Union (WU) soared to the top of the S&P 500 today after MoneyGram International (MGI) received a bid from Euronet Worldwide (EEFT).

    Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

    Shares of Western Union gained 3.5% to $20.27 today, while the S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 2,365.45.MoneyGram International surged 25% to $15.77, while Euronet Worldwide advanced 0.3% to $83.22.

    Normally, two competitors linking up to take on the dominant player in the industry might be considered bad news. BTIG’s Mark Palmer and Giuliano Bolognaexplain why the Western Union reaction”makes sense”:

    While the surge in shares of MoneyGram (MGI, Not Rated) in response to the announcement by Euronet Worldwides (EEFT, Not Rated) that it had offered to buy the company for $15.20 per share in cash was easy to understand the bid trumped the bid of $13.25 per share that MoneyGram received from Alibaba (BABA) affiliate Ant Financial in late January what may have been surprising to some was the positive reaction of shares of MGI remittance competitor Western Union (WU, Buy, $23 PT) to the news.

    With that said, we believe the uptick in WU shares makes some sense insofar as the competitive threat posed by EEFT may be perceived as less imposing than that represented by Ant, especially following reports in February that the latter was planning to raise as much as $3bn to fund global investments.

    We also believe the second bid for MGI serves to underline the attractiveness and potential of the global remittance space, an industry in which WU is the clear leader. Moreover, we think the bid may have given rise to the notion that WU could be an acquisition candidate for another deep-pocketed firm that could lever off its global footprint and the strength of its brand.

    Western Union’s market capitalization rose to $9.8 billion today, from $9.4 billion yesterday. It reported net income of $253 million on sales of $5.4 billion in

market close today: RELM Wireless Corporation(RWC)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jim Robertson]

    Today, our Under the Radar Moversnewsletter suggested shorting small cap wireless communications manufacturer RELM Wireless Corporation (NYSEMKT: RWC):

market close today: Clarke(t)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Laurie Kulikowski]

    AT&T shares currently yield a 5.6% dividend, which we believe is sustainable and will look even more solid as the company’s free cash flow grows going forward and payout ratio comes down. We expect that AT&T will report a 7.3% EPS CAGR over the next three years (’15-’18) driven by DTV synergies and organic cost cutting. This compares to Verizon’s 5.0% dividend and expected 2.5% EPS CAGR over the similar time frame, so we believe investors win with AT&T through both faster EPS growth and potential multiple expansion/dividend convergence. 

  • [By Matt Hogan]

    T-Mobile is a significant player in the US mobile telecommunications space. It is the third largest by subscribers, with 72 million customers as of early 2017. When analysts compare T-Mobile, they often compare them to the likes of Sprint, Verizon Communications, Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). This makes sense considering they offer very similar services but what is not similar is their underlying growth profiles as illustrated below.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Very strong results across the board for Dycom, with spending from its top customers only further accelerating. We’re not surprised that FQ3 guidance came in slightly ahead of expectations, as many investors had viewed their initial guidance as conservative. We are encouraged to see organic growth re-accelerating in FQ4 to the mid-teens, with its acquired Goodman asset contributing $15MM of expected revenue (up from $13.4MM in FQ2). Dycom also procured new customer awards in the quarter from AT&T (T), Comcast (CMCSA), CenturyLink (CTL) and Windstream Holdings (WIN) to support further growth. Dycom also repurchased $25MM of shares during FQ2 and authorized an additional $75MM over the next 18 months, giving Dycom $150MM of incremental repurchase authorization through August 2018

  • [By Adam Levy]

    As more consumers cut the cord, competition in the pay-TV industry is growing increasingly fierce. That’s led some companies to seek consolidating acquisitions like AT&T (NYSE:T) did last year by buying DIRECTV. Others, meanwhile, have sought to attract subscribers with low-priced bundles and over-the-top packages like DISH Network’s (NASDAQ:DISH) Sling TV.