Archive for 'Industry'

 

OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX) Readies for Holidays with Amazon Kindle Products

OfficeMaxIncorporated (NYSE: OMX), a leader in office supplies, technology and services, is pleased to offer Amazon’snewest Kindles in its stores nationwide.  New products joining the Kindles already sold at OfficeMax stores include the $79 Kindle, which is now available in stores, and the Kindle Fire for $199, which will be available after November 15.  Arriving to OfficeMax later in November are the Kindle Touch, starting at $99, and the Kindle Touch 3G, starting at $149.  These new Amazon products can be viewed at OfficeMax.com. and sold in OfficeMax retail stores.  OfficeMax also provides a wide variety of Kindle accessories.

“OfficeMax is very pleased to bring Amazon’s exciting new Kindle family to our customers,” said Igor Anshakov, VP of Merchandising for OfficeMax.  “Customers are already very excited about the new Amazon products, and we expect these Kindles to be very popular this holiday season.”

The new generation Kindle is the lightest most compact Kindle ever, featuring the same 6-inch screen and advanced electronic ink display that reads like real paper even in bright sunlight – all for just $79. Kindle Touch is a new addition to the Kindle family with a touch screen that makes it easier to turn pages, search, shop and take notes – all with the same advanced electronic ink display.

Kindle Touch 3G is the top-of-the-line e-reader offering the same new design and features of Kindle Touch, with the added convenience of free 3G. Kindle Fire is the Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games and web browsing with content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, Whispersync, Amazon Silk (Amazon’s new revolutionary cloud-accelerated web browser), vibrant color touch screen and powerful dual-core processor.

Amazon’s latest Kindles are among the many new technology products available at OfficeMax. Customers can now enjoy a broader range of technology products and supplies at OfficeMax including laptop, desktop, netbook, and all-in-one computers from trusted brands including HP®, Sony®, Acer®, Toshiba® and more.

About OfficeMax
OfficeMax Incorporated (NYSE: OMX) is a leader in both business-to-business office products solutions and retail office products.  The OfficeMax mission is simple.  We help our customers do their best work.  The company provides office supplies and paper, in-store print and document services through OfficeMax ImPress®, technology products and solutions, and furniture to businesses and individual consumers.  OfficeMax customers are served by approximately 30,000 associates through direct sales, catalogs, e-commerce and nearly 1,000 stores.  Since 2007, OfficeMax Goodworks programs have served communities and schools, contributing more than $14 million in grants and supplies to support teachers and classrooms. To find the nearest OfficeMax, call 1-877-OFFICEMAX.  For more information, visit www.officemax.com.

All trademarks, service marks and trade names of OfficeMax Incorporated used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of OfficeMax Incorporated. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

OfficeMax Media Contact
Nicole Miller
630.864.6069

Web Site: http://www.officemax.com

Deals involving smart mobility and business analytics came on strong in 3Q11, driving two deals each with values above US$10b — the first time two deals of that size occurred in the same quarter since 1Q 2000. Hundreds more transactions were driven by cloud computing, information security, social networking, online and mobile games, health care IT and internet and mobile video. Many deals combined two or more of these trends.

Growth in the aggregate value of private equity (PE) transactions drove the overall sequential increase in value. PE aggregate value increased 82% sequentially to US$14.6b in 3Q11 and increased 86% YOY. PE firms contributed 6 of the 11 3Q11 deals valued above US$1b. Of note, the big-ticket PE deals in the third quarter occurred across a broad spectrum of technologies targeting different industries, including health care, financial services and education.

As they did in 2Q11, big-ticket deals dominated in 3Q11, with the top 11 deals totaling US$40.1b in value, or 71% of all disclosed in the quarter. Average values per deal also climbed – 14% over the previous quarter and 26% YOY – to US$221m, the highest level in 11 years.

Joe Steger, Global Technology Transaction Advisory Services Leader at Ernst & Young, says:

“In the face of market volatility and macroeconomic uncertainties that are dampening other industries, the megatrends driving global technology M&A so far have continued to push deal values higher. The increase in values is due primarily to the period of hyper-innovation that technology companies are experiencing. Technology companies have been delivering rapid waves of innovation around smart mobility, cloud computing, business intelligence/analytics, social networking, information security and other new technologies. Remaining competitive and transforming that innovation into economically actionable products and services often requires significant M&A activity.”

“Big data” looms large

One focus of technology M&A in 3Q11 was “big data.” As Steger explains, “Business systems, mobile applications, social networking platforms and smart metering systems are generating an ever-increasing mass of data that is getting harder to analyze as it grows exponentially in size. Companies are struggling with what has come to be known as the ‘big data’ problem. Technologies that help companies make sense of it all can provide important customer information and insights.”

There were roughly two dozen deals in this business intelligence/analytics category in the third quarter, including one of the deals above US$10b. The growth in business intelligence/analytics deals appears to be extending into the fourth quarter as well.

Top trends include integration

Cloud computing, smart mobility, information security and social networking continue to dominate deal-driving trends. There were multiple 3Q deals involving security technologies together with cloud, mobile or both. “As time passes, we’re also seeing technologies related to these technology trends integrate with each other – and with just about everything else,” Steger says.

Deal volume ticks down – again

Deal volume dipped 2% for the second consecutive quarter, to 759 deals in 3Q11. “This year’s deal volume plateau comes after a string of eight consecutive quarters without a volume decline from 1Q09 to 1Q11,” Steger says. To put it in context, published reports indicate that 3Q11 deal volume for all industries declined far more – by about 9%, compared with the 2% technology decline. Deal volume level has remained in a range between 700 and 800 deals in each of the last five quarters (beginning with 3Q10). This may be the technology industry’s near-term naturally sustainable level, according to the report.

Cross-border slowdown

Cross-border deals declined 11% each in volume and value in 3Q11, compared with 2Q11. This quarter represented one of the occasional pauses in a generally upward trend that has seen cross-border deals increasing as a percentage of the volume and value of all deals since 2009.

Outlook clouded by global trends

While global technology M&A provided a counterpoint to the global macroeconomic malaise prevalent in the third quarter, the question remains whether such robust values can be maintained in the face of uncertainty and extreme equity market volatility. “Although macroeconomic volatility makes it hard to predict whether M&A transactions will continue to grow or take a pause in the short term, the multiple disruptive technology megatrends occurring now and driven by smart mobility, cloud computing and social networking, make long-term M&A growth a relatively safe bet,” says Steger.

About the report

Global Technology M&A Update, July-September 2011 is based on Ernst & Young’s analysis of FactSet Mergerstat data for July through September 2011. FactSet Mergerstat data was last accessed for this second quarter report on 6 October 2011. Deal activity and valuations may fluctuate slightly based on the date that the FactSet Mergerstat database is accessed. Only disclosed value deals are used in all value analysis.  Full report is available at www.ey.com.

Ernst & Young’s Global Technology Center

The technology industry is in a constant state of change — driven by continuous innovation, shifting markets, converging industries, consumer demand and the need for first-mover advantage. Ernst & Young’s Global Technology Center connects a worldwide team of more than 14,000 technology professionals to help you navigate the challenges of this continuous change. We provide assurance and tax guidance through a network of experienced advisors to help you manage risk, transform business performance and sustain improvement. We can help you deliver cost-effective innovation, balance product portfolios, maintain effective supply chains, and identify, execute and integrate strategic growth transactions. Our global technology network leverages our leading market share position in serving technology companies to provide you with timely, reliable information. Our teams use a cross-discipline, collaborative approach to help you achieve your business objectives. We encourage our people to use their ingenuity and initiative to help you develop approaches, create options and seize opportunities. It’s how Ernst & Young makes a difference.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 152,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit www.ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global Ernst & Young organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

CONTACT: Tehira Taylor, Ernst & Young Global Media Relations, +44 (0)20 7980 0703, tehira.taylor@uk.ey.com; or Hannah James, Fleishman-Hillard, +1-212-453-2104, Hannah.james@fleishman.com

Web Site: http://www.ey.com

Allstate (NYSE: ALL) Board OK’s Stock Repurchase

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) today announced that its board of directors has approved plans to issue preferred stock and senior unsecured debt to fund a new $1.0 billion share repurchase program and repay maturing debt. The board also approved a quarterly dividend of 21 cents per share.

“We believe this is an opportune time to repurchase common stock given Allstate’s current valuation,” said Thomas J. Wilson, Allstate’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “As a result, we plan to adjust our capital structure to capture this opportunity while maintaining our strong capital position. Our $1.0 billion share repurchase program and upcoming 2012 debt maturity will be funded by issuing a combination of preferred stock and senior unsecured notes totaling $1.25 billion, market conditions permitting.” The share repurchase program will be made through open market purchases and may include an accelerated repurchase program. The program is expected to be completed by March 31, 2013.

The board also approved a quarterly dividend of 21 cents on each outstanding share of the corporation’s common stock, payable in cash on January 3, 2012 to stockholders of record at the close of business on November 30, 2011.

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” that anticipate results based on our estimates, assumptions and plans that are subject to uncertainty. We believe that these statements are based on reasonable estimates, assumptions and plans. However, if the estimates, assumptions or plans underlying the forward-looking statements prove inaccurate or if other risks or uncertainties arise, actual results could differ materially from those communicated in these forward-looking statements. These statements are made subject to the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events or developments.

Allstate has filed a registration statement (including a prospectus) with the SEC for the offering to which this communication relates. Before you invest, you should read the prospectus in that registration statement and other documents Allstate has filed with the SEC for more complete information about Allstate and this offering. You may get these documents for free by visiting EDGAR on the SEC website at www.sec.gov. Alternatively, Allstate will arrange to send you the prospectus if you request it by calling tollfree 1-800-416-8803.

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer known for its “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®” slogan. Now celebrating its 80th anniversary as an insurer, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help nearly 16 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®.

CONTACT: Maryellen Thielen, Media Relations, +1-847-402-5600, or Robert Block or Christine Ieuter, Investor Relations, +1-847-402-2800

Web Site: http://www.allstate.com

Business Shifting Strategy to Cash Management

Business Shifting Strategy to Cash Management

Business Shifting Strategy to Cash Management-Image by BlatantWorld.com via Flickr

Companies today are placing a greater value on the historic role of their treasury department in managing cash and liquidity as a direct consequence of  the current economic and credit environment, according a survey by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) released today at the AFP Annual Conference.  At the same time, treasury responsibilities continue to expand to include critical finance activities ranging from accounting and SEC compliance to financial planning and analysis to serving as a valued internal financial consultant to the company.

The AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Survey , underwritten by SunTrust, found that the role of corporate treasury, the subset of finance that assures that a company has enough cash on hand to meet its needs, in the last five years has become more strategic than operational. Not surprisingly, companies are also keeping a close eye on how they measure financial performance.

“At many companies, treasurers and their staff are interacting directly with senior management, including the board. Their expertise in forecasting and budgeting is even required at the business unit level as companies seek to calculate ROI on a project basis,” said Jim Kaitz, AFP’s president and CEO.  “Time is also critical.  Companies need to know how they are performing according to plan, so we are seeing an increased focus on financial metrics.”

“SunTrust is pleased to sponsor the 2011 Strategic Role of Treasury Survey,” said Eric Brewer, Executive Vice President of Treasury & Payment Solutions at SunTrust Banks, Inc. “This timely report captures the perspectives of senior-level financial professionals and offers analysis which highlight emerging trends and subtle shifts in the treasury function.”

Key survey findings:

Eighty-one percent of senior-level financial professionals report that treasury is playing a greater strategic role in their organizations than it did five years earlier.

Treasury’s greater strategic role is the result of:

  • Increased importance of cash management and liquidity given economic and credit market volatility (78 percent)
  • Senior management and boards seeking increased visibility into liquidity and risk exposures (70 percent)
  • Closer monitoring of financial metrics on projects and other activities (44 percent)

Treasury takes a leadership role in key finance functions, including bank relationship management, global treasury management, borrowing, investing and cash flow forecasting.

Treasury also plays critical roles in financial risk management, working capital management, financial planning & analysis, risk management, mergers & acquisitions, counterparty risk analysis, business continuity planning, enterprise risk management and capital structure.

  • In 87 percent of organizations, the treasury group acts as an internal financial consultant to other departments.
  • This expanded strategic scope has occurred even while many treasury departments committed a greater percentage of resources to traditional cash management responsibilities.  The dual expansion was able to occur due to automation, professional development leading to expanded employee skill sets, and by recruiting employees with broadened skill sets.

View the full report on www.afponline.org/research

About AFP®

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), headquartered outside Washington, D.C., serves a network of more than 16,000, members with news, economic research and data, treasury certification programs, networking events, financial analytical tools, training, and public policy representation to legislators and regulators. AFP is the daily resource for the finance profession.

AFP’s global reach extends to over 150,000 treasury and financial professionals worldwide, including AFP of Canada; London-based gtnews, an on-line resource for the treasury and finance community; and bobsguide, a financial IT solutions network.

CONTACT: CONTACT: David Johnson, Association for Financial Professionals, Media Specialist, +1-301-907-2962, pr@afponline.org

Web Site: http://www.AFPonline.org

Report on Employment Statistics Released by Feds

Modest Job Growth in a Sluggish Economy is all We can Muster
There is not enough demand to support more than the modest job growth seen in September and October. And therefore, look for more of the same late this year and into the winter. While it may be enough to barely escape recession, the gain in jobs and incomes is not enough to offset consumer pessimism. The economy is simply not strong enough to deliver more than 125,000 jobs a month and continues to struggle to deliver even that much. There is no help on the way from monetary or fiscal policy, at the federal, state, or local level. It all adds up to a labor market struggle, continuing right through the upcoming holiday season and into winter.

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

Follow The Conference Board
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CONTACT: Carol Courter, The Conference Board, +1-212-339-0232, courter@conference-board.org

Web Site: http://www.conference-board.org

Fast Growing Index Business Creates Opportunities

Fast Growing Index Business Creates Opportunities-Image by milletre via Flickr

McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP), one of the world’s foremost financial information companies and owner of S&P Indices, and CME Group (NASDAQ: CME), the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace and 90-percent owner of the CME Group/Dow Jones joint venture, announced today an agreement to establish a new joint venture in the rapidly growing index business.  Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by the Boards of both companies, McGraw-Hill will contribute its S&P Indices business and the CME Group/Dow Jones joint venture will contribute the Dow Jones Indexes business to create S&P/Dow Jones Indices, a global leader in index services with annual revenue of more than $400 million.  Approximately $6 trillion in assets are benchmarked against these leading indices.

McGraw-Hill will own 73 percent of S&P/Dow Jones Indices, CME Group will own 24.4 percent through its affiliates, and Dow Jones will own 2.6 percent.  S&P/Dow Jones Indices is expected to be operational in the first half of 2012, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.  The new company will become part of the new McGraw-Hill Markets company following the separation of McGraw-Hill into two public companies, as announced on September 12, 2011.

As part of the new joint venture, S&P/Dow Jones Indices will enter into a new license agreement whereby CME Group will pay S&P Indices a share of the profits of CME Group’s equity product complex, which is their trading and clearing business for futures, swaps and options on futures.  In addition, the new license agreement expands the products covered under the license to include swaps and extends CME Group’s existing exclusive rights (currently in place through December 31, 2017) to the E-mini and other S&P indexed futures.

Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of McGraw-Hill, said, “This joint venture expands our dynamic index business and accelerates the growth of the new McGraw-Hill Markets company.  By combining our unique and complementary strengths, we are creating a leading global index provider with the breadth and depth to provide both retail and institutional investors with the cutting-edge products and services they need to make sound investment decisions in today’s complex markets.  In addition, McGraw-Hill Markets will benefit from the new license agreement that changes S&P’s Indices’ relationship with CME Group from a transactional fee-per-trade model to a partnership in which S&P Indices participates in the profits of CME Group’s overall equity product complex.”

Terry Duffy, CME Group executive chairman, said, “This new joint venture reflects CME Group’s continued commitment to creating trading opportunities for our global customer base.  Through the new JV company, we look forward to developing leading risk-management solutions in equity indexes and across other asset classes, as well as diversifying our revenue streams, thereby creating value for our shareholders and customers in both institutional and retail client segments.”

Craig Donohue, CME Group chief executive officer, said, “As part of our global growth strategy, CME Group has continued to expand our index services business, both through our own index futures and options products as well as through new product development at our Dow Jones Indexes subsidiary.  The expanded partnership announced today not only creates a leading index services provider that will benefit our customers and shareholders, but also will deliver new opportunities for innovation, including a long-term, ownership-based exclusive global license for CME Group to use the S&P 500® for futures and options on futures products going forward.”

The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to McGraw-Hill’s earnings and S&P/Dow Jones Indices is expected to drive profit growth by:

  • Increasing revenue through international and asset-class expansion, new product development, enhanced market data offerings and increased cross-selling opportunities
  • Achieving cost savings and accelerating time to market by leveraging technology, data procurement, other back office functions and McGraw-Hill Markets’ infrastructure
  • Reducing capital requirements and generating free cash flow for parent companies.

 

Alexander Matturri, executive managing director of S&P Indices, will be chief executive officer of S&P/Dow Jones Indices and Lou Eccleston, president of McGraw-Hill Financial, will chair the company’s seven-member Board that will include five directors designated by McGraw-Hill and two by CME Group.

Matturri said, “Those who rely on indices worldwide – from product issuers to exchanges to investors – will benefit from a deeper lineup of indices as well as a business model focused on innovation, performance and impact.  Combining S&P Indices’ institutional strength with CME Group’s global exchange partnerships and Dow Jones Indexes’ retail focus will optimize our ability to respond to the changing global environment with increased speed and efficiency.  Just as important, the structure of the joint venture is flexible enough to allow us to maintain our existing exchange relationships and work with other potential partners that could bring additional capabilities to the new company.”

All current indices will retain their brand names (S&P or Dow Jones).  The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average® will continue to be separately maintained and licensed as the basis for a wide variety of funds and financial instruments.  This transaction does not affect existing licensing agreements with other exchanges, nor does it preclude entering into future agreements with additional providers.

Other provisions of the agreement include:

  • McGraw-Hill will acquire London-based Credit Market Analysis Ltd. (CMA), a leading source of independent data in the over-the-counter markets, from CME Group.  This acquisition significantly expands McGraw-Hill’s asset-class coverage for data and pricing and adds the technology to move into intraday quotes on derivative and other OTC securities.
  • A separate license agreement between Platts, a unit of McGraw-Hill, and CME Group/NYMEX will be extended.

 

McGraw-Hill was advised by BofA Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.  Barclays Capital acted as exclusive financial advisor to CME Group.

Conference Call/Webcast Scheduled for 8:00 am Eastern Time on November 4, 2011:  Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies, and Craig Donohue, CEO of the CME Group will host a joint conference call this morning, November 4, at 8:00 AM Eastern Time.  This call is open to all interested parties.  Discussions may include forward-looking information.  Additional information presented on the conference call may be made available on the corporations’ respective Investor Relations Web sites at www.mcgraw-hill.com/investor_relations and www.cmegroup.com.

Webcast Instructions:  Live and Replay

The webcast will be available live and in replay through the corporations’ respective Investor Relations Web sites via the following link: http://investor.mcgraw-hill.com/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=96562&eventID=4225043. (Please copy and paste URL into Web browser.)  The archived replay will be available beginning two hours after the conclusion of the live call and will remain available for one year.

Telephone Access:  Live and Replay

Telephone participants are requested to dial in by 7:50 AM.  The passcode is “McGraw-Hill” and the conference leader is Harold McGraw III.

  • For callers in the U.S.: (888) 391-6568
  • For callers outside the U.S.: +1 (415) 228-4733 (long distance charges will apply)

The recorded telephone replay will be available beginning two hours after the conclusion of the call and will remain available until December 5, 2011.

  • For callers in the U.S.: (800) 348-3514
  • For callers outside the U.S.: +1 (402) 220-9676 (long distance charges will apply)

Presenters’ Slides & Remarks

The presenters’ slides will be made available for downloading at the conclusion of the conference call/webcast on the corporations’ respective Investor Relations Web sites at www.mcgraw-hill.com/investor_relations and www.cmegroup.com.  The final prepared remarks will be available for downloading by the end of the business day.

Forward-looking Statements

The forward-looking statements in this news release involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various important factors, including worldwide economic, financial, liquidity, political and regulatory conditions; the health of debt and equity markets, including possible future interest rate changes; the successful marketing of competitive products; the effect of competitive products and pricing; the risk that the transactions described herein are not consummated on their terms; and other matters described in McGraw-Hill’s filings with the SEC.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies:  McGraw-Hill, which announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies – McGraw-Hill Markets (working name), primarily focused on global capital and commodities markets and McGraw-Hill Education focused on digital learning and education services worldwide – is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy.  Leading brands include Standard & Poor’s, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services, J.D. Power and Associates and McGraw-Hill Education.  With sales of $6.2 billion in 2010, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries.  Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

About S&P Indices:  S&P Indices, a leading brand of The McGraw-Hill Companies, maintains a wide variety of investable and benchmark indices to meet an array of investor needs. Over $1.25 trillion is directly indexed to Standard & Poor’s family of indices, which includes the S&P 500, the world’s most followed stock market index, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, the S&P Global BMI, an index with approximately 11,000 constituents, the S&P GSCI, the industry’s most closely watched commodities index, and the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index, the premier investable index for U.S. municipal bonds. For more information, please visit: www.standardandpoors.com/indices.

About CME Group:  As the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, CME Group (www.cmegroup.com) is where the world comes to manage risk.  CME Group exchanges offer the widest range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes, including futures and options based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural commodities, metals, weather and real estate.  CME Group brings buyers and sellers together through its CME Globex® electronic trading platform and its trading facilities in New York and Chicago.  CME Group also operates CME Clearing, one of the world’s leading central counterparty clearing providers, which offers clearing and settlement services for exchange-traded contracts, as well as for over-the-counter derivatives transactions through CME ClearPort®.  These products and services ensure that businesses everywhere can substantially mitigate counterparty credit risk in both listed and over-the-counter derivatives markets.

About Dow Jones Indexes:   Dow Jones Indexes is a leading full-service index provider that develops, maintains and licenses indexes for use as benchmarks and as the basis of investment products. Best-known for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Dow Jones Indexes offers more than 130,000 equity indexes as well as fixed-income and alternative indexes, including measures of hedge funds, commodities and real estate. Dow Jones Indexes employs clear, unbiased and systematic methodologies that are fully integrated within index families. Dow Jones Indexes is part of a joint venture company owned 90 percent by CME Group and 10 percent by Dow Jones & Company, Inc., a News Corporation company (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV).

Investors Relations Contacts:

McGraw-Hill
Donald S. Rubin
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations
(212) 512-4321 (office)
donald_rubin@mcgraw-hill.com

CME Group
John Peschier
Managing Director, Investor Relations
(312) 930-8491
john.peschier@cmegroup.com

News Media Contacts:

McGraw-Hill
Patti Rockenwagner
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
(212) 512-3533
patti_rockenwagner@mcgraw-hill.com

S&P Indices
David Guarino
Director, Communications
(212) 438-1471
dave_guarino@standardandpoors.com

CME Group
Laurie Bischel
Director, Corporate Marketing & Communications
(312) 907-0003
laurie.bischel@cmegroup.com

Web Site: http://www.mcgraw-hill.com

Zacks Latest List of Top Stocks to Buy

Zacks Latest List of Top Stocks to Buy

Zacks Latest List of Top Stocks to Buy-Image via Wikipedia

Four free stock picks are being made available today on Zacks.com. The industry’s leading independent research firm highlights one Zacks #1 Rank Strong Buy or a Zacks #2 Rank Buy stock for each of the four main styles of investing: Aggressive Growth, Growth & Income, Momentum, and Value.

The four highlighted picks are: Greatbatch, Inc. (NYSE: GB), B&G Foods, Inc. (NYSE: BGS), Healthstream, Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTM) and Corn Products International (NYSE: CPO).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ”Buy” stock recommendations. Four daily picks are offered free. http://at.zacks.com/?id=88

From 1988 through the present – a period that included serious corrections and recessions – the Zacks #1 Rank Stocks have nearly tripled the market with a fully documented average gain of +28% per year.

Here is a summary of today’s selected stocks that are now highly rated by Zacks:          

Aggressive Growth – Greatbatch, Inc. (NYSE: GB)

Earnings season is in full swing so let’s take a look at one of the recent surprises. Greatbatch, Inc. came in ahead of expectations, but how are analysts reacting to this Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy).

Zacks Guide to Aggressive Growth Investing (free!) – http://at.zacks.com/?id=4309

Growth & Income – B&G Foods, Inc. (NYSE: BGS)

Estimates have been rising for B&G Foods, Inc. after the company delivered solid third quarter results. It is a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stock.

Zacks Guide to Growth & Income Investing (free!) – http://at.zacks.com/?id=4310

Momentum – Healthstream, Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTM)

Healthstream, Inc. is trading in a class of its own, recently hitting a new 52-week high on another great quarter. With an average earnings surprise of 42% over the last four quarters and a bullish growth projection, this Zacks #1 Rank stock offers a healthy stream of momentum.

Zacks Guide to Momentum Investing (free!):  http://at.zacks.com/?id=4311

Value – Corn Products International (NYSE: CPO)

Looking for a food play? Corn Products International is expected to grow earnings by the double digits for the second year in a row in 2011 despite challenging macroeconomic conditions. Sales rose 60% in the third quarter. This Zacks #1 Rank (strong buy) is also a value, with a forward P/E of just 10.3.

Zacks Guide to Value Investing (free!) –  http://at.zacks.com/?id=4312

How to Regularly Access Top Zacks Rank Picks for Free – http://at.zacks.com/?id=7154

Underlying the four free stock picks is a simple truth that first appeared in a Financial Analysts Journal article published in 1979. Leonard Zacks, a Ph.D. from M.I.T. found that “earnings estimate revisions are the most powerful force impacting stock prices.”  Zacks #1 Rank is awarded to a stock when analysts sharply upgrade their estimates of what the company will earn.

Today, Zacks is promoting its stock recommendations by offering four daily picks free to those who register here: http://at.zacks.com/?id=7155

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Len Zacks. The company continually processes stock reports issued by 3,000 analysts from 150 brokerage firms.  It monitors more than 200,000 earnings estimates, looking for changes.

Then, when changes are discovered, they’re applied to help assign more than 4,400 stocks into five Zacks Rank categories: #1 Strong Buy, #2 Buy, #3 Hold, #4 Sell, and #5 Strong Sell. This proprietary stock-picking system continues to outperform the market by a nearly 3-to-1 margin.

More Free Stock Picks

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Job Bonuses Looking Brighter

Bonus checks may be a little bigger this year, a Robert Half survey suggests. Thirty percent of executives whose companies awarded bonuses last year said they plan to give higher bonuses this time around. Human resources (HR) managers were most optimistic about increasing bonus levels in 2011 (42 percent), followed by technology executives, at 25 percent. Only 14 percent of those interviewed expected smaller bonuses than last year.

The survey was developed by Robert Half International and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,250 senior executives throughout the United States who indicated their firms offered employee bonuses last year. The respondents included chief financial officers, chief information officers, senior HR managers, lawyers, and advertising and marketing executives.

Executives whose companies gave bonuses last year were asked, “Do you anticipate that year-end employee bonuses this year will be higher, lower or unchanged from those awarded last year?” Their responses:

Higher Lower No Change Don’t Know/

No Answer

Total 30% 14% 53% 3%
Human Resources 42% 10% 43% 5%
Technology 25% 18% 53% 4%
Accounting & Finance 21% 17% 60% 2%
Advertising & Marketing 19% 13% 53% 15%
Legal 12% 4% 73% 11%

“For many companies, higher bonuses are in recognition of work by employees who put in extra effort this year, often with fewer resources,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Motivating Employees for Dummies® (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “Bonuses also are tied to staff retention — professionals with high-demand skill sets may have other employment opportunities in the current job market.”

Note:  For additional information on employee compensation, including starting salary projections for the coming year, visit www.rhi.com/SalaryGuides.

About Robert Half International

Founded in 1948, Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm, is a recognized leader in professional staffing services. The company’s specialized staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively, in the fields of accounting and finance; OfficeTeam, for highly skilled temporary administrative support personnel; Robert Half Technology, for information technology professionals; Robert Half Legal, for legal personnel; and The Creative Group, for interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals. Robert Half International has staffing operations in more than 350 locations worldwide. Find more information at www.roberthalf.com, and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/RobertHalf.

CONTACT: Michael Weiss, +1-650-234-6383, michael.weiss@rhi.com

Web Site: http://www.roberthalf.com

Medical Group Institutes $10 Million Buy-Back

The Ensign Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENSG), the parent company of the Ensign™ group of skilled nursing, rehabilitative care services, assisted living, home health and hospice care companies, announced today that its board of directors has authorized the company to repurchase up to $10 million of its common stock over the next 12 months.

“This program reaffirms our continued confidence in the Company’s near and long-term financial and operating performance, and our commitment to enhancing shareholder value,” said Christopher Christensen, Ensign’s President and CEO.

Mr. Christensen confirmed that the company intends to continue paying quarterly dividends, and growing and diversifying its business. Pointing to the company’s strong cash flow and existing credit facilities, He noted that Ensign is well-positioned to continue acquiring not only well-performing and struggling long-term care skilled nursing and assisted living operations, but also existing and start-up or early-stage hospice and home health agencies. “While we will continue to invest in our current operations and the acquisition of additional operational assets, we are pleased that our strong balance sheet, significant credit relationships and the untapped equity in our real estate portfolio provide us with the flexibility to opportunistically repurchase Ensign shares,” he added.

Under the stock repurchase program, the Company is authorized to repurchase its issued and outstanding common shares from time to time in open-market and privately negotiated transactions and block trades in accordance with federal securities laws, including Rule 10b-18 promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as amended.

The number of shares repurchased by the company will depend entirely upon the levels of cash available, the attractiveness of alternate investment and business opportunities either at hand or on the horizon, and Management’s perception of value relative to market price, as well as other legal, regulatory and contractual requirements. The repurchase program does not obligate Ensign to repurchase any dollar amount or number of shares of common stock.

About Ensign™

The Ensign Group, Inc.’s independent operating subsidiaries provide a broad spectrum of skilled nursing and assisted living services, physical, occupational and speech therapies, home health and hospice services, and other rehabilitative and healthcare services for both long-term residents and short-stay rehabilitation patients at 100 facilities, three hospice companies and three home health businesses in California, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa and Nebraska. More information about Ensign is available at http://www.ensigngroup.net.

Safe Harbor Statement

This release may include forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, statements as to the Company’s plans, objectives, expectations and business strategy. Forward-looking statements can often be identified by words such as “anticipates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “predicts,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “would,” “could,” “potential,” “continue,” “ongoing,” similar expressions, and variations or negatives of these words. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding growth prospects and future operating and financial performance. They are not guarantees of future results and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to materially and adversely differ from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Important factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are detailed in filings made by Ensign with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ensign undertakes no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

CONTACT: Robert East of Westwicke Partners LLC, +1-443-213-0500, bob.east@westwickepartners.com, or Suzanne Snapper of The Ensign Group, Inc., +1-949-487-9500, ir@ensigngroup.net

Web Site: http://www.ensigngroup.net

Premiere Estates will auction the largest ICF green build estate in Monterey County on November 19, 12 PM on site at 7820 Monterra Oaks Road via phone and online. The green technology Carmel Mission-style villa, known as Casa de Robles, sits atop over 2 acres and spans 13,000 square feet with full ocean views.  The auction includes a membership to Clint Eastwood’s exclusive golf club, Tehama, located next to the property.

Monterey Ocean Front Luxury Home Starts at 45% Off at Auction

Monterey Ocean Front Luxury Home Starts at 45% Off at Auction-Image via Wikipedia

Originally listed at $7.1 million, opening bids start at $3.9 million, 45% of list price.  Todd Wohl, managing partner at Premiere Estates Auction said “This is truly a rare opportunity to buy a property like this at auction in one of the most exclusive areas in all of Carmel, Pebble Beach and Monterey County.”

Casa Robles is located a few miles from the galleries, boutiques and restaurants of Carmel-By-the-Sea, adjacent to Monterey Jetport and less than an hour’s drive from the Silicon Valley.  Listing agent Danielle Tomassini said the property “has the most advanced technology, is completely energy efficient and built with the finest attention to detail.”  She adds that the property’s rebuild value alone is over $7 million and is very unique in the way it is built.

About Premiere Estates Auctions: Premiere Estates is a leading luxury estate auction company in the US and is generating tremendous interest after the recent auction of a “Billionaire Beach” estate in Malibu doors down from Oracle’s Larry Ellison and the newest upcoming auction of Britney Spear’s former home. These, and other sales, mark a rising trend in the wealthy seeking auction facilitators when it comes time to sell their estates.

For complete auction information, please visit http://bitly.com/uqJtdy, contact Premiere Estates at (800) 290-3290 x777, or contact Danielle Tomassini at (650) 543-7757 or dtomassini@interorealestate.com.

For media enquiries, please contact Carissa Ashman at Carissa@C-StarPR.com.

CONTACT: Carissa Ashman, +1-650-387-7387, Carissa@C-StarPR.com

Web Site: http://premiereestates.com/hgtv.php

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