Archive for 'Zacks'

Zacks Bulls and Bears Picks

Zacks Equity Research highlights: Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) as the Bull of the Day and Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis Hologic (Nasdaq: HOLX), McDonalds (NYSE: MCD) and Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF).

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2678.

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

Caterpillar Inc.‘s (NYSE: CAT) strong brand name, pricing power and global dealer network enable it to take advantage of the growing need for infrastructure development worldwide. Caterpillar’s plans of opening new facilities and expanding existing operations, particularly in the emerging markets, will boost its long-term potential.

The Bucyrus acquisition will position Caterpillar as the #1 mining equipment manufacturer in the U.S. The company s fiscal 2010 adjusted EPS almost doubled to $4.15 and revenues jumped 31% to $42.6 billion, driven by an ever-increasing demand for mining and construction equipment. The sales momentum was also maintained in its January results, giving 2011 a good start.

We have thus upgraded our rating from Neutral to Outperform as Caterpillar’s estimates are undergoing positive revisions following the earnings release with a target price of $122.

Bear of the Day:

Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) a global manufacturer as well as marketer of high-quality brand products and possesses a formidable portfolio of well-established brands. However, as the company uses different commodities and raw materials, cost-push inflation remains a key risk factor.

Further, with the intense competition prevailing in the branded food market, Sara Lee is constantly under pressure to maintain its position. In addition, after the resignation of Sara Lee’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brenda Barnes and the divestiture of its North American bakery business, there are big questions going forward.

Sara Lee is considering a sell-off itself to JBS, a Brazilian company. We currently downgrade the shares of Sara Lee from Neutral to Underperform.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Hologic In for Some Major Publicity

Hologic (Nasdaq: HOLX), a leading player in meeting the healthcare needs of women, has taken a step forward for promoting several new and innovative breast health and medical imaging products. It is participating in the 21st Annual National Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference (NCBC), Las Vegas, during 12th to 16th March 2011 with its Selenia Dimension’s next-generation 3D digital mammography system which has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2011.

Also the company will exhibit some new and improved technologies in imaging like Affirm upright breast biopsy guidance system, ImageChecker 3D Calc computer-aided detection and MultiCare Platinum breast biopsy table. Moreover, with Hologic’s acquisition of Canada-based Sentinelle Medical in August 2010, a leading provider of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) breast coils, tables and visualization software, the company will be able to demonstrate a range of MRI tools in NCBC.

Hologic operates through four segments – Breast Health, Diagnostics, GYN (Gynecology) Surgical and Skeletal Health. The breast health being the largest segment (contributing 45% of Hologic’s total revenue with a growth of 9% year over year during the last reported quarter) provides a complete Mammography suite.

Jobs Report in Depth, pt. 2

In the overall big picture, men have fared far worse than women in this downturn. There are two possible reasons for that. The first is that the industries that have been particularly hard hit in this downturn tend to be far more male dominated than the industries that have skated though this recession more or less unscathed. The most glaring example of this would be the construction industry versus the health care industry (more on the industry breakdowns below).

The second explanation is that on average, women tend to still be paid far less than men, and employers might be more prone to let their relatively high priced male employees go first before their cheaper female employees. The industry effect is probably the bigger one, but the two are not mutually exclusive and both might be playing a role. The more recent weaker performance for women might also have to do with the industry mix. Women dominate teaching, particularly at the elementary school level. As we have seen in Wisconsin, teachers are on the firing line right now.

Teens, regardless of gender, have had a very hard time of it in this recession. Just go to a McDonalds (NYSE: MCD) and you will see this for yourself. Normally the blemishes you see on the cashier’s face is acne, not wrinkles as is the case now. We saw a bit of improvement in February as the teen unemployment rate fell to 23.9% from 25.7% in January, and is down from 25.0% a year ago. The improvement, both from last month and from a year ago, is mostly an illusion.

The improvement is due to a falling participation rate, which dropped to 33.5% from 34.6% in January, and 35.1% a year ago. The percentage of teens that actually have a job was just 25.5%, down from 25.7% in January and 26.3% a year ago. While, for the most part, the earnings from teen jobs tend to go towards clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: AFN) and other teen clothing stores, for many it is a significant part of paying for college. Also, when teens work they learn important job skills, such as the importance of actually showing up and doing so on time. The extremely low levels of teens working is not a good sign for the future.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649.

About the Bull and Bear of the Day

Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

About the Analyst Blog

Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous analyst coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks “Profit from the Pros” e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today by visiting http://at.zacks.com/?id=7158.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PhD in mathematics Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it’s your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=4582.

Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Follow us on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ZacksResearch

Join us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ZacksInvestmentResearch

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

Contacts:
Mark Vickery
312-265-9380
Visit: www.zacks.com

CONTACT: Mark Vickery of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., +1-312-265-9380

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

Zacks Bulls and Bears

Zacks Equity Research highlights: Ryder System (NYSE: R) as the Bull of the Day and Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO) and Kroger’s (NYSE: KR).

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2678.

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

We are upgrading our recommendation on Ryder System (NYSE: R) to Outperform on strong fourth quarter results and a solid outlook. The fourth quarter earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate on improved commercial rental businesses.

Improved demand and supply conditions, strong performance in commercial rental and used vehicle sales, as well as solid volumes in supply chain business is expected to enhance the operating results going forward. Ryder’s continued investment in fleets and technology will fuel earnings growth in the future despite high maintenance cost.

The strong balance sheet encourages the company to expand its footprint via acquisitions. Further, Ryder remains committed to its shareholders via dividends and share repurchases. Thus, we expect Ryder Systems to outperform the broader market.

Bear of the Day:

Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) is a global manufacturer as well as marketer of high-quality brand products and possesses a formidable portfolio of well-established brands. However, as the company uses different commodities and raw materials, cost-push inflation remains a key risk factor.

Further, with the intense competition prevailing in the branded food market, Sara Lee is constantly under pressure to maintain its position. In addition, after the resignation of Sara Lee’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brenda Barnes and the divestiture of its North American bakery business, there are big questions going forward.

Sara Lee is considering a sell-off itself to JBS, a Brazilian company. We currently downgrade the shares of Sara Lee from Neutral to Underperform.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Jobless Claims Going the Right Way

Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance dropped by 22,000 last week to 391,000 (last week was revised up by 3,000, so one could see it as a 19,000 decline). This was much better than the expected level of 410,000.

The weekly numbers have been very erratic of late. This is a series that tends to be a bit on the flakey side around the holidays, but that effect should now be subsiding, so perhaps this is a more normalized level.

Beneath 400,000 a Key Level

Let us hope the decline continues. If we are below the 400,000 level — and can stay there — it would probably signal the start of robust job growth. While we have had some big upward spikes in recent weeks, the overall downward trend in initial claims seems to be intact. We have gotten out of the “trading range” that initial claims have been in for the last year. Initial claims had been generally trending down since they hit a secondary peak of 504,000 (after revisions) on 8/14.

It seems likely that the harsh winter weather may be playing a role in the erratic behavior. The weather would tend to have more to do with the timing of claims, not the overall level, making the week-to-week numbers more erratic, but not make much of a change in the overall level.

Since claims can be volatile from week to week, it is better to track the four-week moving average to get a better sense of the trend. It fell by 16,500 to 402,000, so it is knocking on the door of the sub-400,000 level. As far as the domestic economy is concerned, robust job creation has been the last big part of the puzzle to fall into place.

Whether it can withstand the pressures from abroad and the increased oil prices is an open question, but right now things are starting to look better on the jobs front. Relative to a year ago, the four-week average is down by 71,500 or 15.1%.

Extended Benefits = Economic Stimulus

Extended unemployment benefits are, dollar of dollar, one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus there is. It is a pretty good bet that the people losing their extended benefits have depleted their savings and run up all the debt they can in trying to make ends meet. The maximum unemployment benefit works out to be just $20,800 per year, or less than the poverty line for a family of four. You think any of those people have been able to sock any of that away?

There is a concern that by cushioning the blow of unemployment, people might be more reluctant to take a marginal job opportunity, but a below poverty level income is not that much of a cushion. I’m not sure it is good for the economy for highly skilled people to be taking jobs in other fields that have no use of those skills, and then be unavailable when those skills are needed again.

The people who get extended benefits tend to spend the money quickly on basic needs. This, in turn, keeps customers coming in the door at Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO). It means that, at the margin, some people are able to continue to pay their mortgages and thus helps keep the foreclosure crisis from getting even worse than it already is.

However, by the time they are well into extended benefits, they might also be spending food stamps as well as the unemployment check at Kroger’s (NYSE: KR). These customers keep the people at Wal-Mart, Family Dollar and Kroger’s — and of course their competitors — employed. It also keeps the people who make and transport those goods employed as well, although in that case much of the stimulus is lost overseas if the goods are imported.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649.

About the Bull and Bear of the Day

Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

About the Analyst Blog

Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous analyst coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks “Profit from the Pros” e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today by visiting http://at.zacks.com/?id=7158.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PhD in mathematics Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it’s your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=4582.

Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Follow us on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ZacksResearch

Join us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

Contacts:
Mark Vickery
312-265-9380
Visit: www.zacks.com

CONTACT: Mark Vickery of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., +1-312-265-9380

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

Zacks Crude Oil Highlights

Zacks highlights commentary from People and Picks Trader inthemoneystocks.

For more Voice of the People, visit http://at.zacks.com/?id=5851

Oil Fades as Panic Subsides

RELATED TICKERS: Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY).

Fear and panic have driven the oil market sharply higher over the last few days. Just last week crude oil was trading at $85 per barrel. Overnight, spot crude hit $103.00 per barrel. This massive spike was all on the back of unrest in the Middle East.

Libya is now in what appears to be a civil war but the biggest fear on Wall Street is whether or not it would spread to Saudi Arabia. There have been rumors, panic and much more but as of now, it seems it is subsiding. After hitting $103.00 overnight, oil has faded to the flat line on the day.

Oil stocks had jumped on the price spike in crude but are now falling sharply on its retreat. Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) is trading at $86.04, -1.03 (-1.18%) while ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) is trading at $77.76, -0.81 (-1.03%). However, Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) is bucking the trend, trading at $103.15, +0.88 (+0.86%).

The markets are moving on the flat line today, very muted considering the risks and swings in oil. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) is trading at $130.92, -0.10 (-0.08%).

The markets will remain focused on oil and the Middle East. In addition, key economic data was released today. At 8:30am ET Jobless Claims were reported to have dropped 22,000 to 391,000. This was a slightly bullish number for the markets. However, Durable Goods minus Transportation fell 3.6%. Then at 10:00am ET New Home Sales were reported down 12.6%.

The markets will begin to look at economic news again, especially with the Non Farm Payrolls number coming next Friday.

About the Zacks Community

In 2008, Zacks Investment Research launched PeopleAndPicks.com, a stock-picking website where members of the Zacks community can test their strategies and share ideas with other members. Each user is scored on the accuracy of his or her picks, and top users are rewarded with free products from Zacks. Registration is free. To learn more about People And Picks, visit http://at.zacks.com/?id=5957

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PhD in mathematics Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3:1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it’s your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit From the Pros by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=5958.

Follow us on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ZacksResearch

Join us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

Contact: Brent Billock
People & Picks Manager
Company: Zacks.com
Phone: 312-265-9307
Email: pandp@zacks.com
Visit: www.Zacks.com

CONTACT: Brent Billock, People & Picks Manager of Zacks.com, +1-312-265-9307, pandp@zacks.com

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

Zacks Picks for BlackRock Funds

Zacks Picks for BlackRock Funds

Zacks Picks for BlackRock Funds-Image via Wikipedia

The following BlackRock mutual funds have all earned a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy), BlackRock Utilities & Telecomm A (MDGUX), BlackRock Global Allocation A (MDLOX), BlackRock High Income A (MDHIX), BlackRock High Yield Bond A (BHYAX), and BlackRock Government Income A (CCGAX).

BlackRock is one of the world’s premier asset management firms.  Offering a range of risk management, strategic advisor and enterprise investment system services. With over $3.45 trillion worth of assets under management, it caters to institutional, intermediary and individual investors through a wide range of products and services. These offerings include individual and institutional separate accounts, mutual funds and other pooled investment options. BlackRock aims to provide a wide range of investment solutions to its clients, helping them strike the right balance between risk and opportunities.

Below we will share with you 5 top rated BlackRock mutual funds. Each mutual fund has earned a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) as we expect the mutual funds to outperform its peers in the future. View the Zacks Rank and past performance of all BlackRock mutual funds.

BlackRock Utilities & Telecomm A (MDGUX) invests the majority of its assets in domestic and foreign utilities and telecom companies. It may purchase both equity and fixed-income securities. It may invest in both developed and emerging markets. The BlackRock mutual fund returned 6.37% over the last one year period.

Kathleen M. Anderson is the mutual fund manager and he has managed this BlackRock fund since 2002.

BlackRock Global Allocation A (MDLOX) seeks total return. It invests in domestic and foreign equity and debt securities as well as money market instruments. Up to 35% of its assets may be used to purchase debt securities rated below investment grade. It may also invest in real estate investment trusts. The fund has a ten year annualized return of 8.56%.

As of October 2010, this BlackRock mutual fund held 700 issues, with 2.57% of its total assets invested in US Treasury Note 3.5%.

BlackRock High Income A (MDHIX) invests heavily in fixed income securities. These are generally rated relatively low by at least one recognized rating agency. It may also purchase unrated securities of comparable value. The BlackRock mutual fund has a three year annualized return of 8.08%.

The BlackRock mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $1,000 and an expense ratio of 0.97% compared to a category average of 1.20%.

BlackRock High Yield Bond A (BHYAX) seeks both capital growth and a steady income flow. It focuses on purchasing bonds rated at investment grade with maturity periods of ten years or less. Up to 10% of its assets may be used to purchase foreign bonds denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. The BlackRock mutual fund returned 17.96% in the last one year period and has a ten year annualized return of 8.83%.

James S. Keenan is the mutual fund manager and he has managed this BlackRock fund since 2007.

BlackRock Government Income A (CCGAX) This fund invests heavily in securities issued or mortgages guaranteed by the US Government and related agencies which have been assigned the highest ratings. The average maturity period of these bonds are between ten and fifteen years. The fund has a five year annualized return of 4.18%.

The BlackRock mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $1,000 and an expense ratio of 0.90% compared to a category average of 1.00%.

Visit Zacks to find past performance of mutual funds and BlackRock mutual funds.

About Zacks Mutual Fund Rank

By applying the Zacks Rank to mutual funds, investors can find mutual funds that not only outpaced the market in the past but are also expected to outperform going forward. Learn more about mutual funds and Zacks Mutual Fund Rank at http://www.zacks.com/funds/mutualfund/

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PHD in mathematics from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results.

Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin.

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

Contact: William Meade
Company: Zacks.com
Phone: 312-265-9188
Email: pr@zacks.com
Visit: http://www.zacks.com/

CONTACT: William Meade of Zacks.com, +1-312-265-9188, pr@zacks.com

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

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