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On Oct 26, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Huron Consulting Group Inc. (HURN - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Huron has been witnessing rising earnings estimates following its recent acquisition of Blue Stone International LLC, a provider of Oracle professional services.

On Sep 23, 2013 this business consulting services provider inked an agreement to acquire Blue Stone in an all-cash deal worth $30 million. The acquisition was completed on Oct 3, 2013.

Blue Stone focuses on providing business intelligence capabilities, advisory services and analytic solutions primarily to chief financial officers (CFO) of various firms. These services include strategic modeling, budgeting, forecasting and other relevant services. Technical inputs from Blue Stone help its clients in complex decision-making processes with well-informed in-depth analysis.

These services are likely to strengthen Huron’s product portfolio within the higher education and healthcare sectors, and also serve as a platform for growth in other industries such as banking, hospitality, insurance, oil and gas, real estate, retail, and utilities. Post-acquisition, Blue Stone will form an integral part of the Huron Education and Life Sciences segment, which includes its Oracle ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) services practice.

Apart, from the recent acquisition, Huron’s results in the preceding quarters are also encouraging. The company has delivered positive earnings surprise in all the last 4 quarters with an average earnings beat of 12.69%.   

The Zacks Consensus Earnings Estimate for fiscal 2013 and 2014 are currently pegged at $2.69 per share and $3.04 per share, indicating year-over-year growth in estimates of 15.10% and 12.87%.

Huron is expected to report its third-quarter results on Nov 6, 2013.

Other Stocks to Consider

The following business service firms are performing well and also have favorable Zacks Rank.

1)      Bureau Veritas SA (BVRDF) which has a Zacks #1 Rank   (Strong Buy)

2)      Exponent Inc. (EXPO - Snapshot Report) which holds a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy)

        3)      Accenture plc (ACN - Analyst Report) having a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy)

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