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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Tyson Foods, Weyerhaeuser, American Axle, Estee Lauder and Accenture plc

TSN WY AXL EL ACN

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – February 6, 2012 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Tyson Foods ( (TSN - Analyst Report), Weyerhaeuser ( (WY - Analyst Report), American Axle ( (AXL - Analyst Report), Estee Lauder ( (EL - Analyst Report) and Accenture plc ( (ACN - Analyst Report).

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Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

All About the Big Jobs Numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported better-than-expected non-farm payroll numbers for January of 243K, compared to expectations in the 130K to 150K range. The tallies for December and November were revised upwards, belying expectations that last month’s strength was due to one-off seasonal factors.

The unemployment rate dropped again – to 8.3% from 8.5% in December. Average hourly earnings and the average workweek both ticked up, rounding out an overall very positive labor market report.

The expectation for a deceleration in the January number reflected the reversal of some seasonal factors that had supposedly boosted the December gains. Instead, we not only an accelerating jobs trend in January, but the very strong December number was revised upwards. This is consistent with all the major labor market indicators that have been showing an improving trend. Initial Jobless Claims have been steadily coming down.

The employment component of the manufacturing ISM survey was less favorable in January compared to the preceding month, but was nevertheless indicating jobs gains. Importantly, we have consistently been seeing greater improvements in the Household survey than in the Establishment survey over the last three to four months, indicating that the official jobs numbers are understating actual labor market gains. This shows to me that we are in the midst of a fairly stable improving labor market trend.

In this morning’s earnings results, we got an EPS and revenue beat from Tyson Foods ( (TSN - Analyst Report) on the back of strength in the meat processor’s chicken business. Weyerhaeuser ( (WY - Analyst Report), the real estate and lumber company, also beat earnings expectations on roughly in-line revenue. American Axle ( (AXL - Analyst Report) beat on EPS, but missed on revenue. Estee Lauder ( (EL - Analyst Report) provided a lower earnings guidance, citing increasing marketing outlays due to new product launches.

Another Deal Win for Accenture

Management and technology consulting major Accenture plc ( (ACN - Analyst Report) announced a deal  with 12 southeast Minnesota counties for the development of a human services delivery model focused on shifting them from a county-based to a regional approach. This is partially funded by the Bush Foundation.

Accenture would be instrumental in laying out a strategic plan, including the business case, redesigned operating model and implementation roadmap for the development of a multi-county framework for human services delivery.

Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, we believe that this is an innovative venture, which may also work for other counties of the US, thereby generating a new line of business for the company.

Moreover, the company also introduced “Accenture Citizen Self-Service Portal Version 2.0,” which will enable the citizens to electronically access their caseworkers as well as the benefit application process. The portal is expected to provide greater self-sufficiency for social service beneficiaries, thus facilitating further agency expansion and opening up a new channel for citizens to interact with government case workers in a secure environment.

This software is specially designed for public service to help meet the needs of social service agencies and the people served by those agencies. This will enhance the company’s Public Service Platform and will help public agencies better manage human services delivery costs.

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