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Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Brinker International, Nabors Industries, Life Technologies, Illumina and Thermo Fisher Scientific

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – September 06, 2012 – Zacks Equity Research highlights Brinker International, Inc. as the Bull of the Day and Nabors Industries Ltd. as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Life Technologies (), Illumina and Thermo Fisher Scientific ().

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:

Brinker International, Inc.'s fourth quarter 2012 earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate based on strong top-line as well as unit growth. Besides repositioning its Chili's brand, the company is undertaking several initiatives to continue its positive sales momentum as well as record more sustainable and stable growth.

The company's strategy to focus on international expansion, in order to move away from the over-supplied domestic market and undertake cost-control measures, looks promising for its business. Brinker's financial position remains stable and management remains committed on enhancing shareholders value by both dividend and share repurchase.

The company remains on track to double its EPS and achieve margin expansion of 400 bps by 2015. Hence, we maintain an Outperform rating on the stock. Our six-month target price of $41.00 equates to about 17.5x our estimate for 2013. The target price implies an expected total return of 19.9% over that period.

 

Bear of the Day:

 

Based upon the number of near-term challenges, we are lowering our recommendation for Nabors Industries Ltd. to Underperform from Neutral. The land drilling contractor is facing headwinds in the pressure pumping market on the back of collapsing prices and lower utilization.

The recent weakness in the North American onshore rig count has also been a negative. As usual, we remain concerned about weak natural gas fundamentals, which are likely to limit the company's ability to generate positive earnings surprises. Nabors fairly debt-heavy balance sheet also remains an issue.

Considering these factors, we see Nabors as a risky bet from which ordinary investors should exit. This is corroborated by our new Underperform recommendation and the $13 price objective, which is based on 2012 P/E multiple of 7.0X.

 

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

 

Life Technologies Focused on China

 

Based on its strong potential in China, Life Technologies () aims to strengthen its business in that region. In order to achieve this objective, the company has formed a partnership with Sino Biological Inc., a leading Chinese biotech company, for distribution and product development. As per the partnership, Life Technologies will distribute Sino Biological's portfolio which includes recombinant proteins, antibodies and Elisa kits.

This partnership agreement comes on the heels of the recent acquisition of Beijing Mao Jian United Stars Technology Co., Life technologies’ distributor of the Invitrogen brand reagent portfolio in Beijing and the rest of North China. This deal has created one of the largest direct selling forces in the Chinese life sciences reagents market.

Life Technologies has gained a strong foothold in the emerging markets as well as in the Asia-Pacific region, where operations are currently being expanded. After recording a temporary slowdown in its Greater China business about a year ago, the company augmented its dealer model and supplemented it with its own sales force. These efforts have led to success in restoration of operations in Greater China to normal levels with high-teens growth.

The company’s distribution centers in both Singapore and China are currently expanding, as is its manufacturing center of excellence in Singapore, which will eventually be a 133,000 square feet facility (from 75,000 square feet). The center will design and manufacture a wide range of products including Ion next-generation sequencing and molecular diagnostic instruments. Benefits from these initiatives are being realized in the form of products with higher margins and faster turnaround in addition to providing further tax efficiencies.

While the growth prospects in the emerging markets are encouraging, Life Technologies has adopted a conservative outlook with respect to the rest of the international market. The company expects overall growth of the European region (which includes all of the Europe and the emerging markets in Russia, the Middle East and South Africa) to be at the low end of the previous guidance — approximately at 1%.

As a result, Life Technologies now expects organic revenue growth for 2012 to be at the low end of the previously guided range of 2−4% due to slower growth in Europe. The company also lowered the top end of the earnings guidance on the heels of currency headwinds, dilution from recent acquisitions and lower organic growth. However, some of these factors are expected to be offset by lower discretionary spending and a marginally lower tax rate. A continuous share buyback program will also benefit it by lowering the outstanding share count. Life Technologies experiences tough competition from players like Illumina and Thermo Fisher Scientific (), among others.

 

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.

 

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