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On Mar 5, 2013, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Orion Marine Group Inc. (ORN - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Earnings estimates of Orion Marine have been on the rise following strong fourth-quarter 2012 results and an encouraging guidance for fiscal 2013. Moreover, this marine construction company delivered positive earnings surprises in all of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 80.9%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 13.5%   

Orion Marinereported fourth-quarter 2012 (ended Dec 31, 2012) results on Feb 28, 2013. Non-GAAP earnings per share came in at 9 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 15 cents or 250% and were much better than the year-ago quarter loss of 19 cents. Despite a challenging quarter, Orion’s bidding strategy was successful in growing backlog and increasing equipment utilization.

This strategy also drove continued gross margin and top-line improvement for the year 2012 and delivered positive quarterly net income for the first time since the beginning of 2011.

Orion Marine is well positioned going forward with strong financial position. During the third quarter, management implemented a plan to get Orion Marine back to profitability, and the company just did that in the following quarter.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for full year 2013 increased 2 cents to 2 cents per share as most of the estimates were revised higher over the last 90 days.

Other Stocks to Consider

The following engineering and construction companies with favorable Zacks Rank are also performing well and are worth considering.

1)      Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI - Analyst Report) carries a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy)

2)      Empresas ICA, S.A.B. de C.V. (ICA - Snapshot Report) carries a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy)

3)      Emcor Group Inc. (EME - Analyst Report) carries a Zacks Rank # 3 (Hold)

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