You are being directed to ZacksTrade, a division of LBMZ Securities and licensed broker-dealer. ZacksTrade and are separate but affiliated companies. The web link between the two companies is not a solicitation or offer to invest in a particular security or type of security. ZacksTrade does not endorse or adopt any particular investment strategy, any analyst opinion/rating/report or any approach to evaluating individual securities.

If you wish to go to ZacksTrade, click OK. If you do not, click Cancel.

OK Cancel

Recent Quotes

No Recent Quote currently available

My Portfolio

My Portfolio Tracker

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts. Set yours up today.

Zacks #1 Stocks on the Move 11/30/2015

Company Name Symbol %Change

Analyst Blog

Mallinckrodt (MNK) Sells Contrast Media & Delivery Systems

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:55 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Mallinckrodt plc MNK announced that it has completed the previously announced divestiture of its global contrast media and delivery systems (CMDS) business to Guerbet for approximately $270 million.

CMDS operations consisted of four manufacturing facilities with a comprehensive array of diagnostic imaging products engineered for computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, X-ray and cardiac catheterization along with urological imaging system and related components employing 1,000 people. As a result of the divestiture, the entire workforce and manufacturing facilities have been transferred to Guerbet.

We note that the company aims to reorganize its portfolio to reduce its overall cost structure and maximize profitability.

In Sep 2015, the company acquired Therakos Inc. from The Gores Group for approximately $1.3 million in order to broaden its footprint in hospitals and expand its reach in immunotherapy through extracorporeal photopheresis. The acquisition is expected to widen Mallinckrodt’s presence from multimodal surgical pain management and critical care respiratory therapies in neonatal intensive care units to include innovative immunotherapy therapies.

Mallinckrodt has transformed itself in the past two years through strategic acquisitions and revamped its portfolio. In this context, we note that the acquisition of Cadence Pharmaceuticals had added Ofirmev to the company’s specialty pharmaceuticals portfolio and, thus, expanded its pain management franchise, while Acthar Gel became part of its portfolio following the Questcor acquisition.

Meanwhile, in a bid to broaden its footprint in hospitals and expand its presence to include critical care respiratory therapies in neonatal intensive care units, Mallinckrodt acquired Ikaria, Inc. from a Madison Dearborn-led investor group and added Inomax to its portfolio.

Last week, the company reported better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 driven by Acthar and Inomax. However, the company is facing headwinds in the form of reclassification of generic Concerta, which will continue impacting the generic segment, and increased competition for oxycodone-related products. The nuclear imaging business will also experience some disruptions due to an unplanned shutdown from one of the primary suppliers.

Mallinckrodt carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are Mylan MYL, Corcept Therapeutics CORT, and Astellas Pharma, Inc. ALPMY. While Mylan and Corcept sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Astellas Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

NextEra Energy (NEE) Unit Inks Deal to Sell Texas Assets

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:50 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

NextEra Energy Resources (NEER), a subsidiary of public utility holding company, NextEra Energy, Inc. NEE, has inked a deal with Luminant to divest two of its natural-fired power plants in Texas for an aggregate value of $1.59 billion.

Luminant, an affiliate of Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH), has agreed to purchase the 1,912-megawatt (MW) Forney Energy Center and the 1,076-MW Lamar Energy Center from La Frontera Ventures LLC, an affiliate of NEER.

EFH is currently undergoing a reorganization in the U.S. bankruptcy court and has received the necessary sanctions from the court for the purchase of assets. Luminant will finance the transaction with existing debtor-in-possession credit facility. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

The sale is consistent with NextEra Energy’s strategy of slimming down its portfolio of plants that sell power at competitive rates and realign capital in regulated generation since profit is more certain in the latter case.

In the third quarter of 2015, NextEra Energy’s operating revenues were $4,954 million, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.7% and also increasing 6.5% from the year-ago figure primarily on the back of a rising customer count in the company’s service territories.

Zacks Rank

NextEra Energy carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other stocks worth considering in the same industry are Korea Electric Power Corp. KEP and Huaneng Power International, Inc. HNP, both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)  and FirstEnergy Corp. FE, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

Volkswagen (VLKAY) to Recall 2.46M Vehicles in Germany

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:45 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Volkswagen AG VLKAY will recall 2.46 million vehicles in Germany, which are equipped with the emission cheating software, per sources. Of the total vehicles recalled, 1.54 million cars are of the Volkswagen brand, 531,813 of the Audi brand, 286,970 of Skoda and 104,197 of Seat.

Previously Volkswagen said that 8.5 million affected vehicles need to be recalled in Europe. The German automaker is facing a challenging situation after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that it had developed a software algorithm to deceive U.S. emission tests. Volkswagen admitted that its diesel vehicles are installed with software which makes the engines appear to have low emission levels during tests. According to the EPA, Volkswagen vehicles emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx, at almost 40 times the standard amount. Nitrogen oxide emissions lead to smog, acid rain as well as serious health concerns like lung cancer.

Almost 11 million vehicles around the world – including Jetta, Beetle, Audi A3 and Golf from model years 2009–2015 and Passat of model years 2014 and 2015 – are fitted with this software. Out of the total, 5 million vehicles have been manufactured under the Volkswagen brand and 2.1 million under the Audi brand.  

Volkswagen may incur costs of 6.7 billion euros ($7.4 billion) for recalling these vehicles. The company also expects an expenditure of about 2 billion euros ($2.1 billion) related to compensation payments for manipulation of carbon dioxide emission levels.

Zacks Rank

Volkswagen currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked automobile stocks include General Motors Company GM, Fox Factory Holding Corp FOXF and O'Reilly Automotive Inc. ORLY. All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

Bristol-Myers' Cancer Drug Opdivo Gets CRL from the FDA

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:40 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company BMY announced that the FDA has issued a Complete Response Letter (CRL) for its intravenous human programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) blocking antibody, Opdivo, as a single agent for the treatment of previously untreated patients, specifically those with BRAF V600 mutation positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

In its CRL, the FDA indicated the need for additional data in the BRAF mutated patient population. The company plans to work closely with the FDA to address the issue.

We remind investors that only last week, the FDA approved Opdivo as a single agent for the treatment of patients with BRAF wild-type unresectable or metastatic melanoma and for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma who received prior anti-angiogenic therapy. Apart from that, Opdivo is approved for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma and disease progression following Yervoy (ipilimumab) and, if BRAF V600 mutation positive, a BRAF inhibitor. It is also approved for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. Moreover, Opdivo is approved in combination with Yervoy for the treatment of patients with BRAF V600 wild-type, unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

The drug generated revenues of $305 million in the third quarter of 2015 compared with $122 million in the previous quarter. The company continues to work on the label expansion of the drug. A supplemental Biologics License Application for Opdivo in BRAF V600 mutation positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma is under regulatory review in the U.S.

Currently, the anti-PD-1 therapy market also has Merck & Co. Inc.’s MRK Keytruda indicated for NSCLC and melanoma.

Bristol-Myers currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are GW Pharmaceuticals plc GWPH and Biogen BIIB. While GW Pharma sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Biogen has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

KaloBios Surges 30%, Martin Shkreli Stops Lending Shares

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:35 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s KBIO shares were up 30.8% after the company’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Martin Shkreli tweeted that he would stop lending the company’s shares to people looking to short it.

Shkreli tweeted, “I spoke with my counsel & advisers and decided to stop lending my $KBIO shares out until I better understand the advantages of doing so.” This was followed by yet another tweet saying “I apologize for any inconvenience this may create in lending markets and I will probably resume lending at some point.”

KaloBios, which was at one point of time trading below a penny and was planning to wind down its operations after unsuccessfully finding a strategic alternative of staying afloat in the business, hit a 52-week high on Nov 23. The upsurge was due to the purchase of 70% of KaloBios’ shares by an investor group led by Shkreli. After gaining control of the company, Shkreli assumed the position of the CEO and Chairman of the company’s board of directors.

KaloBios is a California-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of monoclonal antibody therapeutics targeting oncology. The company’s pipeline consists of a couple of candidates developed using its proprietary Humaneered technology – KB004 (phase II – certain hematologic malignancies) and lenzilumab (KB003; enrollment in a phase I/II study for chronic myelomonocytic leukemia scheduled to commence by year end with interim data expected as early as the first half of 2016).

Shkreli, also the founder and CEO of privately held biopharmaceutical company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, was in the news recently when Turing increased the price of Daraprim (approved for the treatment of toxoplasmosis, acute malaria and chemoprophylaxis of malaria due to susceptible strains of plasmodia) from $13.50 to $750 per pill in one shot. The company had acquired the U.S. rights to Daraprim from Impax Laboratories Inc. IPXL in Aug 2015.

The price increase didn’t go down well with the Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton whose “price gouging” tweet led to a major sell-off in the biotech sector.

Meanwhile, investors looking for well-ranked stocks in the health care sector can consider Mylan N.V. MYL and Anika Therapeutics Inc. ANIK. Both carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

News Corp Australia Seals 5-Year Broadcast Deal with NRL

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:30 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

News Corporation’s NWSA Australian division has sealed a five-year broadcast deal with the National Rugby League (NRL) for the seasons 2018-2022. The value of the deal, which stands at 1.8 billion Australian dollars (or US $1.3 billion), is one of the largest sports contracts signed in Australia.

Fox Sports, a subsidiary of New Corp. Australia, will also broadcast every match live and ad-free in 2016 and will also launch an NRL channel in 2017.

Per the company’s SEC filing, the deal also includes media company Nine Entertainment as well as Australian telecommunications firm Telstra. Telstra extended its 17-year partnership with NRL by retaining the naming rights to the NRL premiership. Telstra also provides fans with the option to watch the matches live on its mobile network. On the other hand, from 2016, Nine Entertainment will telecast live free-to-air matches on Thursday and Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.  

Peter Tonagh, News Corp. Australia Chief Executive said: "This is a truly outstanding deal that will, for the first time in the history of the game, give fans live coverage of every game each round. It's a big win for the fans, and a big win for the clubs, and News is delighted to be a part of it.”

We believe this deal will drive the company’s revenue higher in the coming years. However, higher sports programming rights costs may lower the profitability if the company fails to raise subscriber and carriage fees and advertising rates to offset the same.

Zacks Rank

News Corporation currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks worth considering in this sector include MSG Networks Inc. MSGN, RR Media Ltd. RRM and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. FOX. All three stocks hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

Duke Energy's Infrastructure Investments to Drive Growth

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:25 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

On Nov 27, 2015, we have issued an updated research report on Duke Energy Corporation DUK.

The largest power provider in the U.S., Duke Energy posted strong results in the third quarter of 2015 despite missing both the top and bottom line estimates. The utility saw improving earnings and revenues in the recently reported quarter aided by favorable weather and growth in the regulated business. Its regulated businesses have performed well this year delivering solid financial results. Moreover, the company’s systematic capital investment program and renewable asset expansion will likely be vital tailwinds.

Duke Energy is systematically and strategically boosting its regulated business mix through a series of acquisitions and divestitures. In Oct 2015, it announced plans to acquire Piedmont Natural Gas that will add a well-established natural gas business to the Duke portfolio. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2016 and will be accretive to earnings in the first full year after close. Strategically, this acquisition will lay the foundation for establishing a broader gas infrastructure platform within Duke Energy, based on its recent gas pipeline investments. It will complement Duke Energy’s existing gas LBT business in the Midwest. This acquisition will increase its total regulated business mix to over 90%, thereby supporting its earnings and dividend growth objectives.

The company continues to invest heavily in infrastructure and expansion projects. It has undertaken several projects in the Carolinas and Florida, comprising investments worth about $3 billion through 2018 with a capacity of about 3,000 megawatts.  The company further expects investments to support its targeted earnings growth rate of 4% to 6% through 2017.

Redeploying the merchant generation sale proceeds and redirecting international cash into attractive regulated investments like the NCEMPA asset acquisition, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and new generation will likely lead to attractive growth through the decade.

Duke Energy has a stable dividend payment history distributing quarterly cash dividend for 88 consecutive years. The company has increased its quarterly dividend rate every year since Jan 2007 after the spin-off of Spectra Energy. Its financial strength has made it possible for the company to maintain its long-term dividend payout ratio of 65% to 70% of its adjusted earnings per share.

As for the generation fuel mix, Duke Energy, in spite of commendable efforts to boost its renewable base, generated about 40% of electricity from coal, while solar, wind and hydroelectric accounted for a meager 8% in 2014. This is a cause of concern given increasingly stringent environmental regulations. On Aug 3, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized the Clean Power Plan, a regulation aimed at reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants by 32% by 2030.

Apart from that, Duke Energy’s International Energy segment witnessed yet another weak quarter on account of poor hydrology conditions in Brazil. Additionally, the struggling Brazilian economy has hit energy demand. The segment also exposes the company to foreign exchange risk. In the first nine months of 2015, the company’s international net income has declined by $199 million year over year.

Zacks Rank

The company holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same sector include Ameren Corporation AEE, Calpine Corp. CPN and CMS Energy CMS, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 DaysClick to get this free report >>

AIG Chief May Dispose Life Contracts: Will That Satisfy Icahn?

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:20 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Sources have reported that American International Group, Inc. AIG is mulling over selling blocks of its life insurance policies. This move is being considered by the company’s CEO Peter Hancock to increase returns as the company is under immense pressure from the fifth biggest shareholder in the company – Carl Icahn.

Since last month, Icahn has been urging Hancock to split up the mammoth company with diverse businesses into three sub parts – property and casualty, life and mortgage insurance.

Icahn, in his letters addressed to the CEO, straightaway asked to carve out the company into simpler parts which will save it from regulatory pressure and at the same time make its business manageable. He also threatened to oust the CEO and replace him, if the situation demands.

Hancock, however, doesn’t seem convinced with the idea of a split up in which he does not see much financial sense. Instead, the AIG chief promised to take steps that will lead to higher returns.

Hancock is, therefore, under tremendous pressure, and the reports of the selling of life blocks of business is a move in this direction.

Will Icahn be Appeased?

It remains to be seen whether Icahn, who is unwilling to wait longer for slow responses from the company, will be satisfied with this move. He rather wants to speed up the process of unlocking massive value tied within this great company.

AIG, the largest global insurer (based on shareholders’ equity), serves customers in over a hundred countries and jurisdictions through its three distinct business lines. But interestingly, AIG’s enviable business diversity and colossal size are the villains in its own growth story, as per Carl Icahn.

The iconic investor pointed out in his  letter that the company is “too big to succeed” and that it widely lags its peers in terms of generating returns for its shareholders due to constrains such as size and capital. The company faces stringent capital restriction that hampers its competitiveness. He also blamed the lower return on AIG’s lack of expense management. Icahn lashed out on AIG’s management, which estimates an increase in returns of not more than 0.5% per year. Now, that would translate into returns of 10% in 50 years!

What Led to This Dismal State?

Back in 2008, AIG was hit by the subprime mortgage crisis because of its huge bets on subprime-mortgage securities which soured when the housing market crumbled. That year, AIG reported the biggest quarterly loss in the U.S. corporate history, verging on a collapse. It was then that the government took control over the company by bailing it out with $85 billion loan funds. Since then, the company suffered losses until 2014, when it finally crawled back to profits.

As a recipient of bailout money, AIG was subjected to significant government intervention including restrictions on its administrative and operational policies. Despite the complete sale of the Treasury’s stake, risk of other fresh regulatory challenges arose, as AIG was designated a non-bank systemically important financial institution (SIFI) status in Jul 2013. The company is now under the supervision of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Icahn in his first letter also said that AIG has been repeatedly suggested by regulators and the Congress to reduce its size. Yet management turned a deaf ear, perhaps, only to show progress at a snail’s pace on this front. Though AIG has done its bit to reconstruct itself after the financial crisis by divesting more than $75 billion of assets since 2009, including a range of non-U.S. life insurance businesses plus the aircraft-leasing division, Icahn views the development as slow.

The indolence has eroded the company’s stock price, which trades below its book value. Moreover, since almost all the proceeds from divestitures went toward repaying the government loan, the company could not invest in its own business. Of course, asset disposals have liberated AIG from severe debt, but it also shrunk its portfolio and global market share, making it vulnerable to cutthroat competition from its peers.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks

AIG carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). Some better-ranked stocks are Old Republic International Corporation ORI, Assured Guaranty Ltd. AGO and FBL Financial Group Inc. FFG. While Old Republic sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Assured Guaranty and FBL Financial carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

Target Sees Sturdy Black Friday Sales; Strategies Pay Off

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:15 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

Target Corp. TGT stated that it witnessed a robust start to the holiday season. This Minneapolis, MN-based company informed that bargain hunters took advantage of the great deals that were offered both in stores and online on Thanksgiving Day as well as over the Black Friday weekend. We believe that the company’s promotional strategy and the launch of “10 Days of Deals” provided this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company the much-needed head start.

Although the company did not make any comments on the sales results, it highlighted that sturdy sales were registered across items such as Apple Watch and Apple iPads, Beats Solo 2 headphones, FitBit Charge HR and the Philips Sonicare 2 electric toothbrush. Thanksgiving Day turned out to be the company’s best day for online sales, driven primarily by electronics. Some of the hot-selling Black Friday items also comprise gaming consoles, including Nintendo Wii U; TVs; a three-foot stuffed teddy bear; and toys of LEGO, Barbie, Disney Princess and Star Wars.

Under its “10 Days of Deals” program, which started from Nov 22 and will run through Dec 1, Target is offering huge discounts on items such as electronics, kitchenware, toys and more. The company also announced that shoppers who made purchases of $75 or more on Black Friday will get a discount of 20% on a transaction on any day from Dec 4–13. Moreover, customers can avail an extra 5% off by using their REDcard.

We believe retailers – whether it be Best Buy Co., Inc. BBY, Macy’s, Inc. M or Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT – will leave no stone unturned to tap this holiday season. Be it early-hour store openings, promotional events, free shipping on online purchases or heavy discounts, retailers will try every trick to boost sales. The holiday season accounts for a sizeable chunk of yearly revenues. This is the reason why retailers grab every possible opportunity to drive footfall.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days.Click to get this free report >>

Kroger (KR) to Report Q3 Earnings: What's in the Cards?

Posted Mon Nov 30, 04:10 pm ET

by Zacks Equity Research

The Kroger Co. KR, one of the largest grocery retailers, is scheduled to release third-quarter fiscal 2015 results on Dec 3. The big question facing investors is whether the company will be able to continue with its positive earnings surprise streak in the quarter to be reported.

In the trailing four quarters, Kroger outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 9.6%. Here’s a discussion on the determinants of the third-quarter results:

Zacks Model Shows Unlikely Earnings Beat

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Kroger is likely to beat earnings estimates this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. Kroger has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% as the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate both stand at 39 cents. The company carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, the company’s ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.

Factors Influencing this Quarter

A dominant position among the nation’s largest grocery retailers enables Kroger to sustain growth, expand its store base and boost market share. However, intensifying price competition among grocery stores to lure budget-constrained consumers may adversely impact the company’s sales and margins. This, in turn, may hurt Kroger’s bottom line in the quarter to be reported.

Stocks Poised to Beat Earnings Estimates

Here are some companies you may want to consider as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat:

Casey's General Stores Inc. CASY has an Earnings ESP of +2.08% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

CarMax Inc. KMX has an Earnings ESP of +1.45% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc. RH has an Earnings ESP of +1.59% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

Full Archive

The content contained in this weblog feature may have been abstracted from a complete Zacks Equity Research report.

Zacks Research is Reported On:

Zacks Investment Research

is an A+ Rated BBB

Accredited Business.