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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AngioDynamics, HCC Insurance Holdings, Everest Re Group, State Auto Financial and HCI Group

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 23, 2013 – 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 the AngioDynamics ((ANGO - Free Report) -Free Report), HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. (HCC - Free Report) -Free Report), Everest Re Group Ltd. (RE - Free Report) -Free Report), State Auto Financial Corp. (STFC - Free Report) -Free Report) and HCI Group, Inc. (HCI - Free Report) -Free Report).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

ANGO Gets FDA Support for BioFlo Port

AngioDynamics ((ANGO - Free Report) -Free Report) revealed that its subsidiary Navilyst Medical Inc. received 510(k) clearance from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its BioFlo Port that is built with Endexo technology to bring down accumulation of catheter-related thrombus.

The port is a small medical appliance installed beneath the skin and connected by a catheter to a vein. Through the port, drugs are injected for a long time and patient's vascular system can be accessed for repeated intravenous treatments such as chemotherapy, blood withdrawal or delivery of total parenteral nutrition.

BioFlo Port is a permanent and non-eluting integral polymer. It is also available with PASV Valve Technology, a patented valve produced by AngioDynamics, which automatically resist backflow and reduce blood reflux on the inside of the catheter. The port is expected to launch in the third quarter of ANGO’s fiscal 2014.

The breakthrough BioFlo technology reduces the accumulation of catheter-related thrombus without incorporation of heparin, antibiotics or antimicrobials, or any other transient materials associated with coated or impregnated technologies. It is the second FDA clearance received by a product built with this advanced technology.

In August last year, AngioDynamics received FDA approval for its BioFlo peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) built with Endexo technology. This product already received CE mark for Europe and approvals in Canada and other international markets.

As per in-vitro blood loop model test results, BioFlo Port catheter has 96% less thrombus accumulation on its surface compared to non-coated conventional port catheters while BioFlo PICC has 87% less thrombus accumulation on its surface on average compared to other PICCs based on platelet count.

The ports used for thrombosis costs nearly $1 billion per year to the U.S. healthcare system. Over 50,000 deaths occur due to thromboembolism annually and most of the cancer patients are susceptible to this disorder.

ANGO reported more than twofold year-over-year increase in adjusted earnings to 7 cents per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 ended May 31, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2 cents. For fiscal 2013, adjusted earnings surged 66.7% to 35 cents per share and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.

Revenues declined 2% to $90.0 million on a pro forma basis, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $89 million. Pro forma results include the Navilyst acquisition and exclude the LC Beads sales. Lower revenues were attributable to difficult year-over-year comparisons.

AngioDynamics expects fiscal 2014 revenues in the range of $346–$352 million, up 3% at the top range from the previous guidance. Adjusted earnings per share are expected in the range of 31 cents to 35 cents for the fiscal, taking into account the impact from the medical device tax.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2014, management expects to generate revenues in the range of $81 million–$84 million, flat year over year at the top end. Adjusted earnings per share are anticipated between 2 cents−4 cents. Excluding amortization, adjusted earnings per share are expected between 10 cents and 12 cents.

ANGO is a leading provider of medical devices for vascular access, surgery, peripheral vascular disease and oncology. Currently, it retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

HCC Insurance Hikes Dividend 36%

In an effort to distribute more profit among shareholders, the board of directors of HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. (HCC - Free Report) -Free Report) increased its dividend by 36.4%. The company will now pay a quarterly dividend of 22.50 cents per share, up from 16.50 cents paid on Jul 15, 2013.

The newly increased dividend will be paid on Oct 15, 2013 to the shareholders of record as of Oct 1, 2013. Based on the closing share price of $43.34 on Aug 21, the increased dividend implies a dividend yield of 2.1%. The current dividend yield is better than other property and casualty insurers Everest Re Group Ltd.’s (RE - Free Report) -Free Report) yield of 1.4% and State Auto Financial Corp. (STFC - Free Report) -Free Report) with a yield of 2.0%.

The dividend hike was primarily supported by HCC Insurance’s strong balance sheet and its ability to generate healthy cash flow, which is supported by its continued solid operational performances. Based on the 99.1 million shares outstanding as of Jun 30, 2013, HCC Insurance requires $22.1 million for the payment of the quarterly dividend. Cash balance at the end of the second quarter stood at nearly $39.3 million while cash from operations in the first half totaled $102 million.

With the recent approval, HCC Insurance has increased dividend for the 17th consecutive year. Earlier, in Aug 2012, the board had approved a 6.5% increase, raising the dividend to 16.5 cents from 15.5 cents.

Besides increasing dividend, the company also engages in share repurchase to enhance its shareholders value. In the first six months of 2013, HCC Insurance spent $40.9 million to buy back 1 million shares. The company is left with $208.9 million under its authorization. In August last year, the board also authorized a buyback program worth $300 million.

HCC Insurance carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). HCI Group, Inc. (HCI - Free Report) -Free Report) with Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) is also worth taking a look.


Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.


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