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Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Zumiez, Dril-Quip, Roche Holdings, Illumina and Allstate

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 5, 2012 – Zacks Equity Research highlights Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ - Free Report) as the Bull of the Day and Dril-Quip, Inc. (DRQ - Free Report) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Roche Holdings Ltd. (RHHBY - Free Report) , Illumina Inc. (ILMN - Free Report) and Allstate Corp. (ALL - Free Report) .

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ - Free Report) posted earnings of $0.60 per share for fourth quarter 2011, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny and improved substantially from the prior-period profit of $0.49. The improved results were driven by solid top-line performance resulting from high-single digit comparable sales growth and improved operating margin.

During the period, operating margin expanded 160 basis points to 17% due to leveraged selling, general and administrative expenses. Anticipating momentum to continue in fiscal 2012, management expects first quarter net income in the range of $0.06 to $0.08 per share on the back of high-single digit growth in comparable sales.

Further, Zumiez's niche focus on teenage action-sport based merchandise, commitment toward store expansion, and a healthy balance sheet augur well for future operating performance. Currently, we are maintaining a long-term Outperform recommendation on the stock.

Bear of the Day:

We are downgrading our recommendation on Dril-Quip, Inc. (DRQ - Free Report) to Underperform from Neutral. The company remains exposed to the highly volatile oil and gas sector fundamentals.

We remain concerned about company-specific risks, which include new product growth challenges and potential backlog losses. Additionally, delays in deepwater infrastructure awards may also hinder the growth prospect of Dril-Quip.

The company has also exhibited restricted growth in the past few quarters and we remain cautious going forward. However, increased deepwater activity over the near term, recent capacity additions in Brazil and Singapore, as well as ongoing capacity expansions could prove beneficial over time.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Roche Continues to Pursue Illumina

Roche Holdings Ltd. (RHHBY - Free Report) recently issued a second letter to Illumina Inc.’s (ILMN - Free Report) shareholders, requesting them to tender their shares to Roche for a payment of $51.00 a share. Roche is not giving up on its acquisition offer as the second letter came after Illumina rejected Roche’s offer to acquire all its shares.

Additionally, Roche said that its increased offer represents a premium of 88% over Illumina’s closing stock price on December 21, 2011, the day before market rumors about a potential transaction between Roche and Illumina drove Illumina’s stock price significantly higher.

Since January, Roche has been trying to acquire Illumina, when it had first announced its bid to acquire all shares of Illumina at an offer price of $44.50 per share (aggregate value $5.7 billion) in cash. Then, on February 27, Roche extended the time-period for its bid to March 23 from February 24, 2012. In March, Roche further extended the time period for acquiring all outstanding shares of Illumina to April 20, 2012, from the previously announced date (March 23, 2012).

Additionally, in the last week of March, Roche increased its offer price for Illumina shares to $51.00 (aggregate value $6.7 billion) from $44.50 a share, while the other terms and conditions of the deal remained unchanged.

We note that following the acquisition, Roche intends to combine Illumina with its Applied Science business, thereby strengthening its current offerings in the Life Science market. Roche operates through two segments – Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. Applied Science is a wing under the company’s Diagnostics division.

Roche believes that this acquisition will strengthen its position in the sequencing and microarrays market. Moreover, it will help address the growing demand for genetic/genomic solutions.

We currently have a Zacks #4 Rank (short-term Sell rating) on Roche.

Allstate on Hiring Spree

Going ahead with its proactive investment approach, Allstate Corp.’s (ALL - Free Report) Allstate Insurance Co. is in the process of employing about 83 licensed insurance agency owners across Michigan, Ohio and Indiana in the U.S. by the end of 2012.

While Allstate has planned the appointments of 28 new agency owners in Michigan this year, it also expects to create 35 positions in Ohio and another 20 locations in Indiana. The Allstate agencies in Michigan and Ohio intend to hire over 200 sales professionals in each of the states through 2012. The primary areas of appointment include Ann Arbor, Metro Detroit, Flint-Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing in Michigan; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown in Ohio.

Additionally, Allstate plans to hire more than 100 sales representatives in Indiana by the end of 2012, primarily in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Evansville, Lafayette and Northwest Indiana. Alongside, the company is also looking to appoint about 80 agents in New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to

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.

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