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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Target, Deere, Cisco Systems, Carlyle Group and Noble Energy

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 16, 2012 – 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 Target (TGT - Free Report) , Deere & Co. (DE - Free Report) , Cisco Systems (CSCO - Free Report) , The Carlyle Group (CG - Free Report) and Noble Energy Inc. (NBL - Free Report) .


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Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:


Econ Trends in Finer Detail


On a data-heavy morning, we have results for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Empire State Index, as well as a couple earnings reports from companies on the S&P 500. As for the results, some are up, some are down, and some are right where they had been earlier.

The headline CPI number was unchanged for July, as it was in June, and the core number -- which removes food and energy costs -- was up 0.1%. These were both a shade down from expectations, as were the year-over-year numbers, which were 1.4% on the headline and 2.1% minus food and energy. Analysts had expected roughly 1.6-1.7% on the headline number.

The Empire State Index, a survey tracking manufacturing in New York State, swung down to negative 5.85 in August, following a positive 7.39 reading in July. This is the first negative reading since last fall and down much more than expected, which points toward softness in New York factories. Keep in mind, however, this survey is prone to volatility month to month, especially relative to national monthly economic indicators.

In earnings news, Target (TGT - Free Report) put up some healthy numbers, beating on both revenues and earnings while raising guidance for fiscal 2012. Deere & Co. (DE - Free Report) missed its consensus EPS estimate on weaker international agriculture business, particularly in South America. Cisco Systems (CSCO - Free Report) reports after the bell, which should provide another piece to the puzzle of technology trends.

Finally, Washington DC-based power investment firm The Carlyle Group (CG - Free Report) has acquired that well-known bank of multimedia products, Getty Images, from Hellman & Friedman for $3.3 billion. That must be a heck of a lot of pictures of movie stars.


Noble Energy to Sell Kansas Assets


Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. (NBL - Free Report) entered into an agreement for sale of its Kansas oil and natural gas assets to a unit of privately-owned Citation Oil & Gas Corporation for a sum of $140 million. The deal is expected to close in September 2012.

Assets involved in the company’s divestiture program include 250 producing wells on an area of roughly 14,000 acres. The area is mainly used for crude oil production. The Kansas play’s current production capacity is approximately 1000 barrels of oil equivalent per day with net proved reserves of 7 million barrels of oil equivalent.

This is the third sale undertaken by the company and is a part of its proposed asset divestment program. With this asset sale, Noble Energy completed the first phase of divestment in the onshore domestic market. Previously, Noble Energy had divested its assets in the Permian Basin and in Texas and Oklahoma for an aggregate amount of $937 million.

Meanwhile, the company also completed the sale of Dumbarton and Lochranza properties in the North Sea as announced in May 2012 for an amount of $117 million. In total, these transactions are expected to generate roughly after-tax proceeds of $1.1 billion by the end of the third quarter 2012.

Noble Energy aims to sell a series of small-scale assets located in the Mid-continent, Gulf Coast, San Juan, and Ark-La-Tex areas and the remaining North Sea resources over the period 2012 through 2013.

The gains from this sale will help the company to reinvest in its core operations like the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin in Colorado and Wyoming as well as the Marcellus play, thereby enhancing future profitability. In addition, the proceeds would improve Noble Energy’s liquidity position and enable it to acquire other lucrative properties which would fetch higher returns. We believe the divestiture of these properties also cushioned Noble Energy’s operations from the ongoing depressed crude oil prices.




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