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Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Valmont, Petrobras, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 30, 2012 – Zacks Equity Research highlights Valmont Industries, Inc. (VMI - Free Report) as the Bull of the Day and Petrobras S.A. - ADR (PBR - Free Report) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM - Free Report) , Wells Fargo & Company (WFC - Free Report) and Bank of America Corporation (BAC - Free Report) .


Full analysis of all these stocks is available at

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

We are maintaining our Outperform recommendation on Valmont Industries, Inc. (VMI - Free Report) following its strong second-quarter 2012 results. Revenues and earnings topped Zacks Consensus Estimates. Profit jumped 31% year over year on healthy revenue growth, boosted by a solid performance in the company's Utility Support Structures division.

Valmont is witnessing significant strength in the irrigation market and improving demand for its utility transmission structure. The company expects to post double-digit earnings growth in 2012 despite the European slowdown. The outlook for irrigation equipment is strong while demand for Utility Support Structures is expected to rise.

Healthy order activity and a growing backlog support expectations for a strong 2012. Our long-term Outperform recommendation indicates that it would exceed the broader market. Our price target of $153 is based on 18.3x our fiscal 2012 earnings estimate.


Bear of the Day:


Following the dismal second quarter showing from Petrobras S.A. - ADR (PBR - Free Report) , we are downgrading the Brazilian state-run energy giant to Underperform from Neutral. The Rio de Janeiro-headquartered company recently posted its first quarterly loss in 13 years on the back of a weak domestic currency, rising costs and heavy fuel imports.

We also remain concerned by Petrobras huge investment requirements, the possibility of heightened state interference and caps on local fuel prices. Partially offsetting these negatives are the company's strong pipeline of development projects and impressive exploration successes, as well as exposure to Brazil's economic growth and huge pre-salt oil reserves.

These factors are reflected in our downgrade of Petrobras ADRs to Underperform from Neutral. Our $20 price objective reflects a 2012 P/E multiple of 8.0x.



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FDIC-Insured Banks Report 2Q Profit


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured commercial banks and savings institutions reported second-quarter 2012 earnings of $34.5 billion, outpacing the prior-year quarter’s earnings of $28.5 billion by 21%. This marks the 12th consecutive quarter in which earnings have soared on a year-over-year basis.

Overall, the banking industry is gradually improving as evident from the second quarter. Though the number of troubled assets and institutions remain high, yet they are striving to show improvements. Moreover, loan balances increased in the quarter and loss provisions declined.

Results for the quarter were impacted by significant trading loss reported by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM - Free Report) in July. On the other hand, major banks like Wells Fargo & Company (WFC - Free Report) and Bank of America Corporation (BAC - Free Report) contributed to the overall earnings growth.

Performance in Detail

Institutions are striving hard to be profitable and are bolstering their productivity.

Around two-thirds of all institutions insured by the FDIC, which approximates 62.7%, reported enhanced quarterly net income compared to the prior year. Moreover, shares of institutions reporting net losses for the quarter slumped to 10.9% from 15.7% in the last year.

The profitability measure – average return on assets (ROA) surged to 0.99% from 0.85% in the prior-year quarter.

Net operating revenue stood at $165.4 billion, up 0.8% year over year. The increase was due to rise in gains from loan sales by $3.0 billion. Additionally, realized gains on investment securities and other assets also augmented by $1.7 billion compared with the prior year.

Net interest income was recorded at $105.6 billion, almost in line with the prior-year quarter. However, non-interest income rose to $59.8 billion from $58.2 billion recorded in the prior-year quarter.

Total non-interest expenses for the institutions were $103.4 billion in the quarter, slightly down on a year-over-year basis. The decline was aided by lower premises and equipment expenses and reduced other non-interest expenses, though partly offset by higher salaries and employee benefits expenses.

Credit Quality

Overall, credit quality marked an improvement in the second quarter of 2012. Net charge-offs substantially plummeted to $20.5 billion from $28.9 million in the second-quarter of 2011.

Loss provisions for the institutions in the second quarter were recorded at $14.2 billion, down 26% from $19.2 billion kept for losses in the prior-year quarter.

For the ninth consecutive quarter, the level of non-current loans and leases (those 90 days or more past due or in non-accrual status) declined. Moreover, the percentage of non-current loans and leases also reached the lowest level in more than three years, since the first quarter of 2009.

Balance Sheet

Total loans and leases were $7.5 trillion, up 1.4% year over year. This marked the fourth quarterly increase of loans in the last five quarters. Total deposits also continued to rise and were recorded at $10.3 trillion, up 0.6% year over year.

As of June 30, 2012, the net worth of the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) increased to $22.7 billion, up from $15.3 billion as of March 31, 2012. The rise in fund included $4.0 billion kept for debt guarantees under the FDIC's Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program.

Moreover, assessment revenue and lower expectation of bank failures also continued to impel growth in the fund balance. During the quarter, the contingent loss reserve, that covers the costs of expected failures, declined to $4.0 billion from $5.3 billion.

As of June 30, 2012, the number of "problem" institutions declined from 772 to 732, the lowest since year-end 2009. Total assets of "problem" institutions also fell to $282 billion from $292 billion.

Bank Failures

During the second quarter of 2012, 15 insured institutions failed, marking the smallest number of failures in a quarter since the fourth quarter of 2008, when it recorded 12 failures. Moreover, to date in the third quarter, nine banks have failed to sum the total for the year to 40. Last year the number stood at 68 failures in the comparable period.

Our Viewpoint

Besides the heartening decline in the list of problem institutions, the 12th straight quarter of consolidated profit from FDIC-insured banks is significantly impressive. While the financials of a few large banks continue to stabilize on the back of an economic recovery, the industry still remains on shaky ground.




Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to



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