For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – September 18, 2012 – Zacks.com 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 Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY - Free Report) , ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) , Ocean Rig UDW Inc. (ORIG - Free Report) , Eni SpA (E - Free Report) and Repsol S.A (REPYY - Free Report) .
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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:
Earnings Preview: Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY - Free Report) , one of the leading operators of specialty retail stores in the U.S. and Canada, is scheduled to report its second-quarter 2012 financial results following the close of trade on September 19, 2012.
We presently expect earnings of $1.02 per share for the quarter, which is near the higher end of the company’s projected earnings range of 97 cents and $1.03. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is $2,538 million.
Looking Back - First-Quarter 2012
Bed Bath & Beyond reported a solid first-quarter 2012 result with respect to earnings growth, cash flow generation and overall financial strength. Earnings in the first quarter rose approximately 24% to 89 cents per share from the year-ago earnings of 72 cents, handily surpassing its earnings guidance range of 79 cents and 85 cents per share. Bed Bath & Beyond also outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 84 cents per share.
Bed Bath & Beyond's top line augmented almost 5.1% to $2,218.3 million in the first quarter from $2,110 million in the year-ago quarter. However, the company's top line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,243 million.
Accounting for the additional 53rd week in fiscal 2012, management forecasts a comparable-store sales increase of 2% to 4% for both the second quarter and fiscal 2012. Consequently, the company expects comparable-store sales to boost net sales by 5% to 7% in the second quarter and 6% to 8% in fiscal 2012.
Bed Bath & Beyond expects to deliver second-quarter 2012 earnings per share between 97 cents and $1.03. Moreover, the company continues to expect fiscal 2012 earnings per share to increase by a high-single to a low-double-digit percentage, including one additional week this fiscal year.
In addition to 12 stores opened so far in 2012, the company expects to open a total of 40 stores across all concepts in fiscal 2012. The company expects the 2012 mix of store openings by concept to remain similar to fiscal 2011.
Agreement of Estimate
For the second quarter of 2012, 1 of the 20 estimates was revised upwards in the last 30 days and 1 was revised in the opposite direction. In the last 7 days, 1 estimate moved up, while none moved down. Estimates for fiscal 2012 witnessed 1 and 2 (out of 19) upward revisions in the last 7 and 30 days, respectively, with no downward movements.
Exxon Hires Rig for Ireland Drilling
ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Ireland (Offshore) Limited, a unit of ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) , has formally informed partner Providence Resources P.l.c. the signing of a letter of intent with offshore drilling contractor Ocean Rig UDW Inc. (ORIG - Free Report) for the ultra deepwater semisubmersible drilling rig, Eirik Raude.
Per the terms of the Letter of Intent, the rig Eirik Raude will be employed to spud an exploration well at Dunquin, situated in Frontier Exploration Licence (FEL) 3/04, offshore Ireland. The rig is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2013 and drilling will likely be completed in about 6 months. However, the contract is subject to agreeable contract and corporate and co-venturer consent.
ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Ireland (Offshore) Limited, the operator of FEL 3/04, holds an interest of 27.5%. The other co-partners Eni SpA (E - Free Report) , Repsol S.A (REPYY - Free Report) , Providence Resources and Sosina Exploration Limited hold 27.5%, 25%, 16% and 4% stakes, respectively.
The deal will augment ExxonMobil’s operations as Dunquin forms a vital part of Dublin-based Providence's ongoing Irish multi-basin, multi-well drilling program. The company’s venture with Providence Resources – which controls most of Ireland’s offshore acreage – will allow joint development of oil fields in offshore Ireland as well as access to the know-how for developing unreachable resources. The deal could unlock huge oil reserves in the unexploited offshore province of Ireland. These developments will boost Exxon’s earnings in the near future.
ExxonMobil boasts diversified operations across the world with several new projects expected to come online through 2013. While Exxon functions in all corners of the globe, the main areas of focus for the coming years include the U.S., Canada, Kazakhstan, West Africa, Australia, Russia, Angola and Iraq for new volumes. On the exploration front, it includes unconventional natural gas across North America as well as offshore regions, including the Gulf of Mexico.
ExxonMobil carries a Zacks #3 Rank, which is equivalent to a Hold rating for a period of one to three months. Longer term, we maintain our Neutral recommendation.
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