Advertisements


Digital World Acquisition Stock Isn’t a Trainwreck Yet

InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips It's bound to become a trainwreck, but today trying to get even against a fervent base in DWAC stock isn't a smart investing strategy. The post Digital World Acquisition Stock Isn’t a Trainwreck Yet appeared first on InvestorPlace. More From InvestorPlace Stock Prodigy Who Found NIO at $2… Says Buy THIS Now Man Who Called Black Monday: “Prepare Now.” #1 EV Stock Still Flying Under the Radar Interested in Crypto? Read This First........»»

Category: topSource: investorplaceJan 14th, 2022

4 Software Stocks to Watch for in a Booming Industry

Computer Software industry participants like Microsoft (MSFT), Salesforce (CRM), Intuit (INTU) and Cadence Design Systems (CDNS) are benefiting from a steady digital transformation environment and strong adoption of cloud computing, despite coronavirus-led disruptions. The Zacks Computer Software industry is benefiting from the pandemic-induced accelerated digital transformation drive across the globe. Software is ubiquitous and has become the focal point of technological innovation. Apart from running devices and applications, its usage has been extended to managing infrastructure. The industry is primarily gaining from the ongoing cloud transition. The role of software is evolving. With the continuation of remote work setup and mainstream adoption of hybrid/flexible work model, the demand for voice and video communication software as well as productivity software is expected to increase exponentially. These trends bode well for industry participants like Microsoft MSFT, Salesforce CRM, Intuit INTU and Cadence Design Systems CDNS. Industry DescriptionThe Zacks Computer Software industry comprises companies that provide software applications related to cloud computing, electronic product designing, digital media and marketing, customer relationship management, on-premises as well as cloud-based database management, accounting and tax purposes, human capital management, cybersecurity and application performance monitoring and cloud-based enterprise communications platform among others. Some of the companies specialize in the development and marketing of simulation software (like the computer-aided design or “CAD”, 3D modelling, product lifecycle management or “PLM”, data orchestration and experience creation), which are widely used by engineers, designers and researchers across a broad spectrum of industries like architecture, engineering and construction; product design and manufacturing; and digital media3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Software IndustryHigher Spending on Software Aids Prospects: The industry’s prospects are bright, given higher spending by the enterprises on software procurement. Continued investment in big data and analytics along with the ongoing adoption of software as a service or SaaS opens up significant opportunities for industry players. Cloud offers a flexible and cost-effective platform to develop and test applications. The deployment time is also much shorter compared with legacy systems. SaaS companies are expected to register strong top-line growth on a higher percentage of recurring revenues, subscription gross margin and a lower churn rate.Cloud Computing Adoption Gaining Traction: The increasing need to secure the cloud platforms, amid growing incidents of cyber-attacks and hacking, is driving demand for cyber security software. Enterprises are focused on rapid migration to cloud and DevOps technologies to achieve scalability and agility for software development as well as IT operations. This helps in delivering a flawless digital experience to clients. This trend has brought immense value to application and infrastructure performance monitoring. It is driving the demand for performance management monitoring tools that are not only scalable but also suitable for cloud-based environments.Remote Work to Drive Demand, Worsening COVID-19 Situation a Concern: The continuation of work-from-home and online-learning set up along with the adoption of distributed workforce model is fueling demand for enterprise communication, workspace management and human capital management software solutions, among others. However, the coronavirus situation is highly evolving with the emergence of a more contagious Omicron variant. Several parts of the world (especially the U.K. and the rest of Europe) are grappling with increasing infection rates, leading to the reimposition of several COVID-19 restrictions. Even the United States is witnessing a surge in the Omicron outbreak. This could affect spending across small- and medium-sized businesses globally. The uncertainty in business visibility could dent the industry’s performance in the near term.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Computer Software industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer And Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #99, which places it in the top 39% of more than 254 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bright near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gaining confidence in this group’s earnings growth potential. Since Jan 31, 2021, the industry’s earnings estimate for 2021 has improved 6.1%.Before we present some stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, considering their prospects, let us look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Outperforms Sector and S&P 500The Zacks Computer Software industry has outperformed the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the S&P 500 Index in the past year.The industry has rallied 25.1% over this period compared with the S&P 500’s rise of 18.4% and the broader sector’s increase of 8%.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current Valuation On the basis of forward 12-month P/E, which is a commonly used multiple for valuing software companies, we see that the industry is currently trading at 32.9X compared with the S&P 500’s 20.65X. It is also above the sector’s forward-12-month P/E of 26.08X.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 37.26X, as low as 22.60X and at the median of 27.07X, as the chart below shows.Forward 12-Month Price-to-Earnings (P/E) RatioForward 12-Month P/E Ratio4 Software Stocks to Snap Up Right NowSalesforce: Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Salesforce is the leading provider of on-demand Customer Relationship Management software, enabling organizations to manage critical operations, such as sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, document management, analytics and custom application development.Salesforce is benefiting from a robust demand environment as customers are undergoing a major digital transformation. The rapid adoption of its cloud-based solutions is driving demand for its products. Salesforce’s sustained focus on introducing more aligned products per customers’ needs is driving the top line. The recent acquisition of Slack would position the company as a leader in the enterprise team collaboration solution space and compete with Microsoft’s Teams product.Salesforce sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is at $4.68 per share, up 6.4% in the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: CRMMicrosoft: The Redmond, WA-based company is benefiting from momentum in its Azure cloud platform amid accelerated digital transformation around the globe. The company is now one of the two public cloud providers that can deliver a wide variety of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions at scale.Microsoft is witnessing growth in the user base of its different applications, including Microsoft 365 suite and Dynamics. Recovery in ad and job market boosted LinkedIn and Search revenues. Teams’ user growth is gaining from the continuation of remote work and the implementation of a flexible work model. The solid uptake of new Xbox consoles is aiding the gaming segment performance.Shares of Microsoft have returned 33.5% in a year’s time. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $9.14 per share, up 2 cents in the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: MSFT  Intuit: Mountain View, CA-based Intuit is a business and financial software company that develops and sells financial, accounting and tax preparation software and related services for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals globally.Intuit is benefiting from strong momentum in online ecosystem revenues and solid professional tax revenues. The TurboTax Live offering is also driving growth in the Consumer tax business. Solid momentum in the company’s lending product, QuickBooks Capital, remains a positive factor. Moreover, the company’s strategy of shifting its business to a cloud-based subscription model will help generate stable revenues over the long run.Shares of Intuit have returned 45.3% in a year’s time. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #2 company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $11.68 per share.Price and Consensus: INTU Cadence Design Systems: The San Jose, CA-based company is well-positioned to gain from strength across segments like digital & signoff solutions and functional verification suite. Expanding product portfolio and frequent product launches are a key catalyst.Increasing investments on emerging trends like Internet-of-things (IoT), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) as well as autonomous vehicle sub-systems present significant growth opportunities for the company in the long haul. The recent acquisitions of Pointwise and NUMECA are expected to boost the top line.In the past year, shares of Cadence have returned 9.4%. The consensus mark for this Zacks Rank #2 company’s 2021 earnings is pegged at $3.25 per share, unchanged in the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: CDNS  5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report salesforce.com, inc. (CRM): Free Stock Analysis Report Intuit Inc. (INTU): Free Stock Analysis Report Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (CDNS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

4 Stocks to Watch From the Prospering Business-Software Services Industry

The Zacks Business-Software Services industry players like CTSH, MSCI, TYL and PLUS are poised to benefit from the robust demand trend for multi-cloud-enabled software solutions. The Zacks Business-Software Services industry is benefiting from heightened demand for digital transformation and the ongoing shift to the cloud. Growing automation business processes across multiple industries and rapidly increasing enterprise data volumes are also driving demand for business software and services. Industry participants like Cognizant Technology Solutions CTSH, MSCI MSCI, Tyler Technologies TYL, and ePlus PLUS are gaining from these trends.Though the pandemic-induced chaos is expected to hurt in the near term, the health crisis has opened up new channels of growth for business software services providers. The industry participants have witnessed solid demand for software-as-a-service (SaaS) amid the pandemic-triggered surging need for remote working, online learning, and diagnosis software. SaaS offers a flexible and cost-effective delivery method of applications. It also cuts down on the deployment time compared to legacy systems. Moreover, SaaS attempts to deliver applications to any user, anywhere, anytime, and on any device.Industry DescriptionThe Zacks Business-Software Services industry primarily comprises companies that deliver application-specific software products and services. The applications are typically either license-based or cloud-based. The offerings generally include applications related to finance, sales & marketing, human resource, and supply chain, among others. The industry includes a broad range of companies offering a wide range of products and services including business processing and consulting, application development, testing and maintenance, office productivity suits, systems integration, infrastructure services, and network security applications. Some of the companies provide investment-decision support tools. Manufacturing, retail, banking, insurance, telecommunication, healthcare, and public sectors are the primary end markets for industry participants.4 Trends Shaping the Future of the Business-Software Services IndustryTransition to Cloud-Creating Opportunities: Companies in this industry have been gaining from the robust demand for multi-cloud-enabled software solutions, given the ongoing transition from legacy platforms to modern cloud-based infrastructure. These industry players are incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) in their applications to make the same more dynamic and result-oriented. Most industry players are now offering cloud-based versions of their solutions in addition to the on-premise ones, thereby expanding content accessibility. The enhanced interoperability features provide customers with differentiation and efficiency.Subscription Model Gaining Traction: The industry participants are modifying their business models to cope with clients’ shifting requirements. Subscription and term-license-based revenue pricing models have become highly popular and are now replacing the legacy upfront payment prototype. Subscription-based business models provide increased revenue visibility and higher recurring revenues, which bode well for companies over the long haul. However, due to this transition, the top-line growth of these companies might be affected in the days to come, as term-license revenues include advance payments, whereas subscription-based revenues are a bit delayed.Continuous M&A to Expand Product Offerings: The players in this industry are resorting to frequent mergers and acquisitions to supply complementary and end-to-end software products. Nonetheless, increasing investments in digital offerings and acquisitions might erode the industry’s profitability in the upcoming period.Evolving COVID-19 Situation Might Hurt Tech Spending: According to the latest report from Gartner, enterprises are likely to spend more on technology as they realize that sound technological infrastructure is the key to positive business outcomes. Therefore, the independent research firm estimates worldwide IT spending to increase 5.5% year over year and reach $4.5 trillion in 2022. However, with the emergence of the more contagious coronavirus variants — Delta and Omicron —several parts of the world are grappling with a massive spike in infection rates, leading to stringent lockdowns. This could affect IT spending across small- and medium-sized businesses, globally, as organizations may push back their investments in big and expensive technology products due to the global economic slowdown concerns. The uncertainty in business visibility could dent the industry’s performance in the near term.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Business-Software Services industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #80, which places it in the top 31% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bright near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of the positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are optimistic on this group’s earnings growth potential. The industry’s earnings estimate for 2022 has moved up by 18.5% to 96 cents over the past year.Estimate Revision For 2022Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Lags S&P 500, Outperforms SectorThe Zacks Business-Software Services industry has underperformed the S&P 500 Index but outperformed the broader Zacks Computer And Technology sector over the past year.The industry has risen 23.9% during this period compared with the broader sector’s rise of 19% and the S&P 500’s rally of 25.4%.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationComparing the industry with the S&P 500 composite and broader sector on the basis of the forward 12-month price-to-earnings, which is a commonly-used multiple for valuing business-software services stocks, we see, the industry’s ratio of 29.61X is higher than the S&P 500’s 21.59X and the sector’s 27.84X.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 37.74X, as low as 6.60X, and recorded a median of 21.85X as the charts below show.F12M Price-to-Earnings Ratio (Industry Vs S&P 500)F12M Price-to-Earnings Ratio (Industry Vs Sector)4 Stocks to Keep a Close Eye On MSCI: This Zacks #2 (Buy) Ranked company offers investment decision support tools, including indexes; portfolio construction and risk management products and services; Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) research and ratings; and real estate research, reporting and benchmarking offerings. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. MSCI is benefiting from solid demand for custom and factor index modules, a recurring revenue business model and the growing adoption of its ESG solution in the investment process. The acquisition of Carbon Delta also enhances MSCI’s ability to provide climate-risk assessment and assist investors with climate-risk disclosure requirements. Additionally, the strong traction from client segments like wealth management, banks, and broker dealers is a positive for the company.Shares of this New York-based company have gained 30.2% during the past year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings has moved 7 cents north to $11.20 per share over the past seven days.Price and Consensus: MSCICognizant Technology Solutions: It is a leading professional services company. The company offers digital services and solutions, consulting, application development, systems integration, application testing, application maintenance, infrastructure services and business process services.Cognizant’s domain expertise and the ability to harness the ongoing digital transition are key catalysts. It is witnessing strength in high quality, lower-cost technology services including cloud and digital engineering services, and increased demand for interactive, Internet of Things and analytics solutions. Steady growth in Healthcare, Communications, Media and Technology clients is a positive.This Teaneck, NJ-based company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at present. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings has moved up by a penny to $4.50 per share over the past 60 days. Shares of CTSH have gained 8.9% over the past year.Price and Consensus: CTSH Tyler Technologies: This Zacks Rank #3 company is a leading provider of integrated information-management solutions and services to the public sector. The company serves its customers both on-premise and in the cloud.Tyler is benefiting from higher recurring revenues, post-acquisition contributions of NIC, and constant rebound of the market and sales activities to pre-COVID levels. The public sector’s ongoing transition from on-premise and outdated systems to scalable cloud-based systems are positives. The coronavirus-led remote-working trend is also driving demand for its connectivity and cloud services.Shares of this Plano, TX-based company have gained 14.5% over the past year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings has moved up by 5 cents to $6.74 per share over the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: TYLePlus: This Herndon, VA-based company enables organizations to optimize their IT infrastructure and supply-chain processes by delivering world-class IT products from top manufacturers, professional services, flexible lease financing, proprietary software, and patented business methods.The company is benefiting from the pandemic-driven demand for work-from-home hardware and software including, PCs, tablets, connectivity, collaboration, and security products. Apart from this, the company’s strategy of acquiring regional solution providers is helping it grow across the higher-margin IT services market.This Zacks Rank #3 stock has gained approximately 9.4% in the trailing 12 months. The consensus mark for fiscal 2022 earnings has remained unchanged at $3.87 per share in 90 days’ time.Price and Consensus: PLUS Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (CTSH): Free Stock Analysis Report MSCI Inc (MSCI): Free Stock Analysis Report ePlus inc. (PLUS): Free Stock Analysis Report Tyler Technologies, Inc. (TYL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

Top Stock Picks For 2022

2022 is a stock pickers market and the recent dip provides us with some favorable pricing for these winning picks. After a brief yield-fueled market pullback to start the year, 2022’s looks ripe with fresh investment opportunities. Below I break down 6 innovation-powered picks for the rapidly digitalizing economic environment that the new normal is poised to drive materially higher.An Accommodative FedFed Chair Powell's dovish words of relief in his reconfirmation hearing on Capitol Hill provided a friendly bid for recently pressured equities (especially deeply discounted innovation), giving US Treasury yields a chance to take a momentary pause before the Fed's January meeting at the end of this month.Jerome Powell remains stoic in his positioning regarding the persistent nature of global supply and demand imbalances that he maintains are being generated by relentless COVID pressures, which have yet to subside (I agree with this perspective).Jerome acknowledged that the aggressive monetary stimulus the Fed provided public markets for nearly 2 years now is no longer necessary but didn't sound anxious to raise the Fed Funds rate back to pre-pandemic levels in any expedited manner.Powell reiterated what he had said in December's FOMC meeting: we are operating in a digitalized economic environment that is entirely different than the one we left behind in 2019 (no past comparable can be used as reference). The Fed has lowered its long-term target Fed Funds range by 50 basis points since the pandemic began, implying a systemic economic shift that could support lower rates.Jerome's dovish comments about the natural inflation curbing ahead coupled with a slow and steady monetary tightening strategy were just what the market needed to hear. Powell may have put a bottom in for the best-positioned high-growth stocks in the market. It's time to get greedy as others remain fearful.CrowdStrike (CRWD)When asked what he thought the greatest threat to the US economy was at present, Fed Chair Jerome Powell's answer wasn't the Omicron-variant, inflation, or even global economic turmoil but a cyberattack on a prominent US financial institution. CrowdStrike CRWD and its unmatchable cutting-edge AI-fueled cybersecurity platform is the long-term opportunity for this looming digital threat. Any price below $200 a share is a steal for CRWD.CrowdStrike is trusted by Wall Street's top firms, including Goldman Sachs GS and Credit Suisse CS, who can't afford to have any digital vulnerabilities.CrowdStrike is a modern cloud-based solution for the escalating security threats that the increasingly mobile internet age has brought. This company leverages AI, cloud computing, and graph databases for its vigilant security software. CrowdStrike's security AI is perpetually improving as it advances from crowdsourcing and economies of scale. CRWD's cloud-based Falcon platform is an intelligent and evolving digital protector that detects and stops breaches in real-time. This business was provided with a tremendous tailwind in 2020 as the enterprise's best-in-class AI-driven cybersecurity platform became arguably the most sought-after in the industry. Business spending is taking off as we enter 2022 and the economy finally reemerges from the Pandemic downturn. Upgrading cybersecurity is on the top of that Cap Ex list for many financial institutions. CrowdStrike's best-in-class AI-powered Falcon platforms are the obvious solution to any business's digital susceptibility concerns.The TradeThe Fed has now set its interest rate expectations for 2022, and I believe it's prudent to start a position in this best-in-class cybersecurity stock for the future.The market looks to have put in a bottom to CRWD's precipitous decline at just below $175 a share. Look to buy CRWD between $200 and $190, which I presume we reach at some point in today's session, with profit pulling in mega-cap tech weighing on sentiment for high-valuation stocks.Final Thought On CRWDCrowdStrike is taking over the cybersecurity space with its unmatchable threat detection and immediate response capabilities that continue to improve as its proven AI-driven platform learns and adapts to mounting risks. No matter what happens in the broader economy, there will continue to be a swelling demand for this technology as the rapid digital adaptation exposes more and more endpoint liabilities.The company is expected to turn a full-year profit in 2022. Its proliferating subscription-based business model provides the visibility & reliability that justify its still frothy valuation (24x price to forward sales).This is a high-risk/high-reward play, so I am only giving it a 5% allocation. Still, with price targets averaging around $300 a share, I am confident that reward far outweighs the risk in the long run, as long as you can stomach some short-term volatility.ACM Research (ACMR)The time to reopen our Headline Trader portfolio to the recently suppressed Chinese stocks has come, with Biden's administration making clear efforts to resume its alliance with Beijing (after years of political turmoil). At the same time, China's overdue economic recovery commences as it prepares for the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, which is now less than 4 weeks away.At the same time, the ripping rally in US public equities has been decelerating over the past 2 months, following an over 100% bull run from the S&P 500 since the pandemic lows in March 2020 (40% above pre-pandemic high), and investors are beginning to look abroad for higher return opportunities.I am adding ACM Research ACMR, a niche small-cap semiconductor play with ideal exposure in Asia. ACMR provides substantial upside potential at its currently discounted valuation, with its rapidly accelerating chipmaking capacity and its strategic Chinese exposure being the primary buy catalyst.ACM Research is a global leader in semiconductor equipment. As chip manufacturers in Asia begin ramping up production, ACM's best-in-class chipmaking equipment is poised to take flight following a year and a half of sideways trading action.Chip demands far surpassing current production capacities entering the digital renaissance of the 4th Industrial Revolution, positioning this business to explode as the Roaring 20s recommence.China Risk's May Be USChinese stocks have been hammered for nearly a year now, as President Xi and his increasingly autocratic communist administration crackdown on the swelling wealth in its booming tech sector. Xi's fear of losing control of "his" nation to a wealthy group of elites is reminiscent of Mao Zedong's totalitarian regime.This paranoid egotistical positioning has led to a tidal wave of new tech-focused regulations under the guise of elevating "equality" and improved "productivity." These have capitulated the value of this nation's most prominent innovators by a meaningful amount.Those stocks that had been at the center of these regulatory headwinds have seen their share values significantly deteriorate, presenting some superior long-term prospects as the global economy reemerges from the pandemic with a digitally fueled ambition.The CatalystACM Research is a US-based capital equipment firm. Yet, its 3 most prominent customers, representing 76% of 2020 revenue, are based in mainland China, with another nearly 10% of its sales going to a South Korean chip innovator. Over the past 5 years, China and Korea have seen their semiconductor spaces drive compounded annual revenue growth of 20.7% & 19.5% and have become the epicenter for future development for ACMR.As ACM Research takes advantage of the booming demand, this chip equipment powerhouse is rapidly ramping up its own equipment production capacity and capabilities (more offerings) in the region. The company has several new expansion projects for organic growth that will continue to fuel this stock's growth in 2022.ACMR remains a small-cap equity with a market cap of less than $1.5 billion, but with proven profitable growth between 35% - 45% in the past 3 years, and a place in Morgan Stanley's short list of 2022 chip picks, it’s only a matter of time before the market gets wind of this unique investment thesis and lifts ACMR out of its small-cap shadow and into the large-cap spotlight.6 out of 6 analysts are calling ACMR a buy today now, with price targets between $100 and $150 (representing upsides between 27% and 92%). Not to mention the increasingly bullish outlook on ACMR has thrusted this stock into a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).SMART Global Holdings (SGH)SMART Global Holdings SGH is the under-the-radar semiconductor stock you've been looking for, with its broadening portfolio of cutting-edge chips poised to take flight in this commencing technological Renaissance.SGH is roaring out of the shadows with an ambitious growth strategy that won't remain under the investors' radars for much longer. New CEO Mark Adams is transforming this once complacent memory-focused legacy tech business into a motivated leader in niche innovations.The company released a record quarterly report at the start of 2022, blowing analysts' estimates out of the water and raising forward guidance. However, SGH's undiscovered attributes appear to have both positive and negative consequences, which we saw in its (unwarranted) post-earnings capitulation. This drop-off is a technical retreat catalyzed by the overbought RSI levels it had reached in recent weeks after an over 100% 52-week run into this year opening earnings report (confusion about the upcoming stock split may also be playing a role).The good news is that it presents us with an excellent long-term investment and short-term trading opportunity as the stock picks up support at its 50-day moving average.SMART Global shares' exceedingly thin trading volumes (low liquidity due to its under-the-radar quality) allowed a small group of controlling institutional shareholders to direct its post-earnings narrative. They pulled profits from this recent winner (up 70% since mid-October), and the downward momentum catalyzed a fear-fueled momentum sell-off.The TradeDon't let these big-shot Wall Street firms scare you away from this clear-cut winner. SGH's post-earnings capitulation is extraordinarily overdone and with the recent shareholder shuffle.Silver Lake, a nearly $100 billion tech-focus private equity fund, had been the primary shareholders of SGH since it went public in 2017 until this past fall when the global investment group completely exited the trade (with public returns of nearly 400% in just a few years), leaving $10s of millions in stock value up for grabs.SMART Global's ownership has since been erratic, with most of the investing world still unaware of this small-cap stock's existence. SGH's ownership is almost entirely institutional at this point, and with the already thin volumes, its vulnerability to short-term price manipulation is high.Nevertheless, those analysts covering SGH are more bullish than ever after its most recent quarterly release.The Earnings ReportSMART Global SGH reported its November quarter results (fiscal Q1 2022) after the closing bell Tuesday afternoon (1/4), beating analysts' estimates and raising guidance, yet SGH fell off a cliff. SMART Global achieved record revenues and margins that flowed down to an incredible 177% increase in per-share profits, with its top-of-the-line intelligence platforms (AI, HPC, & other cloud-functionality) being this next-generation innovator's primary growth driver.SGH was down as much as 18% in its post-earnings price action, but I remain unconvinced that it will stay below $70 a share for long. This knee-jerk sell-off reaction resulted from its small market cap (less than $1.5 billion), concentrated ownership, and overbought RSI levels, which SGH had floated up into following its sizable 25% end-of-year rally.SGH also announced that it would be initiating a 2-for-1 stock split, which would go into effect at the beginning of February. This is a clear signal from SMART Global's new CEO, Mark Adams, whose savvy ambition for innovative growth is the primary reason we are in SGH, that this stock is headed much higher. Either way, I'm more bullish on SGH post-earnings than ever before.The TransformationNow is the time to add this hidden gem to your portfolio before the broader investing world catches wind of this discounted chip winner.SMART Global has been around since the late 80s, but it wasn't until Mark Adams took the helm amid the pandemic last year that this chipmaker's upside potential went through the roof. Adams is transforming this once complacent memory-focused legacy tech company into an energized visionary.Adams was the leading force behind SGH's quick strategic acquisition of Cree's niche LED chip business at the peak of pandemic fear for a steal at $300 million. Cree LED's synergies are already paying dividends as it drives margin expansion, improves the firm's capital & operational efficiency, and provides critical industry relationships.SMART Global's new forward-thinking chief has already vastly improved its operational performance and is ramping up R&D spending to ensure that the enterprise remains ahead of the innovative curve.Analysts are getting increasingly bullish on this under-the-radar transformation play as SGH flips the switch on accelerating profitable growth, knocking estimates out of the park by an expanding percentage over the past 3 quarters. Zacks Consensus EPS Estimates for SGH's have been soaring across all time horizons after this most recent quarterly report driving the stock into a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), and all 6 covering analysts agree on a buy rating for the unique value opportunity here.The New Business MixSMART Global Holdings had been a reliable pure-play memory leader in the chip space for over 30 years before deciding to broaden its product portfolio, which appeared to be catalyzed by activist investors following SGH's 2017 IPO. The company has since executed 4 strategic acquisitions.Penguin Computing was SGH's first vital acquisition ($85 million price tag) back in 2018, adding a broad portfolio of leading next-generation products, including high-performance computing (HPC), cloud computing, hyperscale data centers, and the development of artificial intelligence (AI). This segment has exploded since its acquisition as its AI-focused products experience budding demand. In the summer of 2019, this resourceful chip giant acquired Artesyn Embedded Computing and Inforce Computing for $80 million and $12 million, respectively. Artesyn (which is now called Smart Embedded Computing) provides critical data center architecture used in "industries such as telecom, military and aerospace, medical, and diverse automation and industrial markets," according to its website.SMART Wireless Computing (formerly known as Inforce Computing) exposes the enterprise to cutting-edge technologies like "medical imaging, collaboration/videoconferencing, wearable hands-free computing, and robotics/unmanned aerial vehicles," according to its investor relations page.SMART's diverse set of growing end-market demands provides the company with an enormous total addressable market (TAM), significant upside potential, and not to mention an excellent hedge against the cyclical nature of the semiconductor market.The mere 11x forward P/E that SGH is currently trading at is a remarkably underappreciated valuation multiple for a high-growth tech business that is expected to exhibit consistent 20%+ earnings growth in the years to come.Final Thoughts On SGHWith its fresh innovation-oriented operational outlay, Mark Adams at the helm (with a now proven track record of skilled management), and an industry-wide outlook of accelerating growth, the future SGH has never been brighter. SGH’s post-earnings capitulation has presented us with an incredible investment opportunity today.Analysts are more bullish than ever on this undiscovered profitable growth chip innovator, which will likely not remain under the broader market’s radar for long. I’m looking at price targets between $90 and $100 a share.Uber (UBER)Uber's UBER heavily discounted valuation is finally receiving the attention it deserves as investors begin to recognize the opportunity that this leading mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) business provides in the new normal. Uber Eats & Uber Rides are poised to explode with margin expanding growth in the new normal as our digitally conditioned global economy relies on these leading mobility services more than ever.A flood of analysts are coming out with exceptionally bullish outlooks on this next-generation global leader in digitally fueled mobility solutions. 22 out of 25 analysts are calling Uber a buy now, with no sell ratings. UBER is trading 75% below its average price target of more than $70 a share and it continues to rise.Alaskan Air (ALK)Alaskan Air ALK is perfectly positioned for the 2022 as it becomes the go-to budget airliner. Alaskan took advantage of the unique growth opportunity the pandemic shutdowns presented, adding 70 new markets, and is one of the few commercial airlines to return to profitability in the third quarter of 2021. Its commitment to customer satisfaction and focus on ESG goals will keep ALK at the top of its class.  The CompanyAlaskan Air ALK, primarily driven by vacationers instead of business travel, generated its first positive quarterly earnings since the pandemic began in Q3 as it benefited from the summer getaway rush. I see ALK as the best-positioned airline moving forward with its best-in-class budget vacation offering and still ripening synergies from its acquisition of Virgin America back in 2016.ALK has been an outperforming airline throughout the pandemic with an ESG-focus and no business travel reliance. Analysts have been pushing their price targets to around $80 a share (38% upside), with estimated record earnings by 2023. ALK just busted above its 50-day moving average, and is on its way towards its consensus price target.With remote working functionalities like cloud computing, video conferencing, team messaging, workflow automation, etc., analysts are beginning to rightly question whether companies will be paying up for flights when the job can and has proven to be done in a remote environment.Corporate travel will not return to pre-pandemic levels, at least not anytime soon, and the stocks to stick with are the budget vacation plays, with Alaskan Air being at the top of that value list. I’m looking at price targets between $75 and $100 a share, for this airliner of the New Normal.Upstart (UPST)Upstart UPST, the AI-driven fintech innovator changing the way creditworthiness is assessed, is ripe for a buy today with a couple of key support levels ready to maintain its recent buoyancy, following an overdone sell-off.The final quarter of 2021 was horrendous for the top fintech innovators, with Cathie Wood's ARK Invest Fintech ETF ARKF, the benchmark for next-generation digital finance, falling over 25%. Investors have been selling growth stocks indiscriminately, creating some excellent buying opportunities for the best-positioned fintech equities.UPST has seen significant valuation compression from its mid-October 2021 highs at $400, but the over 1,500% gain it saw from its IPO last December may have been a little overzealous. With UPST now 70% below those highs, it's time to consider adding UPST to your portfolio.Upstart's recent capitulation was catalyzed by profit-pulling in the face of Q3 earnings coupled with the Fed's accelerating tapering timeline, which has valuation compressing impacts on this fintech giant, do to its outsized growth outlay (analysts expecting to see 250% topline appreciation in 2021).UPST found critical support at a vital Fib-derived level around $160, where the markets appear to have put in a temporary bottom.I am looking at a UPST price target of $300+ with quarterly performance continuously outpacing even the most optimistic analysts. Upstart is looking at an unprecedented profitable growth outlook, and with most fresh fintech startups not even able to post positive earnings, UPST is more attractive than ever.The BusinessThis AI-powered cloud incepted fintech business is changing the way banks assess creditworthiness. Many fintech giants are competing against banks, but Upstart has decided to partner with them in its next-generation offering. This is an excellent position to be in as a high-growth company in a rising interest rate environment because higher rates means more profits for banks, which should inevitably drive significant demand for Upstart's one-of-a-kind product offering.The AI platform uses more than 1,600 differing variables before coming to the conclusion of creditworthiness compared to the typical bank, which only looks at 8-15 and the most sophisticated models 30.Upstart's CEO David Girouard said his lending algorithm is 5 times more effective than current systems at accurately depicting a person's ability to repay a loan. Saying that on a scale of 1-100, the current credit regimes are only at about 2 on predicting risk of default, and David believes his AI platform would put banks at closer to a 10, with still a lot more room to grow. Upstart's AI is continuously learning and will continue to be more effective as it is provided with more datasets.A Strategy To Stick To Amid 2022’s Chop:“Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful”Continue to buy the dips in your favorite stocks and look past the short-term volatility (don’t let this choppy market discourage you).Happy Trading!Dan LaboeEquity Strategist & Manager of The Headline Trader Portfolio at Zacks Investment Research Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS): Free Stock Analysis Report Credit Suisse Group (CS): Free Stock Analysis Report ACM Research, Inc. (ACMR): Free Stock Analysis Report Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK): Free Stock Analysis Report SMART Global Holdings, Inc. (SGH): Free Stock Analysis Report ARK Fintech Innovation ETF (ARKF): ETF Research Reports Uber Technologies, Inc. (UBER): Free Stock Analysis Report CrowdStrike (CRWD): Free Stock Analysis Report Upstart Holdings, Inc. (UPST): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

Builders FirstSource (BLDR) Closes National Lumber Buyout

Builders FirstSource (BLDR) completes the acquisition of National Lumber, a major independent building materials supplier in New England. Builders FirstSource, Inc. BLDR recently announced the acquisition of National Lumber, which is a major independent building materials supplier in New England. The financial terms of the deal have been kept under wraps.National Lumber, which operates 19 facilities, has more than 700 people across Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. This acquisition will drive Builders FirstSource's top line. In 2021, National Lumber sales are anticipated to be nearly $440 million.Dave Flitman, president and CEO of Builders FirstSource, said, “The company’s diverse building materials and service offerings, which include prefabricated components to millwork and their strong R&R mix, will add even more depth to the value-added solutions Builders FirstSource customers rely on.”Acquisitions Continue to Drive GrowthAcquisitions are an important part of Builders FirstSource's growth strategy to supplement its organic growth and expand extensively across vast geographic boundaries. On Sep 1, 2021, the company acquired California TrusFrame for $193.4 million. The company is optimistic in this regard, as the acquisition is likely to pave the path for value addition and provide access to new customers. During the third quarter of 2021, acquisitions contributed to net sales growth of 8%.On Aug 17, 2021, Builders FirstSource completed the buyout of WTS Paradigm, LLC. WTS Paradigm is a software solutions and services provider for the building products industry. On Jul 1, Builders FirstSource acquired Alliance Lumber, thereby expanding the company’s reach in Arizona and other fastest-growing areas of the country.On May 3, Builders FirstSource acquired a family-owned leading supplier of lumber and other building materials company — John’s Lumber. The acquisition enhanced Builders FirstSource’s product portfolio and expanded its reach within Michigan.On Jan 1, 2021, it completed an all-stock merger transaction with BMC. The buyout of BMC will help it increase its geographical reach in a highly fragmented industry, enhance value-added offerings and generate a higher level of free cash flow to invest in growth. Before the BMC merger, the company integrated 43 acquisitions since 1998.In the past six months, shares of the Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company have gained 91.6%, compared with the industry’s rally of 30.1%. Along with strategic acquisitions, the company has been benefiting from cost synergies, digital solutions, robust housing and repair & remodeling activities.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOther Key PicksBeazer Homes USA, Inc. BZH currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. This Atlanta-based homebuilder continues to gain from strong operational execution and sustained strength in the housing market. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Beazer Homes has gained 48% over the past year. Its earnings are expected to grow 23.7% in fiscal 2022.Quanta Services, Inc. PWR currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Based in Houston, TX, Quanta is gaining from a three-pronged growth strategy focused on timely delivery of projects to exceed customer expectation; leverage on core business to expand in complementary adjacent service lines and continuation of exploring new service lines. Overall, the company’s engineering and project management capabilities allow it to capitalize on market trends that are currently skewed toward engineering, procurement and construction or EPC model.Quanta has gained 43.1% over the past year. Its earnings are expected to improve by 28.3% in 2022.United Rentals, Inc. URI currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. Based in Stamford, CT, this company is the largest equipment rental company in the world. It has been benefiting from broad-based growth across the company’s verticals, with persistent growth opportunities for certain non-residential verticals including data center, healthcare and warehouse projects.United Rentals shares have gained 26.6% over the past year. Its earnings are expected to grow 21.3% in 2022. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First To New Top 10 Stocks >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Quanta Services, Inc. (PWR): Free Stock Analysis Report Builders FirstSource, Inc. (BLDR): Free Stock Analysis Report Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (BZH): Free Stock Analysis Report United Rentals, Inc. (URI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 6th, 2022

Blackbaud (BLKB) Buys EVERFI for $750M: Major Takeaways

Blackbaud's (BLKB) EVERFI acquisition expands the company's total addressable market to more than $20 billion Blackbaud BLKB recently announced that it acquired Washington D.C.-based EVERFI in a cash and stock deal worth $750 million, subject to certain customary conditions. EVERFI’s CEO Tom Davidson and the company’s entire executive team will join Blackbaud, post acquistion.The cash consideration worth $450 million has been financed by utilizing cash on hand and new borrowings under the company’s credit facilities. The remaining $300 million is financed using the Blackbaud’s common stock.EVERFI specializes in providing Impact-as-a-Service (“IaaS”) solution and digital educational content, which is now being used by 45 million learners worldwide, noted Blackbaud. The acquisition also provides cross-selling and upselling opportunities with Blackbaud’s YourCause solution.EVERFI expands Blackbaud’s total addressable market or TAM to more than $20 billion. Half of the company’s TAM now represents the lucrative corporate sector, added Blackbaud. With the EVERFI acquisition, Blackbaud is looking to expand its presence in the fast-growing environmental, social and governance (ESG) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) space.Blackbaud, Inc. Price and Consensus Blackbaud, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Blackbaud, Inc. QuoteBlackbaud also added that the acquisition would be immediately accretive to the company’s revenue growth. More importantly, the EVERFI buyout along with the company’s recent financial performance will enable Blackbaud to achieve its long-term goal of mid-to-high single-digit organic revenue growth relatively earlier, starting from 2022.EVERFI is expected to contribute $120 million to Blackbaud’s revenues in 2022 with “year-on-year growth approaching 20%,” stated Blackbaud.Blackbaud’s Sound Acquisition StrategyBlackbaud is active on the acquisition front and selects companies that can be easily integrated within its existing or new product lines. The company is engaged in providing cloud-based and on-premise software solutions and related services primarily for social good organizations.The YourCause acquisition has bolstered Blackbaud’s position as one of the industry leaders in offering enterprise philanthropy solutions to non-profit organizations and for-profit business organisations companies that deal with social concerns. Blackbaud acquired YourCause in 2019 for nearly $157 million.The company’s JustGiving (2017) acquisition helped the company to expand its peer-to-peer fundraising abilities. Buyouts like AcademicWorks (2017) and Smart Tuition (2015) helped Blackbaud expand its offerings in the K-12 technology sector.Moreover, Blackbaud noted that EVERFI’s presence in the K-12 public school domain is complementary to the company’s presence in the K-12 private schools and higher education vertical.These acquisitions have significantly expanded the Blackbaud’s TAM. The company has more than 45,000 clients across 100 countries.However, the company’s performance is likely to be affected by evolving coronavirus-situation which might negatively impact demand across small- and medium-sized businesses. Stiff competition in the cloud space and a leveraged balance sheet are other concerns.Zacks Rank and Stocks to ConsiderAt present, Blackbaud carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Salesforce CRM, Hewlett Packard HPE and Microsoft MSFT. While Salesforce and Hewlett Packard sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Microsoft carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Salesforce’s fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $4.68 per share, up 6.4% in the past 60 days. The long-term earnings growth rate of the company is pegged at 16.8%.Salesforce’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 44.2%. Shares of the company have increased 15.3% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Hewlett Packard’s fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $2.03 per share, unchanged in the past 60 days. The long-term earnings growth rate of the company is pegged at 5.8%.Hewlett Packard’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters, the average surprise being 14.4%. Shares of the company have rallied 37% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Microsoft’s fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $9.13 per share. The long-term earnings growth rate of the company is pegged at 12%.Microsoft’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters, the average surprise being 14.8%. Shares of the company have surged 53.6% in the past year. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report salesforce.com, inc. (CRM): Free Stock Analysis Report Blackbaud, Inc. (BLKB): Free Stock Analysis Report Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (HPE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 4th, 2022

Why Ralph Lauren (RL) has a Robust Upside Story Despite Woes

Ralph Lauren (RL) is poised to gain from strong consumer demand, digital growth, AUR growth and omni-channel initiatives. The "Next Great Chapter" plan also bodes well. Ralph Lauren Corporation RL displays a remarkable upside story despite the looming effects of the coronavirus pandemic, higher marketing expenses and supply-chain disruptions. The company has been gaining from sturdy consumer demand for casual bottoms, sweaters and fleece, along with high potential in underdeveloped categories — particularly denim, accessories and home. RL’s focus on expanding digital and omni-channel capabilities, through investments in the mobile app, omni-channel and fulfillment, bodes well.Ralph Lauren continued with its stellar performance in second-quarter fiscal 2022. It reported the fifth straight earnings beat and the third consecutive revenue surprise in the fiscal second quarter. Earnings and revenues also improved year over year. The results gained from solid performance across all regions, mainly Europe and North America. The Asia region also contributed to quarterly growth, driven by strength in China and Korea, which more than offset the COVID-19 impacts in Japan.This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company has a market capitalization of $8.75 billion. In the past year, RL has risen 16.3% compared with the industry’s growth of 7.8%. The performance of the stock also compares favorably against the Consumer Discretionary sector’s decline of 10% in a year.In the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2022 earnings per share has moved up 0.3% to $7.34 per share, suggesting 331.8% growth from the year-ago reported figure.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchHere’s Why Ralph Lauren Should Retain the MomentumRalph Lauren is likely to retain its strong performance on consistent brand elevation efforts and robust full-priced selling trends, which have been aiding average unit retail (AUR) growth. In second-quarter fiscal 2022, all the geographies exceeded the company’s annual long-term target of low- to mid-single-digit AUR growth, led by 23% growth in North America on improved quality of sales and distribution.The company remains on track to reach its long-term target of low to mid-single-digit AUR growth, backed by its strategy of product elevation, acquisition of new full-priced consumers and favorable channel and geographic mix, as well as ramping up of its targeting and personalization efforts. Robust AUR growth along with improved pricing and promotions and better product mix have been boosting gross margin.Ralph Lauren is on track to exceed its top-and bottom-line targets under the “Next Great Chapter” plan that was announced in June 2018. Later, it announced measures to accelerate its “Next Great Chapter plan,” which includes creating a simplified global organizational structure and rolling out improved technological capabilities. As part of the plan, the company envisions delivering low to mid-single-digit revenue compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) and mid-teen operating margin by fiscal 2023 in constant currency.The company anticipates marketing spending to grow nearly to 5% of revenues by fiscal 2023, while capital expenditure is expected to represent 4-5% of revenues. The company plans to return 100% free cash flow to shareholders in the next five years, amounting to about $2.5 billion on a cumulative basis through fiscal 2023 in the form of dividends and share repurchases.Ralph Lauren is also making significant progress in expanding digital and omni-channel capabilities. In second-quarter fiscal 2022, digital business continued to be a key growth driver, with accelerated digital sales across all regions. Global digital ecosystem sales advanced 45%, while owned digital e-commerce rose more than 35% year over year despite the gradual return of traffic to stores.The company’s digital investments remain focused on creating content for all platforms, enhancing digital capabilities to improve the user experience and continuing to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data to serve its consumers more efficiently. In the fiscal second quarter, the company, in association with Zepeto, launched its first digital apparel collection. It also introduced the exclusive Next Generation-focused capsules for Urban Outfitters and ASOS as well as a new Ralph's Club fragrance. Ralph Lauren started its second digital-forward Emblematic retail concept in Shanghai.ConclusionRalph Lauren continues to witness elevated marketing expense owing to reactivation of in-person activities, and high-impact digital campaigns and personalization. The company expects marketing investments to remain elevated in fiscal 2022, at nearly 6% of sales, to support consumer engagement, acquisition and long-term brand-building initiatives.Moreover, freight headwinds related to supply chain woes have been partly offsetting gross margin growth. Although Ralph Lauren provided a robust margin view for fiscal 2022, it expects margins to be offset by some lingering costs, including global supply chain pressure, higher freight costs and marketing investments. The company’s gross margin view for fiscal 2022 includes slightly higher freight headwinds of 130-150 bps versus the previous expectation of 100-120 bps.Nonetheless, we believe Ralph Lauren to remain resilient in the current environment given its strategies and continued strong demand for its brands.Other Stocks to ConsiderSome other top-ranked stocks from the same industry include Delta Apparel DLA, Guess GES and Hanesbrands HBI.Delta Apparel currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 95.5% on average. The DLA stock has rallied 50.6% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Delta Apparel's current financial-year sales and earnings per share suggests growth of 11.6% and 9.4%, respectively, from the year-ago period's reported numbers.Guess currently has a Zacks Rank #1. It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 97% on average. Shares of GES have gained 9.8% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Guess’ current financial-year sales suggests year-over-year growth of 38.6%. The consensus mark for GES’ earnings per share is pegged at $2.97, indicating a substantial improvement from a loss of 7 cents reported in the year-ago period.Hanesbrands currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 28.6%, on average. Shares of HBI have gained 17.5% in a year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Hanesbrands’ current financial-year sales and earnings suggests growth of 2% and 25.5%, respectively, from the year-ago period's reported numbers. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL): Free Stock Analysis Report Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI): Free Stock Analysis Report Guess, Inc. (GES): Free Stock Analysis Report Delta Apparel, Inc. (DLA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 4th, 2022

Nike is headed into the "next era" of digital commerce as its metaverse strategy evolves, says Guggenheim

The athletic apparel company has been pushing into the future internet with video games and even a line of digital sneakers. Insider Studios Nike stock is Guggenheim's "best idea" for 2022 amid its push into the metaverse. Guggenheim's Robert Drbul said he's closely watching Nike's digital strategy. The analyst also raised his EPS estimates for the company and said it's the leader in athletic apparel. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Nike stock is headed for new highs this year, thanks in part to its push into the metaverse, according to a Wall Street analyst.Guggenheim's Robert Drbul dubbed the athletic-apparel retailer his "best idea" for 2022 in a December 31 note, saying Nike "is rapidly embarking on the next era of its company history," which he expects to be "digitally led.""The brand commands dominant market share, which we expect will grow materially from here as digital scales further, new product innovation remains robust, and heavy investment behind key growth drivers continues," he wrote.Drbul maintained a buy rating and a price target of $195 on Nike stock, which was down 1.8% Monday after gaining 18% in 2021.He said the company is "the leader in the athletic apparel industry," and raised his earnings per share estimates for 2023 to $4.85 from $4.50 and for 2024 to $5.70 from $5.27. Drbul said he's closely watching Nike's evolving digital strategy and its engagement in the metaverse, a digital world where people interact. "What would any outlook for 2022 be without mention of the Metaverse?" he said. Insider reported previously that Nike has been pushing into the future internet, called both Web 3.0 and the metaverse. Its push has included video games, the creation of a metaverse studio, and even a promised line of digital sneakers called CryptoKicks.In December, the Beaverton, Oregon-based company announced its acquisition of influential digital sneaker-maker RTFKT, which had previously received a $33 million valuation in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz.The metaverse shot into the mainstream in 2021 when the company formerly known as Facebook rebranded to Meta. The concept has struggled to land on a single definition, and prominent people, such as Tesla's Elon Musk, have snubbed the idea altogether.Even so, many see non-fungible tokens, aka NFTs, as the key to unlocking this digital world where avatars of individuals can shop, play video games, build worlds, buy land, and more. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

Phillips" (PHG) Partner Base Expansion Drives Prospects

Phillips (PHG) signed a long-term agreement with IJsselland Hospital to facilitate digitization and innovation in healthcare. Koninklijke Philips PHG is benefiting from an expanding partner base. The company recently announced a 12-year strategic technology agreement with IJsselland Hospital, focusing primarily on digitization, optimization and innovation across patient monitoring and radiology solutions.Being the technology partner in the deal, Phillips will provide improved care for patients and care providers at IJsselland Hospital and also in the surrounding region.Phillips and IJsselland also intend to expand their existing home monitoring partnership, especially for patients with COPD and heart failure. For this, Phillips will provide the clinical and patient support software, which helps implement remote health care programs and facilitates collaborations between different healthcare providers.With the divestiture of its Domestic Appliances business, Philips has evolved in the market as a pure healthcare provider. The company is benefitting from the robust demand of Diagnostic Imaging, Ultrasound and Hospital patient monitoring systems. Additionally, a growing focus on telehealth solutions is only expected to boost Phillip’s growth in the near future.Partnerships Driving Top LinePhillips is pursuing strategic partnerships to broaden its product offerings, enter new markets, attract clients and expand geographically.Earlier this year, Phillips announced a collaboration with Cognizant CTSH to develop end-to-end digital health solutions. These digital health solutions will enable life science companies and healthcare organizations to improve patient care and accelerate clinical trials.The strategic alliance brought together Cognizant’s digital engineering expertise and Phillips HealthSuite, to maintain and deliver advanced digital health solutions at scale using big data.HealthSuite, which is built on Amazon’s AMZN cloud platform Amazon Web Services (AWS), securely stores critical healthcare data and provides both AI capabilities and advanced data analytics. HealthSuite integrates more than 100 types of medical devices and over 145 billion clinical images are archived on the cloud platform.Amazon’s AWS helps HealthSuite provide exceptional data security and privacy off the shelf to consumers all around the world.As part of the partnership, Cognizant will build, utilize, implement and operate client-specific applications on Philips HealthSuite. These customized solutions are scalable and will involve advanced data analytics, which will enhance both patient and clinician experience.Philips’s growth trajectory has been driven by an expanding partner base.  Apart from Cognizant, the medical devices manufacturer recently inked a partnership with likes of NICO.LAB, the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (“CNIC”), Elekta, and Akumin, among others.Koninklijke Philips N.V. Price and Consensus  Koninklijke Philips N.V. price-consensus-chart | Koninklijke Philips N.V. Quote Strategic Acquisitions to Expand Product PortfolioAcquisitions have been a key catalyst for Phillip’s prospects.Earlier this month, Phillips signed an agreement to acquire the U.S.-based medical technology company Vesper Medical Inc.The acquisition will expand the company’s portfolio of therapeutic and diagnostic devices, by adding an advanced venous stent portfolio used for treating deep venous disease. The addition of Vesper will help Phillips offer a complete procedural solution for the treatment of peripheral artery disease. Vesper Medical will also add a venous stenting solution to Philips’ strong IVUS portfolio offerings to address the root cause of chronic deep venous disease.Phillips already has a peripheral vascular portfolio and offers live 2D/3D interventional imaging, combined with intravascular ultrasound catheters, providing guidance and visualization necessary for optimal diagnosis and treatment.Via the acquisition of Intact Vascular in 2020, Philips now offers the Tack implantable dissection repair device, which restores blood flow in small limb vessels.Unquestionably, the acquisitions will expand Phillip’s total addressable market and customer base.On a comparable basis, Diagnosis & Treatment sales increased 10% from the year-ago quarter to €2.15 billion in the last reported quarter.Zacks Rank & Stock to ConsiderPhillips currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).One of the top-ranked stocks in the Medical sector is AMN Healthcare Services AMN, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. AMN Healthcare, engaged in providing staffing and total talent solutions, has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 19.5%, on average.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AMN Healthcare’s current financial year sales and earnings per share suggests an increase of 57.18% and 113.41%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s tallies. AMN has a long-term earnings growth rate of 16.22%. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Koninklijke Philips N.V. (PHG): Free Stock Analysis Report Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (CTSH): Free Stock Analysis Report AMN Healthcare Services Inc (AMN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 28th, 2021

4 Cybersecurity Stocks to Watch Out For in 2022

Here we discuss four cybersecurity stocks - FTNT, PANW, RDWR and QLYS - that have witnessed double-digit gain this year so far and are well poised to rally further on solid prospects. Cybersecurity solution providing companies are benefiting from rising demand for IT security solutions owing to a surge in the number of data breaches. Increasing requirement for privileged access security on the back of digital transformation and cloud migration strategies are also fueling demand for cybersecurity solutions.Additionally, the industry is benefiting from solid demand for cybersecurity offerings as well as the heightening need for secure networks and cloud-based applications amid the COVID-19 pandemic-induced remote-working and online learning wave. Industry participants like Fortinet FTNT, Palo Alto Networks PANW, Radware RDWR and Qualys QLYS are gaining from the aforementioned trends.Pandemic & Technological Advancement Driving Cyber CrimesIn an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19, most companies are continuing their work-from-home policies. Moreover, the majority of schools and colleges all over the world are continuing their remote learning curriculum to ensure the continuation of courses.Amid all the outbreak-related disruptions, hackers and cybercriminals are reportedly taking advantage of the pandemic-induced hype and using it to steal passwords and data.Moreover, the ongoing digital transformation and proliferation of smart connected devices supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and its tools like machine learning (ML) are exposing vulnerabilities in security systems globally.The growing incidents of AI and ML driven advanced security attacks or “smart attacks” have become a headwind for cybersecurity solution providers. As most enterprises transition to the cloud, traditional control panels are becoming insufficient to prevent and manage smart attacks.Cyber criminals are using malicious chatbots to interact with potential victims and manipulate private information out of them. Current technologies like firewalls and host-based security tools are not strong enough to effectively combat threats of this kind. This is making it increasingly important for more stringent and advanced security like identity-based application security, and a considerable amount is being spent on research and development in this area.Huge Growth Prospects for Cybersecurity Solution ProvidersThough billions of dollars and data are lost due to cybercrime, there is a positive side to it. Cybersecurity companies stand to gain from data breaches as the chances of security-related purchases shoot up.According to a report by Grand View Research, the global cybersecurity market is expected to witness a CAGR of 10.9% from 2021 to 2028 and reach $372 billion. Moreover, the report stated that the market's growth will be driven by factors like the rising sophistication of cyberattacks.With the emergence of the more contagious coronavirus variant — Omicron — several parts of the world are grappling with massive spike in infection rates, leading to stringent lockdowns. Even some parts of the United States are witnessing Omicron variant outbreaks.Additionally, as vaccination programs will still take several months to reach a major portion of the global population, these factors are likely to continue to benefit cybersecurity companies in 2022. Let’s thus take a closer look at some notable cybersecurity stocks that could generate double-digit returns next year.Fortinet: It provides multiple levels of security protection. Demand for Fortinet’s products, such as firewall, virtual private networking (VPN), antivirus, intrusion prevention (IP), web filtering, anti-spam and wide area network (WAN) acceleration has gained momentum amid the pandemic.Per IDC, in terms of revenues, Fortinet ranks third in Unified Threat Management (UTM) and is one of the fastest-growing segments in Network Security. The company’s focus on enhancing its UTM portfolio will boost its market share as well as maintain the leadership position.Also, the growing uptake of Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solutions is likely to be a key catalyst for Fortinet in the long run. The buyouts of AccelOps, Meru Networks, Coyote Point, XDN, ZoneFox and Bradford Networks will stoke long-term growth.Fortinet’s huge customer base of more than 450,000 helps it upsell products within its installed user base. It is currently focusing on selling more subscription-based services, which will generate stable revenues and bolster its margins as well.Fortinet’s robust balance sheet with ample liquidity and no debt is very impressive, which, in turn, will support business growth.The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.The consensus mark for Fortinet’s 2022 earnings has been revised upward to $4.64 per share from $4.50 in the past 60 days. The long-term expected earnings growth rate is pegged at 15%. FTNT shares have rallied 135% year to date (YTD), outperforming the Zacks Security market’s rise of 48%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPalo Alto Networks: This Zacks Rank #3 company offers network security solutions to enterprises, service providers and government entities worldwide. Palo Alto Networks has been benefiting from continuous deal wins and increasing adoption of the company’s next-generation security platforms, attributable to the rise in the remote work environment and need for stronger security.Strong demand for form factor hardware products, particularly the recently launched ML-powered models that ensure zero-trust network security for organizations are expected to have contributed to Palo Alto Networks’ quarterly performance.Growing traction in Strata, Prisma and Cortex offerings are acting as a tailwind. The acquisition of Bridgecrew earlier this year has enhanced the capabilities of Prisma and Cortex product capabilities, thereby helping Palo Alto Networks in attracting more customers.The consensus mark for fiscal Palo Alto Networks’ 2022 earnings has been unchanged at $7.24 per share over the past 30 days. The long-term expected earning rate is pegged at 29.3%. Shares of PANW have increased 58.1% YTD.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchRadware: The company develops, manufactures and markets products that manage and direct Internet traffic among network resources to enable continuous access to websites and other services, applications and content based on Internet protocol.Radware is gaining traction from stellar software growth, backed by a solid uptick in public cloud and security offerings. Also, it is benefiting from the growing demand for consistent application security across multi-cloud environments, which is aiding revenue growth.This Zacks Rank #3 stock has appreciated 38.1% YTD. The consensus mark for Radware’s 2022 earnings has been revised 4.2% upward to 99 cents per share in the past 30 days.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchQualys: This Zacks Rank #3 company offers cloud security and compliance solutions that enable organizations to identify security risks to their information technology infrastructures, thus helping protect their IT systems and applications from cyber-attacks.Qualys is gaining from the surging demand for security and networking products amid the coronavirus crisis as a massive global workforce is working remotely. Accelerated digital transformations by organizations are also fueling demand for the company’s cloud-based security solutions.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Qualys’ 2022 earnings has moved 5.6% north to $3.41 per share over the past 60 days. Qualys’ shares have risen 14.4% YTD.Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First to New Top 10 Stocks >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Radware Ltd. (RDWR): Free Stock Analysis Report Fortinet, Inc. (FTNT): Free Stock Analysis Report Palo Alto Networks, Inc. (PANW): Free Stock Analysis Report Qualys, Inc. (QLYS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 27th, 2021

Foot Locker (FL) Rides High on Growth Strategies: Apt to Hold

Foot Locker's (FL) robust strategic efforts and the digital business are boosting results. International expansion is another catalyst. Foot Locker, Inc. FL appears good on the back of its robust business strategies and sound fundamentals. FL is trying to improve its performance through its operational and financial initiatives. Prudent inventory-management strategies and efforts to enhance assortments are helping FL meet customer demand effectively. We note that FL is on track to convert its Footaction stores into other existing banner concepts to fuel growth.Shares of this New York-based retailer have increased 5.7% in a year against the industry’s 15.2% decline. This stock is further backed by sturdy earnings estimate revisions. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings currently stands at $7.51 for fiscal 2021, indicating growth of 4% in the past 30 days. In fact, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for FL’s current financial-year sales and earnings per share suggests growth of 18.4% and 167.3%, respectively, from the prior year’s corresponding figures.Let’s Delve DeeperFoot Locker constantly makes solid efforts to strengthen its product assortments. Recently, management announced the launch of FL’s first proprietary womenswear brand Cozi, designed to offer a trendy collection at affordable prices. The latest brand follows the successful launch of LCKR, and capsule collections by Melody Ehsani and Don C.This holiday season, the Cozi collection is available globally in-store and online at Foot Locker, Foot Locker Canada, Foot Locker Europe and Champs Sports. The collection, ranging between $35 and $50, offers exclusive styles and colors available at select locations.Nearly a couple of months ago, Foot Locker launched its private label apparel line LCKR. The line’s initial collection was introduced to FL stores and online with more collections set to release ahead. Management is focused on expanding the collection into Canada.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchManagement continues to progress well with its membership program FLX that inspires customers to remain in the Foot Locker portfolio of banners. At the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2021, FLX program members exceeded 28 million, including more than 3 million joining in the reported quarter. Management remains encouraged to continue refining FLX, globally.Foot Locker has also been making prudent and strategic agreements to enhance its footprint for a while. Management completed the acquisition of the U.S.-based footwear and apparel retailer Eurostar, Inc. (WSS) for $750 million. It also concluded the buyout of atmos, a Japan-based digitally-led global retailer. Through this acquisition, Foot Locker will be able to enhance its global footprint in the Asia-Pacific market and establish a critical entry point in Japan. Management is quite impressed with atmos' innovative offerings and understanding of sneakerhead culture.International expansion is another catalyst. Management continues to progress with its expansion strategy within Asia. Coming to store-growth endeavors, Foot Locker trasnsformed 18 locations while nine are under construction. More than half of these stores are being rebranded as Foot Locker. About 40% is Champs Sports while the rest 10% represents Kids Foot Locker. FL is experiencing higher productivity gains from these stores exceeding expectations.What’s More?Despite the aforesaid tailwinds, Foot Locker remains prone to industry-wide supply-chain issues, including port congestions and factory shutdowns. Also, pandemic-related temporary closures across certain markets where the company operates might act as headwinds. Higher freight expenses are added deterrents.Nevertheless, management is steadily taking initiatives to maneuver through pandemic-induced challenges. Foot Locker expects to keep gaining from robust consumer demand and inventory levels, keeping it well-equipped for the holiday season. For fiscal 2021, management expects to deliver sales growth in the high-teens bracket, with comp sales in mid-teens. Adjusted earnings are envisioned in the bracket of $7.53-$7.60 per share, indicating growth from $2.81 earned last fiscal year. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Key Picks in RetailSome better-ranked stocks are Boot Barn Holdings BOOT, Home Depot HD and Tractor Supply Company TSCO.Boot Barn Holdings, a lifestyle retailer of western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories, sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. The stock has jumped 166.7% in the year-to-date period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Boot Barn Holdings’ current financial-year sales and earnings per share (EPS) suggests growth of 54.6% and 188%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s corresponding figures. BOOT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 35.3%, on average.Home Depot, a renowned home-improvement retailer, presently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). HD has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 12.1%, on average. The stock has rallied 49% in the year-to-date period.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Home Depot’s current-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 13.6% and 28.7%, respectively, from the corresponding year-ago levels. HD has an expected EPS growth rate of 12.6% for three-five years.Tractor Supply Company, a rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, currently has a Zacks Rank of 2. TSCO has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 22.8%, on average. Shares of TSCO have surged 61.7% year to date.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Tractor Supply Company’s current-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 19% and 23.9%, respectively, from the year-ago corresponding readings. TSCO has an expected EPS growth rate of 10.2% for three-five years. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Tractor Supply Company (TSCO): Free Stock Analysis Report The Home Depot, Inc. (HD): Free Stock Analysis Report Foot Locker, Inc. (FL): Free Stock Analysis Report Boot Barn Holdings, Inc. (BOOT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 23rd, 2021

Telecom Stock Roundup: AT&T to Divest Xandr, Motorola"s Acquisition & More

While AT&T (T) decides to sell its advertising division Xandr to focus on core businesses, Motorola (MSI) augments its mission critical portfolio with the buyout of 911 Datamaster, Inc. U.S. telecom stocks witnessed a healthy uptrend and appeared in cruise control mode as solid economic data eased concerns regarding high consumer inflation and the fast-spreading Omicron variant. The latest data revealed that confidence among U.S. consumers increased to 115.8 in December from 111.9 in November with improving business environment and labor market conditions. Higher existing-home sales in November owing to low mortgage interest rates and a robust job market further buoyed the bullish economic sentiment.The renewed sector optimism also found resonance in broad-based expectations of steady economic growth in 2022, with inflationary pressures being largely controlled by the Fed. The Fed has decided to double the pace of bond tapering to $30 billion per month, bringing an end to the recurring asset purchases by March 2022. This would then follow three possible rate hikes next year to ease the inflation to relatively acceptable levels.   Notable company-specific news that grabbed the spotlight over the past week includes AT&T Inc.’s T deal with Microsoft to sell Xandr and Motorola Solutions, Inc.’s MSI buyout of 911 Datamaster, Inc. to boost mission-critical system. Also, Verizon Communications Inc. VZ has collaborated with Google cloud for mobile edge computing, Knowles Corporation KN is set to improve its earphones and Nokia Corporation NOK will power 5G network in Finland.Meanwhile, the Biden administration is continuing to impose curbs against China-based firms to protect the Americans from alleged data intrusion. The latest in the fray to face strict restrictions for U.S. raw materials and technology export are leading drone maker DJI and cable firms like Jiangsu Hengtong Marine Cable Systems, HMN International, Jiangsu Hengtong OpticElectric, Shanghai Aoshi Control Technology Co, Ltd, and Zhongtian Technology Submarine Cable. As the communist country opposed the unilateral actions and threatened to take retaliatory steps, the lingering trade spat refuse to settle down any time soon.     Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories1.     AT&T has decided to sell its advertising and analytics division, Xandr, to Microsoft for an undisclosed amount. The deal builds on a long-standing relationship between Xandr and Microsoft for providing digital media solutions for advertisers. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the companies intend to shape the advertising marketplace of the future.  AT&T and Xandr have a shared vision of empowering a free and open web while leading an industry alternative through a global advertising marketplace. With Xandr’s technology, Microsoft can accelerate the delivery of its digital advertising and retail media solutions.      2.     Motorola recently augmented its command center solutions portfolio with the acquisition of 911 Datamaster, Inc. for an undisclosed amount. The buyout is likely to reinforce its position as a leading provider of mission-critical communication products and services worldwide.The acquisition will facilitate Motorola to boost its organizational workflows as it aims to migrate to NG9-1-1 technologies. This, in turn, will help to improve its technical capabilities to provide interactive text messaging and policy-based routing using location for better emergency support services.3.    Verizon has collaborated with Google Cloud to bring the power of the cloud closer to connected devices at the edge of Verizon’s network. The combination of Verizon’s private On Site 5G and private 5G Edge with Google Distributed Cloud Edge will enable enterprises to unlock the power of 5G and mobile edge computing with greater operational efficiency.Verizon and Google Cloud also plan to develop public 5G mobile edge computing for developers and enterprises. The public 5G Edge solution will enable developers to build applications at the edge of Verizon’s wireless network in various locations across the United States.4.    Knowles has joined forces with Ole Wolff to provide a compact hybrid driver for its True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earphones. It will incorporate its high-performance, balanced armature RAN model tweeter with Ole Wolff’s 8mm dynamic woofer. The amalgamation of these two avant-garde systems will enhance TWS earphones with premium sound and active noise cancellation. Both entities are working proactively to develop a compact market-leading hybrid audio solution for TWS earphones. Knowles’ TWS earbuds are furnished with voice vibration sensors and multi-microphone arrays that boost TWS features and minimize high costs related to ground-up development.   5.    Nokia recently inked a deal with Elisa Estonia to deploy the carrier’s 5G services in Finland and enable a seamless transition from its existing 4G infrastructure to the superfast 5G technology. The five-year deal for an undisclosed amount will enable Nokia to operate as the sole 5G vendor for Elisa Estonia and work collaboratively with it to deploy premium digital services in the near future.Per the deal, Nokia will provide 5G RAN (radio access network) solutions from its leading AirScale portfolio for extensive dense urban area coverage. The deal will leverage Nokia’s RAN solutions to offer a seamless migration from 4G to 5G as Elisa Finland intends to decommission its 3G network by 2023 while aiming for a 5G rollout in 2022 following the completion of its spectrum auction early next year.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major telecom stocks over the past week and six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past five trading days, AT&T gained the most, with its stock rising 10.5%. Qualcomm has declined the most, with its stock falling 4.4%.Over the past six months, Arista has been the best performer, with its stock appreciating 34.7% while Bandwidth has declined the most, with its stock falling 82.6%.Over the past six months, the Zacks Telecommunications Services industry has declined 10.7%, while the S&P 500 has rallied 9%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Next in the Telecom Space?In addition to 5G deployments and product launches, all eyes will remain glued to how the administration implements key policy changes to safeguard the industry’s interests and address the bottlenecks to spur growth. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report AT&T Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ): Free Stock Analysis Report Nokia Corporation (NOK): Free Stock Analysis Report Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI): Free Stock Analysis Report Knowles Corporation (KN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 23rd, 2021

Reminiscences of the Tech Bubble: 3 Former Darlings Eclipsing Prior Highs

3 Former Tech Darlings Eclipsing Prior Highs The Nasdaq Composite has a history of outperforming during bullish cycles and underperforming in bear markets. While the index is underperforming the S&P 500 this year, the past has illustrated that these periods of relative underperformance don’t tend to last very long.Both indexes are showing weak overall breadth. Only 39.1% of stocks in the S&P are trading above their 50-day moving average. The lagging Nasdaq is less than half that – just 17.5% of stocks are above their respective 50-day moving averages.Back in the late ‘90s, many technology stocks increased drastically in price and experienced stretched valuations. Breadth in the major indexes was much stronger at the time as most stocks were up.We know what happened next – stocks cratered as the Nasdaq fell into a multi-year descent. Financial media gurus claimed in the years that followed that even the biggest names would never see those high prices ever again.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchYet here we are, 20 years in the making, with a select few of the tech bubble darlings making new all-time highs. Many companies from that era were not structured to handle an economic downturn and didn’t survive to tell the tale. But the ones that are still here have proven time and again that they have what it takes to succeed through the different phases of the economic cycle.These companies have adapted to changing times. They have been able to withstand market shocks, all the while consistently increasing revenues and rewarding shareholders. At Zacks, our job is to help you identify these stocks that are outperforming the market. Our proprietary model detects positive changes in individual company fundamentals, allowing our subscribers the opportunity to benefit from the stock’s future price appreciation.Buying a stock at the right time and building a profit cushion makes it much easier to hold through the inevitable corrections. Unlike many investors in the tech bubble who rode the whole way down, at Zacks we also alert you to profit-taking opportunities and outright sell signals, helping you not just make money – but keep it as well.The three former tech sweethearts we will discuss below have all surged past the highs from two decades ago and are holding up well through the recent volatility. Stocks that emerge from volatile periods relatively unscathed tend to continue their outperformance.Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM)Qualcomm is a global leader in next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomms’ businesses include Qualcomm Technologies which handles its engineering, research and development functions; the company’s semiconductor business, QCT; and the licensing arm, QTL. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, QCOM designs, manufactures, and markets digital wireless telecom products including integrated circuits, wireless voice and data communications software, as well as global positioning system (GPS) products.A Zacks #2 Buy stock, QCOM has either met or beaten earnings estimates in each of the last 28 quarters. The company has produced a trailing four-quarter average earnings surprise of +11.23%. QCOM most recently reported EPS of $2.24 back in November, an +8.74% surprise over consensus.Qualcomm (QCOM) Price, Consensus and EPS SurpriseImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchQCOM continues to benefit from solid 5G traction and a surge in demand for its essential products and services that are the foundation for digital transformation in the cloud economy. The stock broke out of a long base in November and last week printed a fresh high as most stocks fell.What the Zacks Model RevealsThe Zacks Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) identifies companies that have recently witnessed positive earnings estimate revision activity. This more recent information can be a better predictor of the future and give investors a leg up during earnings season. In fact, when combining a Zacks #3 rank or better along with a positive Earnings ESP, stocks produced a positive surprise 70% of the time.QCOM’s Earnings ESP is +0.87%. Analysts are in agreement in terms of earnings revisions and increased their estimates in the past 60 days for both the current fiscal year (+14.04%) as well as next year (+17.62%). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the present full-year EPS now stands at $10.48, a 22.72% growth rate over last year. QCOM is slated to report quarterly earnings on February 2nd, 2022.Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI)Motorola Solutions provides communication and networking equipment, devices, software and services. Based in Chicago, IL, Motorola Solutions has a strong market position in various areas including bar code scanning, wireless infrastructure gear, and government communications.MSI operates through two divisions – Government and Enterprise. The Government segment develops radio systems, devices and control centers for governments around the world. The Enterprise segment is focused on mobile computing systems, advance data capture and wireless networks. Motorola management expects continued strength across video security and devices and is well-positioned to benefit from organic growth and acquisition initiatives.MSI has also displayed an impressive track record in terms of earnings surprises, beating estimates for the past seven years running. The company has delivered an average surprise of +9.49% over the past four quarters. MSI delivered a 12.89% surprise in November when it reported EPS of $2.19 for the quarter ending in September.Motorola Solutions (MSI) Price, Consensus and EPS SurpriseImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMSI boasts one of the more attractive charts this year as the stock has advanced 53.6% with very little volatility. The stock is clearly in a strong uptrend and continues to make a series of new highs even as the major indices have taken a breather.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 EPS stands at $9.04, representing 17.56% growth over 2020. MSI will report earnings on February 3rd.Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD)Clearfield designs, manufactures and distributes fiber optic management, along with protection and associated products for communication networks. CLFD features the FieldSmart fiber management platform, which includes its latest generation Fiber Distribution System and Fiber Scalability Center. These product lines support a wide range of panel configurations, densities, and connectors. Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, Clearfield deploys millions of fiber ports annually.CLFD sports a Zacks #2 Buy ranking and has weathered the recent volatility extremely well. The stock has soared nearly 200% this year and is showing no signs of slowing down, hitting a new all-time high today.Clearfield (CLFD) Price, Consensus and EPS SurpriseImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchCLFD has surpassed earnings estimates in each of the past six quarters. The company is averaging a +50.77% surprise over the past year, most recently reporting EPS of $0.53 in November – a +29.27% surprise over estimates.The stock has seen positive earnings estimate revision activity, with analysts upping their 2021 EPS estimates by +8.82% in the last 60 days. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current year EPS sits at $1.85, translating to 25.85% growth over 2020. CLFD is due to report earnings next month on January 27th.Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 21st, 2021

Bob Iger: Pixar Deal Completed To Show Disney Employees It Was A New Day

Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) Chairman and former CEO Bob Iger on CNBC today, Tuesday, December 21st. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Pixar Deal Completed To Show Disney Employees It Was A […] Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) Chairman and former CEO Bob Iger on CNBC today, Tuesday, December 21st. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Pixar Deal Completed To Show Disney Employees It Was A New Day, Says Former CEO Bob Iger Part I on CNBC's "Squawk Box" DAVID FABER: Yeah, of course, he did step down as you well know Becky, at the end of let's call it February of 2020 right before the pandemic hit very hard and of course, he had three times that we thought he was going to step down as CEO only to stay on but this time is for real. He's got about 10 days left as you said on a career that’s spanned some 47-plus years at this company starting as he did in sports at ABC at 23 years of age and we did have a chance to sit down for a long period of time last week, late last week in Disneyland and talk about his career, talk about the challenges facing Disney at this point, a lot of other things that you don't typically do in a CNBC interview. But I did ask Iger whether at this moment as he looks towards the future and of course towards his past at Disney whether he's got any anxiety at all. BOB IGER: There's no anxiety about that at all. Sadness because I'm leaving people that I love working with and a company I've loved working for. But no remorse. No second guessing. No anxiety. FABER: You don't regret having left when you did and stepped down as CEO when you did? IGER: No, I think the, look, I didn't, no one knew that the pandemic was going to explode the way it did. I think the timing was unfortunate. But throwing a new CEO into, you know, that, you know, that circumstance, it was difficult. But no, I have no, no regrets about having made that decision. It was time. I didn't want people to say be going around saying, "When the heck is he gonna leave," you know? "Isn't it time?" I'd rather have them say, "Gee, did he have to leave when he's leaving? We would've liked him to stay longer." I'm getting some of that. Part II on CNBC's "Squawk Box" FABER: You know, listen, there are no shortage of challenges for Chapek and there's also been a decent amount sort of reported and written about challenges between Chapek and Iger, you know, as you’d probably expect, Iger did not want to engage too fully on it. I don't know if we have time but I did ask him if there should be any concern amongst Disney shareholders in terms of the relationship between the Bobs but at this point, of course, as you know, it is Mr. Chapek’s show and that's something that Iger agrees with. IGER: It shouldn't be a concern to Disney shareholders at all that, you know, that, that any dynamic between us is, would have an impact on the company long term. I'm leaving. He's in. It's his company. He's going to manage it as he see fit, he sees fit with the board under circumstances that are very different than existed when I was CEO and, and chairman because they're changing, as we've talked, they're changing so rapidly. And, you know, he'll make his own decisions, and, and I, you know, I hope that he's learned good lessons. I believe that he has, in terms of, you know, some of the things that I did along the way, and what worked and what didn't work. And I think the relationship I have with him is not really relevant to, you know, how he, how effective he is running the company. Part III on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: But yeah, we did sit down for a long interview that I was very happy to have an opportunity to conduct and a bit different than we typically do here at CNBC talking of course about his long career at Disney not just his time as CEO, obviously we hit on a lot of the key business questions as you might anticipate and we went over a lot of other things as well, you know, including sort of some of the things that he saw in terms of his strengths and weaknesses. And I guess I'll start there because he did sight sort of something he noticed about his own responsiveness that he said was one thing that alerted him maybe it was time to consider stepping down. Take a listen. IGER: I will say that over time, I think I started listening less than maybe with a little less tolerance of other people's opinions maybe because of getting a little bit more overconfident in my own, which is sometimes what happens when you get built up, you know, in some form or another, as you know, something special or great or whatever. I was mindful of that. FABER: Well you were introspective enough to recognize it though. A lot of leaders might not even recognize it. IGER: I think I wrote about that too. I was I became a little bit more dismissive of dissent and other people's opinions than I should have been. And that was that that was an early sign that it was time. It wasn't the reason I left but it was a contributing factor. FABER: That you just weren't, right, you just didn't have the patience any longer or you thought I've heard this all before and— IGER: Yes, a lot of all those things. You've heard all the, every argument before. I don't want to hear it again, even though it may be more valid today than it was then, times change. All the, you know, all the, that's the time, the challenges of a CEO of a large global company today in terms of managing time so you can't, so dissent has to be finite in a sense and depends on where you draw that line and when you, when do you shut dissent down. Maybe I was doing it a little bit too quickly. I felt that. Part IV on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: Back to Bob Iger and that interview we conducted late last week. Of course, Mr. Iger spending his last few days as the Chairman of Disney after what's been a 47-year career plus career at that company, 15-plus as its CEO as well in a period, as Jim noted earlier, in which the stock did extraordinarily well. We did have that chance though sort of an unusual opportunity really to talk not just about Disney and its business, but also sort of about some of the broader leadership lessons that Mr. Iger learned and perhaps could impart to others. He did some of that in a book that Jim and I of course have lauded for some time as well, but he and I did spend some time talking about that and culture and things that he would tell other potential CEOs as well. Take a listen. I'm curious as to how you think you went about changing the culture of Disney and what you would say or, you know, how quickly you can do it as a leader and where that culture is today versus then. IGER: Yeah, I think for any CEO of any particularly large company in today's world, the world throws you more and more curveballs, more and more challenges. And they now they come at you constantly and from directions that you could never anticipate, never expect. It gets really tough and I think I think one of the reasons why I think it's right for there to be change at the top sometimes is that can turn a CEO into more of a skeptical or pessimist or just because they get weary of all of those challenges. And I think we had gone through it. I know we had gone through a period of time at Disney prior to my ascending to become CEO where those challenges were numerous. They were omnipresent. There was the Comcast hostile takeover attempt. There was the share, the board member or shareholder revolt. There was the impact of technology on all of our traditional businesses. There was 9/11, there was, we can think about all of these things and I think Disney at the time had become weary of those challenges and with that came a little bit less of a belief in its future. There was a scale issue as well, were we large enough and it was intimidating, you know, faced some of those technology companies. Steve Jobs announcing “Rip. Mix. Burn.” and what was going to be the future of IP. People challenging copyrights, it was left and right and all over the place. And so, what I wanted to do when I came in was to see whether we could not ignore those challenge but put them aside and become optimists again and look to a future that we actually believed was brighter. And one thing that was important to me was embracing technology even though it was causing disruption and potential threats, I wanted to embrace it as a means of creating opportunity for us. FABER: Well you did I mean Jobs showed you the first video iPod, didn’t he? IGER: Right, so we put our television programs on it first which was a tiny, tiny deal but all of a sudden it signaled, wait a minute, maybe we could use technology to gain as opposed to, to lose. And that mentality was something I wanted to infuse in the company which is future's bright, let's view technology as opportunity versus threat and that, and that announcement actually turned out to be a big one and it has led to more serious conversations with Steve about buying Pixar too. FABER: Right, right. IGER: And I think one of the things that I was surprised at is if you if you consider pessimism about the future to be part of the company's culture, I thought it was going to take a long time to change that. It was very fast. FABER: Why do you think it was so fast? And why was that a surprise to you? IGER: Well, I think what it says something about that change in the top matters, you know, I'm not suggesting good or bad. I'm not suggesting oh in comes Bob and out goes Michael but it's, it has its it can freshen things up so to speak. And it’s happening at Disney now as well, you know, there's a change at the top and that could create a whole different outlook for the company going forward. FABER: Do you think it freshens things up, your departure as CEO? IGER: Look, the world is changing dramatically and it's important for a CEO of a company to address all of those changes rapidly. Bob is going to address them probably differently perhaps than I may have. That's neither good nor bad. I think change, I think generally speaking, change is good. Change isn't necessarily bad. FABER: Yeah. What do you see yourself doing, you know, a few days from now when you are no longer a part of this company? IGER: Step away from all of this, this dream when this dream finally ends. You know, I've worked full time, really full time since I was 23 years old and going to be 71. Working in the job that I've the jobs that I've had CEO and Chairman have, you know, were taxing from a time perspective, never in terms of my energy or my enthusiasm. It's time for me to have a blank canvas so to speak to be forced in a way to be a little bit more imaginative with my time. Not fortunate enough to have that luxury. Well, what will I do today? FABER: Do you have any hobbies though? IGER: Yeah, I have some hobbies. I don't golf. I like to sail, you don't sail and golf in the same lifetime. There just isn't enough time for that. But my wife has a full time job. My kids are out of the house— FABER: So you’re going to have to keep busy? IGER: I'll keep busy. I'm doing some selective investing. I'd like the ability to be an advisor to founders of startups because I think I've got some advice to give in that regard even though I haven't run a startup. And I've been sought after by some already. I'll probably do some of that. I plan to write another book, which is a homework assignment right now. I've got to get at that. And I'll do some speaking and I'll see where life takes me. I'm not in any rush. I've been advised by some who have stepped down from high office, including President Obama, do not, he said, “Do not make any decisions. Don't commit to anything for six months.” FABER: Six months? IGER: I’m telling you, don't do that. Yes. FABER: You know, you wrote about Eisner's departure in the book and you said it's hard to know exactly who you are without this attachment and title and role that has defined you for so long. IGER: Yes. When I wrote about tha,t I, I had developed a lot of empathy from Michael. I remember his last day at Disney. It was a Friday, last Friday in September of 2005 when his wife and one of the sons came to Disney and had lunch with him and he drove off the Disney lot after having been CEO for 21 years. And I was, at that point, I couldn't wait because I was ready to have that office and that title and that job and raring to go. And I don't think I thought long and hard at the time what that really meant to him and here I am. Yesterday was my last day on that Disney lot, you know, in this role and it was, it was an emotional experience for me. My son came to the lot, one of my sons, we had lunch together. There I walked around, took some pictures, I was feeling incredibly wistful, incredibly emotional. The ties that I've had to this company that have been so part of my life were ending and I in two weeks from now, I will not have a title and I've had a decent title since I was in my 30s. It’s a long time. But there's no anxiety about that at all. Sadness because I'm leaving people that I loved working with and a company I've loved working for, but no remorse. No second guessing. No anxiety. FABER: You don't regret having left when you did and stepped down as CEO when you did? IGER: No, I think the, look, I didn't, no one knew that the pandemic was going to explode the way it did. I think the timing was unfortunate. But throwing a new CEO into, you know, that, you know, that circumstance, it was difficult. But no, I have no, no regrets about having made that decision. It was time. FABER: It was, why? IGER: Some of the things that I've said which is believing that change at the top was good, although I will say a lot of it was very, very personal. It wasn't about the company. It was about me, you know, wanting to leave with the vitality to explore the world in different way. I thought back about a biography I read a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers named Sandy Koufax left at the top of his game and I think the biographer, Koufax’s biographer Jane Leavy said that he left walking off the field or on his own volition are, “Great athletes rarely retire on their own instead they limp off the field.” I didn't want to limp off the field. Part V on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: Well Carl, shares of Disney actually having a strong open this morning, up some almost 2.5% but for the year, the shares of the company down roughly 17%, one of the key reasons of course continuing concern about the growth of subscribers at Disney+ its key direct-to-consumer offering, and whether in fact the company can continue to add subscribers at a rate at least that investors had come to expect given quite vigorous subscriber growth certainly during the course of 2020 and early part of 2021. As you might expect in a long sit down with Disney's Chairman, he is still Chairman for another 10 days or so, Bob Iger, I did ask him about how he sees the outlook for streaming given its importance to Disney's overall business. IGER: There's guidance out there that the company has provided that I'm neither gonna update or comment too much on but obviously the company has expressed confidence in its ability to achieve the guidance that it has out there. So, I obviously supported that guidance was put out there by Bob when he was CEO and I was Chairman. Again, I think, we can't, we can't just maintain a pat hand because the world isn't staying basically the same. We have to continue to evolve and all that that means not just changing but taking advantage of opportunities aggressively. FABER: But there’s this continued question as strong as Pixar is with its audience, as strong as Star Wars is and Marvel and the incredibly deep loyalty it has, do you need to be broader in order to actually reach those kinds of numbers? IGER: I think there probably need, there probably needs more volume, there probably needs to be more dimensionality meaning more, you know, basically, more programming and more content for more people, different demographics, but Bob's aware of that. He’s addressing those issues. FABER: You seem to have that first mover advantage and gulped up a lot of assets that I'm sure many of the competitors now wish they had actually moved on. Doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of opportunities that perhaps you passed on but is everybody else sort of subscale when you look at the world as it was 16, 17 years ago? IGER: You know, I've never really spent much time thinking about how our competitors are positioned in that regard. I spent most of the time thinking about how we're positioned. So I don't know that others are scaled right or subscaled necessarily, I just think we're well scaled. Part VI on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: All day long, we've also been sharing excerpts of interview that I did last week with Bob Iger, the longtime CEO and the current Chairman of Disney. There's a look at the performance of the stock during the period of his CEO-ship so to speak. Remember he stepped down it's it's not that far away from two years ago Bob Chapek is the CEO of the company. Chairmanship will also change as well at the end of this year. Mr. Iger ending a 47-plus year run at the company that began with his working at ABC Sports when he was a young man. When we talked about his tenure of course, as you might expect, deal making was certainly one of the keys and starting with that decision to acquire Pixar. Take a listen. IGER: I'm proud of a lot of the decisions that were made, certainly the acquisitions. I'd say of all of them probably Pixar because it was the first and it put us on a path to achieving what I wanted to achieve which is scale when it came to storytelling. That was probably the best. FABER: And you faced I mean your own board. You were uncertain whether you're going to get it passed. Eisner came back to, to say, “Don't do it.” IGER: He subsequently, we had a long conversation about that years later and he admitted that he was wrong about that. I think there was a lot of emotion at that point for him having left Disney under such strange circumstances with Steve but looking back when he reflected on it with me, he admitted that I did the right thing. FABER: Well, you know, it's funny because I remember interviewing you and Jobs that afternoon after you announced it and I was basically focused on the price. I think, man, you're paying an awfully high multiple and many people may not have understood how incredibly important it was to sort of set a new direction for the company and revitalize animation. IGER: Well, that's exactly what I wanted to do. I, what I wanted to do more than anything is I wanted to send a signal to everybody at Disney that it was a new day, that we were more open minded about expansion in particular about partnerships, that creativity was the most important strategy for the company and Pixar at that point exemplified original storytelling and quality and creativity and in its highest form. And then there was the Steve factor, which I sometimes called the cool factor, which is what Apple was, what Steve represented the fact that Steve would embrace not just Disney but me and the vote of confidence that Steve gave in me, and Steve becoming a member of the board and our largest shareholder and I was all tied up in my desire to not only grow content, but it reposition Disney to our employees, to our shareholders and to our customers. And the price you mentioned it also factored in my desire to revitalize Disney Animation, which we did. You look at “Frozen” and you look at “Moana” and you look at “Zootopia” and you look at “Wreck-It Ralph” and you look at “Tangled,” and the number of Academy Awards and the box office success and all of the IP that that created, generated and what how basically we're going to mine that IP for Disney+, you know, it all was tied really everything that we've done at Disney Animation since then, was tied to the Pixar acquisition. FABER: Do you think it was something unique about you that allowed you to convince all of these founders to part with their “babies?” IGER: In all cases, I developed a trust with them and that I convinced them would serve them well if they sold to us meaning, in Steve's case, he, he owned half of Pixar publicly traded company and converted his ownership of Pixar into all Disney. That by the way, wasn't the motivation behind him doing and it wasn't about growing his personal wealth at all. But more importantly, with Steve, I created a trust in him that the assets of Pixar and its people would be in the right hands. And so I think in terms of your question, what was it about me that convinced them. First of all, it was me meaning it was singular in terms of I didn't do the deal myself. It was singular in terms of the pursuit. One on one in some cases, being as candid as I possibly could be and I think as authentic as I could be in developing a relationship, even if we've developed over a relatively brief period of time and not disappointing him either. FABER: What does that mean? IGER: He was never disappointed. Once we did the deal, in fact, in the months before he died he came to, he and his wife, Laurene, came to our house. And Laurene and Steve and Willow and I sat down at a dinner and he toasted to the deal we had done some years earlier, convinced that it was the right thing to do for Disney and for Pixar. And I remember it was, it was very heartfelt and tears came to our eyes, four of us at the dinner table crying, in part dreading what was potentially in store for him which is the end of his life but in part reflecting on what we had done together and truly appreciating it. So. I think again, it's development of a relationship, different in some ways but similar in others. It was me going to New York spending months trying to figure out getting a meeting with him, sitting with him one on one once and then twice a couple of days later and convincing him that it was the right thing to do for the Marvel shareholders, publicly traded company and the people at Marvel and I think he was intrigued with the notion of, of investing in Disney plus Marvel and it worked out extremely well. FABER: And became a large shareholder. I assume you heard from him frequently as well after he became a Disney shareholder. IGER: I heard from Ike, yeah, I heard from Ike a lot over the years. FABER: Yes, that’s what I heard. IGER: We weren't, we weren't always— FABER: In sync? IGER: Complete agreement on things. But that's neither here nor there. I think it's turned out extremely well for him and certainly for the shareholders of Marvel. It's turned out I think they got Disney shares somewhere in the neighborhood of $28 a share. I know we were up around 200 even if you look at it today in that 150 range, that's a pretty good return on investment and George's case was also singular in many ways. I had breakfast with him at Disney World. Talked to him about the future of Lucasfilm and broached the subject. He was close with Steve Jobs and don't forget Pixar was owned at one point by George. Steve bought it from George. And there was a real connection although Steve had passed when I first sat down with George and George was impressed with how we had managed Pixar and assimilated Pixar into the company. He was very, very concerned about Lucasfilm many respects his baby, his legacy, and there was a trust there too that I think we demonstrated that we could be trusting in terms of how we had already managed the Marvel assets and the Pixar assets and I think he was looking to some extent for either long term wealth preservation or long term wealth creation. FABER: You know, you mentioned in the book, the idea that if Steve had lived, Disney and Apple might have become one. Did you guys ever really talk about Apple buying? IGER: No, Steve and I never did. What we did talk about and he was public about at one point at one of his late Apple product presentations, he stood in front of a street sign with an intersection I think one said liberal arts and one said technology. That's what made his heart sing. I think that's how we put it that intersection. So what we talked about a lot was what happens when great technology meets great creativity. He thought that means that to him was the secret sauce for almost everything. And if you, if you project that into how the world was changing and you think of a world where suddenly the opportunity to use that technology to create new experiences for people in terms of how they access content, the natural thing would have been for Apple to have the great content that Disney creates applied or used on their platform. And I know I'm pretty convinced we would have had that discussion. And you know, that was maybe someone wistful of me when I wrote that, but I just knew of his passion for everything we did and everything Apple did and then his deep, deep belief that nothing would be more powerful than that combination. I think we would have gotten there. Part VII on CNBC's "TechCheck" FABER: Yeah, of course Julia, and something you've been very focused on as well as your coverage of the company, direct-to-consumer certainly being a such an important component overall of their strategy. I know we can both remember back in what was it August of 2015 on that earnings conference call when for the first time Iger addressed potential sub erosion at the giant cash flowing property ESPN. Since then, of course, it's no secret that the linear ecosystem has been in decline, and certainly Iger acknowledges that as well. IGER: I think you're seeing a migration to more digital, direct-to-consumer forms of entertainment distribution. And being in that business at a larger scale, which because I think that will provide more growth for the company than the traditional media platforms would've and just the migration, the erosion of the traditional media platforms and the growth of the new ones. We're playing in that new space much more aggressively than we would have obviously without Disney+, without Hulu as well. I think people are consuming things in much more different ways. App-based entertainment in the home has, is replacing the linear channel consumption in the home. So, when you go back to the question you asked about the future of that business, it's not bright at all. It's, it's actually eroding right before our eyes. FABER: And it continues to erode before our eyes You know, it was a long interview and opportunity to talk to Iger about so many different things, best decisions in which he sort of talked about the decision to buy Pixar and worst decisions as well where YouTube came up. IGER: I remember when YouTube was sold. One of the things I always rued, because when YouTube emerged, it was the, we didn't see that first. I'm the one who put “America's Funniest Videos” on ABC in 1989, which was user-generated content. It's kinda funny, which YouTube really started as. It's evolved tremendously. Why didn't I think of that? FABER: Yeah. Why, yeah. IGER: I don't know, I, I missed that one— FABER: You missed that one. Worth, it's worth about $300 billion now, by the way, based on its revenue if you— IGER: Well, YouTube would've been smart. FABER: It would've been. All right, so that gets me to worst decision. Is there one that comes to mind in terms of just a really bad decision you made over those 16-plus years? IGER: I made some bad decisions. Fortunately, they weren't monumental or they woulda, brought me, me down. So I can't really think of, like, the worst decision. I made some bonehead creative decisions along way, you know, greenlit some things that I probably shouldn't have. I mean— FABER: All right, yeah, but saying yes-- IGER: But that's kinda easy. FABER: To Cop Rock is not exactly the worst decision you're gonna make. IGER: You know, I’m, I'm, there's, that's actually, it's interesting, I try to be honest and candid, both in terms of assessment and myself. I definitely made a bunch of bad decisions. Sometimes people, sometimes product, nothing gigantic. FABER: Nothing gigantic? IGER: No. FABER: And nothing comes to mind at all that you can share? IGER: A buncha little things. FABER: Just little things. IGER: Yeah. FABER: So I guess that's a pretty good tenure then, if it's a buncha little things-- IGER: Well, I lasted a long time, so I guess, I suggest I didn't make any really bad, any big, bad decisions. Updated on Dec 21, 2021, 12:33 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 21st, 2021

Regions Financial (RF) to Buy Clearsight, Ups Advisory Ability

Regions Financial's (RF) deal to acquire Clearsight is a strategic fit as it will broaden the bank's specialty capabilities, and merger and acquisition advisory services in the technology sector. At the heels of the recently closed buyout of Sabal Capital, Regions Financial Corp. RF has now inked a definitive agreement to acquire McLean, VA-based Clearsight Advisors, Inc. Clearsight is a preeminent merger and acquisition firm catering to clients in the technology, professional services, data and information services, and digital and technology-enabled service industries.The acquisition marks an additional avenue for the bank to broaden its specialty capabilities as well as merger and acquisition advisory services for existing technology sector clients. Moreover, it will equip the company to attract clients seeking to leverage Regions Financial’s experience and resources, and help them attain their financial goals.Regions Financial is leveraging Clearsight’s extensive sector knowledge to deliver independent merger and acquisition advisory services to several clients, including entrepreneurs, companies and institutional investors. Clearsight also offers financial advisory and consulting services to companies and entrepreneurs, advancing their business strategies.The buyout is anticipated to close by 2021 end, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing norms. Terms of the deal were kept under wraps. Regions Financial intends to consolidate Clearsight into Regions Bank’s expanding Capital Markets division. The company will retain Clearsight’s headquarters in McLean, and business offices in New York City and Dallas.Management at Regions Financial noted, “The combination of Clearsight’s sector-specific M&A and financial advisory services, and Regions’ extensive technology sector corporate finance, lending and capital markets solutions, represents a significant opportunity to deliver value for our collective client base. This, along with our commitment to world-class service and attention to detail, will help us deepen relationships and build new relationships in this space.”Clearsight’s management remarked, “Over the last decade, Clearsight has grown to be an M&A advisory leader in the burgeoning knowledge economy. Strategically, we were seeking a partner that would help us expand our ability to provide a more fulsome suite of services and capital options for our growing client base, while identifying the right culture match for our team.”The buyout underlines Regions Financial efforts to diversify its revenue source by offering more high-value, fee-based financial services and originations. The move is in line with the company’s efforts to expand its business operations on the back of investments in varied product offerings and inorganic activities.Mirroring this, Regions Financial closed the acquisition of Sabal Capital earlier this month to improve agency multi-family and non-agency lending capabilities.Sabal has been integrated into Regions Financial’s Real Estate Capital Markets platform. In October, the company completed the previously announced deal to acquire the specialized home improvement lender, EnerBank USA, from its parent, CMS Energy Corporation. The move expanded its home-lending products, adding $3.1 billion in loans to consumers.As the bank continues to explore opportunities for bolt-on acquisitions, expand its services and enhance client experiences, we believe that such endeavors will diversify its revenue streams and support long-term growth prospects.Over the past six months, shares of Regions Financial have gained 7.1% compared with 2.5% growth of the industry. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Currently, Regions Financial carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Inorganic Growth Efforts by Other FirmsSeveral companies from the finance sector are undertaking consolidation efforts to improve competencies in a bid to counter the low-interest-rate environment.In a similar move to enhance mergers and acquisitions advisory services’ competencies in the digital-infrastructure sector, Citizens Financial Group, Inc. CFG recently announced a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all assets of DH Capital LLC. DH Capital is a New York-based private investment banking firm catering to companies in the Internet infrastructure, software and next-generation IT services, and communications sectors.The move marks Citizens Financial’s third acquisition over the past four months to augment its corporate advisory team. In September, CFG closed the buyout of Willamette Management Associates and it acquired JMP Group in November.First Financial Bancorp. FFBC will acquire the fourth-largest independent equipment financing platform in the United States, Summit Funding Group. The deal completion, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected in the fourth quarter of this year.The acquisition of Summit is expected to be accretive to First Financial’s earnings per share by mid-single digits in 2023 (the first year post-integration). Thereafter, on a run-rate basis, the deal is expected to be accretive to FFBC’s earnings by low-double digits.U.S. Bancorp’s USB primary subsidiary U.S. Bank completed the deal to acquire PFM Asset Management LLC. The acquisition was carried out through U.S. Bancorp Asset Management. The deal to acquire PFM Asset Management was announced this July.U.S. Bancorp’s several acquisitions over the past years have enabled the company to foray into untapped markets and fortify its footprint in existing geographies. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Regions Financial Corporation (RF): Free Stock Analysis Report U.S. Bancorp (USB): Free Stock Analysis Report First Financial Bancorp. (FFBC): Free Stock Analysis Report Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (CFG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 20th, 2021

BP Forays Into EV Charging Market by Acquiring Amply Power (Revised)

BP is planning to accelerate electrification in the fleet segment, which is crucial to reducing emissions from the transport sector. BP plc BP announced that it acquired Amply Power for an undisclosed amount as part of plans to help the world reach net-zero emissions by 2050.The acquisition represents BP's first major foray into the electric vehicle ("EV") charging market in the United States, one of the largest automotive markets globally.Amply Power is an EV charging and energy infrastructure provider for fleets, which operate trucks, transit and school buses, vans, and light-duty vehicles. Per the terms of the deal, Amply Power will continue operating independently as part of BP's business portfolio.BP is planning to accelerate electrification in the fleet segment, which is crucial to reducing emissions from the transport sector. In 2019, emissions from the transport sector accounted for nearly 29% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.Amply Power offers a unique opportunity to develop BP's EV business in the U.S. as it brings a fast-growing customer base and an accessible digital platform. The acquisition fits well with BP's plan to enhance next-generation mobility solutions as well as provide the fastest and reliable network of charging and digital solutions for customers.Energy companies are increasingly investing in EV chargers as demand for the same is expected to grow significantly in the future. BP, which has EV charging stations in the U.K., Germany and China, aims to expand its global network of EV charging points to 70,000 by 2030. This indicates an increase from about 11,000 today.BP has been expanding its charging businesses worldwide as electrification is the basis of its approach to mobility.  The company continues to invest in new forms of infrastructure and technology to serve the fleet customers.Company Profile & Price PerformanceHeadquartered in London, the U.K., BP is a fully integrated energy company, with a strong focus on renewable energy.Shares of the company have underperformed the industry in the past three months. The stock has gained 14.6% compared with the industry's 15.6% growth.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank & Key PicksBP currently flaunts a Zack Rank #3 (Hold).Investors interested in the energy sector might look at the following companies that presently flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Callon Petroleum Company CPE solely focuses on the exploration, and production of oil and gas resources in the Permian Basin. CPE boasts an impressive footprint throughout the core of the Permian Basin, which is the highest-producing shale play in the United States. Callon Petroleum, currently valued at $2.9 billion, entered the basin in 2009. It has been strengthening its foothold in the region since then.In the past year, shares of Callon Petroleumhave gained 283.7% compared with Zacks Exploration and Production Industry's growth of 94.3%. CPE's earnings for 2021 are expected to surge 222.7% year over year. CPE currently has a Zacks Style Score of A for both Growth and Momentum. CPE witnessed six upward revisions in the past 60 days.Devon Energy Corporation DVN is an independent energy company engaged in the exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas. Devon's strong U.S. operations are spread across the key oil assets of Delaware Basin, Eagle Ford, Anadarko Basin, Williston Basin and Powder River Basin. At 2020-end, Devon Energy proved reserves of approximately 752 million barrels of oil equivalent.In the past year, the stock has soared 201.2% compared with the industry's growth of 94.3%. DVN is also projected to see a year-over-year earnings surge of 3877.8% in 2021.  DVN witnessed nine upward revisions in the past 60 days. DVN's free cash flow at the end of third-quarter 2021 was $1.1 billion, up eight-fold from the fourth-quarter 2020 levels. The company will continue to prioritize free cash flow generation in 2022 and deploy a major portion of the same to dividends and share buybacks.Eni SPA E is among the leading integrated energy players in the world. Its upstream operations involve the exploitation and production of oil and natural gas resources. Through midstream activities, the company transports and stores hydrocarbons. Eni also engages in refining hydrocarbons and distributing the end products in 71 nations. Apart from providing natural gas, the company generates and sells electricity.In the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Eni's 2021 earnings has been raised by 45%. It is also projected to see a year-over-year earnings surge of 733.3% in 2021. Eni currently has a Zacks Style Score of A for both Value and Growth. Eni beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate three times in the last four quarters and missed once, with an earnings surprise of 0.43%, on average.(We are reissuing this article to correct a mistake. The original article, issued on December 8, 2021, should no longer be relied upon.) Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report BP p.l.c. (BP): Free Stock Analysis Report Devon Energy Corporation (DVN): Free Stock Analysis Report Eni SpA (E): Free Stock Analysis Report Callon Petroleum Company (CPE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 10th, 2021

Vail Resorts (MTN) to Acquire New Resorts in Pennsylvania

Vail Resorts (MTN) to acquire Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain ski areas. It intends to add the resorts to Epic Pass products for the 2022-23 North American ski season. Vail Resorts, Inc. MTN recently entered into a definitive agreement with Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Inc. to acquire Seven Springs Mountain Resort and its sister resorts — Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain. Quoted at approximately $125 million, the deal includes the acquisition of all assets related to the mountain operations of the resorts, related base area lodging, conference center and amenities. The company expects to close the deal in winter 2021.Kirsten Lynch, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, stated, "As a company, we have been focused on acquiring resorts near major metropolitan areas as we know many skiers and riders build their passion for the sport close to home.”Located in the southeast of the Pittsburgh area (Pennsylvania), Seven Springs Mountain Resort comprises 285 acres and 750 vertical feet for skiing and snowboarding. It also offers resort amenities, including a 418-room hotel, conference center, a full-service spa and tubing. Hidden Valley offers 110 skiable acres and 470 vertical feet, with 26 slopes and trails and two terrain parks. Laurel Mountain offers 70 skiable acres and 761 vertical feet.The company anticipates this acquisition to pave the path for a stronger connection through attractive offerings to prospective guests in Pittsburgh. Vail Resorts stated that it intends to add access to the three resorts to select Epic Pass products for the 2022-23 North American ski and ride season.Buyout SynergiesThe company anticipates the acquisition to generate incremental annual EBITDA in excess of $15 million for the fiscal year ended Jul 31, 2023. This includes incremental annual EBITDA of approximately $5 million associated with the 418-room Slopeside Hotel and associated conference facilities and lodging operations at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Capital expenditures are expected to increase approximately $3 million to support the addition of these resorts, subject to the closing of the transaction.Price performanceImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSo far this year, shares of Vail Resorts have gained 23.7% compared with the industry’s 4.8% growth. The company is benefiting from its offerings such as Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, Epic Day Pass and Epic Coverage products. This, along with a focus on digital marketing and media advertising, bodes well. The company expects it to be a key growth driver as it relates to the growing number of people associated with the program. Vail Resorts continues to reinvest in its resorts to boost customer traffic. However, coronavirus-related woes persist. Although the company is witnessing sequential improvements in visitation, it is still behind the pre-pandemic levels. This, along with competition and weather-related woes, is a concern. Earnings estimates for 2022 have remained unchanged in the past 30 days, limiting the upside potential of the stock.Zacks Rank and Stocks to ConsiderCurrently, Vail Resorts carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.Some better-ranked stocks in the Consumer Discretionary sector include Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. HGV, Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corporation BVH and Camping World Holdings, Inc. CWH.Hilton Grand Vacations sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 411.1%, on average. Shares of the company have increased 64.4% so far this year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Hilton Grand Vacations’ current financial-year sales and earnings per share (EPS) suggests growth of 222.1% and 152.3%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Bluegreen Vacations flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 695%, on average. Shares of the company have surged 143.9% so far this year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Bluegreen Vacations’ current financial-year sales and EPS indicates a rise of 27.5% and 199.3%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Camping World carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The company benefits from the launch of a fresh peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace and a mobile service marketplace. It has been investing heavily in product development.Camping World has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 70.9%, on average. Shares of the company have appreciated 56.8% so far this year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CWH’s financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 25.9% and 77.6%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Camping World (CWH): Free Stock Analysis Report Vail Resorts, Inc. (MTN): Free Stock Analysis Report Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (HGV): Free Stock Analysis Report Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corporation (BVH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 10th, 2021

PRA Group (PRAA) Up 13.2% in 6 Months: More Growth Ahead?

PRA Group's (PRAA) strong capital position indicates the possibility of a rise in purchasing volumes for 2022. PRA Group, Inc.’s PRAA shares have jumped 13.2% in the past six months, outperforming the 2.4% growth of the industry. The company has not only managed to navigate through last year’s coronavirus-induced weakness in the market but also positioned itself for better returns in the future.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchHeadquartered in Norfolk, VA, PRA Group is primarily involved in providing global financial and business services in the Americas, Australia, and Europe. Its primary business involves purchasing, collecting and managing portfolios of nonperforming loans. It currently has a market cap of $1.9 billion.Can It Retain Momentum?The answer is yes and before we get into the details, let us show you how its estimates for 2021 stand. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings per share stands at $3.90, signaling an increase from last year’s figure of $3.26. The consensus estimate for 2021 revenues is pegged at $1.1 billion, indicating a rise of 2.3% from 2020.The company beat earnings estimates thrice in the last four quarters and missed once, with an average surprise of 32.1%.Now let’s delve into what’s driving the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock.Cash Collection Trend: PRA Group’s cash collection rose 7.4% and 13.3% year over year in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The trend continued in 2020. For the first nine months of 2021, the metric rose 4.2% year over year, thanks to Europe Core and Europe insolvency. The momentum is likely to continue on the back of the volume of purchases in the United States that will get a boost by 2021-end or at the beginning of the next year. Also, rapid economic recovery is expected to ensure strong U.S. digital collections. With modernizing collections, the cash efficiency ratio is likely to improve.Receivable Income: PRA Group’s receivable income has increased since 2009, except for 2016. Total revenues increased 4.8% and 6% year over year during last year and the first nine months of 2021, respectively. A Strong capital position indicates the possibility of a rise in purchasing volumes for 2022. It has $1.4 billion available for further portfolio buyouts. Given solid fundamentals, this uptrend is expected to boost PRAA’s top line in the coming days.Business Expansion: In a prudent move, PRA Group expanded its presence beyond the primary debt collection business, and stepped into government collections and audit services. The acquisition of eGov Systems in 2016 to consolidate the government business and alliances with the Internal Revenue Service, and Banco Bradesco S.A. are some of its notable expansionary moves. Furthermore, in 2019, it acquired the holding company of Resurgent Holdings' Canadian business. It created an advanced nonperforming loan business in Canada. These moves bode well for PRAA’s inorganic growth.RisksDespite the upside potential, there are a few factors that are impeding the stock’s growth lately. At third quarter-end, the company had only $56.5 million in cash and cash equivalents. Its borrowings were recorded at $2,520.9 million as of Sep 30, 2021. Total debt to total capital at quarter-end was 63.3%, reflecting a significant level of leverage. This can affect the company's financial flexibility. Also, rising expenses are preventing the bottom line to reach its true potential. Costs associated with increasing activities are likely to keep going up. Nevertheless, we believe that a systematic and strategic plan of action will drive long-term growth.Stocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked players in the Finance space include Alerus Financial Corporation ALRS, Blackstone Inc. BX and Houlihan Lokey, Inc. HLI, each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Based in Grand Forks, ND, Alerus Financial provides numerous financial services to clients. Its financial strength is reflected by massive total assets of $3.2 billion at third quarter-end, which increased 5.4% for the first nine months of 2021. Rising investment securities will likely keep boosting ALRS’ asset position in the coming quarters.Alerus Financial’s bottom line for 2021 is expected to jump 11.5% year over year to $2.81 per share. It has witnessed three upward estimate revisions in the past 30 days and no movement in the opposite direction. Alerus Financial beat earnings estimates thrice in the last four quarters and missed once, with an average surprise of 23.6%.Headquartered in New York, Blackstone is well poised to benefit from its fund-raising ability, revenue mix and inorganic expansion strategies. The company’s fee-earning assets under management (AUM) and total AUM consistently demonstrate strong growth, aided by increasing net inflows. Over the last four years (2017-2020), fee-earning AUM has witnessed a CAGR of 11.9% and total AUM saw a CAGR of 12.5%.Blackstone’s 2021 earnings are expected to rise 64.2% to $4.35 per share. It has witnessed five upward estimate revisions in the past 30 days compared with none in the opposite direction. BX beat earnings estimates in the last four quarters, with an average of 23.7%.Houlihan Lokey — headquartered in Los Angeles, CA — provides multiple financial services to clients all over the world. Its growing footprint in Europe and Asia’s investment banking services field will help HLI boost strategic and shareholder value in the coming days. Rising average transaction fees will help HLI increase corporate finance revenues.The full-year 2022 bottom line of Houlihan Lokey is expected to rise 36.8% year over year to $6.32 per share. In the past 30 days, it has witnessed four upward estimate revisions and no downward movement. HLI beat earnings estimates in all the last four quarters, with an average of 39.5%. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Blackstone Inc. (BX): Free Stock Analysis Report PRA Group, Inc. (PRAA): Free Stock Analysis Report Houlihan Lokey, Inc. (HLI): Free Stock Analysis Report Alerus Financial (ALRS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 10th, 2021

Adobe (ADBE) to Boost Creative Capabilities With ContentCal

Adobe (ADBE) inks a deal to buy ContentCal. This is expected to bolster its footprint in the content marketing space. Adobe ADBE has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the London-based social marketing startup ContentCal  to bolster its creative offerings.ContentCal operates a platform that aids businesses in creating and publishing their marketing content online.Further, ContentCal’s social media and content marketing solution automates the process of scheduling, publishing and reporting the content across various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to name a few.Moreover, the startup gained strong traction among several individuals and companies on the back of its robust platform.Therefore, we believe that the latest move is likely to drive Adobe’s momentum among the various enterprises, especially the small businesses for which ContentCal’s marketing solution turned out to be very useful in achieving work efficiency.The acquisition under review is expected to close in first-quarter fiscal 2022.Growth ProspectsPer a Research Dive report, the global content market for content marketing is expected to generate revenues worth $137.2 million by 2026. The figure is projected to register a CAGR of 16.2% over the period of 2020- 2027.Growing adoption of content marketing tools and software by the businesses to accelerate their customer engagement rate is driving growth in this particular market.Also, companies consider these tools a strong solution to their business, product promotion and building relationship with customers.Additionally, growing proliferation of Internet streaming remains a major growth factor behind the boom in the content marketing space.We note that with ContentCal, Adobe will be well-poised to capitalize on the aforementioned growth opportunities.Adobe Inc. Revenue (TTM) Adobe Inc. revenue-ttm | Adobe Inc. QuoteFurther, Adobe is likely to intensify competition for HubSpot HUBS, a provider of inbound marketing and sales application.HubSpot aids businesses in attracting customers through search engine optimization, social media, blogging, website content management and marketing automation. HUBS is already reeling under the competitive pressure posed by Adobe’s Digital Media Solutions segment.Deep Focus on Creative ToolsThe latest move bodes well for Adobe’s consistent efforts in strengthening its creative tools.Moreover, strategic acquisitions have been playing a significant role in shaping up the growth trajectory of Adobe in the digital media market.Adobe recently completed the acquisition of a leading cloud-enabled video review and collaboration platform named Frame.io, which testifies the above-mentioned facts. Frame.io’s solutions simplify the production procedure, and thus video editors and project stakeholders can seamlessly collaborate via leveraging cloud-first workflows.Adobe combined Frame.io’s solutions with its creative software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premier Pro and other Adobe Creative Cloud applicationsWe believe, all these endeavors will likely boost the adoption rate of Adobe Creative Cloud, which in turn, will drive growth in the Adobe’s Digital Media segment.However, lower end-market demand and increasing acquisition expenses remain major overhangs for Adobe in the near term.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderCurrently, Adobe carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).Investors interested in the broader technology sector can consider stocks like Advanced Micro Devices AMD and Mimecast Limited MIME, each currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Advanced Micro Devices has gained 57.9% on a year-to-date basis. The long-term earnings growth rate for the stock is currently projected at 46.2%.Mimecast has gained 39.7% on a year-to-date basis. The long-term earnings growth rate for the stock is currently projected at 35%. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD): Free Stock Analysis Report Adobe Inc. (ADBE): Free Stock Analysis Report HubSpot, Inc. (HUBS): Free Stock Analysis Report Mimecast Limited (MIME): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 10th, 2021

Liquidity Services Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2021 Financial Results

BETHESDA, Md., Dec. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Liquidity Services (NASDAQ:LQDT, www.liquidityservices.com)), a leading global commerce company providing trusted marketplace platforms that power the circular economy, today announced its financial results as of the quarter ended September 30, 2021 as compared to the applicable comparable prior periods: Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) of $244.4 million, up 24%, and Revenue of $70.3 million, up 26% GAAP Net Income of $32.8 million1, up $27.3 million1, which includes a $24.6 million tax benefit1 Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA of $11.4 million, up $2.4 million GAAP Diluted EPS of $0.931, up $0.771, which includes a $0.70 per share tax benefit1, and Non-GAAP Adjusted Diluted EPS of $0.26, up $0.03 Cash of $106.3 million, $15.0 million of share repurchases in Q4-FY21, $65.4 million trailing 12-month operating cash flow, and zero debt Trailing 12-month GMV up 43%, Net Income of $50.9 million1, and Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA of $42.9 million Approval of new $20.0 million share repurchase authorization "Liquidity Services recorded outstanding growth during FY21, driven by strong demand from both new and existing customers for our e-commerce marketplace solutions which continue to power the circular economy benefiting businesses, society, and the environment. Our business is at the intersection of several powerful market forces and accordingly we are aggressively investing in our people, products and technology to support our near-term objective of scaling to $1.5 billion in annualized GMV. While these growth investments will pressure our near-term earnings, we expect to realize strong year-over-year growth for the full FY22 and beyond. We are pleased with the consistent execution of our team in support of our mission to build a better future for surplus as we closed FY21 with $886.7 million in GMV, up 43%, and delivered strong growth across all our segments resulting in strong profitability and cash generation. Looking forward to FY22, we are making several strategic investments to expand and scale the solutions we offer to large enterprises, small businesses and government agencies across the world. In our GovDeals segment, our acquisition of Bid4Assets broadens our online real estate solutions available to state and local government agencies. In our Retail Supply Chain Group (RSCG) segment, our new AllSurplus Deals consumer marketplace introduces a new, direct to consumer online sales channel for retail surplus, and our new Northern Pennsylvania distribution center increases our capacity to efficiently serve retail buyers and sellers in the northeastern United States. We believe that our ability to rapidly leverage our scalable marketplace platform will enable us to drive well over $1 billion in GMV in FY22 and continue to enhance our bottom line over time," said Bill Angrick, Chairman and CEO of Liquidity Services. "Our Q4-FY21 results demonstrate the continuing role our e-commerce marketplace solutions play in powering the $100 billion+ circular economy. Businesses and government agencies continue to embrace the economic, environmental and sustainability benefits they gain from our online solutions. GMV in our GovDeals segment grew 20% over the prior year's comparable quarter, driven by strong buyer engagement and a broader array of high value assets, including vehicles, heavy equipment and real estate that government agencies are selling using our digital marketplace solutions. GMV in our RSCG segment grew 10% over the prior year's comparable quarter, as large retail sellers continued to expand their use of our digital marketplaces and value added services to reduce waste and overall supply chain costs. GMV in our Capital Assets Group (CAG) segment increased 60% over the prior year's comparable quarter, driven by heavy equipment and industrial asset sales in North America, and strong principal sales in EMEA, as buyers overcome travel restrictions internationally. Our Machinio segment grew revenue by 47% over the prior year's comparable quarter, as equipment owners and dealers continue to seek and benefit from our digital marketing and inventory management solutions," concluded Angrick. During FY21, the Company completed $31.1 million of share repurchases, including $15.0 million in Q4-FY21 that completed its then remaining authorization. On December 6, 2021, the Company's Board of Directors authorized a new share repurchase program of up to $20.0 million of the Company's common stock, to expire on December 31, 2023. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors, including price, general business and market conditions, and the existence of alternative investment opportunities. The repurchase program will be executed consistent with the Company's capital allocation strategy of prioritizing investment to grow the business over the long term. 1 Includes a net $24.6 million benefit, or $0.70 per share, from the release of our valuation allowance on US deferred tax assets in Q4-FY21. For further information, see Note 10, Income Taxes, to our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2021. Fourth Quarter Consolidated Operating and Earnings Results The Company reported Q4-FY21 GMV of $244.4 million, a 24% increase from $196.9 million in the prior year's comparable period. GMV is an operating measure of the total sales value of all merchandise sold by us or our sellers through our marketplaces and other channels during a period. Revenue for Q4-FY21 was $70.3 million, a 26% increase from $55.9 million in the prior year. Gross Profit for Q4-FY21 was $40.1 million, a 20.8% increase from $33.2 million in the prior year. GAAP Net Income for Q4-FY21 was $32.8 million, which resulted in GAAP EPS of $0.93 based on a weighted average of 35.3 million diluted shares outstanding, compared to $5.4 million and $0.16, respectively, in the prior year. The Q4-FY21 GAAP Net Income includes a net $24.6 million benefit, or a $0.70 benefit to GAAP EPS, from the impacts of the release of our valuation allowance on US deferred tax assets. Non-GAAP Adjusted Net Income was $9.3 million and Non-GAAP Adjusted EPS was $0.26, an increase from $7.9 million and $0.23, respectively, in the prior period. Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA was $11.4 million, a $2.4 million increase from $9.0 million in the same period last year. Q4-FY21 comparative year-over-year consolidated financial results reflect increased volumes across all of our segments, as businesses and government agencies continued to embrace our e-commerce marketplace solutions. Full-service and self-service consignment sales continue to drive those increased volumes, delivering 83% of our total GMV in Q4-FY21, up from 82% in Q4-FY20. Gross profit increased by 21%, driven by increased volumes and was partially offset by a decline in gross profit margin as a percentage of revenue from 59% in Q4-FY20 to 57% in Q4-FY21. We grew GAAP Net Income by $27.3 million, or $2.7 million excluding the net impact of the Q4-FY21 release of our valuation allowance on our US deferred tax assets, and grew Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA by $2.4 million over the corresponding prior year period as a result of our top line growth paired with our enhanced operating leverage delivered through investments in our scalable marketplace platform and streamlined operational and corporate functions. Fiscal Year Consolidated Operating and Earnings Results The Company reported FY21 GMV of $886.7 million, a 43% increase from $619.9 million in FY20, which included periods significantly affected by economic restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenue for FY21 was $257.5 million, a 25% increase from $205.9 million in the prior year. Gross Profit for FY21 was $149.9 million, a 36% increase from $109.9 million in the prior year. GAAP Net Income for FY21 was $50.9 million, which resulted in GAAP EPS of $1.45 based on a weighted average of 35.0 million diluted shares outstanding, compared to a loss of $(3.8) million and $(0.11), respectively, in the prior year. The FY21 GAAP Net Income includes a net $24.6 million benefit, or a $0.70 benefit to GAAP EPS, from the impacts of the release of our valuation allowance on US deferred tax assets in Q4-FY21. Non-GAAP Adjusted Net Income was $33.4 million and Non-GAAP Adjusted EPS was $0.95, an increase from $4.2 million and $0.12, respectively, in the prior year. Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA was $42.9 million, a $33.9 million increase from $9.0 million in the prior year. FY21 comparative year-over-year consolidated financial results reflect increased volumes across all of our segments, as businesses and government agencies continued to embrace our e-commerce marketplace solutions, coupled with fewer economic restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our full-service and self-service consignment model increased to 84% of our total GMV, up from 79% in FY20. Our gross profit increased by 36%, driven by the increases in volumes, the mix shift towards the consignment model, and improved margins from higher recovery rates on assets sold, and our gross profit margin as a percentage of revenue increased from 53% in FY20 to 58% in FY21. We grew GAAP Net Income by $54.7 million, or $30.1 million excluding the net impact of the Q4-FY21 release of our valuation allowance on our US deferred tax assets, and grew Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA by $33.9 million over the corresponding prior year period as a result of our top line growth paired with our enhanced operating leverage delivered through investments in our scalable marketplace platform and streamlined operational and corporate functions. Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year Segment Operating and Earnings Results We present operating results in four reportable segments: GovDeals, RSCG, CAG and Machinio. Segment gross profit is calculated as total revenue less cost of goods sold (excludes depreciation and amortization). Our Q4-FY21 and FY21 segment results are as follows (unaudited, in millions):   Three Months Ended September 30,   Twelve Months Ended September 30,   2021 2020   2021 2020 GovDeals:           GMV $ 134.1   $ 111.7     $ 498.7   $ 326.0   Revenue $ 13.1   $ 10.9     $ 49.6   $ 32.8   Gross Profit $ 12.5   $ 10.4     $ 47.0   $ 30.7               RSCG:           GMV $ 57.7   $ 52.3     $ 229.3   $ 181.5   Revenue $ 40.7   $ 35.0     $ 158.8   $ 136.5   Gross Profit $ 16.2   $ 15.0     $ 64.6   $ 49.7               CAG:           GMV $ 52.5   $ 32.8     $ 158.7   $ 112.4   Revenue $ 13.8   $ 8.1     $ 39.6   $ 29.5   Gross Profit $ 8.9   $ 6.1     $ 29.3   $ 22.7               Machinio           GMV $ —   $ —     $ —   $ —   Revenue $ 2.7   $ 1.8     $ 9.6   $ 7.2   Gross Profit $ 2.5   $ 1.7     $ 9.0   $ 6.8               Consolidated:           GMV $ 244.4   $ 196.9     $ 886.7   $ 619.9   Revenue $ 70.3   $ 55.9     $ 257.5   $ 205.9   Gross Profit $ 40.1   $ 33.2     $ 149.9   $ 109.9   Additional Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2021 Operational Results Registered Buyers — At the end of FY21, registered buyers totaled approximately 4,031,000 representing a 7% increase over the approximately 3,772,000 registered buyers at the end of FY20. Auction Participants — Auction participants are defined as registered buyers who have bid in an auction during the period (a registered buyer who bids in more than one auction is counted as an auction participant in each auction in which he or she bids). In Q4-FY21, auction participants increased to approximately 584,000, a 9% increase from the approximately 536,000 auction participants in Q4-20. In FY21, auction participants increased to approximately 2,279,000, a 20% increase from the approximately 1,899,000 auction participants in FY20. Completed Transactions In Q4-FY21, completed transactions increased to approximately 192,000, a 44% increase from the approximately 133,000 completed transactions in Q4-FY20. In FY21, completed transactions increased to approximately 703,000, a 27% increase from the approximately 553,000 completed transactions in FY20. Business Outlook Fueled by strong industry trends and demand for our services, we are expanding the capacity of our sales, marketing, product development and technology teams to support a much larger and growing business. We are well-positioned to create value by focusing on our technology enabled business services that deliver optimal liquidity in the circular economy. We continue to see strong buyer demand for heavy equipment, vehicles, and industrial manufacturing equipment across the globe, leading to elevated recovery rates that we expect to continue through FY22. We are well-positioned to capitalize on the current market conditions given our expertise and buyer base in key asset categories and our long-term contractual relationships with sellers, including government agencies, Fortune 500, mid-market and small businesses. We also expect to benefit from potential increases in the available supply of used equipment from sellers acquiring equipment to support infrastructure projects and increased demand for that equipment from private sector buyers preparing to support those projects. We believe that e-commerce acceptance has been permanently advanced by the accelerated general market trends over the last two years towards greater online commerce, and we are actively pursuing available market opportunities through strategic investments, such as acquiring Bid4Assets to accelerate growth in the government real estate category; expanding our market offerings and reach further into the heavy equipment category; launching AllSurplus Deals, our new consumer marketplace that is initially offering curbside pickup of surplus retail products out of our new Phoenix distribution center; and expanding our retail distribution center network to better serve several large omni-channel retailers and growing e-commerce brands operating across the northeast. Our Q1-FY22 guidance range for GMV is above the same period last year, driven by anticipated increases in transaction volumes across our segments, and sustained positive macroeconomic factors that have favorably influenced recovery rates in key categories, even as we enter a traditionally seasonally low fiscal first quarter. Our profit guidance for Q1-FY22 is at or below the same period last year reflecting increased costs related to growing the capacity of our sales, marketing, product development and technology teams, and higher market-driven labor costs, to support future growth with operating leverage that is expected to improve throughout FY22 and beyond. We also anticipate a year-over-year decline in gross margins in Q1-FY22 due to near-term product mix changes in our RSCG segment. Additionally, as a result of reversing our tax valuation allowance in Q4-FY21 due to our strong level of profitability trends, our effective tax rate is expected to increase starting in Q1-FY22 to approximately 18-20% from 4.5% for FY21 when excluding the impact of the valuation allowance reversal. This higher effective tax rate will have no corresponding increase to cash paid for income taxes for FY22, but will have negative year-over-year comparable impacts to our FY22 net income and EPS guidance. Q1-FY22 guidance includes expected results from Bid4Assets as part of our GovDeals segment which contributes to a portion of the overall increase in GMV relative to the same period last year. We currently expect the results of Bid4Assets operations will continue to grow over the remainder of FY22 and be accretive to our full year FY22 financial results excluding any potential impact from changes in the fair value of the earnout liability associated with the transaction that will be remeasured at the end of each quarter during FY22. The following forward-looking statements reflect the following trends and assumptions for Q1-FY22 compared to the prior year's period: continued R&D spending to support omni-channel behavioral marketing, expanded analytics, and buyer/seller payment optimization; increased spending in business development activities to capture market opportunities, targeting expected payback periods of 12 to 18 months; stabilized macroeconomic factors that most directly influence the recovery rates of asset categories, such as transportation assets; marketplace seasonality converging back to prior trends; sellers have historically provided lower volumes of assets for sale in our fiscal Q1 as compared to fiscal Q4; continued mix shift to consignment pricing model, which will lower revenue as a percent of GMV but can improve gross profit margins; short-term variability in the inventory product mix within the RSCG segment, which can cause a decline in gross profit margins; continued growth in the government real estate category within the GovDeals segment, which will lower revenue as a percent of GMV but is not expected to significantly impact gross profit margins; continued variability in project size and timing within our CAG segment, especially as COVID-19 and its variants continue to impact the global economy and the ability to conduct cross-border transactions; continued growth and expansion resulting from the continuing acceleration of broader market adoption of the digital economy, particularly in our GovDeals and RSCG seller accounts and programs; continued growth in our Machinio Advertising subscription service and acceptance of other Machinio service offerings; we expect our FY22 effective tax rate (ETR) to increase to approximately 18% to 20% without a corresponding increase to cash paid for income taxes due to our continued net operating loss carryforward position. The ETR increase is mainly a result of no longer having a valuation allowance on our US deferred tax assets. This range excludes any potential impacts from legislative changes to US corporate tax rates that may be enacted during Q1-FY22; no significant changes to the fair value of the Bid4Assets earnout liability during Q1-FY22. Changes to the fair value of the Bid4Assets earnout liability, which has limited visibility and can be highly variable, can impact our GAAP Net Income and GAAP EPS metrics; our diluted weighted average number of shares outstanding will be approximately 35.6 million. We have $20.0 million of available authorization under a new share repurchase program authorized by our Board of Directors on December 6, 2021; and successful integration of Bid4Assets and execution by Bid4Assets on planned real estate auction activity and its business plan. For Q1-FY22 our guidance is as follows: GMV - We expect GMV for Q1-FY22 to range from $230 million to $260 million. GAAP Net Income - We expect GAAP Net Income for Q1-FY22 to range from $1.0 million to $4.0 million. GAAP Diluted EPS - We expect GAAP Diluted Earnings Per Share for Q1-FY22 to range from $0.03 to $0.11. Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA -We expect Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA for Q1-FY22 to range from $6.0 million to $9.0 million. Non-GAAP Adjusted Diluted EPS - We expect Non-GAAP Adjusted Earnings Per Diluted Share for Q1-FY21 to range from $0.08 to $0.17. Liquidity Services, IncReconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Measures Non-GAAP EBITDA and Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA. Non-GAAP EBITDA is a supplemental non-GAAP financial measure and is equal to net income (loss) plus interest and other income, net; provision for income taxes; and depreciation and amortization. Our definition of Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA differs from Non-GAAP EBITDA because we further adjust Non-GAAP EBITDA for stock compensation expense, acquisition costs such as transaction expenses and changes in earn-out estimates, business realignment expenses, deferred revenue purchase accounting adjustments, and goodwill, long-lived and other asset impairment. A reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Non-GAAP EBITDA and Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA is as follows:     Three Months Ended September 30,   Twelve Months EndedSeptember 30,     2021   2020   2021   2020     (Unaudited) (Dollars in thousands)                   Net income (loss)   $ 32,755     $ 5,447     $ 50,949     $ (3,774 ) Interest and other income, net1   115     (88 )   (76 )   (577 ) Provision for income taxes   (24,503 )   90     (23,370 )   801   Depreciation and amortization   1,723     1,574     6,969     6,290   Non-GAAP EBITDA   $ 10,090     $ 7,023     $ 34,472     $ 2,740   Stock compensation expense   1,154     1,875     6,947     5,660   Acquisition costs and impairment of long-lived and other assets2   125     —     1,464     5   Business realignment expenses3   —     77     5     405   Fair value adjustments to acquisition earn-outs2   —     —     —     200   Deferred revenue purchase accounting adjustment   —     —    .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaDec 9th, 2021

U.S. Bancorp (USB) Arm Closes PFM Asset Management Buyout

U.S. Bancorp (USB) enhances its presence in the institutional asset management space and bolsters position as a dominant provider of varied investment solutions with the PFM Asset Management buyout. U.S. Bancorp’s USB primary subsidiary U.S. Bank completed the deal to acquire PFM Asset Management LLC. The acquisition was carried out through U.S. Bancorp Asset Management. The deal to acquire PFM Asset Management was announced this July.PFM Asset Management will operate as a separately registered investment advisor. More than 250 employees of PFM Asset Management have joined U.S. Bank.Following the addition of PFM Asset Management, U.S. Bank’s Wealth Management and Investment Services division has combined investment assets under management of more than $407 billion as of the third-quarter 2021 end.PFM Asset Management caters to a broad spectrum of client relationships and product offerings, including outsourced chief investment officer services, local government investment pools, and separately managed accounts in fixed-income and multi-asset class strategies.Per U.S. Bancorp Asset Management head Eric Thole, these services complement U.S. Bank’s existing business. Further, the buyout will amplify U.S Bank’s presence in institutional asset management nationwide and bolster its position as a dominant provider of varied investment solutions in the country.Management at PFM Asset Management remarked that the company and its “clients will benefit from U.S. Bank’s financial strength, franchise value, world-class technology and cybersecurity. We are also excited to join an organization that shares a similar culture – an unwavering commitment to clients, and a reputation for operating with the highest ethics and valuing its clients, employees, communities and diversity, equity and inclusion principles.”U.S. Bancorp’s several acquisitions over the past years have enabled the company to foray into untapped markets and fortify its footprint in the existing geographies.This November, the bank agreed to acquire San Francisco-based fintech firm, TravelBank, which offers technology-driven cost and travel management solutions.U.S. Bank is already an industry leader in delivering innovative corporate payment solutions like virtual corporate credit cards and tools to improve working capital. Hence, the acquisition will help it in accelerating the integration of digital payments within its commercial segment.Such inorganic growth efforts combined with ongoing investments in innovative product enhancements, services and people supported its balance-sheet growth and fee-based businesses beside increasing U.S. Bancorp’s market share.Over the past six months, shares of the company have gained 25.8%, underperforming 38% growth recorded by the industry. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Currently, U.S. Bancorp carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Inorganic Growth Efforts by Finance CompaniesSeveral companies from the finance sector are undertaking consolidation efforts to counter the low-interest-rate environment along with the heightened costs of investments in technology.The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation’s BK subsidiary, Pershing, agreed to acquire direct indexing solutions provider, Optimal Asset Management, Inc. The completion of the deal, subject to customary conditions, is expected by the end of this year.Notably, the acquisition will become part of BNY Mellon Pershing’s newly launched business unit, Pershing X. This October, the Pershing X platform was launched within BNY Mellon’s Pershing to design and build innovative solutions for the advisory industry.Last month, CVB Financial Corp. CVBF, the holding company for Citizens Business Bank, announced that Citizens received regulatory approvals from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation to complete its previously announced merger agreement with Suncrest Bank. The stock-and-cash deal worth $204 million, announced this July, is expected to close on or about Jan 7, 2022, subject to the satisfaction of all remaining closing conditions.In an effort to expand its presence, CVBF announced an agreement, and plan of reorganization and merger, according to which Suncrest bank would merge with and into Citizens. The acquisition is the second-largest in CVB Financial’s history.United Bankshares, Inc. UBSI completed the merger deal with Community Bankers Trust Corporation. This June, United Bankshares entered an all-stock deal to acquire Community Bankers, the parent company of Essex Bank. Both companies were expected to collaborate in a transaction valued at $303.3 million.The buyout has brought together two high-performing banking companies. It also bolsters United Bankshares’ position as one of the largest and best-performing regional banking companies in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BK): Free Stock Analysis Report U.S. Bancorp (USB): Free Stock Analysis Report CVB Financial Corporation (CVBF): Free Stock Analysis Report United Bankshares, Inc. (UBSI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 9th, 2021