For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL - May 16, 2012 - Zacks.com announces the list of
stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity
Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting
stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the
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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:
Clorox Raises Dividend
Amid the prevailing economic uncertainties, investors are always
on the lookout for the best possible return from stocks in their
portfolio. In a bid to boost shareholder return,
) recently increased its quarterly dividend by 6.7% or 4 cents to
64 cents per share. Earlier, the company used to pay 60 cents per
The increased dividend will be paid on August 10, 2012 to the
shareholders of record as of July 25, 2012. The annualized dividend
yield based on the increased dividend and current stock price is
Previously, on May 18, 2011, Clorox raised its dividend to 60
cents from 55 cents per share, reflecting an increase of 9%.
Dividend increase has emerged as a trend among companies having
a stable cash position and healthy cash flow. The dividend hike not
only enhances shareholders' return but also raise the market value
of the stock.
Following the same trend, Clorox raised its dividend on the
anticipation of higher free cash flow generation. Clorox expects to
generate free cash flow of about 9% to 10% of sales during fiscal
2012 and 2013. Moreover, the company's assertion of increase in
dividend clearly signifies the ability to generate liquidity and
its potential to improve in the long-run.
Chinese Auto Sector Picking Up
China's auto sector was rejuvenated in April by posting 5%
growth in sales to 1.62 million vehicles after recording a slack
first quarter of the year. However, sales in the first four months
of the year slid 1.3% to 6.4 million vehicles, owing to tighter
credit policies and slower economic growth.
In January-March, auto sales fell 3.4% compared with a handsome
32% growth in 2010 due to stricter government regulations on new
car registrations in order to control the traffic congestions and
the same factors stated above.
According to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers
(CAAM), passenger car sales rose 12.5% to 1.28 million vehicles
during the month. Although the spike in sales growth during the
month can be attributable to depressing comparable month of last
year on the back of disruptions caused by the twin disaster in
Japan on March 11, 2011, there is no way we can undermine the
impact of other factors on sales.
In fact, some economists and auto trade associations believe
that April sales clearly show a trend towards recovery as surveys
indicated increasing manufacturing activity during the month.
Further, they expect global demand for Chinese exports to
Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) - the
top-automaker in China -registered a 12.6% rise in sales to 367,600
vehicles in April. Sales at its joint venture with
General Motors Company
) slipped 0.1% to 97,656 cars and with
) increased 10.2% to 110,255 vehicles.
GM's total sales in China grew 11.7% to 227,217 vehicles.
Shanghai GM sales went down 2.2% to 94,101 units while
SAIC-GM-Wuling sales went up 27 % to 127,362 units.
Toyota Motor Corp.
) sales surged 68% to 82,000 vehicles in the country. The higher
sales growth can be attributable to a weaker comparable month of
2011 following the Japan disaster.
Ford Motor Co.
) recorded a 24% rise in sales to 54,881 units driven by strong
demand for the new Ford Focus, which is the first of the 15 new
vehicles the automaker plans to introduce in China by 2015.
Sales at Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co.- a three-way joint
venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. and Mazda Motor
Corp.- totaled 34,108 units in April, up significantly by 30% from
April last year. Meanwhile, sales at Jiangling Motors Corp., the
company's commercial vehicle joint venture, registered a 16% growth
to 20,773 vehicles during the month.
In April, U.S. saw sluggish 2.3% growth in light vehicle sales
in April 2012 to 1.18 million units from 1.16 million units in the
same month last year. Meanwhile, it rose 9.5% to seasonally
adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 14.42 million units from 13.17
million units in April 2011.
The sluggish growth can be attributable to lower sales recorded
by GM and Ford, and fewer selling days (due to more Sundays than
April last year). But thanks to the fuel-efficient lineups and pent
up demand that kept the auto sales recovery in the U.S. on
Auto sales in China had grown at a double-digit pace since 1999,
except in 2008 when the global economic crisis crept in. In 2009,
China overtook the U.S. as the biggest auto market in the world by
sales volumes when the Beijing government introduced a stimulus
package, including tax incentives for small cars with engine sizes
of 1.6 liters or smaller.
However, the incentives were scrapped last year and the Beijing
government imposed quotas on new car registrations in order to
control the traffic congestions. As a result, new car deliveries
plummeted 56% to 403,500 units in 2011.
Nevertheless, China's automotive industry outlook is promising
in 2012. According to CAAM, car sales in 2012 is expected to grow
by 9% in the country, which is much higher than 2011 (5.2%). With a
little support from the government to remove sales barriers, we
believe the world's largest auto market could reach the summit.
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CLOROX CO (CLX): Free Stock Analysis Report
FORD MOTOR CO (F): Free Stock Analysis Report
GENERAL MOTORS (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report
TOYOTA MOTOR CP (TM): Free Stock Analysis
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