Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Humana, Guess?, Tractor Supply Company, Chevron and PVH - Press Releases

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - January 13, 2012 - Zacks Equity Research highlights Humana, Inc. ( HUM ) as the Bull of the Day and Guess? Inc. ( GES ) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Tractor Supply Company ( TSCO ), Chevron ( CVX ) and PVH Corp. ( PVH ).

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2678 .

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day :

We are upgrading our recommendation on Humana, Inc. ( HUM ) to Outperform based on its robust top-line growth, sturdy cash position and favorable acquisitions along with the increased membership guidance. Humana's third-quarter earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and increased guidance for 2011.

On January 10, 2012, Humana announced an agreement with St. Vincent's HealthCare, whereby the members of Humana's Medicare Advantage plans will be able to use St. Vincent's programs, facilities and doctors, including cardiologists and other specialists.

Overall, we believe that the efficient growth strategy through acquisitions, stable ratings and a strong investment portfolio will likely attract long-term investors. Our six-month target price of $113.00 equates to 13.4x our earnings estimate for 2011. Combined with the $1.00 per share annual dividend, this target price implies an expected total return of 20.3% over that period.

Bear of the Day :

We downgraded our recommendation on Guess? Inc. ( GES ) from Neutral to Underperform as its third-quarter 2012 core earnings of $0.71 per share missed both Zacks Consensus Estimate as well as year ago earnings by 28% and 5%, respectively. The current global economic headwinds and the diminishing disposable income of the consumers were responsible for the earnings miss.

Same-store sales also declined in the quarter. In the wholesale segment, reorders for the fall collections as well as spring/summer orders were weak. Channel mix was more than offset by accelerating operating expenses to maintain more stores and planned infrastructure expenses.

The potential slowdown in Europe, which has actually been one of the company's few bright spots, also creates a major risk for shares of GES. Our six-month target price is $27.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog :

Jobs & Retail Surprisingly Weak

The surprisingly weak reports this morning on the U.S. labor market and consumer spending run counter to the recent run of favorable economic data. It is difficult to tell whether this morning's disappointing readings reflect one-off seasonal distortions or the start of a trend reversal. The latter seems unlikely given the absence of any corroborating evidence in other reports. If anything, all other readings of the U.S. economy are pointing towards continued positive momentum.

Beyond U.S. shores, we have subdued inflation numbers out of China. And the European Central Bank (ECB) acted as expected by leaving interest rates unchanged. We also have successful bond auctions in Italy and Spain this morning that are pushing their bond yields in the right direction.

The major news of the day pertains to the soft economic readings on the Retail Sales and Jobless Claims fronts. December Retail Sales numbers came in weaker than expected, up 0.1% compared to expectations of 0.3% gains. This compares to the November gain of 0.4%, which was revised upwards from the originally reported 0.2% level. 'Core' Retail Sales, which excludes automobile and gasoline sales data, also came in weaker than expected.

This is the weakest Retail Sales reading since May 2011 and runs counter to the recent trend of improving trends in the building blocks of consumer spending. Measures of consumer confidence have been moving up and the labor market has been steadily moving in the right direction, notwithstanding the jump in today's jobless claims numbers.

The Retail Sales report is admittedly not a perfect proxy for consumer spending since it only includes 'goods' sales at retail establishments and leaves out the much bigger consumer outlays on 'services.' But it nevertheless provides valuable clues to trends in consumer spending, which is the backbone of the U.S. economy.

Momentum on the consumer spending front can be sustained only if the recent improving trend on the labor market front remains in place. This morning's Jobless Claims report runs counter to that trend, though it is not unusual to see one-off seasonal distortions in this series.

We got a major jump in initial Jobless Claims this morning, up 24K to 399K. The four-week average increased by 7.8K to 381.8K. This report reverses the gains of the last many weeks and takes us perilously close to the 400K level.

On the earnings preannouncements front, we got positive guidance from Tractor Supply Company ( TSCO ), while Chevron ( CVX ) guided lower. PVH Corp. ( PVH ) provided a positive outlook for the fourth quarter given strength in its Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, but provided a modestly disappointing outlook for 2012 by pushing the gains to the second half of the year.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649 .

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CHEVRON CORP ( CVX ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
GUESS INC ( GES ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HUMANA INC NEW ( HUM ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PVH CORP ( PVH ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
TRACTOR SUPPLY ( TSCO ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: CVX , GES , HUM , PVH , TSCO

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