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AMN Healthcare Services, Copa Holdings, Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

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Chicago, IL - October 01, 2015- Zacks Equity Research highlights AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. ( AHS ) as the Bull of the Day and Copa Holdings, S.A. ( CPA ) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Halliburton Co. ( HAL ), Schlumberger Ltd. ( SLB ) and Baker Hughes Inc. ( BHI ).

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day :

AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. ( AHS ) just went on sale. This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) medical staffing company has seen its shares sell off in September but it ' s still expected to post double digit earnings growth.

AMN Healthcare provides workforce solutions and staffing services to healthcare facilities across the United States , including acute-care hospitals, urgent care centers and clinics.

It places nurses and doctors and provides consulting services and recruitment outsourcing.

There are two issues driving demand for staff in the healthcare industry right now: baby boomer physicians and nurses who are now retiring and millions of more people with insurance coverage under the new healthcare law.

AMN Healthcare is taking advantage of both trends.

Acquisitions Continue

AMN Healthcare has been growing quickly through both acquisitions and also through organic growth.

On Sep 15, it announced it had acquired The First String Healthcare, a staffing provider of nurses and executives. It serviced over 250 of the nation ' s hospitals.

Nursing staffing has been one of its more successful areas and this acquisition will widen its scope.

Revenue Soared in the Second Quarter

On Aug 4, AMN Healthcare reported second quarter results and once again beat the Zacks Consensus. Earnings were $0.38 compared to the Zacks Consensus of just $0.30. It has surprised the last four quarters by an average of 24%.

Bear of the Day :

Copa Holdings, S.A. ( CPA ) is feeling the pain of Brazil's recession. This Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) is expected to see earnings drop by 50% this year.

Copa is a passenger and cargo airline that operates out of Panama City, Panama. It flies 99 aircraft to 74 destinations in 31 countries in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.

Copa had been riding a wave of middle class growth in Brazil and Central America but Brazil's recession and troubles in Venezuela, one of its larger markets, has put a damper on the story.

August Trends Still Down

On Sep 14, Copa announced its August passenger traffic statistics.

Revenue passenger mile (RPM), one of the key airline metrics, fell 3.5% to 1,344 from 1,392 in August of 2014.

The load also fell 3.5 points to 74.4% from 77.9% a year ago as capacity rose 1%. For the year, the load is down 3 points to 75 from 78.

None of this is surprising, however, given the state of the Brazilian economy and the stress on the real.

Additional content:

Halliburton Down to Strong Sell: Get Out While You Can

On Sep 26, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Halliburton Co. ( HAL ) - the No. 2 oilfield services provider - to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), placing it in the bottom 5% of all stocks that Zacks ranks.

Why the Downgrade?

The commodity price rout has brutalized Halliburton's revenues and earnings. What's more, the outlook remains grim, with fundamentals suggesting that the odds are firmly stacked against a sustained crude rally. That's the reason we are predicting a 61% drop in Halliburton's EPS this year.

Deep in the red for more than a year, the company's stock price have declined precipitously for good reason. Shares remain down about 12% year-to-date, and longer-term have dived 45% in the last 12 months - a significant fall considering its status as a 'blue-chip stock.'

Detailed Analysis

It ' s been a harrowing 14 months for energy sector investors with almost every corner of this important area being under the pump. Oil services behemoth Halliburton hasn't been an exception.

As crude remains in a bearish territory and hovers around $45 to $50-a-barrel level, top energy companies have resorted to spending cuts (particularly on the costly upstream projects) on the back of lower profit margins. This, in turn, means less work for equipment suppliers like Halliburton, which supports the drilling players in setting up oil wells.

While producers have reigned in expenses in almost all regions leading to a drastic fall in the worldwide rig count, the rate of decrease has been most acute across North America . Predictably, Halliburton's activity levels and orders have taken a hit. Pricing pressure has added to the pessimism.

With oil price expected to remain low, the world ' s second-largest oilfield services company after Schlumberger Ltd. ( SLB ) is planning to lower its capital expenditure during the second half of 2015 by $200 million. Accordingly, this year's spending is estimated at $2.6 billion, which is 21% below the 2014 figure. However, with lower expenditures there will be lesser oil field services. This will translate into decreased revenues.

Uncertainty also exists regarding Halliburton ' s proposed acquisition of smaller rival Baker Hughes Inc. ( BHI ), considering the significant overlap between the firms. Any negative development on this front will severely jeopardize Halliburton ' s future earnings prospects apart from entailing a hefty termination fee.

Finally, Halliburton's latest spate of job cuts points to further structural pressures on the beleaguered company.

With a turnaround appearing unlikely, analysts have turned sour on Halliburton. While the company displays the bottom Zacks Rank, its earnings are on track for a sizeable plunge of 61% this year. Over the past month, analysts have become increasingly bearish on the Houston-TX-based firm, with 9 downward estimate revisions for the company's 2015 earnings. This has led to a sharp fall in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2015, which now stands at $1.58.

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About the Bull and Bear of the Day

Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

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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

AMN HLTHCR SVCS (AHS): Free Stock Analysis Report

COPA HLDGS SA-A (CPA): Free Stock Analysis Report

HALLIBURTON CO (HAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

SCHLUMBERGER LT (SLB): Free Stock Analysis Report

BAKER-HUGHES (BHI): 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 Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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