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Vail Resorts, Genesee & Wyoming, Whole Foods Market, Kroger and Wal-Mart Stores highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

Chicago, IL - December 22, 2015- Zacks Equity Research highlights Vail Resorts ( MTN ) as the Bull of the Day and Genesee & Wyoming ( GWR ) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Whole Foods Market, Inc. ( WFM ), Kroger Co. ( KR ) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT ).

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day :

Vail Resorts ( MTN ) became a Zacks #1 Rank Strong Buy on October 3 after the company's Q4 FY2015 earnings beat on September 28.

Since then, shares have steadily climbed a mountain from $105 to all-time highs above $130 last week. It certainly helps that they delivered another earnings beat on December 7 for their Q1 FY2016 quarter.

But, the primary reason for the Zacks #1 Rank was the continuously rising EPS estimates from the analyst community over the past 30-90 days.

For the current fiscal year ending in July, the full-year EPS consensus rose over 15% from $3.33 to $3.85 in the past 90 days. And next year's projections went from $4.18 to $4.45, representing 15.5% annual growth.

Early Snow + Park City = Lifting Revenues

November snowstorms in the West allowed Vail Resorts to open its Colorado, Utah and California ski resorts prior to schedule. The pre-Thanksgiving opening of these resorts is expected to boost Vail's top line in the coming quarter as the company cashes in on the demand for skiing early in the season, especially for those eager to schedule holiday trips.

This includes the newly renovated Park City resort in Utah. Vail bought Park City in Sep 2014 and took over the Canyons resort the year earlier. Later, it joined both through a gondola to form the biggest ski resort in the U.S. Here's how management proudly spoke of their newest achievement in a December 18 press release at the grand opening of the Quicksilver Gondola...

"Park City is one of the most spectacular places on Earth and now, for the first time ever, our guests will have unprecedented access to over 300 trails, 41 lifts and 7,300 acres of skiable terrain across one Park City," said Bill Rock, chief operating officer of Park City. "Quicksilver, Miners Camp and the $50 million in capital improvements across the resort will completely transform the guest experience at Park City. We are thrilled to debut these projects in time for the Christmas holiday."

Further, the company's two biggest season passes - the Epic and the Epic Local - would give guests access to the both the resorts. This would bring in a large number of guests, which would in turn boost the company's revenues in the crucial winter months. Vail has been able to raise ticket prices as they watch the volume of ticket sales increase.

Bear of the Day :

Genesee & Wyoming ( GWR ) first became a Zacks #5 Rank Strong Sell this year in May when it was trading $87. Since then, the stock price has fallen over 40% as earnings estimates for this year and next have slid 25%.

Rail transport industries had a terrific couple of years in 2013 and 2014 as traffic hit records, with lots of help from abundant shale oil being pumped in record quantities and delivered efficiently to refineries. But 2015 witnessed a peak in traffic and profits that took other carriers down as well for the year...

NorfolkSouthern : -20%

CSX Corp : -29%

Union Pacific : -35%

Kansas CitySouthern : -42%

Globally Diversified

Genesee & Wyoming owns and operates short line and regional freight railroads and provides related rail services on three continents. The company owns or leases 120 freight railroads worldwide that are organized in 11 operating regions with 7,500 employees and more than 2,500 customers.

Since the North American railroads offer the most transport business, it's where their business can be hit the hardest. So it's not clear, in a slowing global economy with declining commodity prices if their other regions can offset the pain. Here's how the company ("G&W") describes its operations in different parts of the world...

G&'s nine North American regions serve 41 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces and include 113 short line and regional freight railroads with more than 13,000 track-miles.

G&W's Australia Region provides rail freight services in New South Wales, the Northern Territory and South Australia and operates the 1,400-mile Tarcoola-to-Darwin rail line.

G&W's U.K./Europe Region is led by Freightliner, the U.K.'s largest rail maritime intermodal operator and second-largest rail freight company. Operations also include heavy-haul in Poland and Germany and cross-border intermodal services connecting Northern European seaports with key industrial regions throughout the continent.

Additional content:

How Did Whole Foods Fall Out of Favor?

Investors want their portfolio to have stocks with a track record of earnings beat, surging share price and a favorable recommendation. However, Whole Foods Market, Inc. ( WFM ) failed to satisfy any of these criterions. So what went wrong with this Austin, Texas-based natural and organic foods supermarket chain operator? Let's find out.

Whole Foods delivered back-to-back negative earnings surprises in the third and final quarters of fiscal 2015. The company posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 30 cents a share that lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 35 cents and fell short of management's projection as well due to lower-than-expected sales. The fourth-quarter earnings miss and year-over-year decline of 14.3% were enough to hurt investors' sentiment.

Although, top line improved 5.6% year over year to $3,438 million, it fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,480 million, marking the 12 th straight quarter of revenue miss. Analysts believe that intense competition and the allegation of overcharging some prepackaged foods is weighing upon the performance of this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) stock that has fallen roughly 34% year-to-date.

Companies such as The Kroger Co. ( KR ) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT ) are gradually entering and expanding their presence in the Organic & Natural food business, thereby posing a competitive threat to Whole Foods. However, the latter has been revamping its pricing strategy, with focus on value offerings, along with the introduction of a new "uniquely-branded store concept", "365 by Whole Foods Market" to counter the same.

Following Whole Foods discouraging performance, the Zacks Consensus Estimate witnessed a downtrend. Analysts polled by Zacks are now less constructive on the stock's future performance. Over the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.59 and $1.64 per share for fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 has declined 11.2% and 16%, respectively.

With Whole Foods' share price tumbling and estimates witnessing downward revisions, it would not be prudent to keep the stock in your portfolio, at least for the time being.

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VAIL RESORTS (MTN): Free Stock Analysis Report

GENESEE & WYO (GWR): Free Stock Analysis Report

WHOLE FOODS MKT (WFM): Free Stock Analysis Report

KROGER CO (KR): Free Stock Analysis Report

WAL-MART STORES (WMT): 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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