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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Intelsat S.A., AT&T, United Continental Holdings and Liberty Tax

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - September 11, 2015 - 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 blog include the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation ( NTT ), Intelsat S.A. ( I ), AT&T, Inc. ( T ), United Continental Holdings, Inc. ( UAL ) and Liberty Tax, Inc. ( TAX ).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free .

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

5 Stocks to Sail Through September's Historic Doldrums

When the seas are calm, sailing can be a really fun and comforting experience. However, the moment the weather turns turbulent, rookies and old hands struggle alike to steer their ships to safety. The current equity market landscape reminds us of just such an episode.

We have recently witnessed one of the craziest times in memory, and still, the light at the end of the tunnel is not in sight. In fact, as we move forward, we are perhaps set to encounter fiercer winds and choppier seas. China's economic struggles, a potential currency war and a new guessing game for the Fed's interest rate policy will continue to lend volatility to the market, even as investors reassess and revalue their investments.

Potential Headwind: Fed Rate Hike

The Fed's timeline for interest rate normalization has been the theme of the day for what seems like years. Since forward-looking assessments of the economy have never quite been their cup of tea, the best they can do is look at the recent past and extrapolate that into the future.

When the data deteriorates, the Fed eases. When the data improves, the Fed tightens. At least that's how it is supposed to be.

Economic conditions today are a far cry from the depths of the financial crisis, yet the Federal Funds Rate continues to stand at 0%. One might even argue that when the Fed says that the rate hike decision is "data-dependent," what they really mean is that it is "S&P 500 and market volatility dependent."

With the VIX shooting up over 50 a couple weeks back, will this time be different? Will the Fed finally hold its ground in the face of the short-term machinations of the stock market and increase interest rates off of 0%?

We should all hope so, because, fundamentally, all we are really doing is borrowing from the future to satisfy the whims of today.

History Does Not Repeat Itself, But It Rhymes

With the Chinese growth pangs and the rate hike drama still unravelling, extreme volatility looks set to be our fellow passenger for some time. As if that wasn't enough, another potential headwind could be history itself - seasonality, to be specific. September has historically been the worst month for market performance. Add skittish investors and sinking markets to the downbeat mix, and the outlook seems to be compellingly pessimistic.

Investors are still feeling the burn of the Aug 24 crash that sucked trillions from the markets in a matter of minutes. The subsequent market selloff - a non-recessionary, secular bull correction - is still a long way from stabilizing. Translated, the S&P 500 index is likely to retest the lows before finding a strong support.

It's thus no secret that we are set to face continued volatility, at least in the short term, and the best way to weather the storm is to make sure you respect the tempestuous markets and adjust your sails accordingly.

Get Your Sea Legs

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. But in capricious seas, it takes a seasoned sailor to steer the ship safely to the shore.

Likewise, as heightened volatility becomes the new "normal," investors today need to hunt for stocks that will hold steady even as the broad market continues to blow hot and cold.

A time-tested way to earn stable returns in such fickle times is to invest in low-beta stocks that have great value metrics and strong fundamentals. Beta, one of the most famous appraisal measures of a stock's volatility, measures the tendency of a stock's returns to respond to market swings. Low correlation stocks provide protection during turbulent times as they are less prone to day-to-day fluctuations.

In erratic times such as now, it could be a smart strategy to buy stocks at attractive valuations, which have a lot of upside left, and are less likely to sway with frantic broad market swings.

We have thus screened for low beta stocks that are also great value picks, with the help of our new style score system . Back-tested results show that stocks with Style Scores of 'A' or 'B' when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) handily beat other stocks.

All Aboard!

We have shortlisted 5 stocks that will help you "get your sea legs," as the broader markets continue to undulate. Flaunting a solid Zacks Rank and a Value Style Score of 'A,' coupled with a beta below 0.5, the following stocks are good bets for now.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation ( NTT )

This telecom stock provides a variety of telecommunications services, including telephone, telegraph, leased circuits, data communication, terminal equipment sales and other services. The rising demand for technologically superior products and massive growth in mobile data usage look set to propel growth for the company in an otherwise tough environment.

This Zacks Rank #1 stock has a beta of just 0.19. It has seen solid activity on the earnings estimate revision front lately, with estimates for the current year having increased 7.1% to $2.55 a share over the past 30 days.

Intelsat S.A. ( I )

Intelsat provides satellite communications services globally. It caters to media companies, fixed and wireless telecommunications operators, data networking service providers, multinational corporations, ISPs and U.S. government and other military organizations and their contractors.

This Zacks Rank #2 stock has a beta of just 0.20. It has also seen solid activity on the earnings estimate revision front lately, with estimates for the current year having increased from $1.62 to $1.65 a share over the past 30 days.

AT&T, Inc. ( T )

AT&T is the second largest provider of wireless services in North America and one of the world's leading communications service carriers. Recently, the company scaled up to the highest position in the U.S. pay-TV market with the acquisition of DIRECTV. In the U.S., its wireless network boasts the nation's strongest LTE signal and the most reliable 4G LTE network. Additionally, AT&T offers the best global wireless coverage.

This Zacks Rank #2 stock has a beta of just 0.40. It has also seen solid activity on the earnings estimate revision front lately, with estimates for the current year having increased from $2.56 to $2.63 a share over the past 30 days.

United Continental Holdings, Inc. ( UAL )

United Continental is a major international airliner. Plummeting oil prices have been a blessing for stocks in the airline space, as fuel costs account for a major chunk of an airline's operating expenses. With oil prices expected to remain weak through the remainder of 2015, carriers such as United Continental should continue to generate massive savings.

This Zacks Rank #2 stock has a beta of just 0.21. It has also seen solid activity on the earnings estimate revision front lately, with estimates for the current year having increased from $10.90 to $11.00 a share over the past 30 days.

Liberty Tax, Inc. ( TAX )

Liberty Tax is a franchisor and operator of a system of income tax preparation. It facilitates refund-based tax settlement financial products, such as refund anticipation loans, electronic refund checks, and personal income tax refund discounting.

This Zacks Rank #2 stock has a beta of just 0.36. It has also seen notable activity on the earnings estimate revision front lately, with estimates for the current year having increased from $1.58 to $1.60 a share over the past 30 days.

Be a Realist - Don't Shun the Market

As they say, the pessimist complains about the wind, and the optimist expects it to change - while the realist simply adjusts the sail. So don't be faint-hearted and dump the stock market! Instead, be a realist and secure your portfolio with our safe value picks, because more often than not, it is the set of the sails, and not the direction of the wind, that determines which way we will go.

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NIPPON TELE-ADR (NTT): Free Stock Analysis Report

INTELSAT SA (I): Free Stock Analysis Report

AT&T INC (T): Free Stock Analysis Report

UNITED CONT HLD (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

LIBERTY TAX INC (TAX): 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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