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Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: IBM, General Motors, Ford Motor, Nissan Motor and Toyota Motor

CHICAGO, Jan. 23, 2013, 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 IBM (NYSE: IBM), General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), Nissan Motor Co. (OTC:NSANY) and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM).

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Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

IBM Finally Beats On the Top

IBM (NYSE: IBM) finally broke a multi-quarter slump in the top line with fourth-quarter revenue of $29.3 billion, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $29.18 billion. Non-GAAP earnings per share of $5.39 improved 14% from last year and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by about 2.7%.

For a while now, IBM’s revenue and EPS have been going in different directions, with the former slumping slightly while the latter was able to eke out gains. The top line weakness was attributed to slowing IT spending, which had a big impact on the entire tech sector given IBM’s status as a bellwether.

Today’s quarterly performance by no means signals a rollicking industry for the fourth quarter, but it does suggest some improvement. It could also be a big benefit to earnings season in general, which didn’t inspire much confidence to begin with and hasn’t been that encouraging so far.

Revenue was still down 1% year over year, though was flat when adjusting for currency. It was up 1% excluding divested RSS business adjusting for currency. Meanwhile, IBM’s earnings surprise may be small, but it gets the company back into the green after only matching in the third quarter. Before then, the company had a very impressive record of consecutive EPS surprises.

For the full year, non-GAAP earnings per share of $15.25 was up 13% and ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate at $15.09. Revenue was down 2% at $104.5 billion.

For 2013, IBM expects non-GAAP earnings per share of at least $16.70, compared to our estimate of $16.58.

At the moment, IBM is stuck at a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Out of 22 total estimates, there have been no upward revisions in the past 60 days, but there have been 5 to the downside. We’ll have to wait and see if today’s quarterly report will be enough to lift the Zacks Rank.

We have always believed that IBM had a good long-term picture, due to its key growth initiatives, strong product pipeline, expansion in emerging markets and continuous acquisitions. The short-term, though, was a question mark. Perhaps this quarter will get it moving in the right direction again.

IBM is certainly moving in the right direction after hours, with shares up approximately 3% at this writing.

GM to Invest $1.5B in North American Plants

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) revealed that it will pump in $1.5 billion in its North American facilities in 2013 as part of its $8 billion annual investment plan for its global operations for new vehicle development.

GM has invested $10.2 billion in its North American facilities since 2009. In May 2011, the company had also initiated an investment plan of $2 billion, targeting 17 assembly and components plants in 8 states for 18 months in the U.S. The program, intended to create or preserve more than 4,000 hourly and salaried jobs at the plants, has been completed.

Recently, GM also mentioned that it would be able to save thousands of dollars in costs per car in the production of next generation Volt by adopting a more efficient design. The new design will help the company use smaller vehicle components and save weight. However, the company did not reveal the launch date of the plug-in hybrid car.

Recently, at an industry conference in Detroit, GM stated that it expects modest growth in global auto sales in 2013 as improvements in China and the U.S. will be offset by sluggish car sales in Europe. The automaker predicted a 5% rise in industry sales in the U.S. and international market each and European market to shrink 4% in the year.

The company foresees pricing pressures to exist, particularly in China and Europe. However, it expects that moderate market share gain across the world, driven by new vehicle launches will boost its profit margins. GM plans to upgrade 70% of its global lineups by the end of this year.

In North America, GM aims to boost market share and increase vehicle pricing. The company expects to enhance profit margins in the region to 10% in the next three or four years from 8% currently. Meanwhile, the company has targeted break-even results in Europe by 2015. In China, GM intends to improve margins by continuing investing in Cadillac and rolling out its OnStar communications, in-car safety system.

Many automakers started focusing on electric powered vehicles as President Barack Obama ‘s administration set a goal of achieving 1 million battery-powered vehicles on the road by 2015.

In August 2012, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) announced its plan to invest $135 million to develop key components, including advanced battery systems, for its next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles. The automaker is looking forward to doubling its battery-testing capabilities to 160 individual battery-test channels by 2013. It aims to boost development of hybrid-electric vehicles by at least 25%.

Recently, Nissan Motor Co. (OTC:NSANY) announced that it has started the production of all-electric 2013 LEAF at its Smyrna, TN plant. The new LEAF will be produced together with the company’s gasoline-powered products in the plant. The automaker also opened its largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in Smyrna, which is adjacent to the LEAF assembly facility. The plant will address the company’s goal of making zero-emissions mobility around the world.

Last year, Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) had revealed plans to unveil 21 gas-electric hybrid models by 2015, most of them having a similarity with its widely acclaimed Prius. As many as 14 vehicles among these hybrids will be all new.

This apart, Toyota plans to launch a fuel cell vehicle, which runs on hydrogen to produce electricity, by 2015. However, Toyota will launch eQ (iQ EV in the U.S.) in limited numbers due to a conservative view on the global hybrid vehicles market.

GM, a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, posted a 9.7% fall in earnings to 93 cents per share (excluding special items) in the third quarter of the year from $1.03 in the corresponding quarter a year ago. However, earnings per share in the quarter far exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 61 cents.

Revenues in the quarter grew 2.5% to $37.6 billion, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $36.3 billion. Worldwide sales volume inched up 1.6% to 2.3 million units from 2.2 million units a year ago. However, total market share declined to 11.6% from 12.1% in the third quarter of 2011.

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SOURCE: Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

 

 

Categories
Finance Financial News Information News Products and Services

Top 10 Wealthiest Italians

Italy’s Fashion Moguls Steal The Spotlight

Wealth-X Unveils Top 10 Wealthiest Italians

SINGAPORE, Jan. 24, 2013, Wealth-X, the ultra high net worth (UHNW) business development solution for Global Private Banks, Luxury Brands, Educational Institutions and Non-Profits, has just released a list of the top 10 wealthiest Italians.

Topping the list is Michele Ferrero, owner of renowned chocolate maker Ferrero, with a net worth of US$21.7 billion. Coming in second is Leonardo Del Vecchio, founder and chairman of Luxottica Group, with a net worth of US$18.4 billion. Giorgio Armani, president and CEO of Armani Group, is ranked third with a net worth of US$9.7 billion.

Rank

Name

Position

Company

Net

Worth

(US

$billion)

1

Michele Ferrero

Owner

Ferrero International

21.7

2

Leonardo Del Vecchio

Founder and Chairman

Luxottica Group

18.4

3

Giorgio Armani

President and CEO

Armani Group

9.7

4

Silvio Berlusconi

Founder and Owner

Fininvest

7.8

5

Miuccia Bianchi Prada

Co-Founder and Chairman

Prada

7.3

5

Patrizio Bertelli

Co-Founder and CEO

Prada

7.3

7

Stefano Pessina

Executive Chairman

Alliance Boots

6.1

8

Gianfelice Rocca

Chairman

Techint Group

3.3

8

Paolo Rocca

CEO

Techint Group

3.3

10

Diego Della Valle

Chairman

Tod’s

3.1

The collective wealth of the top 10 wealthiest Italians stands at US$88 billion, which comprises 40% of the combined net worth of the Italian UHNW population. In particular, fashion moguls constitute half the list and represent 52% of the combined net worth of the top 10 wealthiest Italians.

Commenting on the list, Wealth-X CEO, Mykolas D. Rambus said, “The top Italian billionaires are inextricably linked to luxury fashion. We often see that there are strong social and professional connections among global billionaires and the Italians are no exception. Understanding a UHNWI’s social capital is increasingly critical for professionals who wish to successfully engage with this ultra wealthy community.”

For the full list and supplemental analysis, please visit: http://www.wealthx.com/articles/2013/top-10-wealthiest-italians

About Wealth-X

Wealth-X provides detailed intelligence on ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals globally. The firm’s Wealth-X Professional solution is the standard for banking, marketing and not-for-profit professionals working with the ultra affluent. Wealth-X is headquartered in Singapore with offices in all major financial centres.

For more information about Wealth-X, please visit: www.wealthx.com

SOURCE: Wealth-X

Categories
Finance Financial News Information Personal Finance Products and Services Retirement Savings Shopping

Hotwire Reveals January 2013 Travel Savings Indicator

Hotwire Reveals January 2013 Travel Savings Indicator

Shed the Winter Chill with Deep Discounts in Warmer Weather Destinations like Hawaii, the Florida Keys and Las Vegas.

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 23, 2013, Hotwire.com®, a leading discount travel site, today released the January 2013 Hotwire® Travel Savings Indicator, which features the top five cities in North America where hotel, air and car rental rates have dropped the most as compared to the same time last year. Using extensive pricing research to cover the three most popular travel products, the report helps guide travelers to the best destinations for maximizing their travel dollars each month.

“With the major holidays and conventions mostly behind us, mid- to late-January is one of the most affordable times to travel all year,” said Clem Bason, president of the Hotwire Group. “This slower winter season has led travel providers in warmer weather destinations like Hawaii, Daytona Beach, the Florida Keys and Las Vegas to discount more competitively in their bid to win travelers, who in turn can take advantage of the low prices to grab an affordable wintertime escape.”

Hotel Price Drops

Daytona tops the list this month with an eight percent drop followed by another popular Florida destination, the Florida Keys with a six percent drop. While January is typically a busier month for these sunny Floridian beach towns, the mild winter in the Northeast has translated into decreased demand and, in turn, better discounts. And with the weather in the Keys averaging 70 degrees this time of year, the archipelago is perfect for travelers looking to escape the winter chill.

Raleigh, returning after a brief absence from the list, comes in at the number three spot, with a price drop of six percent. More hotels in the city are beginning to offer more rooms at a big discount on Hotwire, which translates to more competition among hoteliers for the lowest prices.

Next is Las Vegas, appearing on the list for the sixth month in a row, though down two spots from December with a price drop of six percent. Travelers can expect lots of last-minute price drops on the weekends throughout early January, as well as some stellar discounts on 5-star luxury properties.

Rounding out the list is Nashville with a two percent drop. Now that the college and pro football seasons have wrapped up and the country music awards are through, the demand is low in Music City, and so are the prices.

When compared to this time last year, the top five hotel price reductions for January 2013 include:

Rank

Hotel Market

Price Drops

Example of a Current Hotwire Deal,

US$/Night

1

Daytona Beach, FL

– 8%

3.5-star

$66

2

Florida Keys

– 6%

3.5-star

$139

3

Raleigh – Durham, NC

– 6%

4-star

$86

4

Las Vegas, NV

– 6%

5-star

$107

5

Nashville, TN

– 3%

4-star

$89

Air Price Drops

This month, beachgoers are in luck because Hawaii is the hottest deal market, with nearly every island seeing a considerable drop in airfare prices. As United, Hawaiian, Delta and Alaskan airlines continue to compete for more passengers, each airline is offering more seats and better deals for visitors headed to the Aloha State. Prices in Honolulu and Kailua Kona – tied for first place – are both down 15 percent, while the prices in fifth-place Kahului are down 12 percent.

Meanwhile, Toronto returns to the list in the number three spot with a 14 percent drop due to its continued competition with U.S. border towns. Along with its hosting of the Toronto International Boat Show and Canadian Bridal show, this Canadian destination backs up its low airfares with lots of early-year activities. Rounding out the list is another Tennessean city – Memphis – down three spots to number four with a 13 percent drop.

When compared to this time last year, the top five airfare price reductions for January 2013 include:

Rank

Air Market

Price Drops

Average Hotwire Airfare

1

Honolulu, Oahu, HI

-15%

$587

2

Kailua Kona, Big Island, HI

-15%

$528

3

Toronto, Ontario

-14%

$384

4

Memphis, TN

-13%

$323

5

Kahului, Maui, HI

-12%

$512

Car Price Drops

In car rental deals, January is seeing newcomers for spots two through five, giving way to fantastic coast to coast savings. Monterey, absent from the list since this past September, took the number one spot with a 19 percent price drop, and with January being California Restaurant Month, it’s a prime time for couples looking to wine and dine their way around Central California’s coast.

Raleigh is another hot deal market this month, as folks traveling to the City of Oaks are not only able to score some great airfare deals, but they can take advantage of car discounts (17 percent drop) as well. Finishing off the list are two Midwest cities, Indianapolis (12 percent) and Columbus (10 percent), as well as a Rocky Mountain favorite, Colorado Springs (11 percent), where some of the country’s best skiing is within easy driving distance.

When compared to this time last year, the top five car rental price reductions for January 2013 include:

Rank

Car Rental Market

Price Drops

Average Hotwire Car Rental Price

1

Monterey, CA

-19%

$24

2

Raleigh, NC

-17%

$19

3

Indianapolis, IN

-12%

$23

4

Colorado Springs, CO

– 11%

$28

5

Columbus, Ohio

– 10%

$23

For over 12 years, Hotwire has worked with hotels, airlines and car rental companies to fill unsold inventory. As a result, Hotwire offers travelers amazing deals, every day of the year, across a variety of markets. Through Hotwire’s deep understanding of the industry and unique relationships, consumers have been able to save millions of dollars on all their travel needs.

About the Hotwire Travel Savings Indicator

The Hotwire Travel Savings Indicator runs results during the second week of each month. Results are calculated by looking at Hotwire booking data for select regions in the current month, and comparing prices in the current month against Hotwire prices in the same month in the prior year. Prices are compared within the same categories (e.g., star rating, class of car) for consistency, and the percent change in price for each region is generated as an overall average of the changes in those categories. The hotel prices in the charts above are examples for a particular Hot Rate® deal within that market. The airfare and car rental prices are average prices based on bookings across all car and seat classes. Actual prices may be higher or lower than the examples that are provided.

About Hotwire

Hotwire.com is a leading discount travel site with low rates on airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. Launched in 2000, Hotwire, Inc. obtains deep discounts from its travel suppliers to help travelers book unsold airline seats, hotel rooms and rental cars. Hotwire.com is an award-winning website and Hotwire, Inc. is an operating company of Expedia, Inc. CST # 2029030-50. NST: 20003-0209. For more information, visit http://www.hotwire.com. Hotwire.com operates sites in 8 countries worldwide: www.hotwire.com, www.hotwire.com/uk, www.hotwire.com/ie, www.hotwire.com/au, www.hotwire.com/nz, www.hotwire.com/se, www.hotwire.com/no and www.hotwire.com/dk. In addition to Hotwire, The Hotwire Group of websites includes: www.hotwire.com and www.carrentals.com.

Hotwire, Hotwire.com and the Hotwire logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Hotwire, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2013 Hotwire, Inc. All rights reserved. CST # 2053390-50.

Contact:
Andrew Reynolds
Atomic PR
(323) 648-5425
Andrew@atomicpr.com

 

SOURCE: Hotwire.com

 

Categories
Economics Information Investing Life Insurance Personal Finance Retirement Surveys

Affluent North American Investors Believe They Are Financially On Track

Manulife Financial, John Hancock Investor Sentiment Surveys: Affluent North American Investors Believe They Are Financially On Track

  • Affluent Canadian and American investors optimistic about the future
  • Seventy per cent of affluent North American investors on track to meet financial goals
  • US investor sentiment holds steady while Canadian sentiment rises
  • Canadians and Americans aligned in financial New Year’s resolutions and priorities

TORONTO, Jan. 21, 2013, Affluent North American investors are feeling very optimistic about their personal finances heading into 2013. Seventy per cent of affluent investors in both Canada and the United States agree that they are either ahead of plan, or on track, to meet their personal financial goals and about 50 per cent anticipate that their financial position will improve over the next two years.

Six out of ten affluent Canadian and American investors say that they are on track to meet their current financial goals while roughly 10 per cent say that they are ahead of plan on their goals. Just one in five investors surveyed in both countries indicate that they are behind on their financial goals but they are likely to catch up.

“It’s positive to see that, despite ongoing news about the fiscal cliff, global debt and U.S. debt ceiling, economic uncertainty and other challenges, our surveys indicate that affluent North American investors are feeling very confident about their financial future,” said Paul Lorentz , Executive Vice-President, Investment and Insurance Solutions for Manulife Financial.

The findings are derived from a comparison of the results of the latest Manulife Financial and John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index surveys. The surveys – conducted in Canada and the U.S in December 2012 – measure affluent investors’ feelings about whether or not this is a good time to invest in a variety of savings and investment vehicles and the likelihood of purchasing specific financial products and services.

Investor sentiment differs in North America
In Canada, overall affluent investor sentiment index strengthened in the second half of the year, rising to +31, from +26 in January 2012. In the U.S., investors’ confidence held steady in the fourth quarter of 2012, with the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index® ticking upward slightly to +18 from a score of +17 in the third quarter of last year.

New Year’s resolutions, financial priorities aligned
Other findings from the surveys show that Canadians and Americans are aligned in their financial New Year’s resolutions and how they plan to achieve their top financial goals.

  • In Canada (31 per cent) and the United States (29 per cent), the top financial-planning related New Year’s Resolution is to trim household budgets.
  • Rebalancing portfolios is the second top resolution for 19 per cent of Canadians and also for 19 per cent of Americans.

Top financial priorities for 2013 among affluent Canadians and Americans differ slightly.

  • Canadians’ top three priorities are to manage/maintain current lifestyle (32 per cent), pay down debt (18 per cent) and save for retirement (15 per cent).
  • American respondents say their top financial priorities are the same: however, they differ in order with maintain/manage their current lifestyle (35 per cent) topping the list followed by, saving for retirement (29 per cent) and paying down debt (11 per cent).

Similar steps to achieving financial goals
When asked what steps, if any, affluent investors are taking to achieve their financial goals, Canadians and Americans identified the same top four steps. However, these steps varied in terms of priority.

Percentage of Affluent investors that indicated what steps they have taken to achieve their financial goals:

Step taken

Affluent Canadians

Affluent Americans

Talked to a   financial
professional for advice

45%

40%

Saved a certain   amount on
a regular basis

41%

59%

Reduced spending

40%

45%

Calculated how much
money needed to achieve
goal

27%

41%

Seven in ten affluent Canadians work with a financial advisor to achieve their financial goals while in the U.S., five in ten affluent investors choose to seek professional financial advice. However, affluent investors in both countries indicated that they work with advisors for a similar reason. Seeking advice on how to get better returns is the main reason for Canadians (24 per cent) and Americans (56 per cent) to work with a professional financial advisor.

“We encourage people to work closely with an advisor and stick to a financial plan,” Mr. Lorentz added. “People with integrated financial plans, working with strong, reliable and trustworthy companies, generally feel better prepared for the future, are more confident about reaching their goals and are better equipped deal with the ups and downs in the economy.”

In both countries, those who do not work with a financial advisor say it is because they feel knowledgeable enough to manage their investments on their own (Canada, 26 per cent, U.S., 43 per cent).

About the Investor Sentiment Index Surveys
Both Investor Sentiment Index surveys are conducted in a similar fashion. The survey measures affluent investors’ feelings about the current economic climate and their evaluations of what represents a good or bad investment given the current environment. The poll also asks consumers about their confidence in reaching key financial goals and the likelihood of purchasing financial products and services.

An online survey of 1,127 investors was conducted in the U.S. between November 26th to December 7th. In Canada, a sample of 1,003 investors were surveyed between November 30th to December 8th. Both surveys included household decision-makers at least 25 years of age, with a household income of $75,000 or greater and investable assets of $100,000 or more.

The Canadian research was conducted by Research House, an Environics Company. The U.S. survey was conducted by independent research firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates.

In a similarly-sized random sample survey, the margin of error would be plus or minus +/- 3.10 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Clients look to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions.

Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$515 billion (US$523 billion) as at September 30, 2012. The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.

About John Hancock
John Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife Financial, a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, fixed products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at johnhancock.com.

SOURCE: Manulife Financial Corporation

Categories
Credit Finance Financial News Information Market Real Estate Wealth

Forecasted 2013 American Housing Recovery

PCA: All 50 States Expected to Experience Housing Recovery in 2013

2013 Housing Starts Approach the One Million Mark

SKOKIE, Ill., Jan. 18, 2013, Since 2005, tepid economic growth and high foreclosure rates have depressed home prices, bloating inventories and preventing start activity. In 2013, economists are revising nearly a decade of pessimism and forecasting growth throughout the residential construction industry.

A new report from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) projects total housing starts to reach 954,000 units in 2013, reflecting further improvement on 2012’s nearly 30 percent growth.

“The possibility of one million starts in 2013 should not be dismissed,” PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan said. “Although the first half 2013 will be mired in a fiscal cliff hangover, we are decidedly optimistic about second half economic growth, job creation and consumer sentiment – all of which translate into a stronger home sales and starts activity.”

Even stronger growth in homebuilding is predicted to materialize in 2014 with starts surpassing 1.1 million.

In another optimistic turn from previous residential forecasts, PCA expects the recovery to be broad-based and is projecting all 50 states will see increases in single family housing this year. Already underway in the interior U.S., the emergence of accelerating construction growth has begun to appear in some of the hardest hit states during the housing bubble burst. These regions are now likely to lead growth in coming years as the long depressed markets begin to return to housing construction rates consistent with their demographics.

“As the recovery unfolds, regions that once lagged recovery now begin to emerge as growth leaders. The Southwest and Southeast, for example, still have the weakest housing fundamentals on a relative basis to the Interior U.S, but on a construction activity basis, given the extremely depressed bases from which these regions are recovering from, they will likely be the housing growth leaders in coming years,” Sullivan said.

PCA expects multifamily construction to continue to grow at a strong pace as favorable fundamentals fuel the sector. Multifamily starts recorded a 55 percent gain in 2011 and 36 percent growth in 2012. PCA expects an additional growth of 15 percent in 2013 to 277,000 units. Damaged credit due to foreclosure activity and tight mortgage lending standards have combined to create robust apartment demand.

About PCA
The Portland Cement Association represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs. More information on PCA programs is available at www.cement.org.

To obtain a copy of PCA’s analysis of the housing sector, contact Patti Flesher at pflesher@cement.org.

SOURCE: Portland Cement Association