Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: David H Deans, Trevor Parsons, Noel Wurst, Greg Ness, Aria Blog

News Feed Item

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ConAgra Foods, H J HEINZ, BRF Brasil Foods, Calpine and Alliant Energy

CHICAGO, Dec. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG), H J HEINZ CO. (NYSE:HNZ), BRF Brasil Foods (NYSE:BRFS), Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN) and Alliant Energy Corporation (NYSE:LNT).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Earnings Scorecard: ConAgra

ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG), a leading North American food company, reported impressive fiscal second quarter 2013 (ended November 25, 2012) results. The company saw a significant rise in the earnings due to improvements in the Lamb Weston potato operations coupled with improved pricing. ConAgra, hopeful of further improvement in the future, also increased its earnings outlook for fiscal 2013.

Let's take a brief look at the company's financials for the fiscal second quarter 2013:

Earnings Review

The manufacturer of branded and non-branded food posted a 16.3% increase year over year in the earnings on a continuing basis, adjusted for comparability, to settle down at 57 cents for the quarter. The results surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents by 3.6%.

Revenue for the reported quarter improved 8.9% to $3,735.5 million from $3,431.7 million in the year-earlier quarter. Results in the quarter were driven by improved potato operations, moderating inflation and contribution from acquired businesses. Revenue outshined the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,691 million by 1.2%.

Agreement/Magnitude of Estimate Revisions

The recent quarter results along with the increase in guidance for fiscal 2013 by the management have triggered an estimate revision for the company in either direction. In the last 7 days, of the 7 estimates for 2013, 5 were revised upwards by the analysts covering the stock. However, out of the 12 estimates for 2014, 5 were revised upwards while 2 were lowered by the analysts in the last 7 days.

For the fiscal third quarter of 2013, from a total of 11 estimates, there were 2 positive revisions.

As for magnitude of estimate revision, in the last 7 days, estimate for the third quarter remained neutral at 55 cents. However, for 2013, estimates increased from $2.06 to $2.09 along with an increase from $2.25 to $2.30 for 2014.

The Zacks Consensus Estimates represents a year-over-year growth of 7.3% for third quarter, 13.6% for 2013 and 10.1% for 2014.

Our Take

The company seems to have a bright future in the Consumer Foods segment, following the acquisitions it has undertaken so far. The cost reduction activities are in place, leading to the possibility of higher earnings. The pending acquisition of Ralcorp Holdings Inc. is an added advantage, as it will lead to cost synergies in the future. We continue to expect the company to earn high revenues along with an increase in the earnings.

Currently, we maintain a Neutral recommendation on ConAgra Foods Inc. The stock also bears a Zacks #2 (Buy) Rank, while its prime competitors H J HEINZ CO. (NYSE:HNZ) and BRF Brasil Foods (NYSE:BRFS) carry a Zacks #3 (Hold) Rank.

Calpine Closes Nat Gas Asset Sale

Wholesale utility play, Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN) closed its Broad River Energy Center divestiture for an amount of $427 million plus adjustments (roughly $504 per kilowatt) to Broad River Power LLC, an associate of Energy Capital Partners LLC. Calpine received the go-ahead for the sale from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") on December 18, 2012.

The news of the divestment was earlier divulged during November 2012 at the time of the company's third quarter earnings release. The Broad River Energy Center, situated in Gaffney, South Carolina is an 847 megawatt simple-cycle, natural gas-fired establishment.

Calpine has planned to realign its asset portfolio via a string of non-core asset sales. The Broad River Energy sell off was made to complement Calpine's $432 million acquisition of Bosque Power Plant, which happens to be a combined cycle gas turbine ("CCGT") facility in Central Texas. The CCGT acquisition will enable Calpine to achieve thermal efficiency of about 60% compared to a simple cycle plant.

Followed by the Broad Energy sale, Calpine expects to earn $392 million from the year-end divestment of its Riverside Energy Center in Wisconsin. The company intends to plough back the proceeds from these sales for the development of its high-return resources.

Other key initiatives include the company's development of the proposed 309 megawatt Garrison Energy Center, an energy-efficient natural gas based facility in Dover, Delaware.

With natural gas becoming a hotshot energy source in the U.S. utility market, we believe Calpine's purchase of high-quality gas units will certainly boost the near-term earnings stream and bring future growth opportunities.

However, weather-induced demand volatilities leading to price fluctuations and unplanned outages resulting from winter storms could act as negative catalysts to growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the fourth quarter and full year 2012 presently stand at a loss of 4 cents and earnings of 43 cents per share, respectively. 

Another utility player, Alliant Energy Corporation (NYSE:LNT) is also eyeing to enhance its natural gas prospects. The company recently sought regulatory approval for the planned building of a 650 megawatt Marshalltown Generating Station ("MGS") with the Iowa Utilities Board.

With a market capitalization of $8.38 billion, Texas-based Calpine Corp. has 2,101 employees in total. It owns and operates natural gas-fired and geothermal power plants in North America and currently retains a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating).

Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5515.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5517

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.

Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

Media Contact

Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339

[email protected]

http://www.zacks.com

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...