|By PR Newswire||
|December 31, 2012 09:30 AM EST||
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).
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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:
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.
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).
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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.
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Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,294
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,634
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,306
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,472
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 27, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,666
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Nov. 27, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,282
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Nov. 27, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,228
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Nov. 27, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 1,238
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Nov. 27, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,524
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Nov. 27, 2014 07:00 AM EST Reads: 1,497
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,328
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,393
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,238
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,188
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Nov. 26, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 1,623
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 24, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,720
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,624
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,751
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,786