Welcome!

News Feed Item

Alaska Air Group, ArcelorMittal, Visa, MasterCard and Global Payments highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

CHICAGO, April 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK-Free Report)  as the Bull of the Day and ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT-Free Report)  as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis onVisa Inc. (NYSE:V-Free Report), MasterCard Inc. (NYSE:MA-Free Report) and Global Payments Inc (NYSE:GPN-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com.

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

The airline sector was looking pretty strong thanks to more fuel efficient planes, lower competition, and higher demand for air travel. However, many were worried that the recent batch of bad weather would ground this rally and send airline stocks lower.

This really hasn't been the case though, as many airline stocks have powered through the bad weather and easily beaten out the S&P 500 in the year-to-date time frame. In fact, several companies have put up gains in excess of 20% to kick-off 2014, shaking off the overall market's turbulence effortlessly.

One company sticks out in this continued airline stock rally though, as it has outgained many of its competitors in the time period, while it is generally overlooked as well. This stock, Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK-Free Report), has also avoided much of the bad weather thanks to its West Coast focus, and it could actually still be a great pick for investors in the near term.

Alaska Air Group, as you might guess from the name, has a big operation in Alaska, including a hub in Anchorage. The company also has heavy exposure in the Washington/Oregon area as well though, as the firm has hubs in Seattle (where it is actually headquartered) and Portland too.

ALK is also rapidly expanding to other markets as the airline is adding more than a dozen city pairs by the end of the summer. This looks to continue the solid momentum for the company which just reported March traffic figures that represented a 4% increase over last year's numbers, along with a record 88.1% of flights arriving on-time for Alaska Airlines' mainline division.

Bear of the Day:

Even with news of a mini stimulus from China, events haven't been shaping up nicely for the steel industry. Demand for steel from key developed markets in North America and Europe haven't picked back up leading to a glut in production.

And since many steel companies have huge fixed costs, this continued slump in demand has hit the industry pretty hard. Some have looked to make back some profits on volume, but heavy competition has kept a lid on prices, leading to the current rough patch for the industry.

While a number of firms have been impacted by these trends a good barometer of the overall space is ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT-Free Report) the world's largest steel producer when looking at sales. MT is actually up significantly over the past 52 weeks, but its record in 2014 has been quite poor as it is down about 6% in the year-to-date time frame as concerns have begun to build again over the industry.

MT is based in Luxembourg but it has a global reach, selling steel in more than 150 countries around the world. The firm is broken down into six divisions-- Flat Carbon Americas; Flat Carbon Europe; Long Carbon Americas and Europe; AACIS; Distribution Solutions; and Mining—with a broad focus on producing a variety of finished and semi-finished steel products for customers.

The company, while holding up in the past 52 weeks, still hasn't recovered from the 2008 collapse, as shares are well below the peak set during the beginning of that year. The firm has also been posting horrendous numbers on the earnings front as well, suggesting that it is still working through some turbulence as it attempts to get back to profitability.

Additional content:

Russia Effect: Visa, Mastercard at Stake?

The U.S. sanctions on Russia led to the suspension of purchase payment services by Visa Inc. (NYSE:V-Free Report) and MasterCard Inc. (NYSE:MA-Free Report) in some of the approved banks in that country. While the suspension has been withdrawn, Russia has decided to have its own domestic payment system within six months to become more self-dependent in the future.  

The Sanctions & Payment Suspension

Some Russian investors were sanctioned by the U.S. including co-owners of SMP Bank, Boris Rotenberg and Putin's elder brother Arkady Rotenburg over the Crimean issue. Following these sanctions, Visa and MasterCard had terminated the service of credit card purchasing payment for some of the authorized banks in Russia, including Bank Rossiya and SMP Bank. Yuri Kovalchuk, the largest stake holder of Bank Rossiya, also had his name in the list of sanctions.

As a result, clients of these banks faced troubles. However, the cash withdrawal service was not included within the suspensions.

How Russia is Getting Ready?

For a long time, the Russian government had been discussing about introducing an electronic payment card for their citizens to carry on government related transactions like payment of tax, pension, etc. Reportedly, apart from these services, the government now wants to include private purchase payment in this particular card.

How Tough Is the Competition?

Both Visa and MasterCard are the dominating force in the global payment services arena. Visa provides its payment services in more than 200 countries. Almost flawless Internet security service has made Visa a popular choice among consumers, merchants and large number of organizations.

MasterCard has upgraded itself from time to time in order to improve its electronic and Internet secured payment services. This has helped it to acquire a notable portion of global card market.

Recently, both the payment service companies have collaborated to form a new cross-industry group that would emphasize on the EMV chip technology adoption in the U.S. and concentrate on tokenization, point-to-point encryption and other online and mobile channel security-related requirements. This would further enhance their security services.

Is the Backup Plan That Strong?

First of all, Russian citizens traveling outside will face trouble to access the payment system in foreign lands without Visa and MasterCard. It is also a fact that Russians are not active credit card users. As reported by Euromonitor International, in the country which has a population of 143 million, only 30 million credit cards are being circulated. Comparatively, circulation of 192 million debit cards in Russia shows that they prefer debit cards.

Now, these two American card giants hold the lion's share of plastic card market in Russia. So it seems difficult for Russia's planned domestic payment service to compete against these card giants.

The Impact on Visa and MasterCard

Even if Russia succeeds with its plan and curbs the market share of these bellwethers in the country, they should easily offset the loss with the increasing global demand for their plastic cards.

Earnings Prospects of Visa and MasterCard

Although both Visa and MasterCard hold Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at this moment, they have strong growth estimates. The current year earnings growth estimates for Visa and MasterCard stand at 18.6% and 19.8%, respectively, compared with the expected industry growth rate of 13.7%. Moreover, the long-term growth rates are expected to be 17.2% and 17.7% for Visa and MasterCard, respectively, compared with the expected industry growth rate of 15.4%.

Stock That Warrant a Look

While investing in Visa and MasterCard should not disappoint, a secure bet would be Global Payments Inc (NYSE:GPN-Free Report) if you are interested in the Financial Transaction Services sector.

It deals with the electronics transaction services for banks, consumers and other financial institutions, among others. It operates in two sections: North America Merchant Services and International Merchant Services

Currently, Global Payments holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). It has a current year growth estimate of 12.20% compared to industry growth estimate of 13.7%. It also has a strong long-term growth estimate of 11.2%. The company has current year earnings estimate of $4.09.

Get today's Zacks #1 Stock of the Day with your free subscription to Profit from the Pros newsletter:

About the Bull and Bear of the Day

Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

About the Analyst Blog

Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.

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 analyst 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. Click here to subscribe to this free newsletter today.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; 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.

Get the full Report on ALK - FREE

Get the full Report on MT - FREE

Get the full Report on V - FREE

Get the full Report on MA - FREE

Get the full Report on GPN - FREE

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

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Media Contact

Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339

[email protected]

http://www.zacks.com

Zacks.com provides investment resources and informs you of these resources, which you may choose to use in making your own investment decisions. Zacks is providing information on this resource to you subject to the Zacks "Terms and Conditions of Service" disclaimer. www.zacks.com/disclaimer.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO

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.

Latest Stories
CIOs and those charged with running IT Operations are challenged to deliver secure, audited, and reliable compute environments for the applications and data for the business. Behind the scenes these tasks are often accomplished by following onerous time-consuming processes and often the management of these environments and processes will be outsourced to multiple IT service providers. In addition, the division of work is often siloed into traditional "towers" that are not well integrated for cro...
Advances in technology and ubiquitous connectivity have made the utilization of a dispersed workforce more common. Whether that remote team is located across the street or country, management styles/ approaches will have to be adjusted to accommodate this new dynamic. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., focused on the challenges of managing remote teams, providing real-world examples that demonstrate what works and what do...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, will discuss using predictive analytics to ...
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, will discuss how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved effi...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Father business cycles and digital consumers are forcing enterprises to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will be key for business success in today’s digital economy. In his session at DevOps Summit, Pradeep Prabhu, Co-Founder & CEO of Cloudmunch, covered the critical practices that enterprises should consider to seamlessly integrate Agile and DevOps processes, barriers to implementing this in the enterprise, and pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, showed how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He used a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors...
The principles behind DevOps are not new - for decades people have been automating system administration and decreasing the time to deploy apps and perform other management tasks. However, only recently did we see the tools and the will necessary to share the benefits and power of automation with a wider circle of people. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Sanders, Chief Technology Officer at CloudBolt Software, explored the latest tools including Puppet, Chef, Docker, and CMPs needed to...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Data-as-a-Service is the complete package for the transformation of raw data into meaningful data assets and the delivery of those data assets. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lakshmi Randall, an industry expert, analyst and strategist, will address: What is DaaS (Data-as-a-Service)? Challenges addressed by DaaS Vendors that are enabling DaaS Architecture options for DaaS
DevOps is not just last year’s buzzword. Companies with DevOps practices are 2.5x more likely to exceed profitability, market share, and productivity goals. But how do you enable high performance? What can you do right now to start? Find out from DevOps experts including Gene Kim, co-author of "The Phoenix Project," and the Dynatrace Center of Excellence.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...