Welcome!

News Feed Item

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Intercontinental Exchange, Fortegra Financial, Brown & Brown, Arthur J. Gallagher and Tiptree Financial

CHICAGO, Ill., Aug. 22, 2014 /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 the Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE:ICE-Free Report), Fortegra Financial Corporation (NYSE:FRF-Free Report), Brown & Brown Inc. (NYSE:BRO-Free Report), Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG-Free Report) and Tiptree Financial Inc. (Nasdaq:TIPT-Free Report).

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

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

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

ICE Group Down to Strong Sell on Persistent Low Volumes

On Aug 21, 2014, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE:ICE-Free Report), or ICE Group, by a notch to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Why the Downgrade?

ICE Group has been witnessing downward estimate revisions since the company's second-quarter 2014 results and a continued sluggish growth outlook, despite the recent renovation in operations. Additionally, this global exchange operator underperformed the one-year S&P 500 index, which recorded growth of 12.7% against a negative return of 5.1% clocked by the company.

On Aug 7, ICE Group reported second-quarter 2014 operating earnings per share (EPS) of $2.10, which exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4% but lagged the year-ago quarter figure by 4.1%.

Average daily volumes of total futures and options persistently fell 20% until July this year, reflecting weakness in average rate per contract as well. Moreover, higher expenses that spiked 188% year-over-year more than offset top-line growth of 102%.

Consequently, operating margin deteriorated to 43.6% from 60.5% in the year-ago quarter. The absence of share buybacks throughout 2013 and the first half of 2014 also limited EPS growth, although some repurchase activity was undertaken last month.

ICE Group's business consolidation is also incurring higher operating and capital expenses, the immediate effect of which is being witnessed in the deteriorating margins. Alongside, though the company has reduced a chunk of its debt from 2013-end, debt leverage still remains at cautious level.

ICE Group also faces major headwinds from intense competition, weak industry dynamics, challenging regulations and declining volatility that hurt derivative performance. These factors also making investors jittery about desirable growth in the near-term.

Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 and 2015 declined 2.4% and 4.5% to $9.00 and $11.22 a share, respectively, in the last 30 days. No upward estimate revision was witnessed for both these years.

Fortegra Financial a Strong Buy on Upwardly Revised Estimates

On Aug 21, 2014, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Fortegra Financial Corporation (NYSE:FRF-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Fortegra Financial has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong second-quarter 2014 earnings which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 33%. This led to a bullish sentiment on the stock, and in turn an 8.8% increase in the 2014 Zacks Consensus Estimate to 74 cents per share over the last 30 days.

Fortegra Financial reported second quarter financial results on Aug 11. The top line, apart from beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate, improved 5.2% year over year largely on the back of organic growth in total revenue, decline in member benefit claims, and net losses and loss adjustment expenses.

Strong focus on revenue improvement and expense management reinstated faith in the stock. Moreover, cost containment initiatives helped the company to improve its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margins without having to compromise on the quality of services offered. Impressive performance in the first half of the year also prompted Fortegra Financial to reiterate its 2014 revenue growth outlook at 7–9% and the adjusted EBITDA margin outlook at 32–34%. At second-quarter end, Fortegra Financial's cash position remained strong, which should help in consolidating its inorganic growth going forward.

Since the company posted strong second-quarter earnings, it has been trading at a 52-week high of $9.88. In fact, shares of the company soared 40.5% since it reported earnings, to close at $9.86 in the last trading session. Moreover, the one-year return from the stock is 26.57%, higher than the S&P 500's return of 19.96% and that of other players in the multi-line insurance space like Brown & Brown Inc. (NYSE:BRO-Free Report) and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG-Free Report), which generated returns of -1.36% and 7.94% respectively.

Notably, last week, Tiptree Financial Inc. (Nasdaq:TIPT-Free Report) agreed to acquire Fortegra Financial for $218 million. The deal is awaiting regulatory approval.

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

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.

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 ICE - FREE 
Get the full Report on FRF - FREE 
Get the full Report on BRO - FREE 
Get the full Report on AJG - FREE 
Get the full Report on TIPT - 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
support@zacks.com 
http://www.zacks.com

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
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of D...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Security, data privacy, reliability and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house client hosted environments to a cloud platform. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Vandana Viswanathan, Associate Director at Cognizant, In this session, will provide an orientation to the five stages required to implement a cloud hosted solution validation strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain.