Conn's, Caterpillar, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis and AstraZeneca highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

CHICAGO, Dec. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights Conn's (Nasdaq: CONN-Free Report) as the Bull of the Day and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT-Free Report) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY-Free Report), Novartis (NYSE: NVS-Free Report) and AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN-Free Report).

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Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

Conn's (Nasdaq: CONN-Free Report) just reported a strong quarter and worries of bad credit customers have been abated. The stock is the Bull of the Day as a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

The company reported $0.71 in earnings vs. the $0.64 estimate. Revenue came in at $311M vs the $288M estimate. The company also guided higher. They see EPS of $2.75-$2.80 vs. the estimate of $2.60, so a big bump up. They now see same store sales increasing 22% - 25%, up from the prior guidance of 15% - 20%.

As the market looks to adjust to the beat and raise, the stock has continued to move higher. Since the beat, the stock is up about 25%.

Conn's sells home appliances and furniture. As of September 5, 2013, the company operated approximately 70 retail locations in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona. Conn's, Inc. was founded in 1890 and is based in The Woodlands, Texas.

Of the last seven reports, the company has posted five earnings beats, one miss and reported in line one time. The miss is the big deal in that time line, so let's take a closer look at that.

Bear of the Day:

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT-Free Report) it certainly hasn't been "The Year of the Cat" and even Al Stewart would tell you that being down 3% YTD is no good in 2013. To make matters worse, Caterpillar is the Bear of the Day as a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Dividend Coming Up

While the Zacks Rank is focused on earnings estimates and what direction they are headed, investors would be amiss if they didn't notice that CAT is headed for another dividend payment. The stock is yielding 2.77% according to Google Finance, and paid a dividend of $0.52 last year on December 20. The quarterly dividend was increased to $0.60 for the July 2013 dividend.

Company Description

Caterpillar sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. It was formerly known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. and changed its name to Caterpillar Inc. in 1986. The company was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.

Earnings History

Over the last year, CAR has missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all four quarters. The misses of 22 cents, 3 cents, 26 cent and 23 cents followed 5 consecutive beats. In only two of the four recent earnings misses has the stock fallen.

Additional content:

 

Bristol-Myers Presents Long-Term Data on Sprycell

 

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY-Free Report) and partner Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. presented four-year follow-up data from a phase III study (DASISION: n=519) on their leukemia drug Sprycel (dasatinib: 100 mg, once daily) at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

 

The phase III international study evaluated Sprycel's efficacy and safety with that of  Novartis' (NYSE: NVS-Free Report) Glivec (imatinib) as a first-line therapy in adults suffering from Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CP-CML).

 

Data revealed that 76% patients in the Sprycel arm achieved a major molecular response as opposed to 63% patients treated with Novartis' cancer treatment. Moreover, 84% patients in the Sprycel arm achieved an optimal molecular response at three months, compared to 64% in the Glivec arm. Moreover, the safety profile of Sprycel in the follow up study was found to be consistent with that observed earlier in Ph+ CP-CML patients.

 

Sprycel is one of the key drugs in Bristol-Myers' product portfolio. The drug performed impressively in the third quarter of 2013 with sales climbing 20% to $316 million. Apart from the long-term data on Sprycel, Bristol-Myers was in the news when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the briefing documents ahead of the review by its Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee (EMDAC) of the company's candidate metreleptin (proposed trade name: Myalept) on Dec 11,2013.

 

Bristol-Myers, which has an agreement with AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN-Free Report) on the candidate, is looking to get it approved for treating metabolic disorders associated with lipodystrophy in pediatrics and adults suffering from the disease (not HIV related). Metreleptin has been granted priority review and a response from the FDA is expected by Feb 24, 2014. The content of the briefing documents highlighted that the candidate appeared to be beneficial only for a subgroup of patients. The candidate was not free from safety concerns as per the document. We believe investor focus will remain on updates regarding the candidate.

 

Bristol-Myers, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

 

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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.

 

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