2014

StanCorp Financial, BJ's Restaurants, Google, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Apple highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

CHICAGO, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights StanCorp Financial (NYSE: SFG-Free Report)as the Bull of the Day and BJ's Restaurants (Nasdaq: BJRI-Free Report) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis ontheGoogle Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG-Free Report), Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (NYSE: KKR-Free Report) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL-Free Report).

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Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

Estimates have been surging for StanCorp Financial (NYSE: SFG-Free Report) after the insurance company delivered its 5th straight positive earnings surprise.

It is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock.

Although the stock price has been surging too, valuation still looks reasonable with shares trading below the industry median on a Price/Earnings and Price/Tangible Book Value basis.

StanCorp Financial provides individual and group disability insurance as well as other financial products and services through its subsidiaries marketed as The Standard - Standard Insurance Company, The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York, Standard Retirement Services, StanCorp Mortgage Investors, StanCorp Investment Advisers, StanCorp Real Estate and StanCorp Equities.

StanCorp Financial delivered excellent third quarter results on October 22. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.45, crushing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.04. It was a 38% increase over the same quarter last year.

Income before taxes in the 'Insurance Services' segment jumped 25% year-over-year due in large part to a favorable benefit ratio, which came in at its lowest level since 2009. The benefit ratio is measured as benefits to policyholders and interest credited as a percentage of premiums.

Bear of the Day:

BJ's Restaurants (Nasdaq: BJRI-Free Report) recently reported its second straight earnings miss, driven by declining same-store sales and profit margins.

Analysts revised their estimates meaningfully lower for both 2013 and 2014 after the latest miss, sending the stock to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

The valuation picture does not look attractive either with shares trading at a lofty 28x forward earnings. Investors should consider waiting for earnings momentum to turn positive before establishing a position.

BJ's Restaurants owns and operates 143 casual dining restaurants under the BJ's Restaurant & Brewery, BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, BJ's Pizza & Grill and BJ's Grill brand names. Its restaurants are primarily located in California (63), Texas (29) and Florida (15), but it also has locations in 12 other states.

BJ's Restaurants delivered disappointing third quarter results on October 24. Earnings per share came in at 13 cents, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 17 cents. This was a 46% decline from the same quarter last year.

Total revenues rose 7% to $188.2 million, short of the consensus of $195.0 million. Same-store sales fell 2.2%.

Additional content:

Google Signs Cleans Energy Deal

Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG-Free Report), the world's most popular Internet search engine provider, has teamed up with private equity stalwart Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (NYSE: KKR-Free Report) and solar specialist, Recurrent Energy, to invest in six photovoltaic power plants.

Reportedly, Google and KKR will provide equity and debt to finance the six projects. The total transaction is expected to be worth $400 million, out of which $80 million will be funded by Google.

The combined production capacity of the six facilities, five of which are located in California and one in Arizona, is expected to be 106 megawatts. Google will be able to deliver clean energy equivalent to power roughly 17,000 homes. Energy generated from them will be distributed to local energy providers under long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). All six facilities are expected to be operational by Jan 2014

For quite some time, Google has been moving away from fossil fuels and focusing more on clean energy. In Dec 2011, these three companies signed a similar agreement to fund four projects near Sacramento. These projects generate a combined 88 MWs which can power roughly 13,000 homes.

Google has already invested more than $1 billion to solar and wind projects. Since 2010, the company has made 14 investments in renewable-energy projects. Earlier, in Jan 2013, it invested $200 million in a wind farm in west Texas. Later in June, the company announced an investment of $12 million in a 96 MW solar-power project in South Africa. Google has been focusing on renewable energy to power its data centers as well.

Google's continuous efforts have encouraged many technology companies to increase the use of clean energy to power their data centers. Last year, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL-Free Report) bought 200 acres of property in Catawba County for $3 million in an effort to run its North Carolina data center using renewable energy.

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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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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.

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SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.



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