The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Citi Trends, NCR, Diebold, Iteris and Advent Software

CHICAGO, Aug. 28, 2013 /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 includethe Citi Trends, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRN-Free Report), NCR Corp. (NYSE: NCR-Free Report), Diebold Corp. (NYSE: DBD-Free Report), Iteris, Inc. (AMEX: ITI-Free Report) and Advent Software Inc. (Nasdaq: ADVS-Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Citi Trends Upped to Strong Buy

On Aug 24, 2013, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Citi Trends, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRN-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Shares of this retailer of apparel, accessories, and home decor products have amassed an impressive year-to-date return of roughly 25.4%.

Why the Upgrade?

Citi Trends has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of better-than-expected second-quarter fiscal 2013 results reported on Aug 21. The company's strategic initiatives such as better utilization of floor area, improvising merchandise margins and efficient inventory management have helped it to make a significant turnaround.

The company's loss narrowed to 37 cents per share from a loss of 54 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, it fared better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 43 cents per share.

Including the quarter under review, in the past 4 quarters the company has outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 29.8%. Additionally, the company's long-term estimated EPS growth rate is 11.7%.

Citi Trends reported sales of $137.8 million, marking an increase of 4.2% from the prior-year quarter, primarily driven by improved comparable-store sales performance. The sales also came ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $137 million. Comparable-store sales in the quarter were up 1.7%.

Looking at fiscal 2013, the company expects to continue posting positive comparable store sales and improved gross margin with lower levels of inventory.

Following impressive results, we are witnessing a rise in the Zacks Consensus Estimate, as analysts become more constructive on the stock's future performance. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2013 improved to a break even from a loss of 4 cents and for fiscal 2014 it jumped by a penny to 32 cents a share, over the past 7 days.

NCR Retail Solutions for Chinese Malls

NCR Corp. (NYSE: NCR-Free Report) recently announced that it is providing retail technology solutions to four Chinese shopping malls, including Beijing Baishang, Chengdu Global, Chengde Golden Dragon Royal and Baoding Ginza shopping mall to make shopping easier for convenience store shoppers.

The partnering with NCR will help to improve customer satisfaction to a considerable extent by automating some basic functions and allowing better customer relations. This should in turn help to attract new customers. Shopping malls typically experience stiff competition and need to be extremely customer-friendly, so better services and quick checkout are likey to increase footfall.

The initial 240 NCR POS systems were sold through NCR's retail distributor in China, Beijing Ankexinchuang Science and Technology Development Co. Ltd. The distributor also provides data analysis, software development, system integration, hard and software products distribution which provides faster and quality shopping experiences for customers and increases operational efficiency.

NCR reported revenues of $1.54 billion in the second quarter of 2013, up 8.9% from $1.41 billion in the year-ago quarter. The year-over-year improvement in revenues was mainly due to a 5.2% increase in Product revenues and a 12.7% increase in Service revenues.

NCR is generating decent growth in software and service revenues across its segments. Moreover, the company's business volume is increasing regularly.

NCR Corporation is a global technology company and a world leader in consumer transaction technologies. However, softness in its ATM business in the mature markets, stiff competition from Diebold Corp. (NYSE: DBD-Free Report), European exposure and a high debt burden are concerns.

Apart from this, NCR is making considerable efforts to spread its wings in Asian and African markets. The Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa are the areas where the company is witnessing strong growth.

NCR Corp. has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks in the technology industry that are currently performing well and have good visibility include Iteris, Inc. (AMEX: ITI-Free Report), having a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Advent Software Inc. (Nasdaq: ADVS-Free Report), having a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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.

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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.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.



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