The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Citi Trends, Delta Airline, Hawaiian Holdings, United Continental Holdings and Republic Airways Holdings

CHICAGO, Oct. 3, 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 include the Citi Trends, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRN-Free Report), Delta Airline Inc. (NYSE: DAL-Free Report), Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: HA-Free Report), United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL-Free Report) and Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: RJET-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 Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Citi Trends Upped to Outperform

We had upgraded value-priced retailer of urban fashion apparel and accessories, Citi Trends, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRN-Free Report) to Outperform, based on its improved results in second-quarter fiscal 2013. We are impressed with Citi Trends' turnaround efforts, which boosted the company's top-line growth and narrowed its loss despite a challenging macroeconomic environment.

Why the Upgrade?

Citi Trends marked an improvement in its second-quarter results by reporting a loss per share of 34 cents, which fared better than the prior-year quarter loss of 54 cents. Including asset impairment charge, loss came in at 37 cents. The quarterly loss also fared better the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 43 cents.

During the quarter, Citi Trends' net sales improved 4.2% to $137.8 million and came marginally ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $137.0 million.

Furthermore, Citi Trends has witnessed an improvement in its store performance as comps decline in the Ladies segment has softened to single digits from high double digits in the previous two quarters.

Moreover, for the remainder of fiscal 2013, the company expects to continue posting positive comparable-store sales and improved gross margin with lower levels of inventory. Citi Trends intends to keep lesser inventory in the third and fourth quarters of this fiscal compared with the year-ago quarter level.

Following the release of Citi Trends' second-quarter results and management's impressive outlook for the remaining period of fiscal 2013, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2013 has improved to break-even earnings compared with a loss of 4 cents in the last 60 days.

Apart from better-than-expected second-quarter results, the company's efficient inventory management and healthy financial position underline its strength.

Delta Vies for Haneda Slots

Major U.S. passenger carrier Delta Airline Inc. (NYSE: DAL-Free Report) is fighting with its Japanese and American rivals to get additional landing slots at Tokyo's Haneda airport. The move is an effort by Delta to increase its presence in Tokyo's downtown region. Haneda – the second busiest airport in Asia -- is set to gain 40 new daytime landing slots for flights, as of Mar 2014.

Notably, Haneda airport resumed international operations in 2010 after it opened a new international terminal. Back then Delta, which is the sole U.S. airlines without a Japanese partner, won 2 night slots, while American Holdings and Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: HA-Free Report) won 1 slot each. Delta now wants a larger pie of the 40 slots that are up for grabs.

Dallas-based Delta wants 25 slot pairs that they were force to shift to Narita airport in 1978. Narita airport, located 40 miles east of Tokyo, has less attractiveness to business travellers as compared to Haneda, which is located in the heart of the city.

In an attempt to tap these corporate customers, both U.S. and Japanese carriers are lining up to get accesses to more landing slots in Haneda. Delta's rival,United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL-Free Report), is trying to get a slot of its own while its Japanese partner ANA Holdings is looking to get a major portion of the 20 slots reserved for the local carriers.

Tokyo's extended business relationship with various parts of the world makes it an important destination for major carriers, and Delta is no exception. Moreover, the flight for New York departs from Haneda at 6:55 A.M., which is less attractive for business travellers. Thus Delta wants to increase its presence within the city and is particularly targeting the day time slots, which are more meaningful for business passengers.

Delta holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Another stock worth mentioning within this sector is Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: RJET-Free Report), which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).  

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

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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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