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Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Skechers USA, salesforce.com, Hess, ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil

CHICAGO, March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights Skechers USA (NYSE: SKX) as the Bull of the Day and salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO).

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Full analysis of all these stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2678.

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

Put on your cool sneakers and run -- don't walk -- to check out this turnaround story. Skechers USA (NYSE: SKX) has fought from the back of the pack in the past two years to become a profitable competitor again.

Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Manhattan Beach, California, Skechers designs, develops, and markets active, casual, and hip footwear for men, women, and children through its distribution networks in Canada, Brazil, Chile, Europe, Japan and Asia.

Skechers's fourth-quarter 2012 earnings came in at $0.08 per share, stepping hard on the loss of $0.54 delivered in the year-ago quarter, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $0.11. This was achieved on the back of growth witnessed across segments including domestic-wholesale, international, and the company's over 350 retail stores.

That earnings beat popped the stock 15% out of long base to a 2-year high. Skechers has now delivered positive earnings surprises in 5 of the last 7 quarters with an average beat of 110.8%.

Bear of the Day:

salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2013 adjusted loss per share of 2 cents, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 3 cents loss per share. Revenues in the quarter were $834.7 million, up 32.0% from the year-ago quarter. The quarter's result was also above the company's guidance range of $825.0 million to $830.0 million.

Salesforce witnessed an improvement in revenues from all its business segments. Subscription and support revenue was $785.5 million, up 32.0% on a year-over-year basis, while the Professional services and other revenue was $49.2 million, up 31.0% year over year.

Geographically, the company witnessed decent revenue growth in all of its operating regions. Revenue in the Americas was up 34.0% to $583.0 million, while Europe grew 37.0% to $149 million. This apart, revenue from Asia grew by 17.0% in dollars to $103 million. Although Asian revenue grew, but the growth has been affected by slowing demand from enterprise customers in Japan.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Hess to Exit Retail & Refining

Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES) is about to become a pure play in exploration and production (E&P) as it plans to exit its retail, energy marketing and energy trading businesses.

The announcement was taken positively by the investors and pushed the company's shares up by 3.46% in the New York Stock Exchange on Mar 4 (Monday). This move comes even as Hess continues to encounter hedge fund Elliott Management's proposal to split the company.

Hess is executing a transition from an integrated oil and gas company to a predominantly E&P entity, thereby shifting its growth approach from high-impact exploration to lower-risk unconventionals and a smaller, more focused exploration portfolio.

For this, it aims to shed assets in Indonesia and Thailand, announced a share repurchase plan of up to $4 billion, and a boost in its annual dividend to $1 a share starting in the third quarter, more than doubling its quarterly dividend. Hess will also elect a slate of six independent directors to its board, replacing the existing six seats.

As part of this strategic shift, the company closed its Port Reading, New Jersey refinery. This marked its complete exit from the refining business, much like ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO). These companies also spun off their refining units in recent times.

Hess is also looking for other non-core assets, including the Asian assets of Indonesia and Thailand. Hess holds the operatorship interest of the Sinphuhorm gas field onshore Thailand.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649.

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.

About the Analyst Blog

Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.

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 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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