CNA Financial, Embraer, SodaStream International, Fresh Del Monte Produce and Prestige Brands Holdingshighlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

Nov 18, 2013, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights CNA Financial (NYSE: CNA-Free Report) as the Bull of the Day and Embraer (NYSE: ERJ-Free Report) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis onthe SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA-Free Report), Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (NYSE: FDP-Free Report) and Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: PBH-Free Report).


Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

Although recent troubles with the Affordable Care Act's rollout have called into question some in the insurance world, companies in the property and casualty segment are looking quite strong. And with some positive trends on the interest rate front, this could definitely continue into the near future.

That is why investors might want to consider this impressive industry for exposure, as it currently has earned itself a top five (out of over 250) industry rank, putting the property/casualty space into the top 2% of all industries. While there are a number of great choices in this space, one company, CNA Financial (NYSE: CNA-Free Report), stands out as a great pick at this time.

CNA is a Chicago-based firm (which is actually a Loewssubsidiary) that provides insurance products to businesses and middle market organizations both in the U.S. and internationally. It focuses on property insurance, management and professional liability insurance, and also risk management services as well.

This has been a pretty solid combination for the company, and CNA had another great quarter at its latest quarterly earnings release. In this release, the company easily beat estimates, reporting earnings of $1.00/share, crushing our consensus estimate of 76 cents a share.

Bear of the Day:

As airlines have seen their shares prices takeoff lately, many are starting to feel a bit more optimistic on the makers of planes too. This largely centers around four companies: Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, and Embraer (NYSE: ERJ-Free Report) which have a dominant position over the jet market.

However, these four are very different, as Boeing and Airbus dominate the large aircraft while Bombardier has a nice hold on the smaller vehicles (such as the business-focused Learjet brand). Meanwhile, Embraer generally fills the niche in between, zeroing in on smaller regional jets for most of its portfolio.  

However, as airlines have combined, a new landscape has emerged.  Generally speaking, new huge fuel-efficient jets have come on line from Boeing (787) and Airbus (A350), and as smaller planes have come back into vogue a bit, Embraer has largely been left in the dust.

The company is being squeezed on both ends and is having trouble finding a niche in this new competitive environment. Plus, since the company is Brazilian-based, a host of other issues have cropped up lately as well.

Since ERJ is a Latin America-focused company, recent weakness in the region hasn't exactly helped the company prosper. A weakened outlook for Brazil, coupled with Brazilian real uncertainly against the dollar, hasn't helped matters either, especially for U.S. based investors.

Additional content:

SodaStream and Del Monte Join Forces

Leading manufacturer of home beverage carbonation system, SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA-Free Report) recently partnered with Del Monte, a well-established brand of Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (NYSE: FDP-Free Report).

Under the alliance, SodaStream will produce, market, distribute and sell several Del Monte branded syrup flavors that can be used on its popular soda-making machines to make carbonated beverages. At a nascent stage, the company will offer fruity flavored options like Tropical, Caribbean and Orange.

 Though the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, both the companies have agreed to launch the products during summer 2014 in Italy and the U.K.

Fresh Del Monte is engaged in manufacturing and supplying fresh produce including fruits and vegetables and other products like juices, beverages, snacks and desserts across Europe, Middle East and Africa. The company, which operates under the brand name Del Monte, boasts a solid presence in the market since 1886. Following this tie-up, Del Monte will step into the market of homemade sparkling drinks.

The partnership with SodaStream will facilitate both the companies to reach out more extensively to the growing number of consumers who prefer carbonated beverages. Soda-making systems offer a healthier way to enjoy such beverages at home.

Last month, SodaStream teamed up with a renowned lifestyle magazine brand, Cooking Light, to launch healthy fruit-flavored syrups. These beverages will be offered in Passion fruit-Mango and Kiwi-Pear flavors and will be available from the first quarter of 2014.

These partnerships will not only enhance the visibility of SodaStream's brand, but will also ensure consumer acceptance in the U.S., where the demand for carbonated drink is very strong.

SodaStream carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some other players in the consumer product industry which look attractive at present includesPrestige Brands Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: PBH-Free Report). All the companies hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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