CHICAGO, April 12, 2012 /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 includeAlcoa (NYSE: AA), Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Chevron (NYSE: CVX), Titan Machinery (Nasdaq: TITN) and Sara Lee Corporation (NYSE: SLE).
Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:
Q1: Deja Vu All Over Again?
Alcoa's (NYSE: AA) positive results may not have much relevance beyond the basic materials and commodity sectors, but it nevertheless provides further evidence that it may not take much to reassure investors on the earnings front given how low expectations have dropped.
It is perhaps premature to expect the earnings season to put a stop to the stock market slide of the last few days. But given the subdued expectations, earnings reports are unlikely to produce more pain for the market, either.
While the pullback was not unexpected following uninterrupted gains of the last six months, some have started calling it a repeat performance of last year when the market lost momentum around this time after a strong start. I am hesitant to say that 'this time is different,' but the similarities are only surface-deep. For starters, the U.S. economy is on a lot stronger footing this year than was the case last year, with multiple areas of fundamental support. Momentum in the labor market, despite the March jobs miss, appears to be a lot more sustainable and entrenched, helping improve the prospects for consumer spending.
And while Europe has re-emerged as a cloud in recent days, centered this time on Spain, the threat it poses to the U.S. and global economy are magnitudes lower than the existential concerns about the common currency union last year. Bottom line, the stock market slide of the last days may actually be the pullback that many had been looking for, but it is unlikely to prove as enduring as what the market faced last year.
As mentioned at the top, Alcoa provided a good start to the first quarter earnings season after the close on Tuesday by coming out with better-than-expected results and guiding towards strong demand outlook for aluminum. It is still early going in the reporting cycle, but we got two major pre-announcements– a negative one from Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and a positive one from Chevron (NYSE: CVX). We also have a solid earnings report from Titan Machinery (Nasdaq: TITN), the farming and construction equipment maker.
Sara Lee Buys Brazilian Coffee
Sara Lee Corporation (NYSE: SLE) recently announced that it has acquired a small Brazilian espresso coffee maker, Expresso Coffee. The acquired business already holds a license to sell coffee under Sara Lee's Pilão brand in more than 1,000 coffee shops across São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition places Sara Lee in the fast growing and attractive markets of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Sara Lee is on track to split the company into two publicly traded companies: an international coffee and tea business and a North American retail, foodservice and specialty meats business. Post spin-off, the international coffee and tea business will be domiciled in the Netherlands and will move its headquarters to Amsterdam in the second half of 2012.
Its operations will be spread across Europe, Brazil, Australia and Thailand and will include popular tea and coffee brands such as Douwe Egberts, Senseo, L'OR EspressO, Marcilla, Pilão, Moccona, Pickwick and Hornimans. Sara Lee will name its international coffee and tea business, D.E Master Blenders 1753. The spin-off is expected to be completed by June this year.
The spin-off is part of Sara Lee's plan to trim its portfolio in order to provide the best foundation for a strong and focused business. Sara Lee has been shedding its redundant units one by one to focus on its most profitable food and beverage businesses.
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