CHICAGO, April 9, 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 includeSimon Property Group Inc. (NYSE:SPG), PetroChina Co. Ltd. (NYSE:PTR), Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM), NGL Energy Partners L.P. (NYSE:NGL) and Calumet Specialty Products Partners L.P. (Nasdaq:CLMT).
Shares of Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE:SPG) touched a 52-week high of $166.30 on Friday, Apr 5, 2013, as it gained momentum from better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2012 results. The closing price of this retail real estate investment trust (REIT) on Apr 5, 2013 was $166.23, representing a year-to-date return of 4.8%. The average trading volume over the last 3 months was 1.95 million shares.
Despite hitting its 52-week high, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has plenty of upside left given its strong estimate revisions over the last 60 days.
Simon Property reported strong fourth-quarter 2012 results with FFO (funds from operations) per share substantially surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company is one of the leading publicly traded retail real estate companies in the U.S. with assets in almost all retail distribution channels. Furthermore, its international presence gives it a more sustainable long-term growth prospect than its domestically focused peers.
Simon Property has one of the strongest comparable sales per square foot in the industry. Its upscale properties and their strategic locations attract a large number of high-end retailers for opening their outlets.
On Feb 4, Simon Property reported fourth-quarter 2012 FFO per share of $2.29, substantially beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 12 cents. This also compared favorably with the year-ago quarter's FFO per share of $1.91.
For full year 2012, FFO stood at $2.9 billion or $7.98 per share, well ahead of $2.4 billion or $6.89 per share reported last year. The full-year earnings also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $7.56 per share.
The results were aided by increase in rental revenue and occupancy. In addition, the company has a solid balance sheet with adequate liquidity and has announced a 21.1% year-over-year hike in its quarterly dividend rate, reflecting a hike for 6 straight quarters. Therefore, with strong fundamentals, robust growth projections and a healthy dividend yield, the stock offers an enticing upside potential going forward.
PetroChina Upgraded to Neutral
We have upgraded Chinese energy giant PetroChina Co. Ltd. (NYSE:PTR) to Neutral from Underperform, reflecting a balanced risk/reward profile.
Why the Upgrade?
BeijingCanadaAustraliaDetailed Analysis ChinaExxon Mobil Corp.XOM
We like PetroChina's recent natural gas deals in Canada and Australia. The Chinese behemoth's plans – to form a joint venture in Canada's Alberta to develop natural gas/condensates assets and to purchase interests in the proposed Western Australian Browse liquefied natural gas (LNG) project – will provide it with a global resource and market base, making the company a leading international energy player. Additionally, these ventures will also provide a hedge against the uncertain Chinese product pricing policies.
However, we are concerned about prospects for the company's oil production growth, considering its heavy exposure to significantly mature-producing areas. Other near-term headwinds include high-priced gas imports amidst low domestic gas sale prices and an ambitious investment program.
Stocks That Warrant a Look
NGL Energy Partners L.P.NGLCalumet Specialty Products Partners L.P.CLMT
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