CHICAGO, Dec. 4, 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 includethe Tesla Motors, Inc. (Nasdaq:TSLA-Free Report), Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM-Free Report), Daimler AG (OTC:DDAIF-Free Report), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F-Free Report) and Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN-Free Report).
German Federal Motor Transport Authority or Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) did not find any manufacturing defect in Tesla Motors, Inc.'s (Nasdaq:TSLA-Free Report) Model S. The authority's statement came after it examined and reviewed the vehicle following the recent fires. The German authority issued a letter stating that Tesla does not need to take any action under the German Product Safety Act.
Tesla had provided the authority with technical data. This was done after three Model S vehicles caught fire in a five-week span. In early October, a Model S electric vehicle caught fire near Seattle after the vehicle collided with a "large metallic object" which damaged the front end of the car. This incident was soon followed by another Model S vehicle catching fire in Merida, Mexico. The fire was ignited after the vehicle crashed through a concrete wall and hit a tree.
The third fire incident was reported on Nov 7. The incident occurred near Smyrna, TN, after the vehicle hit road debris. The collision led to fire in the front portion of the vehicle.
Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt plays a similar role in Germany like the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the U.S. It has the power to ask for recalls in case of any defect detected in a vehicle.
In November, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk had announced certain measures that were being implemented by the automaker in the light of the Model S fires and the consequential negative media coverage. The company provided a wireless update to increase the ground clearance of Model S during high-speed driving.
Additionally, Tesla expanded the warranty coverage to include any fire damage, even if it is the driver's mistake. The company also requested the NHTSA to investigate the recent Model S fire incidents. Meanwhile, the NHTSA announced that it will start investigating the Model S fires.
Recently, Musk said in an interview that he expects Model S to be cleared by the NHTSA in the ongoing fire-related investigation. He believes that the car is safe and hence does not expect the investigation to result in a recall. Tesla's Model S is a premium sedan which is priced at about $70,000 to $100,000.
Tesla designs and manufactures electric vehicles and electric vehicle power train components for partners including Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM-Free Report). The company currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Other major automobile stocks worth considering are Daimler AG (OTC:DDAIF-Free Report), and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F-Free Report). While Ford carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Daimler is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.
Allergan Sells Off Obesity Business
Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN-Free Report) announced that it has completed the sale of its obesity intervention business. The obesity intervention business was sold to Apollo Endosurgery, Inc. for an up-front cash payment of $75 million and a $15 million minority equity interest in Apollo. Additional considerations include contingent payments of up to $20 million based on the achievement of certain regulatory and sales milestones.
We remind investors that on Oct 29, 2013, along with its third quarter 2013 results, Allergan announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement with Apollo for the sale of its obesity intervention business.
Allergan's erstwhile obesity intervention business comprised several weight loss treatments including Lap-Band, an adjustable gastric banding system and the Orbera intra-gastric balloon system.
The company has classified the obesity intervention business under discontinued operations since the first quarter of 2013. Allergan's board of directors after evaluating several strategic options for maximizing the value of their business decided to sell off this unit.
The obesity intervention segment has performed disappointingly over the past few years. Sales declined 21.5% in 2012. The obesity market is getting very competitive. Last year, two new obesity drugs - Belviq and Qnexa - were approved. Other companies are also developing candidates targeting the lucrative obesity market. Sale of the struggling business unit will enable the company to focus on its areas of strength.
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