The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:American International Group, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Liberty Media

Jan 23, 2014, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, Jan. 23, 2014 /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 include the American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG-Free Report), Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA-Free Report), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC-Free Report), Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR-Free Report) and Liberty Media Corp. (Nasdaq: LMCA-Free Report).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

AIG Upgraded to Outperform

On Jan 21, we upgraded life and property-casualty (P&C) insurer – American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG-Free Report) to Outperform based on the successful restructuring of its operations with the divestment of its aircraft leasing unit – International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC).

Why the Upgrade?

Estimates of AIG have risen ahead of its fourth-quarter 2013 earnings results, following the long pending divestment of ILFC to AerCap Holdings in an attractive deal worth $5.4 billion, expected to close by mid-2014. ILFC is the only major-most asset left for disposition at AIG, paving way for increasing capital flexibility.

Alongside, the improved insurance fundamentals and financial leverage in 2013 have also sustained growth. These factors also bode well for efficient capital deployment.

Although a deteriorated investment portfolio amid intense competition and low interest rate environment raise some risks going ahead, we expect the company to benefit from its scale of operations, pricing improvements and disciplined expense management in the upcoming quarters along with a recovery in the economy.

On Oct 31, AIG reported its third-quarter 2013 results, wherein, both operating earnings of 96 cents per share and total revenue of $14.83 billion topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 93 cents and $10.1 billion, respectively.

However, both earnings and revenues lagged the year-ago results by 3.0% and 11.3%, respectively. Overall, AIG delivered positive earnings surprises in all the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 102.4%.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 inched up 0.9% to $4.38 per share in the last 60 days. The same for 2014 was pegged at $4.26 a share, up 0.5% during the same period.

With the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both 2013 and 2014 trending upward, the company now has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Is Comcast Pursuing Time Warner Cable?

Yesterday, Reuters reported that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA-Free Report) is considering all strategic options to acquire full or partial control of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC-Free Report). Recently, the company selected Barclays Plc. as an advisor to evaluate the deal.

Earlier, Comcast had hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. as its adviser. Both JPMorgan and Barclays will now evaluate the Time Warner Cable acquisition deal.

Last week, Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR-Free Report) offered a fresh bid to acquire Time Warner Cable. The company offered $132.50 per share of Time Warner Cable, including $83 in cash and $49.50 in Charter stock.

The total size of the deal is approximately $62.35 billion. Excluding debt, the deal size is around $37.3 billion. The existing Time Warner Cable stockholders will gain a 45% control of the merged entity.

However, the board of directors of Time Warner Cable unanimously rejected the offer from Charter on grounds of inadequacy. This is the third rejection in the last one year.

Time Warner Cable intends to thoroughly evaluate whether the deal will add sufficient value to its investors before finalizing. Several industry researchers have estimated that the offer size may go up to $160-$162 per share.

The news of a proposed merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable first surfaced after Liberty Media Corp. (Nasdaq: LMCA-Free Report) acquired a 27.3% stake in the former.

Liberty Media is aggressively pursuing the idea of Charter Communications acquiring a major cable TV operator in the U.S., such as Time Warner Cable.

We believe Comcast may offer higher bids for Time Warner Cable, however, the deal may face severe regulatory hurdles from antitrust authorities.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable are the first and second largest cable TV operators in the U.S., respectively. A merger between the two entities may create monopolistic power in the industry. Currently, both Comcast and Time Warner Cable have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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 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.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.

Get the full Report on AIG - FREE

Get the full Report on CMCSA - FREE

Get the full Report on TWC - FREE

Get the full Report on CHTR - FREE

Get the full Report on LMCA - FREE

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
support@zacks.com
http://www.zacks.com

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.



RELATED LINKS

http://www.zacks.com