CHICAGO, March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com Analyst Blog features: General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), Fiserv, Inc. (Nasdaq: FISV) and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V).
Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=4579
Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:
Europe Car Sales Grow
The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association reported a 1.4% rise in sales to 1.01 million vehicles during February for the first time in 11 months. The sales gain was led by impressive sales of Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM)'s Opel branded cars and strong demand for new models in Germany and France -- two largest markets in the European Union (EU) -- as well as in Poland.
Sales by Volkswagen Group grew 9.1% to 226,126 vehicles driven by higher sales of its namesake and Audi brands. The company's recently introduced upgraded version of Passat has been well received in the EU markets.
General Motors sold 85,366 vehicles during the month, up 8.3% from the year-ago level. Sales of the company's Opel branded cars escalated 8.9% to 72,542 units while that of Chevrolet lineup rose 5.4% to 12,771 units during the month.
Nick Reilly, the head of Opel brand in Germany and its sister brand Vauxhall in the U.K., has revealed that revamped version of Meriva minivan and the Astra Sports Tourer helped the company to win market share in the region.
Apart from these two major automakers, sales at Renault SA, Daimler AG and BMW did not show any significant improvement during the month under study. Sales by Renault SA went up 3.1% to 113,342 vehicles as sales of its namesake brand increased 2.7% to 94,616 units and that of Dacia rose 5.4% to 18,726 units.
Daimler AG sold 42,724 vehicles during the month, up 3.2% from the prior year. Sales of Mercedes Benz cars scaled up 3.3% to 37,108 units while that of smart USA inched up 2.1% to 5,616 units. Meanwhile, BMW's sales zoomed 13.4% to 49,683 units.
PSA Group, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), Fiat SpA and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) lost sales during the month. Sales at PSA Group dipped 5% to 141,894 units driven by lower sales of Citroen. Meanwhile, sales at Ford fell 12.1% to 73,133 vehicles, Fiat slashed 16.7% to 76,808 vehicles and Toyota slid 3.1% to 43,018 units.
Automakers are concerned about car sales in Europe in the near term. They expect rising prices of steel and oil to adversely affect sales and shift consumer preference towards a particular class of cars.
Visa Makes Deal with Fiserv
Fiserv, Inc. (Nasdaq: FISV) recently announced an agreement with Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), which will enable users of ZashPay to send money to and receive money from eligible Visa account holders through their primary financial institution.
In 2010, Fiserv introduced ZashPay – a person-to-person payments service that enables the secure, electronic movement of money between bank accounts based in the U.S., typically within one to three business days.
This agreement will expand the ZashPay network with a potential customer base of more than one billion Visa account holders. This service will initially focus on payment delivery to eligible credit and debit account holders. Both the companies will further expand it to prepaid and international account holders.
Earlier in the month, Fiserv recently announced that it has acquired Credit Union On-Line Inc. (CUOL), which has been providing data processing solutions to credit unions since 1980.
Co-owned by CEO Connie Boretti and two credit unions – RTN Federal Credit Union and Medical Area Federal Credit Union, CUOL is a credit union service organization that runs an outsourced version of the XP2 account processing solution of Fiserv. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Management stated that the acquisition of CUOL will provide Fiserv clients with a choice of either in-house or outsourced delivery of XP2.
Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5514.
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: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5516
Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PhD in mathematics Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which 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 at http://at.zacks.com/?id=4580.
Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ZacksResearch
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZacksInvestmentResearch
Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.
Web Content Editor
SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.