Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Evercore Partners, Titan International, Altria Group, Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco

Mar 22, 2013, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, March 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights Evercore Partners (NYSE: EVR) as the Bull of the Day and Titan International (NYSE: TWI) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO), Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) and British American Tobacco plc. (AMEX: BTI).


Full analysis of all these stocks is available at

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

One of the most interesting debates I've heard lately about this market is whether or not the increase in M&A activity is bullish. The bearish Doug Kass says it's not and the ever-eBULLient Jim Cramer says it is.

I'm not sure who is right. But I'll tell you what is right: putting money on the focused, experienced deal-makers at Evercore Partners (NYSE: EVR)

This "boutique" investment bank -- I've always loved that phrase, like it's a shop on Fifth Avenue for the 1% (which it is I guess) -- was founded in 1996 by current Chairman Roger Altman, a veteran of Wall Street and Washington.

Altman served as Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury in the late 1970's and again in the 90's and was head of M&A for Blackstone Group before launching his own firm on the premise that clients would be best served by an investment banking firm free of the conflicts of interest inherent to large, multi-product financial institutions.

Altman believed that this pure advisory model, undistracted by proprietary trading and sell-side research, would serve clients the best and attract the most talented senior finance professionals to the firm.

This is important because while M&A deals seem like quick cash grabs on the surface where big money simply has to make a deal that makes both sides richer, there is a lot more to Evercore's business, including advising on divestitures, restructurings, specialized financings, public offerings, private placements and other strategic transactions.

 Bear of the Day:

The industrial sector has been hot this year, always a percent or two ahead of the broad market. The reasons for optimism have been sound, from a turn-around in the Chinese economy to the US housing recovery gaining steam.

But that optimism may be cooling off and we need look no further than two big name equipment manufacturers to see it unfolding: Caterpillar and Deere.

And one company in the direct line of fire of a machinery slow-down could be Titan International (NYSE: TWI) a global manufacturer of off-highway steel wheels and tires in the agricultural, earthmoving/construction and consumer markets.

The mining industry, from metals to iron ore, has also seen earnings and outlooks take a hit recently, with names like Cliffs Natural Resources and Joy Global being sold as estimates soften. The gold miners are currently one of the lowest ranked industry groups in Zacks classification of 265 industries.

 Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

New York Hides Its Cigarettes

The shops in New York will no longer be allowed to display cigarettes on the shelves of their stores, per a plan by the mayor of the city. The plan also compels shops which derive less than 50% of their revenue from selling cigarettes to keep tobacco products away from public view in cabinets, drawers, under the counter, behind a curtain or in other concealed spots.

New York City , which has the reputation of levying the highest cigarette taxes in the country, is also going to be the first city in the U.S. where public display of cigarettes will be banned. Such a ban, however, already exists in Iceland , Canada , England and Ireland .

Anti smoking advocates like The American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association, other anti-smoking groups and several City Council members hailed the proposal, as the measure will dramatically reduce the growth rate of the city's smoking population.

Anti smoking protagonists are of the opinion that seeing the tobacco products shelved in the shops every time they visit would only increase the desire to try the product.

However, this will pose a problem for shops and tobacco companies like Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO), as keeping tobacco products under cover will inevitably reduce the sale of cigarettes to a considerable extent. Adding to the woes of the tobacco distributors, the price per pack of cigarette is already the highest in the city. Altria raised its voice against the decision of the mayor, saying that the law was overreaching.

The tobacco industry is having a tough time as governments all around the world are imposing restrictions on tobacco consumption. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has passed a rule compelling tobacco companies to print thought-provoking images on cigarette packs inducing smokers to refrain from smoking, governments of Britain , Australia and New Zealand have made plain packaging mandatory for cigarette packs.

Moreover, weighted average state cigarette excise tax increased at a compounded annual rate of about 10% between 2004 and 2010. The scenario has improved slightly due to mass protests against proposals imposing tax burdens on smokers. The compound tax growth rate has slowed down a little in the past two years, following the protests. However, the cigarette industry continues to carry a heavy tax burden. The industry has been seeing a decline in shipment volume for the past several years due to unfavorable excise taxes and growing awareness worldwide.

Tobacco companies are resorting to cigarette alternatives, trying to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco. In May 2011, Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) bought the patent and global rights to an aerosol nicotine-delivery system for the delivery of nicotine to lungs without cigarette smoking.

British American Tobacco plc. (AMEX: BTI) also created a subsidiary called Nicoventures focused on nicotine alternatives.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to

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Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

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