Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Helmerich & Payne, Carnival Corporation, Family Dollar Stores, Wal-Mart Stores and Dollar General Corporation

Mar 31, 2011, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights: Helmerich & Payne (NYSE: HP) as the Bull of the Day and Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Dollar General Corporation (NYSE: DG).


Full analysis of all these stocks is available at

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

With the industry requiring increasingly complex well designs, there is high demand for modern, technologically sophisticated rigs. Given its newest and most technologically-advanced land rig fleet, Helmerich & Payne (NYSE: HP) is well positioned to take advantage of this scenario, while continuing to gain market share and adding value for its shareholders and customers.

A relatively conservative financial policy and a high quality client base are other positives in the Helmerich & Payne story. Buoyed by these factors, we are upgrading the company's shares to Outperform from Neutral.

We believe Helmerich & Payne is well positioned going forward and consider it an attractive investment. This is reflected in our Outperform recommendation and the $76 price objective, which is based on a 2010 P/E multiple of 19.2X.

Bear of the Day:

Carnival Corporation's (NYSE: CCL) first quarter 2011 earnings matched the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, surging fuel prices are acting as the major hindrance to the company's growth. Moreover, greater exposure to a sluggish European market, overall inflationary outlook, political disturbances in some geographies and lower near-term Caribbean pricing will be headwinds for the company.

The company also reduced its net revenue yield guidance for fiscal 2011. Thus, we downgrade the stock from Neutral to Underperform.

Our six-month target price of $35.00 equates to about 13.4x our estimate for 2011. The target price implies an expected negative total return of 6.7% over that period.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Family Dollar Reports In-Line

Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) recently posted second-quarter 2011 results. The quarterly earnings of 98 cents a share came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate, but jumped 21% from 81 cents earned in the prior-year quarter due to healthy sales witnessed in the Consumable and Seasonal categories.

The company had earlier guided earnings in the range of 97 cents to 98 cents for the quarter under review. The Zacks Consensus Estimate rose by 2 cents prior to the earnings release, resulting from 12 out of 24 analysts covering the stock revising their estimates upwards, and 2 analysts lowering their estimates in the last 30 days.

Management now expects third-quarter 2011 earnings between 92 cents and 97 cents, and fiscal 2011 earnings between $3.13 and $3.23. The current Zacks Consensus Estimates for the third quarter and fiscal 2011 are 94 cents and $3.12 per share.

We could witness a correction in the Zacks Consensus Estimates in the coming days with analysts tweaking their estimates to better align with the company's guidance range. The shares of Family Dollar climbed 2% or $1.05 to $53.45 in pre-market trading.

We observe that Family Dollar's strategic initiatives to improve merchandising and store operations have helped grow the top and bottom lines.

The operator of self-service retail discount store chains posted an 8.3% increase in revenue to $2,263.2 million from the prior-year quarter, and reflected sales growth registered across Consumables categories (up 10.7%), Seasonal and Electronics (up 8%), Home Products (up 3%), and Apparel and Accessories (up 2.1%). Total revenue also came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Family Dollar, which faces stiff competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Dollar General Corporation (NYSE: DG), forecasts fiscal 2011 net sales to jump by 8% to 10%. We believe effective price and inventory management, private label offering, expanded operating hours and merchandise initiatives should drive sales trends.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to

About the Bull and Bear of the Day

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.

About the Analyst Blog

Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.

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 analyst 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 by visiting

About Zacks 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

Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Follow us on Twitter:

Join us on Facebook:

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.

Mark Vickery

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.