The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Soufun Holdings, Bank of America, Royal Caribbean Cruises, JPMorgan Chase and American Express

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL August 21, 2013 – 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 Soufun Holdings (SFUN-Free Report), Bank of America Corporation (BAC-Free Report), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL-Free Report), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM-Free Report) and American Express Company (AXP-Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

What Chinese Real Estate Crisis?

 

Looking for that Chinese real estate crisis, are you? All those empty blocks of apartment houses, those leveraged loans, the crash in prices?

Well, you need to be updated with the following facts from Soufun Holdings (SFUN-Free Report) in China and think twice.

SouFun operates the leading real estate Internet portal in China, when measured in terms of the number of page views in 2012 and in visitors to its websites.  

This $3.2 billion in market cap Mid Cap Growth stock moved to a Zacks Rank #1 with a longer-term Outperform rating on August 9, 2013. It is found in the Business Services industry, which is ranked #85 out of 260 industries.  

SFUN pays a nice 4.8% dividend yield, and has a current forward 12-month P/E ratio of 16. Analysts forecast SFUN earnings for 2014 to grow +18% annually; to $3.11 a share from $2.63 a share in 2013. They forecast SFUN’s annual sales growth for 2014 to be +16%; after posting a likely +20% increase in 2013.

Through SouFun's Chinese language website above -- it can provide marketing, e-commerce, listing and other value-added services for China's fast-growing real estate and home-related industries. It is headquartered in Beijing, China.  

SouFun's Internet portal is highly focused on the Chinese user experience. However, SouFun currently maintains about 100 brick-and-mortar offices to focus on local market needs, too.  Its website and database cover more than 320 cities in China.

China Real Estate Market Strength Bodes Well for Soufun Holdings

Soufun stock recently jumped dramatically after China's National Bureau of Statistics released July 2013 housing price figures. Prices climbed in 69 of the 70 cities the government tracked from a year earlier, matching the data in June and May.

The southern business center of Guangzhou posted the biggest gain, rising 17% from a year earlier. Prices in Beijing and Shanghai increased 14% each. All three cities had their biggest gains since the government changed its methodology for housing price data in January 2011.

BofA Launches New Credit Card

The competition in the travel credit card market is set to intensify with the launch of new credit cards by Bank of America Corporation (BAC-Free Report) in collaboration with Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL-Free Report). The two companies renewed their multi-year affinity partnership with the launch of credit cards, which will offer benefits to loyalists of the cruise company.

The new credit cards offer exclusive benefits and are aimed to meet the growing demand from frequent users of the Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International brands.

The travel related credit cards were designed keeping in mind consumers’ need for flexibility in using points for travel-related expenses. The recently unveiled cards provide ample flexibility in point usage and enhanced reward rates.

Card Characteristics

The cards – "MyCruise Rewards” – give cardholders the ability to redeem points not only with the cruise brand that they choose, but also across the other two brands in the Royal Caribbean circle.

Additionally, cardholders can earn concessions on cruise-related packages and redeem points for cruises, stateroom upgrading, specialty gifts, and onboard credit across Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International. Further, the cards offer double points for purchases on all three cruise lines and one point for every dollar used on making other purchases. All these benefits come without an annual fee.

Another novelty is that the credit cards provide a points-donation opportunity. Cardholders will be able to contribute the cash value of their points to each of the brands' non-profit associates. Celebrity Cruises has partnered with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, while Royal Caribbean is associated with Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Conclusion

By issuing credit cards with better reward rates and additional new features, BofA is geared to further consolidate its foothold in the market. According to The Nilson Report, at present, BofA is the third largest credit card issuer by purchase volume in the United States, trailing JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM
-Free Report) and American Express Company (AXP-Free Report).

Moreover, by offering bonus incentives, the company expects a significant increase in its deposits to sustain revenues, which was adversely affected by its plans to charge customers for debit card usage. This particular step by the company made many of its customers opt out of using its debit cards. The credit card incentives can hence, be viewed as the company’s strategy to win back customers.

BofA currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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

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