The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Stantec, CoreLogic, Corporate Executive Board, Exponent and Halliburton

Zacks

For Immediate Release
 
Chicago, IL – November 08, 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 Stantec Inc. (STN-Free Report), CoreLogic, Inc. (CLGX-Free Report), Corporate Executive Board Co. (CEB-Free Report), Exponent Inc. (EXPO-Free Report) and Halliburton Company (HAL-Free Report).
 
 
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.
Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Stantec Upgraded to Strong Buy

On Nov 5, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Stantec Inc. (STN-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?
Stantec has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong third-quarter 2013 results.


Stantec reported third-quarter 2013 (ended Sep 30) results on Oct 31. Earnings per share came in at 98 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 78 cents and the year-ago figure of 74 cents.
Earnings were primarily aided by top-line growth of 21.3% and increased activity in the company’s environmental services, industrial as well as transportation sectors. The environmental services and industrial service businesses benefited from a strong end market. Strong momentum in the oil and gas sector enabled the company to win several projects for major pipelines and associated facilities across Canada.

Most of the estimates for 2013 and 2014 were revised higher on the back of strong third-quarter results. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 6.3 % to $3.02 from $2.84 per share due to higher estimates revision over the last 7 days. Additionally, for 2014, analysts modified their predictions over the past week, and lifted the Zacks Consensus Estimate to $3.40 per share from $3.22.

Moreover, this well-known technical services firm delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with average earnings beat of 12.23%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is currently pegged at 18%.     

Other Stocks to Consider


The following business service firms are performing well and also have a favorable Zacks Rank:
1)      CoreLogic, Inc. (CLGX-Free Report) which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)
2)      Corporate Executive Board Co. (CEB-Free Report) which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)
3)      Exponent Inc. (EXPO-Free Report) which holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

 Halliburton Hikes Dividend 20%


 Major oilfield services provider Halliburton Company (HAL-Free Report) increased its fourth quarter 2013 dividend by 20% to 15 cents per share (60 cents per share annualized) from 12.5 cents per share. The new dividend will be paid on Dec 27, 2013 to shareholders of record as of Dec 6.

The dividend hike, along with the prior increase of 39% in the first quarter of the year and Halliburton’s share repurchase programs reflect the company’s confidence in its operations and growth outlook. Going forward, the bullish trend would continue with Halliburton’s plan to disburse around 15% to 20% of its annual net income by way of dividend.

Halliburton announced that it bought back roughly 68 million common shares during the third quarter, for a total consideration of $3.3 billion. We believe that the share repurchases and the increase in dividend will boost investors’ confidence in the stock, thereby driving unit value.

Last month, Halliburton reported third quarter adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of 83 cents, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate and 23.9% higher from the 67 cents per share reported in the year-ago period amid higher operating activities from the international markets. Revenues of $7,472.0 million were also up 5.1% from the third quarter of 2012.

The Houston, Texas-based company is one of the largest oilfield service providers in the world, offering a variety of equipment, maintenance, and engineering and construction services to the energy, industrial and government sectors.

The company currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it is expected to perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.


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