The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: TripAdvisor, HomeAway, Taomee Holdings, Global Eagle Entertainment and SolarCity

Zacks

For Immediate Release
 
Chicago, IL – May 05, 2014 – 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 TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP-Free Report), HomeAway, Inc. (AWAY-Free Report), Taomee Holdings Ltd. (TAOM-Free Report), Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (ENT-Free Report) and SolarCity Corp. (SCTY-Free Report).
 
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

TripAdvisor Buys Vacation Home Rentals

TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP-Free Report), an online travel research company, announced the acquisition of Vacation Home Rentals for an undisclosed sum.

Massachusetts-based Vacation Home Rentals is a website featuring more than 14,000 vacation rental properties in 89 countries. Additionally, the company offers 50,000 travel reviews and opinions on its website.

The acquisition will complement TripAdvisor’s travel product portfolio with the addition of more properties at famous destinations. The company will now feature more than 550,000 rental properties around the world. The acquisition will improve efficiency, expand the company’s user base, increase traffic, hotel shoppers and profits. It will help TripAdvisor to better compete with other travel online companies including HomeAway, Inc. (AWAY-Free Report) with roughly 952,000 listings.

TripAdvisor has an aggressive merger and acquisition strategy. Since 2013, this is the second acquisition for the company in the Vacation Rentals group — the first being Niumba, a vacation rentals website in Spain, acquired in May 2013. Other takeovers in 2013 include GateGuru, a flight and airport information mobile app acquisition, following Oyster.com, TinyPost, JetSetter and CruiseWise.

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest online travel research company. The acquisitions have helped the company to build a desired portfolio and increase page views per visitor since users now spend more time on its website. The company is striving to help consumers make their travel decisions easy and fruitful based on the experiences of other travelers.

TripAdvisor continues to witness robust top-line growth in every quarter. The company delivered decent fourth-quarter results. Earnings and revenues were above the prior-year figures on the back of a strong global travel market. Revenues were $212.7 million, up 25.5% year over year, driven by improvement in all its product lines and continued strong hotel shopper growth.

TripAdvisor will report first-quarter results on May 6. Over the long term, the company is well positioned for growth, given its expanding user base, improving margins and increasing monetization of social and mobile platforms.

Currently, TripAdvisor has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks that have been performing well and are worth considering include Taomee Holdings Ltd. (TAOM-Free Report) and Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (ENT-Free Report). Both these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

SolarCity Pushes into Nevada
 
SolarCity Corp. (SCTY-Free Report) is all set to grasp the largely untapped abundant solar power resources in one of the sunniest U.S. states – Nevada. SolarCity – a pioneer in residential solar – is making a big expansion in Las Vegas, Southern Nevada.
 
The company announced that it will start offering leasing service in Southern Nevada, enabling Las Vegas area homeowners to go solar for as little as $30 per month, way less than what a usual utility would charge. The company plans to start its coverage in the most populated city of Las Vegas with services comprising design, installation, financing, insurance, monitoring as well as a performance guarantee. SolarCity expects to initiate installations by end October serving customers on a first-come, first-served basis.
 
SolarCity – the largest residential solar power provider in the U.S. – will participate in NV Energy's SolarGenerations program. This program is expected to reopen in August and the company will initially serve customers of NV Energy in the greater Las Vegas area. This includes the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Spring Valley, Winchester, Paradise, Henderson and Boulder City.
 
Apart from its renewable energy expansion effort, this move into Nevada will generate more employment. The company is gearing up to add 400 employees in the next year to its current count of 400, making Nevada its largest office nationally.
 
SolarCity installed 567 megawatts (MW) of solar systems, including residential, commercial and others, through the end of 2013. Notably, its residential installations grew 130% year over year to 70 MW during the final quarter of 2013. SolarCity's diverse sales strategies have played a pivotal role in the company's ability to capture this large pie of the residential market.
 
With a current cap of $4.87 billion, SolarCity is already dominant in the robust solar markets of California and Arizona. The move into neighboring Nevada is encouraging too. The company however needs to extend its footprint in the other states as well.

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