Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Marriott International, Arch Coal, Facebook, Google and Zynga

Zacks

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – July 2, 2012 – Zacks Equity Research highlights Marriott International (MAR) as the Bull of the Day and Arch Coal, Inc. (ACI) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Facebook, Inc. (FB), Google (GOOG) and Zynga (ZNGA).

 

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2678.

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

Marriott International's (MAR) first quarter 2012 earnings were slightly above the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.01. Going forward, the company's strong pipeline, significant international exposure, solid balance sheet, aggressive share-buyback strategy, lower operating cost structure and increased market share augur well for its earnings. The company recently hiked its quarterly dividend by 30%.

Moreover, the spin-out of its timeshare business is promising, as Marriott is able to concentrate more on its core hotel management and franchise business. Additionally, considering the increased global demand, modest supply growth, accelerating group business and strong pricing environment, we expect the top line to improve further.

Marriott's deal of managing Gaylord also remains strategically sound. Hence, we reiterate our Outperform stance on the stock. Our six-month target price of $44.00 equates to 26.5x our earnings estimate for 2012. Combined with a quarterly dividend of $0.13 per share, this price target implies an expected total return of 19.4% over that period.

Bear of the Day:

 

Arch Coal, Inc. (ACI) missed both our top and bottom line expectations in the first quarter of 2012, owing to increasing operations costs and lower domestic sales. We expect little abatement in the declining trend in the upcoming quarters.

Possible weakening of coal prices as cheap natural gas comes into play and continued regulatory pressures from various environmental organizations add to our negative outlook. Rising costs of industrial supplies and political as well as economic uncertainties are additional concerns.

Presently, the stock is trading at a discount to the peer group based on 2012 earnings estimates, though the trailing 12-month EV/EBITDA multiple is above the industry average. Our target price is $5.75, based on 1.9x trailing 12-month cash flow.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

 

Initiating Coverage on Facebook

 

We are initiating coverage on Facebook, Inc. (FB) with a Neutral recommendation over the long term (6-12 months) and price target of $33.00.

Incorporated in 2004, Facebook became public on May 18, 2012. The social networking pioneer offered 421 million shares to the general public, representing a 15% float. Facebook priced its Initial Public Offering (:IPO) at $38.00 per share (approximately 100 times historical earnings as per Reuters) and finally raised $6.84 billion as net proceeds.

Facebook’s IPO has been severely criticized for mismanagement and technical glitches that cost stock brokers and investors millions of dollars. IPO experts opined that Facebook’s sky-high valuation was unjustified, primarily due to unproven monetization efforts on the mobile platform, a slowing advertising growth rate and not-so-impressive first quarter results for the quarter ended March 31, 2012.

Although revenues surged 45.0% year over year to $1.06 billion, Facebook reported earnings of 9 cents, which declined slightly from 11 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. The uncertainty behind Facebook’s IPO filing has resulted in a sharp decline in share prices. Year-to-date, Facebook shares have declined 18.0% as compared to a 5.9% increase in the S&P 500.

Despite enjoying a first mover’s advantage in the social networking market, we believe that increasing competition is the primary headwind for Facebook over the long term. Besides competition from Google's (GOOG) Google+, Twitter, Orkut in its core markets, Facebook is also fighting small regional platforms, which not only limit its expansion opportunities but also hurt its profitability.

Facebook is facing significant competition in the display advertising market from Google. Rising concerns over the effectiveness of Facebook ads as compared to Google’s AdSense has been a headwind lately. As per eMarketer, Google is set to grab the #1 position in the display market by the end of 2013. We believe that Google’s increasing popularity has the potential to limit Facebook’s ad revenue growth going forward.

Further, Facebook’s popularity is based on the engaging apps from its third party developers, particularly Zynga (ZNGA). However, Zynga’s narrow product portfolio has been primarily blamed for a waning interest in social games on the platform. Zynga’s low-paying customer base and stiff competition from other established players are also hurting its top-line. This does not bode well for Facebook, as the company earns the majority of its non-ad revenue from Zynga.

Apart from increasing competition, lack of visibility around mobile monetization remains a concern. Although Facebook has made a number of acquisitions (such as Snaptu, Instagram) to boost its mobile offerings, we believe that lack of adequate ad coverage for the mobile platform will hurt its revenue earning capacity going forward.

Nevertheless, we believe that Facebook has immense growth opportunities based on its huge & loyal customer base, talented platform development team and engaging apps.

Facebook currently earns approximately 15.0% of its revenue from non-ad sources, mainly from the sale of in-game items in the social gaming apps of Zynga. As Facebook continues to gain scale and expands into new horizons, we believe that the company will increase its focus on improving monetization from other app developers beside Zynga.

We believe that Facebook has significant growth opportunities from increasing online advertising spending as compared to traditional formats. Facebook’s massive user base (around 900 million) and its ability to track personal details over time make it a formidable force in the online ad market. Facebook can use this massive database to help advertisers target relevant ads going forward.

Currently, Facebook has a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating over the short term (1-3 months).

 

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649.

 

 

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 http://at.zacks.com/?id=7158.

 

About Zacks

 

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PhD from MIT 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 http://at.zacks.com/?id=4582.

 

Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

 

Follow us on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/zacksresearch

 

Join us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

 

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.

 

Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339

support@zacks.com

http://www.zacks.com

Read the analyst report on MAR

Read the analyst report on ACI

Read the analyst report on FB

Read the analyst report on GOOG

Read the analyst report on ZNGA

Zacks Investment Research



More From Zacks.com
View Comments (0)