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Liberty Media, Heska, Etablissements Delhaize, Restoration Hardware highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

 Chicago, IL – September 16, 2013 – Zacks Equity Research highlights Liberty Media Corporation ( LMCA-Free Report) as the Bull of the Day and Heska Corporation ( HSKA- Free Report) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on the Etablissements Delhaize Fr ( DEG- Free Report), Haverty Furniture Cos. Inc. ( HVT- Free Report) and Restoration Hardware Holdings ( RH- Free Report). Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

As a result of solid second quarter results, earnings estimates have been rising for Liberty Media Corporation ( LMCA-Free Report) sending the stock to Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with an ‘Outperform’ recommendation.

Liberty Media owns interests in a broad range of media, communications and entertainment businesses, including Sirius XM, Live Nation, Charter Communications, The Atlanta Braves and Barnes & Noble.

Liberty Media reported excellent financial results for the second quarter of 2013. The quarter resulted in earnings of $0.79 per share substantially ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.49 per share. This strong performance was primarily attributed to the contribution from its Sirius XM Radio acquisition. Liberty had acquired controlling interest in Sirius earlier this year.
Total revenue was $1,078 million up sharply from $135 million in the prior-year quarter and nearly in-line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,079 million.  

After excellent second quarter results, analysts have revised their earnings estimates for the company in the past few weeks. Zacks consensus estimate for the current quarter is now $0.88 per share, up from $0.50 per share, 30 days ago.
Estimates have moved into the negative territory after disappointing second quarter results, sending Heska Corporation ( HSKA- Free Report) to a Zacks Rank # 5 (Strong Sell) last month.
Heska sells advanced veterinary diagnostic and other specialty veterinary products, including diagnostic instruments and supplies as well as single use, point-of-care tests, vaccines and pharmaceuticals.

The company's core focus is on the canine and feline markets. Heska acquired a majority interest in Cuattro Vet USA, an imaging and cloud medical data closing technology company in February this year.
The company reported its second quarter results on August 7, 2013. The quarter resulted in a net loss of $2.2 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, compared to net income of $262 thousand, or $0.05 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2012. Results were substantially worse than the estimates.
Revenue for the quarter was $18.3 million, down slightly from the prior-year quarter. Total operating expenses increased to $8.6 million, or 47.1% of sales, from $7.7 million, or 42.0% of sales, in the prior year period.
Zacks consensus estimates for the current quarter and year are now in the negative territory—($0.11) and ($0.59) per share respectively, down substantially from $0.06 and $0.12 per share, 60 days ago.  The company has reported a miss in three of last four quarters, with an average negative surprise of 224%.
Additional content:
Strong Buy on Delhaize Group                                                                                        
Zacks Investment Research upgraded Etablissements Delhaize Fr ( DEG- Free Report), better known as Delhaize Group, to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) on Sep 12 after the announcement of solid second quarter 2013 results and enhanced outlook for the year.

Why the Upgrade?

Delhaize Group reported solid second quarter 2013 results on Aug 8. Organic sales increased 1.9% on the back of positive comparable store sales growth of 1.1% in the U.S. and 0.8% in Belgium. Underlying operating margin also improved to 3.6% in the second quarter (3.8% in the U.S. and 4.1% in Belgium), owing to cost cutting measures.

Delhaize Group operates through food supermarkets and operates companies in 10 countries on three continents — America, Europe and Asia. These companies have been grouped into three segments for the purposes of reporting: the United States, referred to as Delhaize America, Delhaize Belgium and Southeastern Europe & Asia.

Delhaize makes about two-thirds of its revenues in the United States and has been cutting costs, expanding volumes and revamping its main Food Lion chain in the country to counter stiff competition and sluggish consumer spending.

In Belgium, sales growth in the second quarter was mainly driven by increased market share due to the successful reopening of the remodeled stores and network expansion. In Southeastern Europe, the company witnessed improvement in both revenues and earnings.

Of late, Delhaize Group has been working on simplifying the company’s U.S. operations to enable it to better focus on its core businesses in the region. In order to do so, during May, the company agreed to divest all of its U.S.-based Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarket stores to another national supermarket chain, Bi-Lo Holdings, for $265 million in cash. The transaction, subject to some regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013. Further in July, DEG announced the planned divestiture and master franchise agreement of its operations in Montenegro.

The company’s cost cutting efforts and planned divestitures have yielded positive results. This has encouraged the company to nudge up its full-year operating profit outlook for 2013. Delhaize Group raised its underlying operating profit guidance from approximately Euro 775 million to at least Euro 780 million.

Estimates have mostly increased after the strong second quarter results and an upbeat outlook for the year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate increased 4.6% to $5.89 per share for 2013, while it advanced 4.5% to $5.86 per share for 2014 over the past 60 days.

Other Stocks to Consider

Besides Delhaize, other retailers worth considering are Haverty Furniture Cos. Inc. ( HVT- Free Report) and Restoration Hardware Holdings ( RH- Free Report), both of which carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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