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Sierra Bancorp, Hudbay Miners, New York Times, InterActive and Washington Post highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 6, 2013 – Zacks Equity Research highlights Sierra Bancorp (BSRR-Free Report) as the Bull of the Day and Hudbay Miners (HBM-Free Report)  as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on the The New York Times Company (NYT-Free Report), InterActiveCorp (IACI-Free Report) and The Washington Post Company (WPO-Free Report).

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

With an improving earnings picture and a solid outlook for the industry, this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) bank could be an interesting pick for your portfolio.

Sierra Bancorp (BSRR-Free Report) is the parent of Bank of the Sierra, which it acquired in August 2001. Bank of the Sierra offers a full range of retail and commercial banking services, primarily in the central and southern sections of the San Joaquin Valley. The Company has 25 branch offices and more than 400 employees.

For the second quarter of 2013, Sierra reported a net income of $3.8 million, up 48%, from the second quarter of 2012.  On a per share basis, earnings were $0.27 in Q2 2013, up from $0.18 in Q2 2012 and almost double of the Zacks consensus estimate of $0.14 per share.

The increase was primarily the result of lower credit-related costs, which was somewhat offset by a decline in net interest income and higher compensation expense. 

The Company's ROA was 1.09% in the second quarter of 2013, up from 0.76% in the prior-year quarter.  ROE also increased to 8.62% from 6.02% during the same period last year.  

The bank’s capital ratios remained very strong as of the end of the second quarter, with total risk-based capital ratio at 20.87%, tier one risk-based capital ratio at 19.62% and tier one leverage ratio at 13.82%.

Last month, the company announced its regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.07 per share, up $0.01 per share, or 17% from $0.06 per share. Earlier this year, the company had announced the reactivation of its stock repurchase program and increased the number of shares authorized for repurchase to 700,000, or 5% of total outstanding shares.

Bear of the Day:

This year has been quite challenging for metals miners with declining demand for metals and rising inventories. And disappointing results have in turn led to downward estimates revisions, sending Hudbay Miners (HBM-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank # 5 (Strong Sell).

Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Hudbay is an integrated mining company with operations, development properties and exploration activities across the Americas, principally focused on base and precious metals, including copper, zinc, gold and silver.

On July 31st, Hudbay reported its second quarter results.  The quarter resulted in a loss of $52.7 million or $0.31 per share, compared with a loss of $29.6 million or $0.17 per share in the second quarter of 2012.

Total revenue for the quarter was $130.7 million, down $59.2 million from the same quarter a year ago. This decrease was primarily due to lower sales volumes (mainly resulting from some mine closures) and lower metals prices. 

The company reduced its semi-annual dividend to $0.01 per share, down from $0.10 per share, declared in March.

Due to disappointing results, quarterly and annual estimates have been revised sharply downwards in the past few weeks.

Additional content:

NY Times Sheds Boston Globe at a Loss

In order to focus more on its core businesses, The New York Times Company (NYT-Free Report) entered into a deal to sell its New England Media Group, including The Boston Globe and its allied properties to an acquisition company spearheaded by John W. Henry, who owns Fenway Sports Group. Additionally, the company will offload its 49% stake in Metro Boston.

This $70 million cash transaction, expected to conclude within 30 to 60 days, would result in a massive loss for The New York Times Company, which had paid a mammoth amount of $1.1 billion to acquire The Boston Globe newspaper in 1993.

The New England Media Group, which consists of The Boston Globe, BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, Telegram.com, Worcester Telegram & Gazette and GlobeDirect, generated total revenue of $179.7 million in the first half of 2013, down approximately 7.1% year over year.

The divestitures come as part of the company’s ongoing strategy to completely offload assets in order to re-focus on its core newspaper group, The New York Times Media, and pay more attention to its online activities.

The New York Times Company on Sep 24, 2012 completed the sale of About Group, which it acquired in 2005, to InterActiveCorp (IACI-Free Report) for a consideration of $300 million. In October, the company sold its stake in Indeed.com, a job portal, for approximately $167 million. Another example of asset divestiture by the company is the sale of Regional Media Group in Dec 2011.

The Washington Post Company (WPO-Free Report) is another media company that divested its daily and Sunday newspaper, The Herald, to Black Press Ltd. and its subsidiary Sound Publishing.

The current economic situation does not seem conducive for publishing companies, which are bearing the brunt of waning advertising demand. Consequently, the companies are contemplating on introducing a new line of digital products and services, and targeting global customers to counter the headwinds.

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