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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: American States Water, American Water Works, Consolidated Water, Middlesex Water and Kearny Financial

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – June 17, 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 American States Water Company (AWR-Free Report), American Water Works Company (AWK-Free Report), Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (CWCO-Free Report), Middlesex Water Co. (MSEX-Free Report) and Kearny Financial Corp. (KRNY-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:

American Water to Expand in California

American States Water Company (AWR-Free Report) has decided to acquire Rural Water Co. which serves nearly 940 customers in Arroyo Grande, Calif. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

American States Water is a reliable water supplier, catering to 1 out of every 36 Californians. This present acquisition might not change the existing equation but is definitely a positive move towards expanding its operation in the state.

It appears that large water utilities are favoring the inorganic route to increase their customer base. Pennsylvania American Water, a unit of American Water Works Company (AWK
-Free Report), acquired three water units in a span of three months to expand its operations in Pennsylvania.

A report from Economic Development Research Group Inc. suggests an alarming gap between the water infrastructural requirement and actual investments in the coming years. The gap is expected to reach $84 billion in 2020 and might touch $144 billion in 2040. The report also revealed that without proper renewal or replacement, nearly 44% of the existing pipelines will become too weak for operation by 2020.

While water utilities are taking steps and investing regularly to bridge the gap, more efforts are required to minimize the difference. We believe consolidation of the smaller units under the umbrella of a bigger water and wastewater operator could be a positive step in that direction. The synergies of merger and decline in overhead operating expenses could allow the companies to concentrate more in development and maintenance of its infrastructure.

In addition, timely favorable decision by the commissions on water rate filing will ensure steady flow of investments from the water utility operators. Water utility operators are also enhancing their supply capacity through organic ways to cope with the increasing demand for water. We believe that spreading public awareness on effective use of water as well as replacement of the main pipelines can curb wastage.  

American States Water Company currently has a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy). Other operators in the industry that are performing well include Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (CWCO
-Free Report) and Middlesex Water Co. (MSEX-Free Report). Both of these companies currently carry a Zacks Rank #2 (buy).

Based in San Dimas, California, American States Water Company was founded in 1929. The company caters to customers in the United States and distributes water, electricity and other allied services.

Strong Buy on Kearny Financial

Zacks Investment Research upgraded Kearny Financial Corp. (KRNY-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) on June 12, 2013.

Why the Upgrade?

Positive revision in earnings estimates and share price gain of roughly 6.5% since the announcement of fiscal third quarter 2013 (ended Mar 31) results on May 2, 2013 raise optimism for better financial results ahead for Kearny Financial.

Earnings per share in the quarter were 3 cents compared with 2 cents earned in the sequential quarter and 200% above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a cent. The sequential increase can be attributed to higher net interest and non-interest income in the quarter. However, the results were, to some extent, offset by higher non-interest expense in the quarter that registered a 58% increase sequentially.

Following the release of the fiscal third quarter 2013 results in the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Kearny Financial increased 40% to 7 cents for 2013 and rose by 100% to 8 cents for 2014.
Additionally, increase in earnings estimate as well as positive earnings surprise in two trailing quarters with an average of 125%, raise optimism for the Kearny Financial’s performance in the quarters ahead.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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