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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Citigroup, ING Groep, Best Buy, Capital One Financial and Foster Wheeler

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 30, 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 Citigroup, Inc. (C), ING Groep NV (ING), Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY), Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) and Foster Wheeler AG (FWLT).

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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Citi Set to Buy ING Business


Citi Securities and Fund Services, a division of Citigroup, Inc. (C) declared its foray into a strategic agreement with ING Groep NV (ING) to purchase its custody and securities services business. However, the provisions of the deal have not been revealed. Citi and ING expect to finalize the deal in the first quarter of 2014.

The transaction currently awaits regulatory approvals and clearances. It includes local custody and securities services businesses of ING, which are located in Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. Following the completion of this acquisition, the reach of Citi’s custody network will broaden to over 95 markets. Further, the company’s proprietary custody network will expand to 62 countries.

This deal will facilitate Citi to offer services related to comprehensive securities to its investors, intermediaries and issuers by strengthening its presence across the nation. Further, Citi’s clients will be able to access its global banking network. Moreover, this operation will assist customers to avail efficient processing and consistent services across various markets.

Citi’s Securities and Fund Services business division furnishes customized services to its institutional issuers, intermediaries and investors across different continents.

On the other hand, ING, a leading provider of custody services, which operates its business across seven Central and Eastern Europe (“CEE”) markets, currently represents €110 billion in assets under custody.

Recently, Citi entered into a definitive agreement with Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY) to issue and manage cards under the latter’s brand in the U.S. The deal constitutes Best Buy’s home brand of cards. Additionally, Citi inked a deal with Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) to acquire roughly $7 billion of Best Buy’s private label and card loan portfolio. These agreements are expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2013, subject to customary closing conditions.

Citi currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) while ING carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).


Will Foster Wheeler Miss Again?

Foster Wheeler AG (FWLT) is set to report its first quarter 2013 results on May 2. Last quarter, it posted a 17.4% negative surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Growth Factors this Past Quarter

Foster Wheeler reported weak fourth quarter 2012 results compared to a reasonably strong fourth quarter of 2011. The company reported a 30.8% decline in adjusted earnings per share and the backlog also dropped on a year-over-year basis. The decline was mainly because of missing out on key dates for committed projects. Further, power generation markets globally continue to be relatively weak. Unstable environmental regulations in Europe coupled with low natural gas prices in the U.S. have delayed or dampened the retrofit markets. In addition, the markets for renewable power have been depressed in many regions due to overbuilding during the past decade and current government reluctance to continue subsidization.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Foster is likely to beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Positive Zacks ESP: That is because the Most Accurate Estimate stands at $0.15 while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is lower at $0.17. That is a difference of -11.8%.

Zacks #5 Rank (Strong Sell). Foster’s Zacks #5 Rank (Strong Sell) lowers the predictive power of ESP because the Zacks #5 Rank when combined with a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. We caution against stocks with Zacks #4 and #5 Ranks (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

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Read the analyst report on C

Read the analyst report on ING

Read the analyst report on BBY

Read the analyst report on COF

Read the analyst report on FWLT

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