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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Visa, MasterCard and American Express

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – May 16, 2012 – 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 LinkedIn (LNKD), Monster Worldwide (MWW), Visa (V), MasterCard (MA) and American Express (AXP).

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Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

LinkedIn to Buy Monster?


As per a news release from Reuters, LinkedIn (LNKD) and Silver Lake has expressed interest to take over Monster Worldwide Inc (MWW), according to sources.

Headquartered in New York, Monster Worldwide is an online recruitment firm of the parent company Monster.com, the leading career website in the world.

The news has led to a surge in the stock price of Monster. It was rumored earlier that management might sell a part or all of its business as the company is facing tough times for quite some time. Monster Worldwide is considering strategic alternatives to boost shareholder value in the coming months to combat the extreme situation. 

The business is under significant pressure with customer demand for online advertising on a downtrend. The primary source of revenue for the company is recruitment advertising. Management is concerned about a recessionary environment. Firms around the world are scaling back their hiring plans and more carefully controlling their spending.

Competition has intensified over the last few years in the online employment advertising market, which in our view has resulted in Monster losing share. The barriers to entry into Internet businesses are relatively low.

Though Monster once had a dominant position, there are now several national competitors (i.e., CareerBuilder) as well as other niche sites. Many of the cutting-edge recruiters have reduced their use of job boards in favor of alternative social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

In addition, the macro economic outlook remains uncertain. The slowdown in Europe has adversely impacted the company’s business with no relief expected in the near term. Management expects another recession in 2012.

We continue to maintain a Neutral recommendation on the stock. Our recommendation is supported by Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term rating of Hold. 



Visa Eyes Canadian Expansion


In a concerted effort to tap the growing debit card market in Canada, Visa Inc. (V) joins with Air Canada to facilitate its Canadian customers with Visa debit cards with which to purchase Air Canada tickets. The agreement has already come into effect from the beginning of this month, and Canadian customers have already started benefiting from the alliance of the two entities.

Visa’s Canadian customers can buy tickets by paying online using their Visa Debit card for scheduled passenger services from the website of Air Canada. They also have the option of doing the same via Air Canada Reservations from their mobile phones.

Visa’s debit cards enable customers to transfer funds using the electronic medium even without logging in to their respective bank accounts. It is expected that this “one-step” e-payment facility will attract a large number of Canadian customers, thereby enhancing debit functionality within the online space.

With increasing number of consumers together with large number of transactions Visa tries to mitigate the risk of fraud by leveraging its payment technology. The technology safeguards the cardholder’s interest against all kind of deception if the card is stolen or lost. Visa's Zero Liability Policy ensures the prevention of any kind of online fraud. 

Visa has increasingly invested in the emerging market, leveraging its technological strength. All this is in sync with the company’s strategy of driving growth through increased payment volumes along with consistent growth in processed transactions. The company aims to retain its strength by exploring newer growth avenues.

Visa’s competitors MasterCard Inc. (MA) and American Express Co. (AXP) are equally expanding their market coverage to seek greener pastures through newer initiatives. With MasterCard’s recent launch of PayPass Wallet Services and AmEx collaborating with Isis Mobile, to ensure a secure shopping experience, the card industry is set to witness stiff competition.

We retain our long-term Neutral recommendation on Visa. The company currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating.


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