U.S. Markets closed

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Macy's, Target, Wal-Mart Stores, Gap and CONSOL Energy

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 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 the Macy's, Inc. ( M- Free Report), Target Corp. ( TGT- Free Report), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT- Free Report), The Gap, Inc. ( GPS- Free Report) and CONSOL Energy Inc. ( CNX- Free Report).
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free .

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

'Buy 1 and We'll Give 1,' Says Macy's
Macy's, Inc. ( M- Free Report) unveiled a new program, “Buy 1 & We’ll Give 1,” under which this department store retailer will donate a coat on the purchase of every coat in the men’s, women’s or children’s section of its stores or online platform. The charitable program will run from Oct 29 to Nov 2, 2013, when Macy’s plans to donate up to 30,000 coats while also offering a 25% discount.

This holiday season Macy’s is leaving no stone unturned to draw traffic. The company for the first time plans to open its stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening.

The move is a strategic attempt by the department store retailer to take a more competitive stance against its brick-mortar and online rivals.

Other retailers that count upon a similar game plan include Target Corp. ( TGT- Free Report), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT- Free Report) and The Gap, Inc. ( GPS- Free Report). Retailers need to be ‘hawk-eyed’ this holiday season to make the most of it. They will need to capitalize on every opportunity as and when they arise, and try to attract cautious, budget-constrained consumers to the stores as the season may be a tough one.

What further makes this holiday season challenging for retailers is the time frame, as 2013 presents only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas as against 31 days last year. Moreover, retailers, which witness more traffic during weekends, will have only 4 full weekends this time around versus 5 in 2012.

Earlier, Macy’s, holding a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), stated that it will deploy approximately 83,000 seasonal staff members for its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s outlets, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers, portraying a 3.8% increase from the last year, when the retailer appointed about 80,000 associates.

Retailers seem skeptical about the holiday shopping period as the economic improvement is short of expectations, which could have led to higher consumer spending. Consequently, retailers are busy bracing themselves for a tough shopping season.
CONSOL Shedding Coal to Focus on Nat Gas
In a drive to concentrate on natural gas exploration and production, CONSOL Energy Inc. ( CNX- Free Report) has entered into an agreement to shed five West Virginia longwall coal mines and related assets for $3.5 billion. CONSOL Energy will sell its Consolidation Coal Company ( CCC) subsidiary, which operates these assets, to a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corporation.

Per the agreement, CONSOL Energy will be selling the McElroy, Shoemaker, Robinson Run, Loveridge and Blacksville No. 2 mines, which produced a combined 28.5 million tons of thermal coal in 2012. In addition, the company will also sell its river and dock operations with a fleet of 600 barges and 21 towboats.

CONSOL Energy will receive $850 million in cash on closing of the deal while a further payment of $184 million will be due for the retention of a royalty on select reserves, certain water treatment payments and tolling fees at CONSOL's Baltimore Terminal. In addition, Murray Corporation will take on $2.4 billion of liability from CONSOL’s balance sheet.

CONSOL Energy has been systematically shedding its coal assets and putting more emphasis on natural gas. Natural gas with its clean burning nature is widely favored in the U.S. The usage of natural gas is expected to increase further following the climate action plan from the U.S. President, and more stringent policies being adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (:EPA) for granting permission for setting up new coal power plants.

If these proposals are implemented it will make electricity generation from coal costlier than ever before. So the next best option available to the electricity generators will be the use of natural gas as a fuel source.
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.
Get the full Report on M - FREE
Get the full Report on TGT - FREE
Get the full Report on WMT - FREE
Get the full Report on GPS - FREE
Get the full Report on CNX - FRE
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.
Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Read the analyst report on M

Read the analyst report on TGT

Read the analyst report on WMT

Read the analyst report on GPS

Read the analyst report on CNX

Zacks Investment Research