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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Tesla Motors, Panasonic, Tata Motors, Daimler and Nasdaq OMX Group

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – March 31, 2014 – 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 Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA-Free Report), Panasonic Corporation (PCRFY-Free Report), Tata Motors Limited (TTM-Free Report), Daimler AG (DDAIF-Free Report) and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ-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:

Panasonic to Opt Out of Tesla's Gigafactory?
Tesla Motors, Inc.’s (TSLA-Free Report) battery supplier Panasonic Corporation (PCRFY-Free Report) might not be a partner in its Gigafactory, per media reports. According to Panasonic’s President, the factory has a lot of investment risk. The revelation comes as a surprise as Panasonic was widely assumed to be one of the partners for Tesla’s Gigafactory.
While it is not yet definite, Panasonic’s absence from the project might make things a little difficult for Tesla. The electric carmaker will be able to use Panasonic’s supply chain as well as technical know-how in case the battery supplier agrees to come on board.
Tesla is planning to construct the Gigafactory to produce lithium-ion batteries for its cars in collaboration with various partners. The automaker expects the factory to provide economies of scale and reduce production costs based on innovative manufacturing techniques, reduced logistic wastes, optimization of co-located processes and lower overhead costs.
The automaker will be initiating the construction work this year and expects to finish the factory by 2017. The factory will supply lithium-ion batteries to Tesla's assembly plant in Fremont, CA.
By 2020, Tesla expects the annual lithium-ion battery production of the Gigafactory to exceed the global production in 2013. The factory will produce enough battery packs to allow Tesla to build around 500,000 electric cars by 2020. Also, by the end of the first year of manufacture of the planned mass market vehicle, the per kWh cost of production of battery packs is expected to be reduced by over 30%.
Tesla will invest $2 billion in the factory, whose construction will require $4–$5 billion. The rest of the funds will be provided by Tesla’s partners.

Tesla currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other automobile stocks worth considering are Tata Motors Limited (TTM-Free Report) and Daimler AG (DDAIF-Free Report), both of which sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Nasdaq Ups Dividend 15%
Despite high debt leverage, the board of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ-Free Report) announced a 15% hike in its regular dividend pay-out. This marks the first ascent since the company initiated cash dividends in Apr 2012.
Accordingly, the raised dividend per share of 15 cents, up from prior 13 cents, will be paid on June 27, 2014, to shareholders of record as on Jun 13. The hike also expanded the annual dividend to 60 cents a share from the prior 52 cents. Based on Thursday’s closing price of $37.14, the raised dividend generates a dividend yield of 1.62%.
Balanced Risk-Reward Profile
Given the ongoing economic volatility that has been pressurizing the top- and bottom line of most exchanges, the current hike appears commendable and optimistic. Moreover, Nasdaq returned $1.19 billion via share repurchases since Jan 2010.
Although share repurchases remained minimal in 2013 due to increased debt obligations, we believe that consistent reductions in expenses and prudent capital management should support the bottom line, improve cash flow and accelerate capital deployment. The company had $215 million of stock available for share buybacks at the end of 2013.
Meanwhile, Nasdaq is aggressively focused on improving fundamentals and operating leverage through acquisitions, proactive market expansion and product diversification initiatives. These efforts also enable the company to enter new markets on a low cost and highly flexible platform, thereby creating additional sales opportunities in the long run.
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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