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Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Western Refining, L-3 Communications Holdings, New York Times, InterActiveCorp and News Corporation

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – September 26, 2012 – Zacks Equity Research highlights Western Refining, Inc. (WNR) as the Bull of the Day and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on The New York Times (NYT), InterActiveCorp (IACI) and News Corporation (NWSA).


Full analysis of all these stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2678.

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

We are maintaining our Outperform recommendation on Western Refining, Inc. (WNR) shares based on a slew of positive developments, along with company initiatives to improve reliability and reduce operating costs. The decision to double the dividend payout and the announcement of a $200 million share buyback program make us optimistic about the independent refiner/marketer.

Additionally, we believe Western Refining's strategic actions to improve its performance and competitiveness in a cost-effective manner will drive growth in the company's profits and boost its stock valuation. Western Refining's strong retail and wholesale operations, along with exposure to the profitable Southwest refining assets, add to the positive sentiment.

As such, we rate Western Refining shares as an attractive investment and continue to rate it as Outperform. Our $32 price target 10.0X trailing twelve-month cash flow reflects this view.


Bear of the Day:


We have downgraded our recommendation to Underperform on L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL), which is currently trading at a discount to both the peer group and the S&P 500 based on forward earnings estimates. The discounted valuation is owing to its nonplatform focus on shorter cycle contracts. This results in contracts expiring faster than its peers, bringing in the need for new ones to replace them.

In the near term, the company is witnessing lower sales while higher competition has resulted in margin headwinds through re-competitions of existing businesses. Thus we would advise investors to exit from the company for now until the ongoing macro headwinds improve.

The company ended last quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $481 million versus $548 million at the end of the second quarter of 2011. Long-term debt was $4.1 billion, flat year over year. L-3 Communications expects its yearly revenue to be in the range of $12,950 million $13,150 million, earnings in the range of $7.70 to $7.85.



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NYT Concludes About Group Sale


On Monday, The New York Times (NYT) completed the sale of About Group, which it acquired in 2005, to InterActiveCorp (IACI) for a consideration of $300 million. However, the company states that the net after-tax proceeds will be about $290 million, which will be utilized for general corporate purposes.

The About Group segment comprises the websites About.com, ConsumerSearch.com and Caloriecount.com, along with other related businesses. The contents of the site are provided by professionals.

With immediate effect of the divestiture, About Group will form part of the InterActiveCorp’s Search and Application division.

In an effort to offset the declining revenue and shrinking market share, management had to take a hard decision to sell About Group, which has been facing declining revenue since the last two quarters.

About Group segment’s revenue dropped 8.7% in the second quarter to $25.4 million due to fall witnessed in both cost-per-click and display advertising. During the first-quarter, the revenue declined 23.1%. Adjusted operating profit plunged 30.4% to $10.2 million in the second quarter, reflecting a decline in advertising revenue.

Another major reason is the declining print advertising revenue in an uncertain economy, which compelled The New York Times Company to divest About Group, allowing it to re-focus on its core newspapers and concentrate on its online activities.

In order to survive in the tight advertising market, The New York Times Company aims to streamline its cost structure, strengthen its balance sheet and restructure its portfolio. Moreover, the company is offloading assets that are not directly related to the core operations.

As a part of its ongoing strategy, the media giant divested its remaining stake (210 Class B units) in the Fenway Sports Group in May 2012. The company also completed the sale of Regional Media Group, which has been struggling with shrinking advertising revenue.

The New York Times Company, which faces stiff competition from News Corporation (NWSA), carries a Zacks #3 Rank that translates into short-term Hold rating for the next 1-3 months. We maintain our long-term ‘Neutral’ recommendation on the stock.




Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649.



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