PHP Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Hovhannes Avoyan, Lori MacVittie, Trevor Parsons

News Feed Item

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Intercontinental Exchange, Fortegra Financial, Brown & Brown, Arthur J. Gallagher and Tiptree Financial

CHICAGO, Ill., Aug. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE:ICE-Free Report), Fortegra Financial Corporation (NYSE:FRF-Free Report), Brown & Brown Inc. (NYSE:BRO-Free Report), Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG-Free Report) and Tiptree Financial Inc. (Nasdaq:TIPT-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

ICE Group Down to Strong Sell on Persistent Low Volumes

On Aug 21, 2014, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE:ICE-Free Report), or ICE Group, by a notch to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Why the Downgrade?

ICE Group has been witnessing downward estimate revisions since the company's second-quarter 2014 results and a continued sluggish growth outlook, despite the recent renovation in operations. Additionally, this global exchange operator underperformed the one-year S&P 500 index, which recorded growth of 12.7% against a negative return of 5.1% clocked by the company.

On Aug 7, ICE Group reported second-quarter 2014 operating earnings per share (EPS) of $2.10, which exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4% but lagged the year-ago quarter figure by 4.1%.

Average daily volumes of total futures and options persistently fell 20% until July this year, reflecting weakness in average rate per contract as well. Moreover, higher expenses that spiked 188% year-over-year more than offset top-line growth of 102%.

Consequently, operating margin deteriorated to 43.6% from 60.5% in the year-ago quarter. The absence of share buybacks throughout 2013 and the first half of 2014 also limited EPS growth, although some repurchase activity was undertaken last month.

ICE Group's business consolidation is also incurring higher operating and capital expenses, the immediate effect of which is being witnessed in the deteriorating margins. Alongside, though the company has reduced a chunk of its debt from 2013-end, debt leverage still remains at cautious level.

ICE Group also faces major headwinds from intense competition, weak industry dynamics, challenging regulations and declining volatility that hurt derivative performance. These factors also making investors jittery about desirable growth in the near-term.

Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 and 2015 declined 2.4% and 4.5% to $9.00 and $11.22 a share, respectively, in the last 30 days. No upward estimate revision was witnessed for both these years.

Fortegra Financial a Strong Buy on Upwardly Revised Estimates

On Aug 21, 2014, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Fortegra Financial Corporation (NYSE:FRF-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Fortegra Financial has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong second-quarter 2014 earnings which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 33%. This led to a bullish sentiment on the stock, and in turn an 8.8% increase in the 2014 Zacks Consensus Estimate to 74 cents per share over the last 30 days.

Fortegra Financial reported second quarter financial results on Aug 11. The top line, apart from beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate, improved 5.2% year over year largely on the back of organic growth in total revenue, decline in member benefit claims, and net losses and loss adjustment expenses.

Strong focus on revenue improvement and expense management reinstated faith in the stock. Moreover, cost containment initiatives helped the company to improve its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margins without having to compromise on the quality of services offered. Impressive performance in the first half of the year also prompted Fortegra Financial to reiterate its 2014 revenue growth outlook at 7–9% and the adjusted EBITDA margin outlook at 32–34%. At second-quarter end, Fortegra Financial's cash position remained strong, which should help in consolidating its inorganic growth going forward.

Since the company posted strong second-quarter earnings, it has been trading at a 52-week high of $9.88. In fact, shares of the company soared 40.5% since it reported earnings, to close at $9.86 in the last trading session. Moreover, the one-year return from the stock is 26.57%, higher than the S&P 500's return of 19.96% and that of other players in the multi-line insurance space like Brown & Brown Inc. (NYSE:BRO-Free Report) and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG-Free Report), which generated returns of -1.36% and 7.94% respectively.

Notably, last week, Tiptree Financial Inc. (Nasdaq:TIPT-Free Report) agreed to acquire Fortegra Financial for $218 million. The deal is awaiting regulatory approval.

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 ICE - FREE 
Get the full Report on FRF - FREE 
Get the full Report on BRO - FREE 
Get the full Report on AJG - FREE 
Get the full Report on TIPT - FREE

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: http://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
[email protected] 

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.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...