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SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.
CHICAGO, March 11, 2013 /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 Ventas Inc. (NYSE:VTR), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and SAP AG (NYSE:SAP).
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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:
Ventas Unveils Equity Offering
Ventas Inc. (NYSE:VTR) recently disclosed that it has established an "at-the-market" equity offering program. Under the program, the company has the option to sell up to a total of $750 million of its common stock.
Ventas plans to utilize the proceeds generated from the stock sale for general corporate purposes, including financing for acquisitions and investments as well as for debt payment.
From time to time, Ventas may offer and sell shares through BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and RBC Capital Markets, as sales agents.
For Ventas, though the stock offering would result in share dilution, financing for strategic acquisitions and investments would help augment its top line while paying back of debt would reduce its interest expenses.
Moreover, only last month, Ventas reported better-than-expected fourth quarter 2012 results and announced an 8% hike in its quarterly dividend rate to 67 cents per share for the first quarter 2013. Its normalized funds from operations (FFO) reached 99 cents per share in the fourth quarter, 2 cents ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate and 10 cents above the prior-year quarter figure.
This was encouraging and we expect the company's strategic move in Atria and other opportunistic acquisitions to provide significant upside potential to the stock going forward. Moreover, being one of the largest healthcare REITs in the U.S., Ventas boasts a significantly diversified portfolio and exposure to nearly all types of facilities.
Also, the healthcare sector is relatively immune to the downturn in the economy, and provides a steady source of income that insulates the company from short-term market volatility.
Ventas currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
SAP to Acquire Camilion
SAP AG (NYSE:SAP) recently announced its intention to acquire Camilion – a software company that helps insurers gain enterprise-wide alertness with their products and underwriting – to expand its insurance capabilities. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The strategic decision to acquire Camilion was taken to provide a comprehensive solution for the ever changing and demanding customer needs. Insurers, in the present day, are looking to update their core systems to increase the quality of their business and deliver new products to the market more promptly. But for this, insurers need software tools that provide direct analysis and simulation across huge volumes of data while protecting the value of past IT investments.
Therefore, with the acquisition of Camilion, SAP will be able to meet most of the needs of insurers who face challenging business environment and need to make significant product and strategy changes promptly, but at low risk. With Camilion on board, SAP will add core expertise and trusted relationships in the new age of insurance applications which are well recognized by customers and analysts, globally.
The acquisition will expand the SAP solution portfolio in the insurance sector, thereby providing insurers with effective software tools to update the management and creation of new products. In addition, the acquisition will also provide the insurance brokers and underwriters with simple, modern tools that speed up transactions; thereby, enabling them to grow their business in a cost effective manner.
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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.
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