Financial, Nordstrom and Quinenco CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 22, 2006 Zacks Equity Research highlights Conseco, Inc. (NYSE:CNO) as the Bull of the Day and Frontier Financial (Nasdaq:FTBK) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) and Quinenco (NYSE:LQ). Full analysis of all four stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2676. Here is a synopsis of all four stocks: Bull of the Day: Our Bull of the Day recommendation is for Conseco, Inc. (NYSE:CNO). Conseco continues to restructure and cut costs to improve its credit ratings, a prerequisite for profitable growth in the long term. We think after a couple of more quarters of stable operating results, Conseco is likely to attain the critical A- AM Best rating necessary to fuel substantial growth in its policy sales. In the meantime, however, the company is facing deteriorating loss ratios in its Bankers Life Medicare supplement and long-term care lines, which have contributed to the recent slide in the stock price. Trading at 0.9x book value, we think the stock has a very favorable risk/reward profile. Bear of the Day: Our Bear of the Day recommendation is for Frontier Financial (Nasdaq:FTBK). We are downgrading FTBK to a Sell at this time. Our estimates and price target are both increasing; we simply believe that the share price has gotten ahead of fundamentals. FTBK now trades at a 15% premium to peers on an absolute P/E basis and a 26% premium on a PEG basis. On a price-to-book basis, FTBK now trades 30% above peers in absolute terms and 20% above if adjusted for ROE. On the other hand, performance is strong, and excess capital is significant. The shares clearly have momentum at present, and estimate revisions are positive. We view the new $0.90 annual dividend as secure. Analyst Blog: Nordstrom's (NYSE:JWN) second-quarter results beat our estimates, thanks to better-than-expected comparable-store sales, which were up 5.7%. We increased our fiscal 2006 and 2007 EPS estimates to account for the upside. We maintain our Hold rating on JWN shares, however, because we think the company's positive factors (smart merchandising efforts and operating improvements) are offset by negative factors, including higher gas prices, limited growth potential, and competitive retail environment. Our target price is $38.50, or approximately 16x our fiscal 2006 EPS estimate. We are keeping our BUY recommendation on Quinenco (NYSE:LQ). Our economic outlook for Latin America - particularly in Chile and Brazil - remains positive, and the company's first and second quarter 2006 results were better than expected. We are particularly impressed by the strong performance of Quinenco's manufacturing segment, which we believe will continue to outperform in future months. The Argentine inflation rate and disappointing results for Quinenco's telecommunication business remain a concern, but we do not change our positive view on the company's short-term outlook. Our six-month target price is $14.00. Get the full analysis of all four stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649. About the Bull and Bear of the Day Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months. About the Analyst Blog Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. 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. 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Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Conseco, Frontier
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