Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Whirlpool, Darden Restaurants, Yahoo!, Google and Baidu

  Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Whirlpool, Darden Restaurants,
                           Yahoo!, Google and Baidu

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Dec. 21, 2012

CHICAGO, Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks Equity Research highlights
Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) as the Bull of the Day and Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)
as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis
on Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG) and Baidu Inc.
(Nasdaq:BIDU).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

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 have upgraded our recommendation on shares of Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) to
Outperform from Neutral and set a target price of $123.00. The company has
posted more than six fold increase in third quarter earnings to $1.80 per
share, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.20, led by improvements in
its North American operations.

The company continues to be the largest maker of home appliances in the world
by focusing on innovative product range. Further, its cost containment
measures have started bearing fruit. As a result, the company has upgraded its
full-year 2012 EPS guidance.

Our long-term Outperform recommendation on the stock indicates that it will
perform better than the broader market. Our $123.00 target price, 17.5x our
2012 EPS estimate, reflects this view.

Bear of the Day:

Despite having a unique proposition driven by menu improvements and a balanced
portfolio, Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) has been facing challenges in the
recent times. The latest decline in comps at three of its brands -- Red
Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse -- as well as the failure of
promotional offers plagued the company in the second quarter.

Stiff competition resulting in higher discounting rates, failure of some
promotional offers, probability of higher 2013 SG&A expenses as well as
cautious consumer spending will add to the woes. Most importantly, Darden
recently slashed its earnings per share guidance for fiscal 2013 to reflect
the dilutive effect of the latest Yard House acquisition and the adverse
impact from Hurricane Sandy.

Our six-month target price of $42.00 equates to about 12.4x our estimate for
2013. The target price implies an expected negative return of 7.4% over that
period. We recommend an Underperform recommendation on the shares.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

No Music Service from Yahoo in China

Reportedly, Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) is set to shut its music service in
China on Jan 20, 2013. Therefore, Chinese customers will no longer avail the
service in the country. The company said that the move was designed to
streamline its operations.

Yahoo has been disposing off its assets in China. Chinese e-commerce firm
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd runs Yahoo China, and the Sunnyvale-based company
now owns a 23.0% stake in Alibaba. Earlier, Yahoo sold part of its share in
Alibaba for $7.6 billion with the intention of using the proceeds to acquire
new companies.

Yahoo has been actively restructuring its operations over the past year. Yahoo
will close down its Korean offices by the end of fiscal 2012. Since 1997,
Yahoo has been doing business in Korea. However, the Korean operation was
facing incremental challenges from local start-up Internet companies that were
providing services at cheaper rates.

Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG) also appears to be withdrawing from China, as it has
closed down both its shopping search and Music Search services in the country.
Google has been battling against stringent Chinese government's censorship
laws. Thus, failing to find a favorable platform in China, Google decided to
transfer its resources to other areas instead.

The Chinese online market is now dominated by local player Baidu Inc.
(Nasdaq:BIDU) which holds 73.0% market share followed by Qihoo that gets 10.0%
of the traffic. Google holds the fourth place with 5.0% traffic, while Yahoo
has a paltry 0.25%. Thus, it makes sense for Yahoo to leave the online music
market in China.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2012, Yahoo reported revenue of $1.20 billion,
which was down 1.3% sequentially and 1.2% year over year. TAC costs were down
17.7% sequentially and 22.2% from last year. Excluding these costs in all
periods, net revenue was essentially flat on a sequential basis and up 1.6%
from last year, in line with the consensus estimate.

Yahoo, Baidu and Google all have a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating
in the near term.

Get the full analysis of all these 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.

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