The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Lennar, PulteGroup, Ryland Group, Meritage Homes and Starbucks

 The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Lennar, PulteGroup, Ryland Group, Meritage
                             Homes and Starbucks

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Jan. 9, 2013

CHICAGO, Jan. 9, 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 includeLennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN),
PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), The Ryland Group, Inc. (NYSE:RYL), Meritage Homes
Corporation (NYSE:MTH) and Starbucks Corporation (Nasdaq:SBUX).

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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Lennar Hits New 52-Week High

One of the leading homebuilders in the U.S, Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN)
reached a new 52-week high of $41.24 on January 07, 2013. Lennar carries a
Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) for the near term.

Lennar is gaining momentum from the fast improving housing fundamentals. With
housing recovery, there has been a drop in inventory levels and an increase in
home prices.

Third Quarter 2012 Recap

Lennar Corporation reported adjusted earnings (excluding income tax
adjustments) of 34 cents per share in the third quarter of fiscal 2012,
beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 25.9%. Earnings also skyrocketed 209%
from the prior-year quarter. Earnings growth was driven by improved
homebuilding revenues and solid operating margins.

Total revenue in the quarter climbed 34% to $1.1 billion, driven by pricing
and volume growth in a stabilizing housing market. Revenues also surpassed the
Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.03 billion.

Lennar has witnessed solid year-over-year growth in new home orders, average
selling prices and home closings in all the three quarters of 2012. Margins
have also been above average, despite rising costs, driven by strong operating
leverage. Lennar appears confident of significant growth in the rest of the
fiscal year and thereafter.

Lennar has delivered positive earnings surprises in all the quarters of 2012
with an impressive average earnings surprise of 27.4% in the trailing four
quarters.

We believe that the company is performing better than its peers by increasing
sales prices, reducing incentives, improving volumes and by making
opportunistic land acquisitions. Moreover, Lennar's focus on the quality of
communities instead of quantity also benefits its margins and new sales
orders.

Other Stocks to Consider

With the housing market recovering steadily, many other stocks in the
homebuilding sector are currently performing well. These include PulteGroup,
Inc. (NYSE:PHM) – Zacks #2 Rank (Buy), The Ryland Group, Inc. (NYSE:RYL) –
Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) and Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE:MTH) – Zacks
#2 Rank (Buy).

Starbucks Offers Mobile Card Readers

Starbucks Corporation (Nasdaq:SBUX) recently announced that as a part of its
partnership with Square, Square Mobile Card Readers will now be available at
its stores in the U.S. Enabled by its free software, Square Register, Square
Mobile Card Readers will make credit card transactions easier and can be
plugged into iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

In order to enable smooth credit and debit card transactions, Starbucks had
entered into a partnership with Square in August 2012, a company that offers
credit card readers for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The Starbucks-Square
partnership has already introduced the Pay with Square mobile application and
the iPhone and Android Starbucks mobile payment applications. The partnership
has allowed Starbucks customers to make quick payments at about 7,000
Starbucks stores.

Square Mobile Card Reader will serve small businesses by providing them with
easy and affordable card processing services, thus liberating them from
hassles associated with credit and debit card payments. Square Mobile Card
Readers will significantly reduce the interchange fee associated with the use
of debit and credit cards and enhance mobile payment services, thus
encouraging business growth.

Starbucks connects with its consumers through its social, Internet, mobile,
loyalty and cards programs. Starbucks confirmed that Starbucks cards are now
used for 25% of the transactions in the U.S and the money loaded on the cards
grew over 20%. The company expects 10% of the payments to be made using mobile
application by the end of fiscal 2013.

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