The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:TD Ameritrade Holding, Evercore Partners, Greenhill & Co., Piper Jaffray and Ann

 The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:TD Ameritrade Holding, Evercore Partners,
                    Greenhill & Co., Piper Jaffray and Ann

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Feb. 13, 2013

CHICAGO, Feb. 13, 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 TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
(NYSE:AMTD), Evercore Partners Inc. (NYSE:EVR), Greenhill & Co., Inc.
(NYSE:GHL), Piper Jaffray Companies (NYSE:PJC) and Ann, Inc. (NYSE:ANN).

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

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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

TD Ameritrade January DARTs Rise

TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NYSE:AMTD) – an online brokerage firm –
reported a 17% increase in average U.S. trades in its Activity Report for the
month of Jan 2013. On a year-over-year basis, the U.S. trades were up 3%.

For the reported month, Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTs) were 387,000
compared with 331,000 recorded in the prior month. The rise in DARTs primarily
resulted from the improvement in the equity markets.

Broker performance is generally measured through DARTs that represent the
number of trades, from which brokers can commissions or fees.

TD Ameritrade reported $499.3 billion in total client assets in January, up
17% year over year and 4% from the prior month. Moreover, average spread-based
balances augmented 12% year over year to $83.4 billion. Further, these
balances scaled up 3% from Dec 2012.

At the end of January, average fee-based balances stood at $107.8 billion, up
32% year over year and 5% from the last month.

Quarterly Performance

As of Dec 31, 2012, DARTs decreased 9% year over year to 334,035. Net new
client assets reported were $15.6 billion, up 53% from $10.2 billion a year
ago.

For the quarter, TD Ameritrade reported $480.8 billion in total client assets,
up 18% year over year. Moreover, average spread-based balance was $79.3
billion, up 9% from $72.6 billion in the prior-year quarter. Average fee-based
balances surged 28% year over year to $100 billion.

Our Viewpoint

The competitive position of brokerage business in the market depends on
trading customers, with emphasis on active traders. As the long-term investing
customer group is less developed compared to trading customers, there is an
opportunity for future growth in case the long-term customer base expands.

Development of innovative ways for online trading and long-term investing
products and services, delivery of advanced customer service, creative and
cost-effective marketing and sales, as well as expense discipline can be
considered as the key factors behind TD Ameritrade's strategy of boosting its
trading and investing business.

Amidst a volatile operating environment, TD Ameritrade witnessed a decline in
organic client asset. The company also reported waning trading volumes, and
therefore a significant turnaround remains elusive. Further, a low interest
rate environment is a matter of concern.

TD Ameritrade currently retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other brokerage firms
that are also performing well include Evercore Partners Inc. (NYSE:EVR),
Greenhill & Co., Inc. (NYSE:GHL) and Piper Jaffray Companies (NYSE:PJC). All
these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Ann, Inc. 4Q Sales to Miss Estimate

Women's apparel retailer Ann, Inc.. (NYSE:ANN) recently came up with
lower-than-expected preliminary sales results for the fourth quarter of fiscal
2012. Net sales for the quarter are anticipated to be $608 million, which is
below the company's earlier forecast of $625 million and the Zacks Consensus
Estimate of $612 million.

The trimmed sales projection now portrays a decline of 1% in comparable-store
sales (comps), significantly down from its previously forecasted range of
mid-single-digit growth. Weak sales at LOFT stores during the holiday season
and Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast region negatively impacted the company's
sales. The company stated that comps at the company's Ann Taylor brand stores
inched up 1% while it declined 2% at LOFT stores.

Gross margin for the quarter is expected to expand 10 basis points (bps) on a
year-over-year basis to 49.0% but will remain below the company's earlier
expectation of 51.0% primarily due to increased promotional activities during
December and January.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses for the quarter is
anticipated to be $297 million, lower than the company's previous forecast of
$300 million.

However, despite ANN's below-than-expected fourth-quarter preliminary sales
results, the company is anticipating to post record earnings per share results
for fiscal 2012 on the back of strong sales and improved operating margin.

Net sales for fiscal 2012 are expected to increase by 7.4% to $2.376 billion
from $2.212 billion in fiscal 2011. However, net sales will remain below the
company's guidance of $2.395 billion as well as Zacks Consensus Estimate of
$2.377 billion.

Gross margin for the fiscal is anticipated to come in at 54.8%, slightly below
the company's earlier expectation of 55.0%. SG&A expenses are projected to be
$1.136 billion compared with the company's prior guidance of $1.140 billion.
Capital expenditure are expected to touch $155 million, lower than ANN's
forecast of $160 million.

During the fiscal, ANN repurchased 4.9 million shares for a total sum of $135
million. Of the total shares repurchased during the fiscal, 1.8 million shares
were bought back during the fourth quarter at a cost of $60 million.

ANN is expected to announce its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2012 results before
the markets open on Friday, Mar 8, 2013. Currently, the company holds a Zacks
Rank #4 (Sell).

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