Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: NVR, Darden Restaurants, Assurant, Radian Group and CIGNA

Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: NVR, Darden Restaurants, Assurant,
                            Radian Group and CIGNA

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 26, 2013

CHICAGO, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks Equity Research highlights NVR,
Inc. (NYSE:NVR) as the Bull of the Day and Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI)
as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis
on Assurant Inc. (NYSE:AIZ), Radian Group Inc. (NYSE:RDN) and CIGNA Corp.


Full analysis of all these stocks is available at

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

The homebuilders were hot in 2012 and it looks to continue in 2013 as the
housing market recovers. NVR, Inc. (NYSE:NVR) is one that you don't hear about
as much as the big housing names like Pulte and Lennar. But this Zacks Rank #1
(Strong Buy) is expected to grow earnings by the double digits in both 2013
and 2014.

NVR might not be familiar but its homebuilding segments probably are. It is a
holding company that operates Ryan Homes, NVHomes, Fox Ridge Homes and
Heartland Homes in 15 states. It also operates NVR Mortgage out of Virginia.

It's best known for Ryan Homes, which was founded in 1948 in the post-World
War II boom and has built 365,000 single family homes, townhouses and condos
across the country.

On Jan 24, NVR reported fourth quarter results and confirmed just how good the
housing recovery really is. These are the kind of numbers you want to see out
of the homebuilders right now. This recovery is no fluke.

Fourth quarter revenue jumped 27% to $943 million. New orders rose 22% to
2,625 units. The backlog also climbed by 35% to 4979 units.

Bear of the Day:

Have you eaten at an Olive Garden lately? Fewer people are. Darden Restaurants
Inc. (NYSE:DRI) has been struggling to turn around its flagship Italian
restaurant chain while sales are also down at its Red Lobster and LongHorn
Steakhouse chains. Earnings are expected to slide 12.1% in Fiscal 2013 while
it attempts to right the ship.

Darden operates 2000 of the most recognizable casual dining restaurants in the
United States , including Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse,
Bahama Breeze and the Capital Grille.

Olive Garden, its flagship restaurant, hit a rough patch in recent years as a
stale menu and higher prices turned consumers off. The company has been
forthright in acknowledging the problems, though, and is making changes
including remodeling old restaurants and offering new menu items. Although,
the changes won't come soon enough to save this fiscal year.

In February 2013, Darden shocked analysts with a bearish outlook for its
fiscal third quarter. It projected same store sales down 4.6% with all three
of its main restaurant brands getting hit hard. It also offered third quarter
EPS guidance between $1.00 and $1.02, which was much lower than the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of $1.13.

In response, all the analysts cut their estimates for the quarter and the full
fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus for Fiscal 2013 has fallen to $3.15 from
$3.37 since the announcement.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Assurant to Compensate Homeowners

Assurant Inc. (NYSE:AIZ) and the New York Department of Financial Services
have entered into an agreement related to lender-placed insurance sold by the
company's Specialty Property unit

Lender-placed insurance is also known as forced-placed insurance. It is the
coverage purchased by the mortgage servicer on behalf of homeowners in the
event of expiration or cancellation of the customer's insurance or in case the
proof of insurance is not validated. Lender-placed insurance coverage is
necessary to protect the lender's interest in the property if damage was to
occur and the customer had not maintained adequate coverage. It is
comparatively more expensive than the insurance coverage the customer
purchases because it must cover all properties, in all locations and in all

However, Assurant had sold the Lender-placed insurance policy to distressed
homeowners at grossly overcharged rates. 

Now, units of Specialty Property – American Security Insurance Company (ASIC)
and American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida (ABIC) have been ordered to
make a penalty payment of $14 million. As per the agreement, Assurant will
have to refund the excess premium charged from homeowners and lower its rates
as well.

Assurant is also required to make changes to its lender-placed business
practices to make it more compliant with the new regulations by the financial
services department of New York .

Assurant will have to apply for its new lender-placed program and new rates in

Assurant faced a similar ruling from the California Department of Insurance
last year and finally had to reduce premium in that state.

Assurant currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other insurers such as
Radian Group Inc. (NYSE:RDN) and CIGNA Corp. (NYSE:CI), which carry a Zacks
Rank #2 (Buy), are worth considering.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to

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