Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Conn's, Rackspace Hosting, Abbott Laboratories, AbbVie and Nuvasive

 Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Conn's, Rackspace Hosting, Abbott
                      Laboratories, AbbVie and Nuvasive

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, April 23, 2013

CHICAGO, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks Equity Research highlights
Conn's (Nasdaq:CONN) as the Bull of the Day and Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX)
as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis
on Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) and Nuvasive


Full analysis of all these stocks is available at

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

If you've watched the 3-year decline of "big box" appliance and electronics
retailer Best Buy, you may have thought that this is a business model to stay
away from. I certainly thought so until I discovered Conn's (Nasdaq:CONN ), a
family-built retailer with over 50 stores in Texas, 6 in Louisiana, and newer
footholds in Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, and Tucson.

Conn's roots go back to 1890 where it started life as a plumbing company in
Beaumont, Texas. In 1934, Carroll Wayne Conn, Sr bought the company and within
a few years began selling refrigerators and gas ranges. He didn't become the
Sam Walton of appliances, but his legacy built a brand that Texans have come
to know and trust.

Now they sell just about everything durable for the home, including
entertainment electronics, furniture, mattresses and lawn and garden equipment
-- and they've built a loyal customer base doing it with a focus on service
and satisfaction. The company was also an early innovator of the in-house
financing model in the 1960s.

Sales and Profits Grow With Store Build-Out

Since coming public nearly a decade ago, Conn's has continued to expand, with
quarterly revenues averaging over $200 million for the past 5 years. The
recent Q4FY2013 sales result topped $250 million for the first time since

This sales growth is propelled by expansion with new locations built around
their HomePlus store concept. Pricing power and margin improvement keep their
earnings expanding as well.

The company declared strong results on Apr 3, 2013, with EPS of 54 cents a
share that surged 58.8% from the 34 cents earned in the year-ago quarter.
Comparable-store sales for the quarter climbed 7%.

Bear of the Day:

The frontiers of technology are full of great new innovations that quickly
become commodities. The so-called cloud revolution for data storage and
software application usage may soon have its own "commodity moment" for firms
competing to win and sustain business.

And one company currently experiencing the pain of pricing pressures is
Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX), a leading provider of hosting services in which
the company provides IT infrastructure and management for customers' Websites,
applications, and other computing needs through its data centers and cloud

RAX slipped to Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) and then a Rank #5 (Strong Sell) last week
after analysts continued to lower earnings estimates. Full year 2013 profit
projections have been taken down by over 11% in the past two months since the
company's last quarterly report on February 12.

The impetus for the downward revisions has been Rackspace's announced pricing
changes for certain cloud services, including a 33% reduction in the price for
cloud bandwidth/CDN services and the introduction of tiered pricing for its
object storage service that equates to volume discounts.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

New Product from Abbott Labs

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) recently announced that the company has gained
approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its TECNIS Toric
1-Piece intraocular lens (IOL). The company gained approval for treating
cataract patients with pre-existing corneal astigmatism.

Abbott Labs has launched the product following the approval.

Corneal astigmatism results in blurred vision as it prevents light rays from
focusing clearly on the retina. We note that the new product from Abbott Labs
is superior to conventional IOLs since it has the ability to correct the loss
of focus due to pre-existing corneal astigmatism of one diopter or greater.

As per Abbott Labs, the number of surgeries is expected to grow nearly 3% each
year driven by an aging US population which should fuel patient demand for
improved, precise visual outcomes and independence from glasses.

We note that cataract sales accounted for 60% of the company's total medical
optics in the first quarter of 2013 driven by solid growth of its TECNIS brand
of intraocular lenses. In particular, growth was strong in emerging markets.
Meanwhile, sales of Medical Optics were down 0.6% in the first quarter of 2013
as growth in cataract sales was partially offset by a modest decline in
refractive sales driven by continued soft market conditions.

Going forward, Abbott Labs expects to launch several products in the cataract
segment such as TECNIS Preloaded IOLs in 2013. In addition, the Japanese
launch of Tecnis OptiBlue IOL in the first quarter of 2013 should further
propel growth of cataract sales.

Abbott Labs expects low-single digit sales growth in its vision care business
in the second quarter of 2013 (excluding the impact of foreign exchange).

We remind investors that in Jan 2013, Abbott Labs separated its research-based
pharmaceuticals business by creating a new company – AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV).

Following the move, Abbott Labs became a diversified medical products company
with a presence in branded generic pharmaceutical, devices, diagnostic and
nutritional businesses.

Abbott intends to increase its presence in emerging markets, which provide a
substantial opportunity for growth, given the rise in middle-class income and
aging population. The diversification should enable Abbott to penetrate these
markets and capture market share.

Abbott Labs currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). As of now, Nuvasive
(Nasdaq:NUVA) looks attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to

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