The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Fiat, General Motors, Ford Motor, Toyota Motor and Monsanto

 The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Fiat, General Motors, Ford Motor, Toyota
                              Motor and Monsanto

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, June 19, 2013

CHICAGO, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ 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 Fiat SpA (OTC:FIATY-Free Report),
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM-Free Report), Ford Motor (NYSE:F-Free Report),
Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM-Free Report) and Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON-Free


Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of
the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Chrysler Suspends Pension Plan

Chrysler Group LLC, majority-owned by Italy's Fiat SpA (OTC:FIATY-Free
Report), decided to freeze its U.S. pension plans for nearly 8,000 U.S.
salaried employees at the end of the year. The freeze will be applied to
employees joined before Dec 31, 2004.

Chrysler stated that the decision has been taken mainly to comply with U.S.
tax regulations. All the affected employees will be shifted to a defined
contribution plan from the traditional pension plan, which guarantee a
specific payment to retirees. The company's pension plans were underfunded by
$8.9 billion at the end of last year.

However, Chrysler revealed that the employees will get all the benefits
accrued through Dec 31 this year. It will also allow them to access the entire
amount of their benefits earlier at 58 years of age instead of 62.

Chrysler is not an exception as far as the termination of pension plan is
concerned. Last year, General Motors Company (NYSE: GM-Free Report) also
suspended traditional pension benefits for 19,000 salaried workers hired
before 2001.

A few days back, Chrysler hit the headlines when it refused to recall about
2.7 million units of its Jeep Grand Cherokee from 1993 through 2004 and Jeep
Liberty from 2002 through 2007 model years even when National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent a letter asking the company for a
voluntarily recall.

Chrysler denied on the ground that the letter is based on "incomplete analysis
of the underlying data" and the vehicles are completely safe. The company
revealed that it has met all federal safety standards when the vehicles were
manufactured; as a result, they are "among the safest vehicles of their era."

NHTSA started investigating on the issue in Aug 2010 at the request of an
advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. The agency found that if hit from the
rear, Jeeps' fuel tanks can leak fuel and cause fires if there is an ignition

In fact, the agency inferred that the older Grand Cherokees and Libertys have
fatal crash rates that are about twofold compared with similar vehicles, such
as General Motor's Chevrolet S10 Blazer, Ford Motor's (NYSE:F-Free Report)
Explorer, Toyota Motor's (NYSE:TM-Free Report) 4Runner, Isuzu Rodeo, Isuzu
Trooper, Mitsubishi Montero, Suzuki Sidekick and Suzuki XL-7.

However, Chrysler concluded that it received low number reports of rear-impact
crashes over the last 30 years caused by fire or a fuel leak in the affected
Jeeps. Besides, retrofitting the older Jeeps with repositioned tanks would be
time consuming and costly.

In the first quarter of 2013, Chrysler's profits tumbled nearly 65% to $166
million from $473 million in the year-ago quarter. The company's results were
negatively affected by lower vehicle shipments of key product launches,
particularly the 2013 Ram Heavy Duty trucks and the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee,
as well as due to preparation for the second-quarter production launch of the
all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

Positive News for Monsanto

After a few hectic days of controversy over the alleged presence of
genetically modified organisms in wheat grown in a field at Oregon, the
agricultural chemicals provider, Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON-Free Report), can
finally look forward to some good news coming its way.

Monsanto's proprietary, Intacta RR2 Pro, has finally received the pending
regulatory approvals for production in Brazil. The company intends to offer
the technology for sale to be used in the next crop planting season. With the
help of Intacta RR2 Pro, farmers will be able to improve their soybean
production in three ways — increasing yield, reducing pest attacks on the crop
and increasing tolerance to glyphosate herbicide.

Moreover, Monsanto announced positive outcomes in its latest year of Ground
Breakers, in the on-farm trials in Brazil. The results represented a higher
yield of soybeans. Monsanto expects to test the invention on the farms of
Argentina in fiscal 2014, with an expected commercial launch in fiscal 2015.

In addition to this, Monsanto achieved yet another break-through in China with
the approval of the biotechnology trait in Genuity DroughtGard Hybrids. In
2013, the farms in the Western Great Plains were allowed to use the trait
under stewardship agreements, which allowed the trait to be used only on-farm
or for sale in the domestic market only. With the approval from China, farmers
will be in a better position to produce more with the increased yield, for the
international markets as well.

The Genuity DroughtGard Hybrids is designed in a way to make the corn plants
use less water, leaving moisture in the soil, which can be utilized in low
water levels. This technology can prove to be a major success in the ever
changing climatic conditions.

We expect these developments to bring about great success to the company as
well as the U.S. grain production and exports.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of
the Day pick for free.

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