The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Progressive, W.R. Berkley, Cigna, Maiden Holdings and Energizer Holdings

  The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Progressive, W.R. Berkley, Cigna, Maiden
                       Holdings and Energizer Holdings

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, July 10, 2013

CHICAGO, July 10, 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 Progressive Corp. (NYSE:PGR-Free
Report), W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB-Free Report), Cigna Corp.
(NYSE:CI-Free Report), Maiden Holdings, Ltd. (Nasdaq:MHLD-Free Report) and
Energizer Holdings Inc (NYSE:ENR-Free Report).

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

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

Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Progressive Earnings to Beat Again?

We expect auto insurer Progressive Corp. (NYSE:PGR-Free Report) to beat
expectations when it reports second-quarter 2013 results on Jul 11.

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that Progressive is likely to beat earnings because it
has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Positive Zacks ESP: Expected Surprise Prediction or ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings
ESP: A Better Method), which represents the difference between the Most
Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is at +2.50%. This is very
meaningful and a leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise for
shares.

Zacks Rank #2 (Buy):

Progressive carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Note that stocks with Zacks Ranks
of #1, #2 and #3 have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings. The
sell rated stocks (#4 and #5) should never be considered going into an
earnings announcement.

The combination of Progressive's Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and +2.50% ESP makes us
very confident in looking for a positive earnings beat on Jul 11.

What is Driving the Better Than Expected Earnings?

In the first two months of the quarter – April and May - the company
generated a total of 42 cents in earnings, with premiums increasing year over
year for both months.

The company was successful in reducing costs as well. Although total expense
in April grew 5% year over year, the same declined 14% in May.

Progressive's operating earnings and premiums' growth as well as debt-to-total
capital ratio in the last two months of this year reflect an overall constant
improvement. Current policies in force also remained healthy. Progressive
remains focused on maintaining a healthy policy life expectancy, which is a
significant measure to retain customers.

Other Stocks to Consider

Progressive is not the only firm looking up this earnings season. We also see
likely earnings beats coming from these 3 industry peers:W.R. Berkley
Corporation

(NYSE:

WRB

-

Free Report

): Earnings ESP of +1.47% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Cigna Corp. (NYSE:CI-Free Report): Earnings ESP of +2.52% and a Zacks Rank #1
(Strong Buy).

Maiden Holdings, Ltd

. (Nasdaq:

MHLD

-

Free Report

): Earnings ESP of +3.70% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Energizer Upped to Strong Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded Energizer Holdings Inc (NYSE:ENR-Free
Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). With a strong return of 37.1% over
the past one year and a positive estimate revision trend, Energizer is an
attractive investment opportunity.

Why the Upgrade?

Strong second quarter results, innovative product pipeline, stringent cost
control and the positive effects of the ongoing restructuring activity
contributed to the upgrade.

Energizer reported second quarter results on May 1, 2013. Earnings of $1.80
per share jumped 47.5% from the year-ago quarter and comfortably surpassed the
Zacks Consensus Estimate by 51 cents. This was the third consecutive quarter
of positive earnings surprise with an average beat of 11.1%.

Based on the strong results, Energizer reiterated its fiscal 2013 earnings
guidance in the range of $6.75 to $7.00 per share. The company expects
earnings in the range of $2.75 to $3.00 in the second half of 2013 compared
with $2.94 per share earned during the year-ago period

Although Energizer forecasts advertising expenses to increase in the latter
half of 2013, restructuring savings are expected to increase at a much faster
rate during the period. Energizer upped its restructuring outlook for fiscal
2013 to $50.0-$60.0 million from its earlier estimate of $25.0-$35.0 million.

As a result, gross savings from the restructuring project is expected to
increase an additional $25.0 million to $225.0 million, of which $150.0
million is expected to be used for improving profitability, going forward.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2013 increased 1.3% (9 cents) to $6.93
per share over the last 90 days. The current estimate is within the guidance
range provided by Energizer. For fiscal 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate
increased 0.5% (4 cents) to $7.61 per share over the same period.

The long-term expected earnings growth rate for Energizer is 11.0%.

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

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