Welcome!

Symbian Authors: Kevin Benedict, Matthew Lobas, Shelly Palmer, RealWire News Distribution

News Feed Item

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Hilltop Holdings, Homeowners Choice, HCC Insurance Holdings, athenahealth and Epocrates

CHICAGO, Jan. 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 Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HTH), Homeowners Choice Inc. (NYSE:HCI), HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HCC), athenahealth Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHN) and Epocrates Inc. (Nasdaq:EPOC).

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

Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Hilltop Upped to Outperform

On January 9, we upgraded Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HTH) to Outperform from Neutral based on the recent PlainsCapital acquisition. This property-casualty (P&C) insurer secured a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) shortly after closing the acquisition last month.

Why the Upgrade?

Hilltop's third-quarter 2012 loss came in at 7 cents a share, well below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings of 1 cent per share. The company broke-even in the year-ago quarter. Revenues climbed 5.5% year over year to $42.8 million, also breezing past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $42.0 million. Over the past four quarters, Hilltop has delivered an average negative surprise of 437.5%.

Following the release of the third quarter results, the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss for 2012 has gone up 31.3% to 21 cents per share. However, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 earnings grew 5.0% to $1.25 per share, reflecting a positive outlook post PlainsCapital acquisition.

Hilltop's growth story appears gripping, particularly, after it completed the acquisition of the U.S.-based financial services company – PlainsCapital Corp. – for about $700 million,on December 3.The acquisition is consistent with Hilltop's growth goals and will help it fortify the company's market position in the primary operating markets of Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Tennessee and Arizona.

The acquisition is set to help Hilltop diversify its operations from core P&C insurance to profitable banking operation. PlainsCapital is a highly lucrative $1 billion banking entity that benefits from the ongoing low interest rate environment and the refining housing sector, as these factors provide promising opportunities for investors to park their funds in such high-quality banks.

As expected, Hilltop witnessed an immediate ascent in its market price following the successful culmination of the acquisition. A stable ratings outlook and a share buyback program further raise shareholders' confidence.

Other Stocks to Consider

Besides Hilltop, other stocks in the P&C sector that are currently performing well include Homeowners Choice Inc. (NYSE:HCI) and HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HCC). Both the companies carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Athenahealth to Buy Epocrates

Recently, athenahealth Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHN), a provider of cloud-based services for physician practices and inpatient settings, inked a definitive agreement to acquire Epocrates Inc. (Nasdaq:EPOC) for about $293 million in cash. The aggregate purchase price is based on a price of $11.75 per share, which reflects a 22% premium over the closing price of Epocrates on January 4, 2013.

athenahealth plans to fund the acquisition with available cash and available borrowing capacity from its existing credit facility. Exiting the third quarter, the company had cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments of $180.2 million, up 52.1% year over year, with no outstanding debt.

The Acquiree

Epocrates is a provider of point-of-care digital solutions in the healthcare industry. Its portfolio consists of well-regarded medical applications, which are currently available on major U.S. mobile platforms. The company launched its mobile and web-based electronic health record (EHR) solutions in July 2011. Epocrates reported revenues of $113.3 million in 2011, up 9% year over year.

Stockholders at Epocrates (accounting for 17.5% of the company's outstanding common stock) have expressed that they are in favor of the transaction. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013, subject to standard closing conditions.

Benefit of the Acquisition

The acquisition will enable athenahealth to increase its user network as Epocrates currently serves over a million healthcare professionals, including 330,000 physicians in the U.S. Further, the buyout will enhance brand awareness for athenahealth as Epocrates is recognized by 90% of physicians in the U.S.

Given the widespread mobile user base of Epocrates, athenahealth is expected to improve efficiency of new mobile workflows. Moreover, the mobile expertise of Epocrates in conjunction with athenahealth's cloud-based network should enable the latter to commercialize novel mobile applications.

We believe that the acquisition is part of the company's strategy to expand beyond the current cloud-based services – athenahealth's mainstay. We are optimistic about the company gaining a competitive edge over industry stalwarts, following the acquisition.

In addition, the acquisition is expected to improve athenahealth's access to small group physician practices with Epocrates' credible client base. The buyout might offset the trend toward consolidation of small physician group practices, which is a potential negative factor for athenahealth. This presents a solid growth opportunity in the near-term.    

Deal Under Scrutiny

Following its recent announcement, the agreement has been subjected to legal scrutiny. The deal is currently entangled in lawsuits as law firms assert that the agreement does not uphold the interest of Epocrates' stockholders. This stems from their belief that athenahealth is underpaying for the acquisition.

Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5515.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5517

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.

Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

Media Contact

Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339

[email protected]

http://www.zacks.com

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
Connected devices are changing the way we go about our everyday life, from wearables to driverless cars, to smart grids and entire industries revolutionizing business opportunities through smart objects, capable of two-way communication. But what happens when objects are given an IP-address, and we rely on that connection, sometimes with our lives? How do we secure those vast data infrastructures and safe-keep the privacy of sensitive information? This session will outline how each and every connected device can uphold a core root of trust via a unique cryptographic signature – a “bir...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic • Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it’s a mix of architectural style...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash Inc., will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone a...
BSQUARE is a global leader of embedded software solutions. We enable smart connected systems at the device level and beyond that millions use every day and provide actionable data solutions for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market. We empower our world-class customers with our products, services and solutions to achieve innovation and success. For more information, visit www.bsquare.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...