Welcome!

Symbian Authors: Jack Newton, 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

support@zacks.com

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, will discuss how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees will learn how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He will also look at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers ca...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of C...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, will discuss new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of securit...
TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies' information technology needs. By understanding these buyers' content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase inte...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business. Though, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected with a majority of IoT projects having failed. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief IoTologist at Wipro, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology portfolios and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will delve in...
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great dea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
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 @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed 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.