February 15, 2013 at 09:30 AM EST
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:General Electric, J. C. Penney, Tyco International, Jardine Strategic Holdings and Alliant Techsystems

CHICAGO, Feb. 15, 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 General Electric Company (MYSE:GE), J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE:TYC), Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd. (OTC:JSHLY) and Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:ATK).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

GE Extends JC Penney Credit Cards

GE Capital Retail Bank, an operating unit of the General Electric Company (MYSE:GE), recently signed a multi-year renewal contract to extend its private label credit card program with J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP). The extension entails J. C. Penney customers to avail credit facilities at over 1,100 stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

J. C. Penney has a long-standing business association with GE Capital Retail Bank, spanning more than a decade, whereby its customers could avail credit facilities and get discounts at retail stores and online purchases. The extension of the existing contract strengthens the mutual relationship and reinforces GE Capital Retail Bank as the premier consumer lending provider for varied customers.

Over the years, GE Capital Retail Bank has provided a plethora of customized credit programs to the retail consumers of J. C. Penney to augment sales. The credit card also offer a 20% discount to new cardholders on the first day of shopping and thereafter, provide an opportunity to earn up to ten $10 rewards certificates each month, which could be redeemed for a later purchase.  

General Electric is one of the largest and the most diversified technology and financial services corporations in the world. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing, and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and industrial products, the company serves over 100 million customers worldwide.

Its segments include Energy Infrastructure, Aviation, Healthcare, Transportation, Home & Business Solutions and GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services. With 80 years of experience in consumer financing, GE Capital's Retail Finance business is one of the most successful retail lenders in the U.S. It offers private label and bankcard credit programs to leading national, regional and independent retailers in the U.S., as well as private label credit programs, promotional and installment lending, bankcards and financial services for consumers through dealers; contractors; manufacturers; healthcare practices; and service providers.

General Electric currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Other companies in the industry worth mentioning are

Tyco International Ltd.

(NYSE:

TYC

) and

Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd.

(OTC:

JSHLY

), each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Alliant Continues to Outperform

We have maintained our Outperform recommendation on Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:ATK). The company currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Why the Reiteration?

In the third-quarter of fiscal 2013, Alliant's earnings per share and revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimates primarily to higher profit margins at the Aerospace and Sporting Groups.

Recently, Alliant completed its segment realignment. We expect this to maximize the company's operational efficiency, enhance its ability to meet customer requirements and reduce operating costs. This initiative will gradually improve the overall financial performance.

In the last couple of years, Alliant has grown substantially as a result of both internal expansions and a series of acquisitions. The company acquired a number of companies including Blackhawk Industries Products Group, Unlimited LLC and Eagle Industries in the past five years. These acquisitions significantly expanded the company's sales into the tactical accessories market, enabling it to leverage its existing distribution network to gain market-share while realizing synergies.

The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter fiscal 2013 of $1.89 per share exceeded the year-ago figure by 1.75%.

For fiscal 2013, Alliant increased its earnings guidance in the range of $7.90-$8.10 per share from its earlier projection of $7.40-$7.70 per share primarily due to increased sales estimates and improved operating results.

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