Payroll and human resource service specialist Paychex (Nasdaq: PAYX) continues to struggle as the U.S. economy remains focused on handing out pink slips. At some point, conditions will improve sufficiently and return to job creation, but in the meantime the company remains handsomely profitable. A combination of a lower stock price, higher interest rates and improved sales and earnings prospects would be nice for shareholders moving forward.
It’s difficult to say when economic prospects will improve enough to persuade mathematically-challenged gamblers to return in droves to the casinos. What is more certain is the several properties in Las Vegas that have fallen on hard times and could greatly improve the underlying owners’ prospects once industry conditions begin to rebound.
j2 Global Communications (Nasdaq: JCOM) is a tiny but profitable provider of online fax, voice, email and other call-handling services. Recent growth trends have soured along with a downturn of the overall economy, but j2′s valuation already discounts these more tepid near-term trends, which could pique the interest of a strategic acquirer.
After a tumultuous couple of years, Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) appears to have survived one of the worst environments imaginable for its cruise line operations. It remains to be seen how smooth the sailing will be going forward, but Carnival and its archrival continue to add ships to their fleets.
Posted: Dec 14, 2009 08:37 AM by Ryan C. Fuhrmann
Many companies are counting down the days until year-end, but warehouse retailer Costco (Nasdaq:COST) is already into its next fiscal year and reported first-quarter results last Thursday. The results were nothing to write home about, and neither is the current stock valuation.
Grocery store operator Kroger (NYSE:KR) reported third-quarter results on Tuesday that indicated intense competition and weak consumer spending are taking a toll on sales and profit trends. Fortunately for prospective investors, the market may have overreacted to the results by sending the stock toward 52-week lows.
Posted: Dec 08, 2009 11:02 AM by Ryan C. Fuhrmann
Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), owner and operator of the Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell restaurant franchises, provided an update on its sales and profit outlook over the next couple of years. The guidance was certainly appetizing, but the current share price valuation leaves something to be desired.
Fast food drive-in restaurant operator Sonic (Nasdaq:SONC) recently put the final touches on another difficult fiscal year. Similar struggles are anticipated for the foreseeable future, but Sonic has a currently appealing valuation and compelling growth prospects over the long haul.
Office supply giant Staples (Nasdaq:SPLS) reported third-quarter results on Tuesday that saw earnings beat expectations. The company also offered a cheerier outlook on its near-term prospects, which sent the share price higher. This has lowered Staples’ current investment appeal, but its competitive position warrants keeping any eye on the stock.
Posted: Dec 01, 2009 08:58 AM by Ryan C. Fuhrmann
Fair Isaac Corp (Nasdaq:FICO) is best known for its FICO scores, which are compiled and created from information collected from the three major credit reporting agencies of Equifax (NYSE:EFX), TransUnion and Experian plc. This three-headed monster is attempting to move into FICO’s profitable turf through a competing VantageScore service, but so far Fair Isaac has been able to fend off the advance and remains a compelling investment opportunity.
Sporting-goods giant Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) reported third-quarter results last week that came in stronger than anticipated. It expects industry conditions to continue to improve, but its share price already reflects much of any upcoming good news. Look for the shares to take a dive on any disappointment during the upcoming holiday season.