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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:United ParcelService Inc, FedEx Corporation, U.S. Bancorp, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Incand UMB Financial Corp.

CHICAGO, Nov. 15, 2012 /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 United Parcel Service, Inc (UPS), FedEx Corporation (FDX), U.S. Bancorp (USB), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MTU) and UMB Financial Corp (UMBF).

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

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Four daily picks are offered free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

UPS Adds Cloud Technology

World's largest freight forwarding company, United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) is upgrading its supplier management services by introducing UPS Order Watch. The new addition is a cloud based technology that will facilitate the inbound supply chain of its customers.

The new Order Watch technological platform, currently available to existing customers, will be offered to new customers in 2013 as well. 

UPS' supplier management service is a product of its international ocean and air freight forwarding business. The introduction of cloud based technology to this service would add to the service quality, thereby attracting more new customers.

The Order Watch platform aims at enhancing efficiency in terms of timeliness, accuracy alongside improving processing and management of suppliers. We are also hopeful that the introduction of this cloud based technology would remain accretive in stimulating the otherwise down international freight business of UPS given current macro economic factors.

The company in its previous reports had already indicated a slowdown in manufacturing business in Asia. UPS now apprehends a downtrend in manufacturing orders due to lower exports in China.

Apart from international business, UPS expects U.S. Domestic Package revenue to grow in the range of 1%–2%, down from its previous projection of mid single-digit growth. The company even expects U.S. Domestic Package average daily volume growth to moderate due to unfavorable macroeconomic factors.

It also expects a lackluster volume growth in premium and B2B products as customers are seeking more cost effective logistics solutions. Consequently, the company has set a conservative earnings target ranging between $4.55 and $4.65 for 2012, which is substantially lower than its previously projected targets. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012 is pegged at $4.58; concurrent with the company's range of estimates.

However, we believe over the long term the company will continue to invest in technology and network enhancements that would provide a competitive edge over its peers like FedEx Corporation (FDX). Its integrated sales approach also promises future growth, given its industry-leading margins and financial strength. The company is also seeking capacity adjustment by reducing Asian air networks to improve cost structure.  Further, its focus on continued productivity gains, improved operating profit, and strengthening liquidity position  amidst  economic challenges also is encouraging.

We have a long-term Neutral recommendation on UPS and FedEx. Both these stocks retains a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term (1-3 months) Hold rating.

U.S. Bancorp Unit Buying AIS

In an effort to augment its securities services business, U.S. Bancorp's (USB) subsidiary - U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC – is acquiring AIS Fund Administration ("AIS"), which offers fund administration and related services to alternative investment managers.

The deal leads to the addition of about $25 billion in hedge fund assets under administration to the U.S. Bancorp subsidiary. Along with AIS's assets, its staff consisting of 176 members at its offices in New Jersey, the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands, will also be integrated into U.S. Bancorp Fund Services.

Following this deal, $50 billion in alternative investment assets would be serviced by this U.S. Bancorp unit. However, the terms of the deal were not made public and the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

Our Take

As a matter of fact, U.S. Bancorp has a well-balanced business model, with non-interest revenue representing nearly half of its total revenue. Its results have been driven by a combination of acquisitions and organic growth.

In addition to strengthening its existing fee-based operations to generate long-term revenue growth, U.S. Bancorp announced several payment and trust-related acquisitions during the past year. This included a portfolio of approximately $700 million of credit card assets, the institutional trust business of Union Bank, a unit of UnionBanCal Corporation of San Francisco. Notably, UnionBanCal is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MTU).

Further, it comprises the Indiana corporate trust business of UMB Bank N.A., a unit of UMB Financial Corp. (UMBF). Going forward, the company expects additional opportunities in payments and corporate trust in the coming years.

In total, during the downturn, the company acquired over $3.2 billion in card assets and $1.1 trillion in trust assets under administration. This diversification in business is expected to continue to help maintain growth in an otherwise unfavorable operating environment.  

U.S. Bancorp currently retains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Buy rating. Considering the fundamentals, we maintain a long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Four daily picks are offered free.

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.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; 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.

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Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research
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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

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