For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – September 14, 2009 – 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: FedEx Corp. (FDX), United Parcel Service Inc. (SNDA), UBS AG (UBS), Moody’s Corp. (MCO) and McGraw-Hill (MHP).

Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter:

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

FedEx Preannouncement Beats

Shares of FedEx Corp. (FDX) have jumped more than 5% so far today after the company preannounced fiscal first-quarter earnings, which topped Wall Street expectations.

The package-delivery major said that it expects to post earnings of 58 cents per share, which is well above its guidance of 30 cents to 45 cents as well as the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 43 cents per share. The company reported earnings of $1.23 per share in the year-ago quarter.

The Memphis, TN-based company also stated that fiscal second-quarter earnings is expected to range between 65 cents and 95 cents per share, which is in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents per share derived from 15 covering analysts. The guidance is still well below the year-ago earnings of $1.58 per share.

FedEx attributed the better-than-expected first quarter earnings to improved International Priority (IP) shipping volumes and management’s cost cutting efforts. The IP service generated revenues of nearly $7 billion and contributed about 19.6% towards total revenue during fiscal 2009.

However, the company added that revenue per shipment dipped year over year in each of the transportation segments amid a competitive pricing environment coupled with significant overcapacity in less-than-truckload (LTL) freight market. The company, which competes with United Parcel Service Inc. (SNDA), also said that the second quarter guidance incorporates the current outlook on fuel prices and a modest recovery in global economic conditions.

Moody’s Under SEC Axe

Swiss banking giant UBS AG (UBS) was recently ordered to pledge its assets or provide bonds worth $35 million by Judge John Blawie at Connecticut Superior Court. The unfavorable order came as a blow after reports claimed that top credit ratings agencies had committed a securities fraud by providing insider trading information to the bank.

Stanford-based hedge fund Pursuit Partners claimed that UBS had entered a deal to sell its investment-grade collateralized debt obligation (CDO) notes in 2007 with the prior knowledge that the securities were about to be downgraded.

The proceedings revealed that the rating agencies Moody’s Corp. (MCO) and Standard & Poor’s provided insider information to UBS regarding their impending decision to downgrade some of the CDOs the bank was selling. The credit crunch led the securities to default only months after they were sold and UBS used the situation to its advantage.

The Court order came at the end of a one-week hearing, where various UBS employees testified and related documents, including internal UBS e-mails, were reviewed. However, UBS pledged innocence saying that the Court’s decision was a routine procedure, requiring defendants to provide security during the case proceedings.

The UBS litigation reflects a negative sentiment that has built up against large credit rating agencies for sharing furtive connections with big investment banks. This would certainly hurt Moody’s goodwill and highlight the fact that rating agencies can be bought. The integrity of the company and its ratings are in question.

Moody’s allegedly hastened the credit crisis earlier in the decade by assigning top ratings to mortgage-backed securities that deteriorated later. Moreover, it is being probed by regulators worldwide, with several ongoing reviews in Europe for rating a European debt product, constant proportion debt obligations (CPDOs), at a higher-than-merited AAA.

The SEC has designed various measures to stop the practice of corporations seeking to buy favorable ratings by negotiating fees with raters. Although Moody’s is not ultimately compensated on the accuracy of its ratings, we believe it will face large penalties similar to investment banks in the wake of the technology bubble earlier in the decade.

The SEC is expected to hold a meeting on Sept. 17 to vote on proposed rules for credit rating agencies and pose restrictions on controversial flash orders. Regulators will also vote on the subject on adopting previously proposed rules to improve credit rating practices. The major credit rating agencies under the scrutiny would be Moody’s, McGraw-Hill (MHP), Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.

Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter:

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 is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PhD in mathematics 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

Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Follow us on Twitter:

Join us on Facebook:

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.

Mark Vickery
Web Content Editor



Zacks Investment Research