For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 22, 2010 – Zacks Equity Research highlights SanDisk (SNDK) as the Bull of the Day and Eni SpA (E) the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG), Comerica Inc. (CMA) and Discover Financial Services (DFS).

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

SanDisk (SNDK) has a strong product portfolio and is a significant player in the U.S. flash memory market. The company posted very encouraging fourth quarter 2009 results, exceeding the management guidance.

SanDisk witnessed major gains in the OEM business and higher product revenue and has provided a decent guidance for the first quarter. The company has reduced its cost of production significantly, which in turn has improved gross margin substantially in 2009. SanDisk is cash rich and is aggressively reducing capital expenditure outlay, while reducing convertible debt. In order to reduce inventory level, the company is slowing down in-house NAND supply.

Although SanDisk is showing signs of revival, its customer concentration risk is a factor. We are optimistic about the long-term growth story of SanDisk and upgrade the stock to Outperform.

Bear of the Day:

Following the presentation of the company’s 2010-2013 strategic plans, we are downgrading Eni SpA (E) ADRs to Underperform from Neutral. Our primary concerns for the company are the lack of a clear dividend policy, a declining dividend yield trend, cyclical low returns, doubts over rising competitive threats to its core gas business and quality of the upstream growth profile.

Eni lowered its production growth target to 2.5% from 3.5%. We believe that this growth target also carries a higher degree of delivery risk as the bulk of it comes from risky projects in Iraq, Venezuela and Kazakhstan.

In addition, management also hinted about a lower earnings visibility for its Gas trading business. We now set a target price of $42 per share.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Hartford Prices Notes

As part of its plan to repay the entire $3.4 billion of bailout money it received from the government for participating in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) at the height of the credit crisis, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG) announced the pricing of its public offering of $1.1 billion in senior notes. This offering is part of the company’s plan to raise $3.05 billion by issuing new securities.

The $1.1 billion notes of Hartford will consist of $300 million of 4.0% senior notes due March 30, 2015, $500 million of 5.5% senior notes due March 30, 2020 and $300 million of 6.625% senior notes due March 30, 2040.

Hartford intends to use only $425 million of the net proceeds from the current notes offering to repurchase preferred shares worth $3.4 billion issued to the U.S. Treasury. The rest will partly be used to pre-fund existing senior debt due in 2010 and 2011.

On a separate note, regional bank Comerica Inc. (CMA) said on Wednesday that it has repaid the entire $2.25 billion of TARP money. Also, earlier this week, Discover Financial Services (DFS) said that it has received the regulatory approval to repay $1.2 billion of TARP money it received from the government.

After incurring sturdy credit losses, Hartford reduced its dividend and raised billions of dollars in private and public transactions last year. It has also reduced headcount to stabilize its financial position.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to

About the Bull and Bear of the Day

Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

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