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Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: ConocoPhillips, General Motors, Amgen, and Oxford Industries.

CHICAGO -- Zacks Equity Research highlights ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) as the Bull of the Day and General Motors (NYSE: GM) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Amgen, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN), (Nasdaq: WWWW) and Oxford Industries (NYSE: OXM).

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day: ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP)

Our continued positive outlook for ConocoPhillips' shares reflects the company's strong position in the politically stable OECD markets and its attractive valuation. The company has significantly strengthened its upstream portfolio through its Burlington and LUKOIL transactions and remains a premier domestic refining player. The recent alliance with EnCana further cements its upstream and downstream prospects.

We have raised our earnings estimates to reflect a higher commodity-price deck. Our new 2008 and 2009 EPS estimates are $11.55 and $12.15, up from $11.10 and $11.45 before, respectively.

Bear of the Day: General Motors (NYSE: GM)

General Motors Corporation is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the U.S. and world. However, weak North American sales, falling production volumes, and rising raw material costs increase our concerns. These compel us to rate the shares a Sell with a six-month target price of $12.50.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Amgen, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN)

Amgen shares have been greatly punished recently on negative events surrounding lead anemia drug Aranesp. (A new, more restrictive label is now to be issued for Aranesp with more cautionary wording; Aranesp sales dropped 25% year-over-year). Results over the past few quarters demonstrate the challenging erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) market.

Nevertheless, we still feel as though the pipeline is significantly undervalued, and we continue to recommend the name as a long-term Hold within the biotechnology sector. The ESA trends are stabilizing, but it will still take a few more quarters to see exactly how the recent Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee meeting will affect sales. In the meantime, investors should focus their time on just how big experimental drugs denosumab (for osteoporosis) and motesanib (for cancer) can be, because they are the next wave of potential growth. (Nasdaq: WWWW), formerly known as Website Pros (ticker: WSPI), is a leading provider of Web services for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). The company uses a factory approach that it can leverage over thousands of customers.

In spite of some top-line pressures during the first quarter, the integration of appears to be going well and improving operating leverage should drive profits. According to studies conducted by IDC, Jupiter Research, and Forrester Research, the market for services provided by is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.7% from $22.1 billion in 2006 to $32.0 billion in 2010.

Oxford Industries (NYSE: OXM)

Oxford Industries, Inc.'s first-quarter results came in ahead of our estimates. Unfortunately, it appears the upside was a one-quarter event. Management issued disappointing guidance for the rest of fiscal 2008. We are reducing our estimates for fiscal 2008 and 2009. We maintain our Hold rating on OXM shares.

The investment case for Oxford Industries comes from the company's recognizable brand names and diversified product offerings that generate profitable growth. Its numerous brands and exclusive licenses require it to deliver a diversified product offering. The upshot here is that Oxford is not overly reliant on any one product line for a large portion of its growth. What's more, Oxford has been able to improve its gross margin thanks to the unloading the Womenswear business and the growth of its higher-margin Tommy Bahama business.

Nevertheless, we are concerned with the difficult consumer spending environment, risks associated with the apparel industry, and risks associated with its business model. We believe these risks offset the company's bullish factors.

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

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.

About the Analyst Blog

Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.

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 by visiting

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

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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.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 13, 2008
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