Looking Swell: Stocks to Keep an Eye On

Shaunak is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

First look at the financial headlines might give you the impression of things going wrong at the market. These headlines are mostly made up of major companies and their concerns over the economy resulting in cut-downs in every sector. As markets see red almost all over the world, here is a peek at a few stocks that are driven and nudged by mergers and new markets ventures amongst others and should definitely have your attention.  

CH Robinson Worldwide (NASDAQ: CHRW) has made two significant acquisitions in September, Warsaw based Apreo Logistics earlier in September and Chicago based Phoenix International for $635 million in cash as well as stock.

Phoenix International did well for the last fiscal by generating net revenues of about $161 million with operating income of around $48 million compared to that, C.H. Robinson reported full-year revenue of $10.34 billion for the year ending in December 2011. This acquisition is expected to grow modestly in the first fiscal year. CHRW's acquisition of Phoenix International is seen as a part of their long term strategy.  

A quick look at Phoenix International - an international freight forwarding service provider -makes CHRW's decision look very good. Phoenix serves over 10,000 customers globally and has 2,000 employees in about 15 countries. With a proven track record that is backed by strong client relationships, this merger will help CHRW with its aim of providing better global services and along with that market expansion.

CHRW will use existing cash to enter into a revolving credit facility to finance the cash portion of the Phoenix deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

ECB Bancorp (NYSEMKT: ECBE)

ECBE had developed a bad reputation amongst its shareholders during June/July 2012 mainly due to the whole Utz fiasco where the primary investors asked their CEO, Utz to step down. Their situation was not helped by the fall in their revenues to about $500,000 from $1,100,000. Share prices have seen a gradual increase but ever since the news of the merger came in with Raleigh based Crescent Financial Bancshares Inc. things have taken a good leap. The merger will probably work for both the parties as they share a similar culture when it comes to banking practices. Current shareholders of ECB will receive 3.55 shares of CRFN for each share of ECBE common stock. The stock issuance is valued at approximately $51.6 million in all.
This merger ensures that the combined companies will have $2 billion in total assets making it the largest community bank in NC.

Investors must look into how things proceed here onwards as the merger is expected to be completed by 2013. I reckon it is a nice place for your investments to be for now.

Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN)

Ski- Resort operators, Vali Resorts recorded gains in share prices, having beaten estimates by a margin.Vail lost $1.50 a share in its fourth quarter - 6 cents less than analysts had projected. Revenue went up to around $113 million compared to the projection of $107 million.

Vail Resort's success is praise worthy because of its results in the fiscal even though it was a pretty rough or rather warm season at Lake Tahoe-where the resort is located. The warmer winter meant that skiers kept away from the slopes. Skier count went down to 6mn from last year’s 7mn.

Vail has also been looking at expanding its business outreach by tying up with Verbier, Switzerland. This gives access to Vali's season members, full access to Verbier's resort including Les 4 Vallees, the largest ski area in Switzerland. Investors who held their shares at Vail before their fiscal reports came out have made the most of it. Although visibility into the upcoming season might be limited, Vail stocks are poised to go up. 

To Wrap it Up:
 
In my opinion, this is the best time to invest in these shares. These stocks are catalyzed positively by their ambitious outlook towards the next few years and have shown good results in spite of a relatively hostile market. Invest well in these stocks, Vail, ECBE and CH Robinson will not disappoint you. It is a thumbs up for me and I reckon they are well worth your interest and time! These stocks need to be usurped at the earliest so get on it already!

 


Shaunak88 has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.

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