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Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFM) Opening New Value-Oriented Shops to Appeal to Masses

September 01, 2015

Karen Short, Managing Director at Deutsche Bank Securities, says Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFM) is planning to open a second format of store called 356, which is intended to be more of a value-oriented shop. She says the company is planning to open the first five stores in 2016 and then another 10 in 2017. “It’s going to take a lot of time because they are stuck in a place where they don’t believe that they are going to get credit at their Whole Foods stores for reducing prices because the experience is such a theater-type of format in terms of wine bars and pasta stations and prepared foods,” she says. “It’s hard for a consumer to associate any of that with value...
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Loyalty Analytics Give Kroger Co (KR) an Edge

September 01, 2015

Karen Short, Managing Director at Deutsche Bank Securities, says that technology and customer interaction has played a significant role in the success of some of the stronger conventional supermarket stocks. That is one of the reasons she has a “buy” rating on Kroger Co (KR). Meanwhile, she says some grocers have been hurt by not collecting consumer data through loyalty programs. “For example, in the natural and organic space, specifically Whole Foods was consistently very reluctant to offer customers any type of like affinity or loyalty program, whereas Kroger is just a leader in that with their loyalty card program,” Short says...
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DeVry Education Group Inc (DV) Focusing on Medical and Health Care Programs

August 31, 2015

Jeffrey Silber, Managing Director and Senior Analyst at BMO Capital Markets Corp., says some education companies are tying to expand beyond their core areas in an effort to deal with a challenging macro environment. He says DeVry Education Group Inc (DV) has been focusing on medical and health care. “So they have a veterinary school and a couple of medical schools in the Caribbean; they have some nursing schools in the United States that for the most part have not been affected by all the [challenging macro environment],” Silber says. “So if you see other companies trying to reach out beyond their core business, I think that would be a good thing...
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Co (HMHC) Positioned for Growth

August 31, 2015

Jeffrey Silber, Managing Director and Senior Analyst at BMO Capital Markets Corp., says Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Co (HMHC) is expensive based on any metric. But, he thinks the company is well-positioned in the K-12 publishing sector. “They are the largest publisher for the K-12 sector, and last year — for the first time in a while — you saw some decent growth in terms of states and local school districts increasing the amount that they were spending on K-12 publishing,” Silber says. “Not only did they have the money for the first time because tax receipts went up, but you also had a number of product lines where there were new adoption cycles in California and Texas and Florida and other states...
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2U Inc’s (TWOU) Business Model Avoids Regulatory Risk

August 21, 2015

Joseph Janssen, a Director of Barrington Research Associates, says one of the stocks he is currently recommending is 2U Inc (TWOU). He says the company’s CEO has done a fantastic job. “They are called the enablers in the space,” Janssen says. “They basically allow Ivy League tier-1 institutions to go online. They have clients such as USC, Georgetown, and they recently signed Yale.” FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE. Janssen says 2U brings those institutions into the online modality. They don’t have the same regulatory risk as other for-profit education companies, he says. “They essentially work with the university, create the curriculum; they are the enrollment funnel for the university as well as the learning management system all the way through to graduation,” Janssen says...
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Supply and Demand Dynamics Improving for Education Realty Trust, Inc. (EDR)

August 19, 2015

Randy Churchey, CEO of Education Realty Trust, Inc. (EDR), says supply and demand dynamics are shifting in his company’s favor. He says demand is very constant, and he expects a 1.2% enrollment increase per year. “A significant piece of that — and one that our investors know — is that we are a recession-resistant business,” Churchey says. “When a recession occurs and students don’t have jobs, enrollment actually goes up, which is obviously vastly different than the multifamily apartment or other sectors.” FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE. While demand remains constant, Churchey says that supply is dwindling. For 2015, new supply of student housing diminished 19% from the previous year...
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Grand Canyon Education Inc (LOPE) to Grow Enrollment to 90,000 Students by 2021

August 18, 2015

Brian Mueller, CEO of Grand Canyon Education Inc (LOPE), says the company is growing enrollment both online and on its ground campus. He says online enrollment is expected to grow 6 or 7 percentage points a year. “We are today at just under 60,000 online students, and we will grow that to 80,000, 90,000 students over the next five or six years,” he says. “We’ve had a very steady rate of increase. Increasingly, the students that are attending online are graduate students — master’s and doctoral students primarily.” FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE. Mueller says growth on Grand Canyon’s ground campus is even more robust...
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John Wiley & Sons Inc’s (JW.A) New CEO Focused on Acquisitions and Cost Management

August 18, 2015

Mark Allin became the CEO of John Wiley & Sons Inc (JW.A) in June. He says he had worked closely with former CEO Steve Smith on the company’s divestment and acquisition program. “We continue on that path and continue to be very ambitious for what we believe we can achieve in the markets in which we are operating,” Allin says. “I don’t see any immediate opportunities for divestment, but we remain very carefully focused on where our investment priorities are. The acquisitions we make are always carefully targeted to meet our strategic aims, and many of them are the result of close relationships that we’ve built up over time...
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Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (ADR) (CTRP) Set to Benefit from Travel Growth in China

August 17, 2015

Lynne Thornton, Director at Aubrey Capital Management Limited, says Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (ADR) is an online travel company in China that is ready to benefit from changes in travel in the country. “The penetration rate for online travel in China is currently quite low; 90% of Chinese have never traveled outside their own province. As people get richer we expect this to change,” Thornton says. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE. Thornton says Ctrip fits well into the behavioral change phase of her firm’s wealth cycle model, in that as people get richer, they aspire for more consumer goods and experiences. “Travel in China is growing at about 1...
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Knight Transportation (KNX) Gains Momentum on Smart Acquisitions

August 14, 2015

John Larkin, Analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., says Knight Transportation (KNX) is one of the transportation stocks he is currently recommending. He says the company is well-run and has always been thought of as a growth company. “They sort of lost their way in terms of being able to provide growth during the recession years and the years immediately after, but really regained their momentum about a year and half ago and have continued that momentum,” Larkin says. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE. Knight’s improved performance has been a function of some smart acquisitions, Larkin says. The company has redoubled its efforts focused on growing its brokerage business more quickly, and Larkin says those initiatives seem to be paying off...
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Closure of Iron Ore Mines Creates Buying Opportunity for Genesee & Wyoming Inc (GWR)

August 12, 2015

Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Analyst John Larkin says investors have been negative about railroads lately because of decreased grain and coal volumes. He says that is creating a buying opportunity for some stocks like Genesee & Wyoming Inc (GWR). “The railroads are cheaper relative to their own valuation histories and relative to the broader market indices than they have been in quite some time,” Larkin says. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE. Larkin says Genesee & Wyoming has been “slaughtered of late,” partly because of the iron ore mines that closed in Australia due to decreased demand from China. But, Larkin still has a “buy” rating on the stock...
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Union Pacific Corporation (UNP) to Face Easier Comps in Second Half

August 12, 2015

Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Analyst John Larkin says investors have been negative about railroads lately because of decreased grain and coal volumes. But, he sees opportunity in stocks like Union Pacific Corporation (UNP). “That negative year-over-year volume comparison has really placed a black cloud over the group,” Larkin says. “However, the ugly volumes create some buying opportunities across the rail group, in our view.” FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE. Larkin says Union Pacific was having a very challenging second quarter. But, he believes it represents the company’s low point of the cyclical downturn. “The company has shed a lot of cost here in the first half to rightsize its asset deployment, and I think the year-over-year comps will look much easier as we move toward the end of the year and into 2016,” he says...
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Illumina, Inc. (ILMN) is Still a Robust Growth Story

August 10, 2015

Co-CEO Nancy Prial of Essex Investment Management Company says that while Illumina, Inc. (ILMN) is no longer an undiscovered stock, it is perhaps still misunderstood. The company develops sequencing and array-based solutions for genetic analysis, and still has a positive growth story according to Prial. “At the time that we purchased Illumina, the company was not the company it is today. But people did not understand the power of their technology and what was possible for this upstart little company,” Prial said. “What we saw was the power of their product.” FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE. Prial says her firm still owns Illumina because the company continues to have a robust growth story, and is changing the way gene sequencing and analysis is done...
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Organic Revenue Growth and Improved Return on Invested Capital on Tap for Ryder System, Inc. (R)

August 07, 2015

Robert W. Baird & Co Analyst Benjamin Hartford says Ryder System, Inc. (R) is one of his top stock picks. He says that he believes the company’s market will consolidate, that the barriers to entry are rising, and that the complexities associated with operating fleets are greater than they’ve ever been. He says those factors create a bias toward outsourcing to specialists that can help solve problems. “What had been done in-house by shippers — the acts of managing fleet and managing broader transportation flows — is noncore,” Hartford says. “They likely require help more than they’ve ever needed it, which creates new growth opportunities for a model like Ryder...
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Old Dominion Freight Line (ODFL) Deploying 12% to 15% of Revenue

August 07, 2015

David Congdon, CEO of Old Dominion Freight Line (ODFL), says the company’s strategy for deployment of investment capital has remained consistent for the last 10 to 15 years. He says LTL transportation is a capital-intensive business, and his team is focused on building the highest service value in the industry. “Equipment is obviously the largest expenditure because of our consistent replacement cycle plus the equipment that we’ve bought to handle the growth that we’re experiencing,” Congdon says. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE. Old Dominion’s second-highest expenditure is on real estate. Congdon says the company has spent over $900 million on service centers in the last eight years to stay ahead of growth and have capacity for future growth...
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