Analyst Bull & Bear of the Day (GWW, JEC)

Analyst calls often move stocks, or at least they highlight some of the issues for investors.  Today is seeing a contra-reaction from analyst calls out of Zacks Research calling W. W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE: GWW) as the “Bull of the Day” while Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE: JEC) was the “Bear of the Day”.  In the calls, Grainger was raised to Outperform from Neutral with a $149 target and Jacobs was cut to Underperform from Neutral.

Grainger’s third quarter adjusted EPS improved 32% year over year to $1.99 and revenues jumped 19% to $1.9 billion, outperforming the Zacks estimates; Grainger elevated its sales growth guidance to a range of 14%-15% and its EPS guidance to a range of $6.40 to $6.70. Grainger remains focused on expanding its product offering and has the financial flexibility to further invest in growth opportunities, increase dividends and reinvest capital through share repurchases.  Gradually improving economic activity, market share gains, benefits from growth investments, share repurchases and strategic acquisitions should lead to strong earnings growth in 2010 and 2011.  FULL REPORT FROM ZACKS

The downgrade from Zacks in Jacobs Engineering is based on a continuous decrease in backlog since the beginning of fiscal 2010 which will negatively affect its top-line results in fiscal 2011.  The stock is cyclical in nature, and thus the sluggish economic environment, which has reduced the client’s spending power, was the prime reason for the decrease in backlog.  Large investors fear to infuse capital in the unstable market conditions and it faces immense risk as it operates in a highly-competitive environment.  FULL REPORT FROM ZACKS