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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Accuray, Varian Medical Systems, Integra LifeSciences Holdings, Fifth Third Bancorp and Huntington Bancshares

CHICAGO, Nov. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Accuray Incorporated (Nasdaq:ARAY), Varian Medical Systems Inc. (NYSE:VAR), Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation (Nasdaq:IART), Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq:FITB) and Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (Nasdaq:HBAN).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

FDA Clears Accuray's CyberKnife M6

Renowned radiosurgery systems maker, Accuray Incorporated (Nasdaq:ARAY) recently received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") 510(k) approval for its new Cybernife M6 Series. This innovative series is capable of treating large, complicated tumors (which were rendered untreatable earlier), thereby expanding the number of patients that can benefit from this treatment.

The CyberKnife M6 FIM and FM Systems feature the unique InCise Multileaf Collimator ("MLC"), specially designed for stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) treatments. The flexibility of MLC helps deliver precise and accurate radiation dosages from multiple angles in less time, and thus improves the efficacy and treatment outcomes in the field of radiation oncology.

Its special features include a 3D robot which can revolve around the patient in order to deliver non-isocentric, non-coplanar radiations to match the exact shape of the tumor. The InCise MLC's capability is further enhanced when combined with CyberKnife's Synchrony System, which allows the CyberKnife M6 System to locate tumors while moving and instantly rectifying for their movement during treatment.

California-based Accuray is a global leader in the field of radiosurgery and provides non-surgical treatment option for patients diagnosed with cancer. Globally, more than 200,000 people have been treated with the company's technology. Moreover, the acquisition of rival TomoTherapy has bolstered the company's foothold in the radiation oncology space.

We believe that the FDA clearance of the unmatched CyberKnife M6 Series will further strengthen Accuray's presence in the radiation oncolology market. In addition, the launch of the new TomoTherapy H Series, featuring the TomoHDA System, at the 54th Annual American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meeting is also slated to contribute to the company's top-line growth.

However, despite improved sales in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, the CyberKnife product line is currently facing shipment delays in Europe and a soft demand in the American region. The company reported that Cyberknife revenues in fiscal 2012 were lower by $37.6 million (down 27% year over year) than in fiscal 2011.

Accuray remains susceptible to the weak U.S. and European markets, reimbursement uncertainties and faces stiff challenges from competitive product offerings of Varian Medical Systems Inc. (NYSE:VAR) and Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation (Nasdaq:IART). We are currently Neutral on the stock, which carries a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating).

Fifth Third Enjoys Positive Outlook

Fitch Ratings has maintained its Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of "A-" on Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq:FITB) last week, but with a positive outlook.

According to the rating agency, the positive outlook on the rating is a reflection of Fifth Third's comparatively stronger earnings profile though, to some extent, this is marred by the company's elevated credit risk.

Over the near term, the elevated level of problem assets that is reflected in Fifth Third's weaker asset quality ratios is a concern and a hindrance to an upgrade in its rating.  Encouragingly, however, the positive outlook implies that if Fifth Third can achieve improvements in its asset quality ratios along with continuation of better-than-average earnings as well as strong capital and liquidity profile, the rating could be upgraded a notch higher.

Moreover, the rating agency recognized that in spite of having elevated levels of nonperforming assets, which are ahead of the peer levels, losses are manageable at Fifth Third and lie close to the peer averages over the past year.  

As a matter of fact, the rating is a testament of the company's financial strength and its ability to pay back its borrowings. Therefore, enjoying higher ratings enable the company to issue debt at a lesser cost and hence are a positive for the company.

In addition, IDRs on 13 other large regional banks were reaffirmed by Fitch following a thorough review of the peer group, including Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (Nasdaq:HBAN).

Fifth Third currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. Considering the fundamentals, we also maintain a long-term Neutral recommendation on the shares.

Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5515.

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: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5517

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT 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 http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.

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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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SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

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