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Altera Corp., Xilinx Inc., Cirrus Logic, Omnivision Technologies and MEMC Electronic Materials highlighted in Zacks Analyst Blog:

CHICAGO, Jan. 16, 2013 /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 Altera Corp. (ALTR), Xilinx Inc. (XLNX), Cirrus Logic (CRUS), Omnivision Technologies (OVTI) and MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Altera Downgraded to Strong Sell

On January 12, 2013, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Altera Corp. (ALTR) to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Why the Downgrade?

Altera has witnessed sharp downward estimate revisions after its modest third quarter 2012 results and lowering of revenue guidance for the fourth quarter. The shares of this Logic device manufacturer have been range bound since October. Additionally, given its expected revenue decline in the upcoming quarter, the shares have downside risk.

On October 23, 2012, Altera reported third quarter earnings per share of 49 cents, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6.5% but down 14.0% from the year-ago quarter. Revenues dropped 5.0% from the year-ago quarter.

On December 4, 2012, the company announced that it expects revenue for the fourth quarter to decline 8.0%–10.0% sequentially (previously 6.0%-10.0%). The company believes that weak sales of legacy products will likely offset the increasing sales of new products. The company also expects operating expenses to grow sequentially.

Above all, Gartner's prediction for a 3.0% decline in the semiconductor market in 2012 and dwindling PC market are concerns.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012 decreased 0.6% to $1.73 per share over the last 60 days. For 2013, most of the estimates were lowered over the last 60 days, which pulled down the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.9% to $1.76 per share. Over the last 90 days, estimates for 2012 and 2013 dropped 3.4% and 16.2%, respectively.

Altera operates in the semiconductor industry and is a key player in the programmable logic devices (PLDs) market. Altera shares its PLD space with Xilinx Inc. (XLNX) and the two companies jointly hold roughly 85.0% market share.

Other Stocks to Consider

Not all semiconductor stocks are performing as poorly as Altera. We recommend Cirrus Logic (CRUS), which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Omnivision Technologies (OVTI) and MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR), which have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) are also looking good at present.

Today, Zacks is promoting Four daily picks are offered free.

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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.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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