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Amtrust Financial Services, Stone Energy, Google, Microsoft and Facebook highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights Amtrust Financial Services Inc (Nasdaq:AFSI-Free Report) as the Bull of the Day and Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE:SGY-Free Report)as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis onGoogle (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report), Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report) and Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report).

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Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

Amtrust Financial Services Inc (Nasdaq:AFSI-Free Report) you would think that 17 straight earnings beats would get you on a radar screen or two, but somehow this is the first time since the Bull and Bear of the day have been reformatted that we are talking about AFSI. Today, at last, this stock as a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) is the Bull of the Day.

Not only is AFSI a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), but its industry rank is #34 out of 265. That means AFSI is in the top 13% of all the industry's that are ranked by Zacks. Zacks also has an "Outperform" recommendation and a Zacks Price Target of $38.00. All of this and a 1.7% yield to boot!

AMTRUST is a multinational property and casualty insurer specializing in coverage for small businesses. They offer workers' compensation insurance, extended warranty coverage, specialty middle market property and casualty insurance and a host of related products and services. They have built a reputation as an innovative, technology driven insurance company. Their commitment to excellence is the common thread connecting each of our businesses.

Bear of the Day:

Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE:SGY-Free Report) saw a big hit to the 2014 Zacks Consensus Estimate recently and that has made it a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) and it is the Bear of the Day.

Not only is AFSI a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), but its industry rank is #163 out of 265. That means SGY is in the bottom 38% of all the industry's that are ranked by Zacks.

Stone Energy Corporation, an independent oil and natural gas company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, exploitation, development, and operation of oil and gas properties in the Gulf of Mexico and the Appalachia region. As of December 31, 2012, it had estimated proved oil and natural gas reserves of approximately 773 billion cubic feet of gas equivalent. The company was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana with additional offices in New Orleans, Louisiana; Houston, Texas; and Morgantown, West Virginia.

Over the last six quarters SGY has seen three misses and three beats of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The most recent quarter as a miss of $0.06 or a 7.7% negative earnings surprise. As a result the stock traded lower by 4% in the session following that earnings report.

Additional content:

Google's New 'Smart Lens'

Google (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report) recently announced that it is testing a smart contact lens, which would enable diabetics to measure their glucose level. Equipped with tiny chips and an antenna, the lens can measure the level of glucose in tears.

These smart lenses use a tiny wireless chip and glucose sensor to provide readings once per second. Google also plans to add LED lights to these sensors to warn users whenever their glucose level crosses the threshold.

Google is holding discussions with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) so that this technology could soon be incorporated into a viable product to be used by people all over the world.

This is not the first time that an attempt to introduce smart contact lenses has been made by a tech giant. Earlier,Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report) made a similar effort but didn't quite succeed.

Google, the world's largest online search engine, is increasingly extending its foothold into new markets, with efforts ranging from a high-speed Internet access business to advanced research on self-driving cars and robotics.

Google generates revenues primarily from the sale of advertising space on its online properties. It is focused on protecting and growing its position in the search market through continued innovation, quality improvements and expansion into various spheres.

We however anticipate that going forward Google will be burdened with margin pressure as a result of increasing competition from companies like Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report), as well as the growing hardware business.

Currently, Google has a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy).

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About the Bull and Bear of the Day

Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

About the Analyst Blog

Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.

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 analyst 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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