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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Intel, Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Apple

CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2014 /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 the Intel (Nasdaq:INTC-Free Report), Yahoo (Nasdaq:YHOO-Free Report), Google (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report), Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report) and Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report).

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Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Technology Stock Roundup

Intel (Nasdaq:INTC-Free Report) kicked off the earnings season last week, but there were plenty other things going on…

Will More Heads Roll at Yahoo?

Yahoo (Nasdaq:YHOO-Free Report) shares took a tumble last week as CEO Marissa Mayer fired two executives in rapid succession. The first was Chief Operating Officer Henrique de Castro who had come from Google to serve the company for around 14 months. Mayer was apparently dissatisfied with his inability to bring targeted growth to Yahoo despite her efforts to boost the people and products side of the business.

Firing de Castro was an expensive decision (he leaves with $60 million), so one can only hope that Mayer has a definite game plan. A replacement has not been named yet.

The second person to leave Yahoo was Editor-in-Chief Jai Singh, who had joined the company from the Huffington Post in 2011. Details of this dismissal were unavailable. Mayer seems to be shaking things up at Yahoo all over again, and not a minute too soon. Following Alibaba's IPO and Yahoo's subsequent gains there will be very little to hold up share prices if growth in the core business does not return.

Yahoo has been publishing positive trends in its quarterly results that seemed to indicate that the company was moving in the right direction. But the firings seem to indicate that growth is either not where it was targeted, or that the company is now taking a different road. Recent hires indicate that the different road is a possibility.

Google Goes from Robotics to Home Automation

Google's (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report) recent acquisitions have been unusual. Last year, it acquired eight robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics, which is particularly good at making humanoid robots. Last week, the company announced another strange purchase, this time a company called Nest, a very successful maker of intelligent thermostats and smoke alarms.

While the two may not be related, one can't help but wonder if they are. The robots can of course be used for industrial automation and goods delivery as well. But somebody did suggest the role of domestic help to take care of routine household chores especially for the aged and this makes sense. Whatever be the case, Google's entry into the home now appears cemented with this acquisition.

Privacy watchdogs are concerned because Google will now gain access to energy consumption data in the household or other data from devices that may be developed in the future using Nest technology. But it's hard to stop Google.

Intel Results Were a Big Disappointment

Intel's fourth-quarter results and first-quarter guidance were below expectations. The company's mobile plans are heading in the right direction, albeit a little behind schedule. Still, considering its manufacturing advantage and ability to churn out volumes, Intel should see rapid adoption once it catches up on the design side.

As far as its core computing market is concerned, market research from both Gartner and IDC indicate that there are chances of stabilization or moderate growth this year. Intel remains a strong player on the server side, especially the emerging cloud computing markets. So the first half of the year is likely to be slow as the company gets ready to launch new products, with the second half picking up somewhat as it delivers on its promise of 40 million tablet units this year.

More Proof Teens Don't Like Facebook

iStrategyLabs has published some research that indicates a 25% decline in teen usage of Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report) over the past three years. The period indicates a disturbing trend, particularly since most of the defections appear to be in the age groups 13-17 and 18-24. The research indicates that Facebook seems to be out of favor with high school and college students, while gaining significantly in every other age group.

An earlier report by another market researcher indicated that Instagram, which Facebook acquired not such a long time back continues to see steady increases in teen usage. So the overall impact may not be all negative for Facebook as a company.

Other stories you may have missed-

Apple/Samsung Lead in the U.S.: The NPD Group reported in a recent report that the fourth quarter of 2013 saw Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) and Samsung leading the U.S. smartphone market with 42% and 26% market share, respectively.

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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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