News Feed Item

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Nokia, IBM, Intel and CNA Financial

CHICAGO, Jan. 24, 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 Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report), Nokia (NYSE:NOK-Free Report), IBM (NYSE:IBM-Free Report), Intel (Nasdaq:INTC-Free Report) and CNA Financial Corp. (NYSE:CNA-Free Report).

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

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

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Surprise! Microsoft Crushes Estimate

Flying straight in the face of another lackluster overall Tech industry earnings season, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report) just posted a big beat on earnings in its fiscal Q2 2014 (ended December). Earnings of 78 cents per share came from $23.7 billion in sales for the quarter. The revenue figure is basically in-line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $23.68 billion, but the earnings number is a 14.7% positive surprise.

This is the best performance for Microsoft in at least the last four quarters. Earnings beats, when they've come, have tended to be on the modest side. Also, analysts had been downwardly revising estimates throughout the quarter, with a consensus of 68 cents having come down from 75 cents early in Q2. And with Nokia's (NYSE:NOK-Free Report) announcement earlier today that its Windows-based Lumia phone sales were down over the holiday season,  investors may have been a tad wary about Microsoft's numbers after the bell today.

In regular Thursday trading, MSFT shares rose slightly, but are up 3% in the after-market. The stock is now within a couple bucks of its 52-week high.

Revenues for its Surface tablet fared notably well, bringing in $893 million for Microsoft's holiday quarter. CEO (for now) Steve Ballmer also cited a favorable enterprise business, while pointing to a 13% gain in Devices and Consumer. Commercial revenue was up 10% in the quarter.

Of course, plenty of questions remain for the world's biggest software firm: Ballmer will be retiring sometime this year, there is still a $7.2 billion matter of buying all of Nokia's smartphones and tablets business, and can Surface continue its sales pace and take market share from its tablet competitors? These shall no doubt be addressed during the company's conference call.

For now, though, with other big tech firms like IBM (NYSE:IBM-Free Report) and Intel (Nasdaq:INTC-Free Report) coming out with disappointing earnings numbers this season so far, it's nice to see one of the big players finally gaining some traction on their own terms.

CAN Financial Upped to Strong Buy

On Jan 23, Zacks Investment Research upgraded CNA Financial Corp. (NYSE:CNA-Free Report) by a notch to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

CNA Financial has been riding on a strong growth momentum ahead of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 results, which are slated to release on Feb 10, 2014. The growth impetus stems from improved core fundamentals throughout 2013, which are cushioned by strong operating leverage and a modest capital position.

CNA Financial also outperformed the one-year S&P 500 index, which posted an increase of 24.1% against a return of 42% clocked by the company. Additionally, this global property and casualty (P&C) insurer delivered positive earnings surprises in the straight last three quarters, with an average beat of 23.3%.

On Oct 28, CNA Financial reported third-quarter 2013 operating earnings per share of $1.00, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 76 cents by 31.6% and the year-ago quarter number of 80 cents by 25%.

Higher premiums and lower catastrophe losses improved the combined ratio and bottom line across both P&C and specialty segments. Higher rates and improved underwriting efficiency are further expected to drive the results in the upcoming quarters. Strong expense, risk and claims administration along with effective credit management score well with the investors and ratings agencies.

CNA Financial has been experiencing rising earnings estimates following its robust third-quarter results and a strong outlook affirmed by ratings agencies. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 moved north by 2.7% to $3.45 per share in the last 60 days. The estimate for fourth-quarter 2013, in particular, shot up 4.9% to 85 cents a share.

Moreover, the Most Accurate estimate for CNA Financial's 2013 earnings stands at $3.63 a share, resulting in an Earnings ESP of +5.2%.

Further, the estimate for 2014 rose 0.9% to $3.40 over the same 60-day period. No downward revision in estimates was witnessed for either year.

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

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.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; 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.

Get the full Report on MSFT - FREE

Get the full Report on NOK - FREE

Get the full Report on IBM - FREE

Get the full Report on INTC - FREE

Get the full Report on CNA - FREE

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Media Contact

Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339

[email protected]


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.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Today every business relies on software to drive the innovation necessary for a competitive edge in the Application Economy. This is why collaboration between development and operations, or DevOps, has become IT’s number one priority. Whether you are in Dev or Ops, understanding how to implement a DevOps strategy can deliver faster development cycles, improved software quality, reduced deployment times and overall better experiences for your customers.
DevOps theory promotes a culture of continuous improvement built on collaboration, empowerment, systems thinking, and feedback loops. But how do you collaborate effectively across the traditional silos? How can you make decisions without system-wide visibility? How can you see the whole system when it is spread across teams and locations? How do you close feedback loops across teams and activities delivering complex multi-tier, cloud, container, serverless, and/or API-based services?
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Qosmos, the market leader for IP traffic classification and network intelligence technology, has announced that it will launch the Launch L7 Viewer at CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley, being held November 1 – 3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The L7 Viewer is a traffic analysis tool that provides complete visibility of all network traffic that crosses a virtualized infrastructure, up to Layer 7. It facilitates and accelerates common IT tasks such as VM migra...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, discussed how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from millio...
In the 21st century, security on the Internet has become one of the most important issues. We hear more and more about cyber-attacks on the websites of large corporations, banks and even small businesses. When online we’re concerned not only for our own safety but also our privacy. We have to know that hackers usually start their preparation by investigating the private information of admins – the habits, interests, visited websites and so on. On the other hand, our own security is in danger bec...
Regulatory requirements exist to promote the controlled sharing of information, while protecting the privacy and/or security of the information. Regulations for each type of information have their own set of rules, policies, and guidelines. Cloud Service Providers (CSP) are faced with increasing demand for services at decreasing prices. Demonstrating and maintaining compliance with regulations is a nontrivial task and doing so against numerous sets of regulatory requirements can be daunting task...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
Enterprises have been using both Big Data and virtualization for years. Until recently, however, most enterprises have not combined the two. Big Data's demands for higher levels of performance, the ability to control quality-of-service (QoS), and the ability to adhere to SLAs have kept it on bare metal, apart from the modern data center cloud. With recent technology innovations, we've seen the advantages of bare metal erode to such a degree that the enhanced flexibility and reduced costs that cl...
“Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...