Click here to close now.


News Feed Item

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

CHICAGO, Jan. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- 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).


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 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:

Join us on Facebook:

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 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
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud wit...
As-a-service models offer huge opportunities, but also complicate security. It may seem that the easiest way to migrate to a new architectural model is to let others, experts in their field, do the work. This has given rise to many as-a-service models throughout the industry and across the entire technology stack, from software to infrastructure. While this has unlocked huge opportunities to accelerate the deployment of new capabilities or increase economic efficiencies within an organization, i...
The APN DevOps Competency highlights APN Partners who demonstrate deep capabilities delivering continuous integration, continuous delivery, and configuration management. They help customers transform their business to be more efficient and agile by leveraging the AWS platform and DevOps principles.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Luxoft Holding, Inc., a leading provider of software development services and innovative IT solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Luxoft’s software development services consist of core and mission-critical custom software development and support, product engineering and testing, and technology consulting.
Mobile, social, Big Data, and cloud have fundamentally changed the way we live. “Anytime, anywhere” access to data and information is no longer a luxury; it’s a requirement, in both our personal and professional lives. For IT organizations, this means pressure has never been greater to deliver meaningful services to the business and customers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, will look at di...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated a...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
DevOps and Continuous Delivery software provider XebiaLabs has announced it has been selected to join the Amazon Web Services (AWS) DevOps Competency partner program. The program is designed to highlight software vendors like XebiaLabs who have demonstrated technical expertise and proven customer success in DevOps and specialized solution areas like Continuous Delivery. DevOps Competency Partners provide solutions to, or have deep experience working with AWS users and other businesses to help t...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bryan Forrester, Senior Vice President of Sales at eFolder, will present how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He will also demonstrate how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/...