Welcome!

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]

http://www.zacks.com

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
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: imple...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone in...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.