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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Liberty Media, Sirius XM Holdings, Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable and FLIR Systems

CHICAGO, March 17, 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 Liberty Media Corp. (Nasdaq:LMCA-Free Report), Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq:SIRI-Free Report), Charter Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:CHTR-Free Report), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC-Free Report) and FLIR Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:FLIR-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com

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

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Liberty Media Quits SIRIUS XM Buyout Plan

Liberty Media Corp. (Nasdaq:LMCA-Free Report), which owns 53% of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq:SIRI-Free Report), has called off its plan to buy the rest of the shares of the satellite-radio provider. Meanwhile, Liberty Media announced the formation of two tracking stocks, one to be named as Liberty Media Group while the other will be Liberty Broadband Group.

In Jan 2014, the Liberty Media expressed its desire to take full control of SIRIUS XM Radio, in a deal worth more than $10 billion.

Liberty Media's tracking stock group, Liberty Broadband Group, will comprise the company's 27% stake in Charter Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:CHTR-Free Report), 1% stake in Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC-Free Report), its subsidiary TruePosition and other investments. The second tracking stock group will consist of the SIRIUS XM stake and interests in other media and entertainment businesses.The present Liberty Media stockholders will gain one Liberty Media Group share and four shares of Liberty Broadband Group along with the right to more cable stocks.

Liberty Media is aggressively pursuing the idea of Charter Communications acquiring Time Warner Cable, the second largest cable MSO (multi service operator) in the U.S. However, Charter Communications has lost to Comcast Corp. in its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable.

In the recently concluded quarter, Liberty Media reported mixed financial results. Earnings came in above the Zacks Consensus Estimate whereas revenues lagged the same. Liberty Media generated $358.6 million of cash from operations compared with $293.2 million in the prior-year quarter. Free cash flow in the reported quarter was $303.27 million against $269.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

Liberty Media currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

FLIR Systems Downgraded to Strong Sell

Zacks Investment Research downgraded FLIR Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:FLIR-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) on Mar 13, 2014.

Why the Downgrade?

FLIR Systems has witnessed sharp downward estimate revisions after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter 2013 results. Further, this thermal image provider reported negative earnings surprises in the last 3 of the 4 quarters, with average earnings miss of 3.9%. This apart, out of the 6 analysts covering the stock, 5 have lowered their estimates for the current quarter and 5 out of 7 analysts have downgraded their estimates for the next quarter in the last 60 days, while all 6 analysts have downgraded their estimates for fiscal 2014.

On Feb 7, FLIR Systems reported fourth-quarter 2013 earnings (excluding one-time items) of 35 cents, down 32.7% from 52 cents in the year-ago-quarter. Quarterly earnings also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 10.3% or 4 cents.

The quarterly results were primarily impacted by the weakness in order flow from the U.S. government-funded customers.

Though the company's revenues picked up 3.6% during the quarter driven by its Commercial Systems segment, it was offset by a decline in the Government Systems division. The Government Systems division was primarily impacted by weak domestic demand from the Department of Defense.

Nevertheless, the company announced changes in its management structure and also restructured its reporting segments to enhance company-wide communication, while creating a logical structure that will further leverage its vertical integration and focus on core markets.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2014 decreased as much as 25.7% to 26 cents per share and the estimate for the second quarter declined 15.0% in the last 60 days. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate sank 10.3% to $1.48 per share.

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

About Zacks Equity Research

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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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