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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:L.M. Ericsson, Nokia, Alcatel Lucent, China Mobile and Coca-Cola

CHICAGO, April 4, 2014  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 L.M. Ericsson AB (Nasdaq:ERIC-Free Report), Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK-Free Report), Alcatel Lucent S.A. (NYSE:ALU-Free Report), China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL-Free Report) and Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO-Free Report).

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

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Asia-Pacific to Boost Global LTE Network

Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the most sought after next-generation (4G) super-fast wireless communications technology, is rapidly gaining global momentum. The 4G wireless network aims to cope with substantial demand for high-speed wireless data services and mobile video. Research firm ABI Research recently reported that a significant boost is expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2014, the Asia-Pacific region is likely to excel all other regions in the world with respect to LTE basestations installation. LTE basestations, which are popularly known as radio access networks (RAN), are expected to grow eight fold in the region this year. Also, wireless operators are projected to spend around $35 billion for RAN in 2014, globally, with Asia-Pacific accounting for the major share.

Large wireless network infrastructure gear makers such as, L.M. Ericsson AB (Nasdaq:ERIC-Free Report), Nokia Solutions and Networks, a subsidiary of Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK-Free Report), Alcatel Lucent S.A. (NYSE:ALU-Free Report) and Huawei Technologies are likely to benefit the most from the booming RAN market.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, China is the primary driver of LTE growth. China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL-Free Report), the largest mobile operator in the world in terms of subscriber count, installed over 200,000 RANs in 2013. Management has decided to install more than 500,000 RANs in 2014.

At the end of Feb 2014, China Mobile had around 775.6 million wireless subscribers. During the first two months of 2014, it added 1.43 million LTE subscribers. Additionally, China Unicom and China Telecom have also started LTE services. ABI Research also stated that by 2019, China will dominate the LTE basestation market in the Asia-Pacific region, and have the largest LTE RANs installed in the world. 

Recently, The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) reported that currently there are approximately 200.1 million LTE subscribers globally. Out of this, North America region has highest numbers of subscribers, around 101 million (50.5%), Asia-Pacific region boasts 77.8 million (38.8%) and Europe has around 16.4 million (8.2%).

Coke Kicks Off World Cup Campaign

The Coca-Cola Company's (NYSE:KO-Free Report) FIFA World Cup marketing program kicked off recently — another of the cola giant's strong integrated marketing campaigns to boost sales.

The campaign includes a television and digital film, a series of documentary-style short films, a campaign to launch the official World Cup anthem, creation of The Happiness Flag — a large photo mosaic — and a trophy tour across 90 countries from September this year.

Coca Cola has been associated with FIFA since 1974 and has sponsored the World Cup since 1978.

The FIFA World Cup marketing campaign is part of Coca-Cola's plan to invest $400 million in media in 2014 to reinvigorate its sparkling brands like Coke, Fanta and Sprite that are suffering due to challenges in the carbonated soft drinks (CSD) category. Apart from the FIFA World Cup, the spending will be diverted to the Olympics as well as the Share a Coke campaign.

The CSD category has now declined for the ninth straight year in 2013 due to growing health and wellness consciousness -- consumers are particularly vigilant about the use of artificial sweeteners, high sugar content and related obesity concerns. Among CSDs the cola segment has particularly come under fire as consumers look for alternative beverage offerings. Also possible new taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and growing regulatory pressures are affecting CSD sales. The challenges in the CSD category have been felt by all major soft drink makers — Coca-Cola

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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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