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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:ADP, Microsoft, Boeing, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs Group

CHICAGO, April 7, 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 ADP (Nasdaq:ADP-Free Report), Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report), Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA-Free Report), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM-Free Report) and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS-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:

Dow 30 Stock Roundup

The Dow made significant gains this week, riding on strong economic data. Consumer spending and manufacturing data came in positive. Meanwhile, the ADP report revealed that private sector hiring had improved in March. The Fed also reiterated its policy of continued support to the economy. Thursday was the only day when investors remained cautious, ahead of crucial nonfarm payroll data. During the first four trading days, the Dow moved up 0.70%.

Last Week's Performance

The Dow gained 0.4%, boosted by encouraging consumer spending data. Personal consumption expenditure increased 0.3% in February. This was in line with consensus expectation and also with the rate of growth in January. Disposable personal income too increased 0.3% in February, up from 0.2% increase in January. The launch of Microsoft Office on iPads propelled the Dow to end in the green.

For the week, the Dow ended 0.1% higher. Conversely, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index ended the week in the red due to a drop in bio-tech stocks. Declines in financial and material sectors also dragged the markets lower. Throughout the week, escalating tension over Crimea kept the mood jittery.

The Dow This Week

The blue chip index gained 0.8% on Monday buoyed by Fed Chair Janet Yellen's comment that the central bank will maintain its "extraordinary commitment" to support the economy for some more time. Investor sentiment received a further boost from the possibility that the ECB will begin a monetary stimulus program to counter effects of deflation in the Eurozone. The Dow lost 0.7% during the first quarter of 2014, but gained 0.7% over last month.

Markets finished in the green on Tuesday following encouraging manufacturing data. March PMI increased 0.5 percentage points to 53.7%. Better-than-expected new-vehicle sales for March also boosted investor sentiment. This was the third-straight day of gains for the markets. Total vehicle sales increased to an annualized rate of 16.4 million in March. Consequently, the Dow gained 0.5%.

The Dow gained once again on Wednesday, by 0.2%, boosted by encouraging private-sector hiring numbers. The ADP (Nasdaq:ADP-Free Report) report showed private sector hiring improved in March. Benchmarks' finish in the green was also aided by an increase in factory orders in February. New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.6% in February. This was the fourth-straight day of gains for the benchmarks.

The blue chip index ended nearly flat on Thursday, as investors adopted a wait-and-see approach ahead of Friday's nonfarm payroll data. Economic data came in mixed, hardly impacting the cautious stance of investors. Reports revealed that the service sector situation had improved while weekly jobless claims and the U.S. trade deficit had increased. Benchmarks snapped a four-day winning streak and ended lower.

Components which Moved the Index

Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report) gained 2.4% last Friday after announcing Thursday that it was bringing Microsoft Office to the iPad. All individual apps such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint can be installed free of cost. However, this only allows you to read documents. An Office 365 subscription will be required to edit and create documents. The company also spoke of shifting its focus from Windows. The stock was the biggest gainer among the Dow components for the day.

The Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA-Free Report) has won a sizable firm order from Canada's largest airline, Air Canada, for a total of 61 Boeing single-aisle jets, worth $6.5 billion at list prices. The contract includes the delivery of 33 737 Max 8 and 28 737 MAX 9 jets, with Air Canada having options and rights on an additional 48 aircraft.

A couple of big orders from Japanese airline operators further boosted the order book of the company. The combined value of the orders at list prices comes to a whopping $14.1 billion. The larger order among the two, worth $13.1 billion came from Boeing's old Japanese customer All Nippon Airways ("ANA").

Another order worth $1.3 billion came from Japan Transocean Air for 12 Next-Generation 737-800 airplanes. In its first quarter of 2014, Boeing delivered 161 airplanes, approximately 17.5% higher than the year-ago number.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM-Free Report) continues to face legal hassles pertaining to 'London Whale' trading loss of $6.2 billion. U.S. District Judge George Daniels upheld the case filed by shareholders, which accused the company of covering up the risks related to derivative transactions.

Daniels stated that shareholders can pursue the case against JPMorgan Chief Executive (CEO) Jamie Dimon and former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Douglas Braunstein for misrepresenting the facts about the company's risk management capabilities.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS-Free Report) is in talks with IMC Financial Markets to vend its floor-trading business that operates in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). However, the company will continue to serve as a brokerage firm providing liquidity electronically for the NYSE-listed stocks.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs and some of the world's top cable producing firms have been slammed with a total fine of €301.6 million by the European Union (EU) regulators. The companies were fined on the basis of investigations which revealed that these deliberately operated an illegal cable cartel for nearly 10 years since 1999.

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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