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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Amazon.com, Apple, Microsoft, Conversant and Lockheed Martin

CHICAGO, April 21, 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 Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN-Free Report), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report), Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report), Conversant, Inc. (Nasdaq:CNVR-Free Report) and Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT-Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Is Amazon Set to Launch a 3D Smartphone?

After venturing into the set-top box arena with the launch of Fire TV, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN-Free Report) is reportedly entering the smartphone industry, with its own long-rumored 3D smartphone set for a June launch. However, it is expected to be available for sale by September.

According to The Wall Street Journal ("WSJ"), Amazon officials recently demonstrated the sample handset models to developers from San Francisco and Seattle. The phone will be available in both high-end and low-end versions. The high-end version will offer a screen, which will present 3-D images without the support of special 3-D glasses.

Moreover, the devices will be integrated with retina-tracking technology, which will be embedded in four front facing cameras. With this technology, users will see 3D images with the naked eye.

Rumors of Amazon's intentions to launch a smartphone have been making the rounds for long. In Jul 2012 reports suggested that the e-commerce company was working with Foxconn on the gadget. Again, in May last year, it was reported that Amazon was targeting the smartphone industry.

Although Amazon has been successfully entering different markets, it might have to struggle to establish itself in an already crammed smartphone market. Companies like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) and Samsung Electronics Co. dominate this industry and together constituted 46.6% of the total market share in 2013, as reported by the research firm Gartner. Amazon's late entry can be a huge disadvantage.

However, Amazon can have an edge over its competitors, given its special glasses-free 3D image viewing feature and retina-sensing display technology. Also, the device will provide a more compact software-hardware amalgamation, thus offering an improved user experience augmenting profits.

Amazon, the giant online retailer, sells a huge collection of products ranging from books to cloud computing services. It recently acquired a cloud-based digital comic bookstore, comiXology which allows users to read comics on the web, iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Microsoft's (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report) Windows 8.

Currently Amazon holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Conversant, Inc. (Nasdaq:CNVR-Free Report), which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), is a better-ranked stock from the same sector and is therefore also worth considering.

Lockheed Wins Contract for F-35 Support

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, a key unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT-Free Report), received a modification contract of $54.6 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Lockheed Martin, one of the prime U.S. defense contractors, has been receiving a good many DoD contracts on the back of its diversified product portfolio.

In this current contract, the company will provide non-recurring technical support of the F-35 Lot VII program for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and other international partner governments. Under this contract, the company will provide manufacturing support and technical knowledge related to F-35 production. Work under this contract is scheduled to complete by Jan 2015.

The F-35 fighter jet is Pentagon's costliest program. Its unique capabilities and operational efficiency have roped in orders not only from the U.S. military forces but also from allied countries. Though sequestration has negatively impacted Lockheed Martin's sales, the F-35 warplane despite its many critics continued to find support in 2013. Moreover, the $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending measure President Obama signed into law was a major boost for this defense contractor.

In Mar 2014, Lockheed Martin received a sizable $698 million contract from the DoD. Per the contract, the company will provide the long lead parts, materials and components required for the production of 53 LRIP and Lot IX F-35 JSF.

Despite persistent threats of defense budget cuts, Lockheed Martin seems confident of 2014. For the year, the company has provided an earnings guidance range of $10.25 to $10.55 per share. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 at $10.60 is above the high end of the guidance.

Currently, Lockheed Martin holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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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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