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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft

CHICAGO, Aug. 11, 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 Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO-Free Report), Google (Nasdaq:GOOGL-Free Report), Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report), and Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT-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 Friday's Analyst Blog:

Yahoo, Google to Collaborate on Email Encryption

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO-Free Report) announced that it will join rival Google (Nasdaq:GOOGL-Free Report) in an effort to keep its user emails safe from hackers and government officials. The tech giants are teaming up to build an end-to-end encrypted email system that is mathematically impossible for hackers to crack and for governments to read by next year.

As per the tech giants, the encryption tool will be based on PGP encryption and will be an optional feature that users will have to turn on. PGP encryption is a popular computer program to encrypt or decrypt data and provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication. PGP uses a public key system, where each user has a unique encryption key stored on laptops, tablets and smartphones known only to them.

However, it is a very tedious software as there is no password-reset function and users have to undergo several steps to send even short emails.

More and more companies are trying to beef up their security systems since ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about NSA's global Internet surveillance program PRISM, under which the agency collects user data of Internet companies like Google, Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report), Yahoo! and Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report). As part of this operation, they can keep online activities under surveillance to determine any threat to national security.

The NSA has to get permission for data-mining under Section 702 and then these companies conform to it by providing access to data keeping the personal details of the customers safe. However, Internet companies have alleged that the NSA sometimes collects data without their consent.

As technology companies bank on Internet usage to generate revenue and profits, they are anxious that hackers and the government's spying activities will hamper their prospects. Therefore, it is necessary that they take adequate steps to prevent tapping of user data and offer more secure connections. Google, Microsoft and Facebook were some of the first companies to take action by improving security for their users.

Yahoo! currently holds Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) while Google carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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

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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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