The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Comcast, CBS, Facebook, Pandora Media and Briggs & Stratton

Zacks

For Immediate Release
 
Chicago, IL – October 07, 2013 – 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 Comcast Corp. (CMCSA-Free Report), CBS Corp. (CBS-Free Report), Facebook Inc. (FB-Free Report), Pandora Media Inc. (P-Free Report) and Briggs & Stratton Corporation (BGG-Free Report).
 
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Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Comcast to Offer More CBS Content

Yesterday, Comcast Corp. (CMCSA-Free Report), the largest cable MSO in the U.S., announced that it will offer more content of CBS Corp. (CBS-Free Report) to its Xfinity TV subscribers. The content will be available to both Xfinity Streampix and Xfinity video-on-demand platforms. CBS will offer the previous seasons of its popular TV shows, such as The Good Wife, on Xfinity Streampix so that viewers will get the opportunity to start from the beginning of the TV show. On the other hand, the viewers will stay current with every episode of this serial on Xfinity video-on-demand platform.

Comcast is gradually deploying its next-generation Xfinity TV, an on-demand, Web-based service, for subscribers who have access to both video programming and the Internet. The new Xfinity TV set-top box has an innovative system to quickly navigate between live and on-demand programming. A new user interface incorporates content from Facebook Inc. (FB-Free Report), Internet Radio of Pandora Media Inc. (P-Free Report), and news and weather applications. Comcast also entered into an agreement with Microsoft to enable its subscribers to access Xfinity TV online content from the Microsoft Xbox. Xfinity TV currently covers 95% of the company’s footprint.

Xfinity Streampix, a subscription based on-demand video streaming service, is an innovative product of Comcast. This is an enhancement of the company’s pay-TV offerings, which currently provide traditional TV shows and Xfinity on-demand shows for TV sets and broadband devices. Xfinity Streampix offers instant movie viewing both in and outside homes on multiple platforms like TV sets, computer, and mobile devices.

In a nutshell, Xfinity is the TVEverywhere service of Comcast. The company will offer more current primetime CBS TV shows for free to its subscribers of Xfinity video-on-demand and online services. Both Comcast and CBS currently have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Briggs & Stratton Slips to Strong Sell
 
On Oct 3, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Briggs & Stratton Corporation (BGG-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Why the Downgrade?

On Aug 15, Briggs & Stratton reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2013 (ended Jun 30, 2013) adjusted earnings of 22 cents per share, flat with the prior-year quarter and below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 19 cents. On an adjusted basis, earnings for full-year 2013 were 93 cents per share, down 19% year over year and below management’s guidance of $1.16–$1.33 a share.

Net sales decreased 4.8% year over year to $477 million in the fourth quarter. The decline was due to a delayed spring in the U.S. and Europe as well as the company’s decision to stop selling lawn and garden products to large mass retailers in the U.S.

Adjusted gross margin contracted 100 basis points (bps) year over year to 17.9%. Equipment OEMs were cautious to reorder and build more inventories as well as reacted to reducing production and Briggs & Stratton was no exception. Though, controlling of inventory had a positive impact on the company, it also had the near-term impact of reducing fixed cost absorption, and thus, lowering gross profit margins for the quarter.

Briggs & Stratton remains committed to its restructuring and cost reduction plans. However, the ongoing global economic uncertainty and adverse weather conditions may affect the company’s performance.

Following the fourth-quarter earnings release, Zacks Consensus Estimates for fiscal 2014 and 2015 for Briggs & Stratton have gone down 5.7% and 9.7%, respectively, to $1.16 per share and $1.40 per share, respectively.

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