The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Apple, Facebook, SanDisk and Roche

Zacks

For Immediate Release
 
Chicago, IL – September 18, 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 Google Inc. (GOOG-Free Report), Apple’s (AAPL-Free Report), Facebook (FB-Free Report), SanDisk (SNDK-Free Report) and Roche (RHHBY-Free Report).
 
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Google Looks for Bump with Bump

Internet search giant Google Inc. (GOOG-Free Report) has acquired the content-sharing app – Bump – for an undisclosed amount.

Bump Technologies, the maker of the phone application, was founded by David Lieb in 2008. The app allows users to share data like contacts, business cards, photos and file wirelessly by simply bumping the devices. Recently, it added a group photo-sharing app called Flock, which can be used to share photos between Google’s Android and Apple’s (AAPL-Free Report) iOS operating systems. Bump also allows users to share photos between a phone and a computer.

Flock collects signals from phones and sends them to its servers, where it is matched with other phones sending similar signals to exchange information. Additionally, the app can use location technology and algorithm to locate a group of friends taking pictures at the same place and invites them to contribute to a joint album.

Google is a market leader in online advertising and it has been trying to explore various ways to increase its advertising revenues and fight competition. The company had stepped up its efforts in social media with its social networking service – Google+ – launched in 2011 which directly competes with Facebook (FB-Free Report).

We believe the deal will allow Google to provide enhanced photo-sharing features, thereby enhancing the already-robust suite. Also, the addition of Bump will likely bolster Google+ by bringing in a more advanced photo-sharing service. The company has already incorporated high-end online photo editing tools into Google+ to better compete with Facebook and others in the social media space.

Google continues to acquire smaller companies with specialized technology to boost its different offerings. In Feb 2013, it acquired Channel Intelligence for $125 million to boost its e-commerce business. Earlier, this year, it acquired an infrastructure startup company, Talaria Technologies, to boost its cloud offerings. Google also acquired a mobile mapping and navigation company – Waze Inc. – for about $1.1 billion.

In the second quarter of fiscal 2013, Google’s gross revenue (including TAC) was $14.10 billion, representing sequential and year-over-year increases of 1.0% and 19.5%, respectively. However, earnings of $7.81 missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $1.23 due to declining CPCs.
Google has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Another stock that is performing well at current levels includes SanDisk (SNDK-Free Report), carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Roche to Nominate New CEO
Roche (RHHBY-Free Report) recently announced that its Board of Directors will propose to elect Christoph Franz as the new Chairman at the Annual Shareholder Meeting scheduled for Mar 2014.

Franz is nominated to succeed the current Chairman, Franz B. Humer, who would not be standing for re-election. Humer has been serving Roche in numerous positions since 1995.

Franz is currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Germany-based Lufthansa Group. However, he will not renew his contract as the company’s CEO beyond May 2014. We remind investors that Franz has also been on Roche’s Board since 2011.

We note that Roche Holding is a leading healthcare company which discovers, develops and provides innovative therapeutic drugs for diverse medical needs in over 150 countries.

Apart from providing therapeutic products and services for diverse medical needs, Roche also focuses on innovative diagnostic solutions for the early detection and treatment of diseases.

The company generated revenues of CHF 45.5 billion in 2012. The core area of focus for Roche continues to be oncology, which accounted for 61% of total pharmaceutical sales in 2012.

We were impressed by the company’s solid performance in the first half of 2013.  The outlook for 2013 is bright as well.

Roche continues to expect sales in 2013 to increase in line with 2012 growth rates. Roche expects core earnings per share to grow at a higher rate than sales in 2013. Moreover, Roche expects to further increase its dividend in 2013.
T
oday, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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