The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, Microsoft and Sprint

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For Immediate Release
 
Chicago, IL – November 22, 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), Nokia Corp. (NOK-Free Report), Alcatel-Lucent S.A. (ALU-Free Report), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT-Free Report) and Sprint Corp. (S-Free Report).
 
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Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Google’s New Prepaid Debit Card
 
Google Inc (GOOG-Free Report) recently unveiled a prepaid debit card. This card will enable consumers to purchase goods at stores and to withdraw cash from ATM machines. This card will be available to Google Wallet users free of cost and be acceptable at places that generally accept Mastercard. Cardholders will not be charged any monthly or annual fees.
 
The debit card will enable consumers to access the funds stored in their Google Wallet accounts. Google Wallet is a smartphone app and online payment service that lets consumers buy goods and transfer money.
 
The introduction of this card implies that a phone is no longer essential to make payment at stores. Instead customers can directly swipe their cards at POS (point of sale) terminals to make the necessary payments.
 
The newly launched prepaid debit card is expected to play a major role in Google’s expansion into the world of commerce. It should also provide valuable information about the shopping habits of consumers that can be used, in turn, to target ads.
 
Google is a market leader in online advertising and it has been trying to explore various ways to diversify its revenues and fight competition. 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.
 
Google reported gross revenue of $14.89 billion in the third quarter of 2013, up 5.6% on a year-over-year basis.  The company has expressed its intention to increase investment in its core products in the future.
 
Currently, Google has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
 
NSN Rebuffs Alcatel Buyout Talks

Recently, Nokia Solutions and Networks (:NSN), a division of Nokia Corp. (NOK-Free Report), denied a long going rumor in the industry that the company will acquire its rival Alcatel-Lucent S.A. (ALU-Free Report). NSN stated that the company has no such immediate plans since its own business is rapidly improving.

Nokia has decided to divest its core mobile handset and its services division to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT-Free Report). The deal is expected to be close in the first quarter of 2014. Post the divestiture, NSN will become the company’s chief business division.

Nokia Solutions and Networks has strong technical efficiencies in professional managed services, customer experience management together with a rich portfolio of mobile broadband infrastructure and 4G LTE networks.

We believe that the improvement was mainly spurred by encouraging financial gains from the lucrative North American region, which has been the weakest sector of the company so far. Nokia’s acquisition of 3G/4G CDMA network gear businesses of Motorola Solutions strengthened its foothold in North America.

Recently, NSN received a major contract from Sprint Corp. (S-Free Report) for assisting the latter’s upcoming LTE network project. Sprint is the third largest telecom operator in the U.S. NSN is facing less competitive threat in the U.S. since major low-cost Chinese network gear makers, such as Huawei and ZTE, have been barred from operating due to concerns over national security, as these companies have close proximity with the Chinese government.

Moreover, Nokia Solutions and Networks entered into a deal with content delivery network operator CDNetworks to accelerate the delivery of mobile content. Liquid technology is a software solution for network infrastructure that drastically reduces the need for dedicated hardware.

The company stated that its new Liquid Applications will change the competitive landscape of the telecom infrastructure gear market by revolutionizing base stations. Nokia currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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