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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, IBM, Microsoft, Intel and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – January 20, 2012 – 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 Google ( GOOG), IBM ( IBM), Microsoft ( MSFT), Intel ( INTC) and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. ( FCX).

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Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Tech Titans Report Earnings

There were several big tech companies reporting earnings after the close today. Let's take a look at four big names and the key metrics for each.

Google ( GOOG) reporting non GAAP earnings of $9.50 on net revenues of $8.1 billion. Paid Clicks saw a big jump in 3Q11, up from 18% in 2Q to 28%. This quarter saw another strong paid clicks number of 34%. This was considered a big miss and the stock promptly dropped almost 10% or about 60 points.

Google goes not give any guidance, but it’s clear from this report that the growth story is still intact. More details about Google+, Android and Chrome will come out of the conference call. We already know that there are more than 700,000 Android activations each day, investors may look for that number to increase... but we suggest they do not hold their breath on that one.

IBM ( IBM) reported total revenue of $29,486, up from $26,157 in 3Q11 and up slightly from $29,019 in 4Q10. We drill down on both service lines, Tech and Business as well as Software to determine the health of the quarter.

Tech Services came in at $10,452 up from $10,322 in 3Q11 and 1% higher than the $10,165 reported in 4Q10.

Business software reported revenue of $4,877, compared to $4832 in the previous quarter and $4,758 in the year ago period.

Software revenue was $7648, up from $5817 in 3Q11 and $7,039 in 4Q10. Software generally contributes a higher amount to gross margin.

Gross profit came at 49.9%, well ahead of last quarter’s 46.5% and the year ago level of 49%.

Microsoft ( MSFT) is really the bellwether of the tech sector. They are a key component in most every business and their growth means the economy is growing. We look at total revenue and break out its major parts to get a better feel.

Business Division Revenues were $6.28 billion, up from $5.62 billion in the most recent quarter and up from $6.03 billion in the year ago period.

Sever & Tools posted sales of $4.77 billion vs. $4.25 billion in 3Q11 and $4.39 billion in 4Q10.

Windows & Windows Live Division saw revenues of $4.74 billion compared to 4.87 in the previous quarter and $5.05 in the year ago period.

Recall that Mister Softee (as the traders call Microsoft) noted that the Asian floods ended up hurting PC demand in 4Q11.

Intel ( INTC) had to face the above mention floods in Asia which hurt demand and should slow down the supply chain. When drilling down on INTC, we look at Revenue and gross margins. Book to bill is not contained in the earnings releases.

Revenue came in at $13.8 billion, down from $14.3 billion in 3Q11 and up from $11.5 billion in 4Q10.

Gross Margins were 64% slightly below last quarter’s 64.4% and well below the year ago levels of 67.5%.

Freeport McMoRan Exceeds Estimates

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. ( FCX) reported a profit of $640 million or 67 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2011 versus $1.5 billion or $1.63 per share in the same quarter of 2010. The profit surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents per share.

Revenues in the quarter were $4.2 billion versus $5.6 billion in the prior-year quarter, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.8 billion. Consolidated sales from mines totaled 823 million pounds of copper, 133,000 ounces of gold and 19 million pounds of molybdenum compared with 941 million pounds of copper, 590,000 ounces of gold and 17 million pounds of molybdenum in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Consolidated unit net cash costs (net of by-product credits) averaged $1.57 per pound of copper compared with 53 cents per pound in the fourth quarter of 2010. Operating income slumped to $1.3 billion from $3.1 billion in the year-ago quarter.

However, overall sequential results were lower primarily due to labor disruptions and temporary suspension of milling operations at PT Freeport Indonesia resulting from the damage of the concentrate and fuel pipelines.

Freeport-McMoRan had cash and cash equivalents of $4.8 billion as of December 31, 2011 compared with $3.7 billion as of December 31, 2010.

Freeport-McMoRan’s operating cash flows totaled $746 millionin the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with $2.1 billion in fourth-quarter 2010. Capital expenditures totaled $785 million for fourth-quarter 2011 compared with $535 million in fourth-quarter 2010. In fiscal 2011, operating cash flow was $6.6 billion and capital expenditure came in at $2.5 billion.

As of December 31, 2011, total debt approximated $3.5 billion and consolidated cash approximated $4.8 billion. During the fiscal year 2011, FCX repaid $1.2 billion in debt and paid common stock dividends totaling $1.4 billion.

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