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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Tesla Motors, Apple, Koninklijke Philips, Unilever and Lamar Advertising

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – August 07, 2014 – 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 Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA-Free Report), Apple Inc. (AAPL-Free Report), Koninklijke Philips N.V (PHG-Free Report),  Unilever NV (UN-Free Report) and Lamar Advertising Co. (LAMR-Free Report).
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Tesla Trademark Dispute in China Finally Closes
Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA-Free Report) recently settled a trademark issue in China with businessman Zhan Baosheng, per media reports. This persistent problem had been holding up the company’s expansion plans in China .
Meanwhile, under the latest agreement, Baosheng will transfer domain names which include tesla.cn and teslamotors.cn to Tesla. Tesla’s trademark, which Zhan Baosheng owns or has applied for, will be canceled by the Chinese authorities. This will establish undisputed trademark rights for Tesla in China . However, the automaker did not provide any financial details of the agreement.
The recent conclusion of the patent issue marks the second settlement between Tesla and Zhan Baosheng. In January this year, Tesla announced the settlement of the trademark dispute with Baosheng and initiated the supply of Model S vehicles to China in Apr 2014. However, on Jul 8, a trademark infringement charge was leveled against Tesla by Baosheng, demanding a compensation of about $3.85 million and the termination of the company’s operations in China .
Notably, Baosheng owns the Tesla trademark in China since 2006, much ahead of the automaker’s entry into the Chinese market. While Baosheng had planned to sell the trademark to Tesla, the deal did not take shape.
Tesla is currently focusing on international expansion, particularly in China – deemed to be the world’s largest automobile market. Toward this end, the company intends to set up 10 to 12 stores by end-2014 along with service centers and a Supercharger network in the nation. Tesla also expects China to account for 30–35% of its global sales growth in 2014. Further, the automaker intends to start manufacturing cars in China by 2017–2018, thereby slashing car prices and boosting sales.
Meanwhile, Beijing is initiating new incentives like purchase subsidies and tax cuts to promote electric vehicles. This should boost the sales of Tesla’s electric vehicle Model S.
Tesla is not the only foreign company which has been facing patent-related concerns in China . Companies like Apple Inc. (AAPL-Free Report), Koninklijke Philips N.V (PHG-Free Report) and Unilever NV (UN-Free Report) have also come across similar trademark-related complications in China .  
Tesla currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Lamar Buys Marco Outdoor, Strengthens in New Orleans
In order to strengthen its presence in the New Orleans region, Lamar Advertising Co. (LAMR-Free Report) disclosed the buyout of a regional firm – Marco Outdoor Advertising, Inc. Though it was an all-cash deal, the term details have not been revealed. 
With this acquisition, Lamar added over 150 bulletin faces to its portfolio. The acquired assets of Marco are located especially alongside the Pontchartrain Expressway and other chief transportation networks of New Orleans . Apart from this, Marco’s inventory is further spread in the communities on the North shore of Lake Pontchartrain .
For Lamar, the above-mentioned transaction is a strategic fit as it will enhance its overall portfolio through the inclusion of REIT-qualified, premium billboard assets. Notably, in Jan 2014, this outdoor advertising services provider converted itself into a real estate investment trust (:REIT) to capitalize on a seemingly more favorable tax environment.
Lamar is one of the largest owners and operators of outdoor advertising structures in the U.S. This Baton Rouge, LA–based company offers advertising solutions in the form of bulletins, posters, digital billboards, buses, benches, and transit shelters. The company presently operates more than 150 outdoor advertising companies in 44 states of the U.S. , Canada and Puerto Rico .
Although the acquisition of outdoor advertising assets bodes well for Lamar’s long-term growth strategy, we believe that this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) stock holds negative near-term sentiments. Lamar’s earnings had missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 28.6% in first-quarter 2014 and things do not look very encouraging for the upcoming earnings announcement. In fact, Lamar has an Earnings ESP of -11.43% for second-quarter 2014 and this coupled with Zacks Rank #4, does not conclusively show that the company will beat earnings this season.

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