Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Genuine Parts, Sunoco, Electronic Arts, Apple and Zynga - Press Releases

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - March 6, 2012 - Zacks Equity Research highlights: Genuine Parts Co.  ( GPC ) as the Bull of the Day and Sunoco, Inc.  ( SUN ) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Electronic Arts Inc.  ( EA ), Apple  ( AAPL ) and Zynga Inc  ( ZNGA ).

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2678 .

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day :

Genuine Parts Co.  ( GPC ) saw a 15% increase in profit to $0.86 per share in the fourth quarter of 2011, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.03. Meanwhile, total sales increased 7% to $3.0 billion, which was in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. For full year 2011, the company reported a 19% increase in profit to $565 million or $3.59 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.02.

Genuine Parts is a leading distributor of automotive and industrial replacement parts, office products and electrical/electronic materials in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The company has undertaken various initiatives to boost sales and earnings, such as product line expansion, penetration into new markets and acquisitions.

Therefore, we are maintaining our Outperform recommendation on the stock with a target price of $77.00. This target price, 19.5x our 2012 EPS estimate, reflects our Outperform recommendation.

Bear of the Day :

A weak business model, geographically undiversified asset base and operational hindrances compel us to downgrade  Sunoco, Inc.  ( SUN ) to Underperform from Neutral. Our pessimistic outlook on the stock is fueled by the company's poorly performing refining and supply segment, which registered a high loss along with lower realized prices and throughputs in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Moreover, with the separation of the coke manufacturing business, Sunoco exhibits a weak business profile and remains susceptible to competitive risks. As such, we expect Sunoco to perform below the industry, which gives investors little reason to hold the stock.

We render a pessimistic outlook on the stock in the coming quarters, which is the main reason for our downgrade of the rating. Our $36 price objective reflects a multiple of 6.2X the trailing twelve-month cash flow.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog :

EA's 'Simpsons' on Apple Devices

Video game developer and publisher,  Electronic Arts Inc.  ( EA ) recently launched a mobile version of the long-running animated series "The Simpsons." The mobile game called  The Simpsons: Tapped Out  is currently available in  Apple's  ( AAPL ) App stores and can be played on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch for free.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out  challenges gamers to build their own version of Springfield, a city accidentally blown up by one of its residents, Homer. Players are expected to complete a number of levels to unlock virtual goods and money that they can use to beautify their city according to their choice.

Moreover, with the help of EA's origin platform players can visit his/her neighbors Springfield and is allowed help in completing different tasks. This co-operative gaming mode is one of the major attractions of  The Simpsons: Tapped Out , in our view.

We believe that the popularity of "The Simpsons" brand, coupled with its availability on Apple devices such as the iPhone 4S, will benefit the new game going forward.  The Simpsons: Tapped Out  is EA's second free-to-play mobile game after it launched  The Sims: Freeplay during the third quarter of fiscal 2012.

To date, in fiscal 2012, the company has released mobile versions of some of its well known titles such as  FIFA 12 , Madden NFL 12 and  The Sims 3 Pets . EA is expected to release a mobile version of  Mass Effect 3  in the upcoming fourth quarter. We expect that EA will continue to release mobile versions of its popular games going forward in order to gain market share in the mobile gaming sector over the long term.

Social and Mobile Gaming: Long-Term Trends

According to research firm IBISWorld, social gaming is expected to reach $11.3 billion by 2016. According ABI research, mobile gaming is expected to generate $16.0 billion in revenues at the same time, a massive increase from approximately $5.0 billion reported in 2011. As per Juniper Research, social and casual games will account for a major chunk of mobile game downloads going forward.

We believe that the social gaming market will further benefit from the increased usage of smartphones and tablets going forward. As smartphones and tablets become more powerful with faster processors and improving telecommunication technologies (such as 4G), massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have become easy to play on the move. This will further boost the demand for social and co-operative games going forward.

Most of the social games are free to play (freemium) and generate revenue primarily through the in-game sale of virtual goods. According to market intelligence firm In-Stat, the worldwide market for virtual goods was worth $9.0 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $15.0 billion by 2014. As per Juniper Research, revenues from purchases of virtual goods totaled $2.1 billion in 2011 and are expected to grow to $4.8 billion by 2016.

On the other hand, advertising spending on mobile games is expected to reach approximately $900.0 million by 2015. We believe that the freemium model will continue to remain the primary revenue contributor for social game developers over the long term.

EA Better Placed than Zynga?

We believe that social gaming is currently a duopoly market with the major players being EA and  Zynga Inc  ( ZNGA ). With the launch of new social games such as  The Simpsons: Tapped Out , EA has thrown a significant challenge to the dominance of  CityvilleFarmville  and other popular social games from Zynga. We note that Zynga's  Cityville  and EA's  The Sims Social  are ranked #1 and #2, respectively, as the most popular games on the social networking website Facebook.

We note that mobile revenues form approximately 5.0% to 7.0% of both EA's and Zynga's revenue base and both the companies expect it to play a big part going forward. We believe that it is extremely difficult to point a winner right now as both the companies boast significant market share, talented development teams and significant product pipelines.

However, we believe that EA has a slight competitive edge over Zynga owing to its well established product portfolio for the mobile segment and its acquisition of Zynga's direct competitor PopCap Games in July 2011. Moreover, Zynga's lack of revenue diversification is a major advantage for EA going forward, in our view.

We remain Neutral on both EA and Zynga. Currently, EA has a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating on a short-term basis. On the other hand, Zynga has a Zacks #2 Rank, which implies a Buy rating in the short term.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649 .

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APPLE INC ( AAPL ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ELECTR ARTS INC ( EA ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
GENUINE PARTS ( GPC ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SUNOCO INC ( SUN ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ZYNGA INC ( ZNGA ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , EA , GPC , SUN , ZNGA

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