The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - February 02, 2016 - 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 Apple ( AAPL ), Facebook ( FB ), Amazon ( AMZN ) and Microsoft ( MSFT ).

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Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Tech Stocks Earnings Roundup

Earnings took center-stage last week, since most technology bellwethers like Apple ( AAPL ), Facebook ( FB ), Amazon ( AMZN ) and Microsoft ( MSFT ) announced other results.

The rest of this roundup covers tidbits like Facebook's new ride-sharing technology, its live video service across the U.S. and its ad network going mobile. And as always, there's also an assortment of the key numbers announced this past week.

So here are the top stories-


Faceboo k: Facebook's fourth-quarter earnings soared 84% over last year, blowing past the Zacks Consensus Estimate . Driving these results was revenue growth of around 60%, which was in turn driven by mobile ad revenue of 81% (total ad revenue grew 66%). Monthly active users (MAUs) and mobile MAUs were up a respective 14% and 21% in contrast, underscoring strength in pricing.

High engagement, broad reach and effective measurement tools are the reasons advertisers like Facebook. The company has really doubled down on its video efforts and it is widely believed that a Facebook service like YouTube is in the making. Forrester Research projects digital video ad revenues to touch $12.6 billion by 2019. Zuckerberg said on the call that users are currently watching 100 million hours of video a day.

Apple : Apple's quarter was more or less as expected, with the company managing to beat earnings estimates while missing on the top line. Similar to most other technology companies, Apple was negatively impacted by FX. iPhone sales (more than two-thirds of the business) were more or less consistent with year-ago levels. The rest of the revenue was split in four: iPad sales dropped double-digits, Mac sales dropped low single-digits, and Services and Other Products grew strong double-digits. China grew just 14%. So basically, the traditional hardware business was disappointing while other areas of the business were encouraging.

Amazon : The leading online retailer grew revenue 21.9% and earnings 122.2% from last year, but the results still fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate . FX was a net positive for the quarter. The fourth quarter was more about retail as may be expected, so AWS share of revenue shrank a couple of points, but still ended up contributing 39% of profits. Importantly, global Prime subscriptions grew 51%. Amazon really piles on the goodies for Prime subscribers, which also tend to spend more , so it has a good history of retaining these profitable high-volume consumers.

Microsoft : Microsoft's second-quarter earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.0% although revenues missed by 5.1%. Macro concerns in China, Japan, Russia and Brazil persisted. Overall, the Productivity business performed in line with guidance, Intelligent Cloud better than guided and More Personal Computing much better than guided. Microsoft's cloud offerings are closely tied with its other offerings, so it will continue to see synergies going forward. Windows 10 is already a big positive for its search business and the OS itself will start contributing once the free period is over and enterprises also start buying. Xbox is really not exciting at the moment despite the seasonal strength in the last quarter as XB1 is clearly losing out to Sony's PS4.

Electronic Arts : Electronic Arts' solid third-quarter earnings beat couldn't stop its shares tanking as a result of its disappointing guidance. The fact that physical sales of Star Wars: Battlefront did better than digital sales (with the corresponding negative impact on margins) couldn't have helped either. Both physical and digital sales grew double-digits however, typical for the seasonally strong quarter. While mobile games also grew, subscriptions, advertising and other declined.

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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 Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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