The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Google, Schlumberger, Total and Royal Dutch Shell

  The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Google, Schlumberger, Total and
                              Royal Dutch Shell

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Oct. 25, 2012

CHICAGO, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --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 Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL), Google
Inc (Nasdaq:GOOG), Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB), Total SA (NYSE:TOT) and
Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS.A).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Earnings Preview: Apple, Inc.

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) will release its fiscal fourth quarter 2012 results
on October 25, 2012. Apple has an average earnings surprise of 11.72% over the
past four quarters. We don't expect a major change in the earnings trend
pattern for the current quarter.

Prior Quarter Highlights

In the third quarter, Apple's top line expanded 22.6% year over year to $35.02
billion and beat the company's forecast of $34.00 billion primarily driven by
strong iPad sales in the quarter. However, revenue fell shy of the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of $37.49 billion.

Though the company's bottom line of $9.32 per share increased 19.6% from $7.79
per share in the year-ago quarter, it missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by
10%. However, reported earnings were ahead of management's conservative
guidance of $8.68.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, Apple expects revenues of approximately
$34.0 billion, lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $36.3 billion.
Earnings are projected at approximately $7.65 per share. Apple expects gross
margin to be 38.5%, reflecting stock-based compensation expense of
approximately $70.0 million.

For further details please read: Apple Shares Fall on 3Q Miss

Estimate Revision Trend

In the last 30 days, eight out of the 36 analysts covering the stock revised
their estimates upward, while six downward revisions were noticed for the
fourth quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter remained at $8.93
per share for the same period of time.

Analysts expect iPhones to be the major catalyst for the company this quarter.
The recent unveiling of iPhone 5 and the price cuts of the earlier version of
the iPhones would help expand its top line. However, supply related constrains
are the near-term headwinds for the company. Moreover, weak PC shipment is
expected to impact the top line.

Recommendation

We believe that Apple remains the biggest growth story over the long term
based on its superior product pipeline, Apps, iCloud and loyal customer base.
Apple is also well positioned to gain from international expansion going
forward. Additionally, the recent shareholder friendly moves such as dividend
payment and share buyback are expected to drive the stock going forward.

Nevertheless, we believe that Apple's ability to spur the popularity of its
products in developing nations such as China, where pricing is often an
important consideration, will go a long way in deciding the company's future
growth.

However, Apple continues to face increasing competition from Google Inc's
(Nasdaq:GOOG) Android based products manufactured by Asian handset and tablet
makers like Samsung and HTC. Although Apple has been trying to block the sales
of products from these companies all over the world, its efforts have not been
entirely successful.

We have a Neutral recommendation over the long term (6-12 months). Currently,
Apple has a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating in the near term.

Sclumberger in $200M Angola Deal

Schlumberger Limited's (NYSE:SLB) subsidiary Framo Engineering entered into a
$200 million contract with Total E&P Angola, wholly-owned subsidiary of Total
SA (NYSE:TOT).

Per the deal, Framo Engineering will deliver subsea multiphase pumping system
for the Girassol Resources Initiatives (GirRI) Project. The pump system will
be installed in Block 17, offshore Angola at a water depth of 4,429 feet. It
will augment the rates for two production flow loops.

The agreement also includes two subsea pump modules and a full system of
topside power and control. The multiphase pump system incorporates the latest
helico-axial technology. It can record differential pressure of up to 120 bar.

This is Schlumberger's third contract with Total E&P Angola for its Block 17
asset.

Assembling and testing of the system will be done at Framo Engineering's
advanced test facility at Horsoy, Norway. It is expected that the pump system
will be delivered in summer of 2014.

Earlier in August, Framo Engineering won a $100 million contract from A/S
Norske Shell — subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS.A) for supply of
booster pump system for its Draugen Field in Norway.

Houston, Texas-based Schlumberger Limited is a leading oilfield services
company, providing technology, project management and information services to
the global oil and gas industry.

We believe Schlumberger will benefit in the next several quarters from its
strong product and services portfolio. We also believe the company is
favorably positioned to benefit from current trends in oilfield services,
given improving activity levels and greater need for stimulation and
completion of services in North America.

However, seasonal and adverse weather conditions, such as hurricanes in the
Gulf of Mexico and extreme winter conditions in the U.S., Canada, Russia, and
the North Sea, may adversely affect demand for the company's services and
operations.

Hence, we maintain our long term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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