The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amazon.com, Apple, Wal-Mart Stores, Best Buy and eBay

 The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amazon.com, Apple, Wal-Mart Stores, Best
                                 Buy and eBay

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Nov. 27, 2012

CHICAGO, Nov. 27, 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 Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN), Apple
(Nasdaq:AAPL), Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT), Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY) and eBay
Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY).

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Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

How Hot Is Cyber Monday?

Going by the estimates recently announced by ComScore, "Cyber Monday" is
pretty hot. ComScore sees a 20% increase in Cyber Monday sales from last year,
which will have it touching $1.5 billion for the first time. This, however,
doesn't beat the 26% increase in online sales on Black Friday.

And guess which company has done its homework best, laying the groundwork to
tap this potential? Yes, it's online retail giant Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN).
The company has gone all out to build its digital offerings (e-books, music
and video), which appears to be the hottest-selling category this season. Its
Kindles will also do well, despite strong competitive offerings from Apple
(Nasdaq:AAPL). Amazon will also have a limited-period deal on its Kindle
today, to ensure a little extra boost.

Hot on its heels is traditional brick-and-mortar retailer Wal-Mart Stores
(NYSE:WMT), which has prepped for the holiday season in its own way: with an
improved online sales platform, a better assortment, new return policies and
new deals for the season. The company's online store is a hot spot for game
sales, and preliminary results for Black Friday indicate that the segment did
not disappoint.

Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY) was third on Black Friday. The company's online sales
are on the rise and the current quarter is expected to benefit from new
releases (iPhone 5, Win-8, iPad Mini, and Wii U). The gross margin could bear
watching, however, since many of these consumer electronics items and
smaller-screen TVs mean lower margins for the company.

Nobody's talking about eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY), because it is itself a
marketplace and not exactly a retailer. However, eBay's timely mobile promo
saw PayPal generating a 173% increase in customers and 193% increase in mobile
payment volumes on Black Friday. 

The Consumer Electronics Association has published strong numbers for the
holiday season (dollar spending to be up 11% versus last year), with consumer
electronics gifts topping consumer wish lists. Smartphones are clearly ahead
of the pack, followed by tablets, notebooks and DVD/Blu-ray players.

But unlike in the past, we're looking at smarter shoppers now, two-thirds of
which will be comparing prices online, 41% using mobile devices to check
online prices while in the store and 28% hunting down promos on social
networking sites.

At the moment the segment is, however, not such a good place to put your
money. All these companies have issues: Amazon is investing tons in its
overseas business, Wal-Mart's employees are taking it to task while the
government is thinking of removing some tax breaks that would adversely impact
the company, Best Buy's margins appear to be wearing thin, while Apple could
be losing its touch.

Best to go with a company like eBay, which is in a turnaround phase sporting a
solid payments platform, the potential of which is not fully priced into the
shares. That's the reason the Zacks Rank on eBay shares is #2 (Buy rating in
the next 1-3 months), while both Wal-Mart and Amazon are ranked #3 (Hold) and
Best Buy #4 (Sell).

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