, Apple, Google, Fossil and Guess highlighted in Zacks Analyst Blog:, Apple, Google, Fossil and Guess highlighted in Zacks Analyst Blog:

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Jan. 15, 2013

CHICAGO, Jan. 15, 2013 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, Inc. (AMZN), Apple Inc. (AAPL),
Google Inc. (GOOG), Fossil, Inc. (FOSL), and Guess, Inc (GES).


Today, Zacks is promoting Four daily picks are offered free.

Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Amazon Enhances Cloud Music Service

The world's largest online retailer, Inc. (AMZN), recently launched
a new music service, Amazon AutoRip, in a bid to expand its Cloud music
offerings to better compete with rivals like Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc.

This new service allows anyone who has ever purchased an album on Amazon to
download a free digital copy. The music files will automatically get saved on
customer libraries at Amazon's datacenters, available for download or play
through Amazon's Cloud Player.

Amazon's Cloud Player is a web storage application, which allows people to
listen to music from any computer or Android device with Internet access. It
allows streaming on devices such as Kindle Fire, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac and

Despite being the pioneer of facilitating music storage on the Internet for
access on any device, Amazon's Cloud Player is still far behind Apple's
iTunes. New rivals like Google as well as streaming services such as Spotify,
Deezer and Rdio have also entered the market. According to the market research
company, NPD Group, in the second quarter, Apple accounted for 64% of U.S.
music sales online, followed by Amazon at 16%, Google at 5% and other services
making up the rest.

Amazon's strategy of offering users free digital copies of CDs bought on its
site makes its service more ambitious. This new feature will bring in more
users to the Amazon cloud, giving a boost to its digital music sales and also
drive sales of Amazon's other digital goods.

Also, recently Amazon announced that its Cloud Player can now stream music
wirelessly through Roku streaming players. Amazon offers Roku's customers free
download of the Amazon Cloud Player channel from Roku Channel Store for free.

Therefore, while iTunes still leads in the segment, Amazon's tactics, its
ongoing efforts and new ideas could help the company pick up some market

Amazon is one of the leading players in the extremely fast-growing retail
ecommerce market and its strength lies in its huge scale of offerings, its
broad reach and platform approach. While the strong growth prospects are
making the market more competitive, Amazon continues to maintain and even grow
its share on the back of its consistent and reliable services. In the third
quarter, Amazon's revenue of $13.81 billion were up, both on a sequential as
well as year-over-year basis.

Currently, Amazon retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Fossil Acquires Distribution Biz

Texas-based Fossil, Inc. (FOSL) has acquired the Latin American distribution
business from Florida-based Bentrani Watches, LLC, the company's largest
third-party distributor. Bentrani has been associated with Fossil for the past
10 years and has distributed some of the company's proprietary and licensed
brand products in 16 Latin American countries, including Chile, Argentina,
Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Uruguay.

With this acquisition, the company expects to gain from Bentrani's exposure in
Latin America, which is one of the company's fastest growing regions in the
world. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Besides the distribution business, Fossil has also been acquiring and
developing new brands and licensing agreements to customer preference and
lifestyle. In 2011, the company signed an exclusive global licensing agreement
with Karl Lagerfeld for watches, which are expected to be launched worldwide
in the first quarter of 2013. Later in August 2012, Fossil completed the
acquisition of privately-held Nevada-based Skagen Designs, Ltd. and certain
subsidiaries, which helped Fossil to expand its brands in the European markets
and other emerging markets of East Asia, where Skagen has a significant

The continued strength across North American watch business and Fossil's
acquisition of Skagen also boosted its third quarter 2012 earnings, which
exceeded both the year-ago earnings and the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9.4%
and 17.4%, respectively. The results also exceeded management's guidance
range. Top-line growth, improved margins, increases in comparable store sales
and prudent expense management also contributed to the increase.

Despite robust results, Fossil experienced a rise in costs of watch components
and labor costs resulting in weak gross margins. Increasing currency headwinds
also negatively impacted sales and gross margins in the quarter. In addition,
an uncertain economic environment in Europe might pose a threat to the
expanding brands in European markets. Fossil currently holds a Zacks Rank #3
(Hold), while its close peer Guess, Inc (GES) carry a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong

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