The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Cisco Systems, Reynolds American, Altria Group, Philip Morris International and Lorillard

 The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Cisco Systems, Reynolds American, Altria
               Group, Philip Morris International and Lorillard

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, April 8, 2013

CHICAGO, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ 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 Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:CSCO),
Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE:RAI), Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO), Philip Morris
International (NYSE:PM) and Lorillard Inc. (NYSE:LO).


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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Cisco to Acquire Ubiquisys Ltd.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:CSCO) recently announced that it has agreed to buy
cellular-network-gear provider, Ubiquisys Ltd. for $310 million.

Swindon, U.K.-based Ubiquisys Ltd. is a privately-held mobile communications
company. It designs and develops communications devices and solutions for
mobile operators and consumers. It specializes in small-cell radio
transmitters called picocells or femtocells that improve cellular services.

Upon the completion of the deal, Ubiquisys will become a part of Cisco's Small
Cell Technology Group, augmenting Cisco's offering to service providers.Cisco
is seeing strong momentum in the mobile market. Cisco's product portfolio
already offers small-scale equipment handling for 3G cellular traffic and

After the acquisition, Cisco will benefit from Ubiquisys software, expertise
and knowledge that should boost Cisco's mobile-carrier business in the future.

Cisco Systems is a leading provider of IP-based networking and other products.
As a part of its acquisition strategy, Cisco bought 11 companies in 2012. In
January, Cisco spent $475 million to purchase Intucell, a company that
develops advanced self-optimizing network (SON) software to enable mobile
carriers to plan, configure, manage and optimize cellular networks

Further, it acquired cloud services management business SolveDirect for an
undisclosed amount. SolveDirect offers cloud-based solutions for enterprises
and service providers, which help to streamline data and workflows across
unified networks.

We believe that these acquisitions will broaden Cisco's customer base and
network offerings, providing the company with a significant competitive edge.

FDA Amends NRT Rules

Americans should find it easier to quit smoking following a recommendation by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding over the counter Nicotine
Replacement Therapy (NRT).

The FDA has recommended that those keen to quit smoking can now opt for the
over the counter NRT on the day they chose to quit smoking even if it is not

The over the counter NRTs usually comes in the form of gum, lozenge or patch.
Although previously the products could not be used for more than 12 days, the
modification of the rule by FDA allows users to do so now.

Nicotine is addictive and has been tied to cardiovascular problems, high blood
pressure and diabetes. But unlike tobacco, it hasn't been linked to cancer.

The recommendation is expected to boost sales of NRTs. Tobacco giants who are
putting more and more focus on alternate tobacco products will benefit from
this move. Tobacco companies have to turn to alternate harmless tobacco
products as per the evolving demand.

In accordance with such needs,Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE:RAI) has developed
a nicotine replacement therapy. The Zonnic gum brought into the market by the
company is different from the other nicotine gums existing in the market as
they are similar to cigarettes in many ways. Zonnic does not pass on the
harmful effect of tobacco to its users. The idea seems to be supportive to the
consumers who are trying to quit cigarettes

Moreover, in May, 2012, Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO) introduced a
non-dissolving, lozenge-shaped nicotine disc called Verve – a mint-flavored
disc that provides nicotine extracted from tobacco. The other tobacco giant
Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) have purchased the patent and global
rights to an aerosol nicotine-delivery system. It will develop the aerosol
technology into a smokeless product that it says could be less harmful than
traditional cigarettes

The recommendation is another step forward in FDA's anti smoking campaign. The
FDA is committed to reduction of cigarette smoking in the U.S. with its
stronger anti smoking campaigns. The watchdog has designed warning labels with
graphic design of a dead body, cancerous lungs and rotten teeth to be used on
cigarette packets. It is intended to scare tobacco lovers each time they pick
up a packet of their favorite brand.

Tobacco biggies are worried about the anti-smoking campaigns of FDA. Five
tobacco giants across the globe have registered a protest against the forceful
use of such graphic labels on the cigarette packets. Reynolds American Inc.,
Lorillard Inc. (NYSE:LO), Ligget Group, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco, and
Commonwealth Brands have gone to the extent of filing a case against FDA for
imposing labels that are intend to reduce smokers rather than helping
consumers make a free choice.

While Altria and Lorillard hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Reynolds America and
Philip Morris International hold a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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