The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, VMware, Apple, Google and BioScrip

   The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, VMware, Apple, Google and
                                   BioScrip

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, April 11, 2013

CHICAGO, April 11, 2013 /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 Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT),
VMware (NYSE:VMW), Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL), Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) and BioScrip
(Nasdaq:BIOS).

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

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

More Customers for Microsoft Cloud

The world's largest software maker Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT) announced
that it won customers such as Domino's Pizza, Xerox India and Pedcor Co. for
its cloud and server services, Windows Server Hyper-V.

The Windows Server Hyper-V infrastructure software equips organizations with
advanced cloud-based technologies that increase the efficiency of their
operations by solving complex business challenges and improving resource
allocation. It also facilitates communication and collaboration among
companies and reduces IT expenses of these organizations and partners across
the world.

The suite won on different counts at these players. Domino's Pizza deployed
Windows Server Hyper-V to manage its in-store servers, which will make
Domino's Pulse point-of-sale (POS) application run smoothly. The server system
was initially deployed at 750 stores with another 4,000 around the world
expected to join soon. Following the installation of the system,
virtualization-related desk calls have reduced 99% at Dominos.

The Xerox India Development Center ("IDC"), which supports its customers'
software development activities all over the world, deployed the service to
collaborate efficiently with its customers.

Further, Pedcor Co. replaced its VMware (NYSE:VMW) infrastructure with a
Microsoft private cloud, built with Windows Server and System Center to
improve its datacenter availability and install an efficient communication
system for its employees located in 77 remote offices.

Currently, just like other PC makers, Microsoft is also battling the slump in
the PC market caused by the sluggish economy. In addition, the popularity of
smartphones and tablets from Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) have
been cannibalizing its core PC market. However, its server and tools business
remains as strong as ever, which is evident from the series of wins it has
announced in the recent past.

Microsoft remains one of the best positioned software vendors, given its wide
range of products, emerging markets strength, continued technology deployment
at data centers and growth in cloud computing. We believe that Microsoft's
current investments are supported by its strong balance sheet and expect these
to drive the next growth phase, improving prospects of market share gains.

Microsoft reported revenues, excluding deferrals, of $21.46 billion in the
second quarter of fiscal 2013, up 34.0% sequentially and 2.7% from last year,
in line with our estimates. All except the Entertainment & Devices segment
grew both sequentially and from the year-ago quarter.

Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

BioScrip Raised to Outperform

On Apr 9, we upgraded our long-term recommendation on BioScrip (Nasdaq:BIOS)
to Outperform from Neutral. The upgrade is based on the avid outlook for 2013,
strong potential of its operating platforms and favorable market trends. We
are optimistic that this provider of infusion, home healthcare and pharmacy
benefit management (PBM) services can keep the momentum going over the long
haul.

Why the Upgrade?

As reported earlier, BioScrip's revenue guidance for 2013 of $830–$865
million, reflects growth in the range of 25% to 30% and outpaced the then
Zacks Consensus Estimate of $770 million. The robust expectations are based on
the solid ongoing growth momentum. The company is confident about witnessing
stronger business momentum going forward on the back of strategic
acquisitions.

On a segment basis, BioScrip has been recording persistent growth in the
Infusion Services segment over the past few quarters. Further, the company
surpassed its forecast of annual revenues of $100–$105 million from the PBM
franchise. BioScrip is taking several strategic initiatives to bolster its
business through further market expansion.

BioScrip has significant opportunities for growth in three operating areas
with several catalysts to accelerate growth in the future. Factors such as
demographic tailwinds, increasing healthcare coverage in the U.S. and a fast
growing PBM industry are material upsides for the company.

With respect to earnings trend, BioScrip delivered positive earnings surprise
in 2 of 4 quarters in 2012 with an average beat of 100%. The Zacks Consensus
Estimate for the first quarter 2013 is currently pegged at 3 cents.

This drug store retailer carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Our proven model does
not conclusively show that BioScrip is likely to beat earnings this quarter.
This is because though the stock carries Zacks Rank #3 (which increases the
probability of positive earnings surprise), Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings
ESP: A Better Method) is zero for the quarter.

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