The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Intel, Microsoft, IBM and Carnival

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Intel, Microsoft, IBM and Carnival

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, April 19, 2013

CHICAGO, April 19, 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 Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), Intel
(Nasdaq:INTC), Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Carnival
Corporation (NYSE:CCL).


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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Google Posts Mixed, No Breakout Numbers

Search giant/household name Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) reported Q1 earnings after
the bell Thursday, with somewhat lighter results than expected. While the
headline numbers of $14 billion and earnings of nearly $11.60 per share, it's
important to account for a few things:

1.Traffic Acquisition Costs (TAC). These were not deducted from Google's
    gaudily impressive revenue number of $13.97 billion, but let's subtract
    its nearly $3 billion ($2.96B) ourselves: this leaves Google with
    quarterly revenues of $11.01 billion, beneath the $11.24 billion we at
    Zacks had been expecting. So Google has missed on the top-line.
2.Stripping out costs including a restructuring, but adding a gain from disc
    operations, the Zacks EPS actual for Google is $10.00 even. This easily
    beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $8.83, which was a number that had
    crept up in recent weeks from analyst revisions.

Thus, a textbook version of a mixed earnings report. The 13.25% positive
surprise on the bottom line was Google's biggest beat of the past year, and
can be attributed somewhat to an 8% effective tax rate, far less than the 18%
Google reported in Q4 and a year ago.

Web and Network revenues were in line with expectations, as was the continued
dip in "cost-per-click," which was down another 4% year over year, and marks
the sixth quarter in a row Google has seen its average ad price rate drop.
That said, the deceleration has eased notably of late, so one might cast this
in a somewhat favorable light going forward.

Motorola Mobility revenues were less than expected, though this does not
account for the recent sale of its set-top box operations to Arris for $2.35
billion, which occurred during Q2. Besides the 17,000 patents Google purchased
when it bought Motorola Mobility, the company does not seem to have much use
for all the hardware that came along with the deal.

That Google was unable to demonstrate strong revenue growth in the quarter
fits the narrative of other big tech firms like Intel (Nasdaq:INTC), and even
two others that reported after Thursday's bell, Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) andIBM
(NYSE:IBM). Companies of this size and with this enormous breadth would
indicate that the overall narrative of sluggish economic growth continues,
both in the U.S. and globally.

As far as finding that big breakout in revenues for the tech sector, it's
looking more and more like we'll have to wait until next quarter...

Carnival Plans $300M Initiative

Leading cruise operator and vacation company, Carnival Corporation's
(NYSE:CCL) subsidiary Carnival Cruise Lines will introduce a new program to
improve its fleet-wide efficiency and ensure better safety for its passengers.
Carnival Cruise is likely to spend $300 Million to completely execute the

Under the program, Carnival Cruise will be involved in augmenting the
efficiency of its engine rooms as well as its emergency power supply across
its 24 ships. In addition, Carnival Cruise will also be installing a latest
technology in all of its vessels to detect fire and take proper measures to
control it. Apart from this, Carnival Cruise has also formed a Safety &
Reliability Review Board to monitor its fleet-wide operations.

In the recent times, Carnival met one accident after another, which might
compel the cruise operator to invest heavily in safely issues. Earlier in Feb
2013, the engine of Carnival Triumph carrying around 3,000 passengers caught
fire in the Caribbean. Although there were no casualties, Carnival expects the
voyage disruption and repair costs owing to the fire will hurt its earnings by
around 8–10 cents per share during the first half of 2013.

Once more, in March, Carnival's ship the Carnival Dream was docked in the
Caribbean due to equipment problems, adding to the company's woes. In mid-Jan
2012, Carnival's ship, Costa Concordia met with a tragic accident on the west
coast of Italy causing casualties. Although the recent Triumph disaster is
much smaller in scale than the Concordia catastrophe, it might disrupt the
near-term bookings of the company.

Following the Carnival Triumph fire disaster, Carnival has issued a rigorous
review process for all of its 101 ships across 10 brands. Moreover, the
company plans to invest nearly $600 to $700 million to improve its entire
cruise operations and enhance guests' satisfaction.

Carnival currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

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