The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Research In Motion and UnitedHealth Group

Sep 09, 2011, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, Sept. 9, 2011 /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: Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE), Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL), Google Inc's (Nasdaq: GOOG), Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM) and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Adobe to Support Apple Newsstand

Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) announced that its Digital Publishing Suite will support Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) forthcoming Newsstand feature on iOS 5. Newsstand is the latest driver of digital subscriptions to iOS 5, offering easy access to content and reducing download time.

The publishing software by Adobe will help publishers create digital editions of their magazines and newspaper applications that automatically deliver content to the Newsstand application on iOS devices. Additionally, it will enable publishers to better merchandise their content through Newsstand push notifications (Push notification is an apps alert that iPhone and iPod touch owners get for content updates, messages, and other events) and icon covers of the latest issues displayed on its shelf.

A number of publishers including Conde Nast and Reader's Digest have utilized Adobe's publishing tools to bring their content to the iPad, making Newsstand the one-stop digital platform for their latest issues and accelerating magazine subscription on tablet devices.

Moreover, Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite is not restricted to iPads alone. It can also be used for the creation and introduction of digital editions on Google Inc's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android tablets and Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM) BlackBerry Playbooks.

Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite will be available to publishers soon after Apple releases iOS 5 and the Newsstand application.

Adobe is one of the largest software companies in the world and its second quarter results beat the Zacks Consensus on both the top and bottom lines. We believe that the Digital Publishing Suite support for Newsstand will significantly boost sales and advertising revenue by combining content discoverability with flexible payment options.

Currently, Adobe carries a Zacks #3 Rank, indicating a short-term Hold recommendation.

S&P Ups UnitedHealth to "Stable"

The rating agency Standard and Poor's Rating Services (S&P) yesterday pulled up the ratings outlook on the Minnesota-based health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) to "stable" from "negative".

UnitedHealth ranks first among the major health insurers in the U.S. on the basis of revenues. It is currently carrying a credit rating "A-" from S&P, which implies that the company has a strong capacity to meet its financial commitment.

S&P acknowledges UnitedHealth's ability to swim successfully through the difficult market conditions for the past two years and generate solid earnings. The revision of outlook to stable from negative is indicative of a potential ratings upgrade over the next year or two.

UnitedHealth Group is one of the most diversified of the listed managed care companies in the U.S. With a broad product and service offering, the company targets the full spectrum of the population. As a result, its earnings are buffered to a certain degree against any single change in market dynamics at the divisional level. This is witnessed by growth in company revenues for the past five years.

UnitedHealth stands healthy from a balance sheet perspective as well. The company maintained its debt-to-capital ratio at favorable levels of 30.8% as of March 31, 2011. For the past five years, its debt ratio has stood at an average of 32.1%. The company is also consistent in its dividend paying capability. Its annualized 10-year dividend growth rate has been 52.2%. Historically, the company has favored share buybacks and mergers over dividend payments as a way to deploy capital. The company has been generating a strong cash flow from operations, which further signals strong longer-term cash flow prospects.

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