The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, China Mobile, China Telecom, Google and Pandora

Dec 06, 2013, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, Dec. 6, 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 the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL-Free Report), China Mobile (NYSE: CHL-Free Report), China Telecom Corp (NYSE: CHA-Free Report), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG-Free Report) and Pandora (NYSE: P-Free Report).


Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Apple, China Mobile Join Forces (Finally)

Earlier this year, Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL-Free Report) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook expressed his belief that China will become the company's largest market in the near future. To meet this target, to-date in 2013, Apple's CEO made a couple of visits to China to meet the chairman of the world's largest telecom operator China Mobile (NYSE: CHL-Free Report) Xi Guohua.

It seems that these visits have finally paid off. Reportedly, Apple has inked a deal with the Chinese telecom operator. Although there was no official confirmation of the news from either of the parties, The Wall Street Journal noted that iPhone will be possibly available to China Mobile subscribers by the end of this month.

Apple's partnership with China Mobile is expected to reap massive gains for the iPhone maker. The deal gives Apple access to more than 759 million mobile users in its second biggest market after the U.S.

Currently, China along with the U.S. contributes more than 10% of Apple's revenues. To show the country's growing importance, Apple simultaneously launched its new iPhones (5S and 5C) in China along with the U.S. and U.K. in September.

In fiscal 2013, Greater China revenues jumped 13.0% from 2012 to $25.42 billion. The company noted that the improvement was primarily driven by higher demand for its products among the affluent middle class in China. Apple has 12 retail stores in China and Hong Kong.

Despite this significant growth, Apple continues to lose market share in China. According to IDC's September report, Apple's smartphone market share was under 10% in the third quarter of 2013. Apple was placed at #6, down from #5 in the previous quarter.

However, IDC expects Apple's smartphone market share in China to double from this year to 2014, primarily driven by the China Mobile deal. Despite a hefty price tag for its new iPhone 5C (4,488 yuan or $733.0) that primarily caters to medium and low-end consumers, IDC believes that a partnership will attract new consumers.

Apple has been offering iPhones in China through two relatively small carriers, China Unicom Ltd. and China Telecom Corp (NYSE: CHA-Free Report). As compared with China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have 276 million and 183 million customers, respectively.

We believe that this partnership will boost Apple's competitive position in China. The company faces stiff competition in the country from low cost smartphone devices offered by Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE and Xiaomi, which are powered by Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG-Free Report) Android operating system.

Improving market share in China is expected to boost top line and profitability. We believe that the deal will help Apple to gain significant market share without sacrificing its iPhone gross margin, going forward.

Currently, Apple has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Pandora's Listener Hours Raise in November

Pandora (NYSE: P-Free Report) continues to solidify its position in the U.S. web-based radio market, as listening hours jumped 18.0% from the year-ago month to 1.49 billion in Nov 2013. Listening hours were also slightly better than 1.47 billion reported in October.

Additionally, Pandora's share of total U.S. radio listening market surged to 8.44% compared to 7.17% in the year-ago month and 8.10% in Oct 2013.

We believe that the rise in listening hours may have resulted from Pandora's change of policy related to listening limits. In September, the company cancelled the listening limit (40 hours per month) imposed on free users.

Pandora exited the month with almost 72.4 million active listeners, in comparison to 62.4 million a year ago. However, the number of active listeners declined over the month from 72.7 million in Oct 2013.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today.

About Zacks is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.

Get the full Report on AAPL - FREE

Get the full Report on CHL - FREE

Get the full Report on CHA - FREE

Get the full Report on GOOG - FREE

Get the full Report on P - FREE

Follow us on Twitter:

Join us on Facebook:

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.