The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Discover Financial Services, TELUS, Apple, Rogers Communications and BCE

CHICAGO, July 1, 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 Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS-Free Report), TELUS Corporation (NYSE: TU-Free Report), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL-Free Report), Rogers Communications Inc. (NYSE: RCI-Free Report) and BCE Inc. (NYSE: BCE-Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Discover Financial Raised to a Buy

On June 27, 2013, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Discover Financial has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of the recent initiatives to expand clientele, including interest rate cuts and strategic alliances. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for this direct banking and payment services company's 2013 earnings per share (EPS) stands at $4.78, up 7.25% over 2012.

The most recent among these measures was a cut down in the interest rates on Discover Financial's fixed rate student loans for undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students. The company is now offering fixed rate loans with an interest rate beginning at 5.49%. The low rates should help attract more students toward Discover Financial's student loans, thus boosting the income of the Direct Banking segment of Discover Financial.

Additionally, Discover Financial inked agreements with Barclaycard Global Payment Acceptance, Japan Credit Bureau, Cadence Bank and Nigeria-based Interswitch Limited this year to boost card acceptances and transaction volume.

On Apr 23, 2013, Discover Financial reported first-quarter 2013 EPS of $1.33, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 18.75% and year-ago earnings by 9.9%. The positive momentum is expected to continue in the second quarter as well. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second quarter of 2013 is $1.15, up 14.69% over the year-ago quarter.

Telus to Offer Advanced iPad

TELUS Corporation (NYSE: TU-Free Report) enhanced its product portfolio with the launch of iPad with added facilities. The company will offer the fourth generation iPad and iPad mini along with Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity. The iPads will be available in the company's stores across Canada.

The fourth generation iPad of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL-Free Report) is designed with a 9.7-inch Retina display, new A6X chip and FaceTime HD camera. The iPad mini – 23% thinner and 53% lighter than the third generation device – displays a 7.9-inch Multi-Touch screen, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight camera and a battery that provides nearly 10 hours of service, depending on settings, usage and other factors.

Both the tablets operate on the world's most upgraded mobile operating system – iOS 6 – that has more than 200 new features. The gadgets are expected to render super-fast wireless performance with download speeds of up to 75 megabits per second (Mbps) at peak times and an expected average speed of 12–25 Mbps.

To make the offer more attractive and draw additional customers, Telus has clubbed an array of lucrative data plans that are available minus the hassle of any contract. This provides customers the option to activate or cancel the plans at any time.

There are a number of simple data and payment plans available for easy data sharing across several devices on the same account. Telus' Easy Tablet program enables customers to buy a new iPad at a low price and repay the balance amount via equal monthly installments.

We believe that Telus has strong prospects in the wireless segment backed by technology upgrades, expansion of the 4G LTE network plus high rollout of smartphones.

TELUS Corporation – which operates within the Canadian telecom industry along with Rogers Communications Inc. (NYSE: RCI-Free Report) and BCE Inc. (NYSE: BCE-Free Report) – currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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.

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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 http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.



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