The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Research in Motion Limited, Nokia, AT&T and Verizon Communication

CHICAGO, March 22, 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 Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (Nasdaq: RRGB), Research in Motion Limited (Nasdaq: BBRY), Nokia (NYSE: NOK), AT&T, Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communication (NYSE: VZ).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Red Robin Upped to Outperform

We upgraded our recommendation to Outperform on Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (Nasdaq: RRGB), one of the most recognized full-service casual dining restaurant chains in the United States. The upgrade was based on the company's better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2012 results.

Why the Upgrade?

On Feb 8, Red Robin reported its fourth-quarter 2012 adjusted earnings of $0.59 per share, up 34.1% from the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results in the quarter benefited from higher revenue growth and margin expansion.

Quarterly revenues increased 16.8% from the year-ago period to $240.7 million, easily surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $234 million. Over the past four quarters, Red Robin has delivered an average surprise of 23.9%.

Following the release of fourth quarter results, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 has gone up 5.8% to $2.18 per share. Similarly, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 advanced 13.9% to $2.48 per share. With the Zacks Consensus Estimates for both the years moving north, Red Robin now has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Reasons for Positive Bias

Apart from strong fourth-quarter results Red Robin's growth story looks compelling. Red Robin's management team has undertaken an operating initiative to significantly drive its revenues by 2015. Moreover, Red Robin is focused on company-owned unit expansion to augment its business further.

In order to reduce its costs, Red Robin is continuously trying to enhance its technological infrastructure through several initiatives, such as, improving supply chain, and minimizing administrative headcount. Currently, more than 28% of Red Robin's total restaurants are franchised which will provide another engine for earnings per share growth.

Still Neutral on BlackBerry

As of Mar 21, we maintain our Neutral recommendation onResearch in Motion Limited (Nasdaq: BBRY), ahead of its fourth quarter 2013 financial results.

Why Still Neutral?

Research In Motion has launched its much awaited BB10 OS-based Z10 and Q10 touch screen smartphones. The company has also generated a whopping order of 1 million handsets from one of its established carrier partners.

The new mobile device supports 70,000 apps and is based on a new user-friendly platform called QNX software or BB10 operating system, thereby offering strong resistance against the popular iOS and Android operating system.

Moreover, Research In Motion with its dedicated subscriber base of approximately 79 million coupled with strong cash position and a debt-free balance sheet will tend to act as tailwinds for the company going forward.

On the downside, we remain concerned about the company's recent decision to change the business model of its high-margin services fees segment As per the new structure, the company will benefit from subscribers who opt for services like greater security while the other customers will generate little or no service revenue for the company.

Furthermore, BBRY is facing stiff competition from the other low-cost smartphone manufacturers, which we believe will continue to hurt profitability going forward.

Currently, Research in Motion has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other Stocks Outlook in Related Industries

Other stocks in the telecom industry include Nokia (NYSE: NOK), AT&T, Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communication (NYSE: VZ). All 3 stocks currently have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Research In Motion announced that effective January 30, 2013, the company would operate around the world under the name BlackBerry. From February 4, 2013, the company's ticker symbol for trading has been changed from "RIMM" to "BBRY" on NASDAQ.

The legal name of the company has not changed, for which the approval of the official change by shareholders will be sought at the company's Annual General Meeting later in 2013. During the time, the company will do business as BlackBerry.

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