The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Saks, Texas Instruments, Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble

CHICAGO, Feb. 26, 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 Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS), Texas Instruments (Nasdaq: TXN), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS).

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Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Saks Expected to Beat in 4Q

We expect luxury retailer Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) to beat expectations when it reports fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2013 results on Feb 26, 2013.

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that Saks is likely to beat estimates because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method), which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is at+6.67%.This is very meaningful and a leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise for shares.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Note that stocks with Zacks Ranks of #1, #2 and #3 have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings. The Sell-rated stocks (#4 and #5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement. Saks currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

The combination of the stock's Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and +6.67% ESP makes us highly confident of a positive earnings beat on Feb 26.

What is Driving the Better-than-Expected Earnings?

Saks' underlying business is gaining momentum due to its strong same store sales that were the result of the company's investments in omni channel initiatives and strategies coupled with efficient cost management.

Saks delivered solid earnings results in both the second and third quarters, which were well ahead of prior-year quarter earnings. Saks posted positive surprises for the last four quarters with an average surprise of 16.27%.

Texas Instruments Apps for iPad

TexasInstruments (Nasdaq: TXN) or "TI" has launched two new apps: the TI-Nspire App and TI-Nspire CAS App for Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad.

TI is putting together its powerful graphing technology to create apps targeted at math students. The app is also intended to help teachers by increasing interest in on math studies. 

Apart from the app, TI continues to support teachers through its professional offerings. Teachers can access the free classroom-ready activities through TI-Nspire Apps from their iPads. They can integrate curriculum into activities through TI's Math Nspired website.

TI's apps for iPad are available at the App Store for $29.99 each. Teachers will receive a one-year license of the TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire CAS Teacher Software free if they purchase one of the apps.

We view this as a smart move for TI, since the convergence of technologies could soon pressure its calculator business, which while accounting for just a small part of its sales, does provide a seasonal boost during the back-to-school season.

Technology has entered classrooms of late. There are various apps present in the market, which enable teachers to impart better and quality education. More teachers prefer this method of education as it is more interactive and helps students to grasp the concept better. If TI's app catches on as expected, it may turn out to be a positive for TI going forward.

As per a report by IDC, Apple sold 22.9 million units of its iPads in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which was a 48% year-over-year increase for a 43.6% share of the market. Samsung, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), Asustek, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) and others are all vying for a bigger share of the pie.

According to IDC, iPad's market share is declining '(43.6% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 compared to 51.7% in the year-ago quarter). This is not really such a concern for TI and is more or less expected because sooner or later in any high-growth consumer market, there will be new entrants that will take share from the market leader.

The more important thing to consider is the strength of the market itself, which could result in pretty strong growth for the market leader, especially one as well-entrenched and loved as iPad. Of course, we do expect TI to create apps for other popular OSs such as the Android.

In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, TI generated total revenue of $2.98 billion, down 12.1% sequentially and 12.9% year over year (slightly better than the mid-point of the recently narrowed guidance range of $2.89 billion to $3.01 billion).

The Analog business fell 9.4% sequentially and 1.5% year over year. The sequential decline was attributable to broad-based weakness across the HVAL, HPA, SVA and power management product lines.

Texas Instruments has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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