2014

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Agilent Technologies, Microchip Technology, Cognex, NXP Semiconductors and Green Dot

CHICAGO, Oct. 31, 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 the Agilent Technologies Inc (NYSE: A-Free Report), Microchip Technology Inc (Nasdaq: MCHP-Free Report), Cognex Corp (Nasdaq: CGNX-Free Report), NXP Semiconductors NV (Nasdaq: NXPI-Free Report) and Green Dot Corporation (NYSE: GDOT-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 Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Agilent Upgrades LTE

Agilent Technologies Inc (NYSE: A-Free Report) recently unveiled new software options for the T4010S LTE RF and T4020S LTE RRM test systems. The newly-launched functionalities provide coverage for LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation test cases.

LTE (long term evolution), marketed as 4G LTE, is a standard for wireless transport of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.

The Agilent T4000S series facilitates stress tests by user equipment (UE) developers to check their designs so that they are ready for certification before deployment. These products can also be used for assessment of UE performance and behavior by network operators and independent test labs.

The newly-added features make it possible for a single device to deliver a compact and scalable LTE-Advanced solution test set and help in performing several of the required MIMO and fading tests.

LTE-Advanced is focused on higher capacity with increased peak data rate, higher spectral efficiency, increased number of active subscribers, and improved overall performance.

Agilent Technologies is a broad-based original equipment manufacturer of test and measurement equipment. The company's third-quarter revenues were down 4.6% sequentially and 4.1% year over year to $1.65 billion. However, earnings per share of 68 cents beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6 cents or 9.6%, helped by solid cost management.

Currently, Agilent has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks that look attractive this season are Microchip Technology Inc (Nasdaq: MCHP-Free Report) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Cognex Corp (Nasdaq: CGNX-Free Report) and NXP Semiconductors NV (Nasdaq: NXPI-Free Report), both with a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy).

Will Green Dot (GDOT) Miss on Earnings?

Green Dot Corporation (NYSE: GDOT-Free Report) is set to report third-quarter 2013 results on Oct 31 after the closing bell.  Last quarter it posted a 4.17% positive surprise. Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Consider This Quarter

Green Dot, which markets prepaid debit cards and related services both at retail locations and online, is facing strong competition from major players like American Express. American Express recently launched a reloadable prepaid card, giving stiff competition to Green Dot's Walmart MoneyCard. AmEx's new card has a lower monthly maintenance fee compared to Green Dot's card, making it more attractive to customers.

Moreover, GreenDot faces competition from new entrants in the market like drug stores and grocery store operators, which have launched their own reloadable prepaid cards.

These factors are expected to negatively affect Green Dot's earnings this quarter.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Green Dot is likely to beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP  and a Zacks Rank of #1, #2 or #3 for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Negative Zacks ESP:  The Expected Surprise Prediction or ESP for Green Dot is -5.88%. That is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 16 cents while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is higher at 17 cents.

Zacks Rank: Green Dot's Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) when combined with a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. We caution against stocks with Zacks Ranks #4 and #5 (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

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

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