The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Apple, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Hewlett Packard and Target

CHICAGO, Dec. 3, 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 Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL-Free Report), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT-Free Report), Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT-Free Report), Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ-Free Report) and Target (NYSE: TGT-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 Monday's Analyst Blog:

Tech Stock Roundup: An iPad Christmas?

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL-Free Report) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT-Free Report) are looking to benefit from strong holiday sales.

Cook's "iPad Christmas" Takes Off

Apple is poised to have a solid Christmas if initial sales are an indicator of what's to come. Investors have been concerned about iPad sales since IDC reported that the iPad's third-quarter market share had slipped to 29.6% from 40.2% in the third quarter of 2012. But Cook promised an "iPad Christmas" and that is what appears to be happening.

Consumer research company InfoScout dug through 90,000 Black Friday shopping receipts at top big-box retailers to discover that iPads were the hottest-selling products, including the iPad Air 16GB, iPad mini 16GB and iPad Air 32GB models were the top three products.

The only other popular tablet at Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT-Free Report) (both online and retail) was the RCA Android, which was well behind in seventh position. This is particularly encouraging since Apple has not offered any discounts this year. The other big positive for Apple (and concern for Android) was the fact that roughly 40% of these tablets were bought by Android smartphone users.

Research firm Canalysis expects market leaders Apple and Samsung to eventually lose share to a host of smaller-sized rivals, as well as traditional computing companies like Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ-Free Report). But things look very good for Apple right now and the shares look ready to go through the roof.

Is Microsoft Nosing Ahead In the Console War?

Microsoft's Xbox platform appears to have edged past Sony's PlayStation platform on Black Friday. InfoScout found that the Xbox One and Xbox 360 were the top two products at Target (NYSE: TGT-Free Report) and Wal-Mart. Despite the fact that the Xbox One was the most expensive console, it acquired a 31% share of console sales. The Xbox 360 was second with 30% share, but helped by heavy discounting at Wal-Mart.

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

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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.

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