CHICAGO, Nov. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights Great Southern Bancorp (Nasdaq:GSBC-Free Report) as the Bull of the Day and CommVault (Nasdaq:CVLT-Free Report) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis onMicrosoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report), Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) and Google (Nasdaq:GOOGL-Free Report).
Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:
Great Southern Bancorp (Nasdaq:GSBC-Free Report) recently delivered solid all-around third quarter results, driven by strong loan growth, an expanding net interest margin, improving credit quality and a better efficiency ratio.
This prompted analysts to revise their estimates significantly higher for the company, sending it to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). And while shares of Great Southern have soared following the Q3 report, the valuation picture still looks reasonable.
Great Southern Bancorp is the holding company for Great Southern Bank, which operates 108 retail banking centers in Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska, and loan production offices in Overland Park, Kansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Dallas, Texas.
Great Southern delivered another strong earnings report on October 21. Earnings per share came in at $0.83, crushing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.55. It was a 36% increase over the same quarter last year.
Net interest income increased 15% year-over-year, driven by strong loan growth and a higher net interest margin (which was boosted by the repayment of FHLB borrowings late in Q2). Growth was particularly strong in consumer and construction loans.
Earnings estimates have been plummeting for CommVault (Nasdaq:CVLT-Free Report) after the company delivered disappointing financial results on October 28. This drove the stock to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).
Although shares of CommVault have taken a beating so far this year, it still does not look cheap with a forward P/E of 48x and an EV/EBITDA multiple of 18.
CommVault Systems provides data and information management software applications and related services. The company develops, markets, and sells a suite of software applications under the Simpana brand that provides its customers with various functions, such as data protection, data migration and archiving, and enterprise-wide search capabilities. It is headquartered in Oceanport, New Jersey.
CommVault reported disappointing results for its fiscal 2015 second quarter on October 28. Earnings per share (not adjusted for stock-based compensation expense) came in at 14 cents, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 28 cents.
Revenue rose 7% year-over-year but declined 1% from the previous quarter to $151.1 million. This was below the consensus of $157.0 million. Software revenue declined 4% from the prior quarter while Services revenue slipped 1%.
Despite the relatively modest year-over-year increase in revenue, operating expenses soared 23%. This was driven in large part by a 25% increase in Sales & Marketing expenses as the company increased its sales force. Meanwhile, operating income plunged 59% year-over-year as the operating margin fell from 18.6% to 7.2%.
Microsoft 365 Now Available Free on Mobiles
Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report) announced that similar to iPad users, Android tablet users will no longer be required to subscribe for the mobile edition of its Office suite for basic file creation and editing functions or for storage in the cloud. This means that the Office suite is now available for free on Apple's (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) iPad, iPhone, and Google's (Nasdaq:GOOGL-Free Report) Android devices. But the new Google tablets (Nexus 6 and Nexus 9) running on Android Lollipop have been excluded.
Microsoft has announced a number of updates for its Office app for smartphones and tablets.
The move comes after the software developer recently entered into a partnership with Dropbox Inc. to integrate Office with the Dropbox software allowing Office users to manage files easily via mobile applications. Earlier it was announced that these users will only get access to the app through an Office 365 subscription. Users can now also get access to the Dropbox app without paying anything.
The latest move clearly reflects Microsoft's cross-platform vision for delivering its services. It will make its services available worldwide, thereby helping it to attract new users to its ecosystem. However, the latest offer is limited to individual customers only and is not yet available for business users.
Microsoft remains one of the best positioned software vendors, given its wide range of products, emerging market strength, continued technology deployment at data centers and growth in cloud computing.
The largest software developer seems focused and optimistic about its cloud-first mobile-first strategy. Its cloud and mobile technologies are expected to be major growth drivers in the near future. With this latest move, the company can make its services available to millions regardless of the device used.
Currently, Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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