CHICAGO, April 30, 2014 /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 includethe Twitter (NYSE:TWTR-Free Report), Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report), General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD-Free Report), Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII-Free Report) and Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT-Free Report).
For the second time in a row, social media company Twitter (NYSE:TWTR-Free Report) provided lukewarm growth in its monthly active user metric. After a notable run-up before the earnings announcement after the bell Tuesday, TWTR shares have again fallen off. Earnings, discounting $126 million in stock-based compensation, reached -0.22 cents per share on better-than-expected revenues of $250 million in the company's fiscal first quarter.
To be fair, this quarter was by no means the full-on disaster of its inaugural Q4 2013, when EPS missed by a whopping 1310% on surprisingly low timeline views per monthly active user -- a key metric for Twitter that's still so new it has no suitable acronym yet -- that fell 10% quarter over quarter. Monthly active user numbers for Q1 were largely in-line overall, but the company's before-the-bell analyst upgrade and subsequent 7% share price rise before the bell (shares dipped below 5% gains right before the close) must have indicated somebody was looking for better news than this.
Good news for investors of Twitter is that the company's in-app mobile exchange MoPub now reaches over 1 billion monthly users of iOS and Android handsets, which is obviously pretty huge. Should improved monetization and a growing audience be spurred by this type of leading innovation, perhaps throwing in the towel on TWTR shares at this point is a tad premature. After all, who doesn't recall Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report) having a rough time growing its business in the early stages of its publicly traded existence?
Still, there were a lot of reasons to have expected a pure growth play like Twitter to have performed better than mid-single-digits in its most crucial metric: monthly active users grew 6% sequentially from Q4, up 25% year over year. Clearly Twitter's not flying off into the clouds just yet. Whether it will take the company the six quarters it took Facebook to finally book big profits or fewer -- or perhaps more -- remains to be seen.
General Dynamics to Build Navy Subs for $17.6B
A General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD-Free Report) unit Electric Boat received a contract to build 10 additional Virginia class submarines for the U.S. Navy. Per the $17.6 billion contract, the company will deliver two submarines per year over five years.
Construction work will begin from May 1, and to fulfill this contract Electric Boat will partner with Newport News Shipbuilding, a unit of Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII-Free Report).
The Virginia-class sub, also known as the SSN-774-class, is a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines in service with the U.S. Navy. Virginia class submarines can operate efficiently in littoral and open-ocean environments, gather critical information, and can coordinate with land, air, sea and space-based defense assets, which are essential for national security interests.
Electric Boat, along with its partner, has already supplied 10 Virginia class submarines to the U.S. Navy while another eight submarines are presently in various stages of construction. The addition of the new ships will help the U.S. Navy to maintain and enhance its undersea capabilities. For the General Dynamics unit, the new order will bring in more economies of scale.
This large contract is no doubt a welcome sign for General Dynamics amid an austere U.S. defense budget environment. General Dynamics' proficiency in building ships allows it to win defense deals at regular intervals. In Mar 2014, Bath Iron Works, a unit of General Dynamics, received a $643 million contract from the U.S. Navy to construct an additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
General Dynamics holding a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) has performed consistently over the past few quarters. The company was able to surpass the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last four quarters with an average beat of 6.68%.
Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT-Free Report), on the other hand, carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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