The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Netflix, Apple, Mondelez International, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola

Jan 23, 2014, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, Jan. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 Netflix (Nasdaq:NFLX-Free Report), Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report), Mondelez International, Inc. (Nasdaq:MDLZ-Free Report), PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP-Free Report) and Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO-Free Report).


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

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Netflix Blows Away Estimates Again

That company that used to mail you a red envelope with a new DVD every week? Yeah, those guys: Netflix (Nasdaq:NFLX-Free Report). They now have 44 million subscribers and brought in $1.175 billion in their Q4 of 2013. Earnings per share (EPS) reached 79 cents. Both of these beat what the market was expecting, especially on the earnings side, which was a 21.5% positive surprise.

What's more, Netflix raised guidance for fiscal 2014, expecting bigger numbers in streaming subscribers for both the U.S. and International businesses than analysts had been expecting. The company's Q1 guidance is in range with the Zacks Consensus Estimates, allowing for another positive surprise next quarter.

Almost feels like a vintage Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) quarterly earnings post, doesn't it?

Going back to a year ago when Netflix put up a 208% positive surprise, NFLX shares have been off to the races. And now, just as there seems to have been some trepidation in the market whether Netflix can keep scaling these impressive heights, they go ahead and have another gangbusters quarter and increase the amount of subscribers they expect going forward. Further, though net neutrality is now to perhaps be a concern for companies like Netflix, CEO Reed Hastings addressed this directly and suggested it will not be an issue for Netflix.

So while we had seen NFLX shares down around 9% for the first three weeks of 2014, regular Wednesday trading saw the stock price rise another 1.5% before a new surge in the after-session: up 16% since the bell on the latest blowout earnings numbers. Netflix is at heart an entertainment company, but these days it looks more like the star of the show.

Peltz Joins Board at Mondelez

Global snack company,Mondelez International, Inc. (Nasdaq:MDLZ-Free Report) recently announced that activist investor, Nelson Peltz, has joined its board of directors. Media reports say that Peltz will not pursue his agenda of merging Mondelez with food and beverage giant, PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP-Free Report).

Last year, Peltz had pushed Pepsi to take over Mondelez and then spin-off its underperforming beverage business. Peltz's investment company, Trian Fund Management, holds major stakes in both the food companies. Peltz believed that shifting consumer preferences toward health and wellness and "good-for-you" products is lowering the demand for high-calorie soft drinks. Thus, beverage giants like Pepsi and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO-Free Report) are witnessing declining sales of carbonated beverages, especially the colas. Peltz felt Pepsi's underperforming beverage business is overshadowing its fast growing snack unit.

Peltz had also urged Pepsi to divest the Frito Lay unit in case it does not want to go ahead with the Mondelez merger.

However, earlier this month, in an interview to CNBC, Pepsi's chief executive officer, Indra Nooyi, said there is no need to split the beverage and snacks businesses. Nooyi insisted that the businesses are complementary and "better together", not just in the United States but worldwide.

Peltz's addition to the Mondelez board would expand it to 12 members, 11 of whom are independent. Mr. Peltz will also be nominated for board elections at this year's annual meeting.

Mondelez was previously known as Kraft Foods, Inc. and changed its name to Mondelez following the spin-off of its North American grocery business into a separate independent company  in Oct 2012. Ever since the split, the Cadbury chocolates and Trident gum maker has been struggling with its top line.

Currently, Mondelez has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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

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