The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Facebook, Sony, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 01, 2014 – 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 Facebook (FB-Free Report), Sony (SNE-Free Report), Microsoft (MSFT-Free Report), Google (GOOG-Free Report) and Yahoo (YHOO-Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Technology Stock Roundup

Tech companies are now accompanied by lofty valuations and high expectations. So the slightest uncertainties lead to significant volatility. Last week was a case in point.

Facebook Makes Another Expensive Acquisition

Facebook (FB-Free Report) shares tanked last week after the social networking company spent $2 billion on Oculus, which makes a popular virtual reality (VR) headset called Rift. VR has captured people’s imagination of late with gaming companies Sony (SNE-Free Report) and Microsoft (MSFT-Free Report) spurring the trend. While Sony has already launched its Project Morpheus, Microsoft’s plans are reportedly in the developmental stage. Both these companies are interested in offering an enhanced experience for their game consoles.

Facebook’s use for this futuristic technology is less obvious. But although the company says Oculus will run separately, Facebook integration seems to be an eventuality. But there has been great outrage among developers since the announcement and some have even melted away. That’s because Facebook generates revenue by selling user data to advertisers and users naturally don’t like this intrusiveness.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg maintains that VR is the next big computing platform after mobile, so Facebook needs to have a finger in the pie. Facebook intends to extend this functionality beyond games to real-world situations such as class rooms and games. The Rift offers the company a hardware platform to make this possible. So basically Facebook threw away a cool $2 billion on an experiment that may or may not be accepted by its users (note that the young and adventurous generally interact less with Facebook).

Google Stock to Split on Apr 3

In April 2012, Google (GOOG-Free Report) had proposed a 2-for-1 stock split by creating non-voting Class C shares. Accordingly, it was proposed that a Class C share would be issued for each Class A and Class B share. Currently, Class A shares carry a single vote each while Class B shares, which do not trade and are owned by founders Brin and Page carry 10 votes each. The idea behind the creation of a non-voting class of shares was to prevent the dilution of the founders’ control.

Unhappy shareholders took the matter to court, when the company agreed to two concessions. The first was that the founders would not sell any Class C shares unless they also sold an equal number of Class B shares. The second was an undertaking by Google to compensate Class C shareholders for differences in Class C and Class A share prices during the first year of trading. Since Google is a part of major indexes, some volatility in share prices may be expected.

Yahoo Japan Buys Telco eAccess for $3.2 Billion

Yahoo (YHOO-Free Report) shares dropped again last week, as concerns regarding the core business hung heavy. But positive news flow continued with its 35%-owned Yahoo Japan picking up telecom company eAccess from Softbank.

The acquisition is essentially a reshuffling of Softbank’s assets, which owns 43% of Yahoo Japan. But Yahoo gains because the eAccess broadband service will now be rebranded Y! Mobile and will also deliver voice services. Yahoo also gains access to its 4.4 million broadband customers and 5.7 million hosting customers (through the Willcom acquisition). Also part of the acquisition is 3,000 eAccess stores that can now be used to cross-sell Yahoo Premium services.

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

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