Zacks Equity Research highlights: Standard Motor Products (NYSE: SMP) as the Bull of the Day and RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), Google Inc (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Apple Inc (Nasdaq: AAPL).
Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:
Bull of the Day:
Standard Motor Products (NYSE: SMP) enjoys strong brand recognition worldwide. Successful R&D and perfect strategic acquisitions have helped the company enrich its product portfolio and maintain a broad customer base. The company's recently amended credit agreement with GE capital has increased its scope for further investments.
Moreover, Standard Motor has hiked its dividend payment, signaling the company's improved confidence in its operations. Plus, the company is not vulnerable to the cyclicality of the auto industry.
In the fourth quarter, its earnings outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.08 per share. Therefore, we have maintained our Outperform recommendation on the stock and set a target price of $14.
Bear of the Day:
We reiterate our Underperform recommendation on RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH) based on our view that the company's performance may suffer in 2011. A precipitous fall in demand for non-wireless category products remain a serious concern for the company.
Fourth quarter 2010 net income fell below the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Transition of Kiosks businesses from Sam's Club to Target stores will result in huge loss of operating profits. Management declared that pressure on gross margin will continue in the near-future since the company is revamping its core electronics accessories segment and making Kiosks to transition.
RadioShack is facing increasing competitive pressure from other large retail stores, online shopping stores, and some mobile carriers, which directly sales handsets to customers. Increasing competitive threats from several fronts may result in lower wireless sales going forward.
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Amazon to Sell Android Apps Soon
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) new Android app store could be a welcome development for app writers. But this development will likely increase the competitive challenge for the Android Market. While Google Inc (Nasdaq: GOOG) has done very well on the search front and google.com has been almost synonymous with search, the company is relatively new to the app market where Apple Inc (Nasdaq: AAPL) reigns supreme.
While Google's Android operating system has become ubiquitous in the mobile phone market, the Android ecosystem continues to suffer from poor navigation and inadequate marketing. Therefore, we may expect to see significant uptick in Android app sales when Amazon opens the app store.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Amazon's app store has already been populated, with a few apparently leaked screen shots going the rounds on the web. It appears that there are 48 items already available and a number of real bargains. Additionally, Amazon will also be selling some apps/games that are currently not available elsewhere.
The main advantage for developers will be greater exposure for their apps. If Google knows the search business, Amazon knows the online retail business. Therefore, Amazon will be able to offer the apps at the right times and in the right places throughout its website on the basis of its behavior-oriented time-tested algorithms. This would maximize sales for Amazon and thereby, returns to the developer community. The company also intends to have a screening system that could reject apps.
Amazon will be displaying best-selling apps, separately mentioning the paid and free versions, which would bring better exposure to best-selling paid apps. The flip side is, it would also be offering some apps for free. But developers need not worry because Amazon's payment system would take care of the situation. The company intends to give out the higher of 70% of purchase price or 20% of list price to developers. We consider this a good deal for developers because it would be a way to monetize the apps that may not sell very well.
Of course, like all good things, Amazon's app store comes at a price. Developers will be required to dish out $99 a year by way of annual subscription fees, much more than the lifetime $25 fee that Google charges right now.
We are overall positive about the app store and believe that it's a good thing for both Amazon and the Android marketplace. Particularly, this could be a way for Amazon to buy into the Android eco system, somewhat offsetting share losses in the book business (likely to increase as more tablets and e-readers get on the market).
While our long-term recommendation remains Neutral on Amazon shares, we have a short-term sell rating (Zacks #4 Rank), due to concerns regarding its ebook business and the company's prolonged investment plans. Additionally, we think that recent pressure from regulators regarding sales tax collection is also a headwind to the shares right now.