@BigDataExpo Authors: John Mertic, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan

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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: IBM, Oracle, Nimble Storage, Micron Technology and Apple

CHICAGO, Feb. 20, 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 include the IBM (NYSE:IBM-Free Report), Oracle Corp (NYSE:ORCL-Free Report), Nimble Storage (NYSE:NMBL-Free Report), Micron Technology (Nasdaq:MU-Free Report) and Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

3 Tech Stocks Looking to Beat Earnings

The ever-evolving Technology sector witnessed a number of new trends in 2013. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), cloud computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, hybrid cloud, flash storage, social networking, 3D printing and wearable devices are some of them.

Of these, we expect cloud computing and flash storage to prosper significantly in 2014. We also believe that the anticipated stabilization in personal computer (PC) sales will attract investors in 2014.

Emergence of Hybrid Cloud 

Cloud services are expected to grow significantly, as consumers prefer to use the cloud for storage purposes. Moreover, hybrid cloud that facilitates interoperability of data between internal private cloud and public cloud has gained immense importance in recent times.

According to market research firm IDC, spending on cloud services and related technology is expected to jump more than 25.0% to $100.0 billion in 2014. This presents significant growth opportunity for established players like IBM (NYSE:IBM-Free Report) andOracle Corp(NYSE:ORCL-Free Report), as their legacy businesses continue to shrink.

Flash Adoption to Improve

As consumers' dependence on cloud for storage purpose increases, demand for cloud-dedicated data centers will increase manifold. With simultaneous increase in data volumes (1000 Exabytes by 2014) the demand for flash-based storage systems in data centers will jump significantly, going forward.

In 2013, flash gained significant prominence as it was included in servers, hybrid hard disk/flash storage arrays and in all-flash arrays. According to a2013 survey, 56.5% of IT managers and professionals had already implemented flash technology in their storage systems.

3 Stocks to Pick from the Pack

The presence of a large number of players makes it difficult to pick sure-shot winners. By using the Zacks proprietary methodology, investors can select stocks that have the combination of a favorable Zacks Rank – Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) – and a positive Zacks Earnings ESP.

Zacks Earnings ESP shows the percentage difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Here are 3 stocks that meet both criteria:

Oracle Corp – This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company carries an Earnings ESP of +1.49%. Oracle delivered positive earnings surprises in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 2.4%. The company plans to announce the third-quarter 2014 results by mid-late March.

Oracle is aggressively building its position in the cloud computing market, which will drive its results, going forward. Accretive cloud acquisitions, higher subscription revenues and improvement in sales force hiring rate will drive bookings.

Nimble Storage (NYSE:NMBL-Free Report) – Nimble is a manufacturer and marketer of hybrid flash/disk storage platform, which also offers backup and replication software. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock carries an Earnings ESP of +5.88% and will report fourth-quarter 2014 results on Feb 27.

Nimble's hybrid storage arrays provide a balanced combination of performance, capacity, and cost effectiveness, as compared to all-flash arrays and hard disk drives. Since its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Dec 2013, the shares have surged approximately 34.0% driven by a growing customer base, particularly in the small and medium business segment.

Micron Technology (Nasdaq:MU-Free Report) – This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock sports an Earnings ESP of +3.39%. Micron delivered positive earnings surprises in two of the last four quarters with an average beat of 21.0%. The company is set to announce its second-quarter 2014 results by late March.

Micron is expected to benefit from improving supply/demand balance for DRAM and NAND memory chips in 2014. The company's strong customer base that includes Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) is a major growth catalyst going forward.


2014 will continue to see the emergence of new disruptive technologies. Big Data analytics and Internet of Things are expected to grow into full-fledged services as the year progresses. Moreover, the anticipated launch of wearable devices will be a major growth catalyst for the sector, going forward.  

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

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.


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