The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Qualcomm, Microsoft Corporation, Nokia, Atheros Communications and Zumiez

CHICAGO, June 3, 2011 /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: Qualcomm Inc. (OTC: QCOM), Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Atheros Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHR) and Zumiez Inc. (Nasdaq: ZUMZ).


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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Qualcomm to Support Windows 8

Qualcomm Inc. (OTC: QCOM), the largest global manufacturer of mobile phone chipsets, is set to develop chipsets, which will support the upcoming Windows 8 platform. Earlier, in January this year, the company had planned to collaborate with other chipset makers to develop Microsoft Corporation's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows 8 operating system.

Microsoft's new version of the popular Windows platform will be supported by touch screen applications. The new feature is expected to counter the growing popularity of tablets, which are considered to be a real threat to the PC market. Microsoft also has a partnership with Qualcomm, under which Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is powered by Qualcomm's chipsets. Moreover, Microsoft intends to extend its partnership with Qualcomm as most Android-based tablets typically use Qualcomm's microprocessors.

Qualcomm's microprocessors, popularly known as Snapdragon, are becoming more and more popular as demand for smartphones and tablets are increasing. These chipsets allow proper functioning of software on mobile handsets. Currently, 125 devices are using Qualcomm's chipsets and another 250 devices are in the pipeline. Recently Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) announced that it will be using Qualcomm's chipsets in their upcoming Windows Phone 7-based smartphones.

Qualcomm also launched its next-generation Snapdragon processors supported by Krait architecture, which is generally used in Android-powered 3G smartphones. The new processor provides speed up to 2.5GHz per core coupled with lower power consumption, better graphics and video streaming facilities.

Recently, Qualcomm completed the acquisition of Wi-Fi chip set maker Atheros Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHR), which will enable the company to diversify in the consumer electronics segment, particularly in the home networking market.

We maintain our long-term Outperform recommendation on Qualcomm. Currently, Qualcomm has a Zacks#2 Rank, implying a short-term Buy rating on the stock.

Zumiez Comps Rise Yet Again

Zumiez Inc. (Nasdaq: ZUMZ), an action sports retailer in the United States, reported comparable store sales for the four-week period ended May 28, 2011. Total net sales for the period increased by a sharp 14.9% to $30.3 million from $26.3 million reported in the four-week period ended May 29, 2010.

For the reported period, comparable store sales jumped 7.8% compared with a rise of 7.1% in the prior-year period. The April results marked the 18th consecutive month of comparable store sales growth.

Prior to this, Zumiez reported first-quarter 2011 earnings of 6 cents a share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 2 cents a share. The company also outpaced a loss of 3 cents a share posted in the first quarter of fiscal 2010. Net income from operations was $1.9 million compared with a loss of $0.7 million in the prior-year quarter.

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