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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Microsemi

CHICAGO, April 26, 2013 /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 Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG), Facebook (Nasdaq:FB), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) and Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq:MSCC).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Google Acquires Startup Wavii

Internet search giant Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG) completed its acquisition of Seattle-based startup Wavii for $30 million in cash.

Founded by Adrian Aoun, Wavii is a news summarization app. The app summarizes news stories into a few sentences.  Its investors include Paypal co-founder Max Levchin, Dave Morin, a former Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) executive and Fritz Lanman from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT).

Before Google acquired Wavii, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) had shown interest in the app as it wanted to incorporate it into its voice-activated personal assistant feature called Siri. Though the deal fell through, Wavii's iOS app is freely available for iPhone on the App Store.

After the acquisition, the Wavii team will be integrated into Google's Knowledge Graph division team.

Recently, Internet giant Yahoo! Inc. acquired Summly, a news condenser app, for $30 million. Yahoo and Google are the primary news aggregators, so they are directly impacted by these news-reading apps. The social application of news is becoming increasingly important for companies like Google and Yahoo, as Facebook is increasing the social application of news.

Google is quite active on the merger and acquisition front. In Feb 2013, it acquired Channel Intelligence for $125 million to boost its e-commerce business. Earlier this year, it also acquired an infrastructure startup company, Talaria Technologies to boost its cloud offerings. Recently, Google acquired Behavio, a mobile sensor start-up company, for an undisclosed sum.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Google's gross revenue (including TAC) touched a record $14.4 billion, representing sequential and year-over-year increases of 2.3% and 36.2%, respectively. Excluding the $1.5 billion contribution from Motorola, revenues were up 21.9% from the year-ago quarter.

Google has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Microsemi: Soft Q2 Earnings Ahead?

Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq:MSCC) is set to report its second quarter 2013 results today after markets close. In the prior quarter, the company posted a 2% negative earnings surprise. Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Growth Factors this Past Quarter

Microsemi reported a disappointing first quarter due to weakness in the communications, aerospace and industrial markets. Although Microsemi has benefited from growing electronic content in the defense & security space, lower Department of Defense (DoD) spending due to U.S. military budget constraints may impact its top line.

However, Microsemi's gross margin improved due to growing sales of new higher-margin products and a reduction in operating costs due to headcount reduction. Management is also positive that demand in the communications market may improve and believes that key customers such as A&T will generate steady demand.

Earnings Whispers?

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second quarter stands at 30 cents while that for fiscal 2013 stands at $1.53.

Microsemi posted negative surprises in the first quarter of 2013 and second and fourth quarter of 2012. Its results were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the third quarter of 2012. This resulted in an average negative surprise of 3.29% for the preceding four quarters.

No estimate revisions were noticed for both the second quarter and fiscal 2013 over the past 30 days. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has remained unchanged for the second quarter as well as for 2013.

The chances of a big surprise are unlikely given the lack of catalysts during the quarter. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

We caution against stocks with Zacks Ranks #4 and #5 (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

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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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