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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon.com and Abbott Labs

CHICAGO, March 23, 2012 /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 Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

H-P's PC & Printing Under One Roof

In an attempt to restructure its business model, reduce cost and improve efficiency; Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ) has decided to merge its Personal Computer and Printing divisions into one business unit.

This is a huge strategic move taken by Meg Whitman after she took over as the CEO of the company. This restructuring might result in some layoffs, which is a cause for concern for some of its employees.

Personal computers and printing business are complementary in nature. They have similar set of customers and are challenged by the popularity of cloud computing and tablets such as Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad. 

This merger is expected to enhance the storage facility and documents and photos' display. Given their complementary nature, HP intends to offer PC and printer as a package to the end users, thereby resulting in better pricing.

The new unit will be headed by PC division chief Todd Bradley. However, Vyomesh I. Joshi, who had been the head of printing division for past 31 years, is retiring. Mr. Joshi had played a pivotal role in the development of HP and expanded the company's business in areas like industrial printing.

Though this strategy is implemented with the view that one might influence the sales of another, there is a flipside to it: customers don't necessarily want to buy computers and printers simultaneously. Generally people change PCs frequently, while printers have a life of 5 years or more.

Moreover, HP is planning to launch new tablet featuring Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows 8 operating system. The company is hoping high to capture a significant share in the tablet market.

Apart from implementing internal restructuring process, HP is also keen on making its cloud computing services public within two months. HP's cloud services will be somewhat similar to the cloud platform offered by renowned online retailer Amazon.com Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AMZN) Web Services.

HP's cloud infrastructure is popular among its customers. However, its software- as-a-service offering may take some time to ramp, as the existing customers will first use it.

The announcement to merge the two businesses into one is encouraging. However, it will take some time to implement the decision. This apart, a lackluster PC demand and a dull business prospect in Europe may pose some short-term challenges.

Currently, HP has a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold recommendation.

Abbott Unveils Pharma Co. Name

Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT) recently zeroed in on a name for its research-based pharmaceutical company that will be launched later this year. Abbott Labs has decided to name the pharma co. AbbVie, which is a combination of Abbott and vie (Latin for life).

Abbott Labs had first announced its intention to split into two separate publicly traded companies in October 2011. While one company will deal in diversified medical products, the other will focus on research-based pharmaceuticals.

The diversified medical products company will retain the company name and will include Abbott Labs' branded generic pharmaceutical, devices, diagnostic and nutritional businesses.

The research-based pharmaceutical company, AbbVie, will include Abbott Labs' current portfolio of proprietary pharmaceuticals and biologics including products like Humira, Lupron, Synagis, Kaletra, Creon and Synthroid. The research-based pharmaceutical company's annual sales are estimated to be almost $18 billion.

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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 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which 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 at http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.

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