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Press Releases

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 11, 2010 – 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: Procter & Gamble (PG - Analyst Report), McCormick (MKC - Analyst Report), TiVo Inc. (TIVO - Analyst Report), Comcast (CMCSA - Analyst Report) and Best Buy (BBY - Analyst Report).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

P&G Recalls Pringles Chips

Recently, The Procter & Gamble Company (PG - Analyst Report) voluntarily recalled two flavors of Pringles Chips in response to the recommendation from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to protect consumers from potential salmonella exposure. The flavors were Pringles Restaurant Cravers Cheeseburger potato crisps and Pringles Family Faves Taco Night potato crisps. However, the company confirmed that there have been no reports of salmonella-related illness in relation to these products.

P&G also confirmed that no other Pringles varieties or flavors were affected by this recall. These two products represent only 0.5% of Pringles' U.S. volume. Management at PG also mentioned that the safety of its products is its top priority and the company follows rigorous food safety and ingredient testing standards.

Salmonella is a common food-related pathogen that can cause severe illnesses, including fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. The company was notified by one of its suppliers that a seasoning used in these two recalled products contained hydrolyzed vegetable protein or HVP, manufactured by Basic Food Flavors, Inc., which could lead to potential salmonella exposure.

Last week, McCormick (MKC - Analyst Report), the manufacturer of spices, also issued a recall when salmonella was found in its equipment and was transferred to its product. MKC pulled packages of French onion dip mix, vegetable dip mix, onion gravy mix and corn stuffing mix; all of which contained hydrolyzed vegetable protein manufactured by Basic Food Flavors.

TiVo Beats on Higher Revenues

TiVo Inc. (TIVO - Analyst Report) reported a net loss of 9 cents per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, 3 cents above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 12 cents per share but fell from the prior-year quarter. The company had reported a loss of 4 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Although revenue growth was encouraging in the quarter driven by higher hardware sales, growing costs and reduced subscriber additions led to lower profitability. TiVo is not immune to the current challenging economic environment and is facing erosion of its subscriber base.

Moreover, intense competition from cable companies such as Comcast (CMCSA - Analyst Report) and Cox is posing a threat to its DVR business. As a result, TiVO has been increasing its R&D spending to stay ahead of the competition, which is hurting its profitability.

TiVo reported a net loss of $10.2 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, better than its guided range of a net loss of between $13 million and $15 million. Loss in the quarter was higher than the $3.6 million net loss in the year-ago period due to higher R&D and litigation expenses.

Net revenue for the reported quarter increased 15.7% year over year to $68.5 million, compared to $59.2 million reported in the prior-year quarter. Services (the company's largest segment) witnessed a year-over-year decline of 13.9%, offset by a rise in Technology revenue, which was up 56.7% in the quarter and Hardware revenue, which was up 116.5%. Service and Technology revenue together declined 6.6% to $45.3 million, but was in line with the company’s guidance of $43 – $45 million.

Gross margin dropped to 36.8% from 49.8% in the year-ago period. Operating expenses rose 5.1% year over year in the quarter, leading to higher loss from operations. While R&D expenses rose in the quarter, the company cut its sales and marketing costs.

Adjusted EBITDA of a negative $3.2 million was better than management’s guidance of ($5) million to ($7) million. However, this was down from a positive adjusted EDITDA of $2.5 million reported in the year-ago quarter. The decline in EBITDA was driven by increased research & development spending relating to new products and higher distribution cost.

TiVo-owned subscription gross additions for the quarter were 46,000, down 22% from 59,000 gross additions in the year-ago quarter. Churn increased to 2.6% in the quarter. On a net basis, TiVo-owned subscriptions decreased by 72,000 in the fourth quarter and the TiVo-owned subscription base ended the quarter at approximately 1.5 million subscriptions.

TiVo exited the quarter with $244.5 million in cash and marketable securities and no debt.

In the quarter, TiVo unveiled TiVo Premiere DVR and a new high-definition user interface. This is TiVo’s first new DVR in nearly three years and comes in configurations of 320-gigabyte and 1-terabyte hard drives that seamlessly blend broadcast TV, as well as the Internet and signals. The partnership with Best Buy (BBY - Analyst Report) will help TiVo in the launch of the TiVo Premiere and will help it improve brand visibility and marketing in 2010.

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