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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Ulta Salon, Foot Locker and rue21

QCOM NVDA ULTA FL

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 24, 2012 – 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 Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM - Analyst Report), NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA - Analyst Report), Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. (ULTA - Snapshot Report), Foot Locker Inc. (FL - Snapshot Report) and rue21.inc .

 

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Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

 

Qualcomm to Acquire DesignArt

San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM - Analyst Report), one of the leading manufacturers of CDMA-based smartphone chipsets, plans to acquire the Israeli firm DesignArt. This will be Qualcomm’s second acquisition in Israel following the buyout of mobile web company iSkoot in 2010.

DesignArt Networks specializes in developing data-centric mobile radio access network (RAN) coupled with highly integrated system-on-chip (SoC) technology. Moreover, it provides trial-ready embedded SW support for 3G/4G and high-speed wireless backhaul infrastructure.

Qualcomm is expected to pay anywhere between $120 to $140 million to purchase DesignArt Networks. The acquisition is expected to boost Qualcomm’s Atheros Division, which focuses on developing Wi-Fi chips for televisions, video games, printers, and other home devices.

We believe that over the long haul, diversification of its product portfolio, strong balance sheet and increased demand for smartphones and tablets will act as positive catalysts for the stock.

On the downside, we believe that increasing the supplier base will expand its operating expenses in the near term. Moreover, stiff competition from rival NVIDIA Corporation’s (NVDA - Analyst Report) Tegra 3 quad-core processors may exert additional pressure on Qualcomm’s market share in 2012, as they might lose certain wireless equipment manufacturers due to the shortage of chipsets. We thus maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on Qualcomm.

Currently, Qualcomm retains a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold rating on the stock.

Qualcomm Inc. designs, develops, and supplies semiconductors and collects royalties on wireless handheld devices and infrastructure based on its dominant position in CDMA and other related technology patents.

 

 

Ulta Salon Gets New Finance Chief

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. (ULTA - Snapshot Report) recently revealed that it has appointed Bruce L. Hartman as the chief financial officer (CFO), effective September 7. Hartman will succeed Greg Bodnar, who has resigned for personal reasons.

Bodnar, who has been acting as Ulta’s CFO since 2006, will continue for some time to facilitate the transition. In his new role, Hartman will be in charge of the company’s financial executions and will report to the president and chief executive officer (CEO), Chuck Rubin.

Hartman has donned many important roles in his illustrious career. Previously, he was the CFO at The Yankee Candle Company from 2008. Prior to that, he held the same post at Cushman & Wakefield from 2006 to 2008.

With his rich financial experience, Hartman can easily be tagged as a veteran in the retail industry. A number of leadership positions held at one of the world’s leading athletic apparel retailers, Foot Locker Inc. (FL - Snapshot Report), coupled with 10 years of experience with May Department Stores as well as other vital financial roles with Filene’s, Famous-Barr, Robinsons-May, Lord & Taylor, and G. Fox & Company, also vouch for his expertise.

Under his leadership, Foot Locker scaled new heights in terms of market share gains, continued earnings growth, the implementation of extensive cost containment programs and integration of various acquisitions. Hartman served the company from 1996 to 2005, during which Foot Locker achieved $5.5 billion in sales with as many as 4,000 stores in 17 countries.

Hartman’s list of achievements does not end there. He has been a member of the Board with rue21.inc , a leading specialty apparel retailer with more than 700 stores, since 2010 and with Pathmark Supermarkets from 2004 to 2007.

Considering Hartman’s vast know-how about brand repositioning as well as his prior experience as CFO with leading retailers, we believe that he will likely provide meaningful support to Ulta’s growth and profitability, going forward.

Ulta has started 2012 on a high note and expects the trend to continue throughout the year aided by its strategy of unit acceleration, leveraging the new products and services, enhancing loyalty program and broadening marketing reach.

Ulta currently carries a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. We are maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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