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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Cisco, Intel, NVIDIA and Facebook

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – November 23, 2016 – 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 Apple (Nasdaq:(AAPL - Free Report) Free Report), Cisco (Nasdaq:(CSCO - Free Report) Free Report), Intel (Nasdaq:(INTC - Free Report) Free Report), NVIDIA (Nasdaq:(NVDA - Free Report) Free Report) and Facebook (Nasdaq:(FB - Free Report) Free Report).

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Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Tech Stock Roundup: iPhones, A.I., Self-Driving Cars and More

Last week was an exciting one with some rumors about Apple’s (Nasdaq:(AAPL - Free Report) Free Report) iPhone manufacturing in the U.S., Cisco’s (Nasdaq:(CSCO - Free Report) Free Report) earnings report, Intel’s (Nasdaq:(INTC - Free Report) Free Report) first AI Day plus lots more.

iPhone Manufacturing In The U.S.

In June this year, Apple requested its iPhone assemblers Pegatron and Foxconn to evaluate the feasibility of making the devices in the U.S. While Pegatron refused outright on cost considerations, Foxconn has decided to do the job. The study is likely to show that the cost increase, skill mismatch and supply chain problems (the supply chain is largely in Asia) would make this cost prohibitive.

This would raise iPhone prices for consumers/squeeze Apple’s margins. But the study will help Apple negotiate with the government, which might agree to fund skill development and/or subsidize U.S.-made phones. If not, Apple could introduce a luxury line of iPhones manufactured in the U.S. and try to set off the super normal profits on those with the increased cost of phones carrying the government import duty.

Note that Apple is not the only smartphone maker saddled with the problem. So if all smartphones get more expensive, Apple’s market share may not be affected.

Cisco Earnings Report

Cisco’s first quarter 2017 results topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate on both the top and bottom lines but the guidance disappointed. Switching remains a sore point for Cisco in a market increasingly favoring SDN networks and leveraging the cloud. So it’s not surprising that this segment declined 7%. The company had greater success in security where both advanced threat (up 100%) and web security (up 60%) were strong.

Intel A.I. Day

At its first Artificial Intelligence (AI) Day in San Francisco last week, Intel announced bold plans to target the deep learning segment that is currently dominated by NVIDIA (Nasdaq:(NVDA - Free Report) Free Report) GPUs. Intel silicon is also in the mix, but it doesn’t take part in the real training work. Artificial intelligence comprises two main operations: training and inference with training being the more compute intensive. Inference can be handled by Intel CPUs, Xilinx/Altera FPGAs, NVIDIA GPUs, ASICs like Google TPU and in some cases, DSPs. Now Intel is planning to enter the training side very aggressively and hopefully it can stick with the timeline it has set.

Based on its acquisition of startup Nervana last year, Intel is building a new Xeon processor with Nervana integration. FPGAs are generally used as accelerators and we don’t know yet if Intel will be using the FPGA technology it got through Nervana or Altera, which it also picked up recently. At any rate, Intel promises to deliver 100X the training speed current GPUs offer within three years, which industry expert Patrick Moorhead says is aggressive. Intel expects the chips to start testing in mid-2017 and ship by year end.

Fake News Drama

Facebook (Nasdaq:(FB - Free Report) Free Report) and Google are being pressured by mainstream media (MSM) for influencing the public in favor of Trump. As ridiculous as this sounds, there is a lot of print devoted to trying to prove them guilty.

Google recently started employing artificial intelligence to support its search results that have until now been solely algorithm-based. But as luck would have it, there was a brief period during which time took the top position, fielding incorrect data on the number of votes earned by Clinton and Trump and claiming to have obtained the information from Twitter.

The information was reportedly correct elsewhere on Google but this was enough to earn Google accusations for making money out of “fake news.” So Google has said in a statement, "Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher's content, or the primary purpose of the web property." It is hoped that the inability to generate revenue from fake news will make it harder to produce it.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly said that 99% of the news sites posting on Facebook were authentic and that it didn’t want to get into the position of arbiter of truth. "We do not integrate or display ads in apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news," said the Facebook statement (the company has now added the fake news part to pacify parties). Facebook also gave an assurance that it would continue to vet publishers to ensure compliance.

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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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