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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nokia, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Statoil

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – September 27, 2012 – 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 Nokia Corporation (NOK - Free Report) , Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) , Google Inc. , Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report) and Statoil ASA .


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Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:


Nokia Launches Low-End Smartphones


To improve its presence in the mass market, Nokia Corporation (NOK - Free Report) has unveiled two new affordable touch screen phones based on Symbian operating system.

Nokia incorporated the low-end smartphones – Asha 308 and Asha 309 in its portfolio that will cost $99, exclusive of taxes and subsidies, when it hits the market in the fourth quarter of 2012. The budget phones possess features like – 3 inch screen, 800 MHz processors a 2 mega pixel back camera and are preloaded with EA games. Nokia Asha 309 has an integrated Wi-Fi while Nokia Asha 308 supports two SIM cards with both the phones having video streaming capabilities from YouTube.

The Finnish handset maker, Nokia has been loosing market share to Apple Inc.’s (AAPL - Free Report) iPhone and a range of smartphones that run on Google Inc.’s Android operating system (OS). In an effort to improve its falling smartphone market share, the company ditched its Symbian operating system and teamed up with Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report) to develop Windows-based smartphones. However, it seems that the limited success of the Windows-based smartphone is forcing the company to improve its dependence on other OS. 

The low-end smartphones are of special significance to Nokia not only because they carry high margins but as they will also aid in defending challenges from cheaper smartphones from Asian manufacturers. The Oslo, Finland-based Company is particularly targeting the low-end customers of the emerging markets with its latest offering.

Recently, Nokia launched its latest Windows Phone 8 handset but it is expected that mass acceptance of the phone will take some time to materialize. We believe the company is vouching heavily on its Asha range of touch screen devices to compensate stiff competition in the lucrative high-end smartphone market.

The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for Nokia Corporation is pegged at a loss of 13 cents for the third quarter of 2012 with a growth rate estimate of (420.0%). For 2012, the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at a loss of 39 cents with a growth rate of (202.06%) while for 2013, the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at a loss of 2 cents with a growth rate of 94.06%.


We retain our Neutral recommendation on Nokia Corp. in the long run. Currently, it has a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold rating.


Statoil Boost Oil Recovery Efforts

Norwegian energy giant Statoil ASA is all set to boost the recovery rate of the oilfields in the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) by an added 10% as it has started building the country's biggest research center.

This center − located near the company's existing research center at Rotvoll in Trondheim, in the north of Norway − will cost around $42 million (NOK 240 million) to the company. It will assist Statoil to maximize output at fields where it remains the operator or co-partner both on the NCS and worldwide.

The unique 2700 square-meter center will comprise four floors that will prioritize areas of technology such as drilling, reservoir mapping and advanced injection techniques. It will be well equipped with an industrial CT scanner that is 100 times more potent than its medical equivalent. This center is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Increased oil recovery (IOR) is considered as the money-spinning method of generating reserves already in place with the help of existing production infrastructure. Hence, this results in substantial revenue gains. Presently, Statoil employs about 3000 people for working on developing a range of 300 IOR activities.

At August end, the company stated that it was targeting a 60% average oil recovery rate from its NCS fields. The world's largest offshore operator − Statoil − already holds the leading position in oil recovery with a recovery rate of 50% last year compared with a global oil recovery rate of just 35%.  It also marked a 1% year-on-year rise in oil recovery for Statoil.




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