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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: BlackBerry, Apple, Google, Nokia and Barclays

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – February 8, 2013 – 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 BlackBerry Limited , Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) , Google Inc. , Nokia Corporation (NOK - Free Report) and Barclays PLC (BCS - Free Report) .

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Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

BlackBerry Boasts Record Z10 Sales

As per media reports BlackBerry Limited , has reported strong sales for its newly launched Z10 smartphones in the UK and Canada, two of its most important markets. The shareholders reacted strongly to the news as the stock price surged by almost 7%, at the close of trading on Tuesday.

Notably, after several launch delays the company finally launched its much hyped BB10 operating system-based smartphones on Jan 31, 2012, being developed on its QNX software, which is compatible with various open-source coding languages. The smartphone was launched in UK on Feb 1, while the Canadian customer got a taste of the new handset on Feb 5.

The Canadian handset manufacturer has seen strong sales, which is almost three times better than the first week sales of BlackBerry device ever. Similarly, in Canada the company received record pre orders for its latest touch screen version Z10 and is 50% more than any other BlackBerry launch day sales. The actual sales figure, however, is yet to be revealed.

Blackberry devices are being sold in different locations in Canada by the three large telecom carriers, namely, Bell Canada, Telus and Rogers. The company got a boost from these carrier partners as they reported strong interest from users currently using an iPhone or an Android-based device.

Blackberry, once the global leader of smartphones has been struggling since the last 3-4 years, as they failed to identify consumers’ preferences and has been battling in a crowded smartphone market mainly dominated by Apple Inc.’s (AAPL - Free Report) iOS and Google Inc.’s Android platform.

Significantly, Nokia Corporation (NOK - Free Report) faced a supply shortage in the US when it launched its flagship Lumia 920 and was even sold out in some of the countries. Apple, which is the most valuable technology company also performed well and sold 5 million handsets in the first thee days of its launch in the US.

The company has preloaded the smartphones with some of the most unique features in the industry, which is suitable for supporting different customer preferences and is betting on its new platform, to turn the tables in their favor. We believe the company has made a good start, but winning back old customers from other smartphone rivals still remain the biggest challenge for BlackBerry.

On the downside, however, the company has postponed the launch of its QRT-based handsets in the US until May, due to some network related issues. It remains to be seen how the company performs when the touch screen version comes up for sale next month in the lucrative US market.

BlackBerry currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Barclays to Slash 275 Jobs in NYC

Barclays Investment Bank – a division of Barclays PLC (BCS - Free Report) – is set to eliminate nearly 275 jobs in New York City. These layoffs are a part of the company’s strategic overhaul aimed at reviving its profitability.

Barclays had disclosed its plans to retrench employees in a filing with the New York State Department of Labor. The company is liable to give a notice period to the employees under The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act). Under this Act, it is necessary for most employers – with 100 or more employees – to provide an advance notification of 60-calender day to the employees, before the closure of the plant and mass layoffs.

The layoffs will take place during a 14-day period beginning on May 15, 2013. The company held the economic factors responsible for the layoffs. The reduction in headcount will occur at the company's 3 offices in the New York City – 200 Park Avenue, 745 Seventh Avenue and 130 Avenue of the Americas.

Over the past year, Barclays has been under tremendous pressure owing to unsettling macro economic factors. In addition, the company is embroiled in various controversies highlighting its scandalous activities. Earlier this week, the company set aside additional £1.0 billion ($1.6 billion) to meet litigation expenditures pertaining to the dubious sale of financial products.

Further, in 2012, Barclays reached a $453 million settlement with both British and U.S. regulatory bodies over the manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate or LIBOR.

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