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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:BlackBerry, Twitter, Apple, Google and Boeing

CHICAGO, Jan. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 the BlackBerry Limited (Nasdaq:BBRY-Free Report), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE:TWTR-Free Report), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report), Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report) and Boeing Company (NYSE:BA-Free Report).

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Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

BlackBerry Discards Advanced Twitter Apps

After receiving repeated complaints from users, Canadian handset maker, BlackBerry Limited (Nasdaq:BBRY-Free Report) has momentarily removed the advanced 10.2.2 version of Twitter, Inc.'s (NYSE:TWTR-Free Report) apps from its BlackBerry World store. However, new Twitter users can choose to shift to the older version of Twitter 10.2.1, till the problem is fixed.

The new Twitter version, mainly designed for BB10-based devices, was available on BlackBerry World store for a week. It offered easy access to BBM features and provided photo preview option to users.  

BlackBerry is considering the spin-off of its popular BBM service from its handset business. The company already has more than 60 million dedicated BBM followers and is planning to expand its reach. Thus, the company is continuously upgrading its BBM features and has also made the service available to iOS and Android-based handsets. BlackBerry has already gained more than 40 million iOS/Android users.

BlackBerry, which led the smartphone market earlier, has failed to upgrade its operating platform. This has led to loss of market traction to Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) iOS and Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report) Android operating systems during the past few years, resulting in substantial losses.

Despite launching its new operating platform BB10 coupled with LTE-based high-end touch screen smartphones, the company has failed to recoup its smartphone business. In the third quarter of fiscal 2014, it sold nearly 4.3 million smartphones as compared with 6.9 million smartphones in the prior-year quarter.

As a result, BlackBerry has decided to divest its entire stake to a consortium headed by Toronto-based insurance company Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited for $4.7 billion or $9 per share. Since Fairfax already holds 10% of BlackBerry's stocks, the buyout will lead to the latter's privatization. Both Fairfax and BlackBerry have been offered a six-week due diligence period before the transaction can be completed. During this period, BlackBerry can explore better bids.

Currently, BlackBerry carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

3 DoD Order Wins for Boeing

Aerospace and defense major The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA-Free Report) won three defense contracts on Monday, Dec 30, lifting its share price by 0.4% to close at $136.49 on Dec 31, 2013.

The largest one, worth $750 million, came from the U.S. Air Force for the continued support and maintenance work on the B-1 bomber. This contract win entails work in Oklahoma City with Tinker Air Force Base appointed as the contracting party. The contract is expected to continue till Dec 31, 2014 at least. Per this contract, Boeing will provide complete design engineering work, maintenance engineering, computer network support, technical analysis, and other work on the aircraft and weapons systems. This contract includes a one-year base period and four one-year extension options.

The second one is a delivery order valued at $46.6 million. It was issued under a prior signed basic ordering agreement to provide integrated logistics and engineering services on F/A-18A-D and F/A-18E/F fighter jets, and also on EA-18G electronic warfare aircraft, operated by the U.S. Navy and the militaries of Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain, and Switzerland. Work is slated  for completion in Dec 2014.

The final contract is a $22.2 million delivery order issued under  an earlier basic ordering agreement. This is mainly to supply automated maintenance environment integrated software for F/A-18E/F fighters and EA-18G electronic warfare aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy and the Australian military only. The work on this contract will be completed by Dec 2015.

Boeing continues to win substantial defense orders besides its flourishing Commercial Airplane business. Recently, the company received a couple of contracts, worth $661 million, from the U.S. Department of Defense. The impressive performance of the company over the last twelve months is also reflected in its traded price. Boeing's share price climbed 80.6% over 2013.

Boeing currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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