The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Google, Apple and Johnson & Johnson

CHICAGO, April 2, 2014 — (PRNewswire) — 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 Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT- Free Report), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ- Free Report), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG- Free Report), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL- Free Report) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ- Free Report).

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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Microsoft Targets 25M Tablet Shipment

Reportedly,Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT- Free Report) plans to ship 25 million Windows tablets by the end of this year. Additionally, the company expects its own Surface tablets shipments to increase to 6 million from 3 million in 2013.

In order to achieve this target, Microsoft plans to provide incentives to vendors manufacturing Windows tablets. Reportedly, companies including ASUStek, Acer, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ- Free Report), Dell and Toshiba plan to ship Windows-based tablets in the near future.

Despite the drastic measures taken to counter competition in the industry, Microsoft is battling the slump in the PC market just like all the other PC makers. The company launched its first touch-based operating system — Windows 8 — in 2012. However, to add to its woes, the launch could not provide the much needed boost to the PC market.

Therefore, to bridge the gap between tablets and PCs, Microsoft upgraded its Windows operating system to Windows 8.1. The new and improved version is believed to address user complaints regarding the earlier version, Windows 8.

Despite all its efforts, Microsoft is unable to cope with the stiff competition from android and iOS tablets. As per reports from market research firm IDC, Android tablets secured the top spot with 120 million units shipped in 2013, while only 5 million Windows tablets were shipped during the same time.

In the process, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG- Free Report) Android tablets captured 61.9% share of the tablet market. Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL- Free Report) iOS tablets with a 36.0% share were next in line, followed by Microsoft's Windows tablets with 2.1% and others making up the rest. Microsoft is way behind competitors and scaling up its market share substantially is going to be an uphill task.

Microsoft Corporation develops, manufactures, licenses, sells and supports software products. The company operates in five segments — Windows & Windows Live Division, Server and Tools, Online Services Division, Microsoft Business Division, and Entertainment and Devices Division.

We believe Microsoft is one of the best positioned software vendors but it will have to explore ways to recover from the current situation.

Currently, Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

J&J to Sell Ortho Clinical Diagnostics Biz

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ- Free Report) will be selling its Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics business to The Carlyle Group for about $4 billion. The company said that it has accepted the binding offer from The Carlyle Group which was announced on Jan 16.

Johnson & Johnson said that it expects the deal to go through in mid-14. We expect updates on the deal on Apr 15 when the company announces its first quarter results.

The upcoming sale of the Ortho Clinical Diagnostics business indicates Johnson & Johnson's increased focus on the pharma business which has been performing well. Johnson & Johnson reported pharmaceutical sales of $28.1 billion in 2013, up 10.9%.

Although some products in the pharma segment are facing generic competition, new products are steadily gaining traction and performing well. Some of the important and promising new products in Johnson & Johnson's portfolio include Zytiga, Invokana, Stelara, Xarelto, Simponi and Invega Sustenna. Other growth drivers include Prezista, Remicade and Velcade. We believe prostate cancer treatment, Zytiga, which posted sales of $1.7 billion in 2013, has multi-billion dollar potential.

Another product with blockbuster potential is Imbruvica. Imbruvica is approved for mantle cell lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in patients who have received at least one prior treatment.

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

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