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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Verizon Communications, Apple, Google, Cincinnati Bell and CenturyLink

CHICAGO, Aug. 22, 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 Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ-Free Report), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report), Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report), Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE:CBB-Free Report) and CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com

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

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Verizon to Boost Data Services with New Mobile App Store

Leading telecommunication company Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ-Free Report) is planning to launch a mobile software store.

The company is in talks with several other carriers and hardware manufacturers to come up with a unique online store concept that will offer an alternative to other App-based stores by giants likeApple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) and Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report). We believe the proposed plan remains accretive to the company's revenues and also fosters growth opportunity in the data service segment.

Verizon Communications has a strong foothold in the wireless market and expects growth from higher penetration of devices and increasing market penetration of 4G LTE services. On Jan 6, 2014, Verizon Wireless announced its agreement to transfer 700 MHz A Block spectrum licenses to T-Mobile USA for $2.4 billion and spectrum licenses in the AWS and PCS bands. The bands will help in expanding its 4G LTE network coverage. The transaction is expected to close by the first half of 2014.

Further, in Apr 2014, the company entered into an agreement with Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE:CBB-Free Report) for purchasing spectrum licenses worth $194 million. The deal is expected to close by the second half of this year and would incorporate licenses in key markets like Greater Cincinnati and Dayton, OH, areas of northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana. In these areas, Cincinnati Bell reportedly offered GSM-based 2G, 3G and HSPA+ services through 460 cell sites.

In addition, the company expects higher adoption of data plans going forward as it is extending distribution nationwide. Further, to counter intense competition, Verizon updated its data plan Share Everything and re-launched it under a new brand name, More Everything. More Everything offers reduced pricing plans to customers who subscribe to Verizon Edge and a minimum of 10GB of data. We believe such pricing policies will improve value proposition for customers, drive penetration of 4G devices and stimulate 4G LTE network usage.

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

CenturyLink Unveils Private Cloud, Targets Large Enterprise

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL-Free Report) has announced the availability of its new cloud product – CenturyLink Private Cloud. The product is based on CenturyLink's public cloud platform and expertise and is designed to cater to large enterprises.

We believe the new product launch will enable the company to increase its market share in enterprise business while also remaining accretive to revenues. 

CenturyLink is keen to build infrastructure to meet the growing needs for cloud hosting and colocation services. Further, the company's strong network capabilities, integrated hosting and network solutions will promote growth in the cloud business.

CenturyLink is concentrating on expanding the business base of its subsidiary Savvis, which has contributed substantially in uplifting the performance level of the former through its cloud computing and managed hosting solutions for enterprises. In this regard, CenturyLink acquired Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider – AppFog Inc. This acquired unit – which extends custom-made PaaS capabilities to software developers and public cloud services through www.appfog.com – will augment the product portfolio of Savvis. We view this acquisition as a growth driver for CenturyLink as AppFog's high-quality PaaS offerings along with Savvis' industry-leading infrastructure base will likely create a secure and reliable network for developing applications in the cloud.

In addition, CenturyLink continues to expand data centers. With around 57 data centers spanning across North America, Europe and Asia, management aims to capture more businesses by increasing its data center wings in strategically suitable and secure locations, boosting interconnectivity within the company's core operations. It expects to deploy advanced cloud node to six datacenters by 2014-end.

The company has also acquired public cloud services provider, Tier 3 in order to boost its cloud developments and data hosting capabilities. CenturyLink believes Tier 3's public multi-tenant cloud platform, coupled with its network and data center footprint and managed services team, will contribute to growth going forward.

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

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

About Zacks Equity Research

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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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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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