CHICAGO, June 28, 2011 /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: Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: ERTS), Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC).
Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513
Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:
EA Latest Prey of Cyber-Attack
The growing menace of cyber hacking has found its new victim in Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: ERTS) this time, as the company's website reported that hackers have stolen user information. The video game maker reported the breach in its BioWare division as "highly sophisticated and unlawful."
Hackers breached the servers related to "Neverwinter Nights," produced by BioWare Edmonton, and supposedly stole user names, encrypted passwords, email addresses, mailing addresses, names, phone numbers and birth dates. However, the company confirmed that no credit card data or Social Security numbers were compromised.
Meanwhile, Electronic Arts is said to have identified and secured the hacked server and started an internal investigation relating to the breach.
It seems that hackers have been targeting the video game publishers for a while, and Electronic Arts is the latest addition after Sega Sammy Holdings Inc reported theft of information related to 1.3 million users. Separately, Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) is still reeling from the huge attack on it, when data related to more than 100 million users was compromised last April.
Looking back, the recent cyber attacks have affected private as well as government sectors alike. Hackers have run amok by stealing data from high profile companies such as internet search provider Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG).
Earlier in June, financial companies like Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) had confirmed that around 360,083 North America Citi-branded credit cards were hacked. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had also faced such attacks from hackers. The attack on the IMF led the World Bank to sever its network link with IMF, its sister organization.
Amid the growing number of cyber attacks, corporations and companies are looking for stricter and more stringent cyber security measures to combat the leaks in the system.
The cyber security breaches have provided an opportunity to online security service providers such as McAfee, which was acquired by Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), to name a few. These companies are facing the challenge of providing a secure operating platform for companies in the online space by updating itself with the growing need of clients.
The incidents present an opportunity for the security providers as we expect companies to spend a large portion of their information technology (IT) budgets on cyber security going forward. We also expect governments to take preventive steps to restrict cyber crime. This may include an increase in cyber security budgets, formation of cyber crime units headed by experts from the information technology field and increasing co-operation with other countries.
We believe cyber security is growing into one of the most discussed topics in 2011, particularly as the cloud computing adoption increases. The string of attacks on major corporations and government agencies has shown the vulnerability of the present security systems.
The gaming industry is undergoing a transition towards digital and online gaming. The rapid adoption of online games is expected to drive the top-line growth of most of these companies and will likely drive margins due to lower developmental and distribution cost compared to traditional disc based games.
However, the increasing use of Internet for gaming makes the companies vulnerable to cyber attacks. A more vigilant approach from this sector is the need of the hour, in our view.
We believe Electronic Arts has a strong product pipeline for fiscal 2012 and beyond, which will drive its top-line growth going forward. We believe that the high quality titles, impressive product line, increasing online exposure, social games and portfolio diversification guarantees market share gains over the long term.
We have a Neutral recommendation on Electronic Arts over the long term (for the next 6 to 12 months). Currently, Electronic Arts has a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating in the short term.
Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5515.
About Zacks Equity Research
Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.
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.
Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5517
Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.
Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts
Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.