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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Yahoo!, Apple, Facebook, Google and SLM Corp.

CHICAGO, Feb. 15, 2013 /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 Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL), Facebook (Nasdaq:FB), Google Inc (Nasdaq:GOOG) and SLM Corporation (Nasdaq:SLM).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Yahoo Buys Mobile Apps Developer

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) recently announced the acquisition of Propeld, a developer of mobile apps with a social relevance for an undisclosed amount.

Seattle-based, Propeld is the maker of an app called Alike for Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq:AAPL) iOS. The app displays location-based information like restaurants, bookshops and coffee shops around the user and recommends new places to visit based on his preferences. Thus, it acquires data from social networking sites such as Facebook (Nasdaq:FB), Twitter, Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq:GOOG) Google+, and recommends nearby restaurants and other places which might be of interest to its consumers.

Following the acquisition, the Propeld team will be working with Yahoo's mobile division.  The company will shut down its existing app for the iPhone and other web apps.

Yahoo is marching ahead with its plan to acquire struggling start-up companies. Its recent purchases include Stamped, a mobile review app maker; OnTheAir, specializing in broadcasting video chats or interviews to online audiences; and Snip.it, which is a kind of clipping service for the web.

With these acquisitions, Yahoo is picking up a whole lot of engineering talent, as well as key technologies and products at a cheaper rate. These acquisitions could help Yahoo get into the emerging social marketing segment, where its rivals have already established themselves.

The acquisition of these small start-up companies is a part of Yahoo's strategy to strengthen its mobile offerings as it has lost its leadership position in display advertising to Facebook and Google. With search advertising revenues on a decline not only because of Google but also Microsoft, Yahoo needs to focus on other major growth markets and emerging geographies.

Sallie Mae Sells Interest

SLM Corporation (Nasdaq:SLM), also known as Sallie Mae, declared that it has sold its remaining interest in its SLM Student Loan Trust 2007-4 securitization to a third party. However, under the existing contract, Sallie Mae will continue servicing the student loans in the trust. 

The sale will result in the removal of student loans of $3.8 billion and associated liabilities worth $3.7 billion from Sallie Mae's balance sheet. Further, the gain from the deal will result in an addition of 8 cents per share to Sallie Mae's full-year 2013 GAAP as well as core earnings.

In March 2012, both the House and the Senate passed a bill to overhaul the student loan program, ending the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) that provided federal subsidies to private lenders.

As a result of this, federally guaranteed student loans would be originated under the Direct Loan Program run by the U.S. Department of Education. It would eliminate the role of private lenders. Therefore, Sallie Mae stopped originating new federally guaranteed student loans after June 30 to comply with the legislation.

Despite challenges, we believe that its leading position in the student lending market, diversifying efforts and increasing private student loan originations would help the company navigate the current cycle. 

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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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