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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Whole Foods, Safeway, Delhaize, Google and VMware

CHICAGO, Feb. 14, 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 Whole Foods (Nasdaq:WFM-Free Report), Safeway (NYSE:SWY-Free Report), Delhaize (NYSE:DEG-Free Report), Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report) and VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW-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:

Anything Super About the Supermarkets?

I go to the Whole Foods (Nasdaq:WFM-Free Report) by my house all the time. I definitely don't go there for the sales or the deals. I could care less about quinoa, pink Himalayan sea salt, or polenta. I go there because it's the closest place to get dog food and the closest thing to a singles bar a grocery store could ever be. I usually come back with a bag of dog food, a bottle of rum, and a story to tell.

The store also known as "Whole Paycheck" has a bit of a reputation; High prices and weird organic food. So it really didn't come as much of a surprise to me when their earnings missed last night and guidance was lowered. You mean I'm not the only one that doesn't want to spend $6.99/lb. for ground beef? How much does that grass cost you're feeding those things anyway?

We have seen grocers get beat up for some time now. Here in Chicago, Safeway (NYSE:SWY-Free Report) pulled mainstay Dominick's out of the market altogether. Dominick's was as Chicago as it gets. Its founder was gunned down by Al Capone's henchmen for crying out loud. It's worse than when Macy's took Marshall Field's away from us. Or when that Willis guy thought it was a good idea to erase Sears from our skyline. But I digress…

The entire industry is horrible right now ranking among the bottom 9% of all the 265 industries we rank. Whole Foods and Safeway have both been taken down to a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) and should be taken off your radar. With all these losers in the industry, there has to be a winner somewhere. People haven't just stopped grocery shopping.

Delhaize (NYSE:DEG-Free Report) one of two stocks in the retail supermarket industry that has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).  The supermarket holding company has a diverse portfolio of store brands tailored to meet regional tastes and demands. Here in the US on the Eastern seaboard they operate Food Lion and Bottom Dollar Food. Maybe this could be the silver lining on our dark and dreary horizon.

I love a quick look at the price and consensus chart for every stock I evaluate. It can tell us a lot about why the Zacks Rank is what it is, in a nice, concise graphic that you can quickly glance at and gain an understanding from. Here DEG looks like a stock that had a tough time navigating 2011 and 2012 for whatever reason. Earnings revisions kept coming down lower and pulled the stock off its highs in the mid-$80s to lows in the $30 range. Recently the stock has rebounded as revisions rebounded as well. However we are still off the 2013 high and did find some support at $55. What bugs me a bit is the fact that last time earnings consensus was down where it is today, the stock was $20 lower. Well at least we know P/E has expanded since then.

The technical chart is decent. Early February gave us a pretty good buy signal around $62. There was a pull back to support, confirmation above the 25x5 SMA, and a stochastic cross from oversold territory. Being the big momentum guy I am I can't really jump behind it though. It's just too boring for me. The entire range on the chart is $54 to $72 and the stock sits around $65. A little more than 10% upside potential to the 2013 high in an industry that the analysts hate right now. I think I'll pass. There are better risk/reward scenarios in better industries right now. That reminds me, Gracey needs some grub; I'm off to Whole Foods.

Google Partners with VMWare

Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report) has officially announced its collaboration with VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW-Free Report) to deliver subscription Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). This partnership will bring Windows apps, data and desktops to Chromebooks for the first time.

The two companies will primarily integrate VMware's View desktop virtualization software with Google Chromebooks and allow access to Windows apps enabled by VMware's Blast HTML5 technology. This means that users can work with Chromebooks and also take advantage of Windows-based legacy software by running VMWare Horizon View.

Moreover, the companies are also working on incorporating Java into Google programming using the Spring Java platform and a number of other new tools.

A Chromebook is a personal computer which has Chrome OS as its operating system. The device is designed to run only when connected to the Internet. However, there is a range of apps that can be run offline as well. All the data is saved in the cloud.

Chromebooks have their pros and cons, and even though Google has witnessed increasing popularity of Chromebooks, the lack of desktop app support is a big disadvantage. In order to overcome this drawback, Google teamed up with VMWare to bring DaaS to the Internet giant's laptops, giving users access to Windows-based software.

The gap between the cloud and a traditional desktop can be bridged with the help of DaaS.

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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