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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Microsoft Corp., IBM Corp., General Electric Company, Cisco Systems, Inc. and Intel Corp.

CHICAGO, Nov. 12, 2012 /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 Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), IBM Corp. (IBM), General Electric Company (GE), Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) and Intel Corp. (INTC).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Four daily picks are offered free.

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Microsoft to Invest in Brazil

The world's largest software maker, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will invest $100.0 million in a new research center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The investment will cover research and development, and other entrepreneurial programs.

This will be the fourth Microsoft Research Advanced Technology Laboratory built by the company in Brazil (previously opened in Germany, Israel and Egypt). The lab will house the Bing search engine as well as a business accelerator that will support 15 startups in the following 2 years. The startups will be funded from an investment fund, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Brazil.

Microsoft's investment is critical for the success of the new startups, which will lead to job creation and boost the nation's growth. Also, Microsoft's initiative will open new avenues for the IT sector in Brazil, which may become a critical part of the nation's overall development in the future. The Latin American country can develop into a technology hub going forward.

Rio is an ideal choice for Microsoft's investments.  Stalwarts such as IBM Corp. (IBM) and General Electric Company (GE) have already opened research centers in Rio. Moreover, Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) and Intel Corp. (INTC) are planning to expand in the region as well.

Microsoft has been investing in the Latin American nation since 2008. Earlier, the company started a project for opening cyber cafes throughout the country and further including educational and job-training activities for the youth.

Microsoft's operating systems are installed on the majority of computers in the world. The company has been innovating on many fronts and has many new and exciting products lined up.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Microsoft reported revenue excluding deferrals of $16.01 billion, down 11.4% sequentially and 7.9% from last year, missing estimates by 2.5%. The softness in Windows was expected, since customers were delaying purchases ahead of the Windows 8 launch.

Microsoft Corp. has a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating in the short term (1-3 months).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Four daily picks are offered free.

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.

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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, brokerage, market making or asset management activities of any securities. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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