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February 22, 2013 at 09:30 AM EST
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amazon.com, Rackspace, Microsoft, InterDigital and bebe stores

CHICAGO, Feb. 22, 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 Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN), Rackspace (NYSE:RAX), Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), InterDigital Inc. (Nasdaq:IDCC) and bebe stores Inc. (Nasdaq:BEBE).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Amazon Redshift Available for All

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN) recently announced a cloud data storage solution from Amazon Web Services (AWS), thus further expanding its cloud offerings.

Amazon Redshift, as this new cloud-based data warehouse service is called, a low-cost solution for managing and automating common administrative tasks like provisioning, configuring, monitoring, taking backups and securing a data warehouse.

The company said that any AWS customer can launch a Redshift cluster from within the AWS management console for $1,000 per terabyte per year.

Earlier, companies incurred significant costs to build their own infrastructure for data storage. They had to make a substantial payment upfront, after which they would invest further to purchase additional storage space anticipating growing backup demand.

This resulted in under-utilized capacity and unnecessary expenses. With Amazon Redshift, companies will not only be able to lower the cost of a data warehouse but also reduce the workload by analyzing large amounts of data very quickly. 

Currently, Amazon Redshift is only available in the U.S. East (N. Virginia) Region but will be rolled out to other AWS Regions in the coming months.

Cloud storage came into prominence in 2009, with Nirvanix and Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) being two of the major pioneers. Since then, Amazon has continued to dominate the space, with other players like Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) and Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) offering their own solutions.

Amazon is one of the leading players in the extremely fast-growing retail ecommerce market. Strong growth prospects here are making the market more competitive by the day. Additionally, the company serves developers through Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides access to technology infrastructure that developers can use to enable various types of virtual businesses.

Amazon is expanding AWS internationally and investing heavily in technology infrastructure to support the rapid growth in AWS. We remain extremely positive about AWS's growth and expect Amazon to remain one of the leading players in the fast-growing ecommerce market.

Though these investments could suppress near-term margin expansion, Amazon is expected to benefit in the long term, given significant growth potential in domestic and more so in international ecommerce.

Currently, Amazon has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stock that has been performing well and are worth looking into include InterDigital Inc. (Nasdaq:IDCC) which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Bebe Stores Appoints New EVP

Apparel retailer for women, bebe stores Inc. (Nasdaq:BEBE), has put forward the name of Ms. Brigitte Bogart for the position of Executive Vice President of Design and Product Development. Ms. Bogart will be in charge of the newly created role of leading the brand's design team with immediate effect.

Brigitte Bogart is a well established name in the apparel industry as she possesses valuable experience working as a creative design executive spanning two decades. She has created a niche for herself in this industry after working successfully with numerous fashion brands over time. Recently, she founded LHM Design Inc., where her designs were sold by high-end fashion retailers.

Ms. Bogart's newly created and senior role with bebe stores will be her second association with the company as she had worked with the brand earlier, as a designer for the brand's first design studio in Los Angeles, Calif., in 2001. She was the Senior Design Director, forecasting trends and designing clothes for the brand from 2001 to 2009.

In her new role, Brigitte will report to the company's CEO, Steve Birkhold. The company believes that her exceptional insight into the likes of bebe's customers and the latest fashion trends along with her proven design and product development abilities will go a long way in achieving the goal of expanding via innovation.

Meanwhile, bebe stores have been witnessing weakened sales trends of late. In January, the company posted weaker-than-expected retail sales results for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 ended Dec 29, 2012 as total retail sales of $124.6 million declined 11.7% from $141.1 million in the prior-year quarter.

Comps declined 10.5% for the quarter compared with an increase of 9.6% in the year-ago period. Last quarter, the company's total retail sales were down 9.4%, while comps declined 8.7%.

Such weak trends have pushed the company to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

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