Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ExxonMobil, Imperial Oil, Nintendo, Cypress Semiconductor and Potash Corporation

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE) 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: ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), Imperial Oil (NYSE: IMO), Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY.PK), Cypress Semiconductor (NYSE: CY) and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE: POT).

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Here are highlights from Thursdays Analyst Blog:

Whos a Zacks Rank #1?

Time once again to check recent changes in the Zacks Rank (#1-#5, Strong Buy to Strong Sell), to see which companies can be expected to be among the market's top performers in the near term:

$100 Oil Good for XOM

One of the biggest Zacks Rank gainers is also one of the biggest companies in the world, by market cap. ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) has jumped from a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). And no wonder. With the price of oil hitting $100 a barrel no longer just a hypothetical, shares of the biggest of the Big Oil behemoths are up a full dollar per share since dipping below $93 briefly on Wednesday.

Exxon Mobil Corporation's principal business is energy, involving exploration for, and production of, crude oil and natural gas, manufacturing of petroleum products and transportation and sale of crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products. Exxon Mobil is a major manufacturer and marketer of basic petrochemicals, including olefins, aromatics, polyethylene and polypropylene plastics and a wide variety of specialty products. Exxon Mobil is engaged in exploration for, and mining and sale of coal, copper and other minerals.

Imperial Oil Also Benefits

Likewise, Canada's biggest integrated oil company Imperial Oil (NYSE: IMO) has also shot up the Zacks Rank, from #3 (Hold) to #1 (Strong Buy). Though recent high-profile changes to its front office has generated a little uncertainty among some brokerage houses, the strength that expensive oil is likely to demonstrate should keep large-cap petroleum firms in good stead for the time being.

By the way, several other oil companies have also reached Zacks Rank #1 status today, but XOM and IMO are among the two largest companies to do so. Imperial Oil's operations, conducted under the Esso banner, are concentrated in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, refining and marketing petroleum products, and in the manufacture and sale of petrochemicals. The company has approximately 7,500 employees in two operating divisions.

Wii Are the Champions

Though Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY.PK) still currently trades in pink slips, its hugely popular video game console -- Wii -- was one of the top retail industry success stories of holiday season 2007. As a result, Nintendo's Zacks Rank has risen from a #2 (Buy) to a #1 (Strong Buy). Ahead of this year's Consumer Electronics Show, brokers have been continually positive on the Japanese gamer.

Nintendo, Ltd. is the acknowledged worldwide leader in the creation of interactive entertainment. Nintendo has created such industry icons as Mario and Donkey Kong and launched franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon. Nintendo manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home video game systems, including Wii and Game Boy.

CY Sees Strength

Another Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) to #1 (Strong Buy) story comes from Cypress Semiconductor (NYSE: CY). With last year's glut in semiconductors expected to dissipate and gain traction in early 2008, many brokerage firms see strength in the semiconductor market, and Cypress is poised to take advantage.

Cypress Semiconductor Corporation designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad line of high-performance digital and mixed-signal integrated circuits for a range of markets, including data communications, telecommunications, computers, and instrumentation systems. The company sells the products to a wide range of customers, including Lucent Technologies Inc., Motorola, Inc., Nortel Networks Corporation, Seagate Technology, Inc., Compaq Computer Corporation, 3Com Corporation, IBM, Cisco Systems, Inc. and Sony Corporation.

POT Gets Heady

A second Canadian firm has made the jump to Zacks Rank #1 today: Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE: POT) is the world's largest potash company, the third largest phosphate producer and the second largest nitrogen producer in the world.

The market has been excellent for Potash, which was the Growth & Income featured stock not long ago in Zacks editor Alex Kolb's column. Behind its growing success lies a vital infrastructure: knowledgeable PCS Sales staff throughout Canada and the United States, a transportation network that includes truck, train, barge, lake ship and ocean vessel, and warehouses strategically located in major consuming areas.

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The performance of the Zacks Rank portfolios shown above for annual and year-to-date periods are the linked monthly total returns (price changes + dividends) of equal weighted hypothetical portfolios, consisting of those stocks with the indicated Zacks Rank, assuming monthly rebalancing and zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios. The hypothetical portfolios were created at the beginning of each month from Jan 1988 forward based on the values of the Zacks Rank available to Zacks' clients before the beginning of each month. The portfolios created monthly from 1988 through September 2006 exclude ADRS and are comprised of stocks that have the indicated Zacks Rank and were covered by at least two analysts at the time of the stocks inclusion in the portfolio. Starting in October 2006 and going forward, the portfolios are comprised of all stocks with the indicated Zacks Rank and do not exclude ADRs, which is more reflective of the list of stocks that customers will find on the Zacks web sites. 2007 returns are for the period of Jan 1 Jun 30, 2007. These performance numbers have been audited from 1995 through 2003 by Autschuler Melovan, a division of American Express Financial.

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