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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Facebook, Akamai Technologies, Rackspace Hosting and AT&T

Companies mentioned in this article: Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, July 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 Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOGL-Free Report), Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report), Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq:AKAM-Free Report), Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (NYSE:RAX-Free Report) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T-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 Friday's Analyst Blog:

Google Ventures to Invest in European Startups

Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq:GOOGL-Free Report) announced that its venture capital arm -- Google Ventures -- will open an office in London to fund European start-ups. The company plans to invest up to $100 million for the funding which could be increased over time.

Founded in 2009, Google Ventures focuses on early-stage investments across a diverse range of industries, including consumer Internet, software, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care and others. It has an investment portfolio of approximately 250 companies.

Reportedly, the new branch office will be located in Clerkenwell and the project will be headed by Bill Maris. The London office will comprise five general partners -- Eze Vidra from Google's Campus London start-up accelerator; Tom Hulme, a serial entrepreneur; Peter Read, a U.K. investor; Avid Larizadeh, co-founder of Bottica.com; and MG Siegler.

Google has been striving to expand its European operations for some time now. The company remains quite optimistic about the emerging European start-ups and plans to invest in them to benefit from the money generated.

Google Ventures has already established its offices in 21 European countries, including the London campus. Additionally, last month, the tech giant unveiled its plans to open another campus in Warsaw. The campus provides space, mentorship, community and the environment that an entrepreneur needs to succeed.

Recently, many other companies have started investing in European start-ups. Last week, Russia's Runa Capital announced a $200 million fund, focusing on European technology companies. In June, Index Ventures launched a EUR400 million investment fund for early-stage technology companies. In 2013, the London offices of Accel Partners unveiled a similar fund worth $475 million.

These investments reflect Google's diversification plans, which will help it to compete with the likes of Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report) and other tech companies in the advertising market over the long term.

Currently, Google has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks that are performing well at the current levels include Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq:AKAM-Free Report) and Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (NYSE:RAX-Free Report). All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

AT&T Unveils Store for iOS, Android Users

The customers of the leading telecom company AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T-Free Report) can now enjoy more mobile apps and contents as the company's partners Syntonic Wireless launched a Sponsored Content Store. Customers can use these mobile apps without changing their current data plan.

AT&T customers using iOS and Android software-based devices can access the Sponsored Content Store. This application will be made available on other operating systems later this summer. However, the number of applications the company will offer is not yet known.

In January, the company announced its plans to offer a toll-free data service that will not consume customers' monthly allotment for surfing when they visit the sponsors' websites. We believe that this is AT&T's strategy of promoting wireless data usage to boost its service revenues. The service would also pave the way for establishing its LTE network in the near-term.

This Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) stock currently faces several limitations with its existing wireless spectrums and is attempting a turnaround by gaining more spectrum licenses. The company's wireline division is struggling with persistent losses in access lines as a result of competitive pressure from voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) service providers and aggressive triple-play (voice, data and video) offerings by the cable companies. These are weighing on the company's revenues and margins.

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SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.