For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 6, 2009 – 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 (MSFT), Yahoo (YHOO), Google (GOOG), Capital One (COF) and American Express (AXP).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Microsoft: The Bing Thing

Recent numbers put out by analytics firm StatCounter indicate that Microsoft’s (MSFT) new search engine, Bing, gained market share in July. The company’s share of U.S. search engine users increased 14.3%, mostly at the cost of Yahoo (YHOO) and smaller players. Google (GOOG) continues to dominate, with a three-quarter’s share of the market.

Last month, Microsoft announced a ten-year agreement with Yahoo that allows it to power, control and process search-related information. Yahoo gets to collect advertisements and keep 88% of the revenue. While management of both companies expressed enthusiasm on the deal, investor responses varied.

Microsoft shareholders were happy since the company was not making any upfront payment, while Yahoo shareholders were disappointed for the same reason. Meanwhile, shareholders of market leader Google appeared concerned at the prospect of increased competition.

Consumer Bankruptcies Soar

Since the start of the year, 802,000 individuals have filed for bankruptcy. The July rate would equate to 885,000 people going bankrupt, so clearly we are still in an uptrend, and historically the number of bankruptcies peaks well after a recession is over.

The report did not specify the causes of the bankruptcies, but clearly the rapidly rising unemployment rate and uninsured medical expenses are likely to be significant factors. The ABI is predicting there will be 1.4 million filings this year. I suspect it will be higher than that.

One of the major problems in the economy is that the consumer has too much debt. If there is not enough income to service and repay the debt, then debt will come down through bankruptcy. Rising levels of delinquencies on all forms of consumer credit, such as mortgages and credit cards indicate that there will be more filings in the future. This is not good news for the credit card heavy banks like Capital One (COF) and American Express (AXP).

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