For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – November 5, 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: Time Warner Inc. (TWX), Fannie (FNM), Freddie (FRE), Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday’s AnalystBlog:

Time Warner Tops Zacks Consensus

Despite tough macro-economic conditions, Time Warner Inc. (TWX), the global leader in media and entertainment businesses, reported better-than-expected third-quarter 2009 results that topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

The quarterly earnings of 61 cents a share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 52 cents, but dropped 6% from 65 cents delivered in the prior-year quarter. On a reported basis, including one-time items, quarterly earnings came in at 55 cents a share, sharply down by 38% from 89 cents posted in the year-ago quarter.

On account of better-than-expected results at its Content Group — comprising Networks, Filmed Entertainment, Publishing and Corporate segments — Time Warner boosts its business outlook. The company now expects its full year 2009 earnings to be $2.05 per share, up from $1.98 previously anticipated.

The Fed Stays on Easy Street

The Fed did back off its quantitative easing program slightly. It is done with the program of buying $300 billion of longer-term T-notes, and is continuing its program of buying $1.25 trillion of mortgaged-backed securities. It did, however, slightly reduce its planned purchases of Fannie (FNM) and Freddie (FRE) debt, from $200 billion down to $175 billion. In the overall context of the quantitative easing program, the reduction is trivial. It is, however, a sign that the program will not be expanded, nor is it likely to be renewed after the current program is completed by the end of the first quarter.

There had been a few Fed types who had been making speeches about the need to bring things back to normal sooner rather than later, but when the rubber hit the road, they are still on board with the program.

Overall, the Fed seems to understand that the weak economy is the overriding problem. Yes, things are getting better, but given the sluggish pace of improvement, this is not the time to be taking away the punch bowl.

This would be in keeping with historical precedent. Following the end of the 2001 recession, the Fed waited 32 months before it started to raise rates, and then it did so at a very gradual 25 basis points at a time. Following the 1991 recession it waited 35 months.

So assuming that the NBER eventually determines that the recession ended in July 2009, history suggests that the Fed will not begin to raise rates until the first quarter of 2012. The last two recessions were far milder than this one, which would argue that the Fed should stay on easy street for even longer this time around.

The problem is that keeping rates so low for so long the last time was a key factor in allowing the housing bubble to form. Still, the balance of risks seems to be on the side of an economic relapse, not of an overheating that causes inflation to soar.

Keeping rates low means that we will have a steep yield curve. A steep yield curve allows banks to make a lot of money, since their economic function is to borrow short term, and lend long term. The idea is that if the curve is kept steep enough long enough, even basket-cases like Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) will be come solvent again.

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