Author Archives: Bret Kenwell

Facebook Adds Food Ordering; Spotify Gets Into A.I.–Tech Roundup

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Year-To-Date Winners: We Have Found The Market And It's Apple

APPLE – THE BEST OPPORTUNITY EVER?

I SEE APPLE GOING BACK ABOVE $300, SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

Facebook (FB) continues to strengthen its grip on everything in users’ lives. It snapped up Instagram and WhatsApp, and launched Facebook Messenger to capture our pictures and communications. It has incrementally added more and more features, and the latest centers around online food ordering.

If users want to order food on Facebook, they will do the entire process on its platform. That may seem like a secondary footnote, but it’s actually an important detail. The company could have rerouted users to a different platform to order with a simple update. But by keeping users on its platform it strengthens everything.

It increases the amount of time a user will be on Facebook. It increases the user’s engagement and also increases Facebook’s direct interaction with that user. It will know you like such-and-such from P.F. Chang’s once a week or your favorite dish from the local Thai place in town. Guess whose benefit that works toward.

Actually, the customer and Facebook. But the latter’s what’s important here because Facebook could have just added a feature that made it easier for users. Instead, it focused on a win-win situation.

The company is teaming up with Slice and Delivery.com for the service. Users do everything from customize their order to pay for it directly on Facebook.

If Facebook can successfully implement this plan, and perhaps add several other services, business could hit a whole new level.

Shares of Facebook closed at $148.06 Friday, up 0.3%.


Artificial intelligence isn’t just for Amazon (AMZN) , Cisco (CSCO) and Apple (AAPL) . Although it’s still a privately held company, Spotify is looking to get in on the hype as well.






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Tesla’s Labor Dispute; New Google Earth — Tech Roundup

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Year-To-Date Winners: We Have Found The Market And It's Apple

APPLE – THE BEST OPPORTUNITY EVER?

I SEE APPLE GOING BACK ABOVE $300, SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

With Tesla’s (TSLA) stock riding high — up 43% year to date — a lot has to go right in order for shares to maintain their lofty levels. For starters, many investors’ faith is riding on the company’s ability to mass produce its Model 3 sedan.

The goal here is simple: Mass produce an affordable sedan (starting around $35,000) that consumers will buy in higher quantities due to the lower pricing and a better experience. However, in order to meet that demand, Tesla has to dramatically increase its production and aims to produce about 500,000 total vehicles per year in 2018.

It won’t help if Tesla’s acquisition of Grohmann hits a serious snag. According to some reports, union officials want to see higher wages at the German-based Grohmann company. They argued that wages are 30% below union rates.

Tesla argued this notion and explained that it had paid out bonuses and stock options to workers. The company also said it won’t impact the timeline for the Model 3.

Still, if anything gets in the way, it could lead to investor disappointment. With a stock trading this high and with a valuation this rich, any “fly in the ointment,” as they say, could hinder the stock price.

Of course, a short-term blip could be erased if the Model 3 exceeds expectations.

Shares of Tesla closed at $305.52 Wednesday, up 1.8%.


Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google Earth has captivated many users over the years – myself included! Panning around the world and getting intricate looks at cities or coast lines has consumed many hours for the geographically-interested. Whether it was looking for cool markings in the hills or seeing what neighborhood your hotel will be in, most of us are familiar with the platform.

But now, Google Earth is seeing a big overhaul. In its first major update since 2012, the platform now has intense 3-D maps and guided tours.






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Jim Cramer — With Verizon, Sometimes the Dividend Is All You Need

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Shares of Verizon (VZ) have struggled this year, falling more than 7% since the start of 2017. Investors are hoping that the company is able to turn its stock price around when it reports earnings Thursday before the open.

Recent analyst coverage has shares of Verizon, AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS)  moving higher Wednesday, TheStreet’s Jim Cramer, manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

When it comes to earnings, though, Cramer said he expects to hear some positive commentary from Verizon’s management. The company recently began offering unlimited data plans and changing its product mix, which could be good.

Verizon’s also got a very attractive 4.7% dividend yield — which is a big factor to Cramer. Simply put, sometimes a big dividend is all you need, especially in a low-rate environment where the 10-year Treasury note yields just 2.2%.

Analysts expect Verizon to earn 97 cents per share on $30.57 billion in revenue for the most recent quarter. 






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Pandora’s New On-Demand Streaming Is Finally Available to All — Tech Roundup

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Year-To-Date Winners: We Have Found The Market And It's Apple

APPLE – THE BEST OPPORTUNITY EVER?

I SEE APPLE GOING BACK ABOVE $300, SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

It’s no secret that Spotify has been doing an excellent job in the on-demand streaming market. It’s led many to wonder when the company will go public, given that its biggest competition is Apple (AAPL) Music, Pandora (P) and Alphabet’s (GOOGL)  YouTube. All three companies are public and the Spotify debut on the public markets seems like a “when” not “if” scenario. 

In just 12 months, Spotify grew its number of paying subscribers 66%, from 30 million to 50 million. Subscribers pay anywhere from $5 to $15 a month. The company now boasts more than 100 million paying and free subscribers.

Those number crush the competition, with Apple Music boasting just 20 million paying subscribers and Pandora sporting only 4.3 million. Pandora lets users craft stations, but it works much like a radio station in a way. In Pandora’s case, an algorithm determines what listeners hear next. It basically had two business models: a free model with advertising or an ad-free subscription models users could purchase. Both scenarios provide Pandora with revenue.

However, Pandora is now making its third product available, Pandora Premium, an on-demand streaming option. The service will cost $9.99 per month and is now available to all users. 

Some of the product’s features will either annoy or please some of its customers. Pandora will use its algorithms to determine and add similar songs to those that users have already liked. If they’ve been Pandora users in the past and “thumbs-upped” songs, Pandora will have even more data to go on.

The new product is unlikely to negatively impact Pandora. But the big question is whether Apple and Spotify already have too tight a grip on the market for Pandora to make any meaningful headway. 

Shares of Pandora closed at $10.56 Tuesday, down 1.6%. 


Why be enemies when you can be friends? That’s what comes to mind when the news came out that PayPal (PYPL) would be an available service on Google’s Android Pay.






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Jim Cramer — Bank Stocks Could Be Compelling Post-Earnings

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Although bank stocks have stalled lately, the industry has been a big winner since the presidential election. However, investors are now gearing for earnings, with a big slate of companies set to report on Thursday. 

Speaking from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, TheStreet’s Jim Cramer, manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said he doesn’t think Wells Fargo (WFC) will report particularly good results. However, it’s valuation has been reduced considerably heading into the results. 

For JPMorgan (JPM) , Cramer says he expects the bank to report good results, but the stock is hard to judge because it’s been in “no man’s land” lately. 

When it comes to Bank of America (BAC)   — which reports next week — the stock could suffer from business loans, which haven’t done that well. If the stock were to get knocked down into the $20 to $21 range, it would be a compelling buy. 

As for Citigroup (C) , a holding in the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, Cramer reasoned that the stock continues to trade below book value, or $64. That gives management the green light to continue buying back as much stock as they can, knowing their stock is undervalued vs. the assets they own. 

While many of the banks are still cheap on an earnings basis, many are no longer as cheap on a book-value basis, he explained. However, the group becomes an interesting, post-earnings investment should the Federal Reserve begin raising rates and if the White House follows through on deregulation, Cramer concluded. 

 





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Will the iPhone of the Future Have Protective Shock Absorbers? — Tech Roundup

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Year-To-Date Winners: We Have Found The Market And It's Apple

APPLE – THE BEST OPPORTUNITY EVER?

I SEE APPLE GOING BACK ABOVE $300, SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

Apple’s (AAPL) planned iPhone 8 launch is expected to be the biggest in its history. Most consumers — or should we say all consumers? — are unaware of what new features the Cupertino, Calif., giant will include in its new device.

Could one of its new features be a shock absorbing and floatation system? Millions of consumers love how sleek and sexy a new iPhone looks. But given its cost, many (like me) are too afraid to use it without a case.

But on April 4, the company was granted a patent that could allow for safer iPhone use. Basically, the device would be able to detect if it was in free fall via an accelerometer. If the phone determines it is falling, shock absorbers could pop out from each corner of the device, looking to soften the blow of being dropped.

Each of the four absorbers would be thought to float as well, in case a customers dropped their phone in some form of water, like a lake or even a tub.

Perhaps receiving the patent now is too late for Apple to alter its plans for the iPhone 8 and these features will be integrated into future iPhones. Perhaps these features will never see the light of day.

That’s the problem with looking at a company’s patents, you never know if they’ll come into play.

Shares of Apple closed at $144.77 Tuesday, up 0.75%.

Editors’ pick: Originally published April 4.


Everyone who uses Facebook (FB) is familiar with the platform’s feed. It sends news, photos and status updates your way so when you’re sitting on the subway, waiting in line or lounging on the couch you know what’s going on.






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FMC Corp.: Cramer’s Top Takeaways

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Did you miss “Mad Money” on CNBC? If so, here are some of Jim Cramer’s top takeaways.

On Friday, shares of FMC Corp. (FMC) roared higher, climbing 13% after it was announced that it would acquire DuPont’s (DD) crop protection business. In exchange, FMC gave DuPont $1.2 billion and its FMC Health and Nutrition business.

Friday’s rally wasn’t the only big move though. Shares of FMC are now up 20% in the past month and 80% over the past year. Despite this, Cramer believes more gains could be on the way.

Because DuPont needs regulatory approval from the EU to complete its mega-merger with Dow Chemical (DOW) , it had to sell its crop protection business at an attractive price.

And FMC didn’t get some middle-of-the-road asset, either. Practically overnight, it has been transformed into an agriculture powerhouse, just when the industry is heading into a strong cycle, Cramer said.

If investors liked FMC before the deal with DuPont, they should absolutely love it now, he reasoned. FMC also has a lithium business, which will see strong demand as electric vehicle sales continue to increase.

While a laptop may only need a few ounces of lithium for its battery, electric cars need 30 to 100 pounds. That’s a good business for FMC, which said it plans to spin off its lithium unit, but not before 2019.

While its ag business saw revenues fall 6% last quarter, operating income climbed more than 25%. Its lithium business saw flat sales, but its operating income nearly doubled. Margins are expanding at FMC and that’s very encouraging to see, he added.

Throw in DuPont’s leading-edge crop protection business and research and development pipeline and FMC looks even better.

While shares of FMC have moved up significantly, there’s still plenty of gains left in this name over the long term, Cramer said.

Over on on Real Money, Cramer says this pullback is exactly what the markets need to shake out the weak hands and get better owners in for the long haul. Check out his analysis with a free trial subscription to Real Money.

Cramer and the AAP team say they are currently restricted on Southwest (LUV) , but if they could, they would be adding to their position today on the broader market selloff. Read what they’re telling their investment club members. Get a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.

Search Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money” trading recommendations using our exclusive “Mad Money” Stock Screener.

To read a full recap of this episode of “Mad Money,” click here.

To watch replays of Cramer’s video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.

To sign up for Jim Cramer’s free Booyah! newsletter with all of his latest articles and videos please click here.

 





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Jim Cramer — After DuPont Deal, FMC Can Go Higher

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Despite rallying some 13% on Friday, shares of FMC Corp. (FMC) are continuing to rise Monday, up another 1.5%. Investors are still cheering the company’s deal with DuPont (DD) , exchanging its FMC Health and Nutrition unit along with $1.3 billion in cash for the latter’s early stage crop protection business. 

On Friday, TheStreet’s Jim Cramer, manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, also cheered the deal, explaining that by selling its early stage crop protection business, DuPont was satisfying the EU and paving the way for its mega-merger with Dow Chemical (DOW) . 

Speaking on Monday’s CNBC “Mad Dash” segment though, Cramer also viewed the move as a big win for FMC as well. 

The company will be viewed as a pure-play agriculture company, he reasoned, which is good news assuming the sector is headed for a strong cycle like Cramer expects.

FMC has a lithium battery division too, but the company plans to spin that business off into a separate unit. There’s strong demand for lithium, given its wider use in tech and especially in electric vehicles, like Tesla (TSLA) , Cramer said. 

The analysts are getting behind the stock too, with four of them raising their estimates after FMC’s deal with DuPont. While the stock has had a big move, Cramer says more will come. Demand for lithium is high and as a pure-play ag stock, FMC looks very attractive. 

 





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Jim Cramer — Can Apple Help Spur a Market Rebound?

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Year-To-Date Winners: We Have Found The Market And It's Apple

APPLE – THE BEST OPPORTUNITY EVER?

I SEE APPLE GOING BACK ABOVE $300, SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

The stock market is stumbling Monday morning, but shares of Apple (AAPL) are only down slightly following a positive analyst note. JPMorgan put Apple on its Focus List with a $165 price target. 

The bullish case is based on an increase in iPhone unit sales, TheStreet’s Jim Cramer, manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said on CNBC’s “Stop Trading” segment. 

The analyst, Rod Hall, believes there will be “high pent-up replacement demand” for the iPhone and thus raised his sales estimate to 260 million units, up from 245 million units.

This news goes alongside a report that Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) will manufacture 100 million A11 chips for the iPhone 8 and on news that Apple has won a Chinese court case regarding patent infringement.

Cramer wondered if the good news would be enough to push Apple higher, bringing the stock market up as well. Apple is well off its morning lows and the overall market is seeing a slight bounce. For now, though, both remain in negative territory. 

Either way, this is a “major push” from a big firm, Cramer said of JPMorgan’s research note. 






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Here’s How Many Apple iPhones Are in Use Today — Tech Roundup

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Year-To-Date Winners: We Have Found The Market And It's Apple

APPLE – THE BEST OPPORTUNITY EVER?

I SEE APPLE GOING BACK ABOVE $300, SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

Editors’ pick: Originally published March 6.

Just how many iPhones are out there? According to some estimates, analysts have pegged that number at a whopping 715 million. Oh, and that’s not just how many have been sold. That estimate is for the actual number of devices currently in use.

That number only appears to be growing too. Last summer, Apple (AAPL) told us that it had sold its one-billionth iPhone. Since then though, the momentum hasn’t slowed, with last quarter alone clocking 78.3 million devices as sold.

The analyst behind the 715 million estimate is Tim Long of BMO Capital Markets. He estimates that that number grew 20% from the prior year, and will grow an additional 13% this year. If that ends up being the case, a total of 808 million iPhone devices will be in use.

He also estimates that the figure will climb by 9% in 2018, bringing the total to 880 active iPhones.

How come these numbers aren’t higher, given the big expectations for the iPhone 8? Consider that many buyers of the iPhone 8 will be current iPhone users already. Instead of being a new Apple user, they will likely upgrade from older devices.

However, all those users are certain to be a boon for Apple’s Services business, its high-margin unit that collects sales on iTunes, iCloud, the App Store and others. With an expected 800+ million iPhones, plus countless iPod, iPad and Mac users, Apple is surely to rake in the cash in the years to come.






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