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March 2017

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The Board of Adjustment is expected to review the application in its next session at Memphis City Hall, 2 PM local time on August 24

With about 6.5 million population and 42,180 mille square area, Tennessee is a one of the small US states; though, given it shares border with eight other states and is visited a lot by the Model S/X owners, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) continues to electrify it. Now, the automaker plans to build a new Supercharger location in Memphis.

The Commercial Appeal reported that Tesla has submitted an application with Memphis & Shelby County Board of Adjustment, requesting for a variance to allow a charging station at 1203 Ridgeway Road, as well as to allow the location to be established less than 100 feet from Ridgeway. The location is considered to be the Park Palace shopping mall in the city.

The Board of Adjustment is expected to review the application in its next session at Memphis City Hall, 2 PM local time on August 24. The company has planned to add eight charging stalls at Memphis Supercharger, allowing owners to shop or dine-in while getting their EVs recharged.

Tesla Installation Program Manager Shawn Gleason noted in a letter to the board, “The charging stations will be placed within an existing row of parking along Ridegway Road with the charge posts and electrical equipment placed behind the curb in an existing landscaped area.”

The main reasons for setting up charging location in Memphis is to strengthen the US Supercharger network for Tesla owners who frequently travel through the city. The Park Palace is close to the Interstate 240 at apartment complex.

It takes just 20 minutes to add 170 miles of driving range via the Supercharger. Memphis station is expected to open before the end of 2016, serving Tesla owners living in the city and those passing by. The station almost fully connects the Interstate 55, which starts from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, it connects Tennessee with Arkansas.

Currently, Tesla has just three Superchargers in Tennessee. The company plans to fully electrify the state by the end of this year. Earlier this month, it opened a Supercharger station in the capital city, Nashville, and a location in Knoxville by the end of May.

Mr. Gleason said that the demand for Tesla cars is accelerating and with the launch of the Model 3 next year the demand is expected to further increase.

The company recently surpassed the e-commerce giant after a massive earnings beat

Tencent Holdings has recently surpassed e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd (NYSE:BABA) as China’s most valuable tech company. The company’s recent quarter earnings beat the Street’s expectations, thanks to the sale of premium content broadcasts, which has helped to report impressive bottom-line numbers despite a slowing Chinese economy. The company’s recent shift towards mobile games and content seems to have been the trigger for outstanding financial results. The earnings helped the company’s shares to rise by more than 6%, perhaps leading to the biggest yearly gains.

While e-commerce giant Alibaba’s market value currently stands at $238 billion, Tencent’s current market value stands at $246 billion. Both companies are trying to capture the same target audience, as Alibaba look to mark its presence into streaming content, which is why it is making heavy investments into cloud computing.

TheCountryCaller has discussed the e-commerce giant’s recent move towards e-sports, which seems to add an additional revenue stream to its top-line. Perhaps one of the challenges it will face in the e-sports space is the costs, a factor that so far hasn’t been controlled by Tencent. Another hurdle that may come in the Beijing based retailer’s way is the deaccelerating economy of China.

Tencent CEO Ma Huateng said that his company has successfully sustained its solid growth across all its business platforms. Moreover, its strategic initiatives are more oriented towards providing the best content experience to its customers. While the recent results may have helped the company to surpass Alibaba, it is uncertain as to how sustainable this position is.

TheCountryCaller has repeatedly discussed about the potential of the e-commerce giant’s stock. Our views are complemented by renowned Street houses such as Morgan Stanley, who reckon a significant upside from current levels. It is very much likely that Alibaba Group would soon retain its spot as China’s most valuable tech company.

Omega chief Leon Cooperman has put Amazon in his top 10 stock picks for 2017

After posting a bleak guidance for the fourth quarter in late October 2016, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) shares collapsed from $820 and lost their value by $100 by mid-November. Since then, the stock has remained below the $800-mark.

Thanks to a promising performance throughout the busy Holiday season, the stock price has been bumping up. On Friday, the stock hit its 10-week high of $799, signally a breakout in anticipation of solid results for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016 (4QFY16), scheduled to be released on January 26, 2017.

The stock, which is already up over 5.9% year-to-date through Friday, received another major push yesterday after Leon Cooperman – the billionaire philanthropist, chairman, and chief executive of Omega Advisors – named Amazon among his top investment ideas for 2017.

In an interview with CNBC’s Scott Wapner late Thursday, the famous hedge fund manager revealed that he has added Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Hess, and MGM Resorts to the list. He believes that the US stock market is “reasonably fully valued” after the robust rally since the US presidential election in November.

Mr. Cooperman advised investors to control their enthusiasm about the potential growth of the market, adding that they should rather focus on individual stocks. “I find myself very comfortable with the stocks that I own, which we think are value [stocks], but on the overall market, I’m fairly neutral to mildly positive,” he said in a statement.

Amazon is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the growing ecommerce and cloud service industries with its two main segments: Amazon Retail and Amazon Web Service (AWS). However, its new initiatives into brick-and-mortar stores and faster delivery services like Amazon Drones have led to strong expectations from the Wall Street.

Interestingly, a famous Amazon bull, Trip Chowdhry, of Global Equities Research, urged investors to dispose off their investments in Amazon by the end of 2016. He said that the stock fully represents the valuation and future prospects of AWS, the fastest-growing service of the company.

Although he remained positive on the company, he believes that the stock will not go further from that price point. Moreover, he was not too convinced with the company’s new initiatives, such as Amazon Drones, Amazon Flex, and Amazon Fresh.

After much anticipation, Apple has finally launched its new wireless earphones

A recent survey conducted by 9to5Mac has revealed that majority of users feel that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is charging a bit too much for its new wireless pair of earphones, also known as the Apple AirPods. Also, users believe that an estimated shipping time of 6 weeks is another reason why they prefer going against Apple’s new wireless earphones. Hence, if you are dead set on not splashing $159 on the Apple AirPods, read this quick review of the best alternate wireless earphones you can purchase from the market.

Beats Powerbeats (Price Tag: $179.99)

AppleInsider has labelled Beats’ Powerbeats3 as the most reliable pair of wireless earphones that it has ever come across. Interestingly, the sports-focused wireless headphones incorporate Apple W1 chipset which ensures seamless pairing with a compatible Apple device including the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The bluetooth-connected earphone is designed to provide 12-hour battery life which is better than what you get from your everyday pair of wireless earphones.

Earin M1 (Price Tag: $139.50)

The Earin M1 is a pair of Bluetooth-enabled earbuds which are designed to provide a comfortable fit inside users’ ears. The wireless earphones ship with three pairs of ear tips and stabilizers which are designed to ensure users always get that perfect fit whenever they put on the Earin M1. Although the wireless earphone lacks in providing reasonable bass, Earin has done a wonderful job at cutting out most of unwanted ambient noise from mid-range distances. The Earin M1 provides a mere two-and-a-half hours of battery life but its charging case is designed to efficiently charge the earbuds up to around three times.

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium (Price Tag: $129.95)

This unique wireless pair of earphones is designed to transmit sound with the help of bone conduction technology. With bone conduction earphones, sound is not sent to users’ ear canal; instead, sound waves are vibrated throughout the soft bones present in the front region of the human ear. Interestingly, this allows users to listen to ambient noise while carrying out other activities which require such users to listen to whatever is happening around them. On a flipside, these particular wireless earphones will only provide a maximum battery life of six hours.

A recent interview of CD Projekt RED’s CEO reveals a lot about the current balance of the gaming population

CD Projekt RED has been one of the greatest developers that we have seen over the past two generations. The developer is known for its amazing work on The Witcher franchise, of which the most recent, The Witcher 3 was a phenomenal success. Recently, CEO Martin Iwinski talked about the present scenario at CDPR and the studio’s future plans.

During an interview with Maceij Plus on YouTube, Iwinski revealed that most of the sales that The Witcher 3 has received so far are from Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows PC and while console sales have been performing well, most of the sales came in from PC. This is very surprising since both Microsoft and Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) have been going all out this console generation. But if the statement from Iwinski has any truth to it, it looks like PC is taking the lead as the preferred place to game on.

Let us look at the possible reasons why this could be true. In the eighth console generation, launch prices for consoles were around $400 for the base package. While this has been greatly reduced since then, with the addition of several meaty discounts and deals, the whole package (extra controller, a few games and accessories) would end up costing well above $600-700. This is a lot and a decent gaming PC can be built in the same price. Furthermore, the performance of consoles this generation has been very disappointing with sub-1080p experiences, low framerates and other issues that have been widely reported. This could be one of the major reasons why more people prefer PCs over consoles.

While consoles usually offer an unmatched level of convenience where users can get into a game instantly, the current console generation has sort of hindered that experience as well. Mandatory day-one patches are now a custom, with many games requiring an online subscription such as Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus.

Another important factor related to the performance of the games is the fact that games on PC are tweakable according to your own preference. What this means is that you can adjust game settings according to your own preference (better quality or better framerate). You have control over almost every angle of the game. While these tweaks and settings have been rumored to make their way to some games in consoles as well, the level of customization provided by PC is unmatched.

There have also been numerous instances where we have seen a gaming PC made inside the budget of a console, and end up performing better in many ways. With all of that said, I still think that a console is the best purchase for me as it offers the comfort of playing in my living room. Which side are you on and why? Let me know in the comments below.

Dodging makes winning gyms, a piece of cake

Pokemon GO, the game that has taken by the world by storm, is an augmented reality, mobile title by the developers of a similar game called Ingress, Niantic. The game brings the generation-long franchise, Pokemon, into the real life with features like catching and training different types of Pokemon. With that being said, it seems there are quite a few other features in the game which players have to master to become the very best.

In Pokemon GO, almost everyone can capture Pokemon, but battling and winning fights with them is another thing. To take control of Pokemon Gyms located in the game, players have to either conquer unclaimed Gyms or if they have been taken over by the members of the two other factions. They have to fight them for the Gyms control using their six best Pokemon.

Winning Gym battles was quite easy at first as all you had to do was tap like a maniac and swipe when needed to. However, after the game’s most recent update, quite a few things have been changed which includes the brand new buffering system in Gym battles.  This system allows players to queue up on moves. So no more button mashing. Players are forced to think before they swipe or tap on the screen.

However, with our Dodge guide here, winning battles would not a problem for you. But before we begin, always remember to choose a type of Pokemon which can counter your opponent’s Pokemon.  

Timing is key when it comes to dodging perfectly but with the help of our guide and few practice matches, achieving that would be a piece of cake. So let’s begin. In Pokemon GO, whenever the enemy Pokemon attacks, the screen flashes a yellow light. This light is your indicator. Whenever it flashes, you have a second to respond. If you swipe in that second, you’ll dodge the attack. However, there are a couple of moves in Pokemon GO which can’t be dodged for instance Blizzard.

Moreover, since the enemy Pokemon is being controlled by an AI, its attack rate is fixed. According to what we know so far, the AI Pokemon attack every 2 seconds, with the exception of the first two attacks. As soon as the battle begins, the enemy AI will attack twice, one after the other. So remember to dodge twice as soon you begin the battle.

India’s plans to start renewable energy projects could provide gateway for Tesla Energy

Since PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Fremont factory last year, there have been speculations regarding the company opening a new assembly plant in India. While that matter still remains a mystery, the recent initiative by the Indian government shows that it is establishing a new market and opening doors for the likes of Tesla, Panasonic Corporation, and Samsung SDI Co.

Bloomberg reported that India is considering adding storage batteries as a requirement for a solar project, which will be tendered later this month. Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI), which implements the state’s green objective, will invite bidders to add a storage device in 100 megawatts (MW) of the 750 MW of solar capacity tendered in Andhra Pradesh.

SECI is also considering constructing a pilot hybrid project of 5 KW of solar and 2 MW of solar capacity with 1 MW storage battery in Lahaul Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

The government aims to decrease power supply fluctuation through the pilot program to possibility transfer renewable energy between provinces. Mr. Modi expects to achieve 175 GW of renewable power by 2020 and the latest project consists of 15 minutes of storage capacity in each of the two solar systems.

Warehousing energy is seen as an important component of the country’s green objectives. If adopted more broadly, the requirement has the possibility to create the storage industry, due to India’s massive plans. This would allow manufacturers to obtain economies of scales on battery storage.

Global battery producers have identified India to be a huge market. Even, Tesla stated in its 3QFY15 Shareholder Letter that “There is also an exciting market opportunity for us in India with strong government alignment that we look forward to growing in 2016.”

Tesla’s Gigafactory partner, Panasonic, is also developing products for the Indian market. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) estimates show that energy storage capacity would reach roughly 11.3 GW by 2020, representing less than 1% of existing installed capacity.

While the Modi administration seeks to join Japan, Korea, and US in the renewable energy race, it is also cautious due to high storage cost, which would make projects unfeasible.

Tesla has already started making household batteries, the Powerwall, and the commercial batteries, Powerpack at the Gigafactory. The first cell production at the $5 billion facility is expected at the end of this year. Thus, it would not be surprising if CEO Elon Musk finds new business partners in India in 2016.

Apple is under increasing pressure due to the decline in its computer sales

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is under increasing pressure after the poor sales performance of its computers and iPhone 6s / 6s Plus. The Cupertino-based tech giant seeks to counter its poor sales performance with the release of the next generation MacBook Pro. Apple is rumored to release the MacBook 2016 by the end of the year. A new and improved MacBook could potentially counter the weak sales experienced by Apple’s computers and iPhone models in 2016, but there is always the probability that this move could backfire, which could further put itself under deeper water. Here is The Country Caller’s take on how Apple intends to release its next generation MacBook Pro in order to counter declining sales.

According to the latest data, Apple has experienced an alarming decline of 8.3% for its MacBook sales for the month of June. While the Cupertino-based tech giant’s competition has experienced a growth in PC sales, Apple has not been lucky. The company intends to release the next generation model of MacBook Pro with latest hardware in order to ensure a steady rise in sales before the end of the year. The introduction of a new and improved MacBook Pro might possibly force the discontinuity of the current MacBook Air. Apple might be looking to bring the next-gen MacBook Air in early 2017.

Apple is expected to release 13-inch model and 15-inch model for its next generation MacBook Pro. It is rumored to support NFC chip technology and feature a new touch ID fingerprint scanner. Furthermore, it should support quick charging through a USB Type-C port and feature Intel’s latest SkyLake processor. Many credible sites claim that the next generation MacBook Pro will also feature an OLED touch bar and support wireless charging. Apple has already announced a new operating system for any future MacBook, so it will definitely come pre-installed with MacOS Sierra. Lastly, numerous sites have speculated that Apple will enable Siri on its next generation MacBook Pro.

As impressive as Apple’s next generation MacBook Pro sounds, only time will tell if it successfully manages to counter the declining sales experienced by Mac PC. At least the company is going all out to redeem the poor sales performance for the year. Watch the Space!

Analyst weighs in on GoPro stock after a fireside meet with CFO at Annual Consumer Conference

Erinn Murphy, analyst at Piper Jaffray offered commentary on GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRO) after having a fireside chat with its Chief Finance Officer, Brian McGee. The meeting took place at the 36th Annual Consumer Conference conducted by Piper Jaffray. The analyst did not make any changes to his Underweight rating on the stock and maintained a price target of $6.5, which reflects a 33.05% downside potential on GoPro stock.

The analyst noted that although the conference room had greater volume compared to last year’s room, the number of attendants was not up to the same level as it used to be in the past. GoPro CFO revealed during his talk with Mr. Murphy that the company, “will continue to work through inventory.” He further mentioned that by the end of second quarter, they anticipate the channel inventory to be down 35% which marks the lower end of the expected range of 35-50%. The company is more than expectedly inclined toward the sale of goods to retailers prior selling it to the public, said Mr. Murphy.

For each quarter, the action camera manufacturer continues to expect sequential improvements in gross margins from first quarter’s adjusted rate of 36%. Furthermore, upon being asked about capital allocation, the CFO revealed the company’s plan to continue investments in business in comparison to the repurchase of shares.

On the other hand, GoPro investors expect a strong recovery in the second half of the year as they anticipate great offerings from the company in the form of the upcoming Karma drone and the Hero 5 camera. Also, the GoPro supplier company, Ambarella executives indicated recently that they expect a turnaround in the action camera industry in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, according to Thomson Reuters, the consensus 12-month price target for GoPro stock stands at $11.88. The figure reflects a 22.34% potential upside on the San Mateo based company’s stock, over the last close.

Investors are encouraged buying shares in anticipation of seasonal sales improvement, despite weak 2Q performance

On Wednesday, August 17, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) conducted its conference call to update investors on its quarterly financial results. For 2QFY16, it announced earnings per share of $1.37 with net sales amounting to $18.3 billion. It was unsuccessful in surpassing Street forecasts of $1.42 in EPS, with sales of about $18.4 billion.

Despite this, the company observed revenue growth of 5.3% year-over-year. As a result, the home improvement products retailer lowered its fiscal year EPS guidance from $4.11 to $4.06 but increased sales guidance from $62.62 billion to $65 billion. Based on this, Street expects Lowe’s companies to post $4.05 in EPS against revenues of $63.59 in FY16.

Despite missing on consensus estimates and lowering guidance, CEP Rober A. Niblock was pleased with the North Carolina-based business’s performance. He believes that it is well positioned for achieving continued profitability and sustainability. He further stated the company showed its strengths across various segments, meaning the company can easily take on the favorable economic backdrop that has been laid down for the home improvement industry. He is confident that he can bring back the retailer to its previous trends of surpassing Street expectations and that the recent miss was only a result of seasonal fluctuations.

Following this, analysts at Oppenheimer have advised the investors to view its performance beyond weak 2Q results. This is why analyst Brian Nagel maintained his Outperform ranking for the organization. However, he made no changes to the price target of the appliance retailer and reiterated at $94. He further encouraged investors to not to be disappointed by this weak performance.

Furthermore, he backed his ratings and price target by stating that viewing previous trends of the $68.59 billion enterprise has made him conclude that the weakened sales were primarily a result of seasonal fluctuation. The sales declined because of unfavorable weather across the nation. Due to this, he believes that the investors should take advantage of this weakness and acquire shares in anticipation of future growth. This is because the shares have traded at the lowest level since FY12, but have immense potential to increase further.

As a result, investors have started to see the light and have switched to being on the bullish side. Moreover, for Lowe’s, 20 Buy, two Overweight, and eight Hold ratings have been issued by FactSet Fundamentals. The PT is set at $87.96 on average, showing potential to increase by 14.38% over the last close.