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May 2017

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The release date has been leaked via retailer listing

Sony Corp.’s (ADR)(NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4 exclusive Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy will be released on February 28, according to a Brazilian retailer listing on Zillion Games (via SegmentNext). This is the first mention of an exact release date; Sony has thus far only confirmed the game’s release for 2017. It is possible the said release date could just be a placeholder.

Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is a remake of one of the most iconic PlayStation franchises of all time. Developed by Naughty Dog for the first PlayStation, the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy is highly popular among PlayStation gamers and fans have been wishing for Crash’s return for a long time. Sony announced its plan to partner with Activision to bring Crash Bandicoot in the form of a remake.

The trilogy is not simply an upscaled port of the first three games but developer Vicarious Visions is making every asset from scratch using modern tools. The result is that you get updated visuals with the very same level design and gameplay that we remember and love.

Petroleo Brasilerio SA Petrobras has maintained its stock momentum despite of reported quarterly loss

Petroleo Brasilerio SA Petrobras (ADR) (NYSE:PBR) stock has gained 66% of market value in one month’s time. The surge in stock partially came from strengthening of Brazilian currency against US dollar and the rest was a result of Federal Reserve’s announcement for not raising interest rates any further. These factors supported the momentum of the company stock despite the biggest quarterly loss reported by Petroleo Brasilerio SA Petrobras for its fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015 on March 22.

The earnings released by the company were not up to the expectation of the market analysts. Petroleo Brasilerio SA Petrobras reported a loss of $558.12 million for the fourth quarter due to lower oil prices which led to higher impairment loses amid the quarter, however, analysts were expecting a net income of $996.38 for the quarter. Despite deteriorating financial outlook, Petroleo Brasilerio SA Petrobras managed to reduce its total debt amid the year to $126.22 billion from $132.16 billion a year ago, which is a positive indicator for the investors as they are concerned about gearing position of the company.

The other point of concern for the investors is company’s capital expenditure plan for the next five years. The market was of the opinion that Petroleo Brasilerio SA Petrobras will not be able to execute the plan as per schedule amid volatility in oil price. It seems like the market was predicting it right as the company has recently scaled down its five year business plan by 20% from $98.4 billion announced earlier in January. However, the new plan still needs approval and there is a possibility of further downward revision in the plan as well.

Petroleo Brasilerio SA Petrobras stock value has surged 33.53% year to date (YTD) against a decline of 0.61% and 1.42% in Down Jones Index and S&P 500 Index, respectively. Despite the surge amid 2016, the company’s stock still trades away from its 52-week high of $10.55 and much near to 52-week low of $2.71. The company’s stock closed at $5.83, up 0.69% on March 29. Petroleo Brasilerio SA Petrobras has a market capitalization of $36.99 billion with a total float of 7.44 billion shares and an average daily trading volume of 34.70 million shares.

Samsung is expected to ship total 100 million units of OLED displays in 2016

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to completely transition to OLED for the iPhone schedule to release in 2017. At present, the company incorporates OLED displays in its smartwatch, called Apple Watch. While Samsung could be described as Apple’s biggest rival with the two having embroiled in a dirty set of legal battles, the South Korean behemoth is also one of the iPhone maker’s most reliable supplier in terms of flash and DRAM.

With Apple goes towards OLED display, it is expected that Samsung would act as the iPhone maker’s primary supplier in that regard as well. It seems that Apple’s plans for OLED functionality may be hindered with shortages in the supply chain. According to an earlier report published on Digitimes, Samsung will only be able to produce 100 million units by the end of this year. According to estimates, Samsung would only manufacture 150 million units for third parties every year by 2019. Around the same time, Apple is expected to have fully shifted to OLED displays for its flagship iPhone. On an interesting note, Samsung is expected to keep 290 million OLED displays for its own devices. A tight supply of OLED displays is already causing Google to incorporate a different type of screen for Nexus S in certain geographical areas.

There are several OLED manufacturers aside from Samsung. Applied Materials, for instance, announced earlier this year that its orders increased by four times in May. CEO of Applied Materials, Gary Dickerson, noted that this implies ‘sustainable’ growth, further suggesting that Apple was the primary reason for it. At the same time, it should be noted that Samsung is far ahead of all others in OLED screens in terms of volume. In 2010, the company was reported to hold 98% of the OLED smartphone screen segment. As such, Samsung OLED supply decline could have major implications on the entire smartphone market.

The Country Caller takes a look at why oil is rising

Oil and gas exploration & production companies have seen a detrimental performance over the last two years. Oil prices, which have historically traded at around $115 per barrel, slid to as low as $27 per barrel, making it extremely difficult for oil and gas companies to breakeven.

The energy sector was going through a panic mood, as companies began slashing capital and operational expenditures, laying off workers and cutting back on costs. The robust supply followed by weak demand due to meagre growth in Europe and China has been the primary reason for the free fall in crude oil prices.

Things, however, seem to be coming back on track now. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which plays a major role in controlling the world’s supply, is finally coming up with a policy of limiting output. The international energy agency (IEA) has indicated that supply from the OPEC is at a decline, while inventories at countries which are big consumers of oil are also falling.

According to the IEA, the output from the OPEC in December was around 33.09 million barrels per day, signifying a decline of 320,000 barrels. During trading today, prices of oil showed further positive movement as there were reports that the OPEC would initiate further cuts.

According to Reuters, the OPEC, along with Russia, is scheduled to meet in Vienna and work on a system to bring a reduction in output by 1.8 million barrels of oil per day. During trading the US benchmark for crude oil, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), was up 1.95% at $52.37. On the contrary, the global benchmark for crude oil, Brent Crude, was up 2.40% at $55.46 per barrel. The United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) (NYSEARCA:USO) similarly was up 1.97% at $11.39, while the United States Brent Oil Fund LP (NYSEARCA:BNO) was up 2.20% at $15.32.

Amazon hopes its new streaming service will prove to be an adequate competition for the big players in the market

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has launched its music streaming service called “Amazon Music Unlimited” today, to compete with the mainstream established services like Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Apple Music and Spotify.

Amazon’s strategy to eat into the market share held by the two biggest services is simple: Offer additional discounts for users with existing subscriptions to Amazon products and services. Using Music Unlimited on Amazon Tap, Echo, or Dot will cost only $4, while Prime customers also get a sweet deal at $8 per month.

Apart from offering discounts and reduced subscription charges, Amazon hopes that its hardware will also drive the subscriptions for its music streaming service. Adoption of its Echo speakers and Alexa voice assistant has been on the up, and Amazon hopes to avoid doing a Fire Phone with Music Unlimited by promising a much better experience when coupled with Alexa and Echo.

Another major point on which Amazon hopes to build up Music Unlimited is its operation in tandem with the Alexa assistant. From playing tracks based on your listening habits to searching the lyrics for the song that’s stuck in your head for a while, an optimal experience that could change the way you listen to music at home could be a simple subscription away.

It also helps that your music streaming at home would not only be improved by pairing the two services, but you’ll get a healthy discount for it as well. Its measures like these that Amazon hopes to count upon as it readies itself to go toe-to-toe with services like Spotify and Apple Music that have carved out their markets.

A glance into the energy segment of the company

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) announced that it plans to close the Pennsylvania plant, which will result in a job loss for 380 workers. The company believes that the solar industry demand has not materialized the way it should have.

Next week, GE will start to help the employees who are expected to lose their jobs by the end of this year. It will also grant other forms of compensations to them in terms of packages and benefits.

The plant was used to make inverters, which was used in solar power generation. However, the demand for energy could not meet the supply.

On the other hand, General Electric Company is gradually expanding its renewable energy segment. Recently, it announced to acquire Areva Gamesa’s venture, the Advent Unit. The expansion will help it to increase its revenues coming from the industrial unit, which is the most lucrative segment of the business.

Currently, General Electric is competing with Siemens and MHI Vestas. If it succeeds in expanding its energy segment, it will help it to compete better against these two competitors, which have the highest market share in their respective markets. General Electric stock is up 1.21% trading at $30 as at 10:50 AM EDT.

The analyst believes Apple shares would climb higher after the third quarter

Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White recently reaffirmed his Buy rating and $185 price target on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares today, reflecting 71.72% upside potential over the last close. The analyst updated his thesis on the stock ahead of the company’s annual event being held tomorrow, at which it is expected to unveil the next iPhone and make a couple of other announcements, which the analyst believes would be related to Beats and the Apple Watch 2.

Mr. White said that this summer would turn out to be one where Apple shares bottomed out, just like they did back in summer of 2013. He said that his estimates suggest that profit and sales “troughed” in the third quarter of fiscal year 2016. The analyst further added that increased short selling activity, issues with the European Union, the problems the company is facing in China, and its recent run-ins with the FBI have made the company the “Jason Bourne of Tech.” He further added that “just as the market call’s for Apple’s undoing, the company emerges even stronger.”

The Country Caller discussed today that Apple’s event would probably spell out as a nightmare for Samsung Electronics, the company’s biggest rival in the smartphone market. Another piece discussed a number of upcoming smartphones which could challenge the upcoming iPhone. As of 12:55 PM EDT, the stock ticked up 0.16% to $107.90 today.

Earnings predictions for Eros International and Atwood Oceanics

Eros International plc (NYSE:EROS) and Atwood Oceanics, Inc. (NYSE:ATW) will report their financial results today. Eros International will post results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2017 (2QFY17) while Atwood will report 4QFY16 financial results. We analyze their historic performances and earnings forecasts. According to our research, it appears that both companies will surpass Street’s top-line estimates.

Eros International

According to Wall Street data, Eros International will post earnings per share (EPS) of six cents in for 2QFY17. The company posted EPS of 12 cents in the same quarter last year, indicating that Wall Street expects a 50% year-over-year (YoY) EPS decline. The motion picture company announced EPS of three cents in the preceding quarter.

Furthermore, consensus revenue estimate stands at $59.55 million. Estimize.com expects the company to outperform Wall Street’s top-line expectations with its revenue estimate of $61.1 million. Eros reported revenue of $71.1 million in the previous quarter.

Atwood Oceanics

For 4QFY16, Wall Street predicts Atwood Oceanics to post EPS of $0.58. Earnings are likely to decline considerably from the year-ago period. The company reported EPS of $0.98 in the last quarter.

Street analysts believe 4QFY16 revenue will come in at $191.84, down 47.18% YoY. The company reported $363.2 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue in 3QFY16 came in at $227.8 million. Estimize.com predicts revenue of $193.45 million for the quarter.

The Country Caller assembled the cavalry if you’re also on the list of users affected by the shut-down of Vine

Twitter Inc. has announced that it will close its in-house short-video platform, Vine, in the coming months. Vine represented Twitter’s efforts to introduce a video element in its text-based microblogging platform. However, it failed to lead in online video like Twitter hoped it would.

Millions of users around the world created and watched billions of Vines. To see all of it go up in smoke after one announcement is bound to have some effect. Luckily, if you’re used to viewing your content in the 6-second form, there are a number of other services you could resort.

 

Snapchat

There’s a good chance that you’re already using this app which is one of the most popular image and video-sharing services in the market. There’s also a very good chance that the broadcaster you view most on Twitter puts on content on Snapchat as well. The transition might be easier than you think.

Instagram

Facebook-owned Instagram is another major video-sharing platform that could pose as your Vine alternative. Recently, Instagram incorporated changes after which it could pass off as a Snapchat rip-off without much fuss. The recently incorporated changes caused the user base to grow even more.. You could just as easily find interesting accounts to follow for your choice of video on Instagram as well.

 

Viddy

Viddy is free for Android and iOS users and it lets them record videos of up to 30 seconds. It comes with cool features like filters, attaching soundtracks, and multiple options to share videos with other users via direct message, email and social networks.

 

Mobli

Another video sharing app that doesn’t put any shackles on users when it comes to the length of the videos they want to share. It is available on both iOS and Android, and comes with features like Beautify and Tilt, as well as filters and frames to compliment your captures.

 

Persicope

This one is another video service owned by Twitter, but one that focuses more on live online streaming than short-video sharing. Periscope Producer is a particularly fierce competitor to Facebook Live, and if Vine is over, Periscope still has the potential to keep you on Twitter for a long time.

These are some of our suggestions in case you’re down because Vine will soon be gone. Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed something worth mentioning.

The Country Caller previews the chip maker’s third quarter earnings, due to be released after markets close today

Chip making giant QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is about to release its financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2016 in after-market hours today. On one hand, a number of analysts on the Street have raised their third quarter estimates recently, hinting at earnings beat. On the other hand, the company is still struggling due to the impact of saturated smartphone markets, which has led two of its major clients, Apple and Samsung, to report sales declines for the March quarter. The Country Caller previews the $82 billion company’s third quarter earnings.

Third Quarter Estimates

According to the consensus data mentioned on FactSet, Qualcomm would report earnings per share of 98 cents for the third quarter. Luckily for the company, this figure is overshadowed by the $1.03 EPS estimate mentioned on earningswhispers.com, which suggests an earnings beat is on the cards this time.

The San Diego-based company’s sales, however, might not be as bright as its earnings. Estimize has a mean estimate of $5.56 billion, $20 million lower than the consensus estimate on Thomson Reuters.

Previous Results

For its second quarter, Qualcomm posted earnings of 78 cents per share, up 24% year-on-year. In contrast, its sales plunged 18% YoY to $5.6 billion. Based on these numbers, the consensus has 25.64% YoY EPS growth and 0.35% YoY sales decline factored into its estimates for 3QFY16.

Qualcomm’s year-ago earnings were quite dull. Its EPS for 3QFY15 plunged 31% YoY to $0.99, while its sales for that quarter fell 14% YoY to $5.8 billion.

Guidance

The company has guided revenues to fall within a $5.1-6 billion range. Its Non-GAAP EPS guidance range stands at $0.90-1.00. Qualcomm has also guided for MSM chip shipments to fall within a 175-195 million range, declining 13-22% year-over-year. The company also expects total reported device sales to fall within a $52-60 billion range.

Year-to-date through Tuesday, Qualcomm shares have climbed up 12.21%. They traded 0.15% higher at $55.22 as at 9:43 AM EDT today.