September 2017


After a serious accident in Bloomington, a Tesla Model X owner thanked the company for keeping his family safe

Despite having formed a cult over a period of 10 years, Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) has seen a lot of criticism from vehicle owners in recent months, mostly due to accidents related to its Autopilot, which is in a beta phase. However, a Tesla Model X owner, Jonathan Braman, who is an orthopedic surgeon by profession, applauded the automaker after he went through an accident this past weekend, according to Electrek.

Mr. Braman’s entire family of six members along with a dog was traveling in the all-electric SUV in Bloomington, MN, and the vehicle was hit by a GMC truck which was driving at a speed of over 45 mph. Fortunately, the crash did not lead to any series injury. He appreciated Tesla CEO Elon Musk for designing a car which kept his family safe through the accident.

The owner was turning his four month old Model X on a green signal from East Bush Lake Road to Interstate 494 in the city. He even made sure that no vehicle was coming from the other side of the road, as the red light was on at the opposite side.

Nevertheless, a GMC Yokon truck broke the signal and crashed into the SUV’s fender on the passenger side, after Mr. Brama took the turn. Considering the distance that the truck traveled the same instance in which the owner foresaw the impact, he believes that the Yokon was speeding at over 45 mph.

The efficient airbag deployment in the falcon-wing-door vehicle gave a pleasant surprise to Mr. Braham, as it covered the whole passenger compartment, as well as the full windshield that goes way over the front-row seats. Despite such a heavy collision leading to a complete rip-off of the front end, the Model X hardly moved from its position. Mr. Braman believes if he would have been driving the truck, it would have possibly rolled over after the accident, as both the vehicles weigh almost the same; however, the Yokon is much heavier than Tesla’s SUV.

He was also content with the company’s customer service after the crash. Mr. Braman said that he received a call from Tesla five minutes after the crash took place, confirming the company’s claim that it contacts an owner if the airbag of its vehicles are deployed.

Even his local Tesla technician reached out to him, despite being on vacation. Mr. Braham shared a status on Facebook: “Thank you Tesla Team for our lives and our safety.” In a telephone interview with Electrek he said: “I want my family back in a Tesla.” Mr. Braman is an EV enthusiast and a Tesla fan who has been driving Tesla Roadster since 2010 and reserved the Model X for his wife in 2012, implying that he waited about four years for his SUV.

Bank of America Corp stock surged 16.23% in the last five days

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) stock has soared 16.23% in the last five days as the bank announced its first quarter earnings. The results however, were not up to the expectations of the Street as Bank of America reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.21 falling short of one cent as per Street estimate. Moreover, earnings of the bank were down by 19.23% on year-over-year (YoY) basis as well. Soon after the quarterly results, BAC stock plunged by around 3% but regained momentum on the very next day.

The market sees the yearly decline in earnings as a result of slower economy due to ongoing decline in oil prices along with low interest rates, which has increased volatility in the financial market. The management of Bank of America stated in the earnings call, “We’re not trying to make all our money in good times only to lose it in bad times…with low rates, we have to grind the cost down, and that’s going to come out of all the pieces.”

However, the surge in stock price suggests that the market is still optimistic about Bank of America’s potential to recover from the headwinds. The research note from UBS after the earnings call suggests same as the research firm reaffirmed a Buy rating with a price target of $18. The research analysts highlighted that despite missing earnings and revenue estimates, Bank of America performance shows that it was able to cut its cost as per schedule. The merger of Merrill Lynch let alone benefited the bank as it was able to slash its cost by $100 million. Moreover, the research analyst is of the opinion that scheduled cost cutting measures suggests that Bank of America will be able to increase its margins in the coming quarters.

Bank of America needs to post positive results and strategies in order to overcome the incurred loss in market value. The recent surge in stock price has relatively covered the market value loss but the bank’s stock value is still down by 12.2% YTD while Dow Jones and S&P 500 Index are trading in green with a surge of 2.52% and 1.67% respectively. Bank of America’s total outstanding shares in the market stand at 10.31 billion shares with an average daily trading volume of 99 million shares.

Microsoft is rumored to be incorporating top-notch specs in its next flagship smartphone device, dubbed as the Surface Phone

It’s no secret that Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) current line of Surface devices have done a fantastic job at dominating the 2-in-1 market. Recent rumors have strongly predicted that the Redmond-based tech giant has already assigned its leading Surface engineers to develop its next flagship smartphone device, dubbed as the Microsoft Surface Phone.

Although Microsoft has remained secretive regarding its upcoming Surface projects but the company has confirmed that it is currently developing its next flagship smartphone device which could give smartphone giants like Apple and Samsung a strong run for their money. If the ongoing speculation is true, then the upcoming Surface Phone could have all the makings of a top-notch device, capable of owning the likes of the upcoming Apple iPhone 8 and also the much-discussed Samsung Galaxy S8.

According to NEUROGADGET, Microsoft has already lined up the recently released QUALCOMM Snapdragon 835 processor in its upcoming Surface Phone. Interestingly, QUALCOMM’s latest processing chipset is designed to deliver significantly greater processing capabilities compared to its previous-generation model. Also, it is highly likely that the Redmond company’s upcoming Surface Phone will come preinstalled with Windows 10 latest operating system, also-known-as Windows 10 Redstone 2. If this is the case, then users can safely expect a host of further performance improvements from the upcoming smartphone device. Furthermore, the rumor mills have backed Microsoft to incorporate a 5.7-inch AMOLED display in the high-end variant of the Surface Phone.

Hopefully, Microsoft does not intend to keep the smartphone world waiting too long for the launch of its next-generation flagship device. As things stand, the Surface Phone is tipped to arrive before the first-half of 2017. Stay tuned for more rumors and speculation regarding every upcoming Surface device.

Celebrities and publishers can now tag third-party products or services. However, ‘overly promotional’ content has been banned

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is making a huge change in its branded content policy; according to which, publishers and celebrities can promote third-party goods and services.

A new tagging feature has been introduced, which is more specifically going to appeal to those who having anything to do with marketing. Basically, when a third-party company is addressed in a post, it will be alerted and will also be able to view the post and share it as well. Additionally, the company will also be able to view analytics.

On the other hand, the celebrity or publisher making such a post will get a ‘with’ tag, which is actually no different from when Facebook users tag their friends and family.

Even though this new change will make it easier for Facebook’s audience to identify brands, but a word of caution, as the social media giant, will not in any circumstance allow ‘overly promotional’ content. This includes pre-roll ads for videos and watermarks on images. Moreover, sponsors, brands and products will no longer be allowed to be used as a Profile or Cover photo.

That being said, the change in the branded content policy has already been rolled out. Facebook stated that the same policy will take into effect for its Live Video platform too.

On one end, Facebook may have made it easier for publishers and celebrities to promote products and service, while on the other it has made it equally difficult to go the extra mile for companies to create brand awareness for its products or services. For now, it is difficult to tell whether the move is a good one, but it does come to show that the social media giant is taking ads on its platform more seriously than before.

Tesla Motors Inc owners have detected a possible alignment maintaining mechanism already present in Tesla Vehicles

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has a habit of surprising its extremely loyal customers and older, traditional automobile companies. Its self-driving program, the Autopilot, is not only leading the autonomous race, it is also finding new ways to make lives easier for Tesla owners via self learning technology.

Clean Technica highlighted that Tesla Motors Club (TMC) has been discussing if Tesla Autopilot can possibly detect mechanical flaws and alignment issues through existing sensors installed in Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X. Many TMC members believe that it is possible for the vehicles to determine alignment problems, given it contains energy management and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) for every wheel, big data-style data logging at granular levels coupled with the untiring innovation. These features have broken the limits over what could be attained.

These systems integrated with information from the Tesla cloud, could be used to detect mechanical and alignment issues, the members suggested. Apart from accessing the cloud data, the car might further be able to detect alignment issues if the electric motors are supplying more energy than usual, which might be because of Toe in/Toe out issue.

There are a few factors that would also help in pinpointing alignment issues: Pulling, Low Tire Pressure and Toe in/ Toe out. The car should be able to detect pulling, if the steering mechanism causes the car to pull to one direction or another when driving in Autopilot mode. These detections combined with sensors that have the ability to monitor state of the road, are going to be the easiest way of checking the alignment condition.

There are many other ways of alignment detection, but these self-detection techniques are something that have never been in the limelight before and Tesla vehicles are the first to show such abilities that consumers would want the automaker to further look into. This would automatically increase safety standards and will prove to be of great aid for the consumers.


Apple Inc is getting support from tech giants including Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corporation and possibly Twitter, to file amicus briefs over the iPhone Encryption debate due to the greater privacy conundrum

Apple Inc (AAPL) has been joined by Alphabet Inc (GOOG), Facebook Inc (FB), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) and Twitter Inc in its resistance against the FBI’s request and a court order that asks it to decrypt the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. The companies are supporting Apple’s stand based on concerns regarding implications for data privacy rights of consumers. The major tech companies are expected to file amicus briefs to offer relevant information and viewpoints to the court regarding the case.

While Microsoft publicly announced its plans, it was Dow Jones’ sources that said that Google, Facebook and Twitter would also take part in the briefing session. Other news media publications state that the mentioned tech companies will be filing a joint brief. Apple has rejected the US judge’s ruling and the hearing will determine the future course of events for Apple and state of data privacy in the US.

Apple’s encryption system allows for a set number of tries for the password after which all data on the phone is erased. The FBI has asked that Apple change the software to allow unlimited tries so that they can use a brute force attack to unlock the phone. However Apple is unwilling to create such a backdoor that has the potential to unlock any iPhone and will open users up to hackers as well as government surveillance.  Set aside the moral considerations and the privacy rights of its customers and it would still be counter intuitive for Apple to make its iOS unsecure from a business point of view. Why would customers spend close to a thousand dollars for a phone when it is known that the company has provided a backdoor into its ecosystem.

Apple by underlining the data security of its users has become the beacon around which civil liberty activists and data centric tech companies such as Google are rallying. On the other side of the bench will be people such as James Comey, FBI Director and a man who has openly argued for the need for back doors into software such as Apple’s iOS. In the words of Google CEO, Sundar Pichai assenting to the government’s demands for a back door could set a “troubling precedent.”

There’s no way one case will win against privacy rights.

Even President Obama said he was on the side of civil liberty activists though he was sympathetic to law enforcement. This just isn’t how the FBI should be handling this

The Street expects a modest financial performance by the company, while the numbers are expected to be in line with June’s guidance

Chinese e-commerce retailer, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), is due to release its Q1FY16 earnings tomorrow, while the Street expects a modest financial performance by the company. A topline of $4.51 billion, along with a bottom-line EPS of $0.62, is expected in the current quarter. The numbers are expected to be in-line with the guidance, which the Beijing-based company gave on its Analyst Day held in June. The consolidated earnings come from four segments of the company, including its cloud operations, mobile entertainment, marketplaces, and other segments.

The new format of earnings shall make it easy for investors to interpret the financial performance and long-term value proposition of the company, said UBS analyst, Erica Poon. She also said that segment-wise performance would also help investors to get insight about each division’s performance, growth, and outlook. Alibaba Group’s core strategies currently focus on three distinct areas, including cloud operations, globalization, and rural development.

While all these points are important for investors, the company’s diversification strategies will also be important. The Country Caller has discussed the company’s recent move into e-sports and virtual reality, which seems to take e-commerce to an entirely different direction. Jack Ma’s recent initiative for third-party payments in the European region would also help the company in the future.

We have discussed the Street’s bullish stance on the e-commerce giant in many of our previous updates. Renowned brokerages, such as Morgan Stanley, have highlighted the untapped potential for investors in their recent coverage. The consensus TP currently stands at $95, while we expect more brokerages to raise their price targets today.

A lot of optimism can be seen among investors as shares of the e-commerce giant trade higher at $85.5 in pre-market. We expect the bulls to continue momentum in today’s trading session.

The company struggled to derive profitability during the quarter, leading to price target cuts at Cowen and Sterne Agee

Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU) held its Q2 earnings call after the close of market on Wednesday. The company has struggled to derive profitability during the quarter owing to DRAM pricing pressure and declining ASPs. As far as the analysts are concerned, there exist contrasting opinions regarding near and long term prospects; the views of Cowen, Sterne Agee and Mizuho analysts are summarized below.

Cowen analyst Tim Arcuri believes that the EPS guidance mid-point of $0.09 suggests that the 20nm DRAM production cost cuts will be largely offset by the declining ASPs. The estimate of 10% reduction in DRAM production cost with 20nm technology will be observed starting May. The analyst believes that there is no significant upside catalyst present in the picture to justify a price target of greater than $13 and has accordingly cut his PT to the very same from $20. Furthermore, the inventory buildup is likely to cause problems down the road and thus limits the upside related to DRAM cost cuts even further. The GM contractions have likely reached the trough, but given the guidance, chances of a significant recovery are quite dull. The analyst maintained an Outperform rating but cut the PT to $13.

Sterne Agee analyst Douglas Freedman has mix views regarding MU and has strong conviction of GM upside as he states it is a matter of when, not if. Mr. Freedman sees the current trading price of MU as an opportunity as the GM contractions are temporary. He also commented that the company has no structural issues, and sooner or later 20nm DRAM and 3d NAND will ramp. The Inotera acquisition synergies will start to bring fruition as the DRAM market will likely be headed towards recovery during the second half of 2016. The analyst shaved the PT to $18 from $19 but remained an opportunistic buyer.

Mizuho Securities analyst Vijay Rakesh remained quite positive regarding DRAM costs and 3D NAND ramp and believes it will create tailwinds entering 2H of CY. The analyst sees Q3 guidance as relatively soft as he expects DRAM and NAND to grow profitable. He maintained a Buy rating and the PT of $13.50.

The company reported a revenue of $2.93 billion slightly below the consensus of $3.05 billion and the EPS came in at -$0.05 beating street’s -$0.09 estimate. The gross margins stood at 19.7% slightly better than 18.3% estimate. The analyst opinion for MU stock has four strong Buy, 17 Buy, eight Hold, three Underperform and one Sell rating. The stock fell by 1.72% in premarket hours and is trading at $10.30 today following the earnings call.

The Mountain View company has refreshed it Pixel XL stock, hurry up!

Good news for all Pixel XL fans! The larger variant of Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Pixel is back in store. Eager buyers are now running to the stores to get one of them.

Since the Pixel and Pixel XL debuted into the smartphone ecosystem, its supply has not been steady enough, especially for the Pixel XL. The reason, the high-tech flagship from Google is one of the most sought-after phones this year. However now, the 5.5-inch model is back in stores, shipping for the devices might take around 2 to 5 weeks’ time, all depends on your choice of variant.

Above all, this only applies to the 32GB variant of the 5.5 inch XL. The 128GB variant of the Pixel family is still listed as “out of stock.” Although a waitlist is available for the 128GB variant of the Pixel and Pixel XL, to date we don’t know when they will hit the shelves. Luckily, there are three color palette are available. The phones will likely land in 4 to 5 weeks for both, the “Quiet Black” and “Very Silver” models. Ironically, the “Really Blue” variant is expected to be coming within 2 to 3 weeks. Read all about the “Really Blue” variant of Pixel here.

To date, Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are one of the best smartphones available. The phone has acquired stellar reviews from users all over the globe. The phone’s design, camera, and the ultramodern processor make it capable enough to contest against other high end smartphone. And we can back up our comments over the fact that the stocks for Google’s latest flagship have been going in and out quiet significantly.

As you might expect, the 5.5 inch Pixel XL is available on Google Store and will cost you $769. For those who want to practice a modest spending can take advantage of $32/month package. For an extra cost of $99, a protection plan is available to users too. If you plan to treat yourself with the Pixel XL, act fast, as we at TCC anticipate the stocks won’t last long!