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October 2017

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Tesla investors suddenly start fearing the early mass market competition from General Motors Bolt EV

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) most important and the first mass market electric vehicle (EV), the Model 3, caught the industry by surprise given its amazing exterior design, range of 215 miles and price tag of $35,000. Many analysts even wrote off General Motors Company’s (NYSE:GM) soon-to-be-launched Chevrolet Bolt EV, which claimed to have “more than 200 miles” and was offered for $37,500.

Bolt EV is more like a mini SUV with simplistic look and the Model 3 is a compact sedan gives a luxury feeling; though, both the vehicles have always been compared since both of them will be among the first American-made, more affordable electric vehicle (EVs).

Today, the largest US automaker revealed that the Bolt EV is expected to get EPA-rated range of 238 miles, which comes as a big surprise to many EV enthusiasts and Tesla fans, particularly given that the vehicle will have a 60kWh battery pack.

Although Tesla CEO Elon Musk cleared that the higher-end version of the Model 3 provides more range, the Model S with the same battery pack provides between 210-218 miles only. Though, it is important to note that the Model S is a much larger vehicle than the Bolt EV.

Tesla investors apparently took the Bolt EV new specifications negatively, as its stock declined 2.40% to $193.54 as of 11:11 AM EDT on Tuesday.

Alan Batey, North America President at GM, said in a statement that the vehicle will hit the dealerships nationwide by the end of 2016, a year ahead of the expected launch of the Model 3. Moreover, the automaker is also saying that an “expected MSRP below $37,500 and before available federal tax credit of up to $7,500,” which points towards a more affordable price close to that of the Model 3, according to Electrek.

While it is clear that GM, like BMW, Nissan, and Toyota, is trying to lure the Model 3 reservation holders to buy their own battery-powered vehicles, the Detroit automaker has done a far better job than the other automakers by being the first automaker to produce an affordable EV with over 200 mile range. Even Apple Co-Founder ‘The Woz’ who is a Tesla fan is trading his Model S for the new Bolt EV.

Nevertheless, TheCountryCaller believes investors shouldn’t fear the Bolt EV, as it will cater to a completely different market from the Model S, as well as the Model 3 and Model Y. While the Model Y could be a direct competitor to the Bolt EV, its performance level will certainly beat that of the Bolt EV.

There have been numerous reports of the game crashing with Nvidia cards

The release of Battlefield 1 is already upon us and the reviews for the game, which have been pouring in for the past few days, have been nothing less than positive. The game is being praised for bringing back some elements from Battlefield Bad Company 2 and refining the current model even further. Most users have been having an uninterruped playing experience as the game is very well optimized but there have been reports from quite a few users on Reddit and Battlefield forums about a certain Direct X Error. 

Users who are facing the error have reported that the game crashes every few minutes with the following error: DirectX Function “GetDeviceRemovedReason” failed with DXGI_ERROR_DEVICE_HUNG. GPU: “Nvidia GeForce GTX XXX”. After some research, it has been found that the error is limited to users of Nvidia cards, and even more specifically, the GTX 680, 770 and 960 along with SLI setups.

This error makes the game unplayable and the users are supremely dismayed. The error seems to have been traced back to a driver issue so Dice is not to blame for this. Different users have tried various fixes with varying results but none of them has been stable or consistent enough to be defined as a proper solution.  

The essential issue is with the drivers and sure enough, NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) will be releasing GameReady drivers for the game later today which should fix all the different issues users are facing and optimize the game even further. An Nvidia Rep confirmed earlier today that they had received the new drivers and would be available online very soon. So if you’re facing this issue, we suggest you hold out for a few hours until the new drivers are available; those should resolve this pesky error. 

Piper Jaffray’s Alexander Potter recommends buying a Tesla car buy but warns investors from buying the stock

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares were in free fall late Thursday, after reports emerged that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is examining the Model S’s suspension for a potential investigation. Additionally, there were allegations that the company’s undisclosed agreement stopped customers from going to authorities.

Although Tesla rubbished those claims immediately and published a lengthy blog in defense, the stock continued to slide down on Friday. Piper Jaffray initiated coverage on Tesla shares after closing bell on Thursday with a Neutral rating and price target of $223.

Analyst Alexander Potter “wholeheartedly” suggested customers to buy Tesla car – Model S, Model X, or Model 3 – but warned investors against buying Tesla stock. The analyst took a test drive on a Tesla vehicle last week and couldn’t “resist” reserving it there and then. Although, it took him a few to place a reservation, he wanted to be convinced if it is really worth spending so much on an automobile.

“But just because Tesla is probably the coolest company in the world doesn’t mean the stock is cheap. Tesla’s production targets are aggressive and delays seem likely,” Mr. Potter noted.

The research firm highlighted that short interest on Tesla shares is over 30% because the automaker has admitted that its goal of producing a million cars by 2018 and a million by 2010 are “unrealistic.” Mr. Potter believes that the company would require rushing through production to achieve those goals, leading to warranty claims and quality issues.

Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs’ Patrick Archambault stated that Tesla is 80% vertically integrated. While the automaker plans to further increase the level of vertically integration, the entire industry has tried, failed and exited this strategy, Piper Jaffray highlighted. For the direct sales approach, Mr. Potter believes there is a strong opposition from franchise auto dealers which could affect its dominance in the US.

The sell-side firm thinks that Tesla stock could trade on higher multiples than most of traditional automakers, after it starts large-scale production of the Model 3. However, it expects catalysts to be negative than positive in the coming years.

Mr. Potter suggested investors to buy Tesla stock if it falls in response to be negative news. He is waiting for potential negative catalysts to pass before buying the shares. Just two hours after the opening bell, Tesla stock was down 3.15% at $222.13.

Privacy minded users could get another favorable update on Messenger soon

Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) Messenger is reportedly working to include disappearing messages, as the messaging service aims to improve its privacy settings for security-oriented users.

Screenshots of Facebook Messenger’s Disappearing Messages feature was posted on Twitter by @iOSAppChanges, which showed Messenger for iOS with the new feature enabled. It showed that once the feature was enabled, users would be able to hide their messages from the conversation after a certain period of time; 15 mins of activity in the case of the conversation in the screenshots.

A “change” button was also visible which would presumably allow the user to change settings for disappearing messages, probably including the time after which the messages in the conversation will start to disappear.

Telegram, another competitor of Messenger, differentiates itself from not only Messenger, but also WhatsApp, Line, Viber or any other messaging app, by saying that it is the most secure messaging platform available right now. Hard to argue with them once you know that even the rogue agent of the National Security Agency of United States, Edward Snowden, endorsed this app and its functionality and privacy. Self-destructing messages is a popular feature on Telegram and is one of the reasons for the app’s hundreds of millions of users, and it looks like Messenger also wants to tap into that market with the addition of the feature.

WhatsApp also recently added end-to-end encryption on its service, upping the ante further on all messaging apps for their security and privacy preferences. Seeing as this is the age of the secure platforms, it is only right that Messenger adds a cult favorite option of disappearing messages into the app.

The company announced the end of the line for the Xbox 360

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has announced that the company is ceasing production of its Xbox 360 consoles.

In a recent post over at the official Xbox news website, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced that the company is going to stop making Xbox 360 units after the console’s ten-and-a-half-year run. The console originally came out on November 22, 2005 and has sold 84 million units as of June 2014. The console has been largely successful throughout its long run thanks to the great third-party and first-party support which gave Microsoft an enormous edge over its direct competitor, Sony Corp.’s (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 3.

The post mentions that while the company has stopped making further Xbox 360 consoles, they are going to continue selling the remaining consoles in their inventory and it should be quite a while before we see Xbox 360s being completely wiped off store shelves; especially considering the fact that Sony ceased production of the PlayStation 2 back in 2013 and the console can still be found in some places. The post also explains that ceasing production does not mean dropping support for the console and that all of the services, games and accessories for the console, including Xbox Live are still going to remain active as of right now.

The Xbox 360 has managed to put down its own legacy in the history of gaming. There have been several memories over the course of the three major designs of the console along with several minor changes that were made in production thanks to the infamous Red Rings of Death and the hardware failures that the console has been plagued by. Other than hardware failures, we have countless games that we still love including Halo, Mass Effect, Gears of War, Alan Wake and so many more that were made for the Xbox 360 and not to forget the revolutionary Kinect camera that opened up a new era of gaming.

With these memories in our minds and hearts, we say goodbye to the Xbox 360. Fare Thee Well.

The arrest and charges on Chipotle’s CMO would have little impact on stock price as foreseen by analysts

In a statement issued to StreetInsider.com, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) confirmed that its Chief Marketing and Development Officer Mr. Mark Crumpacker has been given an administrative leave. The company stated that the leave has been given followed by a recent arrest in New York due to drug allegations, although the company said that at the moment, it knew very few about the charges alleged.

The company was seen as quoted: At the moment, we know very little about these charges. Due to the nature of the situation, Mark has been placed on administrative leave. Mark’s responsibilities have been assigned to other senior managers in his absence.” Despite of the news, the analysts foresee very limited impact on the stock movement.

According to Mr. John Zolidis, analyst at Buckingham Research, the event does signify an exercise of poor judgment, the research firm doesn’t see the event to have an impact on company’s financial performance or to create any suspect on any of its other issues. Furthermore, he mentioned that any weakness in stock price might provoke a buying opportunity for investors.

According to Business Insider, the company’s CMO Mr. Crumpacker was one out of the 18 repeat customers who were charged earlier on Thursday due to involvement in alleged buying of cocaine from one of drug delivery service. Following the news, the investors ran to take out their investment from the stock fearing a decline. The Stock price since Thursday has lost around 3.79% of its value. The average Price Target presented by Street analysts is of $459.54, which presents 16.66% upside potential from its current price of $393.91. Also, the most bullish PT estimate for the stock is of $590.00, which represents upside potential in the stock.

The upcoming iPhone 7 is highly rumored to be completely water proof

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is only a month away from releasing its next generation iPhone which has resulted in numerous rumors and speculations regarding the upcoming smartphone device. According to the latest report, Apple is set to make its iPhone 7 model completely water proof in order to better compete with Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and Samsung Galaxy 7 which are also water proof. This rumor has started circulating after the Cupertino based the giant was awarded a patent for color-balancing images underwater which points to an obvious next generation iPhone.

This particular patent was granted to Apple this week and it was first reported by Patently Apple. If Apple is currently working on a new technology to ensure that photos and videos taken underwater come out looking great, then it is only logical to assume that the tech giant is also currently working on making its next generation iPhone water proof. Even though this patent does not go into complicated details on how the technology would work but it does mention that it is being developed for mobile devices, specifically for the upcoming iPhone and iPad devices. Currently, Apple has yet to make any water proof device but there are numerous water proof cases available for the iPhone and iPad.

There is a possibility that Apple is simply working on a software that will enable non-waterproof devices to capture better images and videos underwater. However, if that does turn out to be the case then surely this waterproofing software will be incorporated in either the upcoming iPhone 7 or in a later model. Interestingly, Apple might have already hinted at the possibility of a waterproof iPhone 7 as the upcoming device is highly rumored to feature a lightening connector instead of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack which is one of the most obvious ways for water to enter a device. So, it could be that the company has undertaken the highly unpopular decision to introduce lightening connectors on its iPhone 7 in order to make the smartphone waterproof and better compete with Samsung flagship smartphone devices.

Apple is highly expected to announce its next generation iPhone on September 9, so it will not be too long until we find out whether this latest rumor is true or not. Watch the space!

Freeport reports loss for the sixth consecutive quarter, announces to cuts in oil and gas workforce by 25%Slashing WorkforceFirst Quarter Results

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) announced its results for 1QFY16, and reported net losses for the sixth consecutive quarter. In order to counter the lower level of commodity prices and to preserve liquidity, the burden is transferred to its workforce as the company announced in its 1QFY16 press release.

Slashing Workforce

Freeport, in order to lower its costs associated with oil and gas business, announced to trim its workforce associated with oil and gas segment by around 25%. The company mentioned that its new management is actively taking measures to manage its cost base, and is also developing certain plans to preserve and enhance asset value, which would ultimately result in better shareholder wealth.

In lieu of reducing its workforce, Freeport stated that it would record a charge of approximately $40 million in second-quarter 2016, associated with workforce reductions and other restructuring costs. It appears that Freeport didn’t have many options left to preserve cash and restore its financial health of balance sheet, except lowering its workforce.

The company mentioned that it had undergone a formal process to evaluate possible alternatives for its oil and gas business, which had also involved several of multiple third-party oil and gas industry and financial participants. However, due to persistent weakness in oil prices, the steps were not able to materialize.

Freeport was unable to identify a potential buyer for its oil and gas business, but highlighted that several parties had shown interest in specific assets, and the company would continue to engage in discussions for any possible asset sale or joint venture acquisitions in future.

Freeport has not shifted the burden of lower prices to its workforce only, but has involved in asset sales to boost liquidity. In March this year, Freeport announced that it would raise around $263 million of cash by disposing off its portion of stake in Serbia based Timok Project. The deal is expected to close by 2Q this year.

Additionally, in February this year, Freeport also announced that it would sell about 13% of its stake in Morenci e, which is expected to provide cash of around $1 billion to company. The deal is also expected to be closed in this quarter after approval from regulatory authorities.

First Quarter Results

Freeport reported net loss of $4.2 billion, or $3.3 per share for 1QFY16. Its revenue for period ending March, 2016 totaled to $3.53 billion, which was much lower than $4.15 billion in the same period a year ago. Some positive aspect in its results was lowered Capital Expenditure (CAPEX), which amounted to $982 million as compared to $1.867 billion in the first quarter last year.

Goldman Sachs is reportedly not a member of R3 anymore as it looks to keep investing in blockchain

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) has parted ways with the R3 CEV LLC blockchain group, according to Wall Street Journal. Several other major banks are a part of the consortium which strives to provide blockchain solutions for financial services. Banks have invested millions into the technology as it is expected to revolutionize financial services.

Goldman Sachs intends to continue its blockchain endeavors as the future of financial services arguably lies in blockchain technology. R3 has several investment banks as their members which would provide database technology for Wall Street financial institutions. R3 was founded two years ago and since then, financial institutions are lured towards the innovative firm.

Blockchain technology is driven from the underlying cryptocurrency called bitcoin. The innovation is expected to save billions of dollars annually for banks and make their process quicker and efficient. With rising operational and legal costs, banks are reluctant to invest and refine the blockchain technology to save costs. Initially, cryptocurrency was a threat to the global financial systems, as it doesn’t need any central banks to operate the money flow.  

One of the R3 spokespersons said in a statement, “Developing technology like this requires dedication and significant resources, and our diverse pool of members all have different capacities and capabilities which naturally change over time.” Several other banks, such as Bank of America and JPMorgan are members of R3 consortium.

Goldman Sachs is committed to investing in blockchain with internal developments. The bank has already spent $50 million in a startup called Circle Internet Financial Ltd. Goldman Sachs is one of the leading banks to have invested in cryptocurrency. However, the regulations and legalities of the technology are not clear yet. It has also not been deployed for commercial use yet as the technology remains in beta.

Goldman Sachs also seeks for patents in blockchain related to foreign exchange trading and digital currency.

GoPro Inc stock has been on a surge since the past five trading session, however, the stock is down during pre-market trading hours today

GoPro Inc (NASDAQ:GPRO) shares are down about 1.79% during the pre-market trading hours today and currently stand at $11. The stock was last traded at $11.20 yesterday, gaining nearly 3.23% against the previous day’s close.

The action camera producer’s stock has been on a roll for the past five days, as it gained more than 9% during the period. The stock has slid almost 38%, heavily underperforming the S&P 500 Index’s gain of 2.20% during the period from January 04, 2016 and June 21, 2016.

The recent uptake in GoPro stock price has been coming on the back of some positive comments on the company’s stock, from analysts at Wall Street. Analysts at JP Morgan and Piper Jaffray have bullish sentiments in the stock. Paul Coster, analyst at JP Morgan, released a research note yesterday, forecasting that the action camera producer’s second quarter performance looks promising. Moreover, Mr. Coster rates the stock as an Overweight.

Besides Mr. Coster, Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy also reaffirmed her $6.50 price target on the stock, however she rates the stock as Underweight. The analyst believes that the company is working its way out from the problem with inventory. Additionally, GoPro also expects its gross margin to improve on a sequential basis each quarter, as compared to the first quarter’s 36% adjusted rate. Furthermore, the management at the company prefers to reallocate the capital through continuing investing in the business, rather repurchasing the shares.

A total of 19 analysts at Wall Street provide coverage on GoPro stock. Out of these, five analysts recommend the investors to buy the stock, another 12 analysts advise the shareholders to hold the stock while the remaining two analysts believe that it would appropriate to short the stock.

The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $11.79, carrying a return potential of 5.3% against the stock’s previous close.