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August 2018

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Analysts believes the iPhone maker could extend further despite competition from Google’s Pixel and other Android smartphones

Canaccord Genuity recently weighed in on Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and noted that the company has profited significantly in the third quarter due to Samsung’s recall of Galaxy Note 7. The firm highlighted that the iPhone maker has captured 106% of industry profits during 3Q, up from 2Q’s 75% profit. As a result, the firm reiterated a Buy rating and a $140 price target (PT) on Apple stock. The PT implies 25.30% upside potential over Monday’s close at $111.73.

Canaccord Genuity Analyst, Michael Walkley, estimated that the iPhone user base is likely to exceed 570 million on year end. In his view, the impressive growth in installed base has the potential to drive strong replacement sales and earnings in the future. It may also generate additional cash flows for the iPhone maker to fund solid capital returns over long term.

“The capture of 106% of premium smartphone profits contributed to the losses at LG, Microsoft, Lenovo, Blackberry and HTC during the quarter,” he noted. “While we anticipate a stronger upgrade cycle in C2018 with the 10-year anniversary iPhone 8, iPhone 7 demand is sold and should bridge the gap until a new form factor iPhone is likely released in 2017.”

Given steady iPhone sales, Mr. Walkley expects Apple’s capital return to grow in 1QFY17. Thereby, the firm recommends investor buy AAPL shares at this point in time.

As projected by the Street, iPhone sales would reach the peak by its tenth anniversary on June 29, 2017. The FactSet consensus had estimated 225 million iPhone sales for the fiscal 2017. However, bullish analysts are confident that Apple can sustain a strong hold on the market for high-price iPhones.

Want to increase the headphone output volume on your Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge? We’ve got just the mod for you

It’s been more than a month since Samsung released its latest flagships, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, and the devices have been critically acclaimed by tech journalists across the globe. The premium devices sport top-of-the-line specs along with a very refined build. However, there is one department where the flagships have failed to satisfy users and that’s the headphone output quality. Despite being equipped with a powerful DAC, both devices offer sub-par headphone output volume.

Fortunately, thanks to the versatility of Android, you can boost your device’s sound and get the most out of its speaker and DAC. Thanks to a developer from XDA by the name Zubi182, you can not only boost the headphone output of your Galaxy S7, but also allow the phone to utilize both the handset speaker and the primary speaker while playing media to enhance the sound and create a surround effect. The mod is compatible with the following versions of the devices:

UNIVERSAL VERSION
– Samsung S7 930F
– Samsung S7 930FD
– Samsung S7 Edge 935F
– Samsung S7 Edge 935FD

W8 VERSION
– Samsung S7 930W8
– Samsung S7 Edge 935W8

S VERSION
– Samsung S7 G930S
– Samsung S7 Edge G935S

What You Need

A rooted Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge with a custom recovery installed. The Sound Mod ZIP for flashing. Download here. Select the Dual Speaker version for your respective device.

Note: Before you flash the ZIP, ensure that you create a backup using the custom recovery. While there are minimal dangers of flashing the ZIP, it’s better to be prepared so data loss can be avoided.

Step 1: Download the ZIP file from the above download link and place the file on the root of your device’s storage.

Step 2: Once the file is copied, boot your device into recovery mode. To do this, power off your device. Next, while holding down the Volume Down and Home keys, press the Power button.

Step 3: Release all the buttons once you see the warning for entering Recovery Mode. Press Volume Up to enter recovery.

Step 4: In the Recovery, go to Install and then select the sound mod ZIP file from the internal storage. Flash the ZIP.

The flashing process will take a few seconds. When that’s done, reboot your device. And that’s it. Once your device reboots, you’ll notice that the sound of your Galaxy device has been greatly enhanced.

If you run into any issues, please let us know in the comments below.

A separate extension through Safari and Photos makes it easier to share photos, videos and URLs without being restricted to the Hangouts iOS app

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) recently released a new update for its Hangouts app for iOS devices, and it comes with a handy new feature which will make it easier for users to share files without any hassles whatsoever.

The new feature allows for a native iOS share extension, which means users will not have to be restricted to the app itself in order to share a file or photo. Rather than sending files from the app, users can activate the extension through Safari or Photos, thus allowing them to send not only photos, but videos and URLs as well.

That being said, the feature can only be activated as long as the user is logged into the Hangouts app. Moreover, users have the ability to choose the account they want to share files from, that is if they have several accounts on Hangouts.

Apart from making it easier to share files, the update also comes with a Low Power mode, which will discontinue videos when on a call if the feature has been enabled.

Google has introduced several new updates and features for its apps available for iOS devices, and each of them are a welcomed addition as they add more value. So much so, they are just as good as the apps that are offered by Apple itself. It is possible that the tech giant is hoping to attract users to utilize its apps instead, but then again, it is highly improbable that Apple will let this go on for any longer as they also have a trick or two up its sleeve.

The announcement of the improved battery pack by the company, albeit being a serious innovation, won’t result in the sales that the company would hope for

The eagerly anticipated announcement which was unveiled by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) turned out to be about a more powerful battery which will enhance the mileage and the speed of the car. However, Kelly Blue Book expert told CNBC that the new upgrade is unlikely to enhance the sales of the car as for the $20,000 upgrade for existing users the company will be charging, can be used to buy a new car in the US market.

The new battery pack is featured in the new versions of the Tesla Model S and the Model X as announced on Tuesday and claims that it can compete with cars such as La Ferrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder in terms of acceleration but not limited in terms of longevity. The Tesla cars are sustainable and can last longer than the aforementioned cars.

The new Model S P100D would cost the consumers a whopping $134,500 and the Model X 100D, $135,500. The California based startup engineers deserve a lot of credit as the increment in battery power was a massive achievement and a difficult feat. 

However, the upgrade on the cars alone could fund any other American’s car needs. Most people aren’t yet sold on the idea of autonomous vehicles or electric vehicles as being the future and would rather see themselves in more traditional cars.

Karl Brauer, Senior Editor, Kelly Blue Book is impressed by the improvement in the technology but also goes on to say that the car upgrade cost could be more than what the average American would pay for as there are many cars which are available in the $20,000-25,000 range. And thus, the company would not see as many sales of the new battery powered cars by saying they’ll only reach sales of around an extra hundred thousand by 2018.

We at The Country Caller believe that the company will exceed expectations in sales volume as more people have started switching towards more sustainable options. And following the company buying the SolarCity outfit, it can use their technology to manufacture more efficient energy output in the cars. Electric vehicles are similar to what mobile phones were around 10 years ago and they will thrive as more innovation takes place in industry, mostly credited to companies such as Tesla Motors.

Management boards of both the companies have unanimously approved the deal

Avast Software BV (NASDAQ:AVST) has announced that it has entered into an acquisition deal with AVG Technologies NV (NYSE:AVG). According to this deal, Avast will purchase all outstanding shares of AVG at an agreed price of $25 per share in an all cash deal. This translates into a total amount of $1.3 billion. Both the companies have been prominent players of the security industry for more than 20 years, while they also have been expanding globally since 2000. The deal will strengthen both the companies and they will emerge as more powerful players in the industry. Management boards of the companies have unanimously approved the deal.

Avast has been out of the business for a while now, while AVG has also not grown in recent times, as it has not been able to earn higher revenues with a contracted balance sheet size in the recent quarters. However, the company has been quite efficient in its operations and has managed them pretty well efficiently as per its latest financial statements.

The recent deal would probably rejoice AVG shareholders as it offers a more than 20% premium from yesterday’s closing price. Since last September, the stock prices have gone down considerably despite a decent financial performance. Brokerage houses have mostly neglected the stock as they did not have a very good impression of the company as renowned names such as Nomura Holdings and Imperial Capital lowered their target prices for the company. However, a few houses such as Dougherty and Co. have faith in the company.

As these two names combine, the new network will have as much as 400 million customers, out which, 180 million use the software in their mobiles. With this deal, Avast will be able to create a more advanced personal security system for users. Let’s wait and see how the market responds to the recent developments.

With the company improving process efficiency and upgrading its assets, a transformation may be underway, says KLR Group

KLR Group maintained a Buy on Transocean Ltd. (NYSE:RIG) with a target price of $19, after remodeling estimates to incorporate the fleet status report updates the company recently issued. Analyst Darren Gacicia raised his earnings per share estimates from $0.27 to $0.28 for 1QFY16, from $0.05 to $(0.09) for full year 2016 and from $(0.12) to $(0.49) for full year 2017.

Analyst Darren Gacicia weighed in Transocean’s fleet status report issued on April 21, 2016. KLR Analyst believes the market has not yet realized the company is undergoing a transformational change. Being the largest offshore drilling company in terms of market capital, Transocean is ridding itself off of the old rigs, the long-since weighing overheads, and reducing inefficiency in its processes. After finishing off more than 20 rigs, 6G assets will contribute to almost two-thirds of the business’s value. More of latest high- spec assets can be expected as the older assets have been put up for retirement. Operating expenditures are likely to improve as the company saves costs currently faced by old equipment and largely due to inefficiencies in integrating with acquired businesses.

The company shows solid cash flows and enough liquidity to pay off the debt maturities by 2017, valuing at approximately $1.7 billion.  This means there is less risk compared to what the current debt ratings and credit spreads portray. Mr. Gacicia said: “With a turn in the market, and the potential to acquire distressed assets in coming quarters, our heavily discounted $19 price target (~17.4% WACC) may prove conservative.”

Even though the fleet report shows impressive achievement in contracts, the Street currently rates the stock as Underperform. The company will release its first quarter results next month. Transocean shares closed up 2.37% at $10.78 Friday.

Despite strong earnings, Barclays analyst spared the stock no mercy, estimating the price at only $1

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) reported its financial results for the first quarter of the fiscal year ended 2016. The results gave a huge boost to the company’s shares which rose 10% in early trading and went on to finish the day with massive gains.

The company reported a loss per share of 10 cents which was consistent with the consensus expectations. The loss marked a 98% year-over- year (YoY) improvement. The Oklahoma based company, in recent times, has performed quite poorly at the backdrop of low crude oil prices. But the massive YoY improvement indicates that things are finally coming together for the company.

Chesapeake also managed to control its liquidity crisis to some extent as it managed to sign a deal with New Field Exploration. According to the terms of the deal, New Field would be entitled to 42K net acres from the Stack play in the Anadarko Basin for a massive $407 million.

The recent developments had many analysts convinced that the company was headed towards improvements and that its bear case was also improving, but things for the energy company started to tear off again as the stock, after recent gains, hit rock bottom once again. The stock closed down 19.79% at $4.58.

The slide in the current stock price came following comments by Thomas Driscoll, who is a Barclays analyst. He was still bearish on the stock. The positive recent financial results and asset sales program to New Field had left his sentiments unmoved for the natural gas company. He also indicated that according to him, the company was worth only a dollar.

Mr. Driscoll commended the recent positives that stemmed within the company but still felt that these did not justify a premium multiple relative to its competitors. The analyst regarding the company says that “Chesapeake trades at a debt-adjusted cash flow multiple of 8.5x mid-cycle estimates – a 5% – 10% premium to peers using market prices for the convertible preferred notes.”  While the ratio has fallen due to recent cash inflows to the company, Mr. Driscoll still feels that a premium multiple is uncalled for and has caused him to estimate the $1 price target.

Ford Motor Company has said it is launching a new unit to spearhead its vision for shared economy and autonomous driving as it takes on major rivals taking similar initiatives

America’s second largest automaker Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has just shown it is serious about its vision of shared vehicles that drive themselves.

The Blue Oval has said it is forming a new private subsidiary it calls ‘Ford Smart Mobility’ based straight out of the Silicon Valley in Palo Alto California with offices also in Dearborn, Michigan – Ford’s present home.

The unit will be investing in and developing Ford’s transportation services segment which deals with self-driving vehicles and car-sharing services.

The unit will be headed by Jim Hacket, a member of Ford’s board of directors since 2013 and also a former CEO of furniture company Steelcase. Ford’s CEO Mark Fields in an official statement appreciated Mr. Hacket’s move to step down from the company’s board to take a leadership role at Ford Smart Mobility.

He noted Mr. Hacket turned a company that sold furniture to a company “that changes the way people work.” Mr. Fields said he believes he will be able to replicate the magic at Ford Smart Mobility to transform the way people move.

Ford also launched a Palo Alto-based research center back in January with a partial objective to farther Ford’s achievements in the driver-less vehicles space.

Ford’s move echoes into similar ones taken by its larger American peer General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) which has been buying assets and hiring employees of ride-hailing company Sidecar Technologies Inc that has been having a tough time competing with larger ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

GM is also aiming to partner for a ride-sharing venture with Lyft in the future hopefully using vehicles that will drive themselves. The country’s largest automaker has also pumped in $500 million to boost Lyft.

In a separate move, GM has also launched a car-sharing service of its own that allows the users to book vehicles before-hand and use a smartphone application to unlock the vehicles.

On the other hand, the world’s largest automaker Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE:TM) last week said it was hiring most of the technical staff (mostly software engineers) from a technology startup dubbed ‘Jaybridge Robotics’ that invests in autonomous technology. Toyota aims to roll out its fully autonomous vehicle in 2020.

 

Elon Musk said that those investors who understood his perspective voted in favor of the deal

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk is pretty confident that the proposed SolarCity acquisition deal would get a vote of confidence from a vast majority of shareholders. Mr. Musk is expected to reveal details about the proposed “masterplan” any time soon. He will explain how the acquisition would help Tesla to diversify as an energy company specializing in power generation and storage.

As far as the investor view is concerned, Mr. Musk is in contact with major shareholders of Tesla and said that the wee informed investors have already given a green signal to the deal. He further added that those investors who are against this proposition may have failed to understand that how a car producer acquiring an energy producer makes sense from a product perspective.

When the proposed deal was announced last month, it did not receive a very positive response from Tesla shareholders as share prices slumped by more than 10%. Back then, analysts were considering this deal no more as an added financial burden, while some also labelled SolarCity as the next SunEdison. Since then, the situation seems to have improved amid a few risks, as investors are once again bullish on the electric-car maker’s stock, said Thomas Burnett, Head of Research of a renowned brokerage firm.

One of the major shareholders of Tesla, Fidelity Investments had already given a positive stance on a potential deal that includes both SolarCity and Tesla Motors. Fund manager Gavin Baker had said that he sees fruitful synergies between Tesla and SolarCity. Tesla is yet to announce a date for voting in or against the deal, while a few members who are on the boards of both companies will refrain from voting due to conflict of interest.

The street holds a mixed view about the future of Tesla Motors stock. A few brokerages such as Barclays PLC and Pacific Crest reckon that the stock has significant downsides, while a few such as Global Equities Research and Robert W. Baird reckon significant upside potential. The Consensus TP stands at $260, which offers a 15% upside from current levels.

Shares of Tesla Motors were down 0.44% to $225.26 yesterday.

Street estimates Facebook will post a 71% increase in earnings

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is scheduled to release its third quarter results (Q3FY16) after the markets closes tomorrow. For the past eight quarters, the social media giant has surpassed Street estimates for top and bottom line. The company has grown at a rapid pace and has been a favorable stock for investors over time.

Consensus estimates suggest that the company will post 71% increase in earnings this quarter as compared to same quarter last year. The company is expected to report earnings per share (EPS) of $0.98, compared to $0.57 from same quarter last year. The revenue is expected to stand at $6.92 billion, registering a 53% increase from last year’s $4.5 billion.

Under Mark Zukerberg, the company has shown strong operations. Its strong financial strength is based upon its healthy operations. Recent estimates suggest that the company has experienced an increase in its ad revenues.

Facebook has performed well in the stock market this year. Its stock prices have been on an increasing trend. When the market sold yesterday, the stock had hit $130.99 per share, after falling 0.23% for the day. However, after the market closed, the stock traded in green; the price rose to $131.19 per share as of 7:59PM EDT.

Over all, the Street has a bullish rating on the stock. Research firms, such as Nomura, Needham & Company, and Mizuho, have given the stock a Buy rating. However, Societe Generale has issued a Sell rating for the stock. Brokerages, such as Credit Suisse Group and Wells Fargo, have raised their price targets (PT).

The consensus PT after an 15.21% upside over yesterday’s close stands at $150.91. This target is higher than the current 52-week high price of the stock, which stands at $133.50. The Country Caller also maintains a bullish stance for the stock. Facebook is expected to post favorable results and surpass the Street this time as well, which may result in the stock prices to achieve the consensus PT set by the Street.