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April 2019

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Tesla considering to change the naming scheme ‘Model’ plus ‘letter’ for its vehicle lineups after Model Y

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk is widely known as being obsessed with naming his vehicle lineup as Model ‘S3XY.’ With the upcoming Model 3, its crossover version Model Y and the existing vehicles Model S and Model X, the executive will eventually fulfill his strange fascination.

However, Electrek reported the automaker might move away from the ‘Model’ plus ‘letter’ naming convention after the Model Y launch and completion of the Model S3XY. Tesla is currently working on an all-electric minibus which was announced in the expansion to major forms of Terrestrial transport in the ‘Master Plan, Part Deux.’

A Twitter used suggested Mr. Musk a name for the minibus ‘Model B’ under the existing naming scene. In response, the Tesla man said that the company should the naming convention after the release of the Model Y. Later, he agreed that ‘B S3SXY’ would also be make sense.

If the company actually changes its naming scheme, then the vehicle lineups after the Model Y, including the minibus and pickup truck, might not be called Model B or Model P, as fans have been suggesting. Additionally, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has been disturbing the name convention for the young EV maker.

Originally, Mr. Musk wanted the Model 3 to be named Model E, which would have made the lineup Model ‘SEXY,’ but the Detroit automaker put an end to the plan. Since 2013, Tesla executives have been calling the upcoming compact sedan as the Model E, which would have completed Model SEX along with Model S and Model X, and then the Model SEXY with the Model Y. Tesla acquired trademark for the Model Y years ago and it has been called the compact SUV sharing the third generation with the Model 3.

During the 2013 Annual Shareholder Meeting, Mr. Musk revealed that “Ford is killing SEX” as it threatened Tesla to drop the name otherwise it will file a lawsuit for using the same name. Ford plans to make its Model E a mass-market electric car that would take on Tesla Model 3.

Given the threat from Ford, Mr. Musk & Co. changed the change of the vehicle to the Model 3, but kept the SEX alive by creatively using “three horizontal lines” to make the 3 which looks like E.

After HSBC, Barclays looks to prepare the contingency plan for Brexit

A couple weeks ago, UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, confirmed that Britain will leave the single European market. Since then, banks have been vocal about their exodus from London, which is losing its positon as an access point to European markets.

Banks look to restructure and Barclays PLC (ADR)  (NYSE:BCS) announced to choose Dublin as its headquarter in Europe, according to Wall Street Journal. Barclays has started to look for offices spaces in the Dublin and have been in contact with the Irish regulators, according to the source.

The UK Prime Minister may be able to strike a deal with European Union regarding the passporting rights but Barclays is well ahead to prepare the contingency plan. Passporting rights allow the corporations to have access to the European markets from a single headquarter, that is London.

Several US corporations including banks have London as their headquarter for European market, and Brexit may just take that away from Britain’s biggest city. The transfer of jobs from London may include senior mangers, currency traders, human resource staff and derivatives specialists. However, the transfer and new hires are decisions yet to be made.

Barclays and other banks will have a clearer picture as the negotiation process moves forward after article 50 is exercised. Chief executive of Barclays, Jes Staley, has been more critical over Brexit and expressed that the transition of the financial centre will be difficult. Moreover, chief executive of JPMorgan said that the transfer of jobs will be more than anticipated before. HSBC Holdings Inc said that at least 1,000 jobs will be relocated from London.

Something like Brexit has never happened before as corporations can not conclude not ramifications of Brexit yet. The two-year process would include several technicalities which could retain some older policies. Banks are still hopeful of not losing the passporting rights completely. Barclays currenct employees are around 100 people in Dublin.

Starring Lil Buck, the one-minute ad shows the fun involved in taking a walk with your wireless headphones plugged in

As part of its on-going ad campaign “Practically Magic”, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has now released its latest TV promo for its trendy AirPods. Dubbed as “Stroll”, the 60-second advert marks the company’s first time in marketing for its line-up of wireless headphones.

While Practically Magic launched as a promotional push for Apple’s latest iPhone 7, it is evident that the new TV promo is solely focusing on the AirPods. Considering that, Apple has become increasingly active with its TV marketing, its no surprise that the company shortlisted 28-year-old rapper, Lil Buck, for the latest commercial. Such gimmicks have evidently worked in favor of the company, helping it to intrigue a large market of customers around the world.

Now, Apple’s advert focuses on Lil Buck walking through Mexico’s streets and enjoying his AirPods. With Marian Hill’s “Down” playing in the background, the one-minute promo hopes that it can encourage a whole new trend with the start of the new year; one that promotes the usage of wireless headphones. Through this, Lil Buck, is hoping to depict the “freedom” that follows when your headphones aren’t tangled, coinciding with the ad’s theme. Subsequently, the commercial ends with Lil Buck unplugging the headphones, halting the music, and then plugging them back in.

We believe that Apple’s efforts to roll out with TV commercials for its numerous hardware and service platforms have been fairly evident in the past two years. The company has taken numerous measures to debut ads for its music streaming platform, iPhone, Apple TV lineup, and more. Now, there are high chances that the latest ad will trigger even more demand for the tech giant’s wireless headphones.

However, since there does seem to be a shortage of AirPods’ supply, it is essential for Apple to stock up on its accessories to cater to customers on the spot. With the start of the new year, it is evident that Apple’s AirPods might encourage tech rivals to experiment with their own version of the variant. In order to avoid staying behind in this race, the company may continue rolling out with more innovative ads in the subsequent future as well.

We bring you all the latest data from the weekly reset for Destiny

Following last week’s Iron Banner tournament for Activision Blizzard Inc.’s (NASDAQ:ATVI) Destiny, we welcome yet another weekly reset for the game’s Guardians. There are plenty of new activities and challenges to go through; here’s what’s in store for players.

The Nightfall Strike this week is the Sunless Cell Strike. This is one of the strike missions introduced in the game’s year two and has been classed as one of the higher difficulty missions. The strike involves taking down Alak-Hul, the Darkblade who looks to take the place of the dead king Oryx and rise to power in her place. Players must hunt and kill Alak-hul in his dark prison cell, annihilating his plans to take over the throne.

The modifiers on the strike this week are Epic (Increased heavily shielded and aggressive enemies), Solar Burn (Increased Solar damage), Grounded (Increased airborne damage to players), Fresh Troops (Random fortified enemy squads with additional reinforcements), and Catapult (Increased Grenade recharge rate).

Moving on, the King’s Fall challenge this week is the Warpriest Challenge. This is fairly simple and requires a different aura holder every time the DPS rotation is initiated. Most of the times, the rotation ends up with a different aura holder by default and no extra effort is required to complete the challenge. As always, completing the challenge is going to grant you a guaranteed 320 special or heavy weapon, along with a 320 artifact if you complete the challenge on Hard difficulty.

Finally, the Court of Oryx Tier 3 boss is Balwur. The fight is a bit complex and players are required to clear patches on the ground by killing ads which is going to give them the space to DPS the boss. Other than the burning ground, there really is no complexity to the fight so it should not be much of a problem.

You can check out the full list of weekly reset data along with other changes to the tower vendors and other activities on this thread at Reddit.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Now has two different colors you can choose from, black and blue

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is now available is two more colors, black and blue. The phablet was released back in August, available in gray, gold, and silver. That seems to no longer be the case, as the 3GB/32GB and 3GB/64GB are now available in two other colors.

Enjoy the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 in black and blue, in the same price as the previous models. The Redmi Note 4’s design is highly similar to its previous model, the Redmi Note 3, but has a 2.5D curved glass on the top and chamfered edges like Mi 5.

In terms of specifications, which Xiaomi never compromises, just because the price tag is lower than other competitors in the market. The Redmi Note 4 has a 5.5-inch display screen which is HD, powered by MediaTek Helio X20 deca-core SoC.  There are speculations that QUALCOMM chip powered version of the phone will roll out soon in India.

The front camera of the phablet is 5MP with f/2.0 aperture while the primary camera is 13MP with LED flash, and PDAF support. The battery is 4100mAh with option of two sim slots, with 4G LTE support. The Redmi Note 4 comes running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. It has a fingerprint scanner on the back below the primary camera of the phone.  It consists of GPS, Bluetooth, Glonass, and Micro-USB, just like all the other phone in the market.

Since the phablet comes in two different models, one with 16GB of internal storage and 2GB RAM and the other with 64GB storage and 3GB RAM. The prices of both the version are different as the 64GB version’s price is a bit higher. The Indian market might have the phablet next year on sale. The Chinese phone maker will also attend the CES 2017 in Las Vegas for the first time, thus good things shall be expected.

The quarter could serve as an inflection point for Amazon’s profitability says Mahaney

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) beat estimates comprehensively on all accounts with its recently posted Q1 results. The company also raised the guidance for Q2 and showed strong growth in almost all areas.

The Q1 earnings report provided revenue of $29.1 billion which was ahead of consensus estimate of $27.97 billion by more than a billion dollars. The EPS came in at $1.07 coming in at almost double the consensus estimate of $0.58 with a surprise of 49 cents. The revenue growth was 29% excluding forex impact.

Mark Mahaney, analyst at RBC Capital sees the quarter as an inflection point for Amazon and expects trends to go upwards from here on. The primary factors behind the beat are largely Global and North American retail business growth. Amazon Web Services also played its part in the beat phenomenon but only to a limited extent. The EPS beat is largely because of record high gross margins of 35.2% and an eight year high operating margin of 3.7%. The guidance for the next quarter was well above the Street’s estimates and trends are likely to get better. Robust revenue trends with 27% and 26% growth in North American and International retail business are likely to be key drivers of growth. The analyst raised his PT to $800 from $715 and reaffirmed an Outperform rating on the stock.

The Internet stocks team of Jefferies sees Amazon Prime flywheel strategy as largely successful as they raised the PT to $865 from $775 following the Q1 earnings call. The acceleration in growth in all fronts was a large positive and is likely to continue over the next quarter. Amazon is currently undergoing a period of expansion as the spending is likely to remain high. The team remained positive on the stock as it remains the top pick among the covered tickers. The FY2016 EPS estimate is now $5.07 from $4.63, while, for 2017 it is $10.68 from $9.39.

The analyst opinion for AMZN has 12 strong Buy, 28 Buy, and five Hold recommendations as the stock is now traded at $665 soaring upwards from $660 in seconds after the open of the market.

The company has to work on multiple options in order to expand its drug portfolio and drug pipeline to patch up the revenue loss of Crestor and Nexium

AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) is going through a revenue decline due to the patent cliff side effects after the patent expiration of its blockbuster drugs Crestor and Nexium. The company is facing intense pressure from the investors and shareholders in order to diversify the plan of action for the future growth. 

Merrill Lynch analysts Sachin Jain and Graham Parry said in a report published on September 8, 2016 that the company still has potential to grow in the future, keeping in view the drug pipeline and expected acquisitions and mergers (A&M) in the near future to acquire novel molecules for the management and treatment of rare and life-threatening diseases.

According to the Merrill Lynch analysts, oncology drug Lynparza can generate billions of dollars. The drug was approved in 2014 by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for advanced ovarian cancer associated with defective BRCA genes. The company is also working on breast and prostate cancer, along with its cardiovascular drug Roxadustat for anemia, which is expected to get approval by mid of 2017.

In addition, lung cancer treatment Tagrisso is expected to clinch $2 billion yearly as it is in final stage of development and is expected to be marketed in 2017. Crestor is indicated for the management of high cholesterol in the blood. After the patent expiration, the drug has shown a decline of 29% in the second quarter financial year (2QFY16) and overall US market revenue decline of 52%. 

On the other hand, the European markets showed a decline of 1% due to fierce competition after the launch of generics in the market. Nexium is also a victim of patent cliff and has a revenue decline of 13% after the patent’s expiration in May 2015. 

Compnay’s CEO Pascal Soriot has given assurance to the investors in 2014 that the company will generate $45 billion by 2023 with the launching of new molecules and therapies, but AstraZeneca has lowered the revenue guidance to $40-41 billion in 2QFY16.  According to the analysts’ expectations, the company will be able to generate $23 billion by 2023.

The company has to look for options for expansion of its drug portfolio in the lucrative fields of oncology and immunology. The company has a robust respiratory investigational molecules in the pipeline, which are expected to aid-in the revenue generation in future such as benralizumab and is ready for the regulatory approval by the end of 2016. The molecule is expected to generate $2 billion annually along with facing fierce competition from noteworthy drugs such as Cinqair marketed by Teva and GSK’s Nucala.

Intel’s Kaby Lake processors promises to take computing to the next level

Tech fans are already excited about the launch of Intel Corporation’s (NASDAQ:INTC) seventh-generation processor, the Kaby Lake, which is only a few months away now. The new chipset is expected to take PCs to the next level with blazingly quicker speed and better support for intensive graphical applications. The Kaby Lake is the successor to Intel’s Skylake chipset, which was released at the same time last year and is installed on high-end laptops and desktops.

There was speculation that the Kaby Lake processor would employ the new 10nm chip architecture rather than the 14nm architecture which was found on the Skylake. However, it is now reported that the Kaby Lake will also employ the 14nm architecture. There is not much information on the new processor, however, Intel claims that the new chipset would be “the highest performance CPU Intel has ever built.” Since the new chipset uses the 14nm architecture, there would be no need to replace the motherboard as it will use the same LGA1151 socket the Skylake processors use.

The new Kaby Lake is also expected to be the most powerful chipset from the company as it will reportedly be featured in the company’s virtual reality headset, Project Alloy. Some rumors also said that Intel’s latest chip will power Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) new MacBook Pro 2016. However, this seems highly unlikely as the MacBook Pro is slated to release later this fall, whereas Intel’s new chips will start shipping out in early 2017.

Microsoft’s Surface Phone and Surface Pro 5 are two devices which are said to be powered by the latest chipsets. With the new chipset, Microsoft could look to target the business sector as the Kaby Lake processors will make Surface devices perform twice as faster as previous Windows devices. Intel also claimed that the new chipset promises to bring in a number of new features as well as extra hours of battery life.

The Country Caller discusses whether investors should consider putting their money in Shell or notEfficient Downstream SegmentBenefit from Lower CostsConclusion

Along with recovery in oil prices, Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE: RDS.A) stock has also shown positive momentum as it has surged 7.05% year-to-date. Also, investor confidence in the company has improved considerably, as witnessed by the 22% hike in stock price over the past three months. The Country Caller explains whether this appreciation in stock price is sustainable or not.

Efficient Downstream Segment

Shell has strived to improve the efficiency of its downstream segment. It has achieved this by implementing better-quality feedstock and improving supply, thus enjoying better returns on its portfolio. Also, its cash flows and earnings have improved substantially in the past. Since 2007, the company has reduced its refining capacity as well, but was still able to keep its profitability intact, as illustrated below:

Moreover, the refining segment’s future prospects are also on the brighter side. This year, refining margins have not been as high as they were last year. The refining crack spread for East Coast averaged around $6.31 for 1QFY16, down from 10.44 a year ago. Similarly, Gulf Coast margins are also on the lower side this year.

Such lower margins are expected on the back of lower gasoline demand. But as time progresses, seasonal demand would improve as summer season is approaching . Hence, improvement in gasoline demand would improve crack spreads and enable Shell to improve the performance of its downstream segment.

Benefit from Lower Costs

In order to avoid the kind of poor performance the company had to witness last year amid falling oil prices, Shell has taken aggressive measures to cut its costs. Last year, it reduced its expenses by $12.5 billion by lowering operating and capital costs.

Similarly, Shell has plans to reduce its costs this year as well, as it has targeted to lower costs by another $3 billion during FY16. Also, the company has become selective in making investments by investing in projects which can create better wealth for shareholders. Last year, it approved only four projects out of which three were for its downstream segment. Shell plans to lower costs, reserve cash and liquidity, and avoid unnecessary expenses.

Conclusion

On the back of better downstream segment performance and measures to cut costs, Shell appears to be headed in the right direction. Also, once oil prices recover as even Non- Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC )members expected to reach an agreement on incorporating a production freeze after the OPEC meeting . If this happens, performance of Shell’s upstream segment would also improve substantially.

 

 

The Country Caller discusses whether this attempt would help Valeant reduce its debt or not

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl. Inc. (NYSE:VRX) has hired Morgan Stanley to help it sell off its dermatology units including Solta Medical and Obagi Medical. The move is said to help the drug maker reduce the $31 billion worth of debt pile that has burdened it recently.

Both the units, as per Bloomberg, as worth up to $500 million. Sources familiar with the matter told the publication that sales could commence “as early as this week.”

The drug maker had acquired Obagi three years ago for $418 million. It bought Solta for $250 million after that. Solta makes aesthetically-appealing medical equipments, such as acne and wrinkle treatments.

Valeant has also considered selling other non-core assets, including Provenge, its prostrate cancer treatment, the people revealed. The $7.86 billion company is also trying to lessen its exposure to emerging markets, the sources said, as that could lead to a potential sale of its Egyptian company Amoun Pharmceutical which it acquired last year, and its Latin American business.

The drug maker is going through one of the worst times in its history. From $100 billion, the company’s market capital has now shrunk to under $10 billion owing to its controversial relationship with pharmacy benefit manager Philidor, and its pricing strategy for drugs. The company is also facing a class-action lawsuit these days, adding to the pressure, and pushing investors to call it quits.

This month, Valeant also slashed its earnings before income taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) guidance from $5.6-5.8 billion to $4.8-4.95 billion. The stock has plunged 74.45% for the six months ended June 13. While this move is definitely an important one, it would not be enough by itself to help the company make it out of the red.