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May 2019

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The Country Caller shares why Wall Street analysts have such a bullish stance on Alibaba stock

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) stock shed 2.53% of its value through regular trading Friday, as it closed at $77.16. The stock has declined 5.06% since the start of this year through May 13, 2016, against the S&P 500 Index’s gain of 0.13%.

The chart below shows Alibaba’s stock price performance year-to-date. The stock price witnessed a slump during the mid of February, however, it regained the momentum by the end of the month.

The China based e-commerce business has shown solid financial performance over the past quarters and the Street has always been mostly bullish on the stock. A total of 43 analysts at the Street provide coverage on Alibaba stock. Of these, a massive majority of 37 analysts, who account for 86% of the total analysts covering the stock, recommend investors to take a long position on the stock. The remaining six believe holding the stock would be the best maneuver for shareholders. There are no Sell ratings on the stock currently.

The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $97.23, reflecting a return potential of 26% against the stock’s last closing price. Billy Leung, an analyst at Haitong International, expects the most out of the stock, which is why he has the most bullish stance on it. Mr. Leung holds a $120 price target on the stock and recommends investors to Buy it.

On the other hand, CM Research analyst Cyrus Mewawalla has the most bearish outlook on the stock. Mr. Mewawalla projects Alibaba stock price to tank to $59.21 and believes shorting the stock is appropriate.

As per the latest short interest data released on April 29, 2016, the number of shorted Alibaba shares stand at 81.66 million shares, declining 4.28% against the previous settlement date. The number of shorted shares account for 3.29% of the total float in the market.

The upgrade comes a week ahead of Advanced Micro Devices’s Q3 call

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) has been recently upgraded by Credit Suisse, as the research firm believes that the stock has plenty of positive catalysts down the road that will provide long term benefits. Credit Suisse analyst, John Pitzer, believes that recent traction in NT has negated the negativity that was created due to fierce competition in the past few quarters.

The analyst believes that the most common investor concern in the long term was the lack of scale but with the recent strong results from NT, it has been answered for the most part. Furthermore, the recently launched Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), especially the VR ready RX480, are expected to be a huge hit, assuming highly attractive price performance ratio. Given the recent positives, the analyst believes that Advanced Micro Devices might very well be ahead of the guidance numbers for the next two quarters, Q3 and Q4. On the other hand, Advanced Micro Devices has not been able to post positive EPS for the past few quarters but the analyst expects it to take a turn for the better, and the upcoming Q3 EPS might be a tad higher than the consensus estimate of breakeven. 

Recent financing has significantly improved the financial position of the company and the balance sheet looks far more positive than it used to be. The product pipeline of the company for the next year is quite strong, among which Zen is the most crucial. The IP assets of Advanced Micro Devices are expected to still hold some meaningful value and monetization is possible in near term. 

Credit Suisse upgrades the stock to Neutral from Underperform and raises the price target to $7 from $5.5. The analyst ratings for the stock consist of 4 Buy, 3 Outperform, 12 Hold, 3 Underperform and 3 Sell ratings. The stock currently trades at a price of $6.57 and gained 1.08% since the open.

Tesla introduces fourth round of the referral program, allowing owners to win exciting prices on referring Model S or Model X

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) introduced a referral program during the third quarter, allowing owners to win discounts and rewards by referring friends or family members to buy new Model S sedan. Since then, the program has been refreshed twice in which different rules and rewards were given.

Although there has been no update on the last round of referral program ended in mid-April, the electric vehicle (EV) started the Referral Program 4.0 during the weekend, according to Electrek and Teslarati. The automaker activated referral codes and started providing an offer of $1,000 in credits available via the refreshed referral program with orders of Model S and Model X.

Both of the aforementioned publications shared a referral code each that lead to a Tesla Referral Program page showing the revamped premium sedan and the premium SUV side by side. Below each car is a link to respective Design Studio, where customers can customize their Tesla.

Although there were no initial details about the Referral Program 4.0 from the company, Tesla released full details for the referrers today, according to Electrek. The owners can win various prizes by referring people to buy a Tesla between May 30 and July 15.

“You can use our referral code to get $1,000 in credit toward the purchase of a new Model S or X ordered before July 15, 2016,” Tesla wrote.

Referrer with five qualifying referral will get a set of 21” custom Arachnid wheels in silver, grey, or black, as well as summer performance tires with installation. The “exclusive forged aluminum wheels” provide improved performance and are not offered by the company. 

Owners who will refer at least four people will be able to attend the Gigafactory Grand Opening on July 29 along with a guest. The company will also provide transportation from Reno, NV to the Gigafactory.

Participant to get at least three referrals will win “an exclusive Tesla Owners Jacket.” However, the company did not reveal exactly which jacket or whether it being publicly offered or not.

Owners with at least two referrals will be eligible for a “Tesla Moab Weekender bag” which matches their vehicle interior.

Each referral will provide an additional opportunity to owners to get a Ludicrous P90D Model X via a drawing.

Daily Caller looks at the recent attack of Niger Delta Avengers on the Shell facility

After an attack on Chevron Corporation’s (NYSE:CVX) facility on Friday, Royal Dutch Shell plc. (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) was the next company to suffer the blow. The Nigerian terrorist group calling themselves the ‘Niger Delta Avengers’ forced employees of Shell to evacuate the facilities that the company owned.

Shell was forced to evacuate around 100 of its non-essential staff members. The company was also forced to suspend operations for the time being. This would be yet another blow to a foreign company operating in the Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta Avengers feel that the government has endowed a large amount of the country’s oil producing sites to foreign companies and that more ownership of oil should be given to locals. The Avengers, following their attack on Chevron’s facility, had warned that further attacks of this sort would take place.

The spill is a great setback for not only Shell but also for Nigeria. Crude oil prices have fallen substantially from July 2014. In a high crude environment, companies are mainly betting on high production losses in order to mitigate overall losses. Shell’s facility produces up to 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.  Chevron, which had shut down another facility on Friday, also produced up to 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The falling production has also aggravated the losses in Nigeria.  According to the data compiled by Bloomberg, Nigerian production went below 1.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, representing a 20 year low. Nigeria, being part of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has suffered immensely amid a crude oil price collapse. The country’s foreign reserves are at a decade low of $27 billion; moreover, economic growth also has been minimal.

Shell has been a victim in Nigeria in the past as well. If things do not improve, major and large foreign companies would ramp up their asset sales in the company. The local companies without the expertise and technology of their foreign counterparts would not be able to operate as efficiently thus producing more problems for Nigeria.

New leak confirms that the iPhone 7 will feature an edgeless display with a dual screen setup

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to launch its latest flagship, the iPhone 7 later this year and there have been countless rumors on the changes that Apple will be bringing to its latest device. Apple’s current flagship, the iPhone 6s, for the first time saw a decline in sales as competition from manufacturers like Samsung Electronics Co. (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) and LG Display Co. (NYSE:LPL) has increased over the past couple of years. Kevin Wang of IHS Securities, who has been a reliable source for Apple news in the past has now revealed that Apple’s next iPhone will feature a ‘Dual Screen Display’, which will look similar to the display found on the Galaxy S7 Edge.

There had been reports earlier which mentioned that Apple is working on an ‘Edgeless iPhone’ and if the report is true then the next iPhone would surely be one of the best looking devices in the market. However, Apple is waiting for 2017 to give the iPhone a redesign as it prepares for the 10th anniversary of its flagship product.

There have been reports that the iPhone 8 will also feature OLED panels and Apple recently confirmed that company has made a deal with Samsung for $2.3 billion for supplying OLED displays. The iPhone 8 is also rumored to have a glass display, with the omission of the home button for the first time, as Apple will look to incorporate the fingerprint recognition system within the display.

For users that were waiting for a major redesign with the iPhone 7, they will be left disappointed as the upcoming flagship will share the same design elements as its predecessor. However, there have been reports that the upcoming device will not have the 3.5mm headphone jack, which will be replaced by the Smart Connector which was recently introduced on the iPad Pro. There are also reports that the iPhone 7 Plus will feature a dual-lens camera, and a larger battery. Recently, Alex Wang also reported that the 32GB iPhone will be the base model iPhone as Apple looks to ditch the 16GB variant for good.

The drugmaker has a golden window of opportunity to gain traction in the lucrative therapeutic field of Multiple Sclerosis

Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) investigational molecule for the treatment and management of multiple sclerosis has shown remarkable reduction in the disease progression up to 21%. The investigational molecule also aid in the reduction of the relapsing of the disease in comparison to the placebo with the change in the brain volume and volume of the lesions in the brain.

Siponimod will be available in the oral formulation and is expected to be the blockbuster drug as compared to other formulations available in the market due to its vital role in minimizing the disease progression. The investigational molecule has met the primary endpoints in the phase 3 study. 

On the other hand, Roche is also working to make its place in the lucrative market of Multiple sclerosis. Its investigational molecule Ocrevus has shown its vitality and effectiveness in the management of relapsing-remitting MS and primary progressive MS. The drug has an added advantaged that till date no other drug is indicated in this condition and if approved, it will clinch the entire therapeutic market.

According to the analysts, the role of BAF312 is vital, as Novartis is going through an era of difficulties due to the slow growth of its highly expected drug Entresto for the treatment of heart failure. Alcon ophthalmology segment shows a sluggish growth. Siponimod sales will be a bit low due to the presence of Novartis Gilenya, which covers 80% of the MS patients and Siponimod will patch up 20% of the patients with an expected revenue generation of $1 billion annually, according to Berenberg Bank report.

Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease that is directly affecting the central nervous system impacting the normal functions of the brain, spinal cord, and other vital organs. This disease affects approximately 2.3 million people. Till date, there is no drug in the market that completely provide cure for the disease, but drugs are available which aid in the slowing the disease.

The deal is expected to strengthen the financial performance and the leading position of the two companies after it closes

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (NYSE:HPE) announced today that it has bought Silicon Graphics International Corp. (NASDAQ:SGI) for $275 million. Silicon graphics is considered as the leading global provider of high-performance solutions for computation, data analysis, and data management. The IT company has acquired Silicon Graphics for $7.75 per share in cash, offering a 30% premium over the stock’s close on Thursday, August 11. With this deal, HP Enterprise hopes to strengthen its high-performance computing gear as well as its augmented hardware and software market.

Silicon Graphics was founded under the leadership of Jim Clark, founder of Netscape. The company had filed for bankruptcy in 2009, leading it to be acquired by Rackable Systems. The company continued to retain its brand name even after the acquisition. It is known for its computing and analytical services in business, scientific, technical, and governmental areas. The California-based company grew from bankrupt to reporting $533 million in revenues in fiscal year 2016 under Rackable Systems.

Hewlett Packard believes that the $212.31 million company would help its data centers create better business insight and value for consumers. The company stated: “HPE and SGI believe that by combining complementary product portfolios and go-to-market approaches they will be able to strengthen the leading position and financial performance of the combined business.” This means that the leaders of the company are confident this deal would increase its strength in high-performance computing segment of the server market.

A lot of companies now have to deal with massive quantities of data across all the applications and sectors. For this purpose, the businesses need secure data processing systems and quick data analytics which allow real-time processing. Now these companies are turning to high-end solutions that Hewlett Packard wants to offer using Silicon Graphics. With this accelerated demand, the data analytics division is expected to double in terms of growth and the high-performance computing segment worth $11 billion is expected to increase its compound annual growth by approximately 6-8%.

The combined portfolio of the two companies would make both private and public companies have easier access to supercomputer installations. This would enable them generate better business insights and provide them a competitive edge over rivals in the market. The post-acquisition product portfolio would be designed to efficiently help customers with complex and challenging business problems. Thus, the two companies have product portfolios which complement each other and provide real-time solutions, helping them strengthen and grow their consumer base.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise hopes its earnings would neutral in the first year of acquisition. The deal would take some time to materialize though. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017. It is currently awaiting regulatory approval and customary closing provisions, which could delay its closure.

Get a taste of Android N on your Huawei P9 by installing the latest beta

Earlier this week, we saw the release of the fifth developer beta for Android N, which is only applicable to Nexus devices, so the owners of non-Nexus devices haven’t really gotten a chance to test out Android N just yet. Well, the wait for Huawei P9 owners has finally come to an end. Android N Beta for Huawei P9 is now available and comes with the latest updated EMUI 5.0 skin on top. Now you can download and install the new beta on your Huawei P9!

Note: Before you begin, please ensure that you have backed up data from all of your device. Since the build is still in beta, you can’t really expect everything to work perfectly, so it is better to have your data secure in case of a system crash. 

Step 1: Visit the following link and download the update entitled EMUI-EVA-C900B040SP11-log. The log appendage means that the version is a beta. 

Step 2: Once you’ve downloaded the update ZIP file, connect your Huawei P9 to the computer and copy the file to the root of your device’s internal storage or SD device’s internal storage or SD card. 

Step 3: Now, you need to boot your device into the software update mode. To do this, first power off your device. Then, power on your device while holding down both volume buttons. Your device will boot into software update mode. 

Step 4: Select the update file and choose to flash the ZIP. 

The process will take a few minutes and when it is done, your device will run Android 7.0. Please note that only the devices on stock will be able to update using OTA. If you’re running a custom ROM, return to stock before flashing the beta.

iPhone could now be used by a Chinese handbags company and the Cupertino company cannot do anything about it

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has lost a trademark suit in China against Xintong Tiandi Technology, a leather goods company based in Beijing, over the “iPhone” brand name. As such, the Chinese company now has complete rights to use the name of Apple’s iOS device for its leather handbags, smartphone cases, and other handheld leather products.

“IPHONE” was registered by Xintong Tiandi in China in 2007 under leather products. Even though this happened five years after Apple registered the same brand for its own company under the science and technology category, the Chinese authorities have not sided with the Cupertino firm in these past years to help save its trademark.

No difference in the “I” in both iPhone and IPHONE was noted by the Beijing court, stating that the general public is unlikely to link the two products with the identical name due to the completely different nature of the two businesses and their products. Commenting on the judgement passed in its favor, Xintong Tiandi stated on its website that the decision is reflective of the free market in the country, and that both companies can work together to provide more benefits to iPhone customers.

However absurd it may seem, Apple is not the only company with legal rights to the name “iPhone” in China, not after the ruling by the Beijing court. You may argue that the two names are different, but by doing so are you may be contradicting the Chinese people’s court. We’re having difficulty writing this with a straight face and you may have an ear-to-ear grin on your face right now, but no, you are not reading a spoof piece based on the Chinese market. Apple really has lost the iPhone name rights in China.

How to help secure your Android Phone from the latest Android security threat

According to reports, a new malicious app has infected over 10 million Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices all over the world. The bug was first caught by researchers at Check Point who claim that the software automatically roots in your phone. The malicious software is capable of collecting a user’s personal data and makes it seem like a user has clicked on ads when they have not.

If you think that the Humming Bad software is on your phone you should take some steps to ensure that the software is removed before hackers can start tracking your phone and sell your information online. Here’s how to find if the malicious software is on your phone.

To check if your phone has a dangerous app that hosts the malicious Humming Bad software, all you have to do is download and install an antivirus app. These apps have the ability to detect false applications and then flag them which makes it easier to remove them. Users can download the AVG Antivirus app or Check Point’s Zone Alarm app to check and see if their phone is infected.

Once you find out that your phone is one of the 10 million affected devices around the world, all you have to do is perform a factory reset so that you can get rid of the malicious software. Users should back up their important files and folders before performing the factory reset.

Check Point says that the best way to stop this from happening again is by not downloading apps from unknown sources. The company says that the best place to download apps without getting infected is through Google’s Play Store which is regulated against malicious software like Humming Bad. Users are also advised to update their devices to the latest Android version which makes helps make user devices more secure against threats like Humming Bad.