Tag Archives: GOOGL

Uber Technologies Inc. Is a Massive Risk for Softbank

Uber Technologies Inc. has been valued at $48 billion after Softbank Group Corp. (OTCMKTS:SFTBF) has completed its purchase of 20% of the ride-hailing company.

A previous private funding round said the company was worth $68 billion, making this new round a “down round.” Anyone who bought shares at the $68 billion valuation — and then sold to Softbank — took a loss.

Since most of those exiting were early investors, however, they have taken huge profits. Founder and former-CEO Travis Kalanick sold 29% of his personal stake to Softbank and is now a billionaire. Menlo Ventures, First Round Capital and Benchmark Capital were also among the early backers to take profits. 

Kalanick ran Uber from a startup to a dominant player in the new world of app-based ride-hailing, which has been putting taxi services out of business around the world. But the company now faces challenges from well-heeled competitors and governments bent on regulating or even banning it.

Can Uber Be Saved?

The Softbank deal was designed to put a period on Uber’s past troubles and re-launch the company with $1.25 billion of fresh capital.

Uber tried further distract by announcing on January 7 that they have testing self-driving car chips from Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDA), and will use them in their fleet of autonomous vehicles.

Former Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is now in charge at Uber. He hopes to make people forget a hellish year during which the company faced allegations of sexual harassment, a backlash by government regulators, a “delete Uber” campaign, and revelations that it paid to cover up a massive data breach.

A lawsuit filed by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) last February may be the company’s greatest headache. Google is accusing their former employee, Anthony Levandowski, of taking trade secrets from the Waymo self-driving car unit to Uber with him.

That trial has been delayed by the discovery of a letter from former Uber employee Ric Jacobs which alleged that Kalanick personally directed the theft of Waymo’s technology and spied on competitors. 

Is Uber Worth Saving?

Make no mistake. There is something worth saving at Uber, a service that powered 4 billion car rides in 2017. The company has a huge infrastructure, thousands of drivers, and enough brand loyalty to make the word “uber” a verb.

Khosrowshahi has recruited Barney Harford, former CEO of Orbitz — which Expedia bought in 2013 — as the new chief operating officer. Harford is charged with cutting costs so Uber can look profitable in an initial public offering planned for 2019. The company lost nearly $2.5 billion during the middle quarters of 2017 and has yet to announce its fourth-quarter results.

Along with their purchase, Softbank has brought Sprint Corp. (NYSE:S) CEO Marcelo Claure and Rajeev Misra, who runs Softbank’s $100 billion “Vision Fund,” to the Uber board, which now numbers 17 people. Softbank controls Sprint, which has pre-loaded Uber’s app onto its phones in the past.

The Bottom Line

Bigger than all of Uber’s other problems is the fact that its backers were greedy.

They delayed their planned IPO long enough for the company attracted big competitors like Didi Chuxing, a Chinese clone that claims to have powered 7.3 billion rides last year and driven Uber from that market.

Uber has also remained private through government backlash. Taxicab companies and liberal groups claim that Uber used private capital to subsidize the elimination of good (often union) jobs.

The City of London has refused to renew Uber’s operating license, adding itself to the list of places where Uber is banned. This list now includes Denmark, Bulgaria, and Hungary, as well as parts of the U.S., Canada, Australia and many European countries.

My own view is that Uber has missed its moment. And Softbank is going to find it got into the business too late. The Google lawsuit takes Uber out of the self-driving car market, Didi is going to keep it out of most of Asia, and politicians are going to war against it.

That is not a good position to be in. This is a corporate turnaround with all the risks of a venture capital investment. The Softbank “Vision Fund” may prove short-lived if Uber fails.

Dana Blankenhorn is a financial and technology journalist. He is the author of the historical mystery romance The Reluctant Detective Travels in Time available now at the Amazon Kindle store. Write him at danablankenhorn@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn. As of this writing he owned no shares in companies mentioned in this story.

 

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Top Tech Stocks To Buy For 2018

Jack Ma: President Trump must work with China Alibaba is back on a U.S. government naughty list, and the Chinese company is suggesting politics might be to blame.

The U.S. Trade Representative said Wednesday that the e-commerce giant’s main consumer site allows the sale of an “unacceptably high” level of fake goods.

It restored the site, Taobao.com, to its “Notorious Markets” blacklist just four years after taking it off. As well as warning about the large amounts of counterfeit and pirated goods on Taobao, the agency reported a range of obstacles that brands face in efforts to have knockoffs removed from the site.

Alibaba (BABA, Tech30) said it was disappointed by the U.S. move, pointing to the the work it has done to combat counterfeiters.

Top Tech Stocks To Buy For 2018: 8×8 Inc(EGHT)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Telecommunications services shares climbed 0.56 percent in trading on Thursday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Frontier Communications Corp (NASDAQ: FTR), and 8×8, Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT).

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows small cap magicJack VocalTec Ltd hitting lower highs and lowerlows for some years now but also leveling off while VOIP related peers Vonage Holdings Corp (NYSE: VG)and 8×8, Inc (NASDAQ: EGHT) have been volatile, but also largely heading higher:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows small cap magicJack VocalTec Ltd underperforming versus VOIP related peers Vonage Holdings Corp (NYSE: VG)and 8×8, Inc (NASDAQ: EGHT) which have been volatile, but have been heading higher:

  • [By Anders Bylund]

    Shares of 8×8 (NASDAQ:EGHT) rose 26.6% in 2016, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

    So what

    The provider of internet-based voice and communications services put together a remarkable financial record last year. 8X8 beat Wall Street’s earnings and sales estimates handily in each one of the year’s quarterly reports,citing strong organic revenue growth among larger customers along the way. Large-scale corporate customers accounted for 53% of the company’s total sales in the recently reported second quarter, and these big clients are also showing strong loyalty to the 8×8 brand by renewing their service contracts.

Top Tech Stocks To Buy For 2018: Allot Communications Ltd.(ALLT)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Telecommunications services shares gained around 0.98 percent in trading on Thursday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Telefonica S.A. (ADR) (NYSE: TEF), and Allot Communications Ltd (NASDAQ: ALLT).

Top Tech Stocks To Buy For 2018: Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Finally, The Boston Consulting Group named Apple the world’s most innovative company for the 11th consecutive year. Apple has nabbed the award every year since BCG began awarding it. Google/Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has been named the second-most innovative company in nineof those 11 years.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Revenues generated by mobile apps and game sales rose 35% year over year in 2017 to $58.6 billion. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) nabbed $38.5 billion in sales at its App Store through in-app purchases, subscriptions, and premium apps, almost double the $20.1 billion total generated by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) at Google Play.

  • [By Douglas A. McIntyre]

    And those big tech stocks continue to sell off. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Facebook and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) have lost over $100 billion in combined market cap in less than two weeks.

Top Tech Stocks To Buy For 2018: KongZhong Corporation(KZ)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    The list of below stocks is notable as the shares have traded on sequentially increasing volume spanning the trading days from September 16 to September 20:

Top Tech Stocks To Buy For 2018: SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION(SAIC)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Wall Street expects Science Applications International Corp (NYSE: SAIC) to report its quarterly earnings at $0.74 per share on revenue of $1.15 billion. SAIC shares gained 0.96 percent to $57.87 in after-hours trading.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Science Applications International Corp (NYSE: SAIC) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $0.74 per share on revenue of $1.15 billion.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Gainers

    Pyxis Tankers Inc. (NYSE: PXS) rose 47.48 percent to $$5.56, after the company announced it has entered into a definitive securities purchase agreement with a group of investors, which will result in gross proceeds of $4.8 million.
    Sigma Designs Inc (NASDAQ: SIGM) rose 22.77 percent to $6.88. Silicon Laboratories (NASDAQ: SLAB) announced plans to buy Sigma Designs for $7.05 per share in cash.
    Steadymed Ltd (NASDAQ: STDY) rose 19.35 percent to $3.70, after the company reported that no clinical trials were required for Trevyent and that the FDA had agreed to the pathway for the drug candidate's NDA resubmission.
    Iteris, Inc. (NASDAQ: ITI) rose 15.73 percent to $7.06. Earlier in the week, Zacks Investment Research had upgraded the company from "Sell" to "Hold".
    Science Applications International Corp (NYSE: SAIC) rose 13.71 percent to $85.77 as the company reported better-than-expected earnings for its third quarter.
    Technical Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: TCCO) rose 12.41 percent to $6.07, after having risen sharply in pre-marketing trading.
    Radius Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: RDUS) rose 12.41 percent to $30.81 after the company provided an update on data from the Phase 1 005 clinical study of elacestrant in patients with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer during the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
    ForeScout Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSCT) rose 12.32 percent to $25.80 after the company reported its third quarter financial results.
    Prana Biotechnology Limited (NASDAQ: PRAN) rose 11.36 percent to $3.43, as the company announced a research collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceuticals to study the ability of movement disorders compound, PBT434 to slow or prevent neurodegeneration of the gastrointestinal system.
    Catalyst Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBIO) rose 10.49 percent to $7.90 as the company announced the appointment of Arwa Shurrab and Jamie Ellen Siegel in its clinical hemophilia

2018 IPO Prospects: Lyft Appears To Be Changing Gears To List

According to a Goldman Sachs report, the global ride-hailing market is expected to grow from $36 billion in 2017 to $285 billion by 2030. The average number of ride-hailing trips a day globally are expected to grow from 15 million in 2017 to 97 million by 2030. The ride-hailing companies are expected to charge an average 23% commission on the gross sales, translating to net revenues of $65 billion by 2030 for the industry. While Uber (Private:UBER) continues to remain the market leader in the industry, its recent troubles have helped drive usage for competitors, such as Lyft (Private:LYFT), to higher levels. Lyft may even beat Uber to an IPO listing this year.

Lyft’s Growth

Lyft, still largely focused in the US, has grown significantly during the past year. According to its Co-Founder and President John Zimmer, Lyft more than doubled the 162.6 million rides it provided in 2016. It is now available in all the 50 US states. Last year, Lyft also made its first international presence when it began operating its service in Toronto, Canada. Lyft has clearly benefited from all the turmoil at Uber. Here is an interesting infographic, courtesy recode, that shows how Lyft made big advances in San Francisco and New York, when compared with Uber.

Besides market expansion for the ride-sharing service, Lyft also has been actively focused on the autonomous driving market. Last year, Lyft entered into several partnerships with automakers such as Ford (NYSE:F), Tata Motors’ (NYSE:TTM) Jaguar Land Rover, and General Motors (NYSE:GM) to test self-driving vehicles in the network. It launched an open platform that is designed to give these automakers and tech companies the ability to work on self-driving cars that will be accessible to its ride-sharing network.

It officially launched the service last month in Boston when it sent autonomous vehicles, developed by the startup NuTonomy, to pick passengers in Boston’s Seaport district. The riders are randomly paired with one of NuTonomy’s self-driving cars when they use the Lyft app in the Seaport area. The car comes with a driver behind the wheel who is ready to take control, when needed. The partnership will help establish user confidence in the driverless car model along with helping improve the performance through feedback from pilot participants. Later this month, Lyft will also launch a similar service for the Consumer Electronics Show happening in Las Vegas. Attendees will be able to ride the autonomous cars on 20 pre-defined routes and destinations. The service will be provided in collaboration with Aptiv, which will work on the automated driving vehicles, while Lyft will take on the dispatch.

Lyft is not the only ride-sharing service to offer autonomous cars. Uber already has the service running in Pittsburgh and Phoenix. But Uber is being sued over its autonomous driving technology by Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and has also been involved in a few traffic incidents in these markets.

Lyft’s Financials

Lyft’s user growth has translated to higher revenues in 2017. While the company still does not disclose detailed financials, recent reports revealed that its gross revenues grew from $150 million in the first half of 2016 to $483 million for the first half of 2017. During the same period, losses have reduced from $283 million to $206 million. During the same period, Uber is estimated to have earned $3 billion in revenues with losses of $2 billion.

Lyft has been venture funded so far and has raised $4.2 billion from investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Capital G, Icahn Enterprises, Rakuten, Coatue Management, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, Mayfield Fund, FLOODGATE, K9 Ventures, and fbFund. Its last funding round was held in December 2017 , when it raised $500 million at a valuation of $11.5 billion from investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Valuation has grown steadily from $10 billion back in October 2017 and $7.5 billion in April 2017. It is still a far cry from Uber’s valuation of $68 billion.

Many believe that Lyft is very close to going public as it is about to select its IPO advisors to help it list. It also added Kristina Omari as its first-ever vice president of corporate development and customer relations – a move expected to be part of the IPO initiative.

About this article:ExpandTagged: Investing Ideas, IPO Analysis, TechnologyWant to share your opinion on this article? Add a comment.Disagree with this article? Submit your own.To report a factual error in this article, click here

Is Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Stock a Screaming Buy Thanks to Intel?

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) had a rather disappointing year in 2017. AMD stock fell more than 9% over those 12 months. Long-term investors shouldn’t be too deterred though, assuming they caught the near-300% rally in 2016. And after the down year, AMD stock taken off, already climbing almost 16% in the early days of 2018

Depending on how serious a flaw there is with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), it could open a window for AMD and that would allow the recent momentum in AMD stock to continue. So what’s the skinny?

Essentially, there was a security flaw in Intel chips. The bugs, known as Meltdown and Spectre, effect everything from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones to Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and its Google Chrome browser. The issue also had an impact on Google Android devices, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows and even the data center services for Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).

For AMD’s part, the company said that there’s a “near zero risk” for its chips as a result of Intel’s security flaw. From an investment standpoint, shares of INTC have been falling while AMD has been rallying on the theory that, going forward, AMD chips will be the more attractive option.

Not a Zero Sum Industry

As much as I want that to be the case for AMD, I don’t know that it will be the end result. Although admittedly, this certainly doesn’t hurt Advanced Micro Devices stock. Patches are being put in place by MSFT, AMZN, GOOGL, AAPL and INTC. Many have already been put into action and the companies say customers remain safe at the moment despite the vulnerability, so long as they update their products. The concern for AMD stock is whether this news justifies a 16% rally in the stock.

Should it not impact INTC’s long-standing relationships or hurt sales, then there won’t be any real impact on AMD’s business. It’s even possible that it will push buyers away from INTC and over to Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) rather than AMD. This isn’t a zero-sum industry, nor is this a zero-sum event.

We’ll see how it turns out.

Coming Soon: A Viable Business

We don’t know how much of an impact this INTC news will have on AMD stock. We don’t know if it will have any impact at all. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t reason to like Advanced Micro Devices stock nevertheless.

Granted, with shares now trading about a dime below $12, AMD was more attractive a month ago near $10. That has been the theme, though. Buy on sharp pullbacks and sell on rallies. Until AMD stock breaks out (more on that in a minute) we have to stick with the trading ranges we have.

But AMD stock is more than just a trading vehicle. For investors who can look beyond the next one to three months, there’s a really viable business here. The company remains well-positioned in key growth markets. Ranging from video games to graphic chips, vehicles and the cloud. While many view Nvidia as the top chip, AMD isn’t a bad alternative.

Besides, business is coming along as well. After years of losses, Advanced Micro is looking to turn a profit in 2017. While analysts forecast just 13 cents per share in earnings for fiscal year 2017, that’s up almost 200% year-over-year. They further expect 177% growth in 2018. Revenue growth of 23% in 2017 is forecast to slow to just 12.3% in 2018.

The positive here is that profitability is expanding much faster than revenue, meaning margins are moving in the right direction. If AMD can turn cash flow positive, I think shares can really start to gain some upside momentum. That should be the case as revenues churn higher and profitability explodes.

It helps that between the three — NVDA, AMD and INTC — Advanced has the lowest sales-based valuation.

Trading AMD Stock

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Click to Enlarge

Since we don’t know the full impact of INTC, AMD stock could have limited upside in the short term. The 200-day moving average near $12.40 is acting as resistance. Should it give way, $13 and above becomes the new target. But given the recent rally and current resistance, investors should be more prudent.

Either wait for a breakout and close over the 200-day moving average or look for a pullback down toward $11. I am hoping for the latter, as I’d like a lower cost basis on a longer-term position.

Bret Kenwell is the manager and author of Future Blue Chips and is on Twitter @BretKenwell. As of this writing, Bret Kenwell did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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Apple Wins Patent for Autonomous Driving Navigation System

In a patent application first filed in 2015, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) described a navigation system for self-driving (autonomous) vehicles that allows the car to find its own way to a destination by monitoring the route and developing a characterization of it. The application was published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

In the application, Apple downplays the effectiveness of map-based navigation a la Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google Maps and its own mapping program saying that the development of such maps requires too much cost and time.

Apple’s proposed system drives the car “independently of any data received from any devices external to the vehicle, and any navigation data stored locally to the vehicle prior to any monitoring of navigation.”

That independence is a result of what Apple calls “virtual route portion characterization” that can be “independent of any overall route” and used by the autonomous navigation system to “autonomously navigate a vehicle along one or more various routes.”

These virtual characterizations can be developed “while the vehicle is navigated through one or more roadway portions” and then subsequently be used to allow the vehicle to autonomously navigate through the characterized portions.

Whether or not Apple ever develops the technology only time will tell. Based as it is on building a virtual image of a route from, say, your home to your children’s school using sensors and processors to build and refine that image every time you (or the car) make the drive, it is significantly different from available navigation systems. So far, though, it’s just a big idea.

The full patent application is available at the PTO website.

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Why Apple Is Pumping About $400 Million Into Finisar

investment adviser

Lululemon Athletica (LULU) is scheduled to release its financial results on March 29 after the market close. And while half of the 36 analysts who Lululemon rate it a Buy or Outperform, that still means another half, well, don’t.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Count Macquarie’s Laurent Vasilescu and team among the latter. In a note today, they offered 10 reasons to be cautious about Lululemon, which they rate Underperform. Here are my excerpts:

Same-store Sales: “We are concerned that store comps are in the low single digits, especially since the store fleet is very young,” Vasilescu warns. Margin Disclosure: “The level of disclosure around the gross margin continues to decrease,” Vasilescu claims. Margin Sapping Businesses: “Mens and ivivva are both growth drivers yet they are
margin dilutive,” Vasilescu explains. Too many stores in the U.S.: “Prior management outlined many times the TAM of 300-350 stores in North America,”Vasilescu writes. “Lulu is reaching saturation.” U.S. Store Profitability: It’s much lower than in Canada, claims Vasilescu. Marketing: Not enough of it, especially compared to Nike (NKE), Adidas (ADDYY), and Under Armour (UAA), Vasilescu says. Not a tech company: On its third-quarter conference call, Lululemon said it was a quasi-tech company. It’s not, says Vasilescu. Competition: Denim. Beyonce. Amazon.com (AMZN). Ouch. High costs: “When comps turn negative we think this will pressure earnings, as we estimate high fixed SG&A costs,” write Vasilescu. Inventories: “Days in inventory remain elevated at 112 vs historical 3Q rate of 90,” warns Vasilescu.

Shares of Lululemon Athletica have gained 0.6% to $64.06 at 2:32 p.m. today, while Nike has fallen 0.9% to $55.86, Adidas has dipped 0.1% to $96.27, Under Armour has risen 0.9% to $19.83, and Amazon.com has ticked up 0.1% to $846.38.

investment adviser: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.(PLKI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc (NASDAQ: PLKI) is estimated to post its quarterly earnings at $0.64 per share on revenue of $85.31 million.

    SpartanNash Co (NASDAQ: SPTN) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.49 per share on revenue of $2.28 billion.

  • [By Ashley Moore]

    Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. (Nasdaq: PLKI) stock is up 19% today (Tuesday) after Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE: QSR), announced it will buy the fast-food chicken company.

  • [By Daniel Miller]

    While chicken and burgers might not sound like a match made in heaven for dinner, it could be tasty for investors inRestaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR). The parent company of Burger King agreed to purchase Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. (NASDAQ:PLKI).

investment adviser: Advance Auto Parts Inc(AAP)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    So here’s a disruptive move. Consider buying auto parts retailer Advance Auto Parts (AAP) , the weakest of the big three in the sector, which has 5,000-plus locations in the U.S. The other two players are O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. (ORLY) , the fastest-growing of the three, and AutoZone, Inc. (AZO) .

  • [By Spencer Israel]

     

    Riot Blockchain Inc (NASDAQ: RIOT) – The Jan. 2015 high of $15.72 is the only resistance it has.
    General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) -The low of the move is a double bottom at $17.46 and  $17.50. That’s support.
    Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ: OSTK) – The February 2005 high was $58.24, which is the only relevant resistance up here. On weakness, keep an eye on the all-time closing high of $56.65 made on Monday.
    Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) – Is trying to fill the gap from earnings between $82.82 and $94.75.
    Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) – It needs to clear Friday’s close of $315.05 and Monday’s high of $315.50 to find support.
    Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) – There was a double close at $27.90 from Friday and $28.27 from Monday, so that’s resistance.
    DSW Inc. (NYSE: DSW) -The premarket low was $18.40. There are also four daily lows at the $18.40 area from early November, and the low of the move is $17.89.
    Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE: SIG) – the premarket low was $61.50, which was the low of the move. There’s daily lows at the $61 area from mid-August, and another pair of lows at $60. Below that, there’s a gap area down to $52.95.
    Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW)- The Friday low was $79.17, and a pair of lows from Wednesday and Thursday at $78.27 and $78.23.
    Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) – The buy zone is between $45-$46. The low of the move was $44.99, flanked by the $45.14 low the following day.
    Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) – $99.93 and a big psychological number at $100.
    Burlington Stores Inc (NYSE: BURL) – The Monday low was $104.55. The all-time high and all-time closing high are $106.55 and $106.89, respectively. 
    Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) – Big triple bottom at $80.

    Watch the full show below!

  • [By ]

    3. Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP)
    A leader in the consumer auto parts space, Advance boasts over 5,200 stores, 100 Worldpac branches, and serves more than 1,300 independently owned CARQUEST branded shops.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Advance Auto Parts (AAP) surged to the top of the S&P 500 today after releasing better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.

    Getty Images

    Shares of Advance Auto Parts gained 15% to $164.33, while the S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 2,180.39.

    Credit Suisse analyst Seth Sigman and team explain why shares of Advance Auto Parts are soaring:

    Advance Auto Parts’ Q3 and strategic update was one of the better scenarios for this stock with better than expected comps, positive commentary on Q4, a roughly in line 2017 outlook, and a new sense of direction on how this new management team will narrow the margin gap with peers. Management guided to a 500 bps long-term margin improvement, which wasnt a surprise to investors, and other specifics were still limited. However, timed with Q3/4′s improvement, this should help instill some early confidence in this team. We are adjusting our 2016 and 2017 EPS modestly, to $7.30 (from $7.23) and to $7.65 (from $7.60) respectively.

    Advance Auto Parts market capitalization rose to $12.1 billion today from $10.7 billion yesterday.

investment adviser: Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Douglas A. McIntyre]

    Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google was one of the first companies to field early experiments in self-driving cars. By late last year, Google’s vehicles had covered over 2 million miles on public roads. Google has spun out its driverless car operation into a company called Waymo. Its management commented:

  • [By Elizabeth Balboa]

    The marketing and sales software platform is also facing competition from the likes of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB).

    “At best, HubSpot is worth SaaS [software as a service] comps,” Left wrote. “We give it the benefit of the doubt and give it take-out valuations… Hubspot is more in line with a content marketing company whose takeout valuations are 2x revenue.”

  • [By Daniel Sparks]

    Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has put its first-quarter earnings release date on the calendar. The internet search giant will report results for its most recently ended quarter on Thursday, April 27. After missing estimates for earnings per share in its most recent quarter, investors will be watching the company’s profitability closely.

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    Are you sensing a little resistance? Cramer and the AAP team look at Apple (AAPL) , Facebook (FB) , Alphabet (GOOGL) , and Schlumberger (SLB) in their weekly roundup. Be ready for the week ahead and find out what they’re telling their investment club members with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.

  • [By Zacks]

    Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
     
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investment adviser: Prudential Financial Inc.(PRU)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    Cramer was bearish on Prudential (PRU) , Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASX) and ZTO Express (ZTO) .

    Read more of Cramer’s comments about the stocks in the Lightning Round.

  • [By WWW.MONEYSHOW.COM]

    Prudential Financial (PRU) is also a major provider of asset management and retirement services. It focuses is on fixed income, a major liability during the past eight years of ultra-low interest rates.

  • [By Chuck Saletta]

    Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) has long had the Rock of Gibraltar as its corporate symbol, representing its solid financial position. With more cash and equivalents than debt on its balance sheet, and a total cash hoard of over $49 billion, Prudential still looks set up to handle some downright awful insurable losses. That’s its “Rock of Gibraltar” strength showing through.

investment adviser: Lexaria Bioscience (LXRP)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Matthew Briar]

    Earlier this month, some light was shed on the so-called marijuana ‘zombie’ outbreak in Brooklyn (and a handful of other places) earlier this year. As it turns out, it wasn’t a zombie outbreak at all… not that anyone really suspected the undead were lurking about. The culprit was drugs, or more specifically, chemicals and compounds that serve as drugs that weren’t meant to be utilized in that manner. In the search for a stronger, more intense high, marijuana fans got far more than they bargained for, and not in good way.

    The matter inadvertently puts an up-and-coming company called Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCMKTS:LXRP) in the spotlight. See, Lexaria Bioscience could have sidestepped the zombie-like response of what’s now clearly been deemed a chemical-laced plant nobody would ever actually choose to smoke if they knew better. How so? Because LXRP could have provided the more intense ‘high’ being sought using its infusion science and real marijuana… not the synthetic marijuana that’s been causing unexpected results like hallucinations, extreme agitation, a rapid heartbeat and extremely high blood pressure. paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks and psychotic episodes. Those aren’t the usual responses to weed. They’re common responses to other, harsher narcotics, and are often wished avoided by recreational marijuana users.

    Say what you want about the moral hazards or dangers of legalized marijuana, but nobody can deny that it’s happening… in the United States, and abroad. In November, marijuana was on the ballot for one reason or another in nine states, and the pro-marijuana movement got the green light in eight of them. Weed is now legal, either for medicinal or recreational use, in more than half the states that make up the U.S.A.

    More relevant to the matter at hand, in step with the ongoing legalization of marijuana, users and sellers have — as they always do– pushed the limits of legality and science to come up with a better expe

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    Don’t be surprised if Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCMKTS:LXRP) shares seem a little peppier and even more bullish than usual for the next three months, give or take… and that’s saying something considering LXRP is 158% since early October, and up 47% since mid-December. Why’s that? The organization has hired a publicity firm to help tell its story to an even bigger audience, and that attention could attract a whole new batch of buyers for the stock.

    Granted, the Lexaria Bioscience story is a compelling one to begin with.

    If 2016 (and 2017 so far) were to be pegged with any major investment “themes,” cannabis would have to be it. Marijuana/hemp — cannabinoids, ultimately — was on the ballot for one reason or another in nine states this past November, and those pro-cannabis measures passed in eight of those votes. As such, cannabis is now legal for at least one reason in 26 states of the United States, and the movement is still gathering momentum.

    And well it should. The recreational aspect of marijuana and cannabinoids aside, hemp (a form of cannabis plant that isn’t the kind of marijuana that provides a “high”) delivers a multitude of health benefits. Specifically, users of hemp oil find the plant-based oil improves immunity, improves cardiovascular health, moderates blood sugar, treats skin conditions, treats arthritis, inhibits osteoporosis, fights some mental disorders, and in some cases has been found to be an anti-cancer agent. Lexaria Bioscience is simply enhancing these benefits of hemp oil by enhancing the amount of hemp oil a human body can absorb when ingested.

    Simply put, Lexaria has developed and patented a proprietary technology that makes valuable molecules taste better and absorb better in the digestive tract. The key to the science is the fact that Lexaria Bioscience is able to combine cannabinoids with lipids — or fatty acids — at the molecular level. It matters, because the human endocannabinoid system is it

  • [By Matthew Briar]

    Last week — to the day, in fact — Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCMKTS:LXRP) announced it was teaming up with neutraceutical company NeutriSci International Inc (CVE:NU) to create a new kind of health supplement that gave consumers the ability to tap into the benefits of hemp. We hailed it as the shape of things to come. What we didn’t know, however, was how quickly those things would take shape. Just this morning the company told LXRP shareholders it was already forging another such symbiotic relationship…. this one with Hempco Food and Fiber Inc (CVE:HEMP).

    Simply put, Lexaria Bioscience is focused on improving the bioavailability of the healthy stuff found in food, supplements, vitamins, and yes, even in cannabis and hemp.

    It’s not widely recognized, but the bulk of the vitamins, anti-oxidants, minerals, amino acids and all the other desirable components of the pills you take and foods you eat don’t actually get absorbed into your body. Sometimes as much as 96% of the ingredient in question isn’t extracted, and instead passes right through. Not only is it a waste of time and money, it’s a bit of a hassle to swallow a big capsule — or several capsules — for little to no benefit.

    Lexaria Bioscience changes this. In short, Lexaria has developed and patented a proprietary technology that makes valuable molecules taste better and absorb better in the digestive tract. This platform could be applied to a variety of nutritional and health-oriented favorites, but Lexaria is starting with hemp as it’s the most underserved market and arguably the biggest growth opportunity. Hemp, and hemp oil to be exact, can provide a lot of various medical benefits like the reduction of nausea, control of seizures, anti-cancer activity, anti-inflammation effects, and more.

    The future for Lexaria Bioscience is partnerships… licensing its science and know-how to companies with existing product lines and distribution networks that can easily inject hemp

  • [By Jim Robertson]

    Small cap Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCQB: LXRP)is a food sciences company focused on the delivery of active compounds that can behave as superfoods through its proprietary infusion technologies.This technology enables higher bioavailability rates for CBD, THC, NSAIDs, Nicotine and other molecules than is possible without lipophilic enhancement technology allowing for lower overall dosing requirements and/or higher effectiveness in active molecule delivery.The Companyhopes to reduce other common, but less healthy ingestion methods such as smoking as it embraces the benefits of public health.

  • [By Jim Robertson]

    In October, small cap food sciences stockLexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCQB: LXRP) was issuedU.S. Patent No. 9,474,725 Cannabinoid Infused Food and Beverage Compositions and Methods of Use Thereof and now the company is seeking to expand this patent internationally. This patent protects Lexaria Bioscience Corps intellectual property related to infusion of cannabinoid compounds in edible products and includes a set of claims that describe the Companys method of combining a fatty acid compound with any non-psychoactive cannabinoid for improved bioavailability and taste performance in both food and beverage formats.

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    Are hemp and marijuana one and the same? It depends who you ask. The federal government accurately recognizes that hemp and marijuana are variants of the same species, Cannabis sativa. Yet, poodles and German shepherds are also from the same species, and the two couldn’t be any more different types of dogs. The same goes for marijuana and hemp. The difference between hemp and marijuana is primarily the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC), which is the primary psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Hemp contains less than 0.5% THC, while marijuana consists of anywhere from 6 % to 20% (and sometimes more) THC.

    The good news is, governments – federal and state – are finally starting to wise up to the distinct differences between marijuana and hemp, and that bodes well for a young startup called Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCMKTS:LXRP).

    Lexaria Bioscience Corp. is “a food biosciences company with a proprietary technology for improved delivery of bioactive compounds. The Company’s lipophilic enhancement technology has been shown to enhance the bioavailability of orally ingested cannabinoids, while also masking taste. This technology promotes healthy ingestion methods, lower overall dosing and higher effectiveness in active molecule delivery. The Company’s technology is patent-protected for cannabidiol (CBD) and all other non-psychoactive cannabinoids, and patent-pending for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), other psychoactive cannabinoids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), nicotine and other molecules.”

    In other words, it solves a problem within the budding (no pun intended) world of cannabis and medical — or even recreational — marijuana. It increases the amount of absorption of a substance ingested.

    The science has applications in everything from vitamins to supplements to painkillers, but LXRP is starting with the hemp oil for good reason.

    Hemp seeds (which are technically a nut and are als

These 7 Self-Driving Car Stocks Are Your Ticket to a $2.2 Trillion Market

Self-driving car stocks are the key to profiting from a market poised to grow a startling 33 times larger over the next dozen years.

A September report by PwC forecasts that revenue – from what it calls the “digital mobility services sector” – will grow from $65 billion today to $2.2 trillion by 2030.

Push to startmoneymorning.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2017/12/start-button-75×54.jpg 75w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” title=”Push to start” />For some perspective, that’s five times as big as today’s smartphone market.

The rush of money into this sector – which includes many areas well outside the traditional auto industry – will present tremendous profit opportunities for driverless car stocks.

And this revolution has already started.

The car you own now probably has some automated driving technology in it, such as corrective steering if you drift out of your lane and automatic emergency braking. Plug-in electric cars represent another piece of the driverless car future.

But that’s just a taste of this sector’s potential.

Free Profit Alerts: Learn all the best ways to profit from this rapidly growing sector. To get real-time alerts sent to your email inbox – totally free – sign uphere.

Take a look at the explosion in the money being invested in the self-driving car sector over the past 18 months…

Billions Are Pouring into Driverless Car Technologies

A study by the Brookings Institution in October found that cumulative global investment in driverless car technologies by automakers, auto suppliers, and tech companies has increased eightfold, to $80 billion, since October of last year.

Innovation is happening in every corner of the self-driving car ecosystem, the study said. “OEMs making car parts and advanced sensors and other guidance systems, microchip manufacturers and software companies creating the computers that process information from these sensors, and finally the automakers and fleet operators that ultimately will be the ones to put autonomous vehicles on the road.”

self-driving-car-stocksmoneymorning.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2017/12/self-driving-car-stocks-75×70.jpg 75w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” title=”self-driving-car-stocks” />This is clearly the start of the broad profit opportunity PwC was talking about. The payoff for the technologies these companies are developing now will show up in their stock prices over the next couple of years.

And Brookings expects the pace of investment in self-driving car technologies “to continue as competitors continue the race toward deployment.”

The opportunity is beyond question. But because it is spread over so many areas, investors have a wide range of self-driving car stocks from which to choose.

Here’s an overview of the leading candidates in each category…

Self-Driving Car Stocks to Buy Now
Two Automakers: The obvious choice here is Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA), which makes electric vehicles that already include the tech needed to make them autonomous. Tesla’s expertise in the batteries that will power most future cars (by 2030, anyway) also makes it a strong play here. The not-so-obvious choice is Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F). Ford has invested $1 billion in driverless car tech this year alone and says it will have an autonomous car on the road by 2021. Ford’s promising vision for the future was also reflected in its $65 million purchase of ride-sharing service Chariot last year.
One Auto Supplier: The top name here may seem unfamiliar – Aptiv Plc. (NYSE: APTV) – but that’s only because it just split off from auto supply giant Delphi Technologies Plc. (NYSE: DLPH) this week. Aptiv is the business that will focus on driverless car technologies. And it’s bound to be a global leader in self-driving car tech thanks to several acquisitions over the past few years, such as software firm Ottomatika and 3D LiDAR-sensing company Quanergy in 2015, as well as auto software company NuTonomy in October.
Two Big Tech Companies: It’s no secret both Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) have been investing heavily in driverless car tech. Alphabet has gotten more publicity, but don’t underestimate Apple’s commitment. These tech titans each depend heavily on other businesses as their cash cows now, but realize autonomous car tech could be a major profit driver in the decade ahead. And you know both companies have vast piles of cash to throw at research and development.
Two Chipmakers: Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) has been aggressive in making partnerships (more than 200 so far) to supply chips that make driverless car tech possible. In October, it debuted Pegasus, a next-generation hardware platform designed to power fully autonomous cars. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) already provides chips for Alphabet’s driverless cars and is seeking a bigger footprint in this sector. In August, Intel bolstered its driverless car capabilities by purchasing Israel-based MobilEye.

The fact is, the technology suppliers figure to be the biggest winners of the autonomous car revolution. As the industry continues to adopt increasingly sophisticated technologies, the sky’s the limit for these suppliers.

While much of this growth will unfold over the next several years, there’s one new technology that could yield an immediate benefit – because having it is about to be required by law.

This Tiny Device Could Make You a Millionaire This Month!

Congress is mandating that 3.36 million Americans secure a powerful technology by Dec. 18. This mad dash is set to create $2 billion in new wealth.

And we’ve determined that only one small company can fulfill this immense and imminent demand.

On Dec. 18, it could announce a 3,982% sales surge “out of the blue.”

Here’s how to get in on the ground floor while there is still time! Full Story

FollowMoney MorningonTwitter,Facebook, andLinkedIn.

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

These 7 Self-Driving Car Stocks Are Your Ticket to a $2.2 Trillion Market

Self-driving car stocks are the key to profiting from a market poised to grow a startling 33 times larger over the next dozen years.

A September report by PwC forecasts that revenue – from what it calls the “digital mobility services sector” – will grow from $65 billion today to $2.2 trillion by 2030.

Push to startmoneymorning.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2017/12/start-button-75×54.jpg 75w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” title=”Push to start” />For some perspective, that’s five times as big as today’s smartphone market.

The rush of money into this sector – which includes many areas well outside the traditional auto industry – will present tremendous profit opportunities for driverless car stocks.

And this revolution has already started.

The car you own now probably has some automated driving technology in it, such as corrective steering if you drift out of your lane and automatic emergency braking. Plug-in electric cars represent another piece of the driverless car future.

But that’s just a taste of this sector’s potential.

Free Profit Alerts: Learn all the best ways to profit from this rapidly growing sector. To get real-time alerts sent to your email inbox – totally free – sign uphere.

Take a look at the explosion in the money being invested in the self-driving car sector over the past 18 months…

Billions Are Pouring into Driverless Car Technologies

A study by the Brookings Institution in October found that cumulative global investment in driverless car technologies by automakers, auto suppliers, and tech companies has increased eightfold, to $80 billion, since October of last year.

Innovation is happening in every corner of the self-driving car ecosystem, the study said. “OEMs making car parts and advanced sensors and other guidance systems, microchip manufacturers and software companies creating the computers that process information from these sensors, and finally the automakers and fleet operators that ultimately will be the ones to put autonomous vehicles on the road.”

self-driving-car-stocksmoneymorning.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2017/12/self-driving-car-stocks-75×70.jpg 75w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” title=”self-driving-car-stocks” />This is clearly the start of the broad profit opportunity PwC was talking about. The payoff for the technologies these companies are developing now will show up in their stock prices over the next couple of years.

And Brookings expects the pace of investment in self-driving car technologies “to continue as competitors continue the race toward deployment.”

The opportunity is beyond question. But because it is spread over so many areas, investors have a wide range of self-driving car stocks from which to choose.

Here’s an overview of the leading candidates in each category…

Self-Driving Car Stocks to Buy Now
Two Automakers: The obvious choice here is Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA), which makes electric vehicles that already include the tech needed to make them autonomous. Tesla’s expertise in the batteries that will power most future cars (by 2030, anyway) also makes it a strong play here. The not-so-obvious choice is Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F). Ford has invested $1 billion in driverless car tech this year alone and says it will have an autonomous car on the road by 2021. Ford’s promising vision for the future was also reflected in its $65 million purchase of ride-sharing service Chariot last year.
One Auto Supplier: The top name here may seem unfamiliar – Aptiv Plc. (NYSE: APTV) – but that’s only because it just split off from auto supply giant Delphi Technologies Plc. (NYSE: DLPH) this week. Aptiv is the business that will focus on driverless car technologies. And it’s bound to be a global leader in self-driving car tech thanks to several acquisitions over the past few years, such as software firm Ottomatika and 3D LiDAR-sensing company Quanergy in 2015, as well as auto software company NuTonomy in October.
Two Big Tech Companies: It’s no secret both Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) have been investing heavily in driverless car tech. Alphabet has gotten more publicity, but don’t underestimate Apple’s commitment. These tech titans each depend heavily on other businesses as their cash cows now, but realize autonomous car tech could be a major profit driver in the decade ahead. And you know both companies have vast piles of cash to throw at research and development.
Two Chipmakers: Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) has been aggressive in making partnerships (more than 200 so far) to supply chips that make driverless car tech possible. In October, it debuted Pegasus, a next-generation hardware platform designed to power fully autonomous cars. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) already provides chips for Alphabet’s driverless cars and is seeking a bigger footprint in this sector. In August, Intel bolstered its driverless car capabilities by purchasing Israel-based MobilEye.

The fact is, the technology suppliers figure to be the biggest winners of the autonomous car revolution. As the industry continues to adopt increasingly sophisticated technologies, the sky’s the limit for these suppliers.

While much of this growth will unfold over the next several years, there’s one new technology that could yield an immediate benefit – because having it is about to be required by law.

This Tiny Device Could Make You a Millionaire This Month!

Congress is mandating that 3.36 million Americans secure a powerful technology by Dec. 18. This mad dash is set to create $2 billion in new wealth.

And we’ve determined that only one small company can fulfill this immense and imminent demand.

On Dec. 18, it could announce a 3,982% sales surge “out of the blue.”

Here’s how to get in on the ground floor while there is still time! Full Story

FollowMoney MorningonTwitter,Facebook, andLinkedIn.

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

Salesforce Stacks Its Deck Beyond CRM

Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) has stacked its deck for growth over the long haul. The company has the financial fundamentals, a growing customer base, and an expanding footprint with existing customers, a passionate invested user community, and the next generation management team needed to propel high growth into the future. Its closest competitors lag far behind. Any dips in its share price present a good time to buy.

Financial Fundamentals

Salesforce exceeded analyst expectations yet again. It ended Q3 with almost $15.9 billion in booked business, on and off the balance sheet. Combined third quarter revenue was $2.68 billion, an increase of 25% year over year. Subscription and support revenues were $2.49 billion, an improvement of 25% year over year. Professional services and other revenues were $194 million, an increase of 20% year over year. Net income was $51.4 million, $0.07 per share. Adjusted EPS at $0.39 beat analyst estimates of $0.37. GAAP diluted earnings per share was $0.07.

Deferred revenue is also growing. As of October 31, 2017, the balance sheet showed $4.39 billion, an increase of 26% year over year and 24% in constant currency.

Revenue that is unbilled and deferred but contracted (not on the balance sheet) ended the third quarter at approximately $11.5 billion, up 34% year over year.

Salesforce is forecasting revenues of 2.8-2.81 billion and an EPS of $0.32-0.33 for the fourth quarter which may disappoint some traders who had forecasted revenues of $2.79 billion and EPS of $0.34. This may be partly why Salesforce share prices have fallen/flattened since Q3 results were announced one week ago. It is also likely that investors are cashing in on big gains.

Newer Cloud and Platform Revenues Growing Quickly

Salesforce which began as a CRM (customer relationship management) cloud solution has grown its business beyond its initial Sales Cloud. It now sells subscriptions and services on several additional clouds, including its Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, and its Platform(aka App Cloud.)

Salesforce subscription revenue breakdown

(Source: Salesforce Q3 press release)

In the Q3 earnings conference call, Salesforce revealed solid revenue growth beyond its flagship Sales Cloud (which grew at 16.8 percent) to its Service Cloud (25.1 percent y/y growth), Platform (33.6 percent y/y growth), and Marketing and Commerce Cloud (40 percent y/y growth.)

More than 70% of Salesforce’s business is with customers who use more than one Salesforce Cloud.

Product Pipeline + Partnerships

Salesforce has leading edge products such as Einstein Analytics (artificial intelligence), Quip (a Salesforce subsidiary with next generation productivity apps), and a slew of add-on products such as its Industry Clouds for Health, Financial Services, and Communities as well as SteelBrick (configure, price, and quote software), Pardot (e-mail marketing), and LiveMessage among others. These are newish and represent $.31 of every dollar Salesforce earns.

Salesforce also announced a partnership with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) in November which has not even begun to bear fruit. Through it, the companies will work together to bring Google Analytics, the same ones it uses for its successful ad business, to Salesforce customers. When integrated into Salesforce’s products, Salesforce customers will have complete views of customer journeys on and offline, something that competitors like Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), SAP (NYSE:SAP), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) aren’t able to provide.

On a call with investors last week, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said that “We’re on a path to exceed $20 billion faster than any enterprise software company in history.”

Salesforce’s Massive Community of Evangelists

Dreamforce, the company’s user conference, drew more than 150,000 Salesforce enthusiasts (called Trailblazers) to San Francisco earlier this month. They engaged not only with Salesforce executives to learn firsthand about the company’s portfolio of products, but they also attended workshops, showed off their certification badges to each other (they don’t mean much at your kids’ soccer game, but they do within user communities), and were inspired by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Natalie Portman, will.i.am, the Bush twins, and former first lady Michelle Obama. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that club? Belonging is important to millennials, and they will soon be making software buying decisions.

This is a generation of buyers who value the recommendations of their peers, they don’t download white papers like older executives did.

Salesforce Expertise Tied to Career Success

salesforce badge collector

Salesforce introduced new learning pathways and programs on Trailhead for its Trailblazers (Salesforce users.) More than 450,000 have signed up to learn how to develop applications on and use the Salesforce platform. This is a group of users that collects badges, certifications, and builds careers as they learn. Not only can they make Salesforce look good in their workplaces, but their livelihoods are invested in the success of Salesforce where they work.

Next Generation of Leaders

Salesforce has identified its next generation of leaders. CEO Benioff promoted entrepreneur and former Google and Facebook executive Brett Taylor to President Product Development. Taylor has brought some highly successful and popular web-based technology products to market, including Google Maps, FriendFeed (sold to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)) and Quip (sold to Salesforce). He also founded the Google I/O, the Google developer program. Benioff also announced that Alex Dayon who came to Salesforce in 2008 to launch Salesforce’s new clouds (Marketing, Service, Commerce and Platform) is now the company’s President and Chief Strategy Officer.

Taylor and Dayon know what the next generation of business leaders want, they have built some of the most widely used software offerings for millennials and are well-positioned to lead Salesforce into the future with products that inspire and empower the digital generation.

Salesforce’s stock is currently trading at $103.70. Full year guidance is $12.45-12.5B. The company told investors that it expects to be at $20-22B for FY22. For anyone who intends to hold it over the long term, it’s a buy.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

About this article:ExpandAuthor payment: $35 + $0.01/page view. Authors of PRO articles receive a minimum guaranteed payment of $150-500.Tagged: Investing Ideas, Long Ideas, Technology, Application SoftwareWant to share your opinion on this article? Add a comment.Disagree with this article? Submit your own.To report a factual error in this article, click here

Tech ETFs And Stocks Tumble: Time To Buy?

The hot and soaring technology sector saw its worst day since Jun 9. The S&P 500 tech sector dropped 2.6% on Nov 29 as a result of sector rotation, especially to financials.

The dual news of Republicans moving closer to passing of the tax-reform legislation and accelerating U.S. economic growth raised the appeal  of financial stocks. Investors flocked to these firms seen benefitting more from a potential reduction in the corporate tax rate. Most of the American tech giants pay lower taxes. According to S&P Global data, tech sector pays an effective tax rate of 18.5% – the third lowest among U.S. large caps (see: all the Technology ETFs here).

Additionally, higher economic growth suggests rising interest rates and inflation, thereby leading to solid bank earnings potential on lending activity.  

Market Impact

The tech rout has pushed Wall Street lower. The Nasdaq Composite Index was hit the hardest. The index declined as much as 2.2% on the day, marking the biggest one-day drop in more than three months. In particular, FAANG stocks, which were the biggest contributors to the tech rally this year, fell the most in 22 months with Netflix NFLX down 5.5%, Facebook FB down 4%, Amazon AMZN down 2.7%, Google parent Alphabet GOOGL down 2.4% and Apple AAPL down 2.1%.

The drop in semiconductor stocks following Morgan Stanley's warning intensified the rout. Notably, Philly Semiconductor Index tumbled 4.4% – the biggest daily percentage slide since Dec 1. NVIDIA NVDA witnessed the biggest three-day sell off in 21 months, sliding 6.8% on Nov 29. This was followed by decline of 8.7% for Micron Technology MU, 8.7% for Lam Research LRCX and 7.7% for Applied Materials AMAT (read: Semiconductor ETFs Recoil on Morgan Stanley Warnings).

In the ETF world, Select Sector SPDR Technology ETF XLK shed 2.2% on the day compared  with a loss of 0.05% for the broad market fund SPY and 1.7% for Nasdaq ETF QQQ. Semiconductor ETFs declined the most with PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors Fund PSI and First Trust Nasdaq Semiconductor ETF FTXL plunging 5.6% and 5.1%, respectively.

New Tech and Media ETF FNG offering exposure similar to investments in high-performing technology and media leaders as characterized by the FANG stocks acronym, shed 4.2% on the day. Other terrible performers were PowerShares Dynamic Software ETF PSJ, First Trust NASDAQ-100-Technology Sector IndexFund QTEC, iShares North American Tech-Software ETF IGV andFirst Trust Technology AlphaDEX Fund FXL. These are down more than 3.5%. PSJ and IGV target software industry while QTEC and FXL offer broad exposure to the tech sector.

Sell-Off: A Solid Buying Opportunity

Notwithstanding the slide, technology sector is still the best performing sector this year and will  maintain the trend heading into the New Year, given expectations of strong earnings, improved overseas industry demand, and innovative technologies.

The emergence of cutting-edge technology such as cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things, wearables, VR headsets, drones, virtual reality devices, and artificial intelligence will continue to fuel growth of the sector. With the global economy gathering strong momentum, technology stocks will continue to outperform and be less susceptible to interest rates or deregulation.

Though the tech titans will benefit less from corporate tax cuts, they hoard huge cash overseas and are poised to benefit the most from Trump's repatriation policy. Further, a pick-up in the economy and better job prospects will provide a solid boost to economically sensitive growth sectors like technology, which typically perform well in a maturing economic cycle (read: 7 Top-Ranked Tech ETFs on Unstoppable Rally).

Moreover, after a brutal decline, most of the tech stocks have become cheap at current levels, offering a nice entry point for investors. As a result, investors could do some bargain hunting on the stocks or ETFs that have become value picks. The ETFs mentioned above have a Zacks Rank # 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy), suggesting outperformance in the coming months.

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