Tag Archives: GOOGL

Top Energy Stocks To Invest In Right Now

1. Iran decision: President Donald Trump will announce his decision on whether to scrap the Iran nuclear deal at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Trump is widely expected to stop waiving sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking sector that were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program. US allies have urged Trump to stick with the deal.

Trump’s decision could have a major impact on energy markets. Oil prices have surged nearly 13% over the past month to their highest level since 2014 on fears of supply disruptions.

“[The] decision on whether to pull out of the deal to limit sanctions on Iran in return for limits to its nuclear program will hang over markets,” said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale.

2. Disney earnings: Disney (DIS) will report its quarterly earnings after the closing bell.

The company is likely to boast about the success of “Black Panther,” which has made more than $688 million domestically. Its “Avengers: Infinity War” and the upcoming Star Wars movie “Solo” are also expected to be huge hits.

Top Energy Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA]

    Up until recently, most streaming players have relied on the remote to enable voice controls, requiring users to speak directly into the remote’s microphone. That kind of changed last fall when Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) subsidiary Google updatedGoogle Assistant to allow it to control Chromecast devices, Google’s competing streaming dongle. Users can speak into a Google Home or other device using Google Assistant (like a smartphone), asking the virtual assistant to turn the TV on, among other tasks.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 results after markets closed Thursday. The search engine behemoth reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $9.70 on revenues of $32.32 billion. In the year-ago quarter Alphabet posted EPS of $9.36 on revenues of $26.06 billion. Analysts were estimating EPS of $9.98 on revenues of $31.87 billion.

  • [By ]

    (1) 57% of companies have beaten earnings estimates and 48% of firms have topped sales estimates so far this reporting season. Investors have chosen to focus on the sustainability of the results rather than eye-popping beats alone. Sicty-five percent of the financial stocks reported beats (namely Goldman Sachs (GS) , JPMorgan & Chase (JPM) , Bank of America (BAC) , Citigroup (C) ), but the median stock trailed the S&P 500 by 21 basis points amid fears about loan growth and trading activity. On the other hand, Netflix (NFLX) posted in-line earnings results but above-consensus subscriber additions, suggesting strong continued organic growth opportunities. Netflix outperformed the market by 812 basis points the day after reporting, leading to a broader rally in FANG stocks (Facebook (FB) , Amazon (AMZN) , Netflix and Alphabet (GOOGL) ).

  • [By ]

    RCN, backed by TPG Capital and Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL)  Google Capital, is an “over builder,” the industry term for a cable operator that enters markets with incumbent cable operators. Unlike Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) and Cox Communications Inc., RCN competes directly against Comcast in some if its footprint.

  • [By Steve Symington]

    As for individual stocks, earnings news left shares of Signet Jewelers (NYSE:SIG) tumbling, while an announcement from Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) sent shockwaves through cryptocurrency markets.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

    Wall Street expects Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) to report quarterly earnings at $0.42 per share on revenue of $5.75 billion before the opening bell. Halliburton shares fell 0.06 percent to $51.93 in after-hours trading.
    Analysts expect Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) to post quarterly earnings at $9.33 per share on revenue of $30.31 billion after the closing bell. Alphabet shares gained 0.24 percent to $1,079.88 in after-hours trading.
    Before the markets open, Lennox International Inc. (NYSE: LII) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $1.09 per share on revenue of $815.16 million. Lennox shares dropped 2.84 percent to close at $197.08 on Friday.
    HNI Corporation (NYSE: HNI) reported retirement of its CEO Stan A. Askren and appointment of Jeffrey D. Lorenger as new CEO. HNI also reported strong earnings for its first quarter. HNI shares fell 3.17 percent to $34.20 in the after-hours trading session.
    Analysts are expecting Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) to have earned $0.35 per share on revenue of $822.15 million in the latest quarter. Hasbro will release earnings before the markets open. Hasbro shares fell 0.39 percent to $82.49 in after-hours trading.

    Find out what's going on in today's market and bring any questions you have to Benzinga's PreMarket Prep.

Top Energy Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Ability Inc.(ABIL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Check out these big penny stock gainers and losers

    Losers
    Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (NASDAQ: TSEM) fell 16.1 percent to $23.10 in pre-market trading after reporting downbeat quarterly results.
    Integrated Media Technology Limited (NASDAQ: IMTE) fell 13 percent to $18.00 in pre-market trading after declining 37.37 percent on Friday.
    Ability Inc. (NASDAQ: ABIL) shares fell 7.1 percent to $2.61 in pre-market trading.
    International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (NYSE: IFF) shares fell 6.4 percent to $133.00 in pre-market trading. International Flavors & Fragrances reported upbeat earnings for its first quarter and agreed to acquire Frutarom for $7.1 billion.
    BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE: BHP) fell 6.8 percent to $45.00 in pre-market trading.
    Sibanye Gold Limited (NYSE: SBGL) fell 6.4 percent to $3.23 in pre-market trading after dropping 2.27 percent on Friday.
    Spark Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCE) fell 5.9 percent to $66.52 in pre-market trading after declining 1.15 percent on Friday.
    DENTSPLY SIRONA Inc. (NASDAQ: XRAY) shares fell 4 percent to $48.00 in pre-market trading. DENTSPLY SIRONA reported Q1 adjusted earnings of $0.45 per share on sales of $956.1 million. The company updated its 2018 adjusted earnings guidance to $2.55 to 2.65 per share

Top Energy Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Southern First Bancshares Inc.(SFST)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Southern First Bancshares (SFST)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019

As the bank earnings flurry rolls on this week, the financials sector should be able to play catch-up and return to being one of the best-performing groups in the market.

This week, we await quarterly earnings from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Bank of America reported better-than-expected results on Monday. Last Friday, J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup reported quarterly earnings, all beating analysts’ earnings per share expectations, but ultimately seeing their respective stocks trade lower on the session.

If the market is to continue its march higher and show positive returns this year, I think the financial stocks will need to step up and become one of the leading sectors ahead.

Financials lag

Consider where the financials are trading right now. The sector is the worst-performing S&P 500 sector in one month’s time; on the year, the group is off nearly 2 percent, under-performing the market. This standing should improve as earnings come in.

Financial stocks and banking should thrive in this environment, given the economy and consumer balance sheets are strong, which altogether should spur loan growth and lending. Interest rates, too, have risen, and this should help banks’ net interest income revenue.

Meanwhile, increased market volatility should also bode well for banks’ trading activity, along with strong merger and acquisition activity. And, of course, regulatory restrictions are easing in the banking industry.

At the same time, headwinds exist. The yield curve has flattened as investors have rushed to Treasurys as a safe haven. I do believe this is temporary, and that the bank stocks’ pullback is a solid buying opportunity.

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: Dermira, Inc.(DERM)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Dermira Inc. (NASDAQ: DERM) traded down about 64% Monday and posted a new 52-week low of $8.95 after closing Friday at $25.16. The stock’s 52-week high is $38.39. Volume was about 40 times the daily average of around 615,000 shares. The company’s trial of a new acne treatment failed to meet the designated endpoints.

  • [By Chris Lange]

    Dermira Inc. (NASDAQ: DERM) watched its shares absolutely collapse early on Monday after the firm reported disappointing results from its late-stage trials in patients with acne vulgaris. Essentially, Dermiras Phase 3 trials of the investigational treatment olumacostat glasaretil (formerly DRM01) did not meet the co-primary endpoints.

  • [By WWW.GURUFOCUS.COM]

    For the details of Novo A’s stock buys and sells, go to http://www.gurufocus.com/StockBuy.php?GuruName=Novo+A

    These are the top 5 holdings of Novo AInogen Inc (INGN) – 3,549,320 shares, 59.83% of the total portfolio. Acceleron Pharma Inc (XLRN) – 1,553,937 shares, 9.34% of the total portfolio. Dermira Inc (DERM) – 1,984,364 shares, 7.81% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 3.27%Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc (CRVS) – 3,244,046 shares, 4.76% of the total portfolio. Akebia Therapeutics Inc (AKBA) – 2,225,000 shares, 4

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT(EARN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Shane Hupp]

    Ellington Residential (NYSE:EARN) major shareholder Holdings L.P. Blackstone III bought 11,909 shares of Ellington Residential stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 14th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $11.26 per share, for a total transaction of $134,095.34. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Large shareholders that own 10% or more of a company’s shares are required to disclose their sales and purchases with the SEC.

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: Targa Resources, Inc.(TRGP)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ethan Ryder]

    Targa Resources (NYSE:TRGP) was downgraded by equities research analysts at ValuEngine from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.

  • [By Max Byerly]

    Reaves W H & Co. Inc. trimmed its holdings in Targa Resources (NYSE:TRGP) by 30.6% in the first quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The institutional investor owned 224,657 shares of the pipeline company’s stock after selling 99,015 shares during the period. Reaves W H & Co. Inc.’s holdings in Targa Resources were worth $9,885,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: FRP Holdings, Inc.(FRPH)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    FRP (NASDAQ:FRPH) was downgraded by equities researchers at BidaskClub from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Saturday.

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: Ellie Mae, Inc.(ELLI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Logan Wallace]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Ellie Mae (ELLI)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

  • [By Matthew Cochrane]

    Another big deal announced by First Data during the conference call was the exclusive right to process payments for the mortgage software platform powered by Ellie Mae (NYSE:ELLI). All future appraisal and application fees collected by Ellie Mae will be facilitated by First Data. Ellie Mae’s software processes more than a third of all mortgage loan applications in the U.S.

  • [By Brian Stoffel]

    We’ll cover each of those below for these five growth stocks.

    Company What it does…
    Mercadolibre(NASDAQ:MELI) Leading e-commerce player in Latin America
    Axon Enterprises(NASDAQ:AAXN) Develops products for police forces: TASERs, body cameras, and a database to store and analyze footage
    Shopify(NYSE:SHOP) Helps merchants create an e-commerce presence
    Ellie Mae(NYSE:ELLI) Offers platform to help streamline mortgage origination and refinancing business
    Paycom Solutions(NYSE:PAYC) Maintains and develops cloud solutions for HR departments

    Chart by author.

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: CSG Systems International Inc.(CSGS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    CSG International (NASDAQ:CSGS) was downgraded by investment analysts at BidaskClub from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report issued on Saturday.

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: Tucows Inc.(TCX)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Anders Bylund]

    Online services veteran Tucows (NASDAQ:TCX) reported first-quarter earnings last night, and the mixed results failed to impress investors. The stock fell as much as 9.4% Thursday morning before bouncing back to a smaller 6% drop.

  • [By Brian Feroldi, Sean Williams, and Maxx Chatsko]

    So, which stocks do we think are capable of delivering gains like that for shareholders who buy today? We asked a team of investors to weigh in, and they pickedSolarEdge Technologies(NASDAQ:SEDG),Proto Labs(NYSE:PRLB), and Tucows (NASDAQ:TCX).

  • [By WWW.GURUFOCUS.COM]

    For the details of INVESTMENTAKTIENGESELLSCHAFT FUER LANGFRISTIGE INVESTOREN TGV’s stock buys and sells, go to http://www.gurufocus.com/StockBuy.php?GuruName=INVESTMENTAKTIENGESELLSCHAFT+FUER+LANGFRISTIGE+INVESTOREN+TGV

    These are the top 5 holdings of INVESTMENTAKTIENGESELLSCHAFT FUER LANGFRISTIGE INVESTOREN TGVBerkshire Hathaway Inc (BRK.A) – 521 shares, 23.36% of the total portfolio. Microsoft Corp (MSFT) – 1,578,000 shares, 20.34% of the total portfolio. Shares reduced by 1%Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) – 86,580 shares, 13.74% of the total portfolio. Tucows Inc (TCX) – 904,292 shares, 9.54% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 1.12%Fastenal Co (FAS

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: Ohr Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(OHRP)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Ohr Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: OHRP) dropped nearly 13% Tuesday to post a new 52-week low of $0.24. Shares closed at $0.27 on Friday and the stock’s 52-week high is $2.18. Volume was around 1 million, about a third of the daily average of about 3.3 million. The company had no specific news Tuesday.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Ohr Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: OHRP) traded down about 3% Wednesday and posted a new 52-week low of $0.31 after closing Tuesday at $0.32. The 52-week high is $2.18. Volume was over 10 million, more than 4 times the daily average of around 2.4 million shares. The company had no specific news.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Ohr Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: OHRP) dropped nearly 83% Friday to post a new 52-week low of $0.35 after closing at $2.02 on Thursday. The stock’s 52-week hig is $2.18. Volume was around 32.6 million, more than 30 times the daily average of around 1.2 million. The company reported that topline data from a clinical study failed to meet its primary endpoint.

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By ]

    He replaces Margaret Georgiadis, who according to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, informed that board that she was resigning. In Mattel’s top spot for less than a year, Georgiadis is returning to the technology field, where she held numerous positions, including at Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)    and Groupon Inc. (GRPN) . Georgiadis will serve in an advisory role at Mattel through May 10.

  • [By Danny Vena]

    Even if those estimates are overly optimistic, they serve to illustrate the massive opportunity created by AI. It also explains recent announcements by Microsoft(NASDAQ:MSFT), Alphabet(NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Apple(NASDAQ:AAPL), that each is placing additional emphasis on the nascent technology.

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA]

    Market researcher Strategy Analyticsis out with its estimates on the smart speaker market for the first quarter, estimating that Apple shipped approximately 600,000 units after HomePod launched in February. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is maintaining its strong grip on the market, although its share did drop quite a bit. But the overall market is simply growing so quickly that the e-commerce giant still doubled unit shipments of Echo devices. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) subsidiary Google continues to make headway as well.

  • [By Danny Vena]

    The early success of the device quickly spawned competition, with Alphabet(NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) releasing the Google Home in late 2016, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) debuting its HomePod earlier this year.

  • [By Leo Sun]

    Oath recently updated its privacy policies toallow the company to scan users’ AOL and Yahoo emails to craft targeted ads like Facebook and Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google. However, Facebook’s practices are now being scrutinized after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and Google stopped scanning Gmail accountslast year.

  • [By Wayne Duggan]

    Here’s a rundown of some major Coinbase announcements crypto traders may have missed:

    Back on Jan. 17, Coinbase acquired the engineering team from Memo.AI. The move was seen as an effort by Coinbase to help the company cope with the technical requirements of the cryptocurrency boom.
    In March, Coinbase announced it hired former LinkedIn head of mergers and acquisitions Emilie Choi to serve as VP of corporate and business development. Up to this point, Coinbase has generated the majority of its growth without major acquisitions, but the addition of Choi to the management team suggests Coinbase could be looking for sources of outside growth in the future.
    On April 8, The Wall Street Journal reported that Coinbase contacted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to inquire about the possibility of becoming a licensed brokerage firm. The move would improve Coinbase’s credibility among traders, many of whom are leery of cryptocurrency investing after a series of cryptocurrency frauds and thefts have cost traders hundreds of millions of dollars.
    Investor safety was the primary driver behind Alphabet, Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) banning all cryptocurrency-related advertisements from their platforms earlier this year.
    Coinbase took a major step in countering cryptocurrency’s risky reputation April 9 when the company announced the hiring of Rachel Horwitz, formerly director of technology communications at Facebook. Horwitz will serve as Coinbase’s first-ever VP of communications and will face the tough task of polishing cryptocurrency’s tarnished reputation as a safe investment.
    On April 13, Coinbase made another sizable acquisition when it announced a buyout of Ethereum wallet Cipher Browser. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Coinbase said it plans to merge many of the features of Cipher’s Web 3 decentralized app browser

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2019: Deckers Outdoor Corporation(DECK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By ]

    That tendency for more of the same is likely to be true for many companies, as well. Among the companies that are likely to continue with business as usual — at least in the short term — is Deckers Outdoor (NYSE: DECK).

  • [By ]

    The great trading opportunity we looked at is in Deckers Outdoor (NYSE: DECK). The stock is on a “buy” signal, according to my award-winning ITV indicator.

  • [By Max Byerly]

    Deckers Outdoor (NYSE: DECK) and Nike (NYSE:NKE) are both consumer discretionary companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, profitability, earnings, dividends, risk and valuation.

Top Gold Stocks To Own For 2018

After taking a hit in the wake of the Trump victory, gold prices and gold stocks have been making a comeback of late, due primarily to the global uncertainty of a successful Trump presidency. In recent days gold prices surged 1.45% , reaching a 5 month high on news of further geopolitical unrest.

While this can mean excess volatility on the world markets, a silver lining (pun intended) is that mining companies are growing in market favor. Taranis Resources Inc. (OTCBB: TNREF) (TSE: TRO.V), a mining and mineral exploration company based in Colorado and Vancouver, BC, is well positioned for growth in the current volatile markets, largely due to its Thor Deposit, an advanced-stage gold-silver-lead-zinc-copper mineral deposit that has near-surface mineralization that can be extracted with a low cost, open pit mine. Recent discoveries in The Thor Deposit, which is 100% owned by Taranis (OTCBB: TNREF) (TSE: TRO.V), indicate that the area could be prime for development into a significantly bigger mine.

Top Gold Stocks To Own For 2018: Petroquest Energy Inc(PQ)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ethan Ryder]

    News headlines about Petroquest Energy (NYSE:PQ) have been trending somewhat positive recently, Accern Sentiment Analysis reports. Accern identifies negative and positive news coverage by reviewing more than 20 million blog and news sources. Accern ranks coverage of publicly-traded companies on a scale of -1 to 1, with scores nearest to one being the most favorable. Petroquest Energy earned a coverage optimism score of 0.05 on Accern’s scale. Accern also gave news stories about the energy company an impact score of 47.638327846877 out of 100, meaning that recent news coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an impact on the company’s share price in the near future.

Top Gold Stocks To Own For 2018: The NASDAQ OMX Group Inc.(NDAQ)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Nasdaq (NDAQ)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

  • [By Lisa Levin] Companies Reporting Before The Bell
    Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $2.4 per share on revenue of $5.63 billion.
    Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.41 per share on revenue of $37.16 billion.
    Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $0.11 per share on revenue of $605.26 million.
    Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.59 per share on revenue of $22.75 billion.
    General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE: GD) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $2.52 per share on revenue of $7.6 billion.
    The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $2.58 per share on revenue of $22.24 billion.
    Anthem, Inc. (NYSE: ANTM) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $4.91 per share on revenue of $22.52 billion.
    Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $0.79 per share on revenue of $3.04 billion.
    Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $3.61 per share on revenue of $6.61 billion.
    Rockwell Automation Inc. (NYSE: ROK) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $1.81 per share on revenue of $1.66 billion.
    Wipro Limited (NYSE: WIT) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $0.07 per share on revenue of $2.15 billion.
    The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NASDAQ: GT) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.46 per share on revenue of $3.82 billion.
    Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $0.97 per share on revenue of $1.62 billion.
    T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROW) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $1.71 per share on revenue of $1.29 billion.
    Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (NYSE: DPS) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $1.04 per share on revenue of $1.57 billion.
    Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SI
  • [By Asit Sharma]

    In its last sequential quarter, Nasdaq Inc.(NASDAQ:NDAQ)relied on non-trading segments for growth as its market-services segment turned in a near flat performance. In the first quarter of 2018, however, healthy trading volumes resumed, and Nasdaq achieved expansion in each of its four operating segments. Before sifting through important highlights for the quarter, let’s briefly review the top-level performance:

Top Gold Stocks To Own For 2018: News Corporation(NWS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    New Media Inv Group (NYSE: NEWM) and News (NASDAQ:NWS) are both consumer staples companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, analyst recommendations, earnings, profitability, valuation, risk and institutional ownership.

Top Gold Stocks To Own For 2018: Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Zacks]

    Out of the February correction lows, the strongest charts were in the Nasdaq 100 (NDX), with stocks like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) leading the charge to new highs.

  • [By Adam Levy]

    Just like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google, Square is building profiles on its users. And the data it’s collecting is extremely valuable: how people use their money. Google and Facebook can only guess at how its users are spending their money; Square has hard data.

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Bridges Investment Counsel Inc. trimmed its position in Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) by 8.1% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 1,709 shares of the information services provider’s stock after selling 150 shares during the quarter. Alphabet accounts for approximately 1.0% of Bridges Investment Counsel Inc.’s portfolio, making the stock its 29th largest holding. Bridges Investment Counsel Inc.’s holdings in Alphabet were worth $1,800,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

  • [By Benzinga News Desk]

    President Trump’s Department of Justice gave its expert witness a second chance on Tuesday to make a convincing case against AT&T’s (NYSE: T) proposed $85 billion buyout of CNN-owner Time Warner (NYSE: TWX): Link

    ECONOMIC DATA
    US MBA mortgage applications w.e. 20 April -0.2% vs +4.9% prior
    The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on petroleum inventories in the U.S. will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET.
    The Treasury is set to auction 5-year notes at 1:00 p.m. ET.
    ANALYST RATINGS
    BMO upgraded Disney (NYSE: DIS) from Underperform to Market Perform
    Stifel upgraded Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) from Hold to Buy
    Jefferies downgraded Fiat Chrysler (NYSE: FCAU) from Buy to Hold
    Stifel downgraded Floor & Decor (NYSE: FND) from Buy to Hold

    This is a tool used by the Benzinga News Desk each trading day — it's a look at everything happening in the market, in five minutes. To get the full version of this note every morning, click here.

Top Gold Stocks To Own For 2018: SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.(SEAS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Max Byerly]

    SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS) and Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN) are both consumer discretionary companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership, earnings, valuation and profitability.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Tuesday saw an up-and-down session on Wall Street, with major benchmarks trading on either side of the unchanged mark before finishing the day flat. Many investors kept most of their attention on Washington, where the White House announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the deal that the previous administration made with Iran concerning nuclear development. The withdrawal was largely expected, and although crude oil and other commodities were volatile leading up to the final decision, most other financial markets seemed prepared for the announcement. Even on a lackluster day, some companies had good news that lifted their shares substantially. Expeditors International of Washington (NASDAQ:EXPD), Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (NYSE:VRX), and SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:SEAS) were among the best performers on the day. Here’s why they did so well.

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA]

    Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:SEAS) have popped today, up by 10% as of 12:20 p.m. EDT, after the company reportedfirst-quarter earnings results. The company enjoyed strong gains in park attendance.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    We now have the quarterly updates for all five of the country’s leading theme park and regional amusement park operators, and it’s safe to say the first three months of 2018 blew out the same three-month period of 2017. Six Flags (NYSE:SIX), Cedar Fair(NYSE:FUN), andSeaWorld Entertainment(NYSE:SEAS)joined the theme park segments of Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) in posting double-digit revenue growth in the latest quarter.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    Investors were ready for SeaWorld Entertainment(NYSE:SEAS)to post its strongest growth in five years on Tuesday morning, and they got a whole lot more. Shares of the marine-life park operator are hitting 11-month highs after the company announced head-turning financial results.

3 Brand-Name Stocks Billionaires Dumped in the First Quarter

It’s that time of the year again, folks: the quarterly release of 13F filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Each and every quarter, money managers with more than $100 million in assets under management are required to disclose their investment holdings within 45 days of the closing of the previous quarter (March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31).

Though the primary purpose of 13F filings, according to the SEC, is to “increase investor confidence in the integrity of the United States securities markets,” the real lure of these filings is that it gives Wall Street and retail investors an inside look at what the brightest minds on Wall Street have been up to during the most recently completed quarter.While 13F filings aren’t perfect — they’re 45 days old, after all, and may not reflect trading activity undertaken since the latest quarter ended — they do provide another piece of the puzzle that helps investors get a good feel for what trends and/or stocks are in and out of favor.

A businessman giving the thumbs-down sign.

Image source: Getty Images.

Three household stocks that fell out of favor in Q1

This past quarter, as with other quarters, billionaire money managers were quite active. In particular, plenty of brand-name companies found themselves to be the object of money managers’ affection. For example, despite Facebook’s late-quarter data scandal, a number of prominent money managers increased their positions in the company. Likewise, in spite of drawing President Trump’s ire, Amazonwas a commonly added stock in the first quarter by big-name money managers.

But not all brand-name companies were welcomed with open arms. A few were shown the door by billionaire money managers. Here are three household tech juggernauts that were on the outside looking in when the quarter ended.

Apple

You might be surprised to see that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), the world’s largest publicly traded company and a stock that the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, has come to fancy, was among the leading household names shown the door in Q1. David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management, which initially bought its first stake in Apple back in the third quarter of 2016, sold its entire position of nearly 4.59 million shares. Meanwhile, Larry Robbins’ Glenview Capital Management sold the entirely of its 1.26 million-share stake in Apple during Q1, which it had also held since the third quarter of 2016. As a whole, according to data from Bloomberg, large institutional investors sold 153 million Apple shares in the first quarter.

A woman holding an Apple iPhone X on the beach.

Image source: Apple.

Why no love for the king of all tech and consumer stocks? Investors’ angst primarily centers around the belief that Apple’s iPhone sales growth can’t possibly continue at the same torrid pace it’s been on for years. Though iPhone revenue jumped a healthy 14% on a year-over-year basis, to $38 billion in Q1 2018, total units sold rose by a mere 3%, to 52.2 million iPhones. The $1,000 price tag of the newly introduced iPhone X certainly helped push sales higher, but the slow crawl of physical-unit sales is a clear concern among Wall Street pundits.

Apple’s saving grace has been its incredible shareholder-return policy, which includes the biggest dividend in the world (in terms of total annual payout), and mammoth share buybacks. In fact, the company repurchased $23.5 billion worth of its own stock last quarter, all on the open market, and its board authorized the repurchase of an additional $100 billion worth of stock. These repurchases reduce the company’s existing share count, aiding earnings-per-share (EPS) growth and (presumably) making the company look more attractive from a valuation basis.

Given that Apple recently raised its dividend by 16% and is valued at only 14 times next year’s EPS, I believe pessimists will be proven wrong over the long run.

IBM

Perhaps a bit less surprising is the lack of love tech stalwart IBM (NYSE:IBM) continues to be shown by the investment community. According to data from WhaleWisdom, institutional money managers dumped more than 20 million shares of IBM in the latest quarter. Sellers of “Big Blue” included Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which dumped all of its remaining 2.05 million shares, as well as Point72 Asset Management’s Steven Cohen, who sold his entire 548,666 share stake in IBM.

Two hands, one holding a pen and the other punching figures into a calculator, hover over an accounting sheet.

Image source: Getty Images.

The issue for IBM continues to be a lack of catalysts. Even though the company has seen its cloud revenue grow steadily on an organic basis and as a percentage of total sales, its late push into cloud computing left it far too reliant on legacy products, which have gone nowhere for years. IBM did recently break a streak that saw its sales decline for 22 consecutive quarters over the prior-year period, but that’s not saying a lot.

As noted, the positive here is that organic cloud revenue is up 20% (on a constant-currency basis), to $17.7 billion over the past 12 months, which provides some momentum moving forward.What IBM really needs, though, is for blockchain technology to take off.

IBM has been investing heavily in currency- and non-currency-based blockchain applications, which have the potential to put it on the leading edge of this technological game changer. IBM Is already testing cross-border payments at a dozen banks in the South Pacific using Stella’s Lumens coin as an intermediary currency, and it formed a joint venture with shipping giant Maersk earlier this year to develop blockchain-based shipping solutions.

Of course, investors also should understand that blockchain still is a nascent technology that has some growing up to do. Translation: IBM’s blockchain division is unlikely to be a major contributor anytime soon.

Personally, I appreciate IBM’s relative value at roughly 10 times next year’s EPS, as well as its 4.4% yield. However, without any top-line growth at the company, I’d suggest adding IBM to your watchlist or waiting for an even more attractive entry point (i.e., a lower share price).

Alphabet

Also finding itself on the short end of the stick is online search and advertising kingpin Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL), the parent of Google and YouTube. Specifically, the company’s class A shares (GOOGL) were completely axed at Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies, where 112,148 shares were sold, and Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital Management, which sold 71,300 shares. As a whole, WhaleWisdom shows money managers dumping about 10 million net shares of Alphabet’s Class A shares in the first quarter.

College students surfing the internet on a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

Whereas the concerns with Apple and IBM are readily apparent, pessimism surrounding Alphabet isn’t as plain as day. Chances are that money managers headed to the exits for two specific reasons.

To begin with, the first quarter featured the first correction in the stock market in two years. Since advertising is dependent on a strong economy, and Google’s search platform is dependent on advertising, there were probably some worries raised about how a potentially slowing economy and volatile market might impact ad spending. The second issue I’d attribute to rising traffic-acquisition costs (TAC) for mobile search, which have the potential to weigh on margins.

However, institutional selling doesn’t make a lot of sense if you dig beyond higher TAC and look at the bigger picture with Alphabet and its assets. Google properties, which includes search and YouTube, saw revenue increase by 59% year over year, to nearly $22 billion. Meanwhile, its cloud businesses, which includes hardware sales, jumped to $4.3 billion in Q1 2018 sales, up from $3.2 billion in the year-ago quarter. A good chunk of this jump was a result of including smart-home thermostat Nest in this segment, but organic growth remains strongly in the double-digit-percentage range.

Trading at approximately 23 times forward earnings, Alphabet might not appear exactly “cheap.” But if you take into account the company’s dominant search and mobile ad market share along with its ability to grow sales at roughly 15% per year through 2021, I believe that sellers will regret jettisoning Alphabet in the first quarter.

Apple's HomePod Makes a Small Dent in Smart Speaker Market During Debut Quarter

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) officially jumped into the smart speaker market in the first quarter with the HomePod, and analysts believe that sales thus far are “underwhelming.” Siri remains less capable than its competing counterparts, HomePod only supports Apple Music for full functionality, and the $350 price tag positions it at a significant premium. With HomePod being included in the company’s catch-all “Other Products” segment, investors aren’t likely to get much official data from Apple anytime soon.

That’s where third-party estimates come in.

HomePod on a shelf

Image source: Apple.

Apple shipped 600,000 HomePods in the first quarter

Market researcher Strategy Analyticsis out with its estimates on the smart speaker market for the first quarter, estimating that Apple shipped approximately 600,000 units after HomePod launched in February. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is maintaining its strong grip on the market, although its share did drop quite a bit. But the overall market is simply growing so quickly that the e-commerce giant still doubled unit shipments of Echo devices. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) subsidiary Google continues to make headway as well.

Vendor

Q1 2017 Units

Q1 2017 Market Share

Q1 2018 Units

Q1 2018 Market Share

Amazon

2 million

81.8%

4 million

43.6%

Google

0.3 million

12.4%

2.4 million

26.5%

Alibaba

0

0%

0.7 million

7.6%

Apple

0

0%

0.6 million

6%

Xiaomi

0

0%

0.2 million

2.4%

Others

0.1 million

5.8%

1.3 million

13.9%

Total

2.4 million

100%

9.2 million

100%

Data source: Strategy Analytics. Figures rounded.

The Chinese market for smart speakers continues to grow, with local vendors like Alibaba and Xiaomi (which is preparingto go public soon) stepping up to meet the demand, according to Strategy Analytics. Amazon, Google, and Apple do not currently ship smart speakers into the Middle Kingdom. On the earnings callearlier this month, CEO Tim Cook noted that HomePod is only available in the U.S., U.K., and Australia right now, with availability in more markets coming soon.

While Apple generally does not place much value in unit share, it’s clear that Amazon and Google are enjoying unit growth thanks to broader portfolios of devices offered at lower price points. That’s why the “HomePod Mini” that Apple is rumored to have in the pipeline has a lot of potential, as it would make the idea of buying multiple devices a more tenable proposition for consumers.

Of course, HomePod was only available for about half of the quarter, so its performance isn’t all that representative quite yet.Let’s see how the Mac maker fares in the quarters ahead.

Is Facebook, Inc. (FB) Stock Cheap Right Now?

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for some time now, but its data scandal might have actually helped investors looking to buy the social media giant’s stock at a more attractive valuation.

Recent Price Movement

Shares of Facebook tumbled from $185 per share in mid-March to $152 near the end of March as speculation about Facebook’s handling of user data reached a fever pitch.

This eventually forced founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of members of Congress on April 10 and 11 to address Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Say what you will about the two days in Washington and if anything was learned, much less changed. But investors clearly didn’t hear anything too scary because Facebook stock has recovered nearly all of its losses since Zuckerberg spoke.

In fact, the stock, which closed at $166 per share on April 11, has surged 10% to finish Tuesday at $184.32 per share.

Facebook stock is still up 23% over the last year, which outpaces the S&P 500’s 15% climb. Going even further back, FB stock has skyrocketed 126% during the last three years, while the index gained just 27%. The company’s climb also looks outstanding compared to the “Internet – Services” industry’s 44% three-year surge.

This industry includes the likes of Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:BIDU), Dropbox Inc (NASDAQ:DBX), and many more.

Valuation

With all that said, Facebook stock has also traded at a discount compared to its industry’s average for a while. Over the last two years, Facebook stock has traded at a median of 28.4X forward 12-months earnings estimates. Meanwhile, the “Internet – Services” industry traded at 35.7X during this period.

Coming into Wednesday, Facebook stock was trading at 22.2X. Over the last year, Facebook stock has traded as high as 31.5X, which it hit in early January. FB also traded as low as 19.9X near the end of March after its stock price plummeted.

For reference, the S&P 500 is currently trading at 16.6X, but most companies in the index lack Facebook’s stellar gains and growth projections.

Is Facebook, Inc. (FB) Stock Cheap Right Now?

Facebook stock is currently trading at a roughly 40% discount to where it stood two years ago. Investors should also note that FB stock is trading at more than a 29% discount to its early January P/E – F12M.

Therefore, it is hardly a stretch to say that Facebook’s current valuation appears to be rather attractive, especially considering its massive growth prospects.

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Growth

Some investors might be worried that Facebook’s top and bottom lines could be adversely impacted by the company’s user data issues, the idea being that advertisers and users will leave the platform. This, however, doesn’t seem to be the case.

Publicis Media—part of one of the world’s biggest advertising groups—CEO Steve King recently told CNBC that he hasn’t seen advertisers pause their use of Facebook.

Meanwhile, Facebook closed the first quarter with 2.20 billion monthly active users, up 13% from the year-ago period. The social media company’s daily active user base also climbed 13% to reach 1.45 billion. This insane user base helped Facebook pull in $11.97 billion in Q1 revenue, which marked a 49% surge.

Looking ahead to the full-year, Facebook revenues are projected to soar by 40.6% to touch $57.14 billion, based on our current Zacks Consensus Estimate. Lastly, Facebook’s adjusted full-year earnings are expected to climb by 24% to reach $7.64 per share.

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Best Medical Stocks To Buy Right Now

Pennsylvania will officially legalize the sale of medical marijuana this spring, in what’s sure to be a huge catalyst for the Quaker State’s economy and the marijuana industry at large.

Pennsylvania will be joining its neighbors – New York, Maryland, West Virginia, and New Jersey – as the latest East Coast state to legalize medical sales.

With a population of nearly 13 million people, it will likely be one of the largest medical marijuana states in the country.

And even though the state’s medical marijuana program isn’t expected to launch for another few months, patients and physicians alike are already gearing up for massive demand.

Best Medical Stocks To Buy Right Now: Computer Task Group, Incorporated(CTG)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    These are some of the headlines that may have effected Accern’s scoring:

    Get Computer Task Group alerts:

    $88.05 Million in Sales Expected for Computer Task Group (CTG) This Quarter (americanbankingnews.com) CTG to Present at B. Riley Institutional Investor Conference on May 23 (finance.yahoo.com) Computer Task Group (CTG) Expected to Announce Earnings of $0.08 Per Share (americanbankingnews.com) ValuEngine Lowers Computer Task Group (CTG) to Hold (americanbankingnews.com)

    A number of brokerages recently commented on CTG. Zacks Investment Research lowered Computer Task Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, March 30th. ValuEngine lowered Computer Task Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 7th. Finally, Barrington Research reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Computer Task Group in a research report on Friday, April 20th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $9.13.

Best Medical Stocks To Buy Right Now: Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By ]

    I think Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM), and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) are great picks for investors in their 60s. Here’s what makes these three stocks stand out.

  • [By Logan Wallace]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Alphabet (GOOGL)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

  • [By Garrett Baldwin]

    Everyone wants to talk about finding the next Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), or Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL). But this can be like finding a needle in a haystack. The truth is… if you want to make real money, you need to do something completely different. You need to purchase boring companies… It’s the same strategy that made Warren Buffett the richest investor in world history. Money Morning Special Situation Analyst Tim Melvin offers a home run stock that offers a chance to begin building real wealth, right now.

  • [By ]

    RCN, backed by TPG Capital and Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL)  Google Capital, is an “over builder,” the industry term for a cable operator that enters markets with incumbent cable operators. Unlike Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) and Cox Communications Inc., RCN competes directly against Comcast in some if its footprint.

  • [By Daniel Sparks]

    It’s earnings season again — and tech giants are readying their latest quarterly releases. This month, in particular, is packed with action, including earnings reports from Alphabet(NASDAQ:GOOGL)(NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook(NASDAQ:FB), andMicrosoft(NASDAQ:MSFT).The three will report earnings on April 23, 25, and 26, respectively.

Best Medical Stocks To Buy Right Now: News Corporation(NWS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    New Media Inv Group (NYSE: NEWM) and News (NASDAQ:NWS) are both consumer staples companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, analyst recommendations, earnings, profitability, valuation, risk and institutional ownership.

Best Medical Stocks To Buy Right Now: RBC Bearings Incorporated(ROLL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Max Byerly]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on RBC Bearings (ROLL)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

  • [By Shane Hupp]

    Shares of RBC Bearings Incorporated (NASDAQ:ROLL) have earned an average rating of “Buy” from the six brokerages that are covering the firm, Marketbeat.com reports. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and three have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 1 year target price among brokerages that have covered the stock in the last year is $140.67.

Best Medical Stocks To Buy Right Now: Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC(FTAI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Logan Wallace]

    These are some of the media stories that may have effected Accern Sentiment’s scoring:

    Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors (FTAI) Lifted to B- at TheStreet (americanbankingnews.com) BidaskClub Upgrades Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors (FTAI) to “Buy” (americanbankingnews.com) Active Mover Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC (NYSE: FTAI) (alphabetastock.com) Services Stock Buzz: Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC (FTAI) (stocksgeeks.com) Contrasting H&E Equipment Services (HEES) & Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors (FTAI) (americanbankingnews.com)

    Shares of FTAI opened at $16.25 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $1,365.03, a PE ratio of 135.42 and a beta of 1.56. Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors has a 12-month low of $14.25 and a 12-month high of $20.13.

Tencent Cloud Can Disrupt Amazon’s Leadership In The Cloud Infrastructure Services Industry

Amazon (AMZN) Web Services is still the runaway leader (33% market share) in global cloud infrastructure services. However, I would like to point out that Alibaba (BABA) Cloud and Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) (OTCPK:TCTZF) Cloud are growing threats to Amazon Web Services [AWS].

(Source: Synergy Research)

Synergy Research pointed out Alibaba Clouds quick rise toward becoming last years no.5 cloud infrastructure service provider. This should inspire the managers of Tencent Cloud to work harder.

The global cloud infrastructure service, which includes IaaS, PaaS, and hosted Private Cloud, generated $15 billion in Q1 2018. This $40 billion/year cloud computing hardware industry is therefore a fertile expansion ground for video games leader Tencent. Taking just 5% market share in cloud infrastructure services can add $2 billion of extra annual revenue for Tencent.

Tencent Cloud, like Alibaba Cloud, can eventually grow to become serious rivals of Microsoft (MSFT) Azure, Google (GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Cloud, and AWS. All of Tencents hit games are online or internet-dependent. Tencent, therefore, has the proven experience of building and managing hyperscalable datacenters/server farms.

Tencent only needs to put up more global-scale datacenters to truly become a mini-version of AWS or Azure. International expansion is Tencent Cloud’s best hope of catching up with Alibaba Cloud.

Sad but true, China is already dominated by Alibaba Cloud with its 47.6% market share. Tencent Cloud is a far-away second in Chinas Public Cloud/IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) industry. Tencent Cloud needs to be more aggressive in its international expansion to offset its weakness in China.

(Source: IDC/China Internet Watch)

Building More Datacenters For A Global Reach

Alibaba Cloud currently has 18 datacenters around the world. Tencent Cloud only has 14 datacenters but the Moscow and Japan datacenters are coming soon. The newest Tencent Cloud datacenters launched only last March are those found in Virginia, USA, Mumbai, and the second datacenter in Hong Kong.

Tencent Cloud now has 42 availability zones globally. Alibaba Cloud has 43 availability zones. AWS has 55 availability zones in 18 geographic regions. Tencent Cloud is clearly rolling out an IaaS/PaaS network that is comparably-sized to Alibaba Clouds global infrastructure.

(Source: Tencent Cloud)

Tencent Cloud will also eventually need to put up datacenters in Latin America and Africa. Those two regions have large and small enterprises that need nearby IaaS/PaaS datacenter service providers. Latin America will account for 4.5% of the global hyperscale datacenter business by year 2020.

(Source: Iron Paper)

How Tencent Cloud Can Boost Its Race Against Alibaba Cloud

Like how AWS grew, affordable pricing is the easiest way for Tencent Cloud to better compete against the leaders of cloud computing infrastructure. Targeting niche services like online games hosting is also a good growth catalyst for Tencent Cloud. Monetizing cloud computing includes hosting the growing video games industry.

Newzoos latest estimate is that the global revenue from video games will reach $137.9 billion this year. This amount is expected to grow to $180.1 billion by year 2021.

(Source: Newzoo)

Game developers and publishers need a cost-effective way to host their online games. SuperData Researchs most recent list of top grossing titles point out that they are all online games. The era of offline single-player games is on a sunset trend. Majority of video games today are now internet-dependent and multi-player/social entertainment.

This fact is why AWS, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, and Google Cloud have dedicated hosting packages for online games. Tencent owns 84% of Supercell but that Finnish company is still a featured customer of AWS for Gaming. It would be nice to see Tencent Cloud hosting all of Supercells mobile games.

Going forward, Tencent Cloud should focus on online games hosting because it has little chances of stealing legacy enterprise compute customers away from AWS or Azure. Online games hosting and games live operations management are the easy cloud service categories that Tencent Cloud can target.

American firms with databases and proprietary software running on Azure or AWS are unlikely to defect to Tencent Cloud or Alibaba Cloud.

Tencents status as the number one games publisher means it has a better credibility to host online games than Alibaba Cloud. Alibabas expertise is hosting online trade, not video games.

Aside from hosting games, Tencent Cloud can also target the customers of Wix.com (WIX) and Shopify (SHOP). I am sure Tencent has brilliant employees who can replicate the business model of Wix and Shopify. Wix and Shopify became famous for offering easy, no-coding website-creation via ready-made templates and integrated e-commerce solutions.

Tencent Clouds webhosting solution is vague. It doesnt list any details over what packages it offers. I assume that Tencent Cloud has yet to finalize how it is going after the website hosting market. For more than a year now, Alibaba Cloud is selling a $0.99/month website hosting plan in addition to its other low-cost packages.

Wix.com has 110 million users. There are now more than 600,000 businesses who use Shopify. Theres obviously a large market for hosting websites and online stores. Tencent can generate thousands of website templates and incorporate e-commerce store management features to put up an alternative platform against Wix.com and Shopify.

Wix and Shopify are popular but they are money-losing ventures that can easily be beaten by lower pricing from Tencent Cloud. For example, Tencent Cloud can pirate many of those 110 million users of Wix.com by offering a cheaper package than Wixs $16.50/month e-commerce plan. The same package for $8.99 from Tencent Cloud will convince many people to defect.

(Source: Wix.com)

A low-pricing approach to building up Tencent Cloud is viable. Tencent only needs to buy affordable server processor and datacenter accelerators. I heard Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has affordable Radeon Instinct datacenter accelerators and cheap EPYC server processors.

Conclusion

I rate TCEHY/TCTZF as a buy. My fearless forecast is that Tencent Cloud can also become a top 5 competitor in the global cloud infrastructure services industry within the next five years. Tencent already has the global scale network of datacenters.

It has the experience of managing/hosting games and social apps that have billions of daily users. Tencent Clouds manager only needs a killer instinct similar to the one that made Amazon Web Services number one.

The ruthless use of affordable pricing can be an effective way to gain customers. Low-ball pricing is also a merciless way to kill smaller rivals like Wix or Shopify.

The dirt-cheap $0.99/month monthly website hosting strategy of Alibaba Cloud is a great example of this predatory low pricing. Tencent Cloud should also be ready to do the same thing if it wants to catch up with Alibaba Cloud.

Disclosure: I am/we are long TCEHY, BABA, AMZN, GOOG, AMD, MSFT.

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.

Editor’s Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major U.S. exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

Top 5 Tech Stocks To Own Right Now

A while back, DigiTimes reported that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM), a major contract chip manufacturer, planned to introduce an enhanced variant of its 16nm manufacturing technology dubbed “12nm.”

On the chipmaker’s most recent earnings call, an analyst asked management about this potential new technology. The company seemingly confirmed its existence, though it’s not clear if the technology will, in fact, be marketed as 12nm.

Let’s look at just what management had to say about the tech, and why it matters to TSMC investors.

The upcoming “12nm” technology looks like TSMC taking an additional step in its efforts to try to maintain technology leadership against competing 14/16-nanometer technologies, particularly as competition in those technologies heats up in the coming years.

Why it matters to TSMC investors

There are few chip manufacturing companies that can bring leading-edge technologies to market. However, over time, the weaker chip manufacturers bring out products that can compete with those the stronger companies debuted several years earlier.

Top 5 Tech Stocks To Own Right Now: Sohu.com Inc.(SOHU)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Daniel Sparks]

    Shares of Chinese internet company Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU) fell as much as 11.8% on Wednesday, following the company’s first-quarter earnings release. The stock is down 8.4% at the time of this writing.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    I’ve been coveringSohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU)for awhile, so when the Chinese internet pioneer announced plans tospin off Sogou, I was more than a little interested. Sogou has been the main growth driver at Sohu for years. With Sohu’s online advertising business meandering and its internet gaming business proving volatile, search has been its crown jewel.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    The market isn’t warming up toSohu.com’s(NASDAQ:SOHU)latest financial report. Its shares are hitting their lowest levels since the summer of 2007 after the Chinese online advertising, search, and gaming specialist posted disappointing first-quarter results on Wednesday morning.

Top 5 Tech Stocks To Own Right Now: Tableau Software, Inc.(DATA)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Logan Wallace]

    Tableau Software (NYSE:DATA) CMO Elissa Fink sold 2,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $93.28, for a total value of $233,200.00. Following the transaction, the chief marketing officer now owns 83,882 shares in the company, valued at $7,824,512.96. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website.

  • [By Max Byerly]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Tableau Software (DATA)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Tableau Software (NYSE:DATA) had its price objective reduced by Wedbush from $104.00 to $100.00 in a research note published on Thursday morning. They currently have an outperform rating on the software company’s stock.

  • [By Max Byerly]

    Tableau Software (NYSE:DATA) had its price objective upped by BMO Capital Markets from $92.00 to $102.00 in a research note published on Thursday morning, Marketbeat.com reports. They currently have an outperform rating on the software company’s stock.

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Tableau Software (NYSE:DATA) Director Elliott H. Jurgensen, Jr. sold 3,000 shares of Tableau Software stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.82, for a total transaction of $275,460.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 4,781 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $438,991.42. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website.

Top 5 Tech Stocks To Own Right Now: Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    As for Google and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), not investing there was a “mistake” Buffett admits.

    Buffett is no fan of cryptocurrencies either. The digital currencies are not “productive” assets which means they are worth only what someone is willing to pay for them. In that regard, his comments are similar to comments he has long made about buying gold and echo the annual letter to shareholders from February where Buffett lamented that Berkshire was sitting on a cash pile of $116 billion:

  • [By JJ Kinahan]

    Next week brings results from many of the largest companies in the tech sector:

    Google-parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) reports after the close Monday, Apr. 23
    Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) reports before market open Wednesday, Apr. 25 and Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) reports after the close the same day
    Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) report after the close Thursday, Apr. 26

    In addition to the tech-heavy week, some of the other companies on the docket are Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT), Boeing Co (NYSE: BA), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM). If you have time, make sure to check out today’s market update for a look at what else is going on.

  • [By Garrett Baldwin]

    Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) plans to join Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) and Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) in banning the advertisement of cryptocurrencies and ICOs, according to Sky News.

  • [By ]

    Alphabet’s (GOOGL) developer conference on Tuesday afternoon was largely embraced by Wall Street. Points out Jefferies analyst Brent Thill: “We continue to view Google’s commitment to AI as a significant competitive advantage.” Thill is one of the few tech analysts I listen to, along with Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster. Alphabet is a holding in Action Alerts PLUS.

Top 5 Tech Stocks To Own Right Now: SPX FLOW, Inc.(FLOW)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    FLOW stock traded up $0.73 on Wednesday, hitting $49.98. The company had a trading volume of 169,639 shares, compared to its average volume of 297,149. Flow International has a 12-month low of $31.10 and a 12-month high of $54.92.

    ILLEGAL ACTIVITY NOTICE: “$478.00 Million in Sales Expected for Flow International Corp (FLOW) This Quarter” was reported by Ticker Report and is owned by of Ticker Report. If you are reading this article on another website, it was illegally copied and republished in violation of international copyright and trademark laws. The original version of this article can be viewed at https://www.tickerreport.com/banking-finance/3362833/478-00-million-in-sales-expected-for-flow-international-corp-flow-this-quarter-2.html.

    About Flow International

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Spx Flow (FLOW)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Top 5 Tech Stocks To Own Right Now: NetSol Technologies Inc.(NTWK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin] Gainers
    Precipio, Inc. (NASDAQ: PRPO) jumped 43.3 percent to $0.5447 after the micro-cap specialty diagnostics company reported preliminary first-quarter results. The company said its first quarter revenue rose 286 percent from the same quarter a year ago to $712,000.
    Galectin Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: GALT) gained 34.5 percent to $4.52 after the company announced it would proceed with Phase 3 development of GR-MD-02 for NASH Cirrhosis following the FDA meeting.
    Boxlight Corporation (NASDAQ: BOXL) shares rose 21.9 percent to $8.1063.
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    NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) rose 9.7 percent to $108.60 after Bloomberg reported that the China’s Commerce Ministry has restar

Fitbit Moves One Step Closer to Becoming a Legit Heathcare Player

As Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) transitions from being a maker of fitness trackers to a developer of smartwatches, efforts toward becoming a leading digital health provider will become more important for the device maker.

The launch of the Versa smartwatch was the most successful product launch in Fitbit’s history. So great were sales of the device that smartwatches are expected to become the primary source of revenue for the device maker in the second half of the year.

Yet part of that acceleration comes from the dramatic decline in fitness tracker sales, which it anticipates will plunge 19% in the second quarter. While smartwatch revenues nearly doubled to represent 30% of total sales, it wasn’t nearly enough to offset the drop-off in tracker revenue, as total sales still fell 17% to $247.8 million.

The question is whether smartwatches can grow enough to more than make up for the loss of tracker revenue because Fitbit’s goals for its digital healthcare initiatives virtually require that to happen.

Stethoscope on smartphone on top of a laptop

Fitbit’s bid to break into healthcare could give it recurring revenue streams. Image source: Getty Images.

Taking the pulse of healthcare

Earlier this year, Fitbit acquired Twine Health, a small, HIPAA-compliant healthcare coaching start-up that provides health-related coaching for employees in corporate wellness programs. It connects them to coaches and doctors who craft plans to assist in establishing healthier lifestyles.

Managing the health of patients while they’re away from a clinic or hospital has proved challenging for providers, as patients can develop more serious health issues if they fail to manage existing conditions like diabetes or hypertension. The Twine acquisition envisions a time when a hospital or clinic could run its software platform or integrate its technology with other vendors in the industry.

And to do that, Fitbit just announced an important partnership with Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Cloud Healthcare API. It’s also HIPAA-compliant and gives the device maker a place where it can store data to connect with the electronic medical records systems used by health providers — and do so at scale.

Google is planning for when doctors and clinicians can instantaneously and securely collaborate on your healthcare issues. Its Cloud Healthcare API attempts to do that by providing the infrastructure that will leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to hopefully improve patient outcomes.

By partnering with Google, Fitbit legitimizes its healthcare ambitions and lets it scale up quickly while integrating the system with its smartwatches. Fitbit is also moving over to Google’s cloud platform, which it says will provide it with both cloud services and engineering resources that will free up capacity that it will be able to redeploy to healthcare.

A platform to fight from

Left unsaid was that it will also be better able to compete against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which itself has announced an increased focus on healthcare. While there were rumors that the latest iteration of the Apple Watch would be poor, Apple recorded its best quarter ever and said its wearables segment saw revenue surge by nearly 50% from last year.

In contrast, Fitbit’s sales are struggling, thoughFitbit reiterated its belief that total revenues will come in at around $1.5 billion, which would be a 7% decline from 2017. That suggests they anticipate that falling tracker demand will eventually level off while smartwatch sales will continue to grow.

Coupled with its Twine acquisition, the partnership with Google, and its women’s healthcare initiative, Fitbit is setting itself up to be a relevant player in the market that will generate recurring streams of revenue beyond device sales. While there remain questions about whether healthcare providers will take up Fitbit’s software, and just how much consumers will trust their most personal information to the cloud — regardless of assurances of security — this is where the company begins to be a legitimate component of the healthcare system.

3 Ways AI Could Totally Change Healthcare

Most of the time, artificial intelligence (AI) is discussed with respect to how it will make our technology devices better, how it’ll usher in driverless cars, or even how dangerous it could be for warfare. But AI capabilities could also drastically improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare.

Algorithms, image recognition technology, natural-language processing, and other AI technologies could end up making our healthcare cheaper, speed up the time it takes to develop new drugs, and even help diagnose diseases in collaboration with doctors. Here’s how.

A brain morphing into digital blocks

Image source: Getty Images.

Faster drug discovery

It takes pharmaceutical companies an average of 10 to 15 years to discover and develop a new drug. Some companies, including International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), believe that AI can drastically reduce the time to find new drugs by sifting through vast amounts of genetic and clinical data.

IBM says that its Watson for Drug Discovery uses natural-language processing to “read millions of pages” and comprehend contextual meaning in the research.

In one recent instance, the Barrow Neurological Institute used Watson for Drug Discovery to find unidentified genes and proteins that may be linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Within a few months, Watson discovered five RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that had never before been associated with ALS.

“Overall, we successfully used IBM Watson to help identify additional RBPs altered in ALS, highlighting the use of artificial intelligence tools to accelerate scientific discovery in ALS and possibly other complex neurological disorders,” researchers at Barrow noted in a paper recently published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica.

Some drugmakers are already betting on this type of AI. Last year, GlaxoSmithKline said the time it takes to target a disease and then find a molecule to fight it could be reduced from five and a half years to just one year. The company told Reuters that not only will AI help reduce the time it takes to develop drugs, but it could also reduce their costs.

Assisting with diagnoses

A team of pathologists at Harvard recently created an AI system to help them more precisely diagnose breast cancer. The AI technique helped the doctors increase their accuracy from 96% to 99.5%. That slight percentage increase is notable, because it means an additional 68,000 to 130,000 women will receive more accurate diagnoses each year.

Similarly, IBM’s Watson for Genomics has been tested by oncologists at the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Watson for Genomics looked at 1,018 patient cases and agreed with the physicians’ conclusions more than 99% of the time, but in more than 300 instances Watson found additional genomic events of potential significance.

“Molecular tumor boards empowered by cognitive computing could potentially improve patient care by providing a rapid, comprehensive approach for data analysis and consideration of up-to-date availability of clinical trials,” the researchers said last year in a published paper in The Oncologist.

Reducing healthcare costs

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the U.S. spends about 18% of its GDP on healthcare expenses, a disproportionate amount relative to its wealth. In fact, other wealthy countries spend about half as much per person on healthcare, on average, as the U.S. does.

But AI could help with these costs. Artificial intelligence can be used for administrative tasks like voice-to-text transcription, which could help healthcare companies and hospitals eliminate or reduce the need to write chart notes, prescriptions, and order tests, according to Accenture.

For example, DeepMind, an AI company owned by Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google, partnered last year with the U.K.’s National Health Service to use AI algorithms to read medical scans. DeepMind isn’t making decisions on patient care from the scans just yet, but as the AI continues to learn from the scans, it could be used in the future to make recommendations for doctors, which would free up countless hours for healthcare professionals.

New workflow-assistant capabilities like this could reduce work time by 17% for doctors and 51% for registered nurses, according to Accenture’s research. By making the overall healthcare industry more efficient, artificial intelligence applications could create $150 billion in annual healthcare savings in the U.S. by 2026.

Play the long game on this one

I don’t know of any tech stocks at this point that are pure plays in the AI healthcare space. Instead, investors should keep an eye on how IBM, Alphabet, and other major tech players are using artificial intelligence to change the healthcare industry.

The size and scope of the healthcare market, both in the U.S. and abroad, means there are lots of opportunities for companies to benefit. But investors should remember that this market is only beginning to grow, and IBM, Google, and others likely won’t break out their healthcare sales for quite some time. Instead of investing in these companies solely based on what they’re doing in the healthcare industry, make a note of how well they’re expanding into new AI markets.

4 Signs Google Wants to Bury GoPro

Three years ago, Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google partnered with GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) to bring VR videos toYouTube via a platform called Jump. Filmmakers would use the platform to deliver videos from Odyssey, a 16-camera rig co-developed by Google and GoPro, to YouTube.

Many GoPro investors saw the partnership as a catalyst for the company. But GoPro didn’t start shipping the Odyssey until a yearlater, and its $15,000 price tag ensured that it would remain a niche device. It then launched a “cheaper” alternative, thesix-camera Omni, for $5,000.

A GoPro camera.

Image source: GoPro.

Over time, GoPro started to talk less about its partnership with Google. Meanwhile, Google made several moves to compete against GoPro and aid its competitors. Here are four clear signs that Google wants consumers to forget about GoPro.

1. Partnering with Yi Technologies

Xiaomi-backed Yi Technologies produces action cameras that sport specs identical to those of GoPro’s cameras at much lower prices. That’s why Google, likely realizing GoPro’s $15,000 price tag on the Odyssey was too high, brought Yi onboard theJump platform in late 2016.

Yi’s 16-camera rig was about $2,000 cheaper than the Odyssey. At the time, that made it the cheapest high-end VR filmmaking rig on the market. Last April, Google and Yi revealed the Halo, a 17-camera rig for shooting 8K VR videos on the Jump platform, for $17,000. Yet Google didn’t work with GoPro to launch a second-generation Odyssey.

2. Opening up YouTube VR to GoPro’s rivals

GoPro had a first mover’s advantage in the VR space, but many companies realized they needed to launch much cheaper stand-alone cameras to gain mainstream users.

Standalone 360-degree cameras like Ricoh’s Theta, Samsung’s Gear 360, Garmin’s Virb 360, Insta360’s One, and Yi’s 360 VR all addressed that demand, and Google opened up YouTube VR to those device makers. GoPro arrived much later to the party with the Fusion in late 2017.

Google’s embrace of rival VR devices notably pushed GoPro to launch its own VR channel and app, GoPro VR, but the move merely isolated its users from YouTube’s much larger user base.

3. Launching the Clips Camera

Last October, Google launched Clips, a wearable camera that constantly captures content without any user interactions. The camera, which can be clipped to clothes, held, or set down, uses Google’s AI to recognize faces that matter to you, and automatically starts capturing pictures and short videos.

Google's Clips camera.

Google’s Clips camera. Image source: Google.

At the time, the $249 device seemed like a potential rival to GoPro’s cameras. However, Clips videos lacked audio and only captured brief seven-second “clips”. Luckily for GoPro, those bite-sized videos didn’t appeal to its core users.

4. Co-developing Lenovo’s Mirage camera

In early May, Google and Lenovo (NASDAQOTH:LNVGY) revealed theMirage camera, a $300 point-and-click camera for capturing 180-degree VR photos and videos. Its VR180 format directly integrates with Google Photos and YouTube. It also allows users to live stream content to a VR headset.

Lenovo's Mirage camera.

Lenovo’s Mirage camera. Image source: Lenovo.

Therefore, the Mirage looks like a compelling alternative to GoPro’s Fusion, which has a 360-degree field of view but costs $700. Google and Lenovo are also promoting the Mirage camera as a companion device for its new Mirage Solo stand-alone VR headset.

Should GoPro worry about Google?

GoPro investors shouldn’t worry about Google becoming its biggest direct competitor anytime soon. Other rival camera makers, like Samsung and Garmin, and better smartphone cameras pose bigger threats.

Nonetheless, Google’s moves strongly suggest that it doesn’t think GoPro has a bright future. Neither do analysts or investors: Wall Street expects GoPro’s revenue to slide 9% thisyear, and the stock tumbled 35% over the past 12 months.

Fitbit Moves One Step Closer to Becoming a Legit Heathcare Player

As Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) transitions from being a maker of fitness trackers to a developer of smartwatches, efforts toward becoming a leading digital health provider will become more important for the device maker.

The launch of the Versa smartwatch was the most successful product launch in Fitbit’s history. So great were sales of the device that smartwatches are expected to become the primary source of revenue for the device maker in the second half of the year.

Yet part of that acceleration comes from the dramatic decline in fitness tracker sales, which it anticipates will plunge 19% in the second quarter. While smartwatch revenues nearly doubled to represent 30% of total sales, it wasn’t nearly enough to offset the drop-off in tracker revenue, as total sales still fell 17% to $247.8 million.

The question is whether smartwatches can grow enough to more than make up for the loss of tracker revenue because Fitbit’s goals for its digital healthcare initiatives virtually require that to happen.

Stethoscope on smartphone on top of a laptop

Fitbit’s bid to break into healthcare could give it recurring revenue streams. Image source: Getty Images.

Taking the pulse of healthcare

Earlier this year, Fitbit acquired Twine Health, a small, HIPAA-compliant healthcare coaching start-up that provides health-related coaching for employees in corporate wellness programs. It connects them to coaches and doctors who craft plans to assist in establishing healthier lifestyles.

Managing the health of patients while they’re away from a clinic or hospital has proved challenging for providers, as patients can develop more serious health issues if they fail to manage existing conditions like diabetes or hypertension. The Twine acquisition envisions a time when a hospital or clinic could run its software platform or integrate its technology with other vendors in the industry.

And to do that, Fitbit just announced an important partnership with Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Cloud Healthcare API. It’s also HIPAA-compliant and gives the device maker a place where it can store data to connect with the electronic medical records systems used by health providers — and do so at scale.

Google is planning for when doctors and clinicians can instantaneously and securely collaborate on your healthcare issues. Its Cloud Healthcare API attempts to do that by providing the infrastructure that will leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to hopefully improve patient outcomes.

By partnering with Google, Fitbit legitimizes its healthcare ambitions and lets it scale up quickly while integrating the system with its smartwatches. Fitbit is also moving over to Google’s cloud platform, which it says will provide it with both cloud services and engineering resources that will free up capacity that it will be able to redeploy to healthcare.

A platform to fight from

Left unsaid was that it will also be better able to compete against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which itself has announced an increased focus on healthcare. While there were rumors that the latest iteration of the Apple Watch would be poor, Apple recorded its best quarter ever and said its wearables segment saw revenue surge by nearly 50% from last year.

In contrast, Fitbit’s sales are struggling, thoughFitbit reiterated its belief that total revenues will come in at around $1.5 billion, which would be a 7% decline from 2017. That suggests they anticipate that falling tracker demand will eventually level off while smartwatch sales will continue to grow.

Coupled with its Twine acquisition, the partnership with Google, and its women’s healthcare initiative, Fitbit is setting itself up to be a relevant player in the market that will generate recurring streams of revenue beyond device sales. While there remain questions about whether healthcare providers will take up Fitbit’s software, and just how much consumers will trust their most personal information to the cloud — regardless of assurances of security — this is where the company begins to be a legitimate component of the healthcare system.

Google’s Moat And How To Cross It

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’ve used an Alphabet (GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) product today.

Maybe you’re reading it on an Android phone or tablet, maybe you received a notification through your Gmail account, or maybe it came up through a Google search.

Before reading this, you may have watched a YouTube video, checked the weather with a quick search, or got directions through Google Maps. Planning a trip? Google flights may have given you the chance to compare prices across multiple airlines in a split-second. The list goes on.

Alphabet’s portfolio of products is absolutely pervasive, which combined with strong management gives the company the ability to print money, as many other businesses cannot survive without the use of Google’s suite of internet services. Only the most well-run businesses with powerful ecosystems of their own can survive in an online world without the help of Google.

Google Search Engine: An Online Real Estate Company

Image result for stop trying to make bing happen

Alphabet owns the number one and number two most visited websites in the world: google.com and youtube.com, respectively. The former is an absolute juggernaut, through which the lion’s share of internet searches are made:

Source: Net Market Share

This dominance gives Google incredible pricing power. Year after year, firms from the Fortune 500 list all the way down to mom-and-pop businesses spend huge amounts of money on valuable “real estate” at Google’s properties through the AdWords program and aggregation services like Google Flights and Google Shopping.

Because Google is far-and-away the number one search engine for consumers, advertisers are willing to pay a premium for Google’s real estate compared to that of search engines like Bing. Additionally, the revenue received from advertisers requires practically no cash outlay. There is demand and competition for the limited real estate at the top of the search results for any given word or for inclusion in Google’s aggregation services to give firms the chance to compete on price and convenience.

Google Flights and Southwest Airlines

This pricing power creates an incredible headwind for businesses that wish to avoid the fees Google charges to appear in its search engine. Most businesses simply choose to play along and pay for the valuable traffic that Google can bring. For example, most airlines participate in Google Flights, a service that aggregates airline prices if a Google user searches for a particular route.

But Southwest Airlines (LUV) doesn’t play along: any traveler who frequents Southwest likely is aware that the company’s flights do not appear on third-party aggregators like Google Flights.

By choosing to forgo payments to Google Flights, Southwest is missing out on a huge stream of entrants to this valuable ecosystem. Any time a potential customer who is outside of this ecosystem searches for a flight on Google, they will not see any of Southwest’s offerings on Google Flights and will likely choose an offering from another competitor, even if Southwest has the cheaper offering.

Of course, Southwest has managed to make this arrangement work due to the stickiness of its revenue – once a customer has flown with Southwest, they are aware of the added value of the airline and will take the extra time to go through Southwest’s website to book travel.

Southwest is notorious for its high customer satisfaction, winning countless awards including TripAdvisor’s 2018 Traveler’s Choice for best North American Airline. Fair pricing, lenient rescheduling, free checked baggage, friendly flight attendants and pilots, a generous rewards program- all of these perks create an ecosystem that attracts lifelong customers. Therefore, each customer acquired by Southwest who is satisfied with the service is increasingly likely to become part of the Southwest ecosystem, choosing Southwest for flights, airline rewards points, and Southwest-branded credit cards. This is indicative of a strong business worthy of investment, and Southwest has delivered for its shareholders:

Chart
LUV data by YCharts Google Shopping and Amazon.com

In addition to pricing power, Google’s search engine also gives Alphabet huge power over its direct competitors.

Take Amazon (AMZN), for example. Amazon and Alphabet are competitors on many fronts. They are both in the business of gathering and analyzing data to optimize the customer experience. They both have a suite of cloud products for businesses who wish to outsource their computing infrastructure.

Additionally, both are pushing aggressively into the smart home space. Amazon has a suite of products including the Alexa smart speaker and smart locks for safe package delivery, while Alphabet has the Google Home smart speaker and recently acquired Nest, which sells products like smart thermostats and security cameras.

Both businesses also have a capital allocation strategy of spending cash on novel ideas with huge potential upside, rather than paying cash out as a dividend or buying back material amounts of stock. This puts them in direct competition for potential new businesses like drones, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, etc.

Therefore, it follows that the two companies do not collaborate much. From my perspective, the search engine’s dominant market position creates an incredible headwind for Amazon’s retail operations both domestically and internationally. Google Shopping, similar to Google Flights, is a third-party aggregator that compares prices for items across various retailers’ websites. But a quick search for any item on Google reveals an interesting phenomenon: not a single Amazon result shows up in the search results:

With Amazon having a large portion of e-commerce sales, one would expect to see a result from Amazon in the top hits from Google. But due to the direct competitive nature of the two enterprises and their inability to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, Google omits any Amazon links from the search results.

I would argue that this is an absolutely huge headwind for Amazon just like it is for Southwest. While Amazon saves on the cost of acquiring an additional customer, they are missing out on an incredible opportunity to take advantage of the billions of Google searches that could drive customers into the Amazon ecosystem.

Much like Southwest, Amazon has a valuable ecosystem that is customer-focused and creates a sticky stream of revenue, with Amazon Prime members spending about two times as much as non-members. Prime members get all kinds of perks including free expedited shipping, access to exclusive offers on Prime Day, a video streaming service, and much more.

When a potential customer searches for an item on Google and finds it, Amazon has no chance to demonstrate the value of its ecosystem. This loss of potential customers becomes increasingly likely as players like Walmart (WMT) are buffing up their e-commerce offerings, offering free 2-day shipping on orders over $35, something that was once exclusive to Amazon Prime.

Still, despite this huge headwind, Amazon has managed to grow its revenues and provide massive returns for its shareholders:

Chart
AMZN data by YCharts Alphabet’s Valuation

For measuring valuation, I prefer to look at EV/EBIT, as it is a metric that is capital structure neutral. It also takes into account a company’s cash on hand and does not favor companies who produce earnings through leverage, as traditional P/E ratios tend to do. Looking at EV/EBIT for Alphabet compared to other high-flying, fast-growing internet companies, Alphabet looks attractively valued.

Chart

NFLX EV to EBIT

(TTM) data by YCharts

While an EV/EBIT of 21 is certainly not deep value, it is a reasonable price to pay for a high-quality business. Alphabet has an absolutely rock-solid balance sheet, with enough cash to pay off all long-term liabilities five times over.

Source: Alphabet 2017 Annual Report

Additionally, Google has been growing its advertising revenues at a compound rate even as it faces pricing headwinds in its advertising business. While cost per click has been modestly decreasing over time, the decrease in pricing has been more than offset by increases in paid clicks on Google properties.

Source: Alphabet 2017 Annual Report

And the company is absolutely printing money through its operations:

Source: Alphabet 2017 Annual Report

Another potential bright spot is that Alphabet earns plenty of money through its legacy advertising business as opposed to its emerging cloud business or Other Bets. If new business ventures don’t pan out as expected, the company still has a margin of safety and therefore, less potential downside.

Compare this to Amazon, which generates substantially all of its earnings from Amazon Web Services to effectively subsidize its legacy retail business. If competition in the cloud computing space were to heat up to the point that cloud computing becomes a commodity, firms would compete on price and earnings would likely fall among cloud computing segments. If the cloud business tightens and profits fizzle out, Alphabet would still produce massive earnings, as its stream of earnings is not levered to its cloud computing revenues.

While Alphabet currently trades at a reasonable valuation compared to its present earnings power, it has additional potential upside due to its investments in self-driving (Waymo), smart home (Google Home and Nest) and countless as-of-yet undiscovered businesses that could turn into multi-billion-dollar segments.

Conclusion

Google’s moat is one of the most powerful in existence. The parent company trades at a reasonable valuation with a huge margin of safety and has potential for massive upside with its Other Bets segment. As more and more of the world moves online, the secular headwinds appear to favor Alphabet, making it appear to be a compelling investment today.

For a firm to overcome Google’s internet dominance, it must be able to create a customer-centered ecosystem like Southwest Airlines and Amazon have been able to do. Both of these companies are surviving and thriving without the use of Google’s products which are otherwise standard in their respective industries.

Companies who are fighting tooth-and-nail for high-quality real estate on Google properties and feel like they are overpaying should look at the examples set by these two firms, who were able to grow their businesses and provide outsized returns for shareholders without the help of Google’s aggregation services.

Disclosure: I am/we are long LUV, AMZN.

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.

Google’s Moat And How To Cross It

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’ve used an Alphabet (GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) product today.

Maybe you’re reading it on an Android phone or tablet, maybe you received a notification through your Gmail account, or maybe it came up through a Google search.

Before reading this, you may have watched a YouTube video, checked the weather with a quick search, or got directions through Google Maps. Planning a trip? Google flights may have given you the chance to compare prices across multiple airlines in a split-second. The list goes on.

Alphabet’s portfolio of products is absolutely pervasive, which combined with strong management gives the company the ability to print money, as many other businesses cannot survive without the use of Google’s suite of internet services. Only the most well-run businesses with powerful ecosystems of their own can survive in an online world without the help of Google.

Google Search Engine: An Online Real Estate Company

Image result for stop trying to make bing happen

Alphabet owns the number one and number two most visited websites in the world: google.com and youtube.com, respectively. The former is an absolute juggernaut, through which the lion’s share of internet searches are made:

Source: Net Market Share

This dominance gives Google incredible pricing power. Year after year, firms from the Fortune 500 list all the way down to mom-and-pop businesses spend huge amounts of money on valuable “real estate” at Google’s properties through the AdWords program and aggregation services like Google Flights and Google Shopping.

Because Google is far-and-away the number one search engine for consumers, advertisers are willing to pay a premium for Google’s real estate compared to that of search engines like Bing. Additionally, the revenue received from advertisers requires practically no cash outlay. There is demand and competition for the limited real estate at the top of the search results for any given word or for inclusion in Google’s aggregation services to give firms the chance to compete on price and convenience.

Google Flights and Southwest Airlines

This pricing power creates an incredible headwind for businesses that wish to avoid the fees Google charges to appear in its search engine. Most businesses simply choose to play along and pay for the valuable traffic that Google can bring. For example, most airlines participate in Google Flights, a service that aggregates airline prices if a Google user searches for a particular route.

But Southwest Airlines (LUV) doesn’t play along: any traveler who frequents Southwest likely is aware that the company’s flights do not appear on third-party aggregators like Google Flights.

By choosing to forgo payments to Google Flights, Southwest is missing out on a huge stream of entrants to this valuable ecosystem. Any time a potential customer who is outside of this ecosystem searches for a flight on Google, they will not see any of Southwest’s offerings on Google Flights and will likely choose an offering from another competitor, even if Southwest has the cheaper offering.

Of course, Southwest has managed to make this arrangement work due to the stickiness of its revenue – once a customer has flown with Southwest, they are aware of the added value of the airline and will take the extra time to go through Southwest’s website to book travel.

Southwest is notorious for its high customer satisfaction, winning countless awards including TripAdvisor’s 2018 Traveler’s Choice for best North American Airline. Fair pricing, lenient rescheduling, free checked baggage, friendly flight attendants and pilots, a generous rewards program- all of these perks create an ecosystem that attracts lifelong customers. Therefore, each customer acquired by Southwest who is satisfied with the service is increasingly likely to become part of the Southwest ecosystem, choosing Southwest for flights, airline rewards points, and Southwest-branded credit cards. This is indicative of a strong business worthy of investment, and Southwest has delivered for its shareholders:

Chart
LUV data by YCharts Google Shopping and Amazon.com

In addition to pricing power, Google’s search engine also gives Alphabet huge power over its direct competitors.

Take Amazon (AMZN), for example. Amazon and Alphabet are competitors on many fronts. They are both in the business of gathering and analyzing data to optimize the customer experience. They both have a suite of cloud products for businesses who wish to outsource their computing infrastructure.

Additionally, both are pushing aggressively into the smart home space. Amazon has a suite of products including the Alexa smart speaker and smart locks for safe package delivery, while Alphabet has the Google Home smart speaker and recently acquired Nest, which sells products like smart thermostats and security cameras.

Both businesses also have a capital allocation strategy of spending cash on novel ideas with huge potential upside, rather than paying cash out as a dividend or buying back material amounts of stock. This puts them in direct competition for potential new businesses like drones, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, etc.

Therefore, it follows that the two companies do not collaborate much. From my perspective, the search engine’s dominant market position creates an incredible headwind for Amazon’s retail operations both domestically and internationally. Google Shopping, similar to Google Flights, is a third-party aggregator that compares prices for items across various retailers’ websites. But a quick search for any item on Google reveals an interesting phenomenon: not a single Amazon result shows up in the search results:

With Amazon having a large portion of e-commerce sales, one would expect to see a result from Amazon in the top hits from Google. But due to the direct competitive nature of the two enterprises and their inability to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, Google omits any Amazon links from the search results.

I would argue that this is an absolutely huge headwind for Amazon just like it is for Southwest. While Amazon saves on the cost of acquiring an additional customer, they are missing out on an incredible opportunity to take advantage of the billions of Google searches that could drive customers into the Amazon ecosystem.

Much like Southwest, Amazon has a valuable ecosystem that is customer-focused and creates a sticky stream of revenue, with Amazon Prime members spending about two times as much as non-members. Prime members get all kinds of perks including free expedited shipping, access to exclusive offers on Prime Day, a video streaming service, and much more.

When a potential customer searches for an item on Google and finds it, Amazon has no chance to demonstrate the value of its ecosystem. This loss of potential customers becomes increasingly likely as players like Walmart (WMT) are buffing up their e-commerce offerings, offering free 2-day shipping on orders over $35, something that was once exclusive to Amazon Prime.

Still, despite this huge headwind, Amazon has managed to grow its revenues and provide massive returns for its shareholders:

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AMZN data by YCharts Alphabet’s Valuation

For measuring valuation, I prefer to look at EV/EBIT, as it is a metric that is capital structure neutral. It also takes into account a company’s cash on hand and does not favor companies who produce earnings through leverage, as traditional P/E ratios tend to do. Looking at EV/EBIT for Alphabet compared to other high-flying, fast-growing internet companies, Alphabet looks attractively valued.

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NFLX EV to EBIT

(TTM) data by YCharts

While an EV/EBIT of 21 is certainly not deep value, it is a reasonable price to pay for a high-quality business. Alphabet has an absolutely rock-solid balance sheet, with enough cash to pay off all long-term liabilities five times over.

Source: Alphabet 2017 Annual Report

Additionally, Google has been growing its advertising revenues at a compound rate even as it faces pricing headwinds in its advertising business. While cost per click has been modestly decreasing over time, the decrease in pricing has been more than offset by increases in paid clicks on Google properties.

Source: Alphabet 2017 Annual Report

And the company is absolutely printing money through its operations:

Source: Alphabet 2017 Annual Report

Another potential bright spot is that Alphabet earns plenty of money through its legacy advertising business as opposed to its emerging cloud business or Other Bets. If new business ventures don’t pan out as expected, the company still has a margin of safety and therefore, less potential downside.

Compare this to Amazon, which generates substantially all of its earnings from Amazon Web Services to effectively subsidize its legacy retail business. If competition in the cloud computing space were to heat up to the point that cloud computing becomes a commodity, firms would compete on price and earnings would likely fall among cloud computing segments. If the cloud business tightens and profits fizzle out, Alphabet would still produce massive earnings, as its stream of earnings is not levered to its cloud computing revenues.

While Alphabet currently trades at a reasonable valuation compared to its present earnings power, it has additional potential upside due to its investments in self-driving (Waymo), smart home (Google Home and Nest) and countless as-of-yet undiscovered businesses that could turn into multi-billion-dollar segments.

Conclusion

Google’s moat is one of the most powerful in existence. The parent company trades at a reasonable valuation with a huge margin of safety and has potential for massive upside with its Other Bets segment. As more and more of the world moves online, the secular headwinds appear to favor Alphabet, making it appear to be a compelling investment today.

For a firm to overcome Google’s internet dominance, it must be able to create a customer-centered ecosystem like Southwest Airlines and Amazon have been able to do. Both of these companies are surviving and thriving without the use of Google’s products which are otherwise standard in their respective industries.

Companies who are fighting tooth-and-nail for high-quality real estate on Google properties and feel like they are overpaying should look at the examples set by these two firms, who were able to grow their businesses and provide outsized returns for shareholders without the help of Google’s aggregation services.

Disclosure: I am/we are long LUV, AMZN.

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.