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Archive for 'Apple Inc'

Profitable Tech Trends for the New Year

You don’t need to be Nostradamus to see the future profits in this sector, it’s already here and getting bigger.

Prognostication is a humbling business. Last year at this time Mark Anderson, a tech futurist type and CEO of the Strategic News Service, predicted that Amazon (AMZN) would have a tough time in 2015, citing e-book squabbles, drone expenditures and the Fire phone flop. Oops.

All Amazon did was blow the doors off in 2105, with the stock up over 120% in a flat market. What’s up with that, Mark? “I thought Jeff [Bezos] was making too many mistakes, and that the shareholders and or customers would take it out on him,” he wrote to me in an email. “But AWS [Amazon Web Services] has been throwing off so much cash that nothing else mattered — even though the NY Times story came out and harmed the company’s reputation, and even though the Harvard Business Review dropped him from first place to near last based on some of these flaws. So, the world did indeed catch on to Jeff’s issues, but cloud computing saved the day.”

Fair enough Mark, and good for you for owning up to your miss. (And by the way, Mark had some good calls too.)

With that cautionary tell in mind, I set out to make some calls of my own, putting out three big tech trends for 2016. These aren’t the “holy-crow-I-never-even-thought-about-that” variety. Rather, they’re existing trends that I think will either hit the mainstream, become part of the public conversation, or have mega implications for investors in 2016. So here goes:

—VR. (If you have to ask what that means, you are officially behind the eight ball.) VR stands for virtual reality, of course, and yes, it’s those goofy headsets that zoom you into another world, and yes, you’ve been hearing about them for a few years now. But the point is that 2016 is the year these puppies will actually roll out to the general public. Even more significantly, VR really looks to be a major, incipient, platform battleground in the world of Tech. To wit: Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT) are debuting VR products next year. So, too, is HTC, which may be a Hail Mary for that company. Google (GOOGL) has already introduced Google Cardboard, a low-end VR offering and has also invested in a stealth VR company with the ultimate VC-bait name: “Magic Leap.” But maybe Facebook (FB) will plant the biggest stake in the ground with a product from its Oculus Rift subsidiary, which Zuck & Co. bought for $2 billion in 2014. How big a deal is this? In a recent interview I did with Facebook’s head of sales, Carolyn Everson, she talked about how the company operates with mobile as its primary platform today but then went on to characterize Oculus thusly: “We think that can be the next operating system for the future.” Wow! No small thing there. (If you want to see how enamored Zuck himself is of Oculus, check out this Vanity Fair piece.) Still early days here. Oculus will only work on high-end PCs (which is weird), and the audience is all about gamers for now. But 2016 is merely year one. What the VR biz looks like in 2026, no one knows, but it will be big.

 

See more of the future

Interactive Brokers Group (NASDAQ: IBKR) Makes Zacks Bull of the Day

Interactive Brokers Group (NASDAQ: IBKR) Makes Zacks Bull of the Day-Image by babblingdweeb via Flickr

Zacks Equity Research highlights Interactive Brokers Group (Nasdaq: IBKR) as the Bull of the Day and Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE: TER) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), Apple, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI).

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2678.

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

We are upgrading our recommendation on Interactive Brokers Group (Nasdaq: IBKR) to Outperform as its brokerage business continued to perform well and the company reinstated its quarterly dividend. Despite declining market volumes, Interactive Brokers’ Market Making segment is positioned to improve on better revenue capture.

We expect the company’s strategy with respect to structural changes in the business to bode well. Also, larger average trade sizes continue to improve its Electronic Brokerage segment results.

Our six-month target price of $17.00 per share equates to about 13.5x our earnings estimate for 2011. Combined with a quarterly dividend of $0.10 per share, this target price implies an expected total return of 23.1% over that period. This is consistent with our Outperform recommendation.

Bear of the Day:

Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE: TER) is a leading provider of automated test equipment. The company’s second quarter earnings beat the Zacks Consensus, although revenue growth was sluggish. Forward guidance indicates slack demand, particularly for back-end testing equipment.

While there could be pockets of strength, we think that the negative mix of business, relatively lower exposure to the memory segment and the uncertainty at semiconductor manufacturers will impact results in the next few quarters. As a result, we think that investors are likely to discount the product lineup, leaner cost structure and strong balance sheet.

The company is expected to return earnings growth of 11.9% compared to the peer group average of 12.6%. We believe there is further downside to the shares and we are therefore downgrading the shares to Sell. Our price target also moves from $17 to $12 (10.3X P/E).

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Google Hits Another Homer in Q3

Even though analysts seemed a tad wary of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) 3rd quarter 2011 earnings numbers after the closing bell today, the search engine king stepped up to the plate and took one long. Revenues of $9.72 billion were up 33% year over year and 8% sequentially. Diluted EPS (how Zacks reports Google’s earnings) reached $8.33, easily topping the $7.59 Zacks Consensus Estimate.

The 10% positive earnings surprise bested the average positive surprise over the last 4 quarters of 8.5%, and after-market traders duly took notice. Up 1.91% in regular Thursday trading, GOOG shares have shot up 5.2% in the after-market, which is tempered a bit from the initial reaction to the earnings report.

Kicking off Google’s press release this afternoon was a proud notice that Google+, GOOG’s new social network, has already surpassed 40 million users. Much the way Google has the pluck to have attempted to rival Apple, Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone with its Android operating system for smartphones, so does Google+ appear to be going after market share from soon-to-go-public Facebook, Inc.

This all said, Google does have its work cut out for it. Aside from buying Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI) for $12.5 billion earlier in the 3rd quarter, Google has also increased its workforce by 10% over the past three months. Add some anti-trust hearings with the Federal Trade Commission and some concerns over Android patent wars, and it may be understandable why 4 analysts have actually downwardly revised estimates over the past month for Q4 and the full fiscal year.

Then again, with Google’s growing reputation of continuing to beat market expectations soundly (nearly always — GOOG did post a 1.4% miss in Q1 2011), we’ll see if some of the 21 current earnings estimates on the company are revised upward in the coming days.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649.

About the Bull and Bear of the Day

Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

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