"Viacom Flips the Script: Stock Has 40% Upside" by Robin Goldwyn Blumenthal makes the case that long-suffering media company Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB) is tracking a new course toward a turnaround. See how a new CEO is shaking things up, shifting priorities and reinvesting in the company. The stock has risen since he took up the reins but still looks cheap, according to Barron's.
In "Dark Clouds May Be Lifting for SolarEdge," Andrew Bary suggests that shares of Solaredge Technologies Inc (NASDAQ: SEDG), which makes optimizers and inverters, could rise by 40 percent or more in the next year. See why Barron's thinks that, with its strong balance sheet, the solar power outfit offers staying power until the industry comes back in vogue.
Jack Willoughby's "Why Silicon Valley Bank's Stock Could Rise 25%" takes a look at whether this lender to venture capitalists and startups is headed into a sweet spot of high growth. Discover why Barron's believes SVB Financial Group (NYSE: SIVB) is poised for several years of rapid earnings growth that dwarfs expectations for most other banks.
While the growth cycle at Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) could be extended, it won't last forever, according to "Micron, Up 170%, Could Move Higher. But Be Wary" by Tiernan Ray. The current market conditions for Micron are proving extraordinarily favorable, though the CEO announced his retirement last month and the company has yet to name a successor.
In Johanna Bennett's "Apple iPhone, Dividend Buzz Can Keep Stock Hot," see why one key analysts says that even with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares near an all-time high, investors should expect another 20 percent gain. While Apple is trading near its highest price-to-earnings multiple in five years, there is much to like, including a respectable dividend yield.
Also in this week's Barron's:
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GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) shares crashed following a fourth quarter sales miss and guidance that fell well below estimates.
GameStop also announced it will no longer provide EPS and same-store sales guidance to reduce investor distraction while the company looks to diversify itself.
Loop Capital is sticking with its Buy rating and $28 price target on the stock. Q4 net sales decreased 13.6 percent to $3 billion, and comparable stores sales fell 16.3 percent, a huge drop despite strong early Nintendo Co.,Ltd(ADR)(OTC: NTDOY) Switch results that saw the company’s initial stock of the hardware selling out in two days.
New video game hardware, software and accessories sales numbers all fell in the double-digit range. GameStop management attributed weak video game sales to disappointing AAA titles, earlier than usual software discounting, and a 15 percent year-over-year decline in average hardware selling prices.
A bright spot for the company? Technology brands and collectibles, which both grew 43.9 percent and 27.8 percent year over year respectively.
“We were disappointed by GameStop’s F2017 diluted EPS guidance, which we think adds additional fuel to the fire of the digital disintermediation bear thesis. We were also a bit surprised given the strong early Switch results,” Loop Capital said.
“All that said, once normalized for likely share repurchases management’s diluted EPS forecast is much closer to our prior expectations. Thus, with GameStop trading at 7.0x our revised F2017 diluted EPS estimate and sporting well over 6% and 10% dividend and free cash flow yields, respectively, we are sticking with our Buy rating.”
Image Credit: By BentleyMall (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Despite a late-week market selloff, three of the four “FANG” stocks hit new all-time highs this week. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) all set new all-time intraday highs on Tuesday morning, and Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) came within about $1 of doing the same.
Collectively, the four stocks have been referred to as “FANG” stocks ever since CNBC analyst Jim Cramer and RealMoney.com analyst Bob Lang used the term on an episode of Mad Money back on February 5, 2013.
“Put money to work in the companies that represent the future,” Cramer said at the time. “Put money to work in companies that are totally dominant in their markets, and put money to work in stocks that have serious momentum.”
Cramer and Lang identified Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google as the four companies that exemplified this investment philosophy at the time, and there call ended up being on-target.
Since the day the show aired, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) is up 55.2 percent. Here’s a look at how each of the FANG stocks has performed in that same four-year stretch:
Cramer critics often point out the popular analyst’s missed calls throughout the years, but when it comes to the FANG trade, Cramer was spot-on. The stocks have generated an average return of 299.9 percent in the past four years.
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or process that provides in general, a new way of doing something or offers a new technical solution to a problem, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO.
Some breakthrough patents have helped companies evolve as billion dollar businesses. Benzinga looked at four of the most valuable modern tech patents that worked wonders for their owners:
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) initially filed for its one-click patent in 1997, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office granting the patent in 1999.
One-click is a feature by which an e-commerce transaction is executed with a single click that uses stored customer credentials for validation. It helps create a frictionless checkout process, thereby achieving an extremely high conversion from its existing customers.
Amazon, however, was unsuccessful in persuading the European Union to grant a patent for this feature, with the EU arguing that the underlying technology is too obvious and reliant on prior art. Canadians, who were initially opposed to patenting this technology, finally relented in 2011 after a legal battle. Australia also objected to patenting this technology.
Rejoiner valued the contribution from the one-click technology to Amazon's top line at 5 percent.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is paying Amazon an undisclosed sum for the use of one-click technology for transactions in its app stores.
Amazon has evolved into a retail behemoth, and experts believe the company is unlikely to take a huge hit when its one-click patent expires.
FireEye Inc (NASDAQ: FEYE), founded by former Sun Microsystems engineer Ashar Aziz in 2004, built its business around a patent Aziz filed in March 2005. The company's main product line, named FirstEye Malware Protection System, is based on a technology patented under the name "system and method of detecting computer worms."
The company's recent 10-K filing revealed that it rung up revenues of $714.11 million in 2016, with 79 percent coming from subscription fees and the rest from products.
Video game developer Zynga Inc (NASDAQ: ZNGA), founded in 2007, filed a patent titled "Asynchronous challenge gaming" in November 2008. This was meant to protect the company's social gaming plans and patent the method by which individuals and teams play with each other based on characteristics such as abilities, powers, defenses and performance levels.
SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ: SCTY), now part of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) filed for the immensely successful "Methods for Financing Renewable Energy Systems" patent in March 2008. The Solar Lease process outlined the method for using tax-deductible home loans to finance solar installations. The strong adoption of the lease process helped the company to grow into a force to reckon with in the renewable energy sector.
Americans are bad at saving money, but there is some encouraging news. Americans are feeling better about how much cash they're saving, according to a new Bankrate.com report. Although any improvement in sentiment is welcome, the fact remains that American consumers aren't putting away more cash now than they have been in the past.
Bankrate noted that the number of Americans who feel comfortable with their savings outnumber those who are not comfortable. But there is also no change in the number of Americans who aren't saving anything on a year-over-year basis. Moreover, the number of Americans who are putting away more than 10 percent of their income today is less than it has been previously.
One in six people cited the commonly used excuse that they haven't "gotten around" to saving money. In addition, two in five people aren't saving money because of their large expenses.
"This illustrates what is wrong with Americans and their savings," said Bankrate chief financial analyst Greg McBride, CFA. "Too many Americans let their lifestyles dictate what they save or whether they save at all, instead of saving first and living on what is left over."
Bankrate stated these are "lousy reasons" for not saving money. As such, the online platform is dedicated toward helping people make smarter financial decisions. Bankrate is encouraging everyone to set up a direct deposit to automatically transfer 10 percent of their paycheck and then "figure out how to live on what is left."
See Also: Are You Losing Yourself In Loans?
Whether you'll admit it or not, you've probably heard of Pornhub.
Pornhub, to put it simply, is the single biggest provider of professional and amateur pornographic video on the internet. Ten years after being launched in May of 2007, the site boasts an average of 92 billion video views per year, 10 million registered users, and over 75 million daily users. That's almost half as many as Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP)'s Snapchat.
Even those who favor more traditional entertainment fare may have seen any of Pornhub's impressive philanthropic efforts covered in their local news, including deploying a fleet of branded trucks that provided real and much needed aid in snow removal during Winter Storm Stella earlier this month.
Pornhub has also launched centers for sexual health and wellness centers, raised funds for men's health issues and created a "Panda Style" initiative aimed at saving the endangered giant panda species.
With the climax of its first decade in business coming soon, Benzinga contacted Pornhub Vice President Corey Price to discuss the company's past, present and future. Check out the SFW interview below.
BZ: Porn consumption, like every other type of entertainment once delivered thru traditional media, has been affected by the digital age (piracy, streaming, file-sharing, etc). How has Pornhub capitalized on the transition from DVDs and magazines to streaming and file-sharing?
Price: Pornhub was founded in 2007, a time when the transition away from traditional media and toward the digital age was in full effect. At that time, people were discovering the expediency provided through streaming and file-sharing and utilizing it more and more. Instead of looking at magazines or watching DVDs, users could now access a library of video content, streamed directly to them on their computers (and later phones) with the quick click of a button.
I guess the rest is history as the growth of Pornhub really took off soon thereafter.
How did you reach the decision to jump into creating original content?
Price: Our foray into original content was largely driven by the launch of our premium subscription service, Pornhub Premium, to immense success. Our fans really gravitated to the offering, enjoying their favorite full-length videos in crisp 1080p resolution on-demand a la Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX). And, similar to Netflix and other subscription services that have developed their own content, we wanted to do the same by partnering with some of our top content partners and offer our fans something original (pun intended) courtesy of their favorite adult entertainment platform. Thus the debut of both Full Holes, and, most recently, Beaverdale, under our official production arm designated to create new, original content unique to Pornhub, dubbed Pornhub Originals. We also offer a variety of VR content as well as the exclusive “Fake Agent” series under the Pornhub Originals moniker.
You've also dabbled in wearable tech with the Wankband. Are there ways Pornhub can enter new markets like virtual and augmented reality devices, etc.?
Price: Here at Pornhub we are all about penetration. Into new verticals that is. Through the past year alone, we’ve diversified our brand, particularly within the technology ecosystem, behind the rollout of a brand new, free VR category and developing cutting-edge products including Wankband, TwerkingButt, etc.
Through 2017 and beyond, we have plans to continue to penetrate new markets and enhance our current offerings. With the continued success of Pornhub as the leading adult entertainment platform, we've really garnered a substantial worldwide following with many devoted fans. It’s for these fans that we offer everything that we do and continue to rollout unique campaigns and are dead set on being the go-to company for sex tech innovation. We have some cool announcements up our sleeve so definitely be on the lookout for those.
You guys do a ton of philanthropic work. What’s been your most successful charitable campaign so far?
Price: Pornhub Cares was born from our desire to give back to our fans in a manner that would provide meaningful change in their lives, and, to society as a whole. We officially launched Pornhub Cares in 2015 in conjunction with the debut of the Pornhub Scholarship, which after a careful selection process, awarded Mary Ann Uribe $25,000 to pursue her academic aspirations.
Since then, we’ve run an assortment of philanthropic campaigns that have resulted in sizeable contributions to various charities including the mobile spaying and neutering clinics of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal rights organization in the world; the Movember Foundation, the leading global organization committed to changing the face of men’s health; and The Moclips Cetological Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the whales through knowledge and conservation, among others.
It’s tough for me to say which one was the most successful, since all of them have been able to provide for those in need, which, ultimately, is our main goal. If you’re talking about media attention, some campaigns garner more visibility than others, whether it be because of the premise or the organizations we partner with.
You can check out all our work for Pornhub Cares here.
How does Pornhub hire? What do you look for in someone that wants to work with you?
Price: We’re always looking for top quality candidates in their respective fields to join the team. While of course we look for all the typical qualities in candidates - strong work ethic, strong communication skills, leadership abaility, etc. – we also look for those with a certain level of open-mindedness and a good sense of humor.
Pornhub does a lot of marketing & sponsorship—how do you measure return-on-investment with that? Porn is something that most people don’t talk about openly—how does that factor into these kinds of big marketing moves?
Price: For us it’s really just about making ourselves visible in unexpected places. The goal with a lot of what we do is to make porn a part of conversations that it typically hasn’t been, like we’ve done with music, fashion and philanthropy, for instance.
What events are you biggest traffic drivers during the year (e.g. holidays, the election, snowstorms, etc.)?
Price: We offer insights with data analytics on user activity during many specific events and holidays. We house all those data reports on our Pornhub Insights blog. There, you’ll find a combination of timely events and holidays that we dig into and provide some interesting stats around. It’s definitely worth checking out. It breaks everything down.
We’ve actually found it more interesting to examine what causes traffic numbers to drop on the site. During major events like the Super Bowl and on holidays like Christmas and New Years, traffic tends to dive. Of course, this varies depending on time and location but we’ve really enjoyed teasing this data out and sharing it on Insights.
How does Pornhub use social media to further its strategic objectives?
Price: We utilize social media in a number of ways. Primarily, we use it to interact with our fans and let them know about our current campaigns. Social media also allows us to showcase our personality. Pornhub Aria (@Pornhub) is the voice and face of our brand and gives our community someone to converse with directly. She knows what our viewers want to see and talk about on social platforms and curates accordingly.
Pornhub doesn’t seem willing to operate on the fringe; with such a public profile you guys are clearly not afraid of the spotlight. Any chance we could see a Pornhub IPO in the future?
Price: We don’t have plans for that right now, but you never know in the future.
The 10th Anniversary of the site’s launch is almost upon us; where do you see Pornhub 10 years from now? Are you planning anything big to celebrate?
Price: If you had asked me this question in 2007, I wouldn’t have been able to predict where we are now. I probably would’ve fallen incredibly short in regards to my predictions vs. where we currently are and just how much we’ve grown. Through just the past year we’ve diversified, penetrated and evolved so much. So it’s especially tough to predict where we will end up 10, 15 years from now.
As for what we have planned for our 10th anniversary, I can’t divulge too much detail but can confirm something is in the works. You’ll just have to stay tuned.
Related Link: World's Largest Porn Site Offers $25K 'Bug Bounty'
Many people want to start a successful online business and make loads of money during the process. The concept of hard work, dedication and sacrifice is a necessary component of succeeding — but what else do entrepreneurs need to know?
Donald Alexander, the CEO of hanoiebuddies.com, studied and examined first hand the success of an online social media icon Mimi Ikonn who best uses the "QVC-A" formula:
S. Johnson, a stay at home parent since 2007, believes that it is almost impossible for a person not to succeed at something.
Johnson has found success with selling online through Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). Specifically, Amazon's FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) program allows people to leverage the vast size of Amazon's platform to sell a product. This can be done with or without an outside e-commerce website.
Another worthwhile venture would be blogging or vlogging and monetize the platform. Simply put, find a topic that you are experienced or knowledgeable in and as the site grows opportunities for monetization will become more apparent and easier to achieve.
Crossing time zones is a profound inconvenience. Whether adjusting to a post-travel bedtime shift or calculating when to call your Pacific Time grandma, the process is a pain.
Yes, time zones are certainly inconvenient, but generally nothing more injurious. Until money comes into play.
Proprietary trader and Bright Trading consultant Dennis Dick said there “is definitely an advantage for active traders to trade on the east coast” in a time zone aligned with Wall Street. Those waking later are prone to miss valuable investment news and subsequent profits.
Dick’s Bright Trading peers in Las Vegas have to start their workdays as early as 5:30 a.m. to prepare for the 6:30 PST open of the New York Stock Exchange, and even then, they fall behind. In fact, a 5:30 wake-up puts them two hours behind Dick in terms of market intelligence.
“My day starts at 6:30 a.m. EST, which gives me three hours to interpret overnight news and prepare for the market open,” he said. “A trader would have to get up at 3:30 in the morning to have three hours of prep time on the West Coast. Not sure that is doable.”
While time is a considerable factor, East Coast investors also entertain a potential locational edge.
“I think the real advantage of the East Coast is proximity to the insights and thinking,” Moneyball Economics’ Andrew Zatlin said. “New York is where things happen. Sure, the web has enabled other places to engage and interact, but more happens in New York. It's like saying web coding can happen anywhere, but the real leading edge stuff is in Silicon Valley.”
Not everyone perceives a zone-based advantage, though. TD Ameritrade Chief Strategist JJ Kinahan said the field is fairly level.
“I really don’t think they have an advantage for a couple of reasons,” Kinahan said. “I think the West Coast people have adjusted, No. 1.”
Zatlin disagreed. “I suppose it's possible to adjust to the time difference, but it's definitely a problem,” he said.
Kinahan added to his thesis that, while East Coast investors likely held an edge maybe 10 or so years ago, the present, 24-hour nature of the market has virtually eliminated any information-based lead.
“[The second reason] is the advent of futures trading being around the clock now and some of the biggest stories happening overnight, if you think about Brexit, if you think about the election,” he said.
When news breaks after East Coast investors have logged off and turned in, West Coast investors are situated to profit.
Dick confirmed that S&P futures — the only major instrument trading between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. EST — are highly exposed to late-night macro news, and West Coast traders are primed to benefit.
The West Coast advantage is a theory Zatlin’s considered. He conjectured that retail investors could perform better out west where local companies see significant profits.
“I would be tempted to guess that the West Coast rules because our economies are more high-growth, and people tend to invest in what they know,” he said.
Acting on orders from President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan led Republicans to pull the proposed healthcare bill from the House docket Friday.
“We just didn’t quite get consensus today,” Ryan said at a press conference. “We came very close, but we could not get a consensus, which is why I thought the wisest thing to do was pull the vote.”
Earlier in the day, Ryan visited the White House to warn that the measure wasn’t expected to earn the required 216 votes to pass.
This is the second time the party has stalled efforts to advance its own measure.
In February, Trump and the House Republicans had sought a delay in the healthcare ruling because, as Height Securities suggested, they were afraid they’d win. At the time, the Administration had no plan to replace the existing Affordable Care Act.
"We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future," Ryan said.
Republican lawmakers are planning to adjust their approach.
“We will try to help [the ACA] along and prop it up, but it is so fundamentally flawed I don’t think that’s possible,” Ryan said.
He added that the Republicans had been doing the architects of Obamacare a favor by amending the law. “I’m sure they may be pleased right now, but when they see how bad this thing gets...I don’t think they’re going to like that either,” he said.
“Yes, this makes tax reform more difficult, but it does not make it impossible,” he said. “We will continue with tax reform...That just means Obamacare taxes stay with Obamacare. We’re going to go fix the rest of the tax code.”
Investors responded to the latest news with mixed reactions.
SPDR Gold Trust (ETF) (NYSE: GLD) dropped 0.3 percent, SPDR S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ETN (NYSE: VXX) fell 4.5 percent and ProShares Trust Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF (NYSE: UVXY) plunger 7.6 percent.
Health insurance shares, which had steadily fallen leading up to the scheduled vote, got a boost from the announced cancellation.
Molina Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE: MOH) popped 2 percent, Aetna Inc (NYSE: AET) 0.7 percent, Humana Inc (NYSE: HUM) 0.9 percent, Anthem Inc (NYSE: ANTM) 0.8 percent and CIGNA Corporation (NYSE: CI) 0.8 percent. Each had tapered off in the minutes following.
Benzinga Pro provides its subscribers with real-time alerts of potentially market-moving options activity.
Here's a recap of the options alerts from Friday, March 24, 2017. All time stamps are in Eastern Time.
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