Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Netflix Stock Will Continue to Soar (NFLX)

NFLX is the type of stock every tech investor dreams about

For the past few years, Netflix (NFLX), the undisputed king of streaming television, has been on an impressive tear. NFLX is up more than 90% year-to-date, and up almost 580% since the beginning of 2013. NFLX is the epitome of a tech investor’s perfect pick.

With nearly $3 billion in cash and investments, projected earnings growth of 23% per year, and shares trading just below their recent all-time high, Netflix continues to dominate the Internet TV arena, much to the dismay of traditional cable and satellite providers such as Comcast (CMCSA) and DirecTV (DTV).

At the company’s shareholder meeting on June 9, management received approval to increase the number of NFLX shares by way of a 7-for-1 stock split effective in July, which is intended to make Netflix stock more accessible to a wider range of investors.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Amazon Echo: One Step Closer to Friendly Home AI

Echo merges different AMZN services to make life at home even easier

Earlier this week, Amazon (AMZN) made the Echo — your personal digital assistant in cylinder form — available for public purchase. Prior to this week, only Amazon Prime members who had received special invitations were able to buy Echo. However, after seven months of tweaking and market testing, AMZN management has released Echo into the wild.

Simply put, Echo is Amazon’s version of Siri, Cortana, and Google Now — the only difference being that the Echo device isn’t designed to fit in your pocket. Echo can perform many of the same tasks as the premier smartphone digital assitants from Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Google (GOOGL, GOOG).

For example, a simple spoken request can get news and weather forecasts, remind you of upcoming appointments, play your favorite music from Pandora (P), or tell jokes that would make third-graders roll their eyes.

The Wall Street Journal said that Echo is “simultaneously a rival to a Sonos speaker and Apple’s Siri digital assistant.” One big difference between smartphone assistants and Echo is the link to Amazon’s shopping service. By telling Echo you need to buy common products, your purchase history is instantly examined for previous orders. If no orders are found, Echo will offer suggestions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Could Bing Search Ever Surpass Google?

Bing Search has made a wide array of improvements recently

Bing, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Internet search engine, is the second largest in the U.S., accounting for slightly more than 20% of all organic searches.

Bing Search surpassed the 20% mark in March, consistently inching up from 10.7% at the end of 2009, to 15% at the end of 2011, to 18.1% at the end of 2013.

Microsoft has struggled to capture market share from Google (GOOGL, GOOG), the undisputed king of search, for more than a decade.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Oculus Rift Will Push Facebook Stock Higher

Oculus Rift is the clear front-runner in the VR race

Regardless of whether you like social media or not, there’s no denying that Facebook (FB) is a solid leader and a wise addition to any tech-centric portfolio.

As of the end of the first quarter this year, the number of monthly active users on Facebook had grown to more than 1.4 billion, with 936 million daily active users.

In the three years since its IPO, Facebook stock is up more than 110% — including 27% in the past year alone.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has grown the social media site into a $230 billion international conglomerate. FB has acquired some of the industry’s most popular communication and photo-sharing apps including Instagram and WhatsApp.

However, one of the most interesting acquisitions for the future of Facebook stock is virtual reality front-runner Oculus.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Micron (MU) Stock Is a Screaming Bargain

MU's 30% pounding year-to-date has created a great entry point for investors looking for a second-half rebound story

Micron Technology (MU) is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of DRAM and NAND memory technology … but Micron stock is also one of Wall Street’s biggest laggards in 2015.

Micron’s advanced semiconductor products compete with those from Samsung (SSNLF), Intel (INTC) and SanDisk (SNDK), among others. However, unlike its competitors, Micron’s exposure to the PC market is significantly higher at nearly 30% of sales.

And ongoing weakness in the PC market — along with an overstock of DRAM (an essential component to desktop and laptop PCs) — has been a drain on MU stock as investors remain concerned about the company’s future.

IDC predicts that worldwide PC shipments will decrease by 6.2% this year, marking the fourth consecutive year of declining volume. As more consumers shift to tablets and smartphones, desktop PC and laptop sales will remain depressed, which could lead to ongoing trouble for Micron.

Friday, June 12, 2015

How Long Will EBAY Stock Survive After PayPal Spinoff?

A lot of questions remain unanswered about a post-PayPal eBay

Sometime in the third quarter, eBay (EBAY) will spin off PayPal, returning its payment division to a standalone company.

Originally, eBay acquired PayPal in 2002 for $1.4 billion, and after 15 years together the auction giant has succumbed to pressure from activist investors claiming the two businesses will be more valuable as separate entities.

Last month, PayPal announced its intention to resume use of its original ticker symbol PYPL on the Nasdaq exchange.

Most analysts have high hopes for PayPal stock, but the consensus for EBAY stock has been mixed. Of the 44 analysts providing recommendations to MarketWatch.com, 16 declare eBay a “buy” and 22 call it a “hold.”

Friday, June 05, 2015

3 Stocks to Buy to Play the Internet of Things

These 3 stocks are perfectly positioned for massive IoT growth

Renowned research firm IDC released a report this week predicting that the Internet of Things market will reach $1.7 trillion by the year 2020, growing from $656 billion last year.

IoT endpoints — the various personal and household devices and hardware connected to the Internet — are expected to reach nearly 30 million in the next five years, up from 10 million in 2014.

With that kind of massive growth on the horizon, investors have been looking for the best ways to play the Internet of Things boom. There’s a plethora of stocks to buy that could produce good gains over the next several years, and many of the tech industry’s established leaders seem like obvious choices.

For example, last August, hardware and software giant Cisco (CSCO) announced it had created a division within the company called the Internet of Things Systems & Software group, whose focus would be on expanding machine-to-machine connectivity. Another similar example is Intel (INTC), which announced last December the creation of a proprietary new platform designed to streamline the process of connecting devices to the Internet and enhance the security of those connections.

However, with CSCO valued at $145 billion and INTC at $153, neither company is likely to see its stock soar on Internet of Things developments. Sure, they make safe plays for risk-adverse investors. These companies are gigantic, have multiple revenue streams, and aren’t likely to collapse if their IoT efforts don’t dominate the market. But they’re not the best ways to play the trend.

If you’ve got a longer time horizon and aren’t scared of a little volatility, read on to learn about three stocks to buy the play the Internet of Things.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Google Now on Tap Won’t Help GOOG Stock

Google Now on Tap could be helpful, but it's not necessary

In the seemingly never-ending battle for smartphone supremacy, tech giants such as Google (GOOGL, GOOG), Apple (AAPL), and Samsung (SSNLF) have been racing to develop an attractive, affordable device that can successfully handle every need and deliver on any request from the user.

For the most part, today’s smartphones are immensely powerful and comprehensive — you have more computing power in your hand right now than all of NASA combined when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.

All things considered, modern smartphones can perform an impressive array of tasks, and the demands for “better” devices are more related to convenience than functionality.

But convenience goes a long way with consumers in our instant-gratification society, and GOOG is looking to take the lead in the convenience department with the introduction of Google Now on Tap, an enhancement to the current voice-controlled native Android assistant.