In France, Snap's Discover news feature gets 10 million monthly users

(Reuters) – Snap Inc, searching for ways to reinvigorate a slowing growth rate and increase advertising revenue for its Snapchat messaging app, said this week it has racked up 10 million users for its Discover news and video feature in France a year after launching there.

The figure, which has not previously been reported, is equivalent to about 15 percent of the country’s population.

Internationally, the Snapchat app has 173 million daily active users, the company said in August, while rival Instagram, owned by Facebook Inc, said this week it has 500 million daily users.

Snap’s partners in France such as Le Monde and Cosmopolitan, which supply video and news for the Discover feature, were getting “significant” revenue from ads, Nick Bell, Snap’s vice president of content, told Reuters, without giving an exact figure.

Snap, which generates revenue from advertisers, shares that revenue 50-50 with its publisher partners.

The company has yet to turn a profit since its messaging app launched in 2012. Since its initial public offering in March, its shares are down almost 18 percent, to around $ 14 per share.

France was the first international launch of Discover. It has also been released in Germany, the Middle East and North Africa, but the company is taking a slow, deliberate approach to expansion as it works at developing strong partnerships with publishers, said Bell.

Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; editing by Anna Driver and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Everything You Need to Watch on TV This Fall—From 'Orville' to 'Punisher'

Ah, fall. A wonderful time of football, things inexplicably getting pumpkin spice flavoring, and way more new TV than anyone could ever possibly watch. Seriously, there are a gajillion channels and streaming networks now, how can anyone dream of knowing what to turn on? Between all the superheroes, strictly-for-adults animated programs, and 1990s reboots out there it’s impossible to keep up. But we have some ideas. Below are WIRED’s picks for what you should watch (or at least DVR) this season—and one or two suggestions for what you can easily skip.

The Orville (Fox)

By far the funniest part of this science fiction adventure comedy is when the opening credits say “created by Seth MacFarlane,” because longtime Star Trek fans will immediately recognize everything else as the DNA (and proteins, bones, musculature, and central nervous system) of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It might be the weirdest thing on television—produced by a Trek stalwart, Brannon Braga, The Orville is a gleaming exploratory starship that seeks out weirdly foreheaded aliens with moral quandaries. Just find-and-replace the preachiness with a little snark. And you know what? It works. I liked TNG, and flying aboard the Orville feels like coming home. —Adam Rogers

Watch: Thursdays, 9pm/8pm Central

American Horror Story: Cult (FX)

By now, you know if you’re an American Horror Story person or not. Now in its seventh installment, FX’s anthology series has collected many devoted acolytes. If you’re in that camp, Cult is here and waiting for you, complete with all of the usual Ryan Murphy players: Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Billie Lourd, etc. If you’re not on the AHS train, though, its latest incarnation likely won’t make you a convert. A twisted look at life in America after the 2016 election, it’s got all the usual scares and camp, but—as Entertainment Weekly rightly noted—it can occasionally devolve into muddled satire. Perhaps not as strong as the series’ highpoints like Asylum or Hotel, Cult has its moments (or at least has in its first few episodes), but isn’t yet totally firing on all cylinders. But give it time, it could come around. If nothing else, it’ll be there for everyone to binge when they finally join the AHS movement. —Angela Watercutter

Watch: Tuesdays, 10pm

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (NBC)

Less than two years after FX’s Emmy-winning The People v. O.J. Simpson, NBC makes its own journey to the era of peak tabloid-TV with a limited series focusing on the brutal 1989 double-murder of wealthy Los Angeles couple Jose and Kitty Menendez. The prime suspects? Their own rich-kid sons, Lyle and Erik, whose subsequent trials—full of tales of big spending, and allegations of abuse—would rattle LA and fuel a gazillion episodes of A Current Affair. Edie Falco plays defense attorney Leslie Abramson, alongside a that cast includes Josh Charles, Lolita Davidovich, and Heather Graham. Expect plenty of of cross-examinations, a perhaps a few tent-sized double-breasted suits. —Brian Raftery

Watch: Tuesdays, 10pm/9pm Central

Big Mouth (Netflix)

After Nick Kroll and John Mulaney became kinda-household names with improv-show-turned-recurring-sketch-turned-Broadway-sensation Oh Hello, they took their talents where so many other comedy vets have been as of late: Netflix. Rather than starring as crusty old Manhattanites all over again, this time the pair voices hyperhormonal proto-teens coming of age in the New York suburbs—with all the basketball-playing-penises fantasy sequences that entails. Friend-of-every-pod Jason Mantzoukas is a regular, along with Jordan Peele and enough SNL alums for a “Californians” episode, so if your dream stream is a mashup of Comedy Bang Bang, Freaks and Geeks, and Bojack Horseman, get your Emmy write-in pencil ready. —Peter Rubin

Watch: September 29

Inhumans (ABC)

If you were one of the handful of people who paid to see The Inhumans in IMAX, then you already know: This show is pretty bad. Like, not campy, comic-book-adaptation bad, actually hard-to-watch bad. And if you didn’t pay to see it in IMAX, then you probably still know it’s not great because you’ve seen, well, any of its production stills and/or Friday night time slot. Set simultaneously on Hawaii and the moon colony Attilan (just go with it), it sets up the kind of us-vs.-them dynamic that has been at the core of any story about people with special abilities, except it seems to do it with little or no blood in its veins. It’s hard to place exactly where it goes off the rails—is “everywhere” an acceptable answer?—but when it does, it’s not worth following. Also, most of its heroes’ superpowers aren’t that super. (See here.) Not everything to come out of the Marvel TV universe has been knock-down stellar, but coming from the same family that produces Jessica Jones and even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s pretty inhumane. —Angela Watercutter

Watch: Fridays, 8pm/7pm Central, starting Sept. 29

Punisher (Netflix)

The beauty of the Marvel Netflix shows has always been that they can get away with everything the summer tentpole movies and ABC shows can’t: Sex! Drinking! Cursing! Punisher promises to turn that up to 11. Based on the trailer alone, the show has more blood and gunplay than any of the Defenders’ shows have offered up so far. Starring Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal as the titular antihero, Punisher goes deep and dark on the story of Frank Castle, a man who becomes a vigilante after the death of his wife and children. Sure it’s another “gritty crime show in New York,” but, hey, if you haven’t tired of those yet, why start now? Also, based on his fired-up appearance at Comic-Con International this year, Bernthal is ready to go all-in and all-out on this one. It’ll be fun to watch. —Angela Watercutter

Watch: Date TBD

Ghosted (Fox)

Clearly, Adam Scott and Craig Robinson had their eyes on each other during the Parks and RecreationThe Office softball games on the NBC lot, because they’ve eloped to one of the weirder paranormal comedies that TV has. Co-created by Scott and his wife Naomi, the show stars the two ensemble vets as strangers recruited by a—stop me if you’ve heard this one—clandestine government agency in order to investigate the disappearance of another agent. The odd-couple dynamic feels forced in the pilot, but the two actors have enough experience and chops to develop things further. Even if things err toward the broad and kinetic early on, it’s probably worth a close encounter of the second kind, if not the third. —Peter Rubin

Watch: Sundays, 8:30pm/7:30pm Central, starting Oct. 1

The Deuce (HBO)

David Simon, architect behind HBO’s cult favorite The Wire, creates with the flair and patience of an attentive carpenter—which is to say it’s all in what he sees. Thematically, Simon has always had a creative fetish for how institutions work: the way, say, a school system operates or a city government falls apart. With The Deuce, Simon sets his sights on a nascent 1970s porn boom and prostitutes who stalk the sidewalks of Times Square. With frequent collaborator George Pelecanos, and veterans like Michelle McLaren and Richard Price attached to the project, Simon gathered the precise blend of ingredients for a slow-simmering, high-stakes drama. There’s crime and porn and drugs and the atmospheric charm of a disco-era period piece. James Franco plays the part of twin brothers, Frankie and Vincent, whose fates are eternally intertwined; there’s also Gbenga Akinnagbe’s slick-tongued Larry Brown, a hard-nosed pimp with a heart, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Candy, a sex worker and single mother with big dreams. There’s corrupt cops, soulless mobsters, wayward college students, and women just trying to survive the lure of a New York City night. The show’s sleek prowess is a sure credit to Simon & Co.’s deliberately downplayed thesis; it never over explains or feels like cultural voyeurism. The Deuce simply says: This is Vincent and Larry and Candy. And this is how they live. (Davis Simon pro-tip: Wait until the show concludes and binge watch the series over the course of a weekend—it’s more delectable in one long bite.) —Jason Parham

Watch: Sundays, 9 pm

The Gifted (Fox)

Super-powered mutants go on the run in a world that hates and fears them. But because The Gifted is on Fox, owner of the rights to the X-Men, this Marvel Comics-based show actually gets to use the word “mutant,” and the characters are a delightful scrape of the X-books. Hey, it’s the teleporting Blink! And Polaris, Mutant Mistress of Magnetism! But let me sweeten the pot: Garret Dillahunt is the bad guy. Genially hilarious in Raising Hope, laconically terrifying in Justified and Deadwood … Dillahunt is the best. And the showrunner is Matt Nix, whose show Burn Notice was the spy version of MacGyver, and if you hate that, we’re not friends. —Adam Rogers

Watch: Mondays 9pm/8pm Central, starting Oct. 2

Lore (Amazon)

The first ever podcast-to-Prime adaptation, Lore is a six-episode anthology series based on Aaron Mahnke’s hit horror show, bringing together re-enactments and archival footage to dramatize (supposed) real-life tales of spookiness. The cast includes ex-X-Files star Robert Patrick and Teen Wolf‘s Holland Roden, but the real star might be the trailer’s creepy, dead-eyed doll, who looks kind of like a Motherboy costume come to life. Arriving just in time for Halloween, Lore will at least give folks something new to dig into after they’ve rewatched A Nightmare on Elm Street for the gazillionth time. —Brian Raftery

Watch: Oct. 13

Back (Sundance Now)

Even if comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb hadn’t given us the absurd perfection that is “Numberwang,” they’d still deserve a lifetime achievement award for sitcom Peep Show, which lasted for nine seasons of perspective-shifting bliss. (Seriously, everyone, watch Peep Show.) And now, they’re back! The new sitcom—in which a beleaguered man (Mitchell) is reunited with a long-lost, and insufferably smarmy, foster brother (Webb)—reprises the superego-vs-id dynamic the pair is so beloved for. Granted, it’s on Sundance’s streaming platform, Sundance Now, meaning you’d have to pony up for yet another subscription, but if you have a VPN you can watch it for free on the site for UK network Channel 4. And if not … well, what would Superhans do? —Peter Rubin

Watch: Nov. 5

Future Man (Hulu)

Seth Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg have taken on just about every genre out there, from disaster movies (This Is the End) to comic-book adaptations (Preacher) to animation (Sausage Party), but it’s taken them until now to bring their filthy comedic lens to sci-fi. A janitor (Josh Hutcherson) finds out his favorite video game is actually a recruitment tool—and now he’s conscripted by the game’s heroes (Eliza Coupe and Derek Wilson) to put those skills to use, time-hopping through his family’s history in a bid to stave off global disaster. At least, that’s the masturbation-joke-free version; the real version is exactly what you’d expect, if Rogen and Goldberg had shared a Back to the FutureLast Starfighter-psilocybin smoothie. —Peter Rubin

Watch: Nov. 14

The Runaways (Hulu)

Super-powered teenagers go on the run in a world that hates and fears them. But because The Runaways is on Hulu and made by Disney-Marvel, this Marvel Comics-based show does not have mutants or X-Men. Nosiree. Maybe some Inhumans. Thing is, the comic was created by Bryan K. Vaughan, and its X-Manly premise is that the millennial kids find out their Gen-X parents are super villains. Which seems right. Like the Netflix Marvel shows, Runaways is nominally set in the same universe as the Avengers, but, shyyeaah, whatever. Oh, remember James Marsters, who was so yummy as bad boy Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Well, he’s the dad now, so let that sink in. —Adam Rogers

Watch: Nov. 21

She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix)

Movie-to-TV remakes are one of the hardest gambles in television. Which is not to say there haven’t been successes; Fargo and Friday Night Lights are as equally beloved as their cinema archetypes. It’s just that it can be difficult to live up to the film’s original glory. (The cynic in me would do away with TV remakes altogether; creators have a duty to construct modern ideas not rework used concepts). Spike Lee’s episodic update of his 1986 debut feature falls somewhere in the middle. It’s got a phenomenal score, mouthfuls of beautiful camera work, and emerging talents like Anthony Ramos as Mars Blackmon, who is nothing but electricity and charisma. But it’s still a 2017 Spike Lee joint, which means the seasoned auteur is regrettably going to rely on some of his old habits—mainly, the heavy-handed approach to storytelling. He rarely lets the viewer do any of the labor, or arrive at their own conclusions. Even so, She’s Gotta Have It is a treat to watch, especially its small, digressive conversations about gentrification or white privilege or sexual hypocrisy. It’s here, in the intimate space between lovers and friends, where Lee hits his stride. —Jason Parham

Watch: Nov. 23

Happy! (Syfy)

Of all the Grant Morrison comics you can imagine as a TV show, Happy—his 2013 miniseries about a cop-turned-hitman who changes his ways when he finds himself saddled with a tiny imaginary talking blue unicorn—might be the last. Then again, you’re not Syfy. With Chris Meloni as the hired gun in question, and Patton Oswalt as the titular unicorn, this one is poised to be a holiday miracle. Assuming it’s a faithful adaptation, hope you don’t mind some psycho Santas and sex crimes with your eggnog! Not for the faint of heart, but it might be just the thing to get you in the state of mind for some time with the family. —Peter Rubin

Watch: Dec. 6

Will & Grace (NBC)

It’s been 11 years since Will & Grace went off the air. But after the cast reunited for a get-out-the-vote video during last year’s election, America—or rather, NBC and show creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick—decided it was time to bring Will (Eric McCormack), Grace (Debra Messing), Jack (Sean Hayes), and Karen (Megan Mullally) back to TV. Although the showrunners have promised W&G v. 2.0 will address the current political climate the way its previous Bush/Cheney-needling seasons did, they’ve also sworn it won’t be all-Trump-jokes-all-the-time. A lot has changed in the queer rights movement and in the TV landscape since Will & Grace ended in 2006, and its hard to tell if the show can be as revolutionary now as it was when it first aired in 1998. But even if it doesn’t change the world, watching it reclaim its magic will be a hoot. —Angela Watercutter

Watch: Thursdays, 9pm/8pm Central


Ford, Lyft will partner to deploy self-driving cars

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it will collaborate with Lyft to deploy Ford self-driving vehicles on the ride services company’s network in large numbers by 2021.

Ford and Lyft teams will begin working together to design software to allow Ford vehicles to communicate with Lyft’s smartphone apps.

Ford self-driving test vehicles will be connected to Lyft’s network, but at first, customers will not be able to use them, Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification, told Reuters. Ford will put human-driven vehicles on Lyft’s network.

He did not say when Ford and Lyft expect to offer the first rides in self-driving cars.

“We’re not building prototypes for the sake of building prototypes,” Marakby said, adding Ford intends to ultimately put thousands of self-driving vehicles in use.

Ford’s new Chief Executive Jim Hackett is scheduled to meet with investors on Tuesday to outline the Dearborn, Mich. automaker’s strategy for boosting profitability. Ford shares are down 1.65 percent so far this year, while Detroit rival General Motors Co’s shares have risen 15.6 percent, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV shares are up 71 percent.

Hackett’s plans to compete for revenue from mobility services, which include car sharing and ride-hailing, will be one area of focus for investors. The Lyft partnership fills in a piece of the puzzle.

Ford also is testing delivery services using self-driving vehicles and a van shuttle service. The self-driving vehicles Ford will deploy through Lyft will use software developed by Argo AI, a company in which Ford is investing $ 1 billion over the next five years.

The company has said it will invest $ 700 million in a factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, to make it capable of building electric and self driving vehicles.

Lyft has said it will offer an open platform for companies to deploy self-driving vehicles on its network, and has partnerships with self driving vehicle technology startup and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo self driving car unit.

GM has a 9 percent stake in Lyft, acquired for $ 500 million in January 2016. “Our relationship with GM has always been a non-exclusive relationship,” Raj Kapoor, Lyft’s chief strategy officer, told Reuters.

GM is also assembling the assets necessary to launch its own ride services using self-driving cars, building its Maven car-sharing unit and preparing to launch mass production of autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric cars at a factory in suburban Detroit.

Reporting By Joseph White; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


UK inventor James Dyson to launch electric car by 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – James Dyson, billionaire inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, said on Tuesday his company was building an electric car which will launch by 2020, the latest firm to challenge traditional carmakers in a burgeoning market.

Tesla has already shaken up the sector around the world and Dyson said it would now spend 2 billion pounds ($ 2.7 billion) on solid-state battery technology and vehicle design.

Dyson had been developing new battery and electric motor technology for its vacuum cleaners and other products for the past 20 years, he said.

“Battery technology is very important to Dyson, electric motors are very important to Dyson, environmental control is very important to us,” Dyson, aged 71, said at his company’s flagship shop on London’s Oxford Street.

“I have been developing these technologies consistently because I could see that one day we could do a car.”

Dyson told staff in an email that the company finally had the opportunity to bring all its technologies together into a single product.

“Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential,” he added.

Dyson said a 400-strong team of engineers had already spent 2-1/2 years working on the secret project in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, developing the batteries that will power the in-house designed electric motor for the car.

The firm has yet to decide on where the vehicle would be manufactured, although it has ruled out working with any existing auto companies, Dyson said.

Last year, the government said in a report it was helping to fund a new battery electric vehicle at the firm, which will secure 174 million pounds ($ 233 million) of investment in the area and create over 500 jobs.

The entry was quickly changed and Dyson declined to comment at the time in a sign of the secrecy shrouding the project.

Dyson said the firm needed to make the announcement on Tuesday because it was becoming hard to talk to subcontractors, government and potential new employees.

Writing by Paul Sandle and Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Alibaba raising stake in Cainiao to majority, investing $15 billion to grow logistics

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is raising its stake in logistics affiliate Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd to 51 percent from 47 percent by investing 5.3 billion yuan ($ 801.21 million), Alibaba said on Tuesday.

Alibaba also said in a statement it will invest another 100 billion yuan ($ 15.12 billion) in the next five years to expand its global logistics network.

The additional investment will be used in research and development of Cainiao’s logistics data technology, and smart warehousing and smart delivery development, among other things, it said.

Alibaba co-founded Cainiao in 2013, with partners including department store owner Intime Group, conglomerate Fosun Group and a few logistics companies.

Reporting by Kane Wu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Here’s How Much Apple iPhone 8 Glass Repairs Are Going to Cost You

If you own an iPhone 8, now might be the perfect time to get a case.

The glass panel on the back of Apple’s iPhone 8 won’t qualify for a $ 29 replacement like the device’s glass screen. Instead, Apple will charge customers $ 99 for the first two back panel repairs. After that, customers could be forced to pay $ 349 or $ 399 for the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus, respectively, according to Apple-tracking site AppleInsider, which confirmed the cost with a company spokesman.

Apple’s (aapl) iPhone 8 has a new design, featuring a glass back panel. The glass allows for wireless charging coils inside the handset to interact with wireless charging pads, so users can boost battery life without wires. It also adds a design flair that users didn’t have in previous metal iPhones.

However, because the iPhone 8’s back panel is glass, if it takes enough of a beating, it could shatter, forcing users to either live with a jagged device or get it fixed.

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There was some hope among iPhone owners that Apple would offer the same replacement cost as a display since the back panel is made of glass. However, Apple told AppleInsider that it’s categorizing back panel repairs in the “other damage” category, bringing its price to $ 99, plus tax.

To safeguard against that cost, users can of course buy a case to protect the back panel. Opting for the company’s AppleCare+ would extend the $ 99 coverage price to two years. It costs $ 129 for the iPhone 8 and $ 149 for the iPhone 8 Plus.


Steve Lacy's Newest Song, '4Real,' Is Anti-Pop Genius

Steve Lacy’s “4Real,” which the polymath guitarist released on SoundCloud earlier this month, is a stew of delicious production; it’s got gushing bass, teenage quirk, and the sweet urgency of young love. The song’s borders are intentionally blurred—thematically, structurally—but what Lacy feels is unmistakably obvious: the connection he has to his unnamed partner is no illusion. “We kiss, we hug, we dance and fight/We laugh, make up, then we go all night,” he sings, before diving headfirst into the hook. “It’s such a thrill to love you when it’s real.”

It’s a love letter with punk spirit, and functions as something of an informal admission to the is-he-isn’t-he curiosities surrounding Lacy’s sexuality (without all the high drama others have placed on it). If you want to make something, Lacy told WIRED in April, “grab whatever you have and just make it.” With its echoes of Prince and Bilal, “4Real” confirms Lacy’s decidedly anti-pop undertaking: that a song can, and should, be a nebulous configuration—sometimes with no center, no formal structure, or even a skillful conclusion.

Lacy’s inventiveness is well earned. As a member of Los Angeles-based R&B outfit The Internet, he helped executive-produce the group’s Grammy-nominated 2015 album Ego Death, has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar (“PRIDE”) and Kali Uchis (“Only Girl”), and in February released his 6-track “song series” Steve Lacy’s Demo to much acclaim. The solo collection’s unifying sentiment was its tightly controlled production; at a slender 13 minutes in its entirety, its songs never felt like they might swiftly veer off the tracks. But “4Real” is a different kind of creative proposition for Lacy—it’s raucous and reckless, with hints of madness. It’s a little like falling in love.

When the song suddenly cuts short—Lacy’s own doing, a move reflective of the freeform ethos SoundCloud often incubates—it doesn’t matter. His intention is not a neat resolution, or even a resolution at all, but to unsettle the assumptions of the listener. The DNA of music is meant to be fussed with, and Lacy disbands all formalities with “4Real.” What you think matters, doesn’t. In his hands, there are no rules for true songcraft—and the end result, wherever one lands, is all the more rewarding because of its abruptness, its surprise.

In recent years, artists like Frank Ocean, Young M.A, and iLoveMakonnen have ushered queer narratives in popular music, especially within hip-hop and R&B. With “4Real,” Lacy outlines his own narrative, however indistinct. When he uploaded the song to SoundCloud, the track image featured a pixelated photo of him (presumably) and another person (presumably a white guy) in affectionate embrace; the two look as if they might be kissing. “Is anyone gonna question if that is him and a guy? not that it matters but it would be cute,” one user commented. To which another responded: “I just noticed the same thing. Whatevs, homie’s doin his thing.” Lacy’s intention had come full circle—that beauty can be formed from an undefined place.


Cisco Systems: Bulls, Here It Comes

Cisco Systems (CSCO) has been caught in a long-term trading range ever since the dot-com bubble burst, and those long the stock have had few had few benefits for their positions with the exception of the stock’s strong dividend yields. But all of this looks ready to change, as short interest in CSCO has been waning for the past 18 months and market valuations are now pushing through critical levels on the monthly price history. Changes at the managerial levels, recent beats in quarterly earnings, and emerging revenue drivers all point in the positively direction in a confluence of events that should bring rewards for bulls that have been holding the stock for a long period of time. In our view, CSCO is on the verge of a major breakout that will define the bullish trajectory from here on a multi-year basis. There is still time to get long the stock, as market valuations have not yet broken above the critical 33.80 level we will discuss here.

In the long-term view shown above, we can see that CSCO has had an interesting price history over the last 25 years. A period of indecision has followed the initial rise-and-collapse and this has created a very strong trading range between 13.95 and 33.80. More recently, markets have been pressuring the top areas of this zone — and this activity has been further supported by a stable earnings performance that has beaten expectations in the last few quarters. In addition to this, the company is showing healthy margin figures while the stock is trading with an attractive 17 PE and a 3.55% dividend yield. This is well above the industry average, and so if you are a dividend investor looking for tech exposure you could do a lot worse than entering into a new position in CSCO at current levels.

Screenshot 2017-09-21 at 4.10.35 PM.png

Analyst recommendations: Yahoo Finance

The bullish sentiment is reflected in the analyst surveys, with the census showing “buys” or “strong buys” for the stock even while it is trading at these relatively elevated levels. The real question here is whether or not the company will be able to breath life into what is viewed by many as an outdated tech entity and so it will be important for investors to identify areas that might boost revenue performances in the next few quarters.

Screenshot 2017-09-21 at 4.12.28 PM.png

The action here could be guided by the contrasts, as the latest earnings report showed that revenues were down year-on-year. This has been the case for seven straight quarters, but the results were mostly inline with the estimates. In the report, CSCO did surpass the consensus earnings estimates once again (at 61 cents in earnings per share). This type of performance has been par for the course since Chuck Robbins took the helm as CEO, and so there is something here for investors to grab onto in terms of the long-term outlook for CSCO’s quarterly performance outlook.

Screenshot 2017-09-20 at 3.46.15 PM.png

Helping matters here will be the significant decline that is now being seen in the US dollar. Relative to its most commonly traded assets, the greenback has lost roughly 9.8% and this will almost certainly lead to upside surprises in CSCO’s earnings performances for the second half of 2017. This is one market element that has come as a significant surprise for most analysts, as the pro-growth policy agenda promoted by US President Donald Trump has had difficulty gaining traction. This has hurt the US Dollar but is something that will come as a significant benefit to companies with significant overseas sales totals. Information technology falls behind only energy in terms of the sectors that stand to benefit from these trends, so bullish investors should expect upside earnings surprises in the next few releases.

CSCO Chart Analysis: Dividend

As one of the few true survivors of the dot-com bubble, Cisco Systems has proven itself as a stable investment that is capable of withstanding selling pressure. With a price-to-book value of just over two, the company still looks well-positioned and undervalued. The key area to watch here is the range resistance that is now found at 33.80, as a break here would suggest that a new sheriff is in town and that the sideways sluggishness is over. Bullish readings in the Commodity Channel Index strongly support this upside outlook as there now appears to be very little selling pressure left in the market (with short interest at 0.91% of the total float). The stock’s 3.55% dividend yield is well above the industry average (of 1.39%) and the payout ratios are still seen at sustainable levels. On balance, this points to strong upside in the stock, so we will remain long and collect the attractive dividends associated with this tech superstar.

What is your position on Cisco Systems? We look forward to reading your comments. Stay tuned to Dividend Investors and receive our next alerts by clicking the “Follow” button at the top of the page.

Disclosure: I am/we are long CSCO.

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.


According to the SpaceX Co-Founder, This Is Why Elon Musk Is Wildly Successful

With businesses that focus on clean energy, electric, self-driving cars and launching into outer space, Elon Musk is on the innovation scoreboard in a big way, and often leading it. But according to a Quora response from his SpaceX co-founder, Jim Cantrell, it’s not just intelligence that’s propelled Musk to where he is.

To be clear, Cantrell isn’t saying that Musk lacks in the brain department (I think we all know that). In fact, he acknowledges that Musk is highly intelligent. He’s simply saying that other factors do Musk more good and that intelligence isn’t always a prerequisite for success.

So what are those factors for success, specifically?

1. Do something you’re good at or have an inherent talent for.

Musk has many different talents–he speaks with conviction, responds fabulously to his customers, and has a knack for pulling together the resources he needs, for example. But his biggest gift, arguably, is his ability to see the genius in what other people would write off, to identify which moonshots are actually worth pursuing. And after he’s identified great moonshots, he’s able to convince others they’re doable.

2. Do something that creates value (and that you can sell now or later).

Although Musk’s cutting-edge electric cars and groundbreaking initiatives solar initiatives are geared toward those who care about the Earth, they’re highly marketable overall, appealing to the need for both travel and energy. Even space travel entices with novelty. In time, it might become a necessity, too.

3. Raw, Pure Passion.

Elon Musk doesn’t spend his days churning out complex math formulas or training with NASA. But he genuinely believes that space exploration and making humanity “a multi-planetary species” is essential to our long-term survival. In the same way, he believes that the fossil fuel industry is a danger and that electric cars and solar are legitimate paths to saving the environment. His sincere concerns drive him to keep innovating on each platform, even when others have doubts.

But what’s really made Musk successful, Cantrell says, is sheer determination. He just doesn’t give up. So dig your heels in. Don’t quit. Even if you ‘fail’, the amount of experience you gain is priceless, including what you learn about yourself. And when you’re learning, improvement is inevitable.


This Time It Matters: Why Apple Is Falling

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is dropping hard after its event to announce the new series of hardware, in particular the new iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X as well as the Apple Watch 3.

It’s Different This Time
Normally when Apple stock dives on lukewarm product reviews we stand firmly in our position that the stock market reaction is over blown. Our simple thesis for that response is to look at demand, which is hypnotically strong, every time. That is not the case this time.

A New Risk is Not Obvious But is Enormous
Apple announced a more complicated lineup of iPhones this time around. It introduced the iPhone 8 series which is an upgrade to the iPhone 7, and then it announced the highly anticipated iPhone X (pronounced iPhone Ten).

Then the company made the iPhone 8 available this month, but pushed delivery of iPhone X to early November, which pre-orders stating in late October. That has created a risk.

It turns out that Apple hyped the iPhone X so much, and poured so much new technology into it, that it has left the demand for iPhone 8 lackluster in Apple terms. Here’s what we mean.

If you go to the Apple Store, and try to purchase an iPhone 8, the wait time is essentially 1-3 days for the smaller memory version. Here is an image:

That is for the iPhone 8, in Los Angeles, on Verizon’s (NYSE:VZ) network. The other networks are essentially the same. A normal wait time for a new iPhone release is usually several weeks, let’s say 2-4 depending on where you are in the world.

There are also reports that in store lines are much smaller than before, with one report pinpointing Sydney Australia, where only 30 people were camped out for the new release. Reports from China are similar.

Here are links to two stories:

Turnout for iPhone 8 Launch in Australia “Bleak” as Customers Hold Out for Upcoming iPhone X
The iPhone 8 launch in Sydney saw “a bleak turnout,” reports Reuters, with fewer than 30 people lining up outside of the Sydney Apple Store on George Street. In past years, hundreds of people have lined up for new iPhones on release day.

Apple Falls After Analyst Report Indicates Weak iPhone 8 Demand
Consumers pre-ordered about 1.5 million handsets on Chinese retail website in the first three days, compared with about 3.5 million for the comparable period of iPhone 7 orders.

Tim Cook just said he “couldn’t be happier” with the iPhone release (and Apple Watch 3). While sales are lower than prior models, there is one reason, a big reason, that he may actually be telling the truth.

Is There a Plan?
One of the headlines that surfaced from the Apple Event was that the iPhone X was very expensive, starting at $ 999 and climbing to $ 1,200 based on the configuration.

It’s possible, maybe even likely, that Apple decided to release the iPhone 8 for less to make it appear that it was not forcing Apple loyalists to buy a far more expensive phone by offering a reduced priced new model (iPhone 8).

In fact, it does appear that even in the bearish analyst notes, each tends to comment on the fact that demand reduction for the iPhone 8 is simply a reflection of the outsized demand for the iPhone X.

If that’s true, then Apple will have an average selling price significantly higher than in prior times, and if demand is in fact to the point where Apple also sells more units, then that would bring a windfall of profits larger than any company has ever seen in one quarter. If that sound overly bullish, it’s just the choice of words — Apple already has the largest earnings ever in one quarter, so this would be a breaking of its own record — also known more simply as, “growth.”

Back to Risk
While there is a rather bullish narrative to wrap around this odd iPhone selection, there is also, in earnest this time, a reasonable bearish thesis.

Apple won’t be delivering its iPhone X until well into November, and if demand is very strong, it might not even be able to deliver before the holiday season in the United States. And while, certainly, if all of those sales simply occur later in the year (or early 2018), then that’s fine, but to consider that a foregone conclusion is a step we are not willing to take with blind faith.

Some consumers, perhaps many consumers, will not wait. And while Apple loyalists may stick around for a later date, the all-important “Android switchers” (those smartphone Android owners that switch to Apple) may not — and that is a real risk and worthy of a stock drop, until proven otherwise.

Apple’s market share in the United States is jumping as Android loses market share — an under reported but critical phenomenon. On January 11th, 2017, 9TO5Mac wrote iPhone market share grows 6.4% in USA, takes share from Android in most markets.

Apple gained 9.1% in the UK, mostly at the expense of Windows phones.

The iPhone grew its market share in Australia, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and USA, with Android seeing its own share drop in all of these countries bar Italy, where its growth was less than half that of iOS.

Those are Android switchers and Apple may have just put that group, or at least that trend, in serious jeopardy.

Now What?
We believe the iPhone X is going to be a knock-down drag-out mega hit, and the elevated price will make it yet an even larger success. But, the risk that Apple took, as of right now, is hurting the company both with iPhone 8 sales, and potentially, with Android switchers. And that is not a false narrative — it is accurate.

That risk means the stock should drop, and is dropping.

But, we’re not done yet. What we did not show you, and is easily missed unless you are really looking, is how hard Apple is focusing consumers on the iPhone X over the iPhone 8 — in our opinion.

I recorded a 45 second video arriving on the Apple Store and looking at iPhones. I have turned to video to allow you to make your own decision, as opposed to snapshots, which are too selective and an be used to weave any narrative the author likes.

When you watch this video (below), decide for yourself if you feel that Apple is purposefully pointing people to the iPhone X over the iPhone 8. Here we go:

That’s hardly headline grabbing footage, but we found it noteworthy.

Apple Watch 3
There have been some pretty poor reviews of the Apple Watch 3 surrounding its LTE connectivity and its battery life. This is one of those times where the reviews are meaningless. Demand is strong and that’s all that matters.

Here is a snapshot from the Apple Store for that product:

We see the Watch becoming a runaway success as people learn to use that wearable device as a standalone product — leaving the phone at home on runs, meetings, swims, hikes, and whatever other times such a convenience could be desired.

We maintain our Top Pick status on Apple, but have certainly tempered our bullishness with an undeniable new risk. It might work out very well, but, it might not, and that is a new risk to Apple stock.

The author is long shares of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Thanks for reading, friends.

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