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Apple Unveils Its New Chapter With a Trio of iPhones and Health Studies

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Apple Event Is All About Rebranding But Missing Revolutionary Inventions

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) just revealed a trio of new phones: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, with the main difference being each of the three iPhones gained a new camera lens trying to catch-up with Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Pixel smartphones and their camera inventions besides its trending “Play Pass” tease. The news was announced today at Apple’s iPhone event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. The 90 minutes press event included rebranding its priciest iPhones as “Pro” models, introducing new versions of Apple watch, a new iPad, along with announcing its streaming service to start on November 1.

Apple also announced that iPhone and Apple Watch users will soon be able to share their health data with major health organizations. There will be three new health studies that Apple consumers can soon be part of. First, thanks to Apple Watch and iPhone’s new menstrual cycle tracking features that were announced in June, Apple Women’s Health Study will look at how menstrual cycles can screen for conditions like infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pregnancy, menopause and osteoporosis.

Second, by using Apple Watch’s Noise app, a Hearing Health Study will analyze the impact of loud noise on long-term hearing health. This study is the first of its kind to examine how everyday sound exposure affects our ears.

And finally, Apple Heart & Movement Study will track the correlation between physical activity and heart health by looking at how signals like walking pace and flights of stairs climbed relate to quality of life, hospitalizations, falls and other markers of cardiovascular health. The company’s forthcoming app will allow people to share their health data not only with Apple but also with the major health organizations the company is partnering with.

What we can conclude is that overall, there were no impressive inventions. Yet, investors don’t seem displeased because Apple’s stock is up an impressive 35% this year, making it the best Dow performer. It is just ahead of The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) which is also rising above expectations with revenues and profits despite several issues the company is facing. Then, there’s Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) which just signed a deal with MoneyGram to launch a debit card deposit service. This will leverage Visa’s real-time push payments platform Visa Direct to enable domestic direct money transfers to debit cardholders in the U.S.

On a further note, let’s not forget that only in January, Apple warned of slowing sales and earnings growth because of weakness in China. The rebranding does suggest Apple is embracing the lowest-priced iPhone as the device most people will use, while marketing the “Pro” devices for the higher end of the market. The same strategy was applied to its iPads.

Then also we have Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) who made its Automated Incident Response in Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection that was announced in April generally available to enterprise customers. This move aims to help security analysts respond faster and more systematically to a barrage of security alerts.

And Dow’s ‘best of’ list also includes Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) with its ongoing initiatives to improve productivity. Moreover, the company is focused on product improvement, as well as packaging and marketing initiatives, which altogether drive its top and bottom lines. Also, it is on track with its cost-saving plans, allowing the company to have strong results for the fiscal year.

Going back to Apple, its services business rose nearly 13% from last year. This section includes Apple Music, other streaming content and along with the warranty business, they make up 17% of Apple’s total sales. This is more than the iPad, Mac and the Apple Watch. Only the iPhone is more important to Apple accounting for more than half of its revenues. But, the services business is surely to grow further thanks to Apple’s recent introduction of the Apple Card, a credit card that it launched with financial services giants The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NASDAQ:GS), whose top executive was just charged with fraud for deceiving juniors by using their login, and MasterCard (NYSE:MA) who fell 3.4% also on Tuesday. It’s never boring in the corporate world but Apple’s at least better off than its partners, despite the lack of revolutionary inventions at its special event. Analysts are divided what’s next for Apple and Tim Cook’s Apple is surely not Steve Job’s Apple, but as long as average consumers continue to use their current iPhones, iPads, Macs and Watches, Apple can keep making serious money.

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Earnings

Toyota’s News: Redesigned Corolla, New Investments and Partnerships

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Toyota Stock Market News

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM) is managing something other automakers only dream of. The company is honouring its values while achieving sustainable growth for over a decade. The dependable Japanese giant continues to deliver on its promises as it prepares for an electric future.

A new sturdy yet sporty Corolla

On September 17th, the company announced a completely redesigned Corolla that now goes beyond just being a practical buying decision. The newly evolved Corolla has a sporty design, offering pleasurable driving and advanced safety equipment. Being built on Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), Corolla is ready to evolve to meet customers’ needs, according to Yasushi Ueda, chief engineer in charge of development.

Since its debut in 1966, this car is nothing less than adored by consumers all over the world and now, it will have its first hybrid version available to U.S. customers.

Hybrid strategy is actually paying off

Just like Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC) with its 2020 CR-V Hybrid, Toyota is using its hybrid technology to position itself for future growth and transition to an all-electric future, despite the fact these energy saving vehicles do not qualify for government subsidies. But, this strategy is paying off as hybrid demand skyrocketed and the company proudly revealed in February that Lexus reached its 10 millionth vehicle sales milestone since its launch, with its 2018 sales performance achieving several ‘best-ever records’. And it is thanks to these figures that the Chinese government is also starting to see the potential of such vehicles so things can only get even better for Toyota. As the saying goes, persistence is the key to success and these two companies have been quite brave in sticking to HEVs.

New Investment – $391 Million Goes to Texas’ San Antonio Plant

This will be Toyota’s first expansion in nine years at the plant that produces its Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks. It is the part of the company’s strategy to invest $13 billion in its U.S. operations over the period of five years, ending in 2021.

Future Investment – $243.29 million to Produce New Vehicle in Sao Paulo

Toyota is also about to get an even stronger presence in Brazil as it will hire 300 new employees at the Sorocaba Plant to start the production of a new vehicle.

Partnership

And let’s not forget the ground-breaking partnership of Japan’s leading automakers that was revealed in August as Toyota and Suzuki Motor Co. (OTC: SZKMF) announced they will collaborate on developing autonomous car technology. This deal is cementing the bond that the two automakers kicked-off in 2016. They might seem like an odd couple as Suzuki is a everything but a big player, yet its strong presence in India is only one of the things that will greatly benefit Toyota. Although Suzuki admitted defeat on the world’s biggest playgrounds, China and the U.S., it cracked the code for emerging markets. And this is exactly where future global sales growth is expected to come from.

Inventing a car that will run forever?

According to Bloomberg, Toyota aims to go far further than electric by teaming up with Sharp Corporation (OTC:SHCAY) and Japanese governmental organization NEDO that encourages the development of innovative technologies. Considering that Toyota is a company that has even used the economic crisis and recession to only come out stronger, it’s not unlikely that it is set to out do the impossible by mixing the most efficient batteries with solar panels. The company’s strong financial performance and track record show that if anyone can do it, it’s Toyota Motor Co.

 

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Nike Exceeds Wall Street Expectations With Q1 Earnings for FY2020

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Direct-to-consumer sales and digital momentum strategies did the trick for Nike

When Nike (NYSE:NKE) released its better-than-expected first quarter of the fiscal 2020 results late Tuesday. Naturally shares jumped more than 5% to reach $91.80. The reported revenue increased 7.2% year comparing to last year, achieving $10.7 billion, greater than the expected $10.44 billion. Net income soared more than 28%, making adjusted earnings per share $0.86, also smashing expectations of $0.70 per share.

Nike managed to achieve a turnaround

The biggest contributor to total sales was Nike’s North American segment that increased 4% comparing to last year. But China sales also continue to grow and by double digit percentages: 22% to be exact, topping $1.68 billion. Overall, these are fantastic news for investors. Especially since the company’s rare earnings miss for the final quarter of the previous fiscal year. The company attributed this to increased marketing costs and a higher tax rate. But highly anticipated new product launches and solid results for continuing lines, along with efforts to draw new customers to the Nike SNKRS app, did their magic.

Digital momentum is key

Digital movement is transforming and amplifying everything Nike does and in Q1, Nike Digital grew 42% on a currency neutral basis. This growth is driven by enhanced digital services and the international expansion of its app ecosystem. Moreover, The Nike app and SNKRS app are now both live in over 20 countries, with more expansion coming throughout the year.

There are literally no weak spots for investors

Arguably, there are no weak spots for prudent investors to dig in as far as this quarter’s report is concerned. The company is literally firing on all cylinders. The company’s management attributes these results to “the depth and balance of the company’s complete offense, building on the strengths of its foundational business drivers and capitalizing on the untapped dimensions of its portfolio”. Management has also dismissed any concerns that US-China trade conflicts could harm its operations, disclosing no impact has been seen up to date.

Nike showed it can even handle the increased tariffs

Earlier this year Nike joined over 200 other footwear companies urging President Trump not to increase tariffs on footwear imported from China, calling the move “catastrophic for our consumers, our companies, and the American economy as a whole.” But while those tariffs are certainly catastrophic for small players, Nike seems more than capable of mitigating the consequences of this added expense.

Poor macroeconomic conditions are only masking Nike’s true power

The company made it clear that its figures would have been even stronger had it not been for macroeconomic challenges which are manifesting through tariffs and foreign-exchange rates. They implied that the weakening economic climate is essentially masking Nike’s true strength. And in addition to children, women are also a big opportunity for the company that Nike will continue exploiting. This is why Nike expects better-than-planned growth in its higher-margin NIKE Direct channels and international segments and consequently, its full-year gross margin. One thing is for sure: Nike has turned itself into so much more than a ‘sneaker-company’.

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Apple Will Be Making Its MacBook Pros in the US

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With a newly granted “federal product exclusion,” enabling it to import some Mac Pro parts without paying tariffs, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will be able to save enough money to make US assembly worthwhile. The company announced on Monday that it will manufacture the new version of its Mac Pro desktop computer in Austin, Texas. It’s also a big political win for Apple, since President Trump has for years called on the company to make more products in the US. Tim Cook clearly made a compelling case during his meetings with President Trump. Apple described the decision to keep Mac Pro production in Austin as part of its “commitment to US economic growth.”

Macroeconomic climate is not favourable

The September figures around the world are simply awful. The uncertainty brought on by intensifying trade wars, the outlook for the car industry and Brexit are paralyzing investors, with September seeing some of the worst performance since the financial crisis in 2009, leading many to worry about whether yet another crisis is upon us. On a brighter note, Apple’s stock went up 0.2% after Bloomberg reported that ten of its 15 requests for an exemption from tariffs on imports from China had been approved.

New investments

Apple previously disclosed plans to spend $350 billion in the U.S. by 2023, a figure that includes new and existing investments. Its Apple TV+ is set to launch on November 1, with stars like Oprah Winfrey bringing her famed book club streaming show to the company’s subscription service. Among documentaries that will be released, there will even be a multi-series about mental health, featuring no other than Prince Harry himself. Apple’s subscription service will cost only $4.99 a month and will be available in 100 countries and regions at launch. Also, customers who buy a new Apple device will also get a free year of Apple TV+.

Competitors

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is still the leader when it comes to U.S. streaming, along with Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN), AT&T’s HBO (NYSE: T) and upcoming Disney+ (NYSE:DIS), it is certain that competition will be intense. Netflix’s stock has been dropping since July, which was the first time the number of subscribers fell. Moreover, Netflix’s stock price has now officially wiped out any gains it’s made over the year so far and both Disney and Apple have a shot at beating Netflix at its own game.

Apple is still facing impending import duties and innovation difficulties

Let’s not forget that the company still faces import duties scheduled for Dec. 15 that could affect nearly all of its major products including iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Apple Watches. And more importantly, it is thought by many as facing an innovation problem so it heavily relies on customer loyalty that will continue driving its sales. We’ll just have to wait for November 1st launch of Apple TV+ to see the impact of Apple’s new streaming subscription service.

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