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Beyond Meat, Up 560% In 2 Months, Leads 5 Explosive Stocks Setting Up New Buy Points

For your watchlist this week are five hot stocks with explosive growth in the early stages of forming new buy points: Trade Desk (TTD), Shopify (SHOP), Twilio (TWLO), Zoom Video Communications (ZM) and Beyond Meat (BYND).

Hot Stocks To Watch

Shopify stock, Trade Desk stock and Zoom stock have all more than doubled this year, while Twilio stock is up some 60% in 2019. Beyond Meat stock has had a staggering debut, rising more than 560% since its May 2019 IPO.

IBD’s investing methodology recommends buying stocks that are already in uptrends. But it’s important to see those stocks in a proper buying area before jumping in. Given the powerful moves by these five stocks this year, investors should keep them on their radar for when they break out again.

New Buy Points Taking Shape

It’s key to point out that Trade Desk, Shopify, Twilio, Zoom Video and Beyond Meat have only been consolidating for about four weeks. Proper flat bases take a minimum of five weeks to form. The cup base takes six weeks, while the cup-with-handle and double-bottom bases take at least seven weeks to form.

If any of these hot stocks break out to new highs before consolidating long enough to shape a proper base, they could potentially be buyable for short-term holders or aggressive traders.

Trade Desk Stock

Trade Desk stock has popped 109% in 2019. Shares are 5.4% below a potential buy point at 258.10 for a third-stage base. The strong move this year comes even amid a nearly 15% one-day drop on the digital advertising platform’s last earnings report.

The relative strength line for Trade Desk stock is below recent highs as shares consolidate, but it has moved sharply higher this year.

Shopify Stock

Shopify stock, in the hot enterprise software industry group, is trading 8.6% below a potential buy point at 339.04. Shares of the e-commerce platform have found support at the key 50-day moving average along their explosive run, sparked by strengthening earnings growth.

Shopify stock has surged 122% so far this year. Like Trade Desk, the relative strength line for Shopify stock has spiked in 2019.

Twilio Stock

Enterprise software peer Twilio has been hugging its 50-day moving average along its climb. It’s now 5.9% below a 151.10 buy point. But the stock’s last two breakouts from proper bases quickly failed, triggering sell signals.

That means Twilio stock has likely been difficult for CAN SLIM-style traders to handle, despite the big move higher.

Trade Desk, Shopify and Twilio did not reset their base counts during the 2018 correction, making their new bases later-stage ones. Those have a higher chance of failing vs. early-stage bases.

Zoom Stock

But recent IPOs Zoom Video and Beyond Meat are by definition in the early stages of growth. Zoom stock is up more than 160% from its April 2019 IPO price of 36 a share. The stock broke out of a narrow IPO base with a 74.27 entry early on in its run.

Zoom stock then staged a breakout over a 91.56 entry, but pulled back after a quick run-up to trigger a sell rule. A new buy point is emerging at 107.44, and shares are trading 13% below that level.

Beyond Meat Stock

Beyond Meat stock has had a massive run that began with an IPO-base breakout over the 85.55 mark. Shares are now trading 17.4% below a potential entry at 201.98. The action for Beyond Meat stock shows how investors can make massive profits with IPO stocks in a short time period. But buying out of an IPO base is key.

Zoom stock is already profitable, while Beyond Meat stock is expected to turn a profit in 2020. Both boast triple-digit sales growth.

Walmart in warning about India e-commerce rules

NEW DELHI: Walmart told the US government privately in January that India’s new investment rules for e-commerce were regressive and had the potential to hurt trade ties, a company document seen by Reuters showed.
The lobbying effort yielded no result at the time — India implemented the new rules from Feb. 1 — but the document underlines the level of concern at Walmart about the rules. Differences over e-commerce regulations have become one of the biggest issues in frayed trade ties between New Delhi and Washington.
“It came as a total surprise … this is a major change and a regressive policy shift,” Walmart’s Senior Director for Global Government Affairs Sarah Thorn told the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in an an email on Jan. 7.

Just months earlier, Walmart had invested $16 billion in Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart, its biggest ever acquisition globally.

In a statement to Reuters on Thursday, Walmart said it regularly offers input to the US and Indian governments on policy issues and this was a “past issue and Walmart and Flipkart are looking ahead.”
“Walmart has had good consultations with the government of India,” a company spokeswoman added.
The USTR did not respond to a request for comment.

In the January letter to the USTR, Walmart said it wanted a six-month delay in the implementation of the rules, but that did not happen. Washington did raise concerns about the policy with New Delhi, but India gave a non-committal response, an Indian trade ministry official told Reuters at the time.

Walmart’s problems in India highlight the regulatory complications it faces as it restructures its international business to boost growth and online sales. Mexico’s competition regulator recently blocked its acquisition of delivery app Cornershop, while in Britain it was stopped from merging its British arm Asda with rival Sainsbury’s.
These issues, however, have failed to unnerve Walmart investors. Walmart shares have risen 21 percent, compared with a 19 percent increase for the S&P 500 since the start of the year.

A USTR delegation led by Christopher Wilson, Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, was to meet Indian officials in New Delhi on Friday to resume discussions on trade ties and the e-commerce issue was likely to be high on the agenda.

In its January representation, Walmart told the USTR that India’s new policy wasn’t good for global businesses, highlighting that its foreign direct investment would help Flipkart grow and result in “significant” tax revenues for New Delhi.

“Changing rules to hinder international business following major investments … will have important implications for India FDI goals and add unnecessary pressure to trade discussions,” Walmart said.

Ecommerce Solutions Provider Ace Turtle Raises Funding From Vertex, Others

Ecommerce solutions provider Ace Turtle has reportedly raised INR 27 Cr (about $4 Mn) in Pre-Series B round of funding from existing investor Vertex Ventures and a new private equity investor.

A person briefed on the deal told Mint that Ace Turtle is also in talks to raise additional equity financing from new investors in the ongoing Series B round.

Ace Turtle facilities brick-and-mortar brands by helping them manage and list their product inventory across e-commerce platforms and online websites. It does this by managing and distributing the entire stock keeping unit of a brand while not owning any inventory.

Till date, Ace Turtle has raised around $5 Mn in financing across both equity and debt financing from investors such as InnoVen Capital and its other existing investors.

The company’s core customers consist of lifestyle, apparel, and luggage brands such as Max, Puma, Fossil, US Polo, and Ray-Ban. The company has 50 such retail brands on its platform.

Ace Turtle, founded in 2013 by Berry Singh and Nitin Chabra, offers a full-stack e-commerce software and operational resources which provides end-to-end solutions ranging from order processing, payments, customer relationship management (CRM), logistics to offline retail brands and last-mile delivery. It has partnered with multiple logistics provider for the deliveries component.

Riding on the growth thanks to increasing online transactons, cheaper internet and rising retail awareness in India, the logistics segment and SaaS products that support retail operations are seeing a flurry of investments in India.

In May, Mumbai-based Peel-Works, which is a SaaS platform for grocery stores and corner shops raised $5 Mn in a Series B funding round and earlier this week, Gurugram-based logistics startup Rivigo raised $65 Mn in its ongoing series E round led by existing investors Warburg Pincus and SAIF Partners.

In February, Pune-based ecommerce logistics provider Xpressbees raised INR 35 Cr($4.9 Mn) from Mumbai-based venture debt and speciality lending company InnoVen Capital.

Xpressbees provides services such as last-mile delivery, reverse logistics, payment collection, drop shipping, vendor management, cross-border services, fulfilment services and tailored software solutions.

Small Cities Are the Next Battleground for E-Commerce in China. Alibaba is Growing Fast There.

Alibaba Group Holding finished the first quarter of its financial year with a strong performance in the annual 618 Shopping Festival at the start of June. Consumers from China’s smaller cities are likely to be critical to whether that continues for all of fiscal 2020.

The back story. The festival, a flurry of promotional events that runs from June 1-18, was initiated by Alibaba’s rival JD.com (ticker: JD) to commemorate the launch of the business on June 18, 1998. It soon became one of China’s biggest online shopping events, along with the Singles Day in November. Many other e-commerce platforms—including Alibaba—now offer promotional prices during the month.

During this year’s 618 event, the gross volume of merchandise sold via Alibaba’s Tmall platform increased 38.5% from last year, compared with 27% at JD.com. Sales got a lift from Alibaba’s effort to expand in lower-tier cities—the new battleground for e-commerce as larger cities become saturated.

Juhuasuan, an Alibaba channel that targets customers from smaller cities who are more sensitive to price, attracted 80% more new customers during the 618 promotions than it did last year. Transaction volume from smaller cities doubled.

What’s new. In a Friday note, Morgan Stanley analyst Grace Chen reiterated that she is optimistic about Alibaba’s performance this fiscal year. Although some are concerned that Alibaba’s aggressive plans to grow in lower-tier cities might reduce its margins, Chen believes the company has the skills and processes it needs to keep that in check.

Chen believes Alibaba’s sales increased 38% year on year to reach 112 billion yuan ($16.3 billion) in the April-June quarter. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or Ebitda, are likely to come in at 29.7 billion yuan, up 12%, she says.

Alibaba plans to report its results on Aug. 22.

Looking ahead. Chen expects Alibaba to invest more in service businesses in lower-tier cities—an approach that she said could be more challenging than selling physical goods because market dynamics and consumption habits may be different than in places such as Beijing. Still, she called local services a key part of Alibaba’s efforts to expand in those markets.

The overall effort, she said, will help Alibaba to achieve sustainable long-term grown.

Virtually all analysts covering Alibaba stock rate it as Buy, or the equivalent. The average target price for the stock over the next 12 months is $218, about 29% higher than Friday’s closing price of $169.07. Chen has an Overweight rating for Alibaba and a target price of $207.

Tencent chases Alibaba for cloud computing supremacy

HONG KONG — When Jack Ma and Pony Ma shared a stage at the 2010 IT Leaders Summit in Shenzhen, the two hugely influential Chinese technology tycoons were asked what they thought of the still-nascent field of cloud computing. The men, who are not related, gave starkly different answers.

Jack, who built Alibaba Group Holding, called the cloud a lifesaver for the future of his e-commerce conglomerate. “If we don’t do this, we will die,” he said. Pony, the chief of online entertainment giant Tencent Holdings, conceded that businesses might someday want to run their operations on third-party servers but argued it “would take centuries, if not a thousand years…to materialize.”

“It is simply too early” to explore the opportunity, he said.

Nearly a decade later, Pony has changed his tune and Tencent is dead set on overtaking Alibaba, which has opened up a big lead in the sector. One Tencent executive put it this way: “This is the goal of our company. … Pony made it clear that he is willing to invest 10 years to make it happen.”

Tencent is so determined to catch up that it is snagging cloud customers by pouring millions of dollars into their businesses, with the understanding that they will use its services and help recruit other clients, industry insiders say. Alibaba, however, will not let Tencent move in without a fight.

Cloud computing — the practice of using a network of remote servers to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or PC — has become a booming business. On-demand access to computing power via the cloud allows, say, a streaming company like Netflix to cope with the surge in viewership when a new season of “Stranger Things” goes online. It also makes it possible to offer web-based services like Dropbox and Google Docs.

Worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure is forecast to reach $210 billion this year, up from less than $170 billion in 2018, according to market analysis firm IDC.

China is the world’s second-largest public cloud market after the U.S., with spending estimated to reach $10.5 billion this year. Since Beijing’s security restrictions make it difficult for Western tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft to handle the data, analysts say this multibillion-dollar battlefield is left largely to domestic competitors.

Alibaba is the undisputed leader, but IDC data shows Tencent is gaining ground. In the segment known as “infrastructure as a service” — one of the most popular forms of cloud services in China — Tencent achieved a market share of 11.5% last year. That was far behind the 43% share of Alibaba Cloud, known as AliCloud, but it was an improvement from 7.4% in 2016.

The gap between the two companies is expected to narrow further, said Elinor Leung, head of telecom and internet research at brokerage CLSA in Hong Kong. Although Leung thinks Alibaba is likely to stay ahead thanks in part to its first-mover advantage, she said Tencent has strengthened its technical know-how and has an edge in sectors such as gaming and video streaming.

“I think Tencent can be a competitor [for Alibaba] in the market,” Leung said.

Tencent and Alibaba, both of which have market capitalizations approaching half a trillion dollars, are no strangers to competition. The two have clashed over everything from internet advertising to food. Alibaba controls 36% of China’s online ad sales versus Tencent’s 15%, according to investment bank Bernstein. Tencent beat Alibaba in meal deliveries, with 61% of Chinese customers placing orders through Tencent-backed Meituan Dianping compared with 37% who use Alibaba’s Ele.me.

But the stakes are much higher in the cloud. Industry watchers say these services will not only yield billions of dollars in revenue but also shape China’s tech landscape, as tomorrow’s cities, industries and all sorts of technology will be cloud-reliant.

“Cloud computing is the future,” said Ethan Qi, an analyst with global consultancy Counterpoint Research in Beijing. As businesses increasingly digitalize their operations with the help of cloud providers, “I believe cloud computing will become the key driving force behind the future growth of Tencent and Alibaba,” he said.

For now, the rivals are both losing money in their cloud operations. Alibaba’s cloud business, despite rapid growth in revenue, lost more than 1 billion yuan ($145 million) in the first quarter of this year alone. Tencent did not disclose its losses.

Overall, these tech titans have logged staggering earnings growth in recent years. Tencent posted a net profit of 78.7 billion yuan last year, up from 23.8 billion yuan in 2014. Alibaba logged an 87.6 billion yuan profit for fiscal 2018, up from 24.2 billion yuan four years earlier.

The cloud, however, holds the key for the two groups to branch out from their consumer-focused businesses and cater to industrial clients — a crucial transition as growth starts to slow amid China’s economic downturn.

While sales from cloud services make up only a single-digit share of Alibaba’s revenue, CEO Daniel Zhang — Chairman Jack Ma’s successor-in-waiting — has said the operations could grow to even outstrip e-commerce. “I think the cloud will be … the main business of Alibaba in the future,” Zhang was quoted by CNBC as saying last year.

Tencent, meanwhile, named cloud computing as one of its core businesses alongside gaming and social networking during a round of restructuring in September. The entertainment heavyweight has pledged to become a “digital assistant to all industries.”

Qi suggested that strong cloud operations would give the companies an edge in other fields. “Alibaba and Tencent are major players in big data and artificial intelligence,” he said. “Cloud services will give them a chance to showcase their technologies.”

An easy way to understand this is to think of the cloud as a different kind of public infrastructure — a highway. Cloud-based services, then, are stores along the road. Customers who are already on Tencent’s highway will be more likely to shop at its stores, rather than taking a detour to do business with Alibaba.

As a latecomer, Tencent has gained its foothold by focusing on sectors it knows well. In gaming — where it is the country’s No. 1 publisher — Tencent says it has convinced 75% of fellow gaming companies to use its cloud services.

The operator of the WeChat instant messaging app, which has 1.1 billion active users, has also capitalized on its strength in social networking. At least 160,000 shops, restaurants and other businesses that use WeChat to interact with their customers have also used Tencent’s cloud offerings.

But to knock AliCloud from its perch, Tencent knows it has to do better than that.

Shanghai Anchnet Network Technology, a major developer of cloud-based software, is one company that has switched from AliCloud to Tencent Cloud. The trigger? “Tencent invested 100 million yuan in our business,” said an Anchnet executive who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Although Tencent’s cloud technology did not outperform Alibaba’s, the executive said, “my boss was keen to get the investment.” So Anchnet turned its back on AliCloud, bringing with it more than 2,000 companies that use its software.

The deal also gave Anchnet motivation to promote Tencent’s cloud service: It is expected to help bring in deals worth 100 million yuan a year or pay a penalty. “Tencent has recruited many business partners like us,” the executive said. “That’s why it has expanded its market share so quickly.”

Analysts say that although Alibaba is far ahead, much of the Chinese market is still up for grabs.

When it comes to dealing with manufacturers and other clients outside their respective comfort zones — retail for Alibaba, entertainment for Tencent — the rivals stand at the “same starting point,” said Rachel Liu, a researcher with IDC China. “Their success in those sectors will depend on how quickly they can build an ecosystem and how attractive their ecosystem is.”

In May, Tencent held its first Global Digital Ecosystem Summit in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming. There, an engineer cheerfully showed visitors an array of smart locks, indoor humidity monitors and other internet-connected devices. All were built on Tencent’s cloud platform, for which the developers did not pay a single yuan.

“We want to provide solutions for all the ‘internet of things’ device makers,” the engineer explained. The logic, according to him, is that anyone can take advantage of Tencent’s free platform to develop their own software, but companies that become addicted to the convenience will demand more. That, in turn, will give Tencent a chance to charge for the service.

Plus, once a large number of device makers are on the platform, software developers serving the IoT industry would follow suit, and Tencent would be able to take a cut from every software sale.

 

To make all of that possible, the engineer said Tencent is investing in rapidly expanding his team, making at least 20 to 30 new hires in the first five months of this year.

But despite Tencent’s efforts, another industry analyst said Alibaba is still better positioned to win over Chinese IoT device makers, at least for now. The analyst, who asked to not be named due to concerns about upsetting Tencent, told Nikkei that Alibaba has developed “strong expertise” in cloud computing over the years and is geared up for the battle ahead.

Since the debut of its cloud business in 2009, Alibaba has built a workforce of more than 10,000 people in the segment. By contrast, Tencent only has around 4,000 people in the field, the analyst said.

Nevertheless, Dowson Tong, a senior executive vice president who oversees Tencent’s cloud business, sounded confident. While he acknowledged that the cloud business had been spilling red ink, he told reporters at the summit in May that Tencent was committed to investing more.

“We see a dramatic demand for cloud and infrastructure,” Tong said. “We have increased our investment in the cloud business and all other aspects related to this area … and we will continue to do that.”

Aussies get head start on Amazon Prime Day sale

The bargain hunters are circling and retailers are stocking up for the frenzy, as one of the world’s biggest online sales – Amazon Prime Day – goes live
Australians get a head start and the longest access to the sale across the globe with 65 hours of deals.
Last year, more than $AU2.1 billion was spent over the duration of the sale.
What will the biggest Amazon Prime Day discounts be?
– Half price Amazon Devices, such as Echo Dot and Amazon Echo
– 50 per cent off fashion labels, including Adidas, Calvin Klein and Lorna Jane
– 25 per cent off tech including headphones, laptops, appliances
– 30 per cent off toys, including LEGO, Barbie, Fisher-Price and Toy Story 4
How does Amazon Prime Day work?
To access the deals, shoppers must be Amazon Prime members, which also entitles them to discounts on Amazon books, Kindle, Audible and music subscriptions.
The managing director of Melbourne-based manchester and homewares retailer Canningvale said many of their lines sold out within three hours.
“We participated in Australia’s first Amazon Prime Day (last year) and while we expected the uptick in sales, we were not expecting to sell out of the majority of our discounted products so quickly,” Jordan Prainito said.
“We saw close to a 500 per cent increase in sales.
“In regards to the next couple of days, we’ve doubled down on our stock investment in preparation for the event, which we expect to drive tremendous traffic and serious sales activity.”
Are there other sales?
One of Amazon’s major online competitors, eBay, has also announced “hundreds of additional deals” from today ranging across tech, gaming, toys and homewares products.
As part of the sales, eBay Plus customers are able to access Apple AirPods hourly from 10am for $99.
Discounts of up to $388 will also be on-offer for hair dryers, heaters, home systems and baby strollers.
“We know Aussies love a bargain – especially when it comes to popular items from brands like Apple, Dyson and Google,” Sophie Onikul, from eBay Australia, told 9News in a statement.
“At eBay we’re proud to offer shoppers unbeatable range and value – with deals that are truly out-of-this-world – all year round.”
How do the sales help Australia?
The frenzy is also expected to provide a much-needed boost to Australian retail figures, which after a slow start to 2019 are benefiting from end of financial year sales, and tax returns.
“Mid season for retailers is a very important time of year,” National Retail Association Chief Executive Dominique Lamb said.
“We know that tax returns play a massive role in the fact that people do spend money, and they kind of wait until those tax returns come in before they go out and make those bigger purchases that they’ve perhaps been putting off for some time.
“So certainly white goods, linen, towels and other electronic equipment through the household – it really is a time of year where consumers start to spend.”
And that’s expected to ring true this year more than ever, with the Federal Government’s $1080 dollar tax cut bonus beginning to land in the bank accounts of workers earning between $48,000 and $90,000 per year.
“We know that the last time this occurred under the Rudd Government in 2009, we saw one of our record largest Januarys, which was about $19.2 billion being spent across the country,” Ms Lamb said.
“So, retailers are certainly expecting to see consumers spend up big and we’re hoping it will give retail the boost it really needs.”

Amazon releases early Prime Day 2019 deals

It’s a conspiracy! Amazon has staged Prime Day to try to distract people from marching on Area 51. It’ll probably work, too: Amazon Prime Day 2019 starts Monday, and a bunch of deals are already available. In fact, Prime subscribers can now get the Fire TV Stick for $15, Echo (2nd-gen) for $50 and Kindle Paperwhite for $85 — all deals that were previously scheduled to go live tomorrow.

Other stores are getting in on the action, too: Walmart’s Prime Day sale has already started, Macy’s has a Black Friday in July sale ending tonight and eBay and Target will unveil their sales Monday.

Take a breath. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and FOMO (fear of missing out), but the reality is that many, if not most, of the deals this weekend and this week, will be repeated — certainly during Black Friday Month this November, and possibly even before that.

Quick tips for Prime Day success
That said, we want to cut through the noise to bring you the absolute best bargains — and the advice you need to find them and perhaps even improve on them. Here’s how to make sure you don’t miss a Prime Day sale you’re looking for, your secret weapon on Prime Day and how to save even more than you expected on Prime Day.

Next, check out the just-released list of Amazon device deals that will be available starting Monday. One interesting inclusion: The Facebook Portal for just $80 (regularly $199). I’m also eyeballing a $99 iPhone 7 from Verizon Visible, the Runtopia S1 smart watch for $59 and a few other things I can’t share yet — but be sure to tune in tomorrow for all the best stuff.

Indeed, we’ll be updating and expanding this post as deals arrive (and depart), so bookmark it and check back often. Expired deals are collected way down at the bottom.

Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products and services featured on this page.

Sneak peek: A few of the best deals coming Monday

Although many deals are live right now (see below), there are lots more coming Monday — and not just on Amazon devices. Here’s a quick preview of the some of the highlights:

  • Jabra will be cutting 30% off several of its popular headphones, including the AirPod-rivaling Elite 65t.
  • Verizon Visible will be offering the iPhone 7 for just $99 (after two months of service and a rebate in the form of a $100 prepaid debit card). You can leverage the same rebate to snag the Motorola Moto 7 Power for just $49.
  • The super-sexy GLAS Smart Thermostat will be $179.99 on Prime Day. Regular price: $249.99.
  • The simple but versatile Kami Smart Security Starter Kit, regularly $99.99, will be priced at $69.99.
  • The Google Pixel 3 and 3XL will be $260 off their regular prices, while the Pixel 3aXL will come with a $100 Amazon gift card.
  • The Nixplay Seed 10.1-inch digital photo frame will drop to $105, while the Seed 13.3 will hit $147.

The best Prime Day deals right now

Let’s take a look at Amazon’s current batch of pre-Prime Day deals — starting with one that was announced last week: Spend $10 at Whole Foods, get a $10 Amazon credit good for use during Prime Day.

Optoma makes some of the best projectors in the biz, and this is a huge saving on what might be an ideal addition to your home theater — or backyard, as the UHL55 is portable, with a carrying handle and built-in speaker. It can even function as a standalone Bluetooth speaker.

Runtopia S1 smartwatch: $59.99 (save $40)

Designed with runners in mind, the Runtopia S1 features a built-in GPS, a heart-rate monitor, and a water-resistant case. It can receive basic notifications from your phone, and if you bring your phone along on your runs, the Runtopia app can provide audio coaching based on your heart rate. Click the on-page 25%-off coupon to snag the extra savings.

Another deal exclusively for Prime subscribers, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, and Echo Dot bundle drops to just $169 when you add them to your shopping cart. Previously the Ring was on sale for $169 all by itself — the Dot just adds icing to the cake.

Between now and Prime Day, Amazon is offering deep discounts on a ton of magazines. Reader’s Digest, for example, 10 issues for $8. Martha Stewart Living: 10 issues for $5.49. Men’s Health: 10 issues for $9.99. These are all print mags unless otherwise specified.

Yep, the third-gen Dot hasn’t been priced this low since November.

The Recast is Amazon’s over-the-air DVR, a fee-free option for cord-cutters looking to record live TV. It normally sells for $229.99, so this is a huge savings (and by far the lowest price to date). Just take note that you’ll need to pair it with an Amazon Fire TV device. Those aren’t on sale yet, but they will be soon, no question.

Compared with music-streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited is already a deal at $7.99 per month. This promotion — which requires a Prime subscription and is for new Music Unlimited subscribers only — nets you four full months for just a buck. After that, you’ll be on the hook for the regular rate, unless you cancel.

Apple iPad 128GB: $329 (save $100)

Amazon currently has the 32GB 2017 iPad model for $249 (which is the de facto street price these days). But the better deal is the 128GB model for $329. That gets you four times the storage for the same price you’d pay for the 32GB model at the Apple Store.

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $180 (save $20)

It’s not a huge discount, but it’s something. Apple’s flagship AirPods come with a wireless charging case, a tiny little convenience that is nonetheless super nice.

Don’t care about wireless charging? Amazon also has the second-generation AirPods with standard case for $144.99, a savings of about $14.

 

Now that you know what’s happening today, let’s take a look at what to expect in the weeks to come — and how you can make sure you’re getting the best deals.

Motley Fool: A Shopify Spree

Amazon.com isn’t the only company demonstrating phenomenal growth in the $3.5 trillion retail e-commerce market. For example, there’s Shopify (NYSE: SHOP), which provides a platform to help businesses both large and small build out their online presence and increase their sales.

In its most recent quarter, Shopify’s sales shot up 50% compared with the year-ago quarter, and the total number of merchants on the platform now sits around 820,000. Shopify’s merchant solutions (which include payment transactions, fees and hardware sales) increased sales by 58%, and sales from subscription solutions jumped 40% year-over-year.

Meanwhile, Shopify is expanding its revenue streams by boosting its Shopify Plus service, which helps major brands and large companies with enterprise e-commerce services. Shopify Plus now accounts for 26% of the company’s monthly recurring revenue, up from 22% in the first quarter of 2018. The company is also venturing into fulfillment, launching a network of fulfillment centers.

Shopify’s share price has skyrocketed more than 100% over the past year, and with the company’s potential to tap the e-commerce market further, it still has plenty of room to grow. Risk-tolerant, long-term investors who are looking for a compelling e-commerce play able to scale along with businesses as they grow their online sales should consider snapping up some shares of Shopify. (The Motley Fool owns shares of and has recommended Shopify.)

Ask the Fool

Q: What are “current” and “quick” ratios? – O.P., Bloomington, Indiana

A: Both are measures of a company’s short-term liquidity. To calculate a company’s current ratio, go to its balance sheet and divide current assets by current liabilities. The result shows whether the company has sufficient resources – such as cash and receivables – to pay its bills over the coming year.

The quick ratio (sometimes called the acid-test ratio) is similar, but it’s a bit more meaningful, as it subtracts inventory and prepayments from current assets before dividing by current liabilities.

Quick ratios and current ratios of 1.0 are good. Consider a high ratio a red flag, as it can reflect assets sitting around unproductively. These ratios vary by industry, so compare a company only with its peers – or with itself over time – to spot trends.

Q: Can you explain “dollar-cost averaging”? – L.L., Hendersonville, North Carolina

A: Yup. Dollar-cost averaging is when you regularly spend a set sum on an investment over time. For example, you might invest $1,000 in Big Bangs Salon (ticker: BZNGA) stock every three months, for a year or longer. You’d do this regardless of the stock price – for example, buying 10 shares when the price is $100 and 12 shares when it’s $83.

With this system, you’ll be buying more shares when the stock price is lower, and fewer shares when it’s higher. It’s a good way to accumulate shares if your budget is limited, or if you’re not confident enough to invest a big chunk of money all at once, lest the market suddenly tumble. (Keep your commission costs in check, though – you don’t want to be spending, say, $7 to invest just $100.)

My dumbest investment

My dumbest investment was in shares of Fannie Mae. Need I say more? I lost much of my investment in a single day! Ouch. Never again. – C.G., online

The Fool responds: The Fannie Mae story has been complicated – and costly to many investors.

Fannie Mae, more officially known as the Federal National Mortgage Association, is a government-sponsored enterprise, or GSE, that, in its own words, is a “leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing” to millions of homebuyers.

The GSE racked up losses in the 2000s from subprime mortgages, and in 2008, along with Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.), it was bailed out by the federal government and placed under federal supervision. Its dividend was suspended and has yet to be reinstated. Its investors saw the stock fall from roughly $70 per share in 2007 to $7 on the day before the bailout, before plunging 90% the next day, to $0.73 per share, following news of the bailout. More recently, shares have been trading near $2.80, and Fannie Mae is still under government conservatorship.

A lesson here for investors is to dig deeply into a company’s situation and prospects if its shares start falling significantly. Better still, keep up with the company all along, to reduce chances of being unpleasantly surprised by bad news. Diversification helps, too: Don’t keep too many eggs in any one basket.

Barron’s Picks And Pans: Coca-Cola, Kroger, Shopify And More

This weekend’s Barron’s presents 11 cheap blue-chips in a pricey market.

Other featured articles name cheap stocks that are cheap for a reason and how to play stocks that are mired in controversy.

Also: the prospects for a TV station operator, an e-commerce play, a grocery store chain and consumer goods giant.

“Blue Chips on Sale: 11 Cheap Stocks in a Pricey Market” by Jack Hough takes a look at Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) and several other companies that have low price-to-earnings ratios, solid profits and decent growth, even while the stock market is hitting new highs.

Lawrence Strauss’ “A TV Stock That Can Win No Matter Who Wins the 2020 Election” points out that broadcasting company Gray Television, Inc. (NYSE: GTN) has outlets in a number of markets that should benefit from political ad spending in 2020.

In “A Company That’s Thriving as an Antidote to Amazon,” Tae Kim suggests that for hundreds of thousands of merchants trying to sell their wares online, Shopify Inc(NYSE: SHOP) has become a viable alternative to the e-commerce colossus.

Large regional banks like Regions Financial Corp (NASDAQ: RF) didn’t have to have their capital plans reviewed by the Federal Reserve this year, according to “Regional Banks Join the Dividend Party” by Lawrence Strauss. That didn’t stop many of them from announcing new dividend increases.

In Jack Hough’s “Beware These ‘Radio Shack’ Stocks: They’re Cheap for a Reason,” see why Barron’s believes the time may have come and gone for GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE: JCP) and a number of other companies.

See also: CNBC: 13 Women CEOs Have Taken Companies Public So Far In 2019

“5 Extreme Stocks: Great for Traders, Tougher for Investors” by Al Root says that controversy about a stock like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) sometimes leads to higher volatility and weaker returns. But that could also set up such stocks to gain as controversy fades.

In “Kroger Stock Has Slid This Year, and One Director Is Loading Up on Shares,” Ed Lin examines why a Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) board member has loaded up on shares of the supermarket operator even though the stock has taken a pounding so far this year.

The valuation of The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO) remains compelling and investor concerns are still overblown. So says Paul Farrell’s “Coke Is Still Undervalued.” See why the stock offers a clearly superior long-term growth outlook compared with its peers.

Amazon’s first job listing show’s Jeff Bezos’ gruelling standards

The tough working conditions allegedly facing Amazon employees have made headlines for years now — and it seems it’s been the case from day one.

Amazon’s first ever job ad — listed by founder Jeff Bezos in 1994 — was unearthed last year by BNN Bloomberg host Jon Erlichman, and shared on Twitter.

And 12 words buried within the ad could be the secret to the company’s phenomenal success — although it also paints a grim picture about the tech giant’s stringent standards.

The ad was for software developers for a company called Cadabra, as Amazon was then known as, and was posted to a public message board.

“Well-capitalised start-up seeks extremely talented C/C++/Unix developers to help pioneer commerce on the internet,” the message reads.

“You must have experience designing and building large and complex (yet maintainable) systems, and you should be able to do so in about one-third the time that most competent people think possible.

“You should have a BS, MS, or PhD in Computer Science or the equivalent. Top-notch communication skills are essential. Familiarity with web servers and HTML would be helpful but is not necessary.

“Expect talented, motivated, intense, and interesting co-workers. Must be willing to relocate to the Seattle area (we will help cover moving costs). Your compensation will include meaningful equity ownership.”

Mr Erlichman’s tweet went viral at the time, with social media users describing the requirement to perform tasks “in about one-third the time that most competent people think possible” as “disgusting”, “ridiculous” and “unrealistic”.

“Should be able to do in one-third of time? Looks more like a slave search than employee,” one Twitter user wrote, while another added: “So everyone is just going to skip over ‘one-third the time that most competent people think possible’? #Start-up translation: you working 80 hrs/week.”

Amazon turned 25 on Friday, and the job ad is now doing the rounds on social media again as a result of that milestone.

The online retail giant has achieved remarkable growth in that time, becoming the world’s most valuable public company in January this year and cementing Mr Bezos as the world’s richest person, with a $US131 billion fortune.

However, Amazon has also gained notoriety for all the wrong reasons over the years.

Last year, undercover investigator James Bloodworth claimed Amazon warehouse staff in the UK were peeing in bottles in lieu of a bathroom break to avoid taking too long away from the job, while a different undercover investigation by UK reporter Alan Selby revealed warehouse workers unable to handle the strain of punishing quotas were regularly taken away by ambulance.

And in December 2018, it was revealed Melbourne mother Rachel Shafner was seeking $274,815 in compensation from Amazon after claiming she was fired for asking to pick her kids up from school.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Ms Shafner claimed she was let go after asking for a flexible working arrangement last August which would have allowed her to leave the office at 3pm and continue working from home after picking up her children from school and childcare.

The mum-of-two asked for the new arrangement as her husband had fallen ill in March, which meant he was in and out of hospital.

However, an Amazon spokeswoman denied the allegations when contacted by news.com.au.

Meanwhile, Mr Bezos’ personal life has also been under the spotlight recently following his split from wife MacKenzie.

Ms Bezos received nearly $55 billion this month, making it the world’s biggest divorce settlement in history.

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