Posts by Aaron Pressman

  • FCC plan to unlock the set-top box may be too little, too late

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 18 hrs ago

    A new Federal Communications Commission proposal to "unlock the cable box" is receiving the kind of hype and adulation usually reserved for royal weddings and rocket launches. "Requiring cable-TV systems to make room for competing devices should similarly lead to a boom in new types of services and technologies," the New York Times editorial page opined , comparing the plan to the FCC's famed 1968 ruling allowing consumers to connect their own telephones to Ma Bell's network. "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler dropped a bomb on the cable television industry," Nilay Patel, co-founder and editor-in-chief at top tech site The Verge, declared. There is no denying that it is an exciting time for the evolution of television. And the FCC plan, which hasn't even been adopted as a preliminary proposal yet, could be another helpful step in the right direction. But the plan's benefits have been massively exaggerated, even if it works as intended, which is yet another open question. First, a quick summary. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is asking his fellow commissioners to approve a preliminary proposal at the agency's upcoming meeting on Feb. 18. Under...

  • Tech stock collapse sure looks like bubble popping

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 1 day ago

    (Updated with closing share prices)

  • Google, Facebook wow investors with growth, while Apple and Amazon fade

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 7 days ago

    With Google's Alphabet (GOOGL) overtaking Apple (AAPL) for the title of most valuable company in the stock market on Tuesday, investors may be wondering how the company with only about one-quarter the revenue and less than one-third of the profits could pull ahead. It's all about the growth, or lack of thereof. Google's report on Monday night showed fourth-quarter revenue growing at 18% (24% if the U.S. dollar hadn't strengthened so much over the past year). Apple, by contrast, posted growth of just 2%, or 8% excluding the currency issue, in its Jan. 26 report. Google's rate of growth accelerated from a 15% increase reported in the same quarter last year, while Apple's growth represented a significant drop from 30% a year ago. At least at the present moment, Google's future advertising opportunity looks richer than Apple's smartphone sales possibilities. Some Apple fans have pointed out that the iPhone maker just reported more profit for the quarter, $18.4 billion, than Google reported for the entire year at $15.8 billion. But the stock market is looking forward. When Apple passed Microsoft in stock market value in May, 2010, for example, Microsoft's most recent annual revenue was 36% higher and its profit of $14.6 billion towered over Apple's $5.7 billion total. By last year, Apple had almost five times Microsoft's profits.

  • Amazon is latest of top 2015 stocks in 'FANG' group to disappoint

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 11 days ago

    (Updated stock prices in afternoon trading.)

    They were the darling stocks of 2015, loved by analysts, fund managers and, maybe most of all, momentum traders. The so-called FANG gang, Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet's Google (GOOGL), gained an average of 83% last year.

    (Correction: Facebook and Google are outperforming the S&P 500 so far in 2016. They have not trailed the market.)

  • Cloud service, Prime expected to boost Amazon earnings

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 12 days ago

    Can a merry Christmas get Amazon (AMZN) shares back on track? The e-commerce giant's stock was one of the best performers in the entire market last year, gaining 118% and more than doubling in price and forming one quarter of the much-hyped "FANG" quartet that also included Facebook (FB), Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google. But after that magnificent run, fears of an economic slowdown and retrenching consumers, along with more general investor concerns about overheated growth stocks, helped send Amazon's stock down 14% from the beginning of 2016 through Jan. 27. Now some investors think Amazon's actual results from the important holiday shopping season report could revive the stock. On Thursday, hours ahead of the report, Amazon's shares rallied 5%.

  • Tim Cook: iPhone sales will grow again but investors don't believe

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 13 days ago

    Has the global smartphone market finally peaked or is there plenty more growth to come?

    While analysts and investors fret about market saturation, Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook firmly rejected that view on Tuesday, despite having to concede that iPhone sales at the beginning of this year will be significantly lower than in 2015, the company's first ever year-over-year decrease.

    "If we make a great product and have a great experience then we ought to be able to convince enough people to move over," Cook said, when asked about market saturation. "There's still a lot of people, a tremendous number of people in the world, that will buy smartphones and we ought to be able to win over our fair share of those."

    (This story was updated on Jan. 27 to clarify that Apple CFO Luca Maestri made clear that the $31 billion of service revenue included a portion paid directly to app developers and other third parties.)

  • 3 ways Apple can beat low expectations

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 14 days ago

    Ahead of Apple's (AAPL) all-important holiday quarter report this afternoon everything looks bleak. The company's stock price is down 12% over the past year, including a 6% drop so far in 2016. Analysts have been slashing estimates for weeks, reports out of Asia from Apple suppliers indicate slowing orders and the press is almost entirely negative.

  • J.K. Rowling's magic touch sends 'Harry Potter' book sales booming

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 15 days ago

    J.K. Rowling turned her creative focus back to the popular world of Harry Potter last year and the results were stunning. Sales of the seven-book series, which concluded in July, 2007, nearly doubled last year in the United States. New Potter material has been in short supply since the eighth and final Hollywood movie came out at the end of 2010. After selling over 1.5 million print books a year in 2010 and 2011, series sales in the U.S. declined to an average of under 800,000 a year from 2012 through 2014, according to data from Nielsen Bookscan. But in June, Rowling had a huge surprise for the 6 million Potter fans who follow her on Twitter: She was back at work on a play about the boy wizard and his two best friends from the the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.

    I'm also very excited to confirm today that a new play called Harry Potter and the #CursedChild will be opening in London next year.

  • Twitter's latest shake-up won't help Twitter's investors

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 16 days ago

    That's because most of Twitter is doing just fine. Ad sales have been rising smartly, deals with big ad players signed with regularity and even the service's unreliable technical platform has stabilized (for the most part -- there was an outage last week). But the real problem at Twitter is that user growth and engagement have stagnated. Far more people have tried Twitter and abandon it than currently use the service on a regular basis. And thanks to early comparison to Facebook (FB) and its 1.5 billion users, Twitter’s 320 million active users remain quite the disappointment.

    Under Weil, who took the top product spot under Costolo in October 2014, Twitter has introduced a host of new features meant to make the service easier to learn and use and more relevant around breaking new events, both serious and silly. But as the fifth head of head of product in a five-year period, Weil was reworking well-trod ground as he sought and failed to ignite user growth. 

  • IPO market remains closed as Elevate Credit puts off deal

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 19 days ago

    Elevate Credit (ELVT), an online platform for payday-type lending, said it was temporarily delaying plans to go public this week, further postponing the opening of the initial public offering market in 2016. The deal, which was expected to raise almost $80 million, would have been the first IPO of the year. But with the overall stock market in turmoil and already-public online lenders among the hardest hit, Elevate's IPO faced a tough market for its planned pricing Thursday evening after the market close. The lending platform, which was spun off of the more broadly focused online lender Think Finance almost two years ago, was planning to price at $20 to $22 a share. Elevate said it delayed the deal because of the market's overall weakness. “Although the response to the marketing of our planned IPO has been very favorable, we recognize that the current market volatility makes it very difficult to price our offering at present,” CEO Ken Rees said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate the timing for the offering as market conditions develop."