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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Alphabet, Tesla, Xilinx and NetApp

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 23, 2018 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Apple AAPL, Alphabet GOOGL, Tesla TSLA, Xilinx XLNX and NetApp NTAP.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Apple Roundup: Berkshire, $2 Trillion, Teen Hacks and FaceTime

Last week, Berkshire stocked up on Apple shares, a long-time analyst talked about the next trillion dollars in its valuation, an Aussie teen hacked in to its computer and more.

Berkshire Gets More Apple

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway added to its steadily growing position in Apple, as the consumer-focused technology company continues to move from strength to strength, making relatively fewer mistakes than many of its peers. Berkshire’s Apple holdings grew by 12 million shares and now constitute 24% of its holdings, giving him an ownership stake of 5% in Apple.

The fund’s policy is to keep holdings in any company at under 10% to avoid regulatory compulsions, so there’s scope to add much more. Between the time that he first invested in Apple in 2016 to today, Apple stock has gone from $93 to $210, so investors would be pleased.

Quite the opposite is the case with Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital, which has been taking losses of late and seeing investors cash out. Einhorn recently cut its stake in Apple and some other stocks, possibly to raise capital to offset losses resulting from his bet on Bayer, which fell 10% following jury findings that its Monsanto unit failed to warn that its weed killers pose cancer risks.

Berkshire’s move speaks of the confidence in Apple shares, especially given escalating trade tensions with China, which remains a very important market for Apple, and to a much lesser extent, Turkish present Erdogan’s bombast about boycotting American electronics (especially from Apple) in response to President Donald Trump’s attempt to meddle in its internal affairs.

Analyst Looks to $2 Trillion Valuation

Long-time Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, now at Hong Kong-based TF International Securities, has put out a note naming the next two genres that will take Apple to a $2 trillion valuation. In his words, "Services, AR and Apple Car will create Apple's next trillion-dollar market cap."

As far as AR is concerned, the company has been dropping tantalizing hints of its progress, along with promises that its entire product line will someday have AR, introducing a new file format called USDZ to facilitate rendering for AR developers and launching ARKit 2. AR glasses including their own small displays and processors are also in the works for a tentative launch some time in 2020 if media rumors are to be believed.

A couple of years after that will come Apple’s own electric car. This is news because there have been an equal number of reports saying that Apple will just sell the technology for other people’s cars the way Alphabet’s Waymo is doing, or at least that it was undecided on the issue. The return of high profile engineer Doug Field from Tesla, where he was in charge of vehicle engineering, is significant in this context.  

Aussie Teen Hacks

A 16-year old Aussie fan of Apple, hacked the company’s mainframe from his suburban home and accessed 90GB of data over the course of a year that he stored in a file called “hacky hack hack” and then boasted about it on WhatsApp.

Apple said that its security personnel “discovered the unauthorized access, contained it, and reported the incident to law enforcement” and said of its customers that “at no point during this incident was their personal data compromised."

Apple contacted the U.S. FBI, which referred the case to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the above details were uncovered in court. So Apple’s assurance that personal data wasn’t compromised doesn’t make sense.

The teen’s identity is not being disclosed because of his age, but a sentence is due on September 20. Pity because his “dream” was to work at Apple.

Delays Group FaceTime

"Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12 and will ship in a future software update later this fall," Apple said in its latest developer release of the software

There it is. Like it or not, and question it or not since it has been in testing for a while, this major feature upgrade that allows up to 32 people to video chat at the same time and supports Apple's Animoji, won’t make it to iOS 12 when it launches with the new line of iPhones and iPads next month.

Pulls China Apps

Apple has reportedly removed 25,000 apps from its China App Store that the Chinese government didn’t approve of. But since this is just 1.4% of the total apps available according to CCTV, it may not be such a big deal. Wagering apps are illegal in China, so a large number of these apps were removed.

Recommendation

Apple shares carry a zacks Rank #2 (Buy). For better options, consider Xilinx or NetApp, or see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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