Dow Jones Futures Fall As Cororonvirus Drives Stock Market Rally; Qualcomm Near Buy Point; Apple Looks Tired| Investor’s Business Daily


Dow Jones futures rose modestly Sunday night, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures. The stock market rally has had a wild two weeks, with record coronavirus cases and upbeat Covid vaccine news swinging sectors back and forth. But in many ways, the market is back where it was, with many tight weekly closes and growth stocks back in favor.




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The Nasdaq composite has actually formed a three-weeks-tight pattern. So have Apple (AAPL) chipmakers Qorvo (QRVO) and Qualcomm (QCOM), along with marijuana stock Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR).

Meanwhile, Apple stock, Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon.com (AMZN) are looking tired. The megacaps were big winners during the coronavirus stock market rally from April-September. But lately they have struggled to keep pace with the broader indexes.

Microsoft stock is on IBD Leaderboard, while Apple is on the Leaderboard watchlist. MSFT stock also is on IBD Long-Term Leaders. Amazon stock and Innovative Industrial Properties are on the IBD 50.


Join IBD experts as they analyze actionable stocks in the stock market rally on IBD Live.


Dow Jones Futures Today

Dow Jones futures rose 0.3% vs. fair value. S&P 500 futures advanced 0.3%. Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.3%.

Remember that overnight action in Dow futures and elsewhere doesn’t necessarily translate into actual trading in the next regular stock market session.

Coronavirus Cases

Coronavirus cases worldwide reached 58.98 million. Covid-19 deaths topped 1.39 million.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have hit 12.58 million, with deaths above 262,000.

The U.S. topped 200,000 cases for the first time on Friday. Hospitalizations are soaring, overloading many local hospital systems.

Los Angeles County suspended all in-person dining, including outside, as of Wednesday night. That follows a curfew for most of the state, including all of Southern California, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

With states, counties and cities increasingly raising restrictions and social distancing increasing, the economic recovery could begin to stall out.

On Saturday, the FDA approved an Regeneron (REGN) antibody cocktail for treating coronavirus patients. President Trump received the Regeneron treatment when he had Covid-19.

Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) filed for FDA approval of their coronavirus vaccine. Moderna (MRNA), which released strong interim data  on its Covid vaccine last Monday, will likely follow in days. An FDA advisory panel will meet in early December to discuss coronavirus vaccines, with FDA approval likely soon after.

The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine could win U.K. approval in less than a week, the Telegraph reported, citing government sources.

Stock Market Rally Last Week

U.S. Stock Market Today Overview

IndexSymbolPriceGain/Loss% Change
Dow Jones(0DJIA)29263.28-219.95-0.75
S&P 500(0S&P5)3557.65-24.22-0.68
Nasdaq(0NDQC )11854.97-49.75-0.42
Russell 2000 (IWM)177.47+0.16+0.09
IBD 50 (FFTY)38.34+0.13+0.34
Last Update: 4:06 PM ET 11/20/2020

The stock market rally had a mixed week for the major indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7% in last week’s stock market trading. The S&P 500 index retreated 0.8%. The Nasdaq composite edged up 0.2%.

Growth stocks fared well overall.

Among the best ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) rose 1.9% last week. So did the iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) and VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH). Microsoft stock is a major IGV holding.

Three-Weeks Tight

A three-weeks tight is when a stock ends the week within 1%-1.5% of the prior week’s close, for two straight weeks. The buy point is 10 cents above the high point of the tight pattern. It’s a chance for add-on buys, but also new positions if the tight pattern is close to a prior base.

Qorvo stock

Qorvo stock fell less than 0.2% last week to 147.39, following a 0.2% rise the prior week. The three-weeks-tight is just above a prior, messy consolidation, consolidating following a jump on earnings. The buy point is 154.53. However, 151.31, just above last week’s high, also could be an early entry.

The relative strength line for Qorvo stock is just below all-time highs. The RS line, which tracks a stock’s performance vs. the S&P 500 index, is the blue line in the charts provided.

Qualcomm Stock

Qualcomm stock rose 1.2% last week to 146.03, ending near weekly lows. That followed 0.5% decline in the prior week. The tight entry is 153.43, according to MarketSmith analysis. Like Qorvo stock, QCOM stock consolidated tightly following a strong gain on earnings.

Both Qualcomm and Qorvo are Apple chipmakers and 5G plays. With 5G wireless taking off and the new 5G iPhone just launched, both chipmakers are in sweet spots.

IIPR Stock

Innovative Industrial Properties stock surged on election results, with more states legalizing marijuana and Joe Biden the apparent winner of the presidential race. Last week, IIPR stock dipped 0.3% to 151.95 after edging up a few cents in the prior week. The buy point is 165.09.

Innovative Industrial Properties is a REIT that owns properties for growing marijuana.

Not-So-Young Growth Stocks

There comes a point in life where you may have a steady workout routine, staying relatively fit, better than most. But when you have do something really strenuous — playing a long, intense basketball game, helping someone move, etc. — you can still do it. However, now you feel the effects for days.

That’s what it can be like for Apple, Microsoft and Amazon stock. These megacaps went on strong runs in 2020, with Microsoft stock outperforming the S&P 500 for years. But at some point these megacaps have to take a rest.


These 5 Stocks Are Flashing Multiple Buy Signals


Apple Stock

Apple stock fell 1.6% last week to 117.34 after rising 0.5% in the prior week. Shares are still above their 50-day moving average. But in the post-election stock market rally, Apple stock hasn’t broken trend lines or other aggressive entries.

On the other hand, AAPL stock is that far away from clearing recent resistance with a 122.09 entry or at 125.49. The official buy point is 138.08.

The RS line for Apple stock went on a strong run from January 2019 and finally peaked on Sept. 1. Since then it’s been going sideways.

Microsoft Stock

Unlike Apple stock, Microsoft actually broke out briefly on Nov. 9, when the Pfizer coronavirus news came out, but then reversed lower to close just below its 50-day line on Nov. 10. Microsoft stock fell 2.8% last week, just below its 50-day line, after a 3.2% drop in the week prior.

Microsoft would seem to be well-positioned in the current volatile market, given its strong growth before and during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the RS line has been trending lower since early July, especially in the last two weeks. Long-Term Leaders like Microsoft can go through those stretches after long periods of outperformance.

Buying off the 50-day/10-week line can be a smart strategy for Long-Term Leaders, but investors might want to wait until MSFT stock clears very short-term resistance, with a 219.21 entry. A new handle has formed with a 228.22 buy point.

Amazon Stock

Amazon stock dipped 0.9% to 3,099.40 last week after a 5.5% tumble in the week before. Shares of the e-commerce and cloud giant have been below the 50-day line most of that stretch.

As with Microsoft stock, the RS line for AMZN stock has been falling since early July.

The official buy point is 3,552.35, though 3,496.34 would work. An early entry for Amazon stock could be 3366.90. An especially aggressive investor could draw a trend line from the latter two points to find an even-lower entry. But would you want to?

Stock Market Rotation

After a violent rotation out of stay-at-home stocks into “real economy” coronavirus vaccine stocks in the prior week, there was a general return to growth and even some pure Covid plays such as Zoom Video (ZM).

So, stock market rotation over? Maybe, but perhaps not for long.

Yes, investors are once again focusing on stay-at-home stocks with record coronavirus cases and restrictions intensifying. But if all goes according to plan, two coronavirus vaccines will be approved in just a few weeks, with perhaps two more by February. While vaccinations will take several months, at some point the pandemic will recede and the economy can fully recover.

As for real economy, coronavirus vaccine stock plays, Boeing (BA) closed well off highs, but still gained 6.7% last week. Fellow Dow Jones stocks Caterpillar (CAT) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) edged higher after big gains in the prior week.

The ideal situation would be a broad-based stock market rally. Not only would that provide investors with more options to buy, but the market might be less-prone to big sector swings.

But, for now, the swing between stay-at-home stocks and coronavirus vaccine plays may continue for some time. Just as you don’t want to be overly concentrated in a particular group or sector, don’t be too weighted in one particular coronavirus investing theme.

Many stocks are doing great and are well extended. But aside from a few names like Qorvo and Qualcomm stock, there aren’t a lot of good setups right now. However, a few good days could bring more stocks into play, including Apple, Microsoft and even Amazon stock.

Read The Big Picture every day to stay in sync with the market direction and leading stocks and sectors.

Please follow Ed Carson on Twitter at @IBD_ECarson for stock market updates and more.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Why This IBD Tool Simplifies The Search For Top Stocks

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Stock Market Rally Rotation Over As Coronavirus Cases Soar? Qualcomm Near Buy Point; Apple Stock Looks Tired


The stock market rally has a wild two weeks, with record coronavirus cases and upbeat Covid vaccine news swinging sectors back and forth. But in many ways, the market is back where it was, with many tight weekly closes and growth stocks back in favor.




X



The Nasdaq composite has actually formed a three-weeks-tight pattern. So have Apple (AAPL) chipmakers Qorvo (QRVO) and Qualcomm (QCOM), along with marijuana stock Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR).

Meanwhile,  Apple stock, Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon.com (AMZN) are looking tired. The megacaps were big winners during the coronavirus stock market rally from April-September. But lately they have struggled to keep pace with the broader indexes.

Microsoft stock is on IBD Leaderboard, while Apple is on the Leaderboard watchlist. MSFT stock also is on IBD Long-Term Leaders. Amazon stock and Innovative Industrial Properties are on the IBD 50.


Join IBD experts as they analyze actionable stocks in the stock market rally on IBD Live.


Coronavirus Cases

Coronavirus cases worldwide reached 58.49 million. Covid-19 deaths topped 1.38 million.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have hit 12.45 million, with deaths above 261,000.

The U.S. topped 200,000 cases for the first time on Friday. Hospitalizations are soaring, overloading many local hospital systems. With states and cities increasingly raising restrictions and social distancing increasing, the economic recovery could begin to stall out.

On Saturday, the FDA approved an Regeneron (REGN) antibody cocktail for treating coronavirus patients. President Trump received the Regeneron treatment when he had Covid-19.

Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) filed for FDA approval of their coronavirus vaccine. Moderna (MRNA), which released strong interim data  on its Covid vaccine last Monday, will likely follow in days. An FDA advisory panel will meet in early December to discuss coronavirus vaccines, with FDA approval likely soon after.

Stock Market Rally Last Week

U.S. Stock Market Today Overview

IndexSymbolPriceGain/Loss% Change
Dow Jones(0DJIA)29263.28-219.95-0.75
S&P 500(0S&P5)3557.65-24.22-0.68
Nasdaq(0NDQC )11854.97-49.75-0.42
Russell 2000 (IWM)177.47+0.16+0.09
IBD 50 (FFTY)38.34+0.13+0.34
Last Update: 4:06 PM ET 11/20/2020

The stock market rally had a mixed week for the major indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7% in last week’s stock market trading. The S&P 500 index retreated 0.8%. The Nasdaq composite edged up 0.2%.

Growth stocks fared well overall.

Among the best ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) rose 1.9% last week. So did the iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) and VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH). Microsoft stock is a major IGV holding.

Three-Weeks Tight

A three-weeks tight is when a stock ends the week within 1%-1.5% of the prior week’s close, for two straight weeks. The buy point is 10 cents above the high point of the tight pattern. It’s a chance for add-on buys, but also new positions if the tight pattern is close to a prior base.

Qorvo stock

Qorvo stock fell less than 0.2% last week to 147.39, following a 0.2% rise the prior week. The three-weeks-tight is just above a prior, messy consolidation, consolidating following a jump on earnings. The buy point is 154.53. However, 151.31, just above last week’s high, also could be an early entry.

The relative strength line for Qorvo stock is just below all-time highs. The RS line, which tracks a stock’s performance vs. the S&P 500 index, is the blue line in the charts provided.

Qualcomm Stock

Qualcomm stock rose 1.2% last week to 146.03, ending near weekly lows. That followed 0.5% decline in the prior week. The tight entry is 153.43, according to MarketSmith analysis. Like Qorvo stock, QCOM stock consolidated tightly following a strong gain on earnings.

Both Qualcomm and Qorvo are Apple chipmakers and 5G plays. With 5G wireless taking off and the new 5G iPhone just launched, both chipmakers are in sweet spots.

IIPR Stock

Innovative Industrial Properties stock surged on election results, with more states legalizing marijuana and Joe Biden the apparent winner of the presidential race. Last week, IIPR stock dipped 0.3% to 151.95 after edging up a few cents in the prior week. The buy point is 165.09.

Innovative Industrial Properties is a REIT that owns properties for growing marijuana.

Not-So-Young Growth Stocks

There comes a point in life where you may have a steady workout routine, staying relatively fit, better than most. But when you have do something really strenuous — playing a long, intense basketball game, helping someone move, etc. — you can still do it. However, now you feel the effects for days.

That’s what it can be like for Apple, Microsoft and Amazon stock. These megacaps went on strong runs in 2020, with Microsoft stock outperforming the S&P 500 for years. But at some point these megacaps have to take a rest.


These 5 Stocks Are Flashing Multiple Buy Signals


Apple Stock

Apple stock fell 1.6% last week to 117.34 after rising 0.5% in the prior week. Shares are still above their 50-day moving average. But in the post-election stock market rally, Apple stock hasn’t broken trend lines or other aggressive entries.

On the other hand, AAPL stock is that far away from clearing recent resistance with a 122.09 entry or at 125.49. The official buy point is 138.08.

The RS line for Apple stock went on a strong run from January 2019 and finally peaked on Sept. 1. Since then it’s been going sideways.

Microsoft Stock

Unlike Apple stock, Microsoft actually broke out briefly on Nov. 9, when the Pfizer coronavirus news came out, but then reversed lower to close just below its 50-day line on Nov. 10. Microsoft stock fell 2.8% last week, just below its 50-day line, after a 3.2% drop in the week prior.

Microsoft would seem to be well-positioned in the current volatile market, given its strong growth before and during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the RS line has been trending lower since early July, especially in the last two weeks. Long-Term Leaders like Microsoft can go through those stretches after long periods of outperformance.

Buying off the 50-day/10-week line can be a smart strategy for Long-Term Leaders, but investors might want to wait until MSFT stock clears very short-term resistance, with a 219.21 entry. A new handle has formed with a 228.22 buy point.

Amazon Stock

Amazon stock dipped 0.9% to 3,099.40 last week after a 5.5% tumble in the week before. Shares of the e-commerce and cloud giant have been below the 50-day line most of that stretch.

As with Microsoft stock, the RS line for AMZN stock has been falling since early July.

The official buy point is 3,552.35, though 3,496.34 would work. An early entry for Amazon stock could be 3366.90. An especially aggressive investor could draw a trend line from the latter two points to find an even-lower entry. But would you want to?

Stock Market Rotation

After a violent rotation out of stay-at-home stocks into “real economy” coronavirus vaccine stocks in the prior week, there was a general return to growth and even some pure Covid plays such as Zoom Video (ZM).

So, stock market rotation over? Maybe, but perhaps not for long.

Yes, investors are once again focusing on stay-at-home stocks with record coronavirus cases and restrictions intensifying. But if all goes according to plan, two coronavirus vaccines will be approved in just a few weeks, with perhaps two more by February. While vaccinations will take several months, at some point the pandemic will recede and the economy can fully recover.

As for real economy, coronavirus vaccine stock plays, Boeing (BA) closed well off highs, but still gained 6.7% last week. Fellow Dow Jones stocks Caterpillar (CAT) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) edged higher after big gains in the prior week.

The ideal situation would be a broad-based stock market rally. Not only would that provide investors with more options to buy, but the market might be less-prone to big sector swings.

But, for now, the swing between stay-at-home stocks and coronavirus vaccine plays may continue for some time. Just as you don’t want to be overly concentrated in a particular group or sector, don’t be too weighted in one particular coronavirus investing theme.

Many stocks are doing great and are well extended. But aside from a few names like Qorvo and Qualcomm stock, there aren’t a lot of good setups right now. However, a few good days could bring more stocks into play, including Apple, Microsoft and even Amazon stock.

Read The Big Picture every day to stay in sync with the market direction and leading stocks and sectors.

Please follow Ed Carson on Twitter at @IBD_ECarson for stock market updates and more.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Why This IBD Tool Simplifies The Search For Top Stocks

Want To Get Quick Profits And Avoid Big Losses? Try SwingTrader

Best Growth Stocks To Buy And Watch

IBD Digital: Unlock IBD’s Premium Stock Lists, Tools And Analysis Today





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Qualcomm receives U.S. permission to sell 4G chips to Huawei in exception to ban


Article content

Qualcomm Inc on Friday received a license from the U.S. government to sell 4G mobile phone chips to China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, an exemption to U.S. trade restrictions imposed amid rising tensions with China.

“We received a license for a number of products, which includes some 4G products,” a Qualcomm spokeswoman told Reuters.

Qualcomm and all other American semiconductor companies were forced to stop selling to the Chinese technology firm in September after U.S. trade restrictions took effect.

The spokeswoman declined to comment on the specific 4G products Qualcomm can sell to Huawei but said they were related to mobile devices. Qualcomm has other license applications pending with the U.S. government, she said.

In the past Huawei was a relatively small chip customer for Qualcomm, which is the biggest supplier of mobile phone chips. Huawei used its own house-designed chips in its flagship handsets but used Qualcomm chips in lower-priced models.

Huawei’s potential to design its own chips was thwarted in September by U.S. trade restrictions that blocked its access to chip design software and fabrication tools. Industry analysts believe Huawei’s stockpile of chips purchased before the ban could run out early next year, crippling its smart phone business.



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Why top analysts say buy stocks like Qualcomm & Humana


2011 Gain: $32.87 (60%) 2011 Closing price: $87.61 Last year, investors turned away from HMO stocks such as this, fearing the impact of a new health care overhaul rule involving medical-loss ratios. However, Humana showed it was able to manage the new regulation and in October delivered better-than-expected profits and a better-than-expected forecast for 2012. Stephen Weiss, partner at Short Hills Capital, “At eight times earnings, you’re owning a stock that’s still cheap and very, very defensiv

Photo: Humana.com

While it’s now becoming clear Joe Biden will take the White House, investors are betting that Congress will be split, leaving President Trump’s corporate tax policy unchanged.

“Up until about last week, the consensus belief was a full blue sweep — now that’s changing you’re seeing a repricing taking place in the market… a more status quo Senate may ease the burden of regulations on the tech sector,” Anna Han, an equity strategist at Wells Fargo Securities, commented.

That said, as many factors remain uncertain, finding stocks primed to outperform the broader market isn’t easy.

One approach is to look at the recent stock picks from analysts that consistently get it right. TipRanks analyst forecasting service attempts to identify Wall Street’s best-performing analysts, or the analysts with the highest success rate and average return per rating, tracked on a one-year basis.

Here are the best-performing analysts’ five favorite stocks right now:

Provention Bio

On November 2, biotech company Provention Bio revealed the rolling submission of the BLA for teplizumab, a therapy that could potentially delay or prevent clinical type 1 diabetes (T1D) in at-risk patients, had been completed. For Chardan analyst Gbola Amusa, this development reaffirms his confidence in PRVB, with the company remaining a “Top Pick for 2020.” To this end, he reiterated a Buy rating and $35 price target (169% upside potential) after the news broke.

The FDA has 60 days to review the final submission, and after this, if the application is acceptable for review, a PDUFA goal date will be set. It should be noted that the drug was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) in 2019, reducing the review time from 10 months to 6 months.

“We see scope for Provention to meet its prior guidance of a potential U.S. approval of teplizumab for the delay or prevention of T1D in at-risk individuals in mid-2021… Teplizumab is a potential breakthrough asset, with highly significant results in subjects ‘at-risk’ for end-stage T1D,” Amusa commented.

Looking at the Phase 2 “at-risk” study, even though it’s smaller in size, the data represents the “first demonstration of therapeutic modulation of disease progression in T1D, strongly supporting Provention’s approach to treating autoimmune disease in the early stages,” in Amusa’s opinion. In addition, the therapy was praised in an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

What’s more, Amusa estimates the at-risk population is a blockbuster opportunity just in the U.S. Based on information from the JDRF T1 Fund, there are over 300,000 stage 1-2 T1D patients in the U.S. and 2.3 million worldwide. “300,000 U.S. patients at a $60,000 one-time price for a course of treatment implies a $18 billion total market opportunity. A 60,000 per year transitioning population for each stage implies a $2.4 billion per year recurring total market opportunity,” he explained.

Taking the #99 spot on TipRanks’ ranking, Amusa is currently tracking a 31.8% average return per rating.

Fabrinet

Fabrinet has just received a thumbs up from Needham’s Alex Henderson, with this five-star analyst putting an $85 price target (29% upside potential) and a buy rating on the stock on November 3.

In the most recent quarter, the optical communications device company handily beat Henderson’s revenue and EPS estimates by 4.4% and 7%, respectively, and posted year-over-year growth of 9.4% and 22.9%, respectively. All of this was achieved despite an uncertain backdrop, with pressure on Huawei and Service Provider spending also reflected. Putting it simply, Henderson said, “These are good results.”

Henderson argues that investors have been waiting to see Huawei’s impact fall out of its numbers, and now that the “fourth quarter bridge has been crossed, the upside is all that remains.”

Cisco is moving a large portion of Systems products to Fabrinet, which could exceed $250 million annually, according to Henderson. However, he points out that the reported numbers only reflect a minor contribution from the Cisco transition, but this should really ramp in CYQ1 2021 and reach full run rate by June, with the first full quarter run rate expected in September.

The analyst further mentioned, “We think the scale of this additional business is generally not reflected in the outlook and Street estimates… It should add at least $50-$60 million to Revenues year-over-year. The Street estimates have CYQ3 Revenues at $454 million up $18 million. We think the Fabrinet without Cisco could hit this number. If the rest of FN was flat it would do $486-$496 million. That’s a lot of upside.”

TipRanks shows that the #153-rated analyst scores a 57% success rate and a 20.4% average return per rating.

LivePerson

Since CFO John Collins came on board, business messaging and communications software company LivePerson has placed a significant focus on implementing a data-driven approach across all aspects of the business, giving five-star analyst Ryan MacDonald, of Needham, “increased confidence in the improving trajectory of the business.”

Taking an even more bullish stance, on October 30, MacDonald increased the price target from $60 to $65, in addition to reiterating a Buy rating. The new price target puts the upside potential at 5%.

Based on the results from its third quarter, MacDonald argues the data-driven approach appears to be working. The company delivered a “Rule of 40 with a combination of 26% revenue growth and 18% free cash flow margin.” This marked LPSN’s first quarter of positive free cash flow since Q4 2018, with it highlighting “the progress the company is making on expense optimization while producing strong top line growth,” in the analyst’s opinion.

“LPSN is adamant that the pandemic-driven increases in usage are sustainable and indicative of a structural shift in the market… When combining this with the operational efficiencies that the company is implementing across the organization, we remain confident that LPSN can continue to accelerate growth and expand margins,” MacDonald commented.

Some investors expressed concern that new logos have yet to rebound. However, MacDonald believes there is a “strong near-term expansion opportunity in the existing base can support growth acceleration while new reps and channel partners ramp.” As a result, he is a buyer at current levels.

Given MacDonald’s 81% success rate and 40.4% average return per rating, he is among TipRanks’ Top 45 best-performing analysts.

Qualcomm

On November 4, Deutsche Bank’s Ross Seymore maintained a buy rating on Qualcomm following a beat and raise quarter for the semiconductor company. Reflecting an additional bullish signal, the five-star analyst boosted the stock price forecast from $127 to $150, implying upside potential of 16%.

Shares of Qualcomm surged over 11% in after-hours trading in response to the print. Looking at the details, it reported fiscal Q4 revenue of $6.5 billion, up 33% quarter-over-quarter. The analysts were expecting revenue of $5.9 billion. Non-GAAP EPS of $1.45 beat the Street’s $1.17 call. Although gross margin declined by 60 basis points quarter-over-quarter to 58.7%, it exceeded the 58.1% consensus estimate.

When it came to its guidance for the upcoming quarter, Qualcomm didn’t disappoint. Management expects revenue to be in the range of $7.8 billion-$8.6 billion, up 26.1% quarter-over-quarter at the $8.2 billion midpoint. This easily beat the $7.1 billion consensus estimate.

According to management, the ramp of 5G networks and handsets drove the strong performance, with Qualcomm’s CEO stating that the results included a “partial quarter impact” from a large handset producer in the U.S.

Based on this “strong beat/raise,” Seymore argues Qualcomm is the “premier way” to play the expansion set to take place in the 5G handset space over the next year.

As the analyst boasts an 82% success rate and a 28% average return per rating, Seymore is Wall Street’s 24th best-performing analyst.

Humana

Following Humana‘s strong Q3 performance, Oppenheimer’s Michael Wiederhorn continues to see the health insurance company as a compelling play in the space. Accordingly, the five-star analyst reiterated a buy rating and $460 price target (2% upside potential) on November 3.

For Q3, adjusted EPS came in at $3.08, well ahead of the $2.80 consensus estimate. Additionally, utilization bounced back to 95% of historical baseline levels by the end of the quarter, with non-coronavirus utilization expected to remain below normal levels in Q4.

Although HUM guided for a Q4 EPS loss of between $2.29-$2.54, this factors in its investments in the Medicare channel, with this area of the business reflecting a significant market opportunity, in Wiederhorn’s opinion. On top of this, given the potentially “more favorable reimbursement environment and the maturation of its high-growth member base,” HUM could drive an improvement in margins.

“Given the attractive growth of the company’s Medicare Advantage (MA) business, we believe Humana should return significant returns to shareholders,” Wiederhorn noted.

Management also mentioned that the recently issued 2022 proposed rate increase of 2.82% for MA will likely, “benefit the company similarly to the overall market,” adding that 92% of members are in 4+ Star plans.

With a 75% success rate and 21% average return per rating, Wiederhorn lands within the Top 30 on TipRanks’ list of best-performing analysts.

 

 

 

 



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Intellivision shows off Amico’s hardware design, with a Qualcomm processor


Intellivision Entertainment showed off the hardware design of its Amico retro game console, complete with a new Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

The curvy, wedge-like console was designed to be friendly and accessible, not aggressive or scary, said Tommy Tallarico, CEO of Intellivision, in a presentation today. In that way, it isn’t designed for hardcore gamers who represent a more limited audience. It was designed to be something you could use right off the bat.

“We’re all about family play,” Tallarico said. “We wanted to create something that personified Intellivision and what our mission was all about.”

A glitchy start

Tallarico had originally wanted to launch the console today, on 10-10-20 at 10:10 a.m. But he postponed the launch until April 2021, as the pandemic slowed the company’s progress on design and progression. And it gave the company more time to have everything ready for the launching, including 30 games that are coming for the machine. Still, Tallarico made the hardware design announcement on the date, which coincides with his deceased sister’s birthday. The stream started out glitchy, and Tallarico apologized as he tried to fix it.

The company also announced its Moon Control competition, where the highest score in the competition will win an original Moon Patrol light-up cabinet top/marquee signed by the original producer, Scott Tamura. The company also showed its new user interface and a demo of Breakout, a remake of the original for the Amico.

Tallarico didn’t say exactly which Snapdragon model the machine would use. That’s an important missing detail, as it will reveal the performance of the device.

Above: Tommy Tallarico is CEO of Intellivision Entertainment.

Image Credit: Intellivision

“That’s the heart and soul, the thing that powers the Amico,” he said.

The original Intellivision was a game console from Mattel that gave Atari a run for its money in the early 1980s. It was more advanced than the Atari 2600, with better graphics, and it even had simple voices in some games. Tommy Tallarico, the creator of the Video Games Live concert series, announced in 2018 that he had acquired the rights to the console and its original games, and he planned to relaunch Intellivision as a retro brand. While touring, Tallarico said he learned how important lighting was to an entertainment experience.

Designing the console

Intellivision Amico comes in black, white, or wood editions.

Above: Intellivision Amico comes in multiple colors. Here’s three of them.

Image Credit: Intellivision Entertainment

So the designers took the Amico through dozens of iterations. They added 40 independently controlled LEDs on the console base and 12 LEDs on each console controller, for a total of 64 LEDs, said Todd Linthicum, director of product development. That allows for an endless amount of expression through lighting, he said.

Some games will make use of the colors on the controller’s lights to correlate with gameplay. The console’s wedge shape allows people to see the lights from all angles. You can adjust the brightness of the LEDs or turn them off. The controllers can charge in two hours and batteries last four hours to six hours.

The controllers have color capacitive touch screens, gyroscopes, force feedback, speakers, microphones, and wireless contact charging. Two controllers nest inside the console base, and that allows them to charge. You can also charge the controller with a USB-C cable. It has a Home button that lets you pause a game or get out of a game easily. It has four shoulder buttons and a touch wheel with a button.

It has an HDMI out port, a USB-C connector, a power connection, and a microSD expansion slot for more memory. You can store 40 to 50 games on the Amico. It has radio frequency identification (RFID) connectivity as a new way to unlock features in games or to interact with the console. You can take an object, tap it on the console, and unlock something. The console’s cooling is passive, meaning it can naturally dissipate heat based on the design without a fan, Linthicum said.

Ark Electronics is making the machine at a factory in China. The company manufactures many controllers and other devices, said E.J. Constantine, CEO of Ark, in the video. The machine and the controllers will come in a variety of colors: black or white. The special editions come in purple, red, or woodgrain.

Intellivision’s partnerships

Tallarico also talked about the company’s new partners, including PlayDate Digital, which does educational titles for children. The first title will star the Care Bears. Intellivision is partnering again with Tozai Games (for a Lode Runner game) and Data East (Lock and Chase, Burger Time, and other titles).

Amico will be available at Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, EB Games (in Canada), GameStop, and direct from Intellivision.


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SiFive hires Qualcomm exec as CEO for RISC-V alternatives to Nvidia-Arm


SiFive has hired former Qualcomm executive Patrick Little as its new CEO. His job will be to help establish the company’s RISC-V processors as an alternative to Arm in the wake of Nvidia’s $40 billion acquisition of the world’s leading processor architecture.

SiFive designs processors that can be customized for whatever its customers need, for products on the low end to the high end of the computing spectrum. And they’re based on RISC-V, a free and open processor architecture which was created by university researchers a decade ago. They were motivated by “hardware freedom,” meaning an an alternative to the royalty-based processors like those licensed for a fee and controlled by one company. RISC-V is becoming a bigger deal this week since Nvidia said it would acquire Arm, Little said in an interview with VentureBeat.

“It’s just very clear that the world is moving away from generic processors to workload-focused and optimized solutions,” Little said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity and the timing here is phenomenal. The industry is transforming away from general-purpose computing to something domain-focused. With the news this week, it’s now accelerating and the magnitude has really picked up. Now there are many companies saying it’s time to look at open versus closed solutions.”

Nvidia’s and Arm’s CEOs pledged to keep Arm’s open licensing strategy. But RISC-V can offer a better deal. The challenge is for it to build up its ecosystem of software, tools, testing, and other things to make it a viable and universal alternative to Arm, which has about 95% of the smartphone market and whose licensees ship more than 22 billion chips a year.

Little succeeds Naveed Sherwani, who will step down from the president and CEO roles but will remain chairman of SiFive. If it plays its cards right, SiFive could become a key alternative to the superpowers of the chip industry. This is why SiFive raised $61 million last month from investors that included a couple of chip superpowers — Intel and Qualcomm. To date, SiFive has raised $190 million.

Chip design is an increasingly important trade as Moore’s Law, the prediction by Intel chairman emeritus Gordon Moore that the density and performance of chips would double every couple of years, is slowing down after decades of holding true. Little said design is how companies differentiate themselves now.

Above: Patrick Little is CEO of SiFive.

Image Credit: SiFive

Little joins SiFive from Qualcomm where he led the expansion into the automotive industry as senior vice president and general manager. Little has over 30 years of operating experience in executive roles in the technology and semiconductor industries, including CEO of eASIC, senior vice president of CSR Technology, and senior vice president at Xilinx.

SiFive’s portfolio of processor Core IP is based on the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture, and consists of four unique micro-architectures designed to enable different classes of performance, efficiency, and features for application and deeply embedded uses.

SiFive recently announced a collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center to create a new application programming interface (API) for popular compilers, further enabling applications to use the RISC-V Vector Extension currently under development for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and computer-vision applications. That’s an example of moving to the high end.

Little said that customers are pushing the company further up the food chain, and so designs that feature scalar and vector processing and high-performance optimization are taking up a lot of time.

“My job coming here is to unlock the opportunity for the company,” Little said. “We are moving from general-purpose processors to workload configurable processors. That’s a trajectory we’ve been on and now it’s accelerating.”

SiFive has about 500 employees and 15 locations where it helps customers design their chips.

It’s the ecosystem, stupid

There are definitely some geopolitical issues where RISC-V could have an advantage. RISC-V is based in Switzerland, as a neutral entity. Last year, Arm had to go through a legal process to figure out if it should license chips to China’s Huawei, which faced a ban from the U.S. Arm ultimately decided that, as a United Kingdom company, it was not subject to the U.S. restrictions. That equation has changed now that U.S.-based Nvidia will own Arm.

“RISC-V just offers the freedom in every dimension and certainly geographical freedom,” Little said. “There is a gravitational move toward SiFive, and part of that has to do with global openness.”

Arm’s advantage is that RISC-V’s ecosystem isn’t as mature.

“We’ve had many customers go into production now with a complete toolchain and a complete environment,” Little said. “Now the RISC-V ecosystem is moving into broader markets like mobile. The ecosystem is maturing very quickly.”

The RISC-V organization is run by an industry-wide body of supporters that include SiFive. In fact, RISC-V’s founders are all working for SiFive in some fashion.

RISC-V International CEO Calista Redmond said in an email about the Nvidia-Arm deal, “The RISC-V ecosystem is made up of organizations across the silicon industry who have invested in multiple architectures. We anticipate that our member companies will continue to rely on legacy architectures for certain product lines, while also looking to RISC-V to meet the increasingly complex workload requirements of next-generation applications. RISC-V is free and open so no single entity controls the technology, meaning that everyone can help to shape this rapidly evolving frontier of computing.”



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ASML, Huawei and Qualcomm may be caught in the crossfire as SMIC runs risk of US blacklist in escalating tech war




The latest threat by the Trump administration to blacklist Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry Corporation (SMIC), China’s largest producer of silicon chips, will affect scores of customers and suppliers across the globe, as they get caught in the crossfire of a US-China technology war, fuelled by the worst bilateral relations in decades.The Trump administration is considering whether to add SMIC to a trade blacklist, which would force US suppliers to seek a difficult-to-obtain licence before…



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