Why buy a food franchise now?

It’s quite possible that 2021 will stand out as the absolute best year to buy a food franchise for a very, very long time.  This isn’t idle speculation or blind optimism about the post-COVID future, either—there’s plenty of evidence to support this calculated prediction.

You might be asking yourself, but hasn’t the restaurant industry fallen on some pretty hard times? It’s true, the pandemic did a number on food-related businesses ranging all the way from the finest dine-in restaurants to the cheapest food franchises to open. At one point in 2020, the National Restaurant Association estimated that the restaurant industry had lost $120B in sales—and that was just for March, April, and May.

The irony is that the recession triggered by the pandemic is actually going to become a huge draw to buy a food franchise as vaccines roll out and the food industry starts its recovery. As one industry expert explained to Restaurant Business Online, “nothing beats a good recession. Every franchise salesperson knows that unemployment is going to drive franchise sales.”

Still skeptical? Let’s dive into the details. Interest in food franchise opportunities is booming, and there are at least three core reasons that 2021 will go down as a golden year for buying a food franchise.

1. Uncommon Abundance of Resources

There will be more top-end food services talent in the market for a job in 2021 than ever before.  With millions still unemployed, and a large percentage of them from the food industry, there are tons of potential hires that will be looking for a job at a food-related company in the coming year.

Image Credit: Restaurant Business Online

In addition to the out-of-work managers, line cooks, servers, and other food industry veterans who will be diving back into the economy, there will be plenty of available real estate for you to buy a food franchise in a prime spot. The incredibly high number of permanent restaurant closures from the height of the pandemic (already in the tens of thousands by time of last summer’s infection spike) have left locations vacant in strip malls, office complexes, and stand-alone properties alike. Many more food industry businesses that weren’t permanently shuttered have changed their operating models (ghost kitchens, online ordering, etc.), also leaving previous brick-and-mortar venues up for grabs.

As Franchise Development VP Jackie Lobdell of fast-casual brand Slim Chickens says, “Buyers are seeing this as a huge opportunity. Those who are able are taking advantage of open real estate.” If you’ve been intimidated in the past about the prospect of finding a competitive physical location, now is the time to buy a food franchise and benefit.

2. Business Security and Resilience

The tried-and-true methodology of a successful franchise brand is something to bank on in uncertain times.  There are fewer risks than starting a new business from scratch, since you can count on the proven concept and name recognition of the brand. In addition, so much is already built out for you—effective branding, a marketing strategy, a popular menu, training resources, and more.  The franchise ownership will also have deep pockets and plenty of resources to support the businesses under their name with legal issues, publicity initiatives, workforce development, and other forms of support.  When you buy a food franchise, you’re buying a known winner with a built-in well of resources to help you protect your investment.

3. Access to Financial Aid

With government money flowing into things like the Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES act, loans guaranteed by the SBA, and other pandemic relief and recovery packages, there’s a huge opportunity to build your own business and help the economy recover as a new business owner. Interest rates have also hit historic lows, which means that financing is much more affordable and feasible than it has been in a long time.

Don’t Wait Until the Door of Opportunity Closes. Take the Plunge.

The next year to 18 months will be a great time for anyone hoping to buy a food franchise (or buy a franchise in general!), so don’t hesitate. The competitive advantage starts now. If you’ve ever considered trying to buy a restaurant franchise or become your own boss, there’s never been more opportunity than the fertile ground left open by this economic recovery.

Any organization’s financial health is largely dependent on how structured its accounting is. Hence, most organizations often concentrate their efforts on streamlining their accounting systems.

While doing so, they often settle for traditional methods of recording and processing employee-initiated expenses for pre-accounting. This could be dangerous to the financial health of your business as pre-accounting lies at the core of a comprehensive accounting process.

This article discusses the importance of streamlining and automating pre-accounting with employee expense management software in 2021.

What is pre-accounting?

Pre-accounting includes the most mundane of financial tasks. Here are some common examples:

  • Collecting employee expense data
  • Checking each receipt and report for any policy violations/fraudulent claims
  • Processing employee expense reimbursements
  • Reconciliation of credit card spends
  • Documentation and safekeeping of all data in an audit-ready fashion

To paint a picture, here’s a typical pre-accounting workflow:

Improving the pre-accounting process is often ignored since it is not anyone’s designated job. The entire organization only plays a small role at every stage. Sadly, this is what makes it easier for inefficiencies and non-compliant claims to go unnoticed.

Common challenges of inefficient pre-accounting processes

  • Inefficient employee spend management
  • Suffering budget compliance
  • Loss of time, money, and productive-hours
  • A general lack of accountability
  • Tedious employee experience
  • Unpleasant audits and massive fines

To overcome these challenges, it becomes crucial for businesses to understand which of these inefficiencies are crippling their otherwise smooth, functional process. Identifying these variables plays a critical role in selecting the right solution for your business.

In a post-pandemic world, businesses often have to adapt to changing global scenarios, which affect everything from supply-chain to marketing copy. In most cases, businesses have to manage such critical process changes along with employees going remote. With changes so drastic and rapid, it becomes critical for SMBs to tweak and enforce policies and keep a close eye on employee spending.

With decentralized teams and a rapidly changing business world, SMBs need all the financial security they need. While that is a different topic, one effective way to optimize spend and keep a tight handle on budgets is to automate pre-accounting.

Standardizing and automating pre-accounting

Not closing books on time is every accountant’s worst nightmare. What’s worse is not knowing that a fractured pre-accounting process is to be blamed for it.

Traditional methods of pre-accounting could prove detrimental to the health of your business when coupled with human errors. An expense management software streamlines and automates all employee-initiated expenses in an audit-ready manner. This eliminates both human effort and error from start to end.

With an expense software, issuing cash advances, logging mileage, reconciling corporate cards, and tracking any receipts becomes effortless!

Easy business expense receipt tracking for employees

An expense management software offers employees easy ways to track and submit business expense receipts. This turns expense reporting real-time and a truly one-click process. Simultaneously, the finance team no longer needs to worry about late submissions, constant reminders, or lost receipts/expenses. In addition to real-time insights, finance teams can also gain complete control over employee spends.

Predictable automated expense approval workflows

With an expense software, you can automate predictable expense approval workflows. The software runs pre-submission checks, detects and flags duplicates, eliminates expense fraud, and drives compliant spending habits. Additionally, finance teams can configure custom approval hierarchies or apply complex workflows through policies.

This ensures compliance from the point an expense is created. Say goodbye to expense report fraud!

Real-time tracking and reporting

An expense management software helps employees track all business expenses with just a few clicks. Not only are these expenses seamlessly tracked, but they’re also policy compliant. This reduces manual intervention and errors during accounting. The prime purpose of real-time tracking and reporting is to ensure audit readiness and compliance at all times.

Real-time visibility into company-wide spending helps SMB owners and Finance and Accounting teams optimize their spending as and when required. Additionally, it also helps identify and curb unnecessary spending or overspending.

Optimize pre-accounting with expense analytics

Real-time expense analytics provide businesses with insight to continually improve their operations. As a result, businesses achieve reduced turnaround time, shorter reimbursement cycles, and more cost-savings opportunities.

With the above measures, an expense reimbursemet software automates pre-accounting and helps organizations stay audit-ready at all times.

Closing notes

SMBs might often ignore pre-accounting processes, treating them as ‘just regulatory requirements.’ However, by doing so, businesses can miss out on financial insights that could be instrumental to growth and profitability.

Today, we live in a world of paperless payments that hardly take a few seconds to be processed. It shouldn’t take your employees longer than that to submit a receipt for reimbursement.

Given how pre-accounting is painful for growing businesses, it’s evident that automation is the go-to solution. Hope this article helps you evaluate and pick the best expense management software that best suits your business needs!

14, 2021

6 min read

This story originally appeared on StockMarket

4 Top E-commerce Stocks To Watch In The Stock Market Today

Lately, investing in the stock market can be a challenging task. But if you have got to bet on something, e-commerce stocks could be a good option in the long run. Now, why is that so? E-commerce allows businesses to reach out to customers in more ways than before. As time goes by, we will continue to see consumers migrating towards purchasing online for the sake of convenience and the ability to research products in real-time. On top of that, having an online store relinquishes the restrictions of set business hours and allows consumers to access its products and services at any given time. So it is safe to assume that this trend is here to stay and still growing in popularity.

We need to look no further than Booking Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: BKNG) to show how e-commerce has impacted our lives. Being the world leader in online travel, it provides customers all over the world easier and better access to travel planning and other services. Imagine how it changed how we plan our travels compared to several decades ago.

Now, consumers could go on to websites such as booking.com and Agoda to book their hotels or tour packages without the need of going to an actual travel agency. Now if you believe e-commerce is the future of commerce, then here are some of the top e-commerce stocks to watch in the stock market right now. 

Top E-Commerce Stock To Watch In May

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd 

To start the list, we have one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, Alibaba. Just as we have Amazon in the U.S., some consider Alibaba as the Amazon of China. Both companies have one thing in common, they are both tech-driven companies that have expanded beyond their core e-commerce divisions. The company is also one of the biggest venture capital firms with one of the biggest investment corporations in the world. Today, Alibaba announced its much-anticipated earnings report for the quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2021.

top e-commerce stocks to buy (BABA stock)

It has been a historic fiscal year for the company as it reached a milestone of 1 billion annual active users globally. Revenue came in 64% higher year over year to $28.6 billion. However, the company recorded a net loss of $1.16 billion. This can be attributed to the $2.8 billion fine levied by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation according to China’s Anti-monopoly Law. That aside, the overall business delivered strong growth on a healthy foundation.

In other news, Alibaba’s Taobao Live also announced in April that it would supercharge its ecosystem to yield further success for merchants and brands on the platform. It aims to support 2,000 live stream channels and 200 partners to significantly boost its sales. All things considered, would you invest in BABA stock with its current dip?

[Read More] Top Stocks To Buy Now? 4 Cruise Line Stocks Making Headlines

eBay Inc

Next up, we have the global commerce company, eBay. The company’s technology allows sellers worldwide to offer their inventory for sale, virtually anytime and anywhere. eBay’s platforms are accessible through a traditional online experience, mobile devices, and its application programming interfaces (APIs). Hence, consumers could easily access its platform as long as they have access to the internet. The company’s stock has been trading sideways since the start of the year. However, for those who invested a year ago, you would’ve seen a gain of over 40%. So could EBAY stock resume its upward trend moving forward?

top e-commerce stocks to watch (EBAY stock)

Earlier this month, the company announced that there is a possibility of accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment in the future. In addition, it is also looking at ways to get non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its platform. The company is always looking at relevant forms of payment so that it doesn’t get left behind in this fast-paced world.

Fast forward a week later, the company finally hops on the NFT bandwagon. Consumers can now purchase NFTs on its broad online marketplace. This reflects an expansion of eBay’s digital collectibles business, in line with the increasing popularity of NFTs this year. With that in mind, would EBAY stock be a good buy now?

Read More

Shopify Inc 

Next up, we have Shopify. It is a multinational tech company with a focus on e-commerce. In detail, the company provides a cloud-based platform for small and medium-sized businesses to operate their digital storefronts. The Shopify platform provides merchants with a single view of their business and customers across all of their sales channels.

best tech stocks to buy (SHOP stock)

Hence allowing better management of their products and inventory, building customer relationships, and reporting all from one integrated back office. Late last month, the company announced its first-quarter earnings report and it crushed analyst’s expectations. 

Zooming in, the company posted revenue of $988.6 million, up by a whopping 110% compared with a year prior. On top of that, net income was boosted by a $1.3 billion unrealized gain on its investment in online payments company Affirm (NASDAQ: AFRM), which went public in January. As of the end of March, Shopify has extended a cumulative $2 billion of funds to merchants through Shopify Capital. This is to help boost its fast-growing merchant base through the help of machine learning. Therefore, with such impressive financial figures and innovation, would you buy SHOP stock now?

[Read More] Top Consumer Discretionary Stocks To Watch In May

The last on this list requires no introduction. We have e-commerce giant Amazon. The company offers a range of products and services through its websites. This includes merchandise and content that it purchases for resale from vendors and those offered by third-party sellers. Also, it manufactures and sells electronic devices. AMZN stock has been on a dip since the start of the month after it reached an all-time high at the end of April. Well, this could be seen as a retracement and potentially a buying opportunity for investors who believe in the long-term success of the company. 

best tech stocks (AMZN Stock)

Despite being known for its e-commerce influence, the company has expanded its reach to other industries as well. For example, the company recently struck a multi-year deal with the Women’s National Basketball Association that will see several games streamed live on Prime Video. This is in addition to its earlier forays into streaming sports content like Thursday Night Football and the Premier League.

Financially, its first-quarter earnings report is as impressive as you would expect. Amazon posted revenues of $108.52 billion, an increase of 44% compared to the prior year. What is even more outstanding was its net income skyrocketing by 319%, up from $2.54 billion to $8.11 billion. So, with Amazon already being one of the biggest names in the market, coupled with its fantastic financial results, would this be a good time to bet on AMZN stock?

As of May 26, 153 complexes in the Mexican Republic will be able to enjoy “La Magia del Cine” again.

13, 2021

2 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This story originally appeared on Cine Premiere

After three months of its complexes in Mexico being closed, Cinemex is ready to reopen its theaters on May 26 , they announced in a statement.

“As of May 26, movie lovers will be able to enjoy Cinemex theaters in 153 complexes in the Mexican Republic.”

The statement also indicates that as conditions improve according to each state and municipality, more and more complexes will open around the country, which is located between the green and yellow traffic lights without any red status.

The network will return with one of the most anticipated releases of the year: Disney’s “Cruella,” starring Emma Stone.

From May 20, users will be able to consult the complexes that will open and the new Cinemex page https://cinemex.com/ or in the mobile application. In this way, you will once again be able to set aside your place in the room.

Cinemex paused operations at the national level due to the health contingency of COVID-19. But this May 26 it reopens with all safety and health measures, as explained in the document.

Image: Cinemex

In the first days of February of this year, panic spread in social networks before an (initially) rumored closure of Cinemex complexes throughout the Mexican Republic. Later,various media confirmed that the chain would indeed take a three-month break in a handful of states. He completed it! On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, the company’s website continued to sell no tickets for any of its multiplex rooms; He only did it for the Platinum Drive-in located in CDMX.

It has been reported that Cinemex welcomed a reopening scheduled for June, within the framework of its negotiations with several banks focused on restructuring its millionaire debt, which undoubtedly worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

13, 2021

6 min read

This story originally appeared on StockNews

The market hit turbulence over the first three days of the week due to fears of inflation. As many investors prefer to stay invested during times like these, they still need to hold solid stocks. That’s why David Cohne suggests Gaming (BYD), Owens Corning (OC), and O’Reilly Automotive (ORLY), three stocks exhibiting both fundamental and technical strength.

Fears of inflation have rocked the market over the past three days, with the S&P 500 dropping 4% and the Nasdaq Composite losing 5.2%. Today the market was reacting to news that the Consumer Price Index posted its largest month over month increase since 2009 and its largest year over year rise since 2008. I’ve got three stocks I like right now even amidst the market turmoil, but first I’ll explain why stocks are down.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 0.9% last month, which was the most since 1982. A rise in inflation has both growth and value investors concerned, as higher inflation discounts a growth stock’s present value and raises the likelihood that the Fed will raise rates, harming cyclical stocks. These factors have raised market volatility and drove stocks down. Whether the current market environment is temporary or could go on for a while, it’s best to be more selective when picking stocks.

One strategy I like to focus on is picking stocks that have both fundamental and technical strength. So, I ran a screen for stocks rated a Buy in our POWR Ratings system that exhibits strong fundamental and technical indicators. Three top stocks that made the list were Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD), Owens Corning Inc (OC), and O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. (ORLY), which I’m highlighting below.

Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD)

BYD is a multi-jurisdictional gaming company. The company owns and operates 29 gaming entertainment properties in multiple states with 36,977 slot machines, 809 table games, and 11,090 hotel rooms.

The company is increasing its brand presence through expansions into Northern California with Wilton Rancheria resorts, which is expected to open by the second half of 2022. BYD has also expanded its online betting offerings. In 2018, it partnered with MGM Resorts to offer its online and mobile gaming platforms. In 2019, it partnered with FanDuel Group to open sports books to multiple properties in the Midwest.

It also introduced its mobile app in Pennsylvania. It even announced a partnership with the NFL, where FanDuel will provide endgame and postgame highlights in its Sportsbook app. It is also seeing strong performance in its interactive gaming platform, which bodes well for its future in the iGaming industry. As more people are vaccinated and go out, an increase in traffic to casinos should drive growth going forward.

BYD has an overall grade of A, which translates into a Strong Buy rating in our POWR Ratings system. The company has a Quality Grade of B, which indicates a strong balance sheet. The company increased its cash from $519 million in December to $731 million in March. BYD also has a Growth Grade of A, as revenue is expected to rise 494% in the current quarter.

While the stock has retreated over the past couple of days along with the rest of the market, its long-term technical look strong. We also grade BYD based on Value, Momentum, Stability, and Sentiment. You can find those grades here. BYD is ranked #1 in the Entertainment – Casinos/Gambling industry. You can find other top stocks in this industry here.

Owens Corning Inc. (OC

OC is a leading manufacturer of glass fiber utilized in composites and building materials. Its products include glass fiber used to support composite materials for transportation, electronics, marine, infrastructure, wind energy, and roofing for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

The company has implemented growth initiatives to drive performance. For instance, its insulation segment has benefited from geographic and product expansion through acquisitions. OC is also using in-process technology to improve manufacturing efficiencies and reduce costs. The company is also investing in new insulation materials and systems to expand its global footprint.

OC sees robust demand for its insulating products due to increased commercial and industrial construction activity, new residential construction, remodeling, and repair activity. In the first quarter, the insulation segment’s sales were up 16.1% year over year. Plus, OC’s 2018 acquisition of Paroc, a leading producer of mineral wool insulation in Europe, has expanded the company’s presence in Europe.

The company has an overall grade of A, which is a Strong Buy rating in our POWR Ratings system. The company has a Quality Grade of B due to a strong balance sheet and ample liquidity. The company’s return on equity of 18.9% is also notable. OC has a Momentum Grade of B, driven by strong performance over the past few months.  

For access to the rest of OC’s grades (Growth, Value, Stability, and Sentiment), click here. OC is ranked #1 in the A-rated Industrial – Building Materials industry. For more top stocks in this industry, click here.

O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. (ORLY)

ORLY is one of the largest sellers of aftermarket automotive parts, tools, and accessories in the country. It serves both professional and DIY customers. The company sells branded and its own-label products, with the latter category comprising nearly half of sales. Its stores also offer services and programs to customers, such as battery diagnostic testing and check engine light code extraction.

The company has been generating strong revenue growth for a long time. In fact, it has been generating record sales for 28 consecutive years. Its customer-centric business model and growing demand for technologically advanced auto parts should drive long-term growth. With new car manufacturing slowed by the pandemic and a global chip shortage, used car sales are through the roof, which benefits auto parts stores.

ORLY should also benefit from store openings and distribution centers in new regions. The company has been opening stores in new markets and increasing its store count in less-populated areas. Its competitive edge stems from its dual-market strategy of professional and DIY customers and its strong distribution network.

The company has an overall grade of B, translating into a Buy rating in our POWR Ratings system. The company has a Momentum Grade of B, driven by strong performance since mid-February. ORLY also has a Quality Grade of A due to a rock-solid balance sheet. For instance, the company has a net profit margin of 16%. For the rest of ORLY’s grades (Growth, Value, Stability, and Sentiment), click here.  

The company is ranked #25 in the A-rated Auto Parts industry. For other top stocks in this industry, click here.

BYD shares were trading at $60.38 per share on Thursday morning, up $1.99 (+3.41%). Year-to-date, BYD has gained 40.68%, versus a 10.54% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

About the Author: David Cohne

David Cohne has 20 years of experience as an investment analyst and writer. Prior to StockNews, David spent eleven years as a Consultant providing outsourced investment research and content to financial services companies, hedge funds, and online publications. David enjoys researching and writing about stocks and the markets. He takes a fundamental quantitative approach in evaluating stocks for readers.


The post 3 Strong Stocks Ripe for Gains Amidst the Market Turmoil appeared first on StockNews.com

13, 2021

6 min read

This story originally appeared on StockMarket

While U.S. stocks plummet amidst eye-opening inflation data, some investors may see buying opportunities in the stock market right now. Tech stocks, in particular, would be on investors’ watchlists right now seeing as they have dipped from pandemic-fueled record highs. Sure, some would argue that inflation winners such as commodities would be a viable play now. However, CNBC’s Jim Cramer warned investors, suggesting that current price pressures may not last for long. Because of this, he emphasized the importance of portfolio diversification. With some of the best tech stocks trading below their previously sky-high valuations, I could see investors potentially buying on the dip.

After all, the tech industry will only continue to grow in importance moving forward. Just this week, cybersecurity stocks such as CrowdStrike (NASDAQ: CRWD) are in the spotlight. This would be thanks to a recent cyberattack on the largest fuel pipeline operator in the nation. If anything, this incident would show how tech serves vital roles in our lives, even in the defense sector. Elsewhere, tech giant Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is making headlines thanks to its latest collaboration. Earlier today, the company revealed that it is now working with Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Through this deal, Google’s cloud unit will help deliver internet services through SpaceX’s satellites.

By and large, there are numerous other applications for tech in the world around us today. Ideally, as the possibilities continue to grow, tech companies and investors alike would continue to benefit. Having read this far, you might be interested to add some top tech stocks to your portfolio now. Should that be the case, here are three making headlines in the stock market this week.

Top Tech Stocks To Watch Right Now

FuboTV Inc.

Fubo is a leading sports-first live TV streaming platform. The tech company aims to provide the world’s most thrilling sports-first live TV experience. It does this by providing premium content, interactivity, and integrated wagering. It currently operates in the U.S., Canada, and Spain. FUBO stock currently trades at $18.51 as of 11:40 a.m. ET and has been up by over 15% since the start of the week. Investors seem to be responding to the company’s first-quarter financials.

top tech stocks (FUBO stock)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

In detail, the company delivered a record quarterly revenue of $119.7 million, an increase of 135% year-over-year. Fubo also reported that its total subscribers doubled in the last year to 590,430. This includes 43,000 net additions for the quarter. The quarter marked the first time the company achieved sequential subscriber and revenue growth in any first quarter, despite seasonal trends. Evidently, this shows that cord-cutting trends continue to increase all over the world. This and the fact that Fubo is sports-focused with planned integration of wagering and interactivity would position the company for long-term growth.

Last month, the company announced that it had acquired exclusive streaming rights for the Qatar World Cup 2022 South American qualifying matches. The agreement, a partnership with 10 South American teams’ rights holders, strengthens Fubo’s leading position as a live streaming platform. All things considered, will FUBO stock be a top tech stock to buy?

[Read More] Top Stocks To Buy Now? 4 Cruise Line Stocks Making Headlines

Sonos Inc.

Sonos is a developer and manufacturer of audio products.  In fact, it is one of the world’s leading sound experience brands. As the inventor of multi-room wireless home audio, the company helps the world listen better by giving people access to the content they enjoy. Its products are known for delivering an unparalleled sound experience, thoughtful home design aesthetics, and simplicity of use. SONO stock currently trades at $33.56 as of 11:40 a.m. ET and has been up by nearly 8% on today’s opening bell. Like Fubo, investors also seem to be responding to the company’s latest quarter financials.

best tech stocks (SONO stock)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

Diving in, the company reported that its adjusted EBITDA increased to $48.5 million. Revenue for the quarter increased by 90% year-over-year to $332.9 million. The company’s record quarter is likely due to demand for its products that continue to exceed expectations. One advantage of Sonos’ products is that customers can start with one product and expand to more over time. The company said that based on this latest second-quarter financials, it will be raising its outlook for fiscal 2021 again.

In it, the company increased its EBITDA outlook to a top-line of $250 million, representing a 130% growth. Revenue outlook for the year increased to a range of $1.625 billion to $1.675 billion, representing growth in the range of 23% to 26% year-over-year. Given all of this, is SONO stock worth adding to your portfolio?

Read More

Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

AMD is a multinational semiconductor company that is based in San Clara, California. For over 50 years, the company has driven innovation in high-performance computing, graphics, and visualization technologies. Essentially, its products are used in the gaming industry and also for data centers. It boasts hundreds of millions of consumers and many businesses and research facilities rely on AMD’s technology. AMD stock currently trades at $73.67 as of 11:41 a.m. ET.

tech stocks (AMD stock)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

Late last month, the company reported its first-quarter financials for 2021. Firstly, its revenue for the quarter was $3.45 billion, a 93% increase year-over-year. Secondly, operating income for the quarter was $662 million. The company also posted a net income of $555 million, a 243% increase compared to a year earlier or a diluted earnings per share of $0.45. This increase in revenue was seen from its Computing & Graphics and Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-custom segments. The gross margin was 46%, flat year-over-year and up 1 percentage point quarter-over-quarter. The quarter-over-quarter increase was driven by a greater mix of Ryzen, Radeon, and EPYC processor sales.

Earlier this week, the company also announced that AMD EPYC 7003 Series processors will power a new supercomputer for the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore. NSCC is a high-performance computing resource center used to support science and engineering computing needs. The supercomputer will be fully operational by 2022 and expects to have a peak theoretical performance of 10 petaFLOPS. This would be 8x faster than NSCC’s existing pool of HPC resources. Researchers will use the system to advance scientific research across biomedicine, genomics, diseases, climate, and more. With that in mind, will you consider buying AMD stock?

Shares of Lowe’s move higher after upgrade but investors should beware, the analysts are expecting a lot out of this company so results may not be enough to support price action.

13, 2021

4 min read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

The Analysts Build Up Expectations For Lowe’s 

The analyst’s activity in Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) has been heating up over the last month. The company is slated to report its Q1 earnings next week and it could be a blowout report. The consensus estimate for both revenue and earnings growth shows a sequential acceleration that has YOY growth on track to slow but to a still-robust 20% rate. This includes the impact of recent upgrades from the community that have sentiment and the consensus price target edging higher. It does not, however, factor in the possibility Lowe’s will blow past these targets driven by strength in housing and consumer/homeowner trends. 

At $187.76 the consensus price target is below the current price action but does not fully reflect the recent trend. Over the past month, there’ve been 8 analyst calls, all bullish, with 3 rating upgrades and 5 price target hikes. Of those 8, the consensus for the share price is closer to $226 or about 12% upside and we think that target is a little low. 

Analyst Michael Lasser of UBS: “While it’s widely expected that HD and LOW will report strong SSS (same-store sales) we believe the degree of the flow-through that both retailers will generate will push the consensus forecasts meaningfully higher. Plus, the companies will provide indications that the momentum can continue even as they encounter tough compares.”

Lowe’s Is A Value For Dividend-Growth Investors 

Lowe’s presents a value relative to the broad market by trading at 19X this year’s earnings compared to 22X for the broader market. At the same time, the company is in much better financial shape and pays a very safe 1.25% dividend as well. In our view, the company should not only be able to sustain its 57-year history of increases but also its high 16% distribution CAGR. Home Depot, on the other hand, yields closer to 2.0% but trades at a 24X/23X multiple and with a less robust outlook for dividend growth. Home Depot has a 12-year history of dividend increases and should be able to sustain future increases but at a reduced rate to the current 20% CAGR. Home Depot’s payout ratio is closer to 50% of earnings which greatly reduces its ability to sustain robust increases. 

Analyst Brian Nagel of Oppenheimer: “For a while, we have maintained a largely cautious and selective stance towards consumer, and in particular shares of key COVID-19 winners, upon concerns of a forthcoming post-pandemic normalization in spending and more challenging comparisons. We are not signaling an ‘all clear’ for LOW or our coverage, broadly. Instead, our refreshed, more upbeat call on Lowe’s is largely tactical in nature and hinged upon prospects for a continued flow of funds into more cyclically focused equities and a now historically discounted valuation versus that of Home Depot.”

The Technical Outlook: Lowe’s Pulls Back Ahead Of Earnings 

Shares of Lowe’s were not immune to the malaise that gripped the market this week. The stock pulled back a little more than 5.0% in what looks like a knee-jerk reaction to news. The price action is already finding support at the 30-day moving average where think buying could be strong enough to hold prices up. If not, shares of Lowe’s may pull back into a deeper correction with a possible bottom at $180. The risk for investors is the earnings report next week and how the market reacts. We are sure the report will be good, possibly much better than consensus, the question is whether the stock will be rewarded for it. So, while Lowe’s is an attractive buy going into earnings it is also a risky one that bears caution. Even if the earnings report is good there may still be a better time to buy. 

Lowe’s Is An Attractive Buy Ahead Of Q1 Earnings 

Featured Article: Google Finance Portfolio Tips and Tricks

Silver (SLV) has been one of the best-performing assets over the past month. And, it’s no coincidence that inflation worries have also perked up. Taylor Dart identifies more positive developments under the surface.

13, 2021

5 min read

This story originally appeared on StockNews

Silver (SLV) has been one of the best-performing assets over the past month. And, it’s no coincidence that inflation worries have also perked up. Taylor Dart identifies more positive developments under the surface.

We’ve seen a minor changing of the guard over the past month, with the previously hated precious metals complex coming back into favor, while the Nasdaq Composite (QQQ) has corrected sharply. The leader in the precious metals space has continued to be silver (SLV), which is up 11% thus far in Q1, clawing back all of its year-to-date losses. This relative strength amid weakness in the major market averages is a good sign, as is the metal’s outperformance vs. gold (GLD), which denotes a healthy precious metals market. Even better, despite the strength, we haven’t seen any signs of exuberance yet in silver, and bullish sentiment is resetting. Let’s take a closer look below:

Chart Description automatically generated

(Source: TC2000.com)

As shown in the chart below, sentiment has improved considerably over the past few months, with bullish sentiment for silver sitting near 50% bulls and the long-term moving average plummeting from a reading near 80% to closer to 40%. This 4000 basis point improvement in bullish sentiment has helped to reset the silver market from an unhealthy amount of optimism in early February, which impeded the market’s parabolic rally. While this current reading of 40% bulls for the long-term moving average is nowhere near a buy signal, which we last got in 2018, it is a massive improvement and nearing a level where we’ve seen cycle lows in the past. At the most recent cycle low in December, the sentiment moving average dipped to 33% bulls before the metal turned higher and put together a two-month performance.

Chart, line chart, histogram Description automatically generated

(Source: Daily Sentiment Index Data, Author’s Chart)

Over the past week, bullish sentiment for silver has continued to climb, but despite this rally, bullish sentiment has not become frothy like in past rallies and is sitting near 50% bulls. These subdued readings combined with the elevated readings from January and February being rolled off have moved this indicator to a neutral reading with a slight bullish tilt, from a previous neutral reading over the past month, and a slightly bearish reading in early February. When this indicator moves to a slightly bullish reading, this is a tailwind for rallies, given that silver can climb a wall of worry.

This is the opposite of what we saw in late January when everyone was bullish, and markets rarely sustain their rallies when the majority are already bullish. The best thing for silver would be continued consolidation inside this multi-month base we’ve been building since last year to shake more weak hands out of this trade.

Chart, histogram Description automatically generated

(Source: TC2000.com)

If we look at the technical picture, we can see that silver has resistance at $28.90/oz, short-term support at $25.25/oz, and strong support at $22.00/oz. For the bigger picture, the key for the bulls is defending $22.00/oz, which will keep the monthly chart bullish. In the short term, breaking out above $28.90/oz would set up a rally to above $33.00/oz and confirm the yearly breakout we saw last year. However, with silver in the upper portion of its larger range, I don’t see a low-risk buy opportunity just yet at $27.00/oz.

So, what’s the best course of action?

Given that silver continues to trade in a choppy range, I see the best course of action as adding exposure at $25.25/oz and increasing exposure closer to long-term support at $22.00/oz. Dips to these levels would likely coincide with a more bullish tilt for sentiment, and it’s generally been wiser to buy support in silver and trim near resistance vs. buy breakouts over the past several months. If we do see continued weakness in the silver market, I don’t see any reason to get concerned, as long as $22.00/oz is defended. As long as this level continues to act as support, silver will remain in a bull market, and 20% pullbacks within bull markets from the highs typically provide excellent buying opportunities. Based on a recent high of $30.20/oz, the lowest risk buys can be initiated at the $24.15/oz level or lower.

Disclosure: I am long GLD

Disclaimer: Taylor Dart is not a Registered Investment Advisor or Financial Planner. This writing is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation to buy, or a recommendation regarding any securities transaction. The information contained in this writing should not be construed as financial or investment advice on any subject matter. Taylor Dart expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken based on any or all of the information on this writing.

SLV shares were trading at $25.08 per share on Thursday morning, down $0.01 (-0.04%). Year-to-date, SLV has gained 2.08%, versus a 10.30% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

About the Author: Taylor Dart

Taylor has over a decade of investing experience, with a special focus on the precious metals sector. In addition to working with ETFDailyNews, he is a prominent writer on Seeking Alpha. Learn more about Taylor’s background, along with links to his most recent articles.


The post Silver Sentiment Continues to Improve appeared first on StockNews.com

13, 2021

4 min read

This story originally appeared on StockNews

Shares of Shift4 Payments (FOUR) have risen moderately so far this year on investors’ optimism about the fintech industry’s prospects. However, its weak financials and premium valuation remain causes for concern. This, along with the risks associated with its business operations, could result in a price decline in the near term. So, let’s take a close look at FOUR.

Payment processing company, Shift4 Payments, Inc. (FOUR), operates payment platforms that provide omni-channel card acceptance and processing solutions. FOUR’s stock has gained 6.2% year-to-date, driven by the company’s increased organizational capabilities, premium platform features and growing adoption of contactless digital payment solutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, over the past three months, the stock has declined 1.4%. Also, the shares have declined 20.3% over the past month.

The company generated a substantial loss in the last quarter. In fact, with customer volumes well below pre-pandemic levels, FOUR’s near-term growth prospects remain bleak, and pandemic-induced headwinds could continue to negatively impact the company’s profitability.

Here is what we think could influence FOUR’s performance in the coming months:

Business Headwinds

FOUR serves customers in the restaurant, hospitality, and specialty retail businesses, which are among the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. Indeed, most of its customers are still operating at restricted capacity. In its last-reported quarter, the company experienced a significant loss as a multi-location specialty retailer abruptly closed due to its failure as a business.

Although FOUR’s recent investments in 3dcart–which is now rebranded as Shift4Shop–could contribute significantly to its revenues in the long term, most of its business is heavily reliant on restaurants at a time when most are operating at limited capacity. Given that its customers’  transaction volumes  are still significantly below their pre-crisis levels, its near-term growth potential looks bleak.

Unimpressive Quarterly Performance

FOUR’s total operating expenses increased 173.9% year-over-year to $95.3 million in the first quarter, ended March 31. The company reported a $43.5 million loss from operations  for this period, compared to $8.6 million an income in the first quarter of 2020. Also,  its net loss came in at $51 million. FOUR generated a $0.62 loss per share  over this period. Its adjusted EBITDA declined 16.9% sequentially to $22.2 million.

Premium Valuation

In terms of forward P/E, FOUR is currently trading at 202.46x, which is 731.8% higher than the 24.34 industry average. FOUR’s 18.49x forward Price-to-Book is 221.3% higher than the 5.75x industry average. Also, the company’s 360.12x trailing-12-month Price/Cash flow is 1,459.3% higher than the 23.09x industry average.

Consensus Price Target Reflects Downside

Currently trading at $80.06, Wall Street analysts expect the stock to hit $64.30 in the near term, which indicates a potential 19.7% decline.

Unfavorable POWR Ratings

FOUR has an overall D rating, which translates to Sell in our POWR Ratings system. The POWR Ratings are calculated by considering 118 different factors, with the weighting of each optimized to improve overall performance.

Our proprietary rating system also evaluates each stock based on eight different categories. FOUR has a D Value Grade, given the stock’s premium valuation.

In terms of Growth Grade, FOUR has a C, which is in sync with the company’s inadequate growth prospects.

Also, it has a D grade for Stability, reflecting that it is less stable compared to its peers.

Click here to see the additional POWR Ratings for FOUR (Momentum, Sentiment and Quality).

FOUR is ranked #66 of 74 stocks in the C-rated Technology – Services industry.

There are several top-rated stocks in the same industry. Click here to access them.

Click here to check out our Software Industry Report for 2021

Bottom Line

Even though the growing demand for QR and contactless payment solutions and FOUR’s strategic investments make the stock look appealing, the company lacks adequate financial and fundamental strength. In fact, we think the company’s expensive valuation and near-term business headwinds make it a risky bet now. 

FOUR shares were trading at $80.28 per share on Thursday morning, up $0.22 (+0.27%). Year-to-date, FOUR has gained 6.47%, versus a 10.30% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

About the Author: Imon Ghosh

Imon is an investment analyst and journalist with an enthusiasm for financial research and writing. She began her career at Kantar IMRB, a leading market research and consumer consulting organization.


The post Is Shift4 Payments a Winner in the Fintech Industry? appeared first on StockNews.com

13, 2021

5 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

When you’re shopping for a laptop, you may find the search for the right device for your budget a near-impossible undertaking. Compounded with inflation, recent advancements in technology and chip shortages have caused laptop prices to increase dramatically over the years, making it hard to secure even the most tattered secondhand clunker. 

The best Chromebooks under $200 solve this problem by delivering a smooth, reliable computing experience for less than the price of an iPad. But because high-quality laptops are in such high demand these days, chances are you’ll have to either compromise a little on your budget or buy refurbished to stay under that price ceiling. The good news is that most retailers offer extensive return policies, up to 90 days in the case of Amazon. Buying refurbished is better for the environment as well, as it reduces the proliferation of e-waste.

Whether you purchase it new or pre-owned and revamped, the best Chromebook for under $200 is one that can run the apps you need without delay. It is one that boasts a sleek design, punching above its weight in terms of appearance. It is functional, flexible, and focused on providing the features you need to make it through the work (or school) day.

Best Chromebook Overall: HP Chromebook 14 ($249, $199 Renewed)
Best Chromebook for Kids: HP Chromebook 11a G8 EE ($191, $150 Renewed)
Best Chromebook for Students: Samsung Chromebook 4+ ($231, $162 Renewed)
Best Touchscreen Chromebook: HP Chromebook 11 ($199 Renewed)
Best 2-in-1 Chromebook: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook ($206, $200 Renewed)
Best Chromebook for Gaming: Acer Chromebook 315 – AMD ($379, $190 Renewed)
Best Chromebook for Linux: Acer Chromebook 315 – Intel ($297, $170 Renewed)

Best Chromebook Overall: HP Chromebook 14 ($249, $199 Renewed)

Best Chromebook Overall: HP Chromebook 14 ($249, $199 Renewed)

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Ever since Google added support for its Play Store app marketplace, Chromebooks have increasingly taken advantage of their expanded capabilities. Available new or renewed, the HP Chromebook 14 is no exception. Complete with four-finger, multi-touch gesture swiping on the touchpad, an Intel Celeron processor, and B&O-engineered stereo speakers, the Chromebook 14 can display content from streaming services and productivity tools alike on a 1,366 x 768 HD screen without the massive bezels paraded by its predecessors. 

Best Chromebook for Kids: HP Chromebook 11a G8 EE ($191, $150 Renewed)

Best Chromebook for Kids: HP Chromebook 11a G8 EE ($191, $150 Renewed)

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Children have different needs than adults when it comes to laptops. Built with educational environments in mind, the HP Chromebook 11a G8 EE (the EE stands for Education Edition) brings serviceable specs to a rugged notebook capable of withstanding a 2.5-foot concrete drop or 4 feet on hardwood floors. Messier kids will benefit from spill resistance up to 12 ounces, and those who aren’t keen on looking where they’re going don’t have to worry about the device breaking from careless tugs at the power cable. Get it new or renewed at a discount.

Best Chromebook for Students: Samsung Chromebook 4+ ($231, $162 Renewed)

Best Chromebook for Students: Samsung Chromebook 4+ ($231, $162 Renewed)

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For older students in high school or college, the Samsung Chromebook 4+ (available under $200 renewed) is an attractive option. The laptop has a 15.6-inch screen, much larger than most in its class, in addition to an aluminum lid that feels premium to the touch. However, while its bottom half is unfortunately made of plastic, it still boasts military-grade durability. It steps it up in the screen resolution department, too, with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, perfect for binge-watching your favorite shows between studies. You can also purchase the Chromebook 4+ from Samsung directly

Best Touchscreen Chromebook: HP Chromebook 11 ($199 Renewed)

Best Touchscreen Chromebook: HP Chromebook 11 ($199 Renewed)

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Finding any touchscreen laptop under $200 is a hurdle to overcome, much less a good one. The renewed HP Chromebook 11 subverts expectations with an 11.6-inch IPS display you can touch to open and close windows, sign documents, play Android games from the Google Play Store, and more. Although the screen resolution is only 1,366 x 768, at this price point some concessions do have to be made. 

Best 2-in-1 Chromebook: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook ($206, $200 Renewed)

Best 2-in-1 Chromebook: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook ($206, $200 Renewed)

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A convertible laptop comes in handy if you’re hoping to use your Chromebook on the go, as it allows you to switch between a tablet and a laptop mode. For $200 renewed or just $6 more new, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet in particular has a detachable keyboard you can snap on or off on a whim. Need to hop into a meeting and take notes? Or how about you read that book you’ve been meaning to finish? Simply remove the top of the Duet from its base and go portable. Then, when you’re ready to catch up on emails or write that proposal, reunite the two for the complete laptop experience.

Best Chromebook for Gaming: Acer Chromebook 315 – AMD ($379, $190 Renewed)

Best Chromebook for Gaming: Acer Chromebook 315 - AMD ($379, $190 Renewed)

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Gaming on a Chromebook is very different from that of a Windows laptop or even a Mac. More akin to mobile gaming such as that on a smartphone or tablet, you have hundreds of titles at your fingertips, courtesy of the Google Play Store. New and renewed alike, the AMD A-Series processor-fueled Acer Chromebook 315 is powerful, with plenty of screen real estate to bring your favorite games to life. An HD touchscreen makes it compatible with a wide range of games, not limited to those playable using only mouse and keyboard.

Best Chromebook for Linux: Acer Chromebook 315 – Intel ($297, $170 Renewed)

Best Chromebook for Linux: Acer Chromebook 315 - Intel ($297, $170 Renewed)

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While the Acer Chromebook 315 is also the best Chromebook under $200 for Linux users, those looking to install the open-source operating system might prefer an Intel processor for optimal software compatibility. The Celeron-based Chromebook 315 is also more affordable than the AMD version, in both its new and renewed iterations. No matter what distro you’re using, the Acer Chromebook 315’s Intel edition packs more than enough performance to meet the minimum requirements of Ubuntu, Mint, and Fedora alike.

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