Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

  • 5:55 PM
    • Atmel's (NASDAQ:ATML) SAM L21 family of ARM-based microcontrollers consume less than 35 microamps of power per MHz., far below the 120-160 microamps consumed by most low-power controllers. That, together with a sleep mode power draw of less than 200 nanoamps and various power-saving features, leads Atmel to claim the chips can enable embedded/wearable devices and sensors with battery lives of 10 years or more.
    • The SAM L21, which comes with built-in flash and SRAM, delivered a score of 185 an industry power benchmark - Atmel states that's 50% above its closest competitor (an STMicroelectronics chip).
    • The company argues its support for 5 different "power domains" (compared with just 2 for other chips) with varying levels of resource use improves power efficiency, and that devices containing SAM L21 chips might potentially be powered off energy captured from the human body.
    • In addition to Atmel, Freescale and other ARM microcontroller vendors are working on ultra-low-power chips meant for embedded devices. Intel is going after the opportunity via its tiny Quark CPUs.
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  • 5:15 PM
    • Hutchison (NASDAQ:HTCH) reports preliminary FQ2 (March quarter) revenue of $62M, +2% Y/Y and below a 3-analyst $65.2M consensus. Not surprisingly (in light of Intel's warning), the company blames weak PC demand.
    • Hutchison shipped ~101M hard drive suspension assemblies in FQ2, down slightly from 101.7M a year ago. ASP was $0.59 vs. $0.58 in FQ1 and $0.57 a year ago.
    • CEO Rick Penn: "Cloud and hyperscale applications are expected to provide future growth for suspension assembly demand, but our current demand is still heavily weighted to PC applications ... customer interest in our shape memory alloy (NYSE:SMA) technology is encouraging ... The smartphone camera market is in the early phases of adopting OIS technology, and as we've stated previously, we are still in the initial stages of developing this new opportunity." An OIS actuator deal for an Android phone made by Taiwan's InFocus was uncovered in January.
    • Shares haven't moved yet AH.
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  • 5:07 PM
    • American Tower (NYSE:AMT) gained 2.5% as Raymond James upgraded shares to Strong Buy, from Outperform.
    • Rollout of wireless companies' new spectrum should restart revenue growth in 2016, RJ's Ric Prentiss says, pointing to "second-half 2015 and 2016 leasing trends" with T-Mobile deploying its low-band spectrum, Sprint expanding its high-band, and AT&T and Verizon "spending a steady amount of wireless capex."
    • It's a bit of a rebound for a stock that's down 8% from its November high.
    • The analysts set a slightly lower price target on the stock, to $112 from $114. Shares closed today at $96.46.
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  • 5:02 PM
    • Kelyn Brannon, Arista's (NYSE:ANET) CFO since July 2013, is leaving for "personal reasons." Founder/chairman Andy Bechtolsheim will serve as interim CFO while the company looks for a successor.
    • The announcement comes a day after Arista unveiled a subscription pricing model for its EOS operating system as an alternative to traditional up-front licenses. The week has also seen Arista announce a partnership with server OEM Super Micro to offer joint solutions aimed at Web-scale data center architectures; Microsoft and Facebook are among Arista's clients.
    • Shares -0.9% AH to $69.00.
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  • 4:54 PM
  • 4:53 PM
    • Though it beat FQ2 estimates, Micron (NASDAQ:MU) has guided in its earnings slides (.pdf) for FQ3 revenue of $3.8B-$4.05B, below a $4.29B consensus. At the same time, a light outlook was expected by many.
    • Lifting FQ2 sales: Trade NAND sales rose 12% Q/Q, in spite of guidance for production to be flat to down by a low-single digit %. DRAM sales fell 9%; production guidance was for a high-single to low-double digit drop.
    • DRAM and trade NAND ASPs respectively fell 6% and 9% Q/Q, below guidance of flat to down low-single digits. However, DRAM cost/bit fell 4% (better than guidance for a flat cost/bit), and trade NAND cost/bit fell 3% (better than guidance for a mid-single digit increase).
    • FQ3 DRAM guidance: High-single digit production growth (20nm transition), high-single digit ASP decline (PC price pressure), low single-digit cost/bit decline. FQ3 trade NAND guidance: Low-single digit production decline, mid-single digit ASP growth, mid-single digit cost/bit growth.
    • FQ2 gross margin was 34%, down from FQ1's 36% and flat Y/Y. SG&A spend rose 6% Y/Y to $187M; R&D spend rose 10% to $379M. DRAM was 65% of revenue, NAND 32% (trade NAND 29%), and other products (e.g. NOR flash) 3%.
    • Free cash flow was (op. cash flow - capex) was $399M. The FY15 capex budget remains at $3.6B-$4B. Micron ended FQ2 with $6.35B in cash/marketable investments, and $6.7B in debt.
    • MU +1.3% AH to $27.48.
    • FQ2 results, PR
    • Update (5:30PM ET): Micron is now down 1.9% AH.
  • 4:27 PM
    • Progress Software (NASDAQ:PRGS): FQ1 EPS of $0.29 beats by $0.05.
    • Revenue of $95.5M (+28.1% Y/Y) beats by $1.32M.
    • Shares -0.1%.
    • Press Release
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  • 4:22 PM
    • Joshua Claman, most recently the president of local online ad firm ReachLocal and before that a 10-year Dell vet and 17-year NCR vet, has been hired by Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) to fill the newly-created role of chief business officer. He'll report to CEO David Reis.
    • The position makes Claman Stratasys' sales chief, as well as the head of its service and sales channel operations.
    • Stratasys' move comes two months after a big 2014 sales warning was issued, and 5 weeks after the company named a new MakerBot CEO. Rival 3D Systems has also been busy shaking up its C-Suite.
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  • 4:18 PM
    • Sigma Designs (NASDAQ:SIGM): FQ4 EPS of $0.04 beats by $0.04.
    • Revenue of $54.8M (+42.3% Y/Y) beats by $1.64M.
    • Shares +1.7%.
    • Press Release
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  • 4:09 PM
    • Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU): FQ2 EPS of $0.81 beats by $0.08.
    • Revenue of $4.17B (+1.5% Y/Y) beats by $20M.
    • Shares +4.5%.
    • Press Release
  • 3:31 PM
    • As part of its 2015 cost-cutting measures, Brazilian telecom Oi SA (NYSE:OIBR) is slashing more than 1,000 jobs, reducing personnel expense by 20%. Shares are up 20.1%.
    • The move comes with governance changes designed to boost shareholder rights and simplify the ownership structure.
    • Among the new moves is a right of non-voting shareholders to convert to common voting shares at a predetermined ratio.
    • The changes should help Oi with a tie-up that may be increasingly urgent as competition gets heavy in the space.
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  • 3:14 PM
    • With the Nasdaq down 0.8%, only a handful of tech companies are posting big gains. Notable gainers include search toolbar/mobile ad provider Perion (PERI +4.2%) , low-end Android OEM InfoSonics (IFON +7.1%), and Chinese mobile app developer Sungy Mobile (GOMO +8.2%).
    • Notable decliners include local reviews leader Yelp (YELP -4.6%), cloud IT service management software vendor ServiceNow (NOW -4.5%), cloud talent management software vendor Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD -4%), enterprise cloud storage/file-sharing platform Box (BOX -5.5%), software analytics tool provider New Relic (NEWR -5.9%), online family care marketplace marketplace (CRCM -5%), and e-commerce software provider Demandware (DWRE -4.9%).
    • Perion announced this morning it has added Mike Vorhaus, president of consulting firm Magid Advisors, to its board. ServiceNow has announced its Q1 report will arrive on April 16. Yelp, which has been volatile in recent weeks, is now just slightly over $3 above a 52-week low of $42.10. is less than $1 away from a post-IPO low of $6.50.
    • Previously covered: Solar stocks, cybersecurity stocks, Axcelis, GoDaddy, ON Semi, Voltari
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  • 2:57 PM
    • Several security tech plays are seeing profit-taking on a down day for tech. Palo Alto Networks (PANW -4.3%), FireEye (FEYE -3.4%), Imperva (IMPV -3.5%), Fortinet (FTNT -3.1%), and Proofpoint (PFPT -3%) are the biggest decliners.
    • The decline comes as Pres. Obama announces an executive order authorizing "targeted sanctions against individuals or entities whose actions in cyberspace result in significant threats to the national security, foreign policy, economic health or financial stability of the United States."
    • Obama, whose administration has already rolled out several executive actions/proposals aimed at helping businesses and government agencies defend against security breaches, goes as far as to call cyberattacks a "national emergency." His latest move comes 3 months after a massive Sony Pictures hack blamed on North Korea.
    • ETF: HACK
    • Yesterday: Palo Alto expands VMware alliance, launches new service
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  • 2:36 PM
    • Though the Nasdaq is down 0.8% and the S&P 0.6%, solar stocks remain in rally mode. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN +1%) is now up 32% YTD, following a rough 2014.
    • SunEdison (SUNE +3.8%) is among today's standouts; its TerraForm Power YieldCo announced this morning it's buying 521MW of wind projects from Atlantic Power for $350M. Trina is also faring well after announcing the sale of a 50MW U.K. solar plant.
    • Other standouts include Chinese plays ReneSola (SOL +2.7%), Yingli (YGE +2.2%), JinkoSolar (JKS +5.2%), JA Solar (JASO +2.5%), and China Sunergy (CSUN +7.6%).
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  • 2:25 PM
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  • 2:22 PM
    • Nine months after launching coverage with a Buy rating, Citi's Jim Suva has added Apple (AAPL -0.2%) to his Focus List, while reiterating a $145 target.
    • Among Suva's 5 reasons why he thinks Apple can continue rising: He expects consumer demand for higher-capacity iPhones (driven by increased app usage and higher-resolution photos) to provide a "permanent step up" for gross margins. Demand for 64GB/128GB iPhone 6/6+ models helped Apple's GM rise 200 bps Y/Y in FQ1 to 39.9%, and its iPhone ASP jump to $687 from FQ4's $603.
    • RBC argued yesterday GMs could benefit from component discounts, as well as yield, mix, and pricing improvements. "Going forward, we think that gross margins should act as the main lever for positive surprises..."
    • Also cited by Suva: 1) Faster consumer phone upgrades thanks to carrier promotions and upgrade plans. 2) Growing enterprise penetration as Apple steps up its efforts to court businesses. 3) The potential for Apple Pay/Passbook to strengthen the ecosystem through over a dozen potential uses (payments, identification, keyless entry, etc.). 4) An "attractive" valuation of 11x forward EPS exc. cash.
    • He sees Apple Watch as a "bonus" potential catalyst, and is cautious about its near-term sales due to concerns about its battery life and lack of built-in GPS (it relies on an iPhone to provide location data). Like others, Suva expects fresh dividend/buyback hikes to eventually arrive.
    • Earlier: Samsung gets rave reviews for Galaxy S6
  • 1:50 PM
    • After rallying over the last week with the help of bullish notes/upgrades from FBN, Baird, and Dougherty, GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) is among the biggest tech decliners on a day the Nasdaq is down 0.6%.
    • Yesterday, Re/code observed GoPro has been awarded a patent for a cube-shaped housing meant to hold a camera of the same shape (USPTO filing). GoPro told the site it started work on a square camera design in 2011, and that it "files patents like these to protect our technology and intellectual property."
    • The site speculates the design could be used to create a "super-compact low-cost camera," and notes Polaroid recently launched a $100 square-shaped camera (the Cube - reviews haven't been great).
  • 1:18 PM
    • Trina (NYSE:TSL) is selling a 50MW Nortolk, U.K. solar plant to local solar investment firm Bluefield for £59.1M ($87.7M) + a £3M ($4.4M) retention that's contingent on conditions being met. The company has also entered into a bridge loan agreement to finance the Norfolk project until the sale is finished.
    • Trina notes it has now sold 3 utility-scale U.K. solar plants featuring a combined capacity of 73.76MW, and that (in addition to ongoing U.K.projects) it's building several Japanese projects. The company forecast a month ago it would see 700MW-750MW of solar projects go live in 2015.
    • Shares have joined those of several solar peers in rallying on a down day for equities.
  • 12:56 PM
    • Motorola Solutions (MSI -0.4%) has bought PublicEngines, a provider of cloud-based software that helps law enforcement agencies analyze/share data, make resource-allocation decisions, map crime incidents, and receive/respond to tips. Terms are undisclosed.
    • PublicEngines claims over 2K customers, mostly in North America. Motorola asserts the deal will bolster its efforts to "revolutionize public safety's use of available data to gain actionable intelligence to support its mission," and that pairing PublicEngine's analytics/predictive policing apps with Motorola's situational awareness products will "establish an unmatched platform for delivery of intelligence-led public safety capabilities."
    • The deal follows Motorola's February acquisition of 911 call-taking software firm Emergency CallWorks.
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  • 12:43 PM
    • Corning (GLW -1.7%) has bought iBwave Solutions, a Montreal-based provider of design/planning, modeling, and management software for in-building wireless networks. Terms are undisclosed.
    • Corning states iBwave's software/services are "used by more than 600 global leading telecom operators, system integrators, and equipment manufacturers in more than 80 countries." The company will continue operating under the iBwave name, as a part of Corning's Optical Communications (fiber) unit.
    • iBwave's products appear to complement Corning's ONE Wireless platform, which provides integrated mobile, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet backhaul for companies through a mixture of fiber/optical gear and Ethernet switches.
    • Previously: Corning partners with Zhone for fiber/wireless enterprise solution
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