Oct. 4, 2013, 7:06 AM
- Tesla Motors (TSLA) is having discussions with Samsung (SSNLF.PK) over the EV automaker using battery technology from the Korean company.
- A spokesperson for Tesla notes other potential battery suppliers are in the mix as well.
- One report indicates Samsung would like the deal to include Tesla buying its touch-screens as well.
- TSLA +0.7% premarket to $174.55.
Oct. 4, 2013, 2:19 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has estimated that its operating profit climbed 22.8-27.8% to another quarterly record of 9.9-10.3T won ($9.2-9.6B) in Q3, in line with consensus of 9.96T won.
- The company expects that sales grew 11-15% to 58-60T won vs forecasts of 59.7T won.
- Samsung didn't provide estimates for net income or earnings for each division. Its final results are due out at the end of the month.
- "Despite record-high earnings, doubts over the sustainability of smartphone-driven profits hint at an overall valuation discount for Samsung," says HMC Investment & Securities analyst Greg Roh.
- Shares +0.6% in Seoul.
Oct. 2, 2013, 9:34 AM
- LG Electronics (LGEIY.OB) has lifted the wraps on a curved smartphone with a flexible OLED display called the LG Z, according to ZDNet Korea. The device is reportedly in mass production, will be announced in the immediate future, and has a release date set for later this month.
- The phone's 6" OLED display will "be rigid, much like [LG's] curved OLED televisions," LG tells The Inquirer.
- LG is in a race with Korean rival Samsung (SSNLF.PK), which has plans of its own for a smartphone with a curved display to be released in Oct. The Inquirer speculates Samsung's rendition would be a variant of the Galaxy Note 3.
Oct. 1, 2013, 2:27 PM
- The Verge's Vlad Savov gives Samsung's (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) $299 Galaxy Gear smartwatch a score of just 4.0/10. He likes the device's display, voice calling abilities, and camera, but not much else. The Gear is deemed too dependent on paired smartphones, and its battery life (one day under normal use) too short. In addition, its notifications are called "uninformative;" and its apps "buggy or substandard."
- Savov: "A smartwatch the Galaxy Gear is not. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly what it’s supposed to be."
- Engadget's Brad Molen is a little more positive. He calls the Gear comfortable to wear and its performance adequate, but is just as critical of its notifications, and doesn't like the lack of touchless controls. "The Galaxy Gear is a solid effort from Samsung, but it needs time to grow and develop." AnandTech's Brian Klug reaches a similar conclusion.
- Meanwhile, a Korean site reports Apple's (AAPL +2.2%) much-rumored iWatch will feature a flexible OLED display, and that Apple is working on 1.3", 1.4", and 1.5" prototypes. The 1.5" prototype has reportedly "already been made." The Gear has a rigid 1.6" OLED display.
- The report is a bit of good news for Universal Display (OLED -6.7%), currently selling off thanks to a Canaccord downgrade.
- The FT reported in July Apple's iWatch hiring activity is picking up, and points to a 2H14 launch.
Sep. 30, 2013, 5:54 PM
- Susquehanna's Mehdi Hosseini reports spot prices for 2GB 1333MHz. DDR3 PC DRAM chips remain 45% above contract prices in the wake of a giant Sep.4 fire at an SK Hynix (HXSCL.OB) plant that knocked out a large chunk of global DRAM output. Contract prices are up 5% in Q3, adding to large YTD gains.
- NAND flash contract prices are down 3% on the quarter, but spot prices for most NAND types are now well above contract prices. The Hynix fire has been expected to boost NAND prices by shifting NAND production towards DRAM.
- In spite of the figures, Hosseini rates Micron (MU) a Hold. However, he has Buy ratings on fellow memory makers Hynix, SanDisk (SNDK), and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB).
- On Friday, Stifel joined the Micron PT-raising bandwagon ($24 from $20). The firm was encouraged a talk with Micron's IR chief focused on "structural changes to the memory industry" brought about by consolidation, rather than "tactical issues" such as ASPs and cyclical trends.
- Previous: Micron receives another PT hike as DRAM prices soar
Sep. 30, 2013, 1:26 PM
- Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) passed Coca-Cola to take the top two spots in Interbrand's annual ranking of the world's most valuable brands. 2013 marks the first time in the history of the 13-year-old survey Coke wasn't ranked #1. (PR)
- Interbrand estimates Apple's brand value rose 28% Y/Y to $98.3B, and Google's 34% to $93.3B. Four other tech names made the top-10: IBM (#4, +4% to $78.8B), Microsoft (MSFT - #5, +3% to $60B), Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB - #8, +20% to $39.6B), and Intel (INTC - #9, -5% to $37.3B).
- Though it only came in at #19, Amazon's (AMZN) brand value is estimated to have risen 27% to $23.6B. Likewise, Interbrands thinks EBAY's brand value rose 20% to $13.2B, leading its ranking to rise 8 spots to #28.
Sep. 30, 2013, 1:06 PM
- South Korea's Hankyung reports TSMC (TSM -0.1%) will manufacture 60%-70% of Apple's next-gen A8 CPUs, and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) the remaining 30%-40%.
- The WSJ reported in July TSMC will begin manufacturing some A-series CPUs in 2014, but added Samsung will remain the primary supplier through year's end (this could still be the case even if TSMC handles a majority of A7 output).
- The A8 is expected to use a cutting-edge 20nm manufacturing process. Both TSMC and Samsung are looking to ramp 20nm production in early 2014.
- Apple's A7, which is found in the iPhone 5S and should (in some form) go into the 5th-gen iPad, is made by Samsung using a 28nm process.
Sep. 26, 2013, 6:34 PM
- With Intel (INTC) at risk of missing a year-end target for launching its Web-based pay-TV service thanks to stalled licensing talks, Bloomberg reports the chip giant is "seeking partnerships to jumpstart the project." In particular, a partner "with a base of Internet subscribers or rights to films and television shows."
- AllThingsD reports something similar, while adding "it’s possible the project will be scrapped" if a partner isn't found. Intel is said to be talking with Amazon (AMZN) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) about a possible deal.
- Bloomberg's sources claim the project has slowed since Brian Krzanich, who is more interested in Intel's mobile chip progress, became CEO.
- Intel has bought startups to strengthen its TV efforts, and has promised novel features such as a cloud DVR service that stores every item of programming for 3 days. But reaching content deals with media giants has reportedly been tough, thanks partly to the objections of pay-TV incumbents such as Time Warner Cable.
Sep. 26, 2013, 1:39 PM
- A Chinese-language site (translation) has leaked an image for a China Mobile (CHL +0.5%) poster advertising the iPhone 5S and 5C (AAPL +0.6%). The posters make note of the 5S/5C's support for CHL's TD-LTE 4G network.
- One source tells the site sales could start in November, following testing in September/October.
- The WSJ reported on Sep. 6 Apple is getting ready to ship iPhones to China Mobile, and Chinese regulators recently gave the iPhone a green light to run on CHL's network (unofficially, many of the carrier's subs already use iPhones, courtesy of grey-market purchases).
- IDC estimates the iPhone only had a 5% share of the Chinese smartphone market in Q2, thanks in part to its premium pricing in a market where per capita GDP (in absolute dollars) is a little above $6K. Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) is assigned an 18.3% share, and local Android vendors Lenovo (LNVGY.PK), Coolpad, ZTE (ZTCOY.PK), and Huawei shares of 12.6%, 11%, 8.8%, and 8.7%, respectively.
- Also: IDC thinks smartphones with 5"+ displays will account for nearly 20% of 2013 Chinese sales, and 50% of 2017 sales. Apple, which has faced growing calls to offer a larger iPhone, is reportedly thinking of offering phones with displays ranging from 4.8"-6".
Sep. 26, 2013, 9:40 AM
- The problem at Wal-Mart (WMT +0.2%) is simply a mismatch between sales and inventory buildup, according to a follow-up from Bloomberg after yesterday's story created a broad ripple in the retail sector.
- Even if orders aren't being cut across the board as the company steadfastly maintains, in some discretionary-product areas there is likely to be a drop.
- WMT suppliers to watch: PG, PEP, TSN, KRFT, SSNLF.PK, JAH, HBI, Li & Fung, MAT.
Sep. 25, 2013, 12:58 PM
- The Samsung Solutions Exchange (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB), announced this morning, represents the electronics giant's biggest effort yet to grow its enterprise mobile clout, and in doing so become a little less dependent on Google.
- The exchange serves as an app store for enterprise-specific apps, provides access to Samsung's enterprise SDK and 1K+ APIs, and acts as a meeting place for developers and businesses. It complements Samsung's SAFE initiative, which provides the company's Android hardware with a variety of security, device management, and data-syncing features.
- Though Android's smartphone unit share is now over 5x that of the iPhone's, iOS has been faring better in the enterprise, thanks to both demographics and Android security concerns.
- Separately, Samsung announces it will launch a phone with a curved display next month in South Korea. Details are currently light, but there's a good chance the phone will use Universal Display's (OLED +1.1%) flexible OLED tech.
- Also: Samsung says it has developed image sensor tech that significantly improves the light sensitivity and color fidelity of its CMOS image sensors. The technology, known as Isocell, will be used in an 8MP sensor set to be mass-produced in Q4.
- Isocell could make Samsung a tougher competitor to OmniVision (OVTI +0.9%). However, Samsung's rivals might not be crazy about depending on the company for their image sensor needs.
Sep. 23, 2013, 2:37 PM
- Wedbush's Betsy Van Hees, who is lifting her Micron (MU -1.6%) PT to $23 from $16: "While checks indicate demand for handsets, PCs and tablets have modestly improved since Aug, any prior concerns we had for near-term memory supply outstripping demand have been eradicated following the fire at SK Hynix's (HXSCL.OB) DRAM fab in China..."
- RBC upped its Micron PT two weeks ago on account of the fire, noting it puts 30% SK Hynix's 2013 DRAM production "at immediate risk." Susquehanna upgraded shares to Neutral, estimating the fire will lower OEM/channel DRAM inventories by 2-3 weeks. Hynix expects to be back to full capacity somewhere in November.
- DRAM prices, which were already up strongly in 2013 going into September, have been soaring since the fire broke out on Sep. 4; DRAMeXchange estimates spot prices for 2Gb DDR3 chips are up 42%, benefiting both Micron and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB).
- SanDisk (SNDK -0.5%) benefits to the extent tight DRAM capacity/surging prices lead manufacturers to reallocate NAND production lines to DRAM.
- Micron is selling off today, but remains up 12% since news of the fire first broke.
Sep. 17, 2013, 1:32 PM
- Don't draw any conclusions against the sale of his entire stake in JPMorgan (JPM), Jim Chanos tells Bloomberg. It was a hedge against his shorting of a number of Chinese banks (ETF: CHIX). He reminds he's still long Citigroup (C) against the Chinese shorts. "Our business is still shorting ... China has been a bright spot."
- Having said that, Chanos is finding himself enamored of a tech stock he originally purchased as a hedge: Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB).
- Back in China, Chanos says the country's credit system has "gone crazy" - new debt is growing at 30-40% of GDP per year vs. about 10% nominal GDP growth (and Chanos doesn't buy the GDP numbers). Other than Chinese banks, Chanos remains short CAT along with a number of others which benefitted from the global materials boom. Two names he mentions are Australia's Fortescue (FSUMF.PK) and VALE.
- China ETFs: FXI, GXC, PGJ, YAO, FCHI, PEK, CAF, YXI, XPP, FXP, MCHI, YINN, YANG, TCHI, CHXF, KFYP.
Sep. 17, 2013, 12:47 PM
- Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) fell 2.7% in Seoul on worries plunging emerging markets currencies will take a toll on its home appliance and TV sales.
- The Indian rupee, Russian ruble, Brazilian real, and Indonesian rupiah have all fallen hard this summer. Reuters has reported emerging markets nations are planning an intervention.
- Samsung shares have already been pressured this year by weaker-than-expected Galaxy S4 sales, and broader concerns about a smartphone mix shift towards cheaper/lower-margin Android hardware.
Sep. 12, 2013, 5:01 AM
- Shipments of tablet computers will outstrip those of PCs for the first time in Q4, research firm IDC predicts, saying that tablet deliveries will reach 84.1M units and PC shipments 83.1M.
- Those benefiting from the trend include Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK), while those suffering include HP (HPQ), Microsoft (MSFT) and Dell (DELL).
- The total market for Internet-connected devices of desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets is projected to climb 28% to $622.4B in 2013 and then to $735.1B in 2015. (PR)
Sep. 7, 2013, 9:00 AM
- With PC's now in "protect" mode, the "attack" part of Lenovo (LNVGY.PK) CEO Yang Yuanqing's "Protect and Attack" strategy has shifted to tablets and smartphones. Yang has reorganized the company to address "attack markets" head-on, and believes even gorillas Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) aren't invincible.
- "We know the playbook; we've done it on PCs," says Gerry Smith who has seen it up close as a former Dell exec, and now heads Lenovo's Americas group. "We can attack on scale. We'll attack on cost efficiency and speed. We can attack these guys from the bottom, and put a lot of pressure on them from a product portfolio, pricing, time-to-market perspective."
- Lenovo produced 11.4M smartphones and 1.5M tablets in FQ1, a triple and a quadruple, respectively, from a year earlier. The company this week launched a new flagship premium phone, the Vibe X, and plans a number of other new products before year's end.
- "What P/E would investors pay for a 'Chinese Apple,'" asks bullish portfolio manager James Weir. He notes the company continues to gain market share in flat PC markets, but the potential for "rerating" is in mobile. "If Lenovo can keep growing this, they can earn the right to be rated with Apple and Samsung as a sexy consumer electronics player, not just a PC box seller."
- SA Pro's Stephen Simpson is of a similar mind about Lenovo's opportunity in mobile.
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