Monthly Archives: February 2017

Top High Tech Stocks To Buy For 2017

Welcome back! So completes THE most boring summer in investing history. Well maybe not quite, but pretty damn close. It is astounding that markets have been so complacent in front of the fall investing season with a litany of worries globally, including our own US presidential election less than 90 days away. I myself am much less anxious about that result since I swore off watching the nightly news shows. I highly recommend it. What was once entertaining turned dark and depressing very quickly. To all of my friends that I have unfollowed for posting political fodder, I apologize. I will be back after the election, when things return to normal.

Speaking of returning to normal, the Federal Reserve is contemplating a rate rise at their September meeting. It seems Fed officials may be worrying about the negative consequences of 0% interest rates. Why is this important? Savers have been punished for far too long. Pension funds and insurance companies are the biggest sav ers in the world, and have a very important role in planning for our later years. They have been paralyzed by the 0% and negative interest rate game. The unintended consequences of the zero bound are mounting. Zombie companies stumble in the dark here in the US as they are able to float debt in the current 0% interest rate environment. Much as we criticized Japan for harboring zombies companies in the 1990s, we continue to harbor them as well.

Top High Tech Stocks To Buy For 2017: Progress Software Corporation(PRGS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

    Wall Street expects ConAgra Foods Inc (NYSE: CAG) to report its quarterly earnings at $0.52 per share on revenue of $2.89 billion. ConAgra shares rose 0.17 percent to $47.68 in after-hours trading. Analysts expect Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) to report its quarterly earnings at $1.08 per share on revenue of $1.81 billion. Darden Restaurants shares gained 0.44 percent to $66.25 in after-hours trading. Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) reported better-than-expected results for its second quarter on Wednesday. Progress Software shares surged 6.19 percent to $26.75 in the after-hours trading session.

    Find out what's going on in today's market and bring any questions you have to Benzinga's PreMarket Prep.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

     

    General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.60 per share on revenue of $3.86 billion. Pier 1 Imports Inc (NYSE: PIR) is projected to post a quarterly loss at $0.05 per share on revenue of $420.05 million. Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $2.03 per share on revenue of $847.79 million. Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $2.40 per share on revenue of $4.49 billion. Worthington Industries, Inc. (NYSE: WOR) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.64 per share on revenue of $692.48 million. Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.29 per share on revenue of $94.64 million. UniFirst Corp (NYSE: UNF) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $1.34 per share on revenue of $366.28 million. Exfo Inc (NASDAQ: EXFO) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.06 per share on revenue of $60.87 million. OMNOVA Solutions Inc. (NYSE: OMN) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.14 per share on revenue of $205.40 million. 8Point3 Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ: CAFD) is estimated to post a quarterly loss at $0.01 per share on revenue of $11.60 million. Park Electrochemical Corp. (NYSE: PKE) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.22 per share on revenue of $35.30 million. Xplore Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: XPLR) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.01 per share on revenue of $24.00 million. Investors Real Estate Trust (NYSE: IRET) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.14 per share on revenue of $56.87 million. Tel-Instrument Electronics Corp. (NYSE: TIK) is estimated to post earnings for the latest quarter. Aethlon Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: AEMD) is expected to post a quarterly loss at $0.20 per share. Ossen Innovation Co Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ: OSN) is projected to post ea

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.29 per share on revenue of $93.15 million.

    Sorl Auto Parts, Inc. (NASDAQ: SORL) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.20 per share on revenue of $55.35 million.

Top High Tech Stocks To Buy For 2017: Modine Manufacturing Company(MOD)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Modine Manufacturing Co. (NYSE: MOD) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.32 per share on revenue of $351.33 million.

    Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NM) is expected to report a quarterly loss at $0.37 per share on revenue of $101.51 million.

Top High Tech Stocks To Buy For 2017: Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.(CHKP)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    Turning Around Cybersecurity Through Activism
    As competition climbs and spending slows, security has attracted activists. (FEYE) (IMPV) (FTNT) (CHKP) Full story

Top High Tech Stocks To Buy For 2017: Insulet Corporation(PODD)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Brian Feroldi]

    Shares of Insulet Corporation(NASDAQ:PODD), a medical device company primarily focused on diabetes,rose by as much as 11% in afternoon trading on Friday.

Invest in Regenerative Medicine With This Small Cap

Small cap RepliCel Life Sciences (OTCQB: REPCF; CVE: RP) is focused on regenerative medicine – a game-changing area of medicine with the potential to fully heal damaged tissues and organs. According to Wikipedia, the term wasfirst used in a 1992 article on hospital administration by Leland Kaiser anddeals with the “process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function.”

RepliCel Life Sciences itself would be aCanada based regenerative medicine company focused on developing autologous cell therapies that address conditions caused by a deficit of healthy cells required for normal tissue healing and function. The Companys product pipeline is comprised of two ongoing clinical trials (RCT-01 for tendon repair and RCS-01 for skin rejuvenation) as well as its RCH-01 hair restoration product under exclusive license by Shiseido Company for certain Asian countries. All product candidates are based onthe Companysinnovative technology, utilizing cell populations isolated from a patients healthy hair follicles. RepliCel Life Sciences has also developed a proprietary injection device (RCI-02) optimized for the administration of its products and licensable for use with other dermatology applications.

In addition, the Company is investing in research which has the potential to lead to a number of future products, including:

⒙ Other chronic tendinopathies (e.g., patellar tendinosis, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, rotator cuff)
⒙ Other dermatologic indications (e.g, acne scaring, etc)
⒙ Gingivitis
⒙ Allogeneic versions of its proven autologous cell therapies

This month, the small cap has been busy issuing the following press releases:

February 9, 2017 – RepliCel Announces European Patents for its Innovative Dermal Injector Technologies February 7, 2017 – Replicel Life Sciences Inc. Announces Brokered Private Placement February 3, 2017 – RepliCel Appoints Corporate Executive, Hugh Rogers to its Board of Directors

In early January, RepliCel Life Sciences issued a lengthy update to shareholders from the CEO which noted:

We restructured many aspects of the Company which positioned us in October of 2016 to complete a $4.2 million financing. With this financing complete, we are now prepared for what is without question or hyperbole the single most exciting year in the Companys history. We have an opportunity to make RepliCel one of this years most exciting Canadian biotech companies.

Over the next three months, the CEO wrote that every single Company program will be the subject ofthe followingmaterial milestones announcement:

Clinical data from both our RCT-01 (chronic tendon injury) and RCS-01 (aging and sub-damaged skin) clinical trials mid-way through Q1 (all the trial participant data needed for this announcement has been collected and is now being prepared for third-party analysis) In 2012, when we announced the safety and 6-month clinical efficacy data from our phase 1 study of RCH-01 (pattern baldness), we knew that in 2017 we would have 5-year safety data and both 12 and 24-month efficacy data which was all locked until the completion of the 5-year trial (all the trial participant data needed for this announcement has been collected and is now being prepared for third-party analysis) While the dermal injector (RCI-02) program was almost completely static over 2016 given our lack of funds, we have now re-activated and prioritized the project to complete manufacturing of functional and tested prototypes in 2017 sufficient to support our filing of the CE mark application required to sell the device in Europe with label approval for injection of hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers

By 2018, the CEO expects the Company to be posting revenue from the dermal injector.

It should be noted that RepliCel Life Sciences is anOTCQBlisted stock which would be themiddle tier of the over-the-counter (OTC) marketthat is intended for entrepreneurial and development stageUS and international companies.There would beno financial or qualitative standards for a company to belisted on the OTCQB market, but the stocks trading there are said to be committed to both disclosure and transparency. They are alsoconsidered to be less speculative in nature than stocks trading on the OTC Pink market (the bottom tier of the OTC market).

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Here's Why Editas Medicine Jumped 32.6% Higher Today”

What happened

Shares of CRISPR biopharma Editas Medicine (NASDAQ:EDIT) jumped nearly 33% higher today, after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that the Broad Institute would keep its claims to valuable patents on clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or CRISPRs, which make up the foundation of the company’s gene-editing technology platform. Conversely, shares of competitors Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NTLA) and CRISPR Theraepeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP) both fell 22% and 33%, respectively.

So what

While all three companies have licensed CRISPR patents from various institutions, those at the center of this dispute are considering foundational patents for the technology. That’s because the case decided who would gain the rights to intellectual property governing the use of the innovative gene-editing technique in more complex organisms, including plants, livestock, and humans — where the most valuable commercial applications reside.

A strand of DNA.

Image source: Getty Images.

The patent dispute pitted the Broad Institute against the University of California and, more specifically, whose claims to have pioneered the technique allowing CRISPR to work in human cells were valid. Editas Medicine tied its fortunes and technology platform to patents held by the Broad Institute (the lead innovator on many of the patents, Feng Zheng, is a co-founder of the company), while Intellia Therapeutics and CRISPR Therapeutics built their technology platforms on patents developed by the University of California.

It might be easy to tell which side came out victorious by looking at the movement of CRISPR stocks, but it’s actually a little more complicated. That’s because the USPTO decided that each party’s claims were valid for their respective patents and that the claims didn’t overlap. In other words, no patents were invalidated by the decision.

And that’s precisely why this is being seen as a big win for the Broad Institute (and Editas Medicine), which was at risk of losing some of its precious intellectual property. For the company specifically, it means it won’t have to renegotiate intellectual-property licenses, which could have cost millions of dollars upfront and potentially billions in future royalties.

Unfortunately, the outcome is a little messier for Intellia Therapeutics and CRISPR Therapeutics — and just about anyone seeking to use the technology in commercial applications. While the University of California patents are valid, there’s a bit of a question about whether the companies will need to work out additional licenses with the Broad Institute. Furthermore, it seems that any company seeking to use CRISPR in commercial applications may need to secure licenses from both the Broad Institute and the University of California, which is certain to hike up the costs of working with the technology and the eventual price of any future commercial products.

Now what

Investors are choosing to react first and dig through the details later. But make no mistake: This can still be considered a messy ending to the dispute over who owns the “biotechnology discovery of the 21st century,” as MIT Technology Review once described CRISPR.

Editas Medicine is clearly the most insulated from any fallout from the USPTO decision. Meanwhile, any fallout from the USPTO’s decision poses smaller risks to Intellia Therapeutics and CRISPR Therapeutics than stock movements in the immediate aftermath suggest. In the end, investors should be happy that the worst of the patent dispute — and the legal uncertainty — is finally behind all three companies. Now the most important deciding factor in each company’s success will be more familiar to investors: the uncertainty of clinical trials.

Own RepliCel Life Sciences (REPCF, CVE:RP) For the Same Reason Allergan (AGN) Bought Zeltiq Aestheti

This week, Botox maker Allergan plc (NYSE:AGN) shelled out $2.5 billion for body-sculpting outfit Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc (NASDAQ:ZLTQ). The pairing is a nice opportunity for both organizations to cross-sell to one another’s customers. Allergan’s Botox customers seeking a more youthful face will also likely want the better body Zeltiq Aesthetics provides, and Zeltiq Aesthetics’ customers are natural candidates for Botox injections that Allergan facilitates.

The acquisition, though, is just a microcosm of a bigger trend that’s still picking up steam. That trend is, as the industry’s capabilities to restore youth, slim waists, whiten teeth, improve skin, and nip and tuck here and there improve with science, demand for these increasingly effective ‘tweaks’ is soaring. Names like the aforementioned Allergan, Cynosure, Inc. (NASDAQ:CYNO), Zeltiq Aesthetics and Align Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALGN) are all driving impressive growth. And, they’re all looking to expand their footprint in front of the rising tide.

Not every name riding this growth wave is going to be a large cap stock or a household name though. There’s a small cap stock called RepliCel Life Sciences (OTCMKTS:REPCF, CVE:RP) that could soon be turning a lot of heads not just of investors, but of potential suitors.

In simplest terms, RepliCel Life Sciences has two key sciences that serve as the foundation for three therapies and one medical device.

The first of the two biological premises is based on the company’s non-bulbar dermal sheath fibroblast platform, and currently includes treatments for chronic tendinosis and skin aging. The second is the company’s dermal sheath cup (DSC) cell platform for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness).

The three marketable products those two sciences are driving are RCT-01 for tendon repair, RCS-01 for skin rejuvenation, and RCH-01 for hair regeneration. The device is a dermal injector – currently categorized as RCI-02 – and is the world’s first motorized injection device with programmable depth and volume, a built-in Peltier element for pre-injection anaesthetising, and interchangeable needle head configurations.

The RCT-01 trial is founded on the theory that the key underlying cause of chronic tendinosis is a deficit of tenocytes (fibroblasts) in the tendon. As these fibroblasts are responsible for producing type I collagen – the primary collagen in human tendon – it was theorized that an injection of collagen-producing fibroblasts into the injury site could initiate normalized healing of the tendon; fibroblasts from the dermal sheath of a hair follicle can produce upwards of five times the amount of type I collagen than skin-derived fibroblasts.

As for the treatment for pattern baldness, RCH-01, it’s predicated on the notion that dermal sheath cup (DSC) cells are a reservoir of cells responsible for the continued health of the hair follicle and the normal cycling of the hair fibre. The company’s researchers believe if these DSC cells were in deficit due to sensitivity to androgen hormones – the cause of pattern baldness – then isolating these same cells from a patient’s own scalp in an area where the cells are unaffected by androgen and moving them to the affected area would resolve the cellular deficit and rejuvenate the hair fibre producing cycle. Multiple experiments on mice demonstrated hair follicle DSC cells could induce new follicular growth as well as cause resident hair follicles to grow thicker and longer.

And the company is seeing some early success. In the RCT-01 trial for the discovery of a sore or damaged tendon treatment, pain has decreased by an average of 66%, while functioning has improved by 127%, on average. Both are considerably better than the baseline comparison.

That’s not the most exciting aspect of REPCF at this time though. RepliCel Life Sciences expects to release official efficacy data for RCT-01 and RCS-01 before the end of the current quarter, with an RCH-01 update expected next year (when the dermal injector is also expected to be approved). Nothing can light a fire under a biopharma stock like news of developmental progress and the clear hope of future revenue.

It’s not just the strength of the pipeline and the potential for revenue, however, that’s creating a buzz for REPCF (or RP, for Canadian investors). RepliCel Life Sciences is also keenly aware that the best and fastest path to revenue is forging partnerships with the right players that can leverage an established name rather than RepliCel going it alone. That’s why the company and iconic hair-care brand name Shiseido have already forged an agreement for the baldness solution, which includes a huge milestone payment upon the approval of a hair-growing treatment. Most of the pipeline has been of interest to other outfits too, including Allergan-Japan and Fujifilm. RepliCel is limiting its discussions to only well-established names.

And the time is right for such a name to gel, and not just because it may end up being an acquisition target.

In 2013, the world spent $2.5 billion on facial aesthetics procedures — mostly Botox. In the United States alone we spend $3.5 billion per year on hair-replacement treatments and products, despite the fact that 99% of them aren’t effective. (Roughly a third of those million or so people every year opt for a surgical solution.) More than 650,000 people in North America suffer from Achilles heel (tendon strain or tearing) every year. And that’s just one tendon! Tendons can be found all over your body, and each of them can cause painful tendonitis. That’s another multi-billion market.

Putting it all together, REPCF is about to enter the perfect storm.

To learn more about RepliCel Life Sciences, visit the company website here.

Twilio Inc (TWLO) Stock A High Risk Reward Bet After Q4 Earnings Beat

After posting Impressive earnings, TWLO stock is a high risk/reward bet as risks associated with Twilio Inc still persist. Twilio Inc (TWLO) Stock A High Risk Reward Bet After Q4 Earnings Beat
Flickr

San Francisco, California-based cloud communications platform provider Twilio Inc(NYSE:TWLO)reported its Q4 2016 and FY 2016 (ended December 31, 2016)financial results on Feb 7th. Twilio broke even on a non-GAAP basis on revenue of $82M for the fourth quarter. The Street had estimated revenue of $74M and a 5 cent non-GAAP loss per share. It delivered a beat on both revenue and earnings front but TWLO stock has been volatile in the post-earnings trading sessions only to gain 4.39% yesterday (Feb 9) The weak Q1 outlook has resulted in subdued market reaction even after Twilio posted strong latest quarter numbers. TWLO stock seems to have lost pre-earnings momentum in which it gained more than 9% in the month of February up to the earnings. Investors are not sure about what to make of Twilio’slatest quarter numbers and below-par guidance combined. Twilio stock seems to be a high risk/reward bet. Here’s Why.

Q4 Earnings and Guidance analysis.

Twilio’s revenue was up 59.7% YoY and 5% sequentially, beating analyst estimates by $7.8M. Also, the cloud communications PaaS provider’s base revenues increased 73% YoY to $75.2M and 17% Q0Q. The good part was along with the company’s soaring base revenues, its variable revenue was down to $6.8M from $7.5M last quarter. The company’s revenues consisting of a large portion of a variable component has been a risk to Twilio always. However, Twilio Inc’s GAAP loss from operations increased to $12.8M for Q4 2016 from $8.2M in the year-ago quarter. Twilio continues to add new customers at agood pace with presentcount of 36,606 active accounts, up 44% from 25,347 active customer accounts at the end of 2015.

For the full year of 2016, Twilio posted total revenue of $277.3M, up 66% YoY, and a loss of 16 cents per share. Twilio issued a FY 2017 guidance of $364M-$372M for revenue and a Non-GAAP loss per share of $0.19-$0.15, implying 31%-34% YoY revenue growth. The Street had estimated a revenue of $352.6M on a loss of 10 cents per share. For the current quarter, Twilio expects to report a Non-GAAP loss per share between $0.07-$0.06 on a revenue of $82M-$84M against analyst estimates of a 4 cents loss/share on a top line of $77.8M. The guidance seems very impressive on therevenue front but bottom line forecastswere below expectations. Further, as a Seeking Alpha post points out that the managementhas used a share count of 88M shares outstanding for its earnings estimates while Twilio actually has over 100 million diluted outstanding shares. The outlook is distorted by dilution of share count and Twilio’s track record of issuing conservative guidance and beating them has not enthused investors.

Twilio is facing increasing competition from BlackBerry.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) announced recently that it is “opening up some of its secure messaging and file sharing technology for developers to use in building apps, creating a new revenue stream for the company as it works to boost sales”. BlackBerry adds to Twilio’s existing competitorsBandwidth and Nexmo and it seeks to differentiate itself from others with its reputation for security and better offerings for enterprises. However, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson wasvery sure of Twilio’s leadership position going ahead and this is what he stated in the earnings call when asked about BlackBerry’s entry:

“We feel pretty good about our leadership position. We feel weve got to develop our mind share. Weve got a great product across many different product categories. And so, we are not seeing a change in the competitive environment out there, nothing we havent seen before.”

The management seems to be very optimistic about its leadership position but the increased competition with Blackberry entering Twilio’s domain puts indirect pressure on Twilio margins. The management has already stressed on increased spending on the enterprise sales team in 2017, and with Blackberry targeting the enterprises mainly, the spending here could go up from the planned levels affecting Twilio’s margins. The lack of long-term contracts with its biggest clients may hurt Twilio in the long run with a reputed name like BlackBerry entering into the fray.

Twilio’s biggest risks still exist.

A Motley Fool post details out somesignificant risks which Twilio faces. The post highlights Twilio’s dependence on its biggest customers like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) for revenues. In the earnings call, CFOLee Kirkpatrick mentioned that their largest customer account contributed 17% of the total revenue in Q4.WhatsApp alone contributed 6% of total revenue for the quarter. Twilio’s top 10 customers accounted for 29% of their total revenue in the fourth quarter. The lack of a long-term contract with one of its biggest customer Facebook and its customer concentration leaves Twilio Inc highly vulnerable to increasing competition. This trend makes TWLO stock very risky where things can quickly turn bad with one individual’s decision.

Also, Twilio is not yet profitable and it is not expected to be anytime soon. The company’s lack of profitability is still a key risk for the stock and the bottom line guidance has been below analyst expectations. Twilio’s increased spending on new acquisitions like Beepsendin Q4 to boost its SMS delivery network will continue to put pressure on Twilio’s margins. Twilio has already suggested that they will continue to make similar acquisitions to improve their offerings and expanding overseas coverage along with increased spending on thesales team to acquire new customers. This coupled with rising stock-based compensation expenses, which accounted for 9% of its 2016 revenues, could hurt both GAAP and Non-GAAP margins in coming quarters.

Twilio stock a high risk/reward bet.

Twilio’s latest impressive earnings beat hasseen a subdued reaction from the market. However, analyst Brian White at Drexel Hamilton raised their TWLO stock price-target to $50 which is an upside of more than 52% from the last close price (Feb 9). Many are seeing great potential in Twilio’s explosive revenue growth yet Twilio’s valuation is way too high with the stock trading at 10 times sales. The number of shares of Twilio being shorted currently stands at 9.2 million, which constitutes almost 30% of the float. This number is very high and may lead to a short squeeze anytime soon. TWLO stock is still down 55% from its 52-week high in September and it may gain big from a short squeeze. Twilio has been making considerable progress but risks persist which make it a high risk/reward bet.

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