The Great Amazon Surveillance Sale
In years past, Amazon.com Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AMZN) Prime Day was an event to look forward to.
I love online shopping — I never have to leave my house and deal with crowds and uppity cashiers.
So, when the biggest online retailer has a massive two-day sale, it’s like Christmas in July.
But this year was a bust. There weren’t any real deals on anything … unless you count Amazon “surveillance” equipment such as the Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV and more.
Other than Amazon-specific devices, deals were few and far between. It was quite disappointing.
I didn’t even get a rock.
Amazon’s biggest sellers saw a 64% spike in sales on Monday, the first day of Prime Day. (Yes, “Prime Day” spans two days. Two is still a prime number, Amazon … fix your grammar.)
However, Prime Day also had some very real negative consequences for Amazon. According to search-intelligence firm Captify, searches for “Canceling Amazon Prime” surged to 18 times the norm just after Prime Day ended.
Now, quite a few of these cancellations are likely due to people who signed up for free trials just for Prime Day. That said, others (like myself) are canceling out of sheer frustration.
The value just isn’t there anymore, unless you buy into Amazon’s Alexa-driven product line — which you shouldn’t.
For investors, the value Amazon represents is immense. It’s the largest online retailer in the world. In fact, it’s quickly becoming the largest retailer, period. If early indications mean anything, this year’s Prime Day could be one of the biggest ever.
That means huge revenue and earnings for Amazon.
But the company is facing massive PR problems: warehouse working conditions, Alexa surveillance and recording and massive pressure on your other favorite retailers (especially local businesses).
These issues will slow growth for AMZN shares. Ultimately, however, nothing short of government intervention will stop this juggernaut.
Oh wait … it looks like the EU has already started down that road, opening up an antitrust investigation into Amazon. Leave it to Europe to throw a monkey wrench into the works.
But this kind of market uncertainty isn’t just limited to Amazon. Big Tech companies around the world are facing similar scrutiny. Combine this with trade wars and growing U.S. political intrigue as we head into the 2020 elections, and investors are faced with a daunting task.
“It would be nice if someone had a system designed to cut through this morass,” I can hear you saying … because, of course, you use words like “morass” daily, right?
I have an answer: Banyan Hill expert Matt Badiali and his team have just what you need to take the edge off. Matt just finished what many folks are calling “the top moneymaking protocol this side of Wall Street.”
How does this system work?
How much can you make?
Will he use words like “morass”?
Woah! Slow down there … all will be revealed at the Apex Profit Summit. But, you must reserve your spot now.
Luckily for you, I work here … and I’ve saved a few spots just for Great Stuff readers like you.
But I can’t hold them forever. Those spots disappear at the end of the week. So, sign up for the Apex Profit Summit now!
The Good: Up in Smoke?
Think your pot company is the biggest? I’ve got news for you…
Curaleaf Holdings Inc. (OTC: CURLF) just became the world’s largest cannabis company by revenue.
The U.S.-based (yes, U.S.-based!) pot purveyor just shelled out the equivalent of $875 million for GR Companies Inc., otherwise known as “Grassroots.”
The deal is expected to close in early 2020 and will push Curaleaf operations into 19 states with 131 dispensary licenses, 68 locations, 20 cultivation sites and 26 processing facilities.
That’s a lot of pot.
CURLF shares got high on the news, rallying more than 15%. This is excellent news for CURLF shareholders, who’ve seen their investment drop about 35% in the past three months.
Smoke ’em if you got ’em.
The Bad: Driving That Train
Grateful Dead memes two days in a row?
No, I’ve not gone mental. But CSX Corp’s (Nasdaq: CSX) CEO, Jim Foote, just might.
In an investor conference call, Foote called the current economic situation in the U.S. “one of the most puzzling I have experienced in my career.”
You can imagine how that went over with investors. CSX missed both top- and bottom-line earnings expectations for the second quarter and slashed its full-year revenue forecast.
CSX expects full-year revenue down between 1% and 2%. The company blamed slowing freight volumes and the U.S.-China trade war for the miss.
The Ugly: The Singularity Is Near
“Symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” That’s what Elon Musk is promising now. The Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) CEO is known for his side projects, such as SpaceX and The Boring Co.
But back in 2016, Musk dropped $100 million to help found Neuralink — a neurotechnology startup working on the interface between computers and the human brain.
The company now has a chip that it can implant in your brain to allow you to directly control pretty much anything connected to a computer — think tablets, smartphones, robots, even browsing Great Stuff!
Until now, Neuralink has only been tested on monkeys. But the company is applying for FDA approval to begin human testing, and Musk believes it will be active in a “human patient before the end of next year.”
That said, you still can’t upload information into the brain Matrix-style or upload your consciousness into the cloud. Sorry, Sheldon Cooper. The singularity is near, but we’re not there yet.
Today’s comic comes courtesy of the Japan Times. It’s an older article (2015, I think), but the comic is oddly relevant to current market conditions. Enjoy.
Great Stuff Stock of the Week: App-alicious!
It’s Wednesay, so you might be expecting a Great Stuff rant. I gave you a minirant up above on Amazon. Seriously, Prime Day was awful this year.
But regular readers might be wondering where this week’s stock pick is. Well, yesterday’s Great Stuff stock filter spit out only one result … and that makes me nervous. We filter for momentum stocks with great long-lasting potential here at Great Stuff, and one result in a nervous market should raise some concerns.
That same company appeared again today (a great sign!), alongside a handful of other choices. So, after some due diligence on my part, we’re running with it.
That company is AppFolio Inc. (Nasdaq: APPF).
AppFolio follows a theme I’ve noticed in the Great Stuff stock filters lately: companies that provide opportunities to small- and medium-sized businesses. Remember Wix.com Ltd. (Nasdaq: WIX) from the July 2 edition?
Where Wix hooks up smaller companies with websites and Big Data tools, AppFolio does the same for retail property managers. According to its website, AppFolio “allows residential, commercial, student housing and community association property managers to more effectively market, manage and grow their businesses efficiently.”
After all, why should the big boys have all the fun?
Focusing on underserviced, smaller retail property managers has been a major boon for AppFolio. The company has seen revenue growth of more than 30% for the past year. For 2019, revenue has risen nearly 34%.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this one for you, though. Earnings have been a sore spot for investors. AppFolio has missed earnings projections in three of the past four quarters. The company cites aggressive marketing and development costs for the shortfalls.
But this isn’t a bad thing for AppFolio. Translating this analyst speak, the company is spending on brand-building and product improvements. This is where you want a growing company like AppFolio to spend its cash … so it can continue to grow up big and strong.
And grow it has … APPF shares are up more than 81% so far in 2019. Despite that rapid ascent, APPF is far from overbought or overvalued. In short, the stock has plenty of room to continue running.
If you’re into technical jargon, the stock has price support near $105 and psychological buyers’ support near $100 (where its 50-day moving average is currently perched).
In other words, investors like where APPF shares are positioned right now and are buying dips in the shares. That means lower downside risk and the potential for additional gains on any positive news.
The bottom line: Buy APPF.
Finally, don’t forget that you can read all the Great Stuff greatest hits online. It’s completely free! So fly. Be free and read them now!
Until next time, good trading!
Great Stuff Managing Editor, Banyan Hill Publishing