Apple lower on poor Watch reviews

Apple falls after reports of Watch connection issues, poor reviews

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Shares of Apple (AAPL) are under pressure on reports of Apple Watch connectivity issues and somewhat disappointing reviews for the upcoming device. Meanwhile, Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang said checks suggest iPhone 8 preorder volume is below that seen for prior models.

SERIES 3 SMARTWATCH

According to a report by The Verge, citing a company spokesperson, Apple has admitted that its new LTE-enabled Series 3 smartwatch, which starts shipping this Friday, has been experiencing connectivity issues.

“We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular. We are investigating a fix for a future software release,” the spokesperson reportedly said.

Meanwhile, Apple Watch Series 3 reviews are out, and consensus seems to be that it is convenient to have a watch with a connection when you do not have a phone, but that it has poor battery life when used in those situations, CNBC reported.

Most reviewers also suggested buying the GPS model instead of the one that can also place phone calls, the publication added.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lse3oJfPPk4?rel=0&controls=0&w=560&h=315]

IPHONE 8 PREORDERS

In a research note to investors, Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang said checks indicate about 1.5M iPhone 8 preorders on JD.com (JD) in the first three days of availability, versus 3.5M for the iPhone 7 in its first three days. He also pointed out he thinks China Mobile’s (CHL) iPhone 8 preorder volumes are around 1M units, below those seen for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6 in the first three days.

For the U.S., Zhang said initial feedback suggests iPhone 8 preorder volume below the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6. The analyst told investors he remains concerned the iPhone 8 production plan for second half 2017 may need to be cut and the iPhone X production ramp might not be able to meet demand for the December and March quarters.

‘SOLID’ IOS 11 REVIEWS

Meanwhile, Macquarie analyst Benjamin Schachter told investors that the first round of iPhone 8 and iOS 11 reviews support his positive view of Apple and its Service business, with the initial wave of ARKit apps expected to have a “solid reception.”

iOS 11 is one of the most substantial iOS updates in recent memory, the analyst noted, adding that the App Store has also been completely redesigned to be more visually appealing and to better promote the discovery of new apps, which should increase download rates that have been slowing for mature users.

However, #Schachter acknowledged that it will likely be harder for investors and others to track app revenue, given the removal of the top-grossing charts. The analyst pointed out that the most highly praised new feature is the iPhone 8 Plus’ Portrait Lighting.

While Apple is not positioning it as such, Schachter believes it is essentially the best augmented reality app on iOS. The first wave of popular AR apps will not be games, but instead be more natural extensions of existing smartphone apps, he argued.

The analyst reiterated an Outperform rating and $180 price target on the shares.

PRICE ACTION

In Wednesday’s trading, shares of Apple have dropped nearly 2.5% to $154.84. Note that most iPhone and Watch suppliers are under pressure on the news.


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LOVOO sold for $70M in cash

Meet Group to acquire social dating app LOVOO for $70M in cash

Meet Group to acquire social dating app LOVOO for $70M in cash. See Stockwinners.com for details

The Meet Group (MEET) announced it has executed a definitive agreement to acquire LOVOO, a social dating app, for $70M in cash, inclusive of a $5M contingent earn-out.

This acquisition furthers The Meet Group’s strategy to innovate, acquire, and build the largest mobile portfolio of brands for meeting new people.

The LOVOO acquisition is expected to expand The Meet Group’s global footprint, increase the company’s scale and profitability, and diversify its business model by adding expertise in subscription and in-app purchasing.

The acquisition is expected to be accretive to the company’s non-GAAP EPS in 2018 and beyond.

The company expects that LOVOO will remain a separate brand and standalone mobile application following the closing of the acquisition, and that LOVOO’s headquarters will remain in Dresden, Germany.

The Company has extended offers to all of LOVOO’s 97 full time employees.

LOVOO’s Co-Founder and CEO Benjamin Bak has agreed to assist with the transition for six months after closing.

Effective upon closing, Florian Braunschweig, current COO and Co-Founder, has agreed to take over leadership of LOVOO as the new General Manager and Managing Director. The rest of the LOVOO management team is expected to remain in place.


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Alnylam Jumps Following Results

Sanofi and Alnylam report topline results of patisiran in ATTR amyloidosis

ALNY-LOGO

Sanofi’s (SNY) specialty care global business unit, Sanofi Genzyme, and Alnylam (ALNY) announced that the APOLLO Phase 3 study of patisiran, an investigational RNAi therapeutic being developed for patients with hereditary ATTR amyloidosis with polyneuropathy, met its primary efficacy endpoint and all secondary endpoints.

The primary endpoint for the study was the change from baseline in the modified neuropathy impairment score at 18 months.

The key secondary endpoint was improvement in quality of life.

In healthy people, normal, so-called “wild-type” TTR functions as a transporter of thyroid hormone and vitamin A (retinol) within the bloodstream. People with mutations in the TTR gene produce abnormal, amyloidogenic, “variant” TTR throughout their lives.

The APOLLO trial enrolled 225 hATTR amyloidosis patients with polyneuropathy.

The overall safety profile of patisiran was “encouraging”.

Based on these positive results, Alnylam expects to file its first New Drug Application in late 2017 and first Marketing Authorisation Application shortly thereafter.

Sanofi Genzyme is currently preparing for regulatory filings for patisiran in Japan, Brazil and other countries, to begin in 1H18. Pending regulatory approvals, Alnylam will commercialize patisiran in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe, with Sanofi Genzyme commercializing the product in the rest of the world.


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AVEO Oncology is in focus

AVEO Oncology, EUSA Pharma announce TiNivo combination study opt-in

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AVEO Oncology (AVEO) and EUSA Pharma announced that EUSA Pharma, under its multi-territory licensing agreement with AVEO for FOTIVDA, has opted into the Phase 1/2 TiNivo study.

Under terms of the agreement, EUSA may utilize data from the study for regulatory or commercial purposes in exchange for a research and development funding payment totaling $2M.

EUSA’s decision follows approval in August of tivozanib by the European Commission for the treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma in the European Union plus Norway and Iceland.

The TiNivo trial is a Phase 1/2 trial of tivozanib in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) OPDIVO, an immune checkpoint, or PD-1, inhibitor, for the treatment of RCC. The TiNivo trial is being led by the Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris under the direction of Bernard Escudier, MD, Chairman of the Genitourinary Oncology Committee.

In June, AVEO announced the advancement of the trial into the Phase 2 expansion portion following successful completion of the Phase 1 dose escalation portion. The combination was well tolerated to the full dose and schedule of single agent tivozanib, with no dose limiting toxicities.

The expansion portion of the trial is expected to enroll an additional 20 subjects. Phase 1 results from the ongoing study have been submitted for presentation at a scientific meeting taking place in the fourth quarter. Under the terms of their December 2015 agreement, EUSA Pharma has agreed to pay AVEO up to $388M in future milestone payments and research and development funding, assuming successful achievement of specified development, regulatory and commercialization objectives.

In addition, a tiered royalty will be due to AVEO ranging from a low double-digit up to mid-twenty percent on net sales of tivozanib in the agreement’s territories. With European approval, AVEO will be eligible for up to $12M in milestones from EUSA based on reimbursement and regulatory approvals.

In the territories licensed to EUSA, 30% of milestone and royalty payments received by AVEO, excluding research and development payments such as the one announced today, are due to Kyowa Hakko Kirin as a sublicensing fee. In the territories retained by AVEO, the royalty obligation to KHK ranges from the low- to mid-teens on net sales.


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