Taser International Shocks Wall Street; Marissa Mayer’s Having a Plentiful Year; Laboring Away

Zap to it…

Image courtesy of digitart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nothing like accountability to drive earnings up. The big winner amongst the civil unrest that has been infecting our country is Scottsdale-based Taser International. The company just reported strong first quarter earnings that beat expectations. The company reported revenue of $44.8 million with earnings per share of 13 cents, while analysts only expected 7 cents on $40 million in revenue. News of the boffo earnings even sent shares of the company up nearly 10% at one point today. Maybe analysts haven’t seen the news lately, because a lot of that came from Taser’s Axon body cameras  – yeah, they make those too – which, given all the unfortunate events involving law enforcement, are rapidly gaining in popularity. It seems everybody wants law enforcement to don those body cameras from lawmakers to average citizens.Yes, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t just the zappers that led to those great first quarter earnings.  In fact, Taser’s products are so hot lately (no pun intended) that shares are up 83% for the year.

Going green…

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Marissa Mayer had a very good year. Well, in her bank account anyway. However, it could have even been better. The Yahoo chief pulled down about $42 million for 2014, only getting a little more than half of her $2 million target bonus and and close to 70% of her stock awards. She could have made more. A lot more. Like way over $12 million more. Like more than $55 million in total. But, alas, the company stock didn’t do as well hoped. Oh well. Maybe next year. The way it works over at Yahoo, and presumably many other companies like it, is that folks like Ms. Mayer get paid according to how well they perform and if they are able to meet certain goals set by the board. She didn’t exactly meet them but she is not exactly hurting either. Since she took the helm at the company in 2012, Yahoo’s stock more than doubled. It also helps that Yahoo has a big chunk of Alibaba Group, which helped bring in some that $42 million. As for 2015, the Yahoo chief isn’t expected to take in as much since some of that bonus cash was from one time stock and option awards. But she’ll likely still have more than enough for a rainy day.

Labor gains…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like there are a lot less people filing for unemployment benefits, according to the Department of Labor.  In fact, it’s been 15 years since numbers like this have even graced our fickle little economy. The number of people collecting unemployment checks for the very first time fell 34,000 to 262,000 applicants.  Analysts expected that number to be closer to 290,000 people. Employers even added 126,000 people to the payroll. Even the number of people who collect unemployment checks took a nice welcome dive by about 74,000 to 2.25 million people. That’s another figure that hasn’t been this low in almost fifteen years. All that aggravation over March’s numbers that gave us such fiscal economic anxiety turned out to be much ado about nothing. Well, it wasn’t nothing, but at least we can relegate it to a bad, distant memory.

Tweeting Redemption, Snapchat to That, Fiat’s Fiscal Flop

Twitter this, critics…

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Twitter gave its critics something to chirp about with an incredible earnings season. In fact, not only did its earnings rise 35% but the micro-blogging site also picked up millions more active users topping out at over 271 million active users trumping expectations of 267 million. Net revenue for the company was $312 million which was up 124% from a year ago. Twitter says that it has made improvements to its “onboarding” process. Now when new users sign up, the feeds that they’ll apparently enjoy get to them quicker. But Twitter’s excellent quarter likely had a lot more to do with the World Cup and the Twitterverse going full throttle for the event. However, many are still left wondering how advertisers are actually benefitting from the millions of dollars they plunk down on the site. Many will also be wondering if the company can pull off another good quarter without the World Cup and all the tweets that event pulled in. And btw, despite the great earnings, the company still posted a net loss of $145 million.

Hey, where’d it go?

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Remember how the app Snapchat turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook? Remember how Snapchat said that the messages – some of a delicate nature – disappeared forever but really they didn’t? Remember that charges of deception were brought against the company and it settled? Anyways, Snapchat has been in heavy duty money talks with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., among other potential investors, which could put the company’s value at $10 billion. The messaging company boasts that over 700 million messages a day go through the site. So maybe blowing off Facebook wasn’t such a bad thing after all. Besides, the social networking giant went ahead and came up with a similar app of its own called Slingshot.

Ciao to Fiat?

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Remember how long ago it’s been since J.Lo starred in those Fiat ads? Well neither do I. Apparently those ads didn’t prove very effective either otherwise they might have tried similar campaigns, no doubt in this past fiscal quarter where shares of the Italian car company tanked over 50%. FiatSpA, which also controls Chrysler, saw particularly poor numbers in North and Latin America.  Net profit for the company was $263 million while a year ago it was $583 million.

IP Whoa! A Bit of a Situation and Tesla Fizzles In the Garden State

What happens in China doesn’t necessarily stay in China…

Image courtesy 1shots/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy 1shots/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You might MIGHT not have heard of Alibaba only because it’s not based in the United States. But you should get to know them. I mean really get to know them. The Chinese based e-commerce site carries more goods than eBay and Amazon combined. What’s more is that it’s expected to be the biggest IPO since Facebook’s auspicious debut setting all sorts of fun and expensive records. But the decision to take the IPO to the US has made Hong Kong a smidgen unhappy since Alibaba controls about 80% of all e-commerce in China. US based Yahoo also owns about a 24% stake in the company. And six of the most powerful banks in the US have all got their tongues wagging hoping to get a nice slice of the underwriting pie.

Just a bit of a discrepancy?

Image courtesy of ratch0013/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ratch0013/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the soap opera we call bitcoin, Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto continues to deny that he is the man behind über hot cyber currency, bitcoin, despite being fingered as the creator by Newsweek magazine. He even issued a statement via his attorney. In it he laments that he had to discontinue his internet service “due to severe financial distress” and hasn’t had steady work in a decade. Something tells me he could use a couple of those bitcoins right about now. The person believed to be the creator is said to own about $400 million worth of bitcoins. Bitcoin creator, whoever you may be, wherever you may be, (assuming you are not Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, that is) it would be really cool, if you could throw a bit of coin Mr. Nakamoto’s way for all the trouble he’s going through just because he shares a name with you.

New Jersey is soooooo not with the current…

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you were thinking about going into one of those really cool Tesla stores to discuss purchasing one of its automobiles, just know that in New Jersey, my electric car-loving friend, they’re just talk. At least they’re going to be. No more Tesla showrooms. The correct term shall be galleries. Auto dealers in New Jersey (and Texas and Arizona) do not want you buying products directly from Tesla. They want you to go through a middleman/woman/person to purchase your vehicle because they’re deeply concerned and want to protect you. Oh, the oxymoron! Perhaps it’s because Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk just didn’t shell out enough cash for his esteemed politicians that he had his business model uprooted in the Garden State. After all, auto dealers forked over about $140 million for local, state and federal elections because they care. Mr. Musk ponied up a little less than $500,000. Who knew that working tirelessly to create a state of the art, environmentally conscious automobile that wins Consumer Reports Best Overall Car means you just don’t care?