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This Week in Apps: Apple and Google’s best apps of the year, Amazon Appstore fails, Twitter’s new CEO

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global..

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Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.

Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and suggestions about new apps and games to try, too.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: techcrunch.com/newsletters

Top Stories

Apple announced its top apps and games of 2021

Image Credits: Apple

Apple this week released its anticipated annual list of the best apps and games of the year across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch. This year, children’s app maker Toca Boca won iPhone App of the Year for “Toca Life World,” and Riot Games’ “League of Legends: Wild Rift” was the iPhone Game of the Year. Other winners included iPad App of the Year “LumaFusion” from LumaTouch; iPad Game of the Year “MARVEL Future Revolution” from Netmarble; Mac App of the Year “Craft,” from Luki Labs Limited; Mac Game of the Year “Myst,” from Cyan; Apple TV App of the Year “DAZN,” from DAZN Group; Apple TV Game of the Year “Space Marshals 3,” from Pixelbite; Apple Watch App of the Year “Carrot Weather,” from Grailr; and the Apple Arcade Game of the Year: “Fantasian,” from Mistwalker.

What’s interesting about this year’s group of winners is the subtle statement Apple is making with its editorial picks. For instance, Toca Boca — which has produced more than 40 kids’ apps to date and celebrated its 10-year anniversary this year — is a reminder that developers are building long-term businesses on the App Store and Apple helped play a role in supporting that success. Other winners are those that compete with Apple’s own first-party apps, including Carrot Weather (which also uses weather data from Apple-owned Dark Sky), Pages rival Craft and iMovie competitor LumaFusion.

These are not necessarily coincidences. 2021 was a year that’s seen much backlash and upheaval for the App Store, which has faced increased regulatory scrutiny, new legislation in global markets and various lawsuits over the App Store’s commission-based business model — including the ongoing one with Epic Games, now under appeal. As a result, Apple has adjusted and clarified its policies and even reduced its commissions in some cases, as dictated by the market demands and settlement agreements. But despite all these changes, the winning lineup reminds us that the quality of the apps on the App Store remains high.

Apple also released its year-end list of the most-downloaded apps, led by TikTok (iPhone’s top free app), Procreate Pocket (iPhone and iPad’s top paid app), Among Us! (iPhone and iPad’s top free game), Minecraft (iPhone and iPad’s top paid game), YouTube (iPad’s top free app) and The Oregon Trail (top Apple Arcade app.) The full lineup is here.

Google Play introduced its “Best of 2021” app awards, too

Image Credits: Google

Google Play also this week announced its own year-end list of the best apps and games on Google Play. This year, Google expanded its awards lineup to include apps and games on tablets, Wear OS and Google TV. Its U.S. winners included meditation app Balance as its app of the year and top game Pokémon UNITE. Meanwhile, Paramount+ and Garena Free Fire MAX won the user’s choice awards.

In 2020, Google’s award winners had reflected a world undergoing a pandemic, where stressed users had turned to apps and soothing games to relax — like top sleep app Loóna, which was last year’s “Best App,” or escapist games like winner Genshin Impact.

But with the early days of the pandemic now behind us, some of this year’s award winners were apps that focus on personal growth and creativity, instead of just relaxing or escaping. In addition to Best of 2021 app Balance, which offers personalized meditation, other personal development-styled winners include Moonly, an app for “harmonizing your life” with the lunar calendar; a “comedic relaxation” app, Laughscape; a hypnotherapy app for women, Clementine; better sleep app Sleep Cycle; mentorship community Mentor Spaces; habit tracker and planner Rabit; and an app for navigating grief from loss, Empathy.

Other winners showcased how we adapted to pandemic life, as with audio chatroom Clubhouse, tools for reducing screen time, like Speechify, or those for reconnecting with nature, like Blossom.

The full list of award winners is here.

The Amazon Appstore stopped working on Android 12 and almost no one cared

In a telling piece of news that may reflect how little traction the Amazon Appstore has with the general public, the Amazon-run Android marketplace stopped working on Android 12 devices over a month ago, and there’s been almost no media coverage until this week. On Monday, however, tech news site Liliputing finally called attention to the matter, which followed the October release of Android 12. It said that not only did the Amazon Appstore not run on Android 12 devices, apps and games also couldn’t be launched because of how the Appstore handles DRM. The site noted some 90-plus users had posted complaints in a thread on Amazon’s forums about the problem, to which Amazon’s moderators had only replied that the company was “investigating the issue.”

Amazon wouldn’t provide TechCrunch with any details as to what the underlying issues were either, only acknowledging the problem was impacting the “small number of Amazon Appstore users that upgraded to Android 12.” (Oof! Burn!) While, sure, Android users aren’t as quick to jump to new versions as iOS users are, that the entire Amazon Appstore would fail on the latest Android release makes us wonder if anyone at Amazon had even run the thing on a beta build ahead of Android 12’s launch at all? Or maybe they were too busy with that Microsoft deal to bother?

Weekly News

Platforms: Apple

  • As the holidays draw near, Apple’s iOS 15.2 beta 4 has been released to both developers and public testers. It also stopped signing iOS 15.1, making downloads and restores no longer possible.
  • A report by 9to5Mac pointed out how Apple said in a legal filing that it could collect commission on in-app purchases that take place outside its App Store when asking for an extension on the injunction resulting from the Epic Games lawsuit. The claim had been first spotted and tweeted by David Barnard, leading to the coverage. Apple of course wants more time to implement the required changes, and used this argument about non-App Store IAPs (among many, many other reasons) as why it should be granted the extra time. But it’s too soon to read into the filing’s statements as an indication of Apple’s future plans. Tapping into non-App Store payments in order to commission them is a complex matter and one that could open Apple up to increased liability due to fraudulent transactions. Sure, Apple may very well do that, but it also might not. But right now, this is only proof that Apple is trying really hard to get an extension, and nothing more.

Platforms: Google

Image Credits: Google

  • Google announced a suite of new features coming to Android devices this winter. This includes new widgets for YouTube Music and Google Play Books, and the new Google Photos Pets & People widget, as well as a new Memories feature in Google Photos where a curated selection of special events will appear in your photo grid. Google Assistant’s Family Bell feature also expanded from home devices to mobile, and Gboard added new emojis. Android Auto received a host of updates as well.
  • Google, whose Android Developers YouTube channel has now reached 1 million subscribers, offered a number of updates on Paging, Gradle, AndroidX, Media3, Emoji2, CameraX, App Startup, Accessibility and Wear OS in its latest video (see below).

E-commerce and Food Delivery

  • Swiggy, India’s top food delivery startup, announced this week it will invest $700 million into growing its express grocery delivery service Instamart. The service was only available in two cities last year but is now in 18, where it sees more than 1 million orders per week.

Fintech & Crypto

Image Credits: Meta

  • Messenger introduced a Venmo-like feature for splitting payments. Starting next week, the company will begin testing a way for U.S. users to split the cost of bills and expenses, which can be done evenly or by modifying the contribution amount for each individual.
  • NFT collectibles app VeVe Collectibles is leading the NFT trading space on mobile with more than $100 million in consumer spending, reports Sensor Tower. This puts it ahead of Fantastec, SWAP, OurSong and Sweet, which focus on collectibles rather than wallet functionality. Though VeVe only launched in October 2020, it’s already leading the pack with 744,000 installs and $112.5 million in spending. The remaining apps have a collective 485,000 installs and $384,000 in spending.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

  • Now with a full-time CEO back in place, Jack Dorsey’s Square changed its name to Block to better reflect its growing ambitions in the crypto market. Block will house all the company’s products, including its seller business Square, Cash App, crypto developer platform TBD and Spiral (formerly, Square Crypto).
  • Cypto CEOs are scheduled to testify at a House committee hearing titled “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States” on December 8. CEOs from Coinbase, Circle, FTX, Bitfury, Paxos and Stellar will attend.
  • Meta’s top crypto exec, David Marcus, announced he’s leaving the company later this year. Marcus previously ran Messenger at Facebook before moving to lead the crypto unit Novi, maker of the Novia digital wallet app. Meta’s Diem cryptocurrency project has seen setbacks due to regulatory pushback which slowed its development and Marcus hinted he may want to do more in the crypto space, noting “I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems — my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it.”

Social

  • Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey resigned from his CEO role at the social media company on Monday and will only remain on the board until his term expires in 2022. His departure will free him up to work full-time at the other company he’s been running, Square (now renamed Block), which seems to be more closely connected with his current interests in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. Twitter’s CTO Parag Agrawal has become CEO and is already making changes. Two Twitter execs, head of engineering Michael Montano and the controversial VP of design Dantley Davis, are leaving the company, The Washington Post reported. Other teams will be reshuffled, including consumer, revenue and core tech divisions, led by Kayvon Beykpour, Bruce Falck and Nick Caldwell, respectively.
  • Meta (formerly Facebook) is now heading in a new direction with its NPE team, which has historically tested new social apps in hopes of stumbling across the next big hit. Now, the company will direct its focus more globally with offices in Nigeria and Asia and even seed-stage investments for small teams. It’s also developing projects in the U.S., which is different from its prior attempts, like helping the formerly incarcerated re-enter society, or helping LGBTQ families on their journey to becoming parents.

Image Credits: Meta

  • TikTok added new creator monetization features, including Tips and Video Gifts. The former will allow fans to send direct payments to creators, who get to keep 100% of the money. Video Gifts, meanwhile, function like LIVE Gifts, except can be awarded to creators outside a live broadcast. The features are rolling out alongside a new “Creator Next” portal, which organizes all TikTok’s monetization opportunities in one place.
  • TikTok launched a new Transparency Center, which will house the company’s historical Transparency Reports as well as its more interactive reports going forward, including the latest release: H1 2021 Content Removal Requests Reports.
  • LinkedIn added support for the Hindi language, which allows it to reach 500 million people in India. Hindi is the first regional language to be supported by the social network. The move is timely, following a week that saw another India-born exec move into the CEO ranks at a top U.S. tech company, when Twitter announced @Jack would be replaced by CTO Parag Agrawal as the company’s new chief exec.
  • Reddit added new real-time features, including typing and commenting indicators. It’s also adding voting and comment count animations and reading indicators, with the goal of making its service across desktop, iOS and Android feel more engaging and dynamic.

Messaging

  • Messenger partnered with four creators to expand its new lineup of Group Effects (AR effects that can be applied to everyone on the call at once). The new effects hail from King Bach, Emma Chamberlain, Bella Poarch and Zach King. It’s also working with Netflix on new Stranger Things soundmojis and added a new Taylor Swift soundmoji in honor of the release of “Red.”

Dating

Image Credits: App Annie screenshot

  • Bumble surpassed the $1 billion mark in consumer spending, according to data from App Annie. The dating and networking app is one of only 15 other non-gaming apps, and the only dating app outside of Tinder, to have hit this milestone. In addition to Bumble and Tinder, other billion-dollar club members include YouTube, Netflix, Tencent Video, TikTok, iQIYI, Pandora Music, LINE, Disney+, HBO Max, BIGO LIVE, Google One, LINE Manga, piccoma and Youku. The WSJ also remarked this week that Bumble, with a fully diluted valuation of around $6.6 billion, is starting to look undervalued. 
  • Match settled its lawsuit with Tinder co-founders and execs for $441 million. The suit, filed in 2018, alleged that IAC and its then-subsidiary Match Group manipulated financial data in order to create a false, “lowball valuation” of the dating app when Tinder was merged into IAC in 2017. The employees also said they had been unlawfully stripped of their Tinder stock options. The suit sought “billions of dollars” in damages at the time of its filing. While they didn’t get quite that number, after the court dismissed some of their claims for damages, $441 million is no small number. Match said it’s paying the settlement in cash. It had around $510 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the third quarter. 

Streaming & Entertainment

Image Credits: Spotify

  • Spotify’s anticipated year-end review, Wrapped 2021, has arrived. This year, the company introduced a number of new features, including artist and podcaster video messages, a version of Blend designed for Wrapped (which lets you compare your Wrapped with a friend), an in-app game based on “Two Truths and a Lie,” your “Audio Aura” (perfect for sharing when you don’t want to reveal your artists and songs) and more. The feature has become a popular way for Spotify to leverage its huge data collection in a way that’s not only engaging, but also makes Apple Music listeners green with envy.
  • Twitch’s iOS app added support for Apple’s SharePlay, allowing users and up to 31 of their friends to watch Twitch streams together while on a FaceTime call. To use the feature, everyone on the call has to log into their Twitch app and can then watch in either portrait or landscape mode along with friends.
  • YouTube on Android is testing a Material Design 3-inspired look, which includes pill-shaped bubbles surrounding the thin line-art icons, including a combined tab for likes and dislikes. The test design greatly shrinks the height of the bar under the video, however. The app has yet to get its Material You makeover, so this test is an indication that may soon on its way.
  • African streaming service WAW MUZIK partnered with B2B music streaming company Tuned Global on the relaunch of its music streaming app for French-speaking African territories.

Gaming

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

  • MrBeast’s parody video of Netflix’s “Squid Game” helped drive installs of Supercell’s Brawl Stars, reported Sensor Tower. The event had been sponsored by Supercell, which benefitted from the viral success of the video which had topped 100 million views. In the six days followed the YouTube video’s release, Brawl Stars’ downloads grew 41% week-over-week to 1.4 million. The majority (263,000) were from U.S. users. Player spending also grew 54% week-over-week worldwide to reach $8.2 million. The surge may not be all MrBeast-related, however. The Brawl Stars World Finals had just taken place November 26-28, which may have also boosted installs.
  • PUBG Mobile surpassed $7 billion in lifetime revenue after generating an average of $8.1 million per day in 2021 across the App Store and Google Play, Sensor Tower reported. Combined with the Chinese localization (Game for Peace), the title brought in $2.6 billion in 2021 so far and is the No. 2 Top Grossing game worldwide, behind Honor of Kings.

Travel & Transportation

  • Uber will begin testing an audio recording safety feature in the U.S. The company says it will begin piloting the program, which will allow drivers to send trip recordings to Uber in the case of a safety incident, in three U.S. markets:  Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
  • Uber in India added ride-booking via WhatsApp, a first for both companies, Uber and Meta. The partnership lets users access Uber by sending a message to a chatbot, and follows WhatsApp’s rollout of in-app grocery shopping in partnership with JioMart.
  • As part of the Android winter update, Android Auto added support for digital car key for compatible BMW vehicles on Pixel 6 devices and Samsung Galaxy 21. It also now auto-launches when your phone is connected to your car, and is adding an always-on play button to its Home screen, as well as a new search icon. (The latter is coming in the “months” ahead.) Also planned is support for Smart Reply for responding to texts within Android Auto.
  • Spotify has decided to retire “Car View,” its easy-to-use interface that appears when Spotify is used while driving. The company didn’t offer an immediate replacement, which angered some users who worried that using Spotify in the car now won’t be as safe. Others, however, hated the feature and are glad to see it go.

Government & Policy

  • Some Chinese state-run companies have restricted the use of Tencent’s domestic messaging app, Weixin, citing security concerns. At least nine companies were told to stop the practice of using the app for work chats, including China Mobile, China Construction Bank Corp., China National Petroleum Corp. and others.
  • Apple and Google were fined €10 million apiece by Italy’s competition and market authority (AGCM), which said the companies didn’t provide their users with clear enough information on commercial uses of their data. Both were accused of omitting information during the account creation phase. For Apple, that includes when users first set up their Apple ID to access its digital storefronts, like the App Store.
  • U.K.’s antitrust watchdog has ordered Facebook (now called Meta) to sell Giphy, the online and mobile GIF platform it acquired for $400 million in May 2020.

Security & Privacy

  • Android devices will soon automatically turn off runtime permissions — which allow apps to access data or take actions on your behalf — for downloaded apps you haven’t used in a while. The feature was also a part of Android’s winter update and will roll out this month on Android 6.0 and higher.
  • Researchers discovered a batch of Android apps with a combined 300,000 installs that were revealed to be banking trojans that stole user passwords and two-factor authentication codes, logged user keystrokes and took screenshots. The apps had posed as QR scanners, PDF scanners and cryptocurrency wallets that had been discovered on Google Play for months.
  • Twitter expanded its safety policy by banning the posting of images and videos of private individuals without their consent. This doesn’t mean users can’t post images, necessarily, but if the private individual asks for the image to be taken down, Twitter will do so. The Columbia Journalism Review cautioned that the new policy’s wording could lead to difficulties in balancing what’s in the public interest (which is permitted) with individual privacy. Already things are not going well. Twitter Safety has locked the account of an extremism researcher who had posted videos of right-wing extremists who were discussing plans for assaulting a reporter in public, where legally, there’s no expectation of privacy.

Funding and M&A

Image Credits: Lowkey

Pokémon GO maker Niantic acquired social gaming platform Lowkey, which allows gamers a way to capture and share their favorite gaming moments. The company said it will bring on Lowkey’s team to help it build out the future of Niantic’s social experiences.

Digital creation platform Picsart announced the acquisition of R&D company DeepDraft in a seven-figure cash and stock deal. The company brings to Picsart deep expertise in AI and machine learning, which Picsart will leverage as it pushes further into the video space.

Social app IRL made its first acquisition with a deal for the “digital nutrition” company AeBeZe Labs. The company had been developing a range of products with an understanding of how digital content can impact people’s moods. IRL aims to use its technology to improve its event and community recommendations in a healthier way compared with how existing social rivals manage their own algorithms. Deal terms weren’t offered.

Glorify, a Christian-focused subscription app offering meditation, bible passages and Christian music, raised $40 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from SoftBank Latin America Fund, K5 Global and others. Notable angel investors include Kris Jenner, Corey Gamble, Michael Ovitz, Jason Derulo and Michael Bublé.

Southeast Asian super app Grab started trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol GRAB after merging with the SPAC Altimeter Growth in the biggest Wall Steet debut by a Southeast Asian company, which saw the company raising $4.5 billion, valuing its business at nearly $40 billion. After an initial jump on Thursday, shares dropped more than 20% as investors reacted to its falling revenues and rising losses.

Vinehealth, the makers of an app offering digital support for cancer patients and SaaS for R&D, raised $5.5 million in seed funding led by Talis Capital. The London-based startup has now launched the app, which has around 15,000 downloads, in the U.S.

Francophone African super app Gozem raised $5 million in Series A funding from AAIC, Thunes (TransferTo), Momentum Ventures (SMRT), Innoport Ventures (Schulte Group), CMC Ventures (National Express) and Liil Ventures (Mobility ADO). The app offers transportation, e-commerce and financial services across 13 cities, including Gabon and Cameroon. Users have now completed over 5 million trips using its services.

Financial literacy app for kids Goalsetter raised $15 million in Series A funding, led by Seae Ventures. The app allows kids to receive an allowance and financial gifts from family and friends, which comes to their Goalsetter debit card. But they can only unlock the money by taking financial literacy quizzes. The company now plans to sell a white-labled version of its service to banks.

London-based money management app Plum raised $24 million in Series A funding from dmg Ventures and others, bringing its total raise to date to $43 million. The fintech company reported 189% YoY increase in revenue.

Southeast Asian investment app Endowu raised $25.6 million in new funding following its $23 million Series A just seven months ago. The new round — which the company says is in between an A and a B — was led by Prosus Ventures, the venture firm majority-owned by Naspers, and EDBI. The app has $1.5 billion SGD in total assets under management.

Algeria-based Yassir raised $30 million in Series A funding to build a super app for North Africa that includes ride-hailing, last-mile delivery, payments and more. The company had previously raised $13.25 million in seed funding.

Downloads

Indie App Santa

Image Credits: Indie App Santa

The new Indie App Santa app is an advent calendar of sorts for those who love to download and try out iOS apps. The idea began last year as a Twitter account, which drove around 40,000 downloads to the apps the day they were featured. This year, the team at App Craft Studio decided to expand the project to the web, a native iOS app (with Home Widgets and Push notifications), in addition to social accounts on Twitter, Gumroad and Patreon.

According to creator and indie developer François Boulis, the team wasn’t sure if Apple’s App Store Review would approve their new app because it could be considered a “mini App Store” — which is against Apple’s rules. But the app passed through App Review on its first try, he says.

The new iOS app presents an advent calendar-like interface where each day you can tap to open a door and reveal a new deal on an indie developer’s app. The app will work from December 1 through December 24, and is a free download (with the option to pay to support its development).

So far, the app has revealed deals including a free version of MrClockface, a clock widget app; a free version of visual calendar Structured Pro; and puzzle game Blackbox. Most of the apps featured throughout the month will also be free, except for YarnBuddy (December 8), which will offer its $39.99 IAP for just $9.99 on the day of its featuring. Other coming app deals include those for Jinks!, Twidget, Vinyls, Crouton, Bluebird, PastePal, Wynk, Guessing Game, Inventory List, Skaffer, Sticker Doodle, Calory, Sync Flashlight, HabitMinder, un:safe, FitnessView, Times Up! Timer, Luxilux, Pile and Wordsmyth.

But India App Santa’s deals don’t last forever — you have to grab them as they arrive, or you’ll miss out.

Alms

Image Credits: Alms

A new startup called Alms is building a social network that focuses on users’ well-being through participation in creator-led challenges in areas like personal growth, sustainability and others focused on positive impacts. Instead of driving the collection of “likes,” as on other social apps, Alms aims to encourage real-world engagement through its challenges and the specific steps and actions that must be taken. The idea, explains Alms founder Alexander Nevedovsky, is to design an app that guides users to a happier and more meaningful life when they use it. At launch Alms has 30 creators on board, and more in the pipeline, and has attracted a couple of thousand users in its first few days on the App Store. (Read a full review here on TechCrunch.)


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Economics

Top Trending Stocks to Buy Today

A few companies have started the season off strong. Let’s examine the top trending stocks investors are excited about.
The post Top Trending Stocks to Buy Today appeared first on Investment U.

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There is a ton of uncertainty in the investing world right now. First, new COVID-19 strains have turned into an ever-present threat to the entire economy. Second, many companies are still struggling with supply chain issues. Finally, analysts expect interest rates to rise at any minute. However, despite all of this turmoil, a few companies have started the season off strong. This is much-needed good news for investors. Let’s examine a few of these top trending stocks and see why investors are excited about them.

NOTE: I’m not a financial advisor and am just offering my own research and commentary. Please do your own due diligence before making any investment decisions.

What Creates Top Trending Stocks?

When you hear the word “trending”, most people think of a viral social media post. These are posts that everyone is talking about and sharing with each other. Honestly, trending stocks are not that different.

There are tons of factors that could lead to a stock starting to trend. Stocks can also trend for both good and bad reasons. For example, a stock might start trending in a good way because it announced a brand new service (Walt Disney Company and Disney Plus). A stock could also start trending in a bad way because of a CEO scandal (Activision and Bobby Kotick). A stock could even start trending for reasons that have nothing to do with the company (i.e. The GameStop Short Squeeze).

The most important thing is to figure out why a stock is trending, whether the news is good or bad, and how to react to it.

For this article, I’ve focused on stocks that recently crushed their Q4 2021 earnings reports. These stocks are all trending because they are performing better than investors expected them to. Let’s take a look.

No. 4 Levi Strauss & Co. (NYSE: LEVI)

Levi’s was founded in 1853. When things are looking bleak, it’s a good idea to invest in companies that have been around since 1853. They have a very proven ability to overcome tough times.

Apparently, even after 169 years, Levi’s are still in. In Q4 2021, Levi’s posted multi-decade records for revenue and profitability. Chip Bergh, President & CEO, attributed this success to a few factors. First, he praised Levi’s strong brand equity. This allows it to maintain pricing control and refrain from discounting too heavily. He also mentioned that Levi’s is expanding its direct-to-consumer business. This DTC division has much higher margins than Levi’s traditional business. It has helped to increase Levi’s profitability.

For Q4 2021, Levi’s reported revenue of $1.7 billion. This was up 22% from 2020 and 7% from 2019. Levi’s also beat both its earnings per share (EPS) expectations (2.43%) and revenue expectations (0.32%).

In more good news, Levi’s set super high growth expectations for 2022. It forecasted growth of 11-13% for next year. Chip even went so far as to say, “As good as this past year has been, I’m confident the future will be even better.”

In even more good news, Levi’s increased its dividend. This is usually the ultimate sign of security for investors. It shows that the business has so much money that it can afford to pay some back to investors. In total, Levi’s paid out $104.4 million in dividends during 2021.

No. 3 Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA)

Tesla is rarely not one of the top trending stocks. Usually, Tesla only trends because of Elon Musk and his antics. This time around, however, Tesla is trending because of very substantial news. Namely, it crushed its earnings report.

Of all industries, electric vehicles were one of the hardest hit by supply chain issues. There are so many pieces (literally) that go into building a car. These pieces are sourced from all over the globe. This leads to a massive supply chain. Additionally, the average EV uses 2,000 processing chips. This means that the EV industry also had to battle the ongoing global chip shortage. A little surprisingly, Tesla was able to navigate these issues with no problem.

In Q4 2021, Tesla produced 305,000 vehicles. It also delivered 308,000 vehicles in Q4 and 936,000 for the year. This resulted in $17.72 billion in Q4 revenue. This was enough to beat both its revenue expectations (6.49%) and EPS expectations (6.88%). In total, Tesla reported a yearly gross profit of $4.8 billion. This was a 135% year-over-year (YOY) increase.

Interestingly, Elon Musk spent a good portion of the earnings call not discussing electric cars. Instead, his focus on was a new humanoid robot called Tesla Bot. Musk described Tesla Bot as, “the most important product that Tesla is developing this year.” He sees it as a potential answer to the current labor shortage.

No. 2 ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW)

ServiceNow is a cloud computing company. It focuses on managing workflows for IT, employees, creators, and customers. Essentially, ServiceNow creates digital experiences to make life easier for your company. Out of all of the top trending stocks, ServiceNow is the most relieving. Let me explain…

In recent months, the technology sector has been beaten down. Badly. It’s been the toughest stretch for tech stocks since the 2008 Financial  Crisis. Many once-popular names like Peloton, Roku, and Fiverr are down 70% or more from their all-time high. This is the case for most Nasdaq. This is why ServiceNow’s earnings report was so critical. ServiceNow sells critical software for businesses. It also works with 80% of the companies in the Fortune 500. If ServiceNow’s business was slowing down, it could be a very bad sign for the economy overall. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.

In Q4 2021, ServiceNow reported revenue of $1.5 billion. This was a 29% increase from 2020. It was also enough to beat both its revenue expectations (2.1%) and EPS expectations (0.59%). The management team at ServiceNow also expects this growth to continue into 2022. They’ve forecasted revenue growth of 26% for 2022.

This earnings beat came at the perfect time. ServiceNow is one of just a few tech stocks that has notched any green days at all lately.

Top Trending Stocks No. 1 Intel (Nasdaq: INTC)

Intel falls into a very similar category as ServiceNow. It is one of the world’s largest companies and sells a wide variety of different business solutions. Due to this, a slowdown in Intel’s business can be viewed as a bad sign for the overall economy. Luckily, Intel also just recently beat earnings. It also helps us round out this list of top trending stocks.

Intel reported Q4 revenue of $19.45 billion. This was enough to beat both revenue expectations (6.4%) and EPS expectations (19.75%). Notably, Intel trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of under 10 right now. This means that it is valued incredibly cheaply for the amount of money it makes. Most companies of Intel’s size trade at P/E ratios of closer to 20 or 30.

One reason why Intel is trading so cheaply might be due to investor uncertainty. Intel recently got a new CEO (Pat Gelsinger) in February 2021. He is currently investing heavily to help Intel increase its production capacity. The company plans to present more detailed plans on February 17, 2022. To read more on Intel, check out my Intel stock forecast.

I hope that you’ve found this article valuable in learning a few of the top trending stocks to buy. Please base all investment decisions on your own due diligence.

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Best Penny Stocks to Buy Next Month? Check These 3 Out

Can these penny stocks push up next month?
The post Best Penny Stocks to Buy Next Month? Check These 3 Out appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information | PennyStocks.com.

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3 Penny Stocks to Add to Your Watchlist in February 2022 

With February only a few days away, trading penny stocks remains extremely popular. Now, to make money with penny stocks in 2022, investors need to have a thorough understanding of what is going on in the stock market. Right now, the most pressing factors include Covid, inflation, the Fed monetary policy, and certain geopolitical tensions. And because penny stocks are so speculative, these factors all have a major and material effect on how they trade. 

[Read More] Why These 3 Penny Stocks Are Exploding Today

So, when you’re making a penny stocks trading strategy, having all of these in mind will help immensely. And, your strategy should also be able to adapt to the ever changing conditions of the stock market. As we all know, trading penny stocks in 2022 is not easy. And in the past week or so, the market has been in a major downtrend. But, with a lot to look forward to regarding the future, investors are excited about the next few months. With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at three penny stocks to add to your watchlist in February 2022. 

3 Penny Stocks to Watch in February 2022 

  1. Gingko Bioworks Holdings Inc. (NYSE: DNA
  2. Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHIP
  3. Root Inc. (NASDAQ: ROOT

Gingko Bioworks Holdings Inc. (NYSE: DNA) 

Today, shares of DNA stock managed to climb by almost 7% at midday. While many large gains like this occur without news, there are a few reasons why DNA stock is climbing right now. Today, Bank of America Securities announced coverage of Gingko Bioworks, initiating a Buy rating and an $8 price target.

While price targets are simply that, they are still crucial for investors to consider. This seems to be the main reason that DNA stock is climbing right now. However, the company did make an exciting announcement a week or so ago. On January 19th, Gingko announced the acquisition of Project Beacon Covid-19 LLC. This is a Boston-based social organization that is working on increasing the availability of Covid testing in Massachusetts. 

“As we embark on a new wave of the pandemic and grapple with the spread of the Omicron variant, large-scale testing will be critical to help keep kids in schools and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. ntegrating Project Beacon’s capabilities with our Concentric by Ginkgo offering will enable us to further empower communities in Massachusetts and beyond with the tools they need to make important public health decisions.”

The Chief Commercial Officer of Gingko, Matt McKnight,

This is very exciting news, and any company involved in treating, diagnosing, or curing Covid-19, has come into the public eye in the past few months. So, with that in mind, will DNA stock make your list of penny stocks to watch?

Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHIP) 

Today, shares of SHIP stock managed to climb by almost 12% at midday. It’s tough to say why SHIP stock is moving so heavily right now, but, it did make an exciting announcement on January 24th. On Monday, the company stated that it expects its Q4 TCE (time charter equivalent) to exceed $36,000 per ship per day. This is above the previous guidance of $35,200 per ship per day. 

“As a result of our pro-active hedging strategy in 2H21, we estimate that we will overperform the current spot market rate by approximately 50% in the first quarter. Moreover, our robust EBITDA generating capacity in multiple freight environments attests to our firm belief that our shares are currently significantly undervalued.” 

The CEO and Chairman of Seanergy, Stamatis Tsantanis

This is great news and could be the reason that SHIP stock is moving right now. In the past five days, shares have climbed by around 16%, which is no small feat. Considering all of this, will SHIP stock be on your penny stocks watchlist next month?

Penny_Stocks_to_Watch_Seanergy

Root Inc. (NASDAQ: ROOT) 

Another sizable gainer of the day is ROOT stock, which shot up by over 15%. Before we get into why, it’s important to understand what Root Inc. does. The company is a provider of insurance, revolutionizing the industry through data science and technology.

[Read More] 5 Top Penny Stocks To Buy Under $5 Right Now

It works to provide customers with a personalized and fair experience in modern insurance. The big news for the company came today when it announced a new term loan facility with BlackRock Financial Management Inc. The deal, with $300 million, will provide the company with ample credit to move forward with certain operations. 

“We are pleased with the successful execution of this new term facility. It accomplished several important objectives including extending our debt maturity and further enhancing our liquidity position with a partner focused on the long-term success of Root.

We are executing on a disciplined strategy to create enduring value through strong underwriting results, the development of our embedded product, and prudent capital management.”

The CEO and Co-Founder of Root, Alex Timm

Specifically, this deal with carry an interest rate of around 9% and includes an issuance of warrants from Root to Blackrock equal to 2% of issued and outstanding shares. This includes an exercise price of $9 per share. This is exciting news for the company and should help to stimulate growth for it in the short and long term. Considering that, will ROOT be on your buy list in February or not?

Penny_Stocks_to_Watch_Root

Which Penny Stocks Are You Watching Right Now?

If you’re looking for the best penny stocks to buy, there are hundreds to choose from. While it can be complicated given the sheer number of penny stocks out there, with research on hand, it is much easier than previously imagined. 

[Read More] Investing in Top Penny Stocks: Why, When, and How?

Now, to find the best penny stocks to buy, investors need to know exactly what is going on in the stock market and how to take advantage. This involves looking at the news, understanding how it may affect different industries and considering the future. With all of that in mind, which penny stocks are you watching right now?


If you enjoyed this article and you’re interested in learning how to trade so you can have the best chance to profit consistently then you need to checkout this YouTube channel. CLICK HERE RIGHT NOW!


The post Best Penny Stocks to Buy Next Month? Check These 3 Out appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information | PennyStocks.com.

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Why These 3 Penny Stocks Are Exploding Today

Check these three penny stocks out for your watchlist today
The post Why These 3 Penny Stocks Are Exploding Today appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information | PennyStocks.com.

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3 Penny Stocks That Are Climbing Right Now 

In the past few days, we’ve seen both penny stocks and blue chips remain incredibly volatile. While this can incite fear for some, for others, it presents an opportunity to make money with penny stocks. Now, to understand how to do that, investors need to consider everything that is going on in the stock market and how to take advantage. 

[Read More] 5 Top Penny Stocks To Buy Under $5 Right Now

For example, the Omicron variant has continued to cause major bullishness in certain areas of the biotech sector. This is one example, but as you can see, there is always a clear cause and effect. So, if we consider this, we can begin to craft our trading strategy to match the current state of the stock market. And in 2022, investors should also be thoroughly conscious of the major volatility we’re witnessing right now and could continue to witness into the near future. 

While it is tough to say what the next few weeks will look like for either penny stocks or blue chips, it is likely that more factors will come into play. So, always have a trading strategy on hand, and use it to your advantage. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three penny stocks to add to your watchlist in February. 

3 Penny Stocks to Add to Your Watchlist in February 

  1. Indonesia Energy Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: INDO
  2. TAL Education Group (NYSE: TAL
  3. TDH Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PETZ

Indonesia Energy Corp. (NYSE: INDO) 

While INDO stock is technically no longer a penny stock at over $6.45 per share, it was only a short while ago. In the past five days, shares of INDO stock have shot up by over 89%, which is no small feat whatsoever. And, in the past month, shares have climbed by almost 120%.

The majority of this momentum has occurred since the beginning of the year. For that reason, let’s take a look at why shares of INDO may be moving. Earlier in the week, the company announced an update on its 2022 drilling plans. It stated that it should commence drilling at two new wells at its 63,000 acre Kruh Block within the next month. 

“We are excited that our recent financing enables us to commence drilling next month and to aggressively move our company towards a potential cash flow positive position, setting the stage for further drilling and growth for our company in 2022 and beyond. We believe Kruh Block is a world-class asset that should significantly grow our cash flow as we drill additional wells and seek to maximize returns on our investments and grow shareholder value.” 

The President of IEC, Mr. Frank Ingriselli

This is all exciting news and shows that INDO stock could continue to grow. With that in mind, will it be on your penny stocks watchlist?

TAL Education Group (NYSE: TAL) 

Another decent gainer of the day so far is TAL stock. By midday, shares of TAL had jumped by around 5%. While it’s tough to say with certainty why TAL stock is growing right now, we do know that shares have dropped significantly in the past few days. For that reason, the gain today may simply be a rebound following its recent bearish moves. To understand TAL Education, we have to take a look at the overall industry. 

[Read More] Investing in Top Penny Stocks: Why, When, and How?

Right now, the Chinese education industry is struggling to move forward as the government recently imparted major restrictions on how these companies can function. As a result, most companies similar to TAL, have seen substantial and material drops in value in the past six months. 

While some have chosen to fire tens of thousands of workers and others have decided to move into cryptocurrency, TAL Education has not made many announcements recently. And because of this, it’s tough to tell if TAL stock is worth buying or not. But, with its high volatility, there is plenty of potential for TAL to move in either direction. Considering that, will TAL be on your list of penny stocks to watch or not?

Penny_Stocks_to_Watch_TAL

TDH Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PETZ) 

With sizable volume on January 28th, shares of PETZ stock managed to push up by over 3.3%. While no news came out for PETZ stock today, we can look at what the company does and what its most recent announcements are. 

On December 10th, the company reported its first half 2021 financial report. In the report, it posted a decrease in revenue of over 50% to $0.13 million in the first half of 2020. The company states that the reason behind this drop is Covid and its effects on supply chains, transport, and sales activities. If you’re not familiar, TDH Holdings is a provider, developer, and manufacturer of pet food products. It offers these under multiple brands, and sells them throughout China, Europe, and other parts of Asia. 

With the incidence of pet adoption increasing substantially during the pandemic, we could begin to see demand for these products rise. But, investors should make sure to look at PETZ next financial results to see what to look forward to. With that considered, will PETZ be on your list of penny stocks to buy next month?

Penny_Stocks_to_Watch_TDH

Can Penny Stocks Continue to Make Gains Next Month?

If you’re looking for the best penny stocks to buy right now, there are plenty of options to choose from. While it can be difficult given the sheer number of penny stocks out there, research will help you to deduce the winners from the losers. If we consider that there is also a myriad of factors impacting the stock market right now, we begin to see why there is so much movement with penny stocks. 

[Read More] Trading Penny Stocks? Top Stock Market News for January 28th, 2022

The best way to make money with penny stocks is to have a thorough and well-thought-out trading strategy. This will help you to take advantage of what is going on right now and what could go on in the future. So, with all of that in mind, do you think that penny stocks can continue to make gains next month?


If you enjoyed this article and you’re interested in learning how to trade so you can have the best chance to profit consistently then you need to checkout this YouTube channel. CLICK HERE RIGHT NOW!


The post Why These 3 Penny Stocks Are Exploding Today appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information | PennyStocks.com.

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