January 4, 2018 Market Outlook

Security Flaws Found in Computing Devices

According to security researchers, chips from Intel Corp.Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and ARM Holdings were found to have a set of major chip flaws. The weaknesses could let hackers steal sensitive information from every modern computing device containing chips from the said manufacturers. The warning was issued on Wednesday.

One of the discovered bugs is specific to Intel. Another one affects desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets and internet servers. Intel and ARM asserted that it was not a design flaw. Users are required to download a patch and update their operating system to fix the flaw.

Researchers with Alphabet Inc.’s Google Project Zero working with international academic and industry researchers discovered two flaws. The first is called Meltdown. Hackers can bypass the hardware’s wall between applications run by users and the computer’s memory. That can let them read a computer’s memory then steal passwords.

Spectre is the second and it affects chips from Intel, AMD and ARM. Hackers can possibly trick otherwise error-free applications into revealing secret information. Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have available patches for users of desktop computers affected by Meltdown.

AT&T Sets Launch Date for 5G Mobile Network

About a dozen cities in the Unites States can expect higher speed and response time than the current 4G networks by late 2018. After the international wireless standards for the network have been finalized last month, AT&T Inc. is now ready to launch the fifth-generation (5G) mobile network.

The No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier will use the 5G technology that is far superior to 4G in terms of speed and response time.

Netflix Continues Global Dominance

Shares of Netflix (NFLX) have already shot up 7% in the first two trading days of 2018 to an all-time high. It brought up its worth to nearly $90 billion. NFLX soared by 55% in 2017 and continues to be comfortably ahead of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Hulu.

The future of the streaming titan is bright despite the additional looming threat of more streaming options from Apple Inc. (AAPL) and the tandem of Walt Disney (DIS) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA).

According to analyst Time Nollen from Macquarie Research, Netflix is a winner on all counts – programming hours, original content, quality and time spent. And things are not expected to change anytime soon.

Tesla Moves Target Date for Model 3 Anew

Customers will have to wait again for Tesla Inc.’s (TSLA) new Model 3 sedan. The electric vehicle maker headed by Elon Musk has again moved the production target for the second time on Wednesday.

The announcement disenchanted investors even as the company claimed it made major progress in hurdling manufacturing challenges that have hindered the vehicle’s rollout. TSLA went down 2% in after-market trading.

Tesla said it would build about 2,500 of Model 3 weekly by the end of the first quarter. The number is half the original volume it had earlier projected. The plan now is to produce 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of the second quarter.

Spotify Files for U.S. IPO

News outlet Axios reported on Wednesday that Spotify, the biggest global music streaming company, has filed ‘confidentially’ with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering. It is also targeting a direct listing in the first half of 2018 that would allow some longtime investors to cash out. Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) are its main rivals.

The music streaming service was valued as much as $19 billion last year. If plans push through, it would be the first major company to carry out a direct listing. The route is the unconventional way of pursuing an IPO without raising new capital. There is no need for a bank or broker to underwrite an IPO. Further, related fees and charges are eliminated. The move could change the way companies go to the public to sell shares.

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