1. Amazon stock jumps after unveiling first smartphone
It's coming to your pocket, and you will order with it. Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) unveiled its first ever smartphone, the Fire. It's battling head-on with Apple and Samsung in its quest to help you to buy stuff instantly, even while you're jogging on a half-marathon. The phone has a 3-D camera that can identify those hot-pink Nike running shoes your rival is wearing so that you can buy them with the touch of your finger.
The stock rose 2.7% Wednesday after CEO Jeff Bezos hosted the Apple-esque presentation. If you've had problems being able to quickly act on your shopping cravings, then the Fire's for you. It's selling at $100 less than its iPhone equivalent, but it's available on AT&T only. Bezos took a picture of a spectator's smile and the phone proposed he buy Crest Whitestrips using the free one-year membership of Amazon Prime that comes with the phone.
Amazon's goal is market share, and it always has been. The company is famous for eschewing profits in favor of conquering your spending habits. The Kindle, the Fire TV Set, and the "Dash" (which lets you scan barcodes of groceries in your pantry and then quickly order them) are getting a hold of tech-savvy purchasers -- but Amazon isn't satisfied.
The takeaway is that this is a risky move. Microsoft, BlackBerry, Nokia, and others have all gone down in flames in the hyper-competitive smartphone market. The Fire phone has huge development costs, but it could change the way people buy -- instantly. Investors were happy Wednesday, but it remains to be seen if people renounce their citizenship in favor of Amazon.com-ia.
2. FedEx earnings prove Americans stingier with shipping
Special delivery for shareholders of FedEx (NYSE: FDX ) . The global shipping company specializing in express deliveries announced that earnings grew significantly from last year in the quarter ending May 31. Revenues grew 3.5% from last year to $11.8 billion, and profits beat expectations with $2.46 a share. Investors were overjoyed with their 5% stock jump gift.
The takeaway is that FedEx announced bold plans last year to boost profits by $1.6 billion by 2016. It's probably not going to happen. The CEO has seen several quarters go by, and consumers are opting out of express and high-priced delivery options in favor of the thrifty (and George Costanza-approved options). The old calculus of the pre-financial-crisis era may not come back. FedEx won Wednesday, but shipping business ain't as hot as it used to be.
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