Amazon, Apple Join In Moves Against Parler, Citing Extremist Content And Association With Capitol Riots

Parler, the conservative alternative to Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) and Facebook Inc, (NASDAQ: FB) continues to see itself cut off from major tech services.What Happened: Saturday night, Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) discontinued services to Parler. Apple removed it from its App Store, and Amazon stopped providing cloud hosting services through Amazon Web Services.Parler had risen to the No. 1 most-downloaded spot in the App Store in the days prior to the removal, as Twitter cracked down similarly on right-wing extremist content.Amazon employees earlier in the day had demanded the move, saying they did not want to be associated with a platform that had been used by organizers of Wednesday's riots at the U.S. Capitol. Why It Matters: The moves add to a steady stream of moves among companies seeking to distance themselves from violent content on Parler. On Friday, Twitter permanently removed Donald Trump's account because of his involvement in inciting the riot, and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) removed Parler from its Google Play store. Apple sent a letter to Parler prior to the removal from the App Store, warning it of discontinued service if better content moderation wasn't implemented within 24 hours. Apple found Parler's subsequent response lacking.Parler Chief Executive John Matze said Parler may be down for a week as the moves, especially that of Amazon, hobble the technical underpinnings of the site.Rebekah Mercer, daughter of hedge fund manager Robert Mercer and a backer of conservative causes, is reportedly an investor in Parler.See more from Benzinga * Click here for options trades from Benzinga * California Man Sues Robinhood Over Last Year's Hacking Of Customer Accounts, Seeks Class-Action Status * Boeing 737 Crashes After Takeoff From Indonesian Capital Of Jakarta (Update)(C) 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved. Read More...


2 Stocks That Are Flirting With a Bottom; Analysts Say ‘Buy’

The stock market closed out the first week of 2021 on a positive note, with all three major indexes hitting new record high levels. The gains come as investors are feeling confident. The COVID vaccines coming available and, according to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, a bigger round of coronavirus stimulus is on the way.But even in a rising market, it’s still possible to find some stocks that haven’t yet joined in the general gains. These stocks, whose prices are hitting bottom, present investors with a choice and an opportunity. The choice is to take the risk or not; the opportunity is to buy low, when the chance for gains is best.Wall Street’s analyst corps know this, and they are not shying away from recommending stocks that may have hit bottom. Using TipRanks database, we pinpointed two such stocks. Each is down significantly, but each also has enough upside potential to warrant a Buy rating.BlueCity Holdings (BLCT)We will start with an online platform and community service company, focused on the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) audience. The company offers a range of online services, including online dating, entertainment, health consulting, online pharmacy, and family planning. BlueCity provides an avenue of connection for users to link with each other with service providers and platforms. The company has connected more than 50 million registered users in China and other Asian countries, and boasts 6.3 million monthly average users.Catering to a niche audience can be lucrative, and BlueCity has found its stride. In Q3, the company reported 43.8% year-over-year growth in paying users, and 47.3% growth in top line revenues. The total revenues hit $43.8 million. BlueCity reported a total of 494,000 paying users on its Blued dating app. In July of last year, BlueCity held its IPO. The event was successful, as the company debuted its stock in the middle of the expected price range and raised over $85 million in new capital. At the end of the first day’s trading, BLCT closed at $23.43; since then, however, the stock has fallen ~60%.Covering the stock for Oppenheimer, analyst Bo Pei sees a clear path forward to greater profits, and believes the current low price is a buying opportunity. “BLCT generates 85% of revenue from live streaming, and 6% from membership services. The current membership paying ratio is significantly lower than peers’. We expect membership to contribute 21% revenue in ’22E, which could raise valuation as the model has better retention, margins, and visibility,” Pei noted.The analyst added, “Despite about 50% of its users being located outside of China, they only accounted for ~10% of BLCT’s total revenue, as overseas monetization features have only been recently launched. BLCT sees positive feedback as it ramps up monetization efforts, and we expect its overseas revenue contribution to increase to 21% in ‘22E.”It’s not surprising, then, why Pei gives BLCT an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating. His $20 price target supports his bullish stance, and suggests a robust 97% upside for 2021. (See BLCT stock analysis on TipRanks)Some stocks fly under the radar, and BLCT is one of those. Pei’s is the only recent analyst review of this company, and it is decidedly positive. (See BLCT stock analysis on TipRanks)Strategic Education (STRA)Next up is a private, for-profit education company. Strategic Education is the owner of two online universities, Capella and Strayer, as well as several coding schools, including DevMountain, Generation Code, and Hackbright Academy. The company also recently closed on the acquisition of colleges in Australia and New Zealand.The disruptions caused by corona were hard on STRA, and the stock is down 42% in the past 52 weeks. Q3 revenues and earnings came in under expectations, and fell year-over-year. The top line was $239 million, with EPS of 47 cents.In the third quarter, however, STRA has started to reopen in-person classes for students in selected cities, including Augusta, Georgia and Arlington, Virginia, and that corporate offices Minneapolis were also reopening on a limited basis.Jeffery Silber, 5-star analyst with BMO, sees both positives and negatives in STRA at this point. He writes of the company’s current situation, “STRA reported 3Q20 mixed results, with Strayer enrollments underperforming, offsetting improving Capella enrollments and cost management… While the ‘outlook’ was disappointing, we are cautiously optimistic that the trend will get ‘less worse’ through 2021.”Looking ahead, Silber believes that STRA’s diverse schools offer some buffer for the current economy – an overall positive for the company. “Strayer U. continues to see declining new enrollments given its student demographics (e.g., undergraduate, first-time college students) are being disproportionately hurt during the pandemic. By contract, Capella U. enrollment was better than expected, as its student demographics may be less impacted (e.g., graduate, more able to work from home).” Silber wrote.To this end, Silber rates STRA an Outperform (i.e. Buy), and his $126 price target implies an upside of 39% in the next 12 months. (To watch Silber’s track record, click here)Over the past 3 months, only two other analysts have thrown the hat in with a view on STRA. The two additional Buy ratings provide the stock with a Strong Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $121, investors stand to take home a 33% gain, should the target be met over the next 12 months. (See STRA stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for beaten-down stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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