According to TechCrunch, Facebook (FB) plans to bring advertising to Facebook Messenger in the second quarter of this year. The report, from a leaked document, explains users who initiate a conversation with a business on Facebook will be able to then be sent advertisements from those companies. 

Facebook Messenger has 800 million monthly active users, and the social media juggernaut tends not to rush things when it comes to the user experience and advertisements. 

Bombard users with too many ads and their experience will be diminished, possibly getting them turned off by the platform. Too few ads and the company will fall short of Wall Street's expectations, sending the share price lower. 

It's a fine line to walk, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg tends to err on the side of his users because without them he knows meeting expectations in the future will be impossible. He has used this approach in the past, including its main platform, as well as its other properties WhatsApp and Instagram.

Since businesses can only send ads in Facebook Messenger to users who have previously engaged them, Facebook is encouraging companies to get users to start conversations with them so they will be able to send ads in the future.

Facebook, the leader in social networking, will likely find a way to successfully monetize this form of communication, too. 

Shares of Facebook, a holding in Jim Cramer's charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS, closed at $103.47 on Thursday, down 1.6%. 


IBM (IBM) has failed to live up to investors' -- and its own -- expectations. But one of the few business ventures that has been showing plenty of promise is Watson, "a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data," according to the company.

Aside from an upgrade at Morgan Stanley giving it a boost, shares are up more than 5% after the company will reportedly plunk down $2.6 billion for Truven Health Analytics. The purchase will be used for Watson Health.

IBM is no stranger to big acquisitions, especially when it comes to Watson. Watson Health was formed in 2014 when the company purchased big-data health care companies Phytel and Explorys. In 2015, the company added Merge Healthcare for $1 billion. 

So will this be enough to lift the beleaguered tech giant out of its multi-year lull? That's what investors really want to know because shares are down 19% over the past five years. The company's latest acquisition is just one more piece to its ever-evolving Watson unit. 

The hope -- by investors and management alike -- is this super-computer can turn into a big player for the years ahead, allowing IBM to once again become a behemoth within the tech space. Only time will tell if that plan pans out.  

Shares of IBM closed at $132.46 on Thursday, up 5%.


After several strong sessions in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed more than 1% for three straight days, stocks are taking a breather. But Twitter (TWTR) didn't get the memo. 

Shares are up almost 6% on Thursday and 16% over the past three days. Helping pave the way on Wednesday, when the stock gained over 6%, was the company's introduction of a new GIF button, making it simple for users to "search and share GIFs in tweets.

Icing on the cake came Thursday when it was realized that several insiders added to their positions in the struggling social media company. The once-darling microblogging site has seen its fair share of challenges, but investors always welcome management stepping up their holdings. 

As they say, there's plenty of reasons insiders might want to sell, but there's only one reason they want to buy: to make money as the stock goes up. 

Notably on Feb. 16, CFO Anthony Noto purchased 15,500 shares, bringing his total to 1.26 million, while Chairman Omid Kordestani added 122,250 shares to his stake, raising his total share count to 522,250.

Shares of Twitter, another Action Alerts PLUS holding, closed at $18.44 on Thursday, up 5.6%. 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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