Tesla's Labor Dispute; New Google Earth -- Tech Roundup

With Tesla's (TSLA) stock riding high -- up 43% year to date -- a lot has to go right in order for shares to maintain their lofty levels. For starters, many investors' faith is riding on the company's ability to mass produce its Model 3 sedan.

The goal here is simple: Mass produce an affordable sedan (starting around $35,000) that consumers will buy in higher quantities due to the lower pricing and a better experience. However, in order to meet that demand, Tesla has to dramatically increase its production and aims to produce about 500,000 total vehicles per year in 2018.

It won't help if Tesla's acquisition of Grohmann hits a serious snag. According to some reports, union officials want to see higher wages at the German-based Grohmann company. They argued that wages are 30% below union rates.

Tesla argued this notion and explained that it had paid out bonuses and stock options to workers. The company also said it won't impact the timeline for the Model 3.

Still, if anything gets in the way, it could lead to investor disappointment. With a stock trading this high and with a valuation this rich, any "fly in the ointment," as they say, could hinder the stock price.

Of course, a short-term blip could be erased if the Model 3 exceeds expectations.

Shares of Tesla closed at $305.52 Wednesday, up 1.8%.


Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Earth has captivated many users over the years - myself included! Panning around the world and getting intricate looks at cities or coast lines has consumed many hours for the geographically-interested. Whether it was looking for cool markings in the hills or seeing what neighborhood your hotel will be in, most of us are familiar with the platform.

But now, Google Earth is seeing a big overhaul. In its first major update since 2012, the platform now has intense 3-D maps and guided tours.

Pieced together 3-D renderings from satellites and Google's Street View allows users to see a whole new world rather than just looking in from above. While not available in every location, it certainly makes for a more intense viewing process.

Google has also implemented Voyager, which as of now has 50 tours for users to experience. After working with scientists, Planet Earth, NASA and more, Voyage truly is spectacular. This curated content will be updated weekly and allows users even more exploration.

While not available just yet, Voyager will take a true leap of excitement if Google announces virtual reality compatibility in the future.

Shares of Alphabet closed at $856.51 Wednesday, up 0.3%.

Alphabet and Apple (see next item) are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells GOOGL or AAPL? Learn more now.


After skipping the Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Xiaomi is now unveiling its Mi6 smartphone device.

As usual, the device is reminiscent of Apple's (AAPL) latest iPhone -- 12mp dual rear camera, no headphone jack, etc. -- but it's got some features of its own. Standard memory storage starts at 64 GB, with the device starting at around $360 (or 2499 RMB).

The question is, will this year's new device help propel sales? Xiaomi flew onto the seen, making seemingly flashy tech gadgets and charging a fraction of the price compared to companies like Apple and Samsung (SSNLF) .

The Chinese company has stopped reporting how many devices it sells now, after selling 70 million in 2015. While impressive, it was short of its 80 million unit goal, which was reduced from 100 million earlier.

It's unclear how 2016 went for Xiaomi, but it doesn't seem good. In any regard, the company's hope is that 2017 will be a rebound year. As they said earlier this year, "the worst is over."

Apple isn't hoping that's the case, but Xiaomi sure is.

Shares of Apple closed at $140.68 Wednesday, down 0.4%.

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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