Apple and Microsoft’s Upcoming Events Will Push AR and VR Further Ahead

Apple(NASDAQ: AAPL)will hold its annual iPhone event next week, where the company is expected to launch the all-new iPhone 8 (along with incremental updates for a new iPhone 7s and 7s Plus), a new version of its Apple Watch, and perhaps even a new 4K Apple TV.Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will have its own event in mid-October, in which the company will debut the latest update to its Windows 10 platform, called the Fall Creators Update.

There’s plenty of things going on at both of these events to talk about, but what I want to focus on specifically here is how the companies will likely spur on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) adoption through the software updates at these events. So let’s take a look at what they’re both doing over the coming weeks.

As far as Windows software updates go, the changes that come with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update on Oct. 17 will be modest by most standards, except for the Windows Mixed Reality update. That’s because Microsoft is tweaking its software to make it easier for users to use plug-and-play virtual reality headsets with Windows 10.

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Why I Love Berkshire Hathaway

It’s the investment vehicle of arguably the most legendary investor in the world, its portfolio never seems to stop growing, and its historical returns have been leagues better than many stock investments.

There isn’t much not to love about Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A)(NYSE: BRK-B). Here are a few reasons in particular I feel the company is worthy of such deep affection.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

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This Week in Solar

After First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) reported its earnings last week and SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) reported this week, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what the second quarter looked like for solar companiesThe market’s reaction to the two reports couldn’t have been more different, but the underlying story was similar, as I’ll discuss below.

Outside of earnings, we got a look at how Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is progressing on its solar roof and energy storage, plus some other notable news items.

Image source: Getty Images.

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Social Security Benefits Are Expected to Increase by This Much in 2018

Social Security plays a critical role in providing a financial safety net for retired workers. An analysisby the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that without Social Security, poverty rates among the elderly would increase from 8.8% to 40.5%.Plus, roughly three out of five retired workers count on their Social Security check to provide at least half their income.

Image source: Getty Images.

But there are a number of issues with this critical social program, and they extend beyond just what you hear in the news.

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Twilio Stock Has a Lot to Prove on Monday

Twilio(NYSE: TWLO)is ready for its close-up. The in-app communications specialist reports fresh financials after Monday’s close. If investors are getting jittery, it’s hard to blame them: Twilio shares plummeted 26% the day after it posteddisappointing first-quarter resultslast time out.

Twilio stock has gone on to make back nearly half of that slide since its early May report. The biggest dagger in Twilio’s poorly received first quarter was the warning that Uber would be relying less on Twilio’s platform in some markets. There’s no shortage of developers leaning on Twilio for their cloud-based communications needs, but Uber still accounted for more than 10% of its revenue last year.

Image source: Twilio.

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Sears Surrenders to Amazon With Kenmore Appliance Deal

As recently as 2003, Kenmore — a private brand owned by Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD) — held a 27% share of the U.S. appliance market. However, with customer traffic and sales in a long-term downward spiral at Sears, Kenmore’s market share has plunged. Kenmore’s very limited distribution outside of Sears stores has clearly had a dramatic impact on its sales.

In this episode of Industry Focus: Consumer Goods, the team discusses Sears Holdings’ recent decision to start selling Kenmore appliances through Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). This desperation move will introduce the Kenmore brand to a new set of consumers, which could boost sales. However, in the long run, it will further undermine the viability of Sears’ struggling retail franchise.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Marijuana Stock Investors Have to Like This Recently Approved Amendment in the Senate

When it comes to outperforming industries, few, if any, can hold a candle to the legal-weed industry. Over the trailing 12 months, the average marijuana stock with a market cap in excess of $200 million is up more than 300%— and it’s not hard to understand why if we look at the two catalysts behind pot stocks.

To begin with, there’s been a rapid and well-defined shift in how the American public views marijuana. In 1995, the year before California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis for compassionate use, a mere 25% of the public favored the idea of legalizing weed nationally, per Gallup. Last year, according to Gallup, favorability toward legalization was up to 60%, an all-time high.What’s more, a Quinnipiac University poll from April showed that favorability toward legalizing medical cannabis was up to an overwhelming 94%.

Image source: Getty Images.

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