Interest rates and fears of a mounting trade war send tech stocks lower

Shares of technology companies were battered in today’s trading as fears of an increasing trade war between the U.S. and China and rising interest rates convinced worried investors to sell.

The Nasdaq Composite Index, which is where many of the country’s largest technology companies trade their shares, was down 219.4 points, or 3%, to 7,028.48. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 395.8 points, or 1.6%, to 25,017.44.

Facebook, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Apple, Netflix and Amazon all fell into bear trading territory, which means that the value of these stocks have slid more than 20%. CNBC has a handy chart illustrating just how bad things have been for the largest tech companies in the U.S.

Some of the woes from tech stocks aren’t necessarily trade war related. Facebook shares have been hammered on the back of a blockbuster New York Times report detailing the missteps and misdirection involved in the company’s response to Russian interference in the U.S. elections. Investors are likely concerned that the company’s margins will shrink as it spends more on content moderation.

And Apple saw its shares decline on reports that sales of its new iPhones may not be as rosy as the company predicted — although the holiday season should boost  those numbers. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple has cut the targets for all of its new phones amid uncertainties around sales.

The Journal reported that in recent weeks, Apple had cut its production orders for all of the iPhone models it unveiled in September, which has carried through the supply chain. Specifically, targets for the new iPhone XR were cut by one-third from the 70 million units the company had asked suppliers to produce, according to WSJ sources.

Those sales numbers had a ripple effect throughout Apple’s supply chain, hitting the stock prices for a number of suppliers and competitors.

But the U.S. government’s escalating trade war with China is definitely a concern for most of the technology industry as tariffs are likely to affect supply chains and drive prices higher.

According to a research note from Chris Zaccarelli, the chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance, quoted in MarketWatchinterest rates and slowing global growth are adding to trade war pressures to drive tech stock prices down.

“Tech continues to be caught in the crosshairs of the triple threat of rising interest rates, global growth fears and trade tensions with China,” Zaccarelli wrote. “Trade war concerns with China weigh on the global supply chain for large technology companies while global growth fears worry many that future earnings will be lower,” he said.

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The best early Black Friday 2018 deals

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commissions. that support its work. Read Wirecutter’s continuously updated list of Black Friday deals here.

Amazon Echo (2nd Generation) – Refurbished

Amazon Echo

Street Price: $80; Deal Price: $60

Only available in Heather Gray, this $60 refurbished sale on our pick in our Alexa guide is the best price we’ve seen on this model to date.

The Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) is our pick of Amazon’s Alexa-controlled speakers. Grant Clauser writes, “If you want music without hooking up any additional speakers, the second-generation Echo offers the complete range of functions, minus the screen features of the Show and Spot. As a speaker, it’s good for kitchens, offices, dens, bedrooms, and other places where convenience and size (it’s about the size of a Foster’s beer can) is more important than audio performance. The speaker is designed for 360-degree dispersion, so placing it in the middle of the room will give you sound in all four corners.”

Audio-Technica LP60-BT Turntable

Audio-Technica turntable

Street Price: $150; Deal Price: $120

Down to $120 in both Black and White, this pricing matches the low we’ve seen for this Bluetooth-enabled turntable. We haven’t seen a deal on this turntable since the the summer.

The Audio-Technica LP60-BT Turntable is the budget pick in our guide to the best turntable for casual listening. Chris Heinonen writes, “If you want something that can just play records easily for as little as possible, the Audio-Technica LP60-BT will do the job. Unlike the other tables we considered, LP60-BT is fully automatic: Press a button and the table spins while the arm moves into position. Once a record is done, the arm goes back into place and the table stops. It has a built-in phono stage and you can even get it with a Bluetooth output for use with wireless speakers.”

Yeti by Blue USB Microphone + Fallout 76 (PC) Bundle

Blue Yeti microphone

Street Price: $150; Deal Price: $100

Back down to $140 from the typical street price of $180, this matches the low we’ve seen for this table-top streamer and includes the bonus of a free 3rd Gen (newest version) Echo Dot, around a $35 value.

The Yeti by Blue USB Microphone is the top pick in our guide to the best USB microphone. Kevin Purdy and Lauren Dragan write, “It provided the most reliably well-rounded, natural sound out of all the mics we tested―whether on Windows or Mac, or whether recording happened in professional studios or in a small square office… It offers live headphone monitoring and gain control, two key features for any recording setup (other mics lacked these or made using them too complicated). It is more stable on its stand than most microphones we tested, and feels far more solidly constructed and durable.”

PlayStation Plus 1 Year Membership

PlayStation Plus

Street Price: $60; Deal Price: $40

Matching Cyber Monday prices we saw last year, a 12 months subscription is back down to $40 from $60, still the best price we’ve seen.

PlayStation Plus is mentioned alongside the PlayStation 4 in our guide for the best game consoles. Thorin Klosowski writes, “The PlayStation Plus subscription service provides online multiplayer and two free games a month, equivalent to what you get from the Xbox Live Gold service. Most people should get the standard PS4 model, not the PS4 Pro, unless you have a 4K TV or plan to buy one very soon.”

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

Street Price: $700; Deal Price: $520

A big drop from street price and a new low for all colors, this model comes unlocked with a US warranty.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a runner-up pick in our guide to the best android phones. Ryan Whitwam writes, “The Samsung Galaxy S9 and its larger sibling, the Samsung Galaxy S9+, have some features that the Pixel 3 phones don’t, such as a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. Plus, they’re available for purchase through any carrier. These phones have the latest curved OLED screens from Samsung—the best we’ve ever seen on a phone—and the bezel surrounding the screen is tiny. The Galaxy S9’s camera has an adjustable aperture, so it can take brighter low-light shots while also getting sharper photos in brighter light, though we still like the Pixel 3’s camera more overall.”

DJI Tello Mini

DJI Tello Mini

Street Price: $100; Deal Price: $80

The first notable drop we’ve seen since we started tracking this already affordable drone.

The DJI Tello Mini is an also great pick in our guide to the best drones under $100. Signe Brewster writes, “The DJI Tello, which is made in partnership with robotics company Ryze, is our pick if you’re looking for an inexpensive drone that can take pictures and videos. It has surprisingly advanced autonomous features normally found on much more expensive drones. And its 5-megapixel, 720p camera—about the same resolution of an iPhone 4—takes good enough photos to make it fun for basic selfies and landscape pictures. It also has a 13-minute battery life, which is the longest of any drone we tested.”

Because great deals don’t just happen on Black Friday, sign up for our daily deals email and we’ll send you the best deals we find every weekday. Also, deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go here.

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Best Black Friday 2018 smart home deals: Amazon Echo, Roomba, Google Home, Apple HomePod

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The new Amazon Echo Show is on sale for $120 off for Black Friday.
The new Amazon Echo Show is on sale for $120 off for Black Friday.
Image: amazon

Smart home devices were the hot, gift-worthy items during last year’s holiday season and 2018 is shaping up to be no different. A big part of the reason for this is because these smart home devices tend to see great discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, making now the ideal time to shop for loved ones — or snag a gift for yourself. Trust us, we won’t tell anyone. We promise.  

SEE ALSO: All the best Black Friday 2018 sales, right in one place

Although some of the deals are not official yet, a large number of them are active right now, so you can take advantage of these fantastic sales from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target before the Black Friday shopping holiday even begins. 

However, keep coming back to this round-up for new deals on smart home devices popping up throughout the week as soon as they are available. We’ll continue to take all the hard work out of shopping for the holidays for you, so you can spend more time with the ones you love.

Here are the best deals on smart home devices for Black Friday:

Early Black Friday deals

Amazon smart home

Philips Hue

iRobot Roomba

Everything else

Smart home deals starting on Black Friday

Google

Facebook

Apple

Philips Hue

Eve

Sonos

Everything else


Black Friday 2018 deals by store

Black Friday 2018 deals by category

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Alexa can now make Skype calls


Skype

Starting this week, you’ll be able to make Skype calls on your Alexa devices. Basically the entire line of Echo devices will have the ability to make voice calls via Microsoft’s VoIP platform. The Echo Show and its tablet-style screen will also be able to make and receive video calls.

In addition to calling your Skype contacts via Alexa, users will also be able to call mobile numbers and landlines using SkypeOut. The feature allows you to call existing contacts or a new number on Skype. You’ll get 100 minutes of free calls per month for two months when you link your Skype account with Alexa.

In order to set up Skype for Alexa, open the Amazon Alexa app on your Android or iOS device. Go to Settings > Communication > Skype. You’ll be prompted to login with your Microsoft account. Once you’ve successfully entered your username and password, you’ll be able to make and accept calls from Skype through Alexa.

The integration of Skype and Alexa, which was promised earlier this year, is just the latest example of Amazon and Microsoft teaming up. The companies announced a partnership last year to make Alexa and Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortona work together and earlier this year, Xbox One and Windows 10 got Alexa apps.

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Pandora's on-demand music now streams on Alexa devices


Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Amazon Alexa’s repertoire of on-demand music services appears to be growing by the day. Hot on the heels of Tidal’s support, Pandora has enabled Premium streaming on Alexa-equipped devices like Amazon’s Echo speakers. You no longer have to be content with Pandora’s radio feature — you can access your playlists and play albums like you would anywhere else. You can set the service as your default music option as well. It’s not quite complete when Personalized Soundtracks support is “coming soon,” but you otherwise won’t be hurting for choice.

Amazon now supports multiple large streaming music services beyond its own, including Deezer and Spotify. While this won’t help much if you’re deeply invested in Apple or Google services, it’s evident that Alexa is becoming the go-to assistant for people who want options for their voice-controlled music.

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Save big on TicWatch smartwatches in the Amazon Black Friday UK sale

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TicWatch has a range of offers on right now.
TicWatch has a range of offers on right now.
Image: amazon

It’s been established for a while now that we are already living in the future. Nearly everything is automated and cars are practically driving themselves. And oh yeah, there’s a robot dog empire on the rise, turning Black Mirror scenarios into a reality.

Life isn’t always a terrifying dystopian nightmare come true however. There are so many ways the advancement in technology is making our lives easier and better. Smartwatches are a great example of this. You can now organise your life, stay healthy, and tell the time all at once without an evil robot dog in sight. 

There are also great opportunities to save big on smartwatches right now, particularly in Amazon’s Black Friday sale. You can pick up a wide range of smartwatches from TicWatch, with a model perfect for everyone.

The TicWatch Pro Smartwatch Wrist Watch with Heart Rate Sensor is available for £164.25, down from £219.99. You can take a back seat when it comes to organising your life, as this smartwatch has you covered:

  • Battery life lasts 5-30 days on a single charge

  • Comes equipped with Google Assistant, giving you instant access to thousands of apps and watch faces through Google Play store

  • Power saving FSTN LCD display, high sunlight visibility, showing essential information including time/date/steps/heart rate

  • GPS tracker, heart-rate monitor, steps counter, calories burned counter, and speed monitor, keeping you on top of your fitness

There are a bunch of other models also on sale, so whatever your needs, there’s a smartwatch for you:

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Amazon Prime members can watch 'Aquaman' a week early


Amazon/DC

Aquaman has only appeared briefly in Batman v. Superman and as a member of the Justice League, and was one of the few good things in two pretty awful movies. As such, the character’s first solo movie has more promise than other DC Extended Universe films. Amazon has announced that Prime members will get to see the movie on December 15th, nearly a full week ahead of the movie’s December 21st public debut.

Members can buy up to 10 tickets here and see the film at 1,000 theaters around the country, including the AMC, Regal, National Amusement Theaters and ArcLight Cinema chains. Amazon has offered a similar deal before, letting movie fans watch an advance screening of Jumanji 12 days before it came out in theaters.

Much like Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Aquaman might do well on the strenth of its charismatic lead actor Jason Momoa. Warner Bros., the studio behind the movie, was reportedly less than thrilled with 2017’s Justice League, but quite happy with Momoa. Aquaman will supposedly focus on the character’s Atlantis-based origin story. It also stars Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren and Nicole Kidman in supporting roles.

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Wildfires, Invasive Snakes, and Saying Goodbye to a Legend: Best Gizmodo Stories of the Week

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It might be the second half of November, but the wildfire season in California is now functionally approaching a 365-days-a-year crisis, with two massive blazes burning down huge swathes of the state. The Woolsey Fire and the Camp Fire are slowly approaching containment, but not before the former destroyed whole…

Read more…

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Microsoft is selling Amazon Echo speakers in its stores


Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Microsoft’s deepening relationship with Amazon’s Alexa now extends to its stores. WalkingCat and others have noticed that Microsoft is carrying both the new Echo Dot and the regular Echo in its online and retail stores. The company isn’t just supporting Alexa, then — it’s encouraging you to buy into Amazon’s ecosystem.

The addition reflects Cortana’s changing role at the company. Where Microsoft originally pitched Cortana as a direct competitor to other mainstream voice assistants, it has shifted the AI helper’s focus toward chatbots and behind-the-scene tasks that are more useful to the corporate crowd than home users. The VP in charge of Cortana, Javier Soltero, is reportedly leaving Microsoft as the company moves its assistant from its AI team to its Experiences and Devices group. For now, Alexa appears to be Microsoft’s voice assistant of choice for everyday users.

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