A Street Fighter Anniversary Collection for PS4 and Xbox One keeps popping up on European retailers – but is it real?

This persistent retail listing keeps popping up on multiple European retailer sites – but is it real, or a troll?

In August 1987 Street Fighter arrived on the scene in Japanese arcades, and while it’d really take until its 1991 sequel for the fighting series to truly refine its formula and gain popularity and recognition, that still makes this year Street Fighter’s 30th anniversary. Capcom has been doing a bunch to celebrate – but for the past few months a persistent retail listing for a ‘Street Fighter Anniversary Collection’ has repeatedly popped up on European store fronts.

This stubborn listing is a bit strange – it’s been floating around in various forms for months now with no confirmation if it’s new or not, but it’s cropped up so many times we now figure it’s worth reporting on. If this is a fake or troll, it’s a coordinated one that’s tricked multiple European retailers.

streetfighter2art

The first instance was spotted on huge gaming forum NeoGAF towards the end of July, with German retailer CoolShop listing a ‘Street Fighter Anniversary Collection’ for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The initial German shop listing featured a description that matched the contents of the Street Fighter 15th Anniversary Collection game for PS2 and Xbox – Hyper Street Fighter 2 and Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. A day later Coolshop pulled the listing down.

A few days later Finnish retailer Puolenkuun Pelit put up the same listing, again featuring the description and artwork from the 15th Anniversary game, but again listing it as for PS4. That listing is still up.

Various listings popped up and disappeared as fans waited for Gamescom – nothing came. Then, as fans began to get excited for Tokyo Game Show, the game showed up again last week on UK site Alza and Czech shop Madgamer – the latter of which has left its listing up and even featured the box art from the 15th anniversary game but clearly hastily photoshopped to have PS4 branding.

street_fighter_anniversary_collection_leak2

Now, new listings have cropped up on Portugese store Kuanto Kusta complete with a new placeholder box art (as shown above) and even a price. This listing has been followed by a matching one from another Portuguese shop, GamingReplay. They offer an Xbox One pre-order for the game.

To be clear, the logo shown on the above box art that cropped up today is the same logo featured in the PS2 and Xbox release years ago once again, but placed on a fairly convincing set of PS4 and Xbox One placeholder boxarts. Basically, it is something a fan or trickster could’ve made… but why? And why would retailers buy into it?

Exactly what is going on here is anybody’s guess, though it has to be said that there’s an awful lot of smoke without a fire yet in sight. Capcom has been going big on Street Fighter’s 30th with Street Fighter 5 tournaments, SF5 DLC, in-game celebrations and the release of Ultra Street Fighter 2 for Switch – so this doesn’t seem entirely unlikely. Capcom’s also fond of a rerelease and remaster, from Okami HD to Resident Evil Revelations for Switch.

The last console generation got digital ports of both Street Fighter 2 and Street Fighter 3 that could easily be ported up a generation for this collection, and Street Fighter 4 was ported to PlayStation 4 to tide people over until SF5 launched. What else could this collection contain? Will Capcom finally unearth SF1 and let people realize how rough that game is again, or include some of the Street Fighter Alpha/Zero series given how much of its cast show up in SF5? If this is real it’d be nice if this came to PC, too.

Alternatively this could all be some elaborate fake, of course, but it’s been a long-played one that’s taken a lot of effort if that’s the case. Capcom has generally had a fighting game announcement at every PSX alongside the Capcom Pro Tour grand finals – last year it was Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, and both SF5 and the PS4 port of SF4 were announced there. We were anticipating that being where the rumored Super Street Fighter 5 might be revealed – but perhaps we could be getting this collection too. Only time will tell.

iPhone X: Forget the experts, here’s what real people think

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.


Real people aren’t moved.


CNET

The tech world often behaves as if everything revolves around the tech world.

So when Apple unveiled its new “smartphone of the future,” the iPhone X, every aspect was scrutinized and every expert opinion swiftly offered.

What, though, do real working people think?

I’d been moved to this radical thought by Apple CEO Tim Cook protesting that Apple doesn’t just make phones for rich people. This, on the eve of launching a $1,000 phone.

So every day since Tuesday, I’ve made a point of casually walking up to real people and asking them what they think of Apple’s new phone. (I can get away with it. I have a British accent.)

I specifically chose people who worked in retail, as I was interacting with them anyway for one reason or another, and I think of them as people who, well, aren’t rich.

This, then, is based on me innocently asking iPhone X questions of at least 35 people who work in restaurants, bars and stores.

People research always starts at Starbucks.

At my local Starbucks in Marin City, California. I asked barista Kurshina what she thought of the new phone.

“Is there a new one?” was her first reaction.

“Yes,” I replied. “It’s $1,000.”

“Nah, I won’t be buying it. I can’t even work the one I’ve got.”

“What do you have?”

“iPhone 7.”

Her boss, Melissa, was a touch harsher, as managers should be. She didn’t know about the new phone either.

“What’s the point?” she asked. “If I didn’t need a cellphone for work, I wouldn’t have one at all. And I’m happy with the phone I’ve got.”

“What phone is that?”

“iPhone 4.”

Real people, you see, seem to go at their own pace. They don’t hang on Apple’s every word. They don’t necessarily pant in anticipation of the next Apple event. They actually have other, perhaps (even) better things to think about.

Heading south.

I went straight from Starbucks to the airport. I had to be in Southern California.

But as I carried on asking the question, it was clear that iPhone X simply wasn’t at the top of most people’s consciousness. 

This, from my server in a restaurant in Santa Ana: “There’s a new one?”

“Yes, it’s $1,000.”

“Isn’t that what they usually cost?”

“Not quite. What phone do you have?”

“iPhone 6.”

“You paid $1,000 for it?”

“No, I got it for a couple of hundred.”

“Where?”

“From a friend.” 

“Oh, yeah?”

“Well, a friend of a friend.”

“So the iPhone X?”

“I’m good with my 6.”

It was odd how many people weren’t even curious about what the new phone had to offer. To them, it was a low-interest item. It was a new Demi Lovato song, rather than a Kim Kardashian sex tape.

Those in the know aren’t moved either.

I ventured into a Target in Brea, California, where I had a fascinating conversation with a couple of people in the electronics department.

Naturally, they knew about the iPhone X. One told me he had two iPhones.

“I have an iPhone 6 that I take to work and a 7 that I keep at home.”

“Why do you have two?”

“Well, I keep dropping them. And the 6 doesn’t have great battery life. The 7 does. I use my phone a lot more at home.”

“And the X?”

“It’s OK. But not for a thousand bucks. I might get an 8, though.”

Even those in the know didn’t seem excited.

It failed, didn’t it?

In a restaurant in Yorba Linda, California, I asked just about every member of staff what they thought.

Many expressed benign indifference. Samsung owners snorted.

“I don’t like iPhones,” a Samsung-owning server told me.

“Why not?”

“I can’t personalize them.”

“So do you personalize yours?”

“No, but I could.”

Was he impressed by the X? “Nothing exciting,” he said.

If people had heard something about Apple’s event, it was that the Face ID presentation had failed. (Apple disputes this.)

“Apparently, the Apple guy looked at it and it just didn’t work,” one busboy told me.

But it was a server, the mother of three adult children, who told me that she knew about the X and Face ID freaked her out.

“I wouldn’t feel safe with that. I think it’s a way for them to follow us around,” she said.

She has an iPhone 6. She’s happy with it. “My three kids all have 7s,” she said. Mom added that her daughter had manipulated her 6 — “somehow” — so that “they” wouldn’t follow her around so much.

Not a perfect X?

Not one person that I talked with waxed lyrical about the “smartphone of the future.”

“It was pretty much what I expected,” one restaurant server said. 

I blame the tech press. They got too much advance information.

“Would you buy it?”

“No. I’m happy with my 6.”

Indeed, a surprisingly large number of the people I spoke with had an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and were very happy with them. Some expressed the idea that if a phone suited their needs, they weren’t interested in a new one. The X wasn’t, to them, different enough. 

Perhaps it reflects the fact that phones really have just become utilitarian objects. 

Of course, in time, as the iPhone X emerges into human hands, perhaps many of the non-rich will be placed under its spell. Perhaps they’ll covet it and adore paying for it in installments. 

My entirely non-scientific research, though, suggests that real people have no idea what all the fuss is about. They’re not resentful, just faintly indifferent. 

It’s quite refreshing.

HP show us what a real PC workstation looks like with a 56-core, 3TB Z8

Enlarge / HP Z8 Workstation

HP

If you’re a demanding computer user, sometimes your 13″ Ultrabook laptop just won’t quite cut it. For those looking for a little more computing power, HP’s new Z8 workstation could be just the answer. The latest iteration of HP’s desktop workstations packs in a pair of Intel Skylake-SP processors, topping out with twinned Xeon Platinum 8180 chips: 28 cores/56 threads and 38.5MB cache each running at 2.5-3.8GHz, along with support for up to 1.5TB RAM.

Next year, you’ll be able to go higher still with the 8180M processors; same core count and speeds, but doubling the total memory capacity to 3TB, as long as you want to fill the machine’s 24 RAM slots.

Those processors and memory can be combined with up to three Nvidia Quadro P6000 GPUs, or AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100 parts if you prefer that team. The hefty desktop systems have four internal drive bays, two external (and a third external for an optical drive), and nine PCIe slots. Storage options include up to 4TB of PCIe-mounted SSD, and 48TB of spinning disks. A range of gigabit and 10 gigabit Ethernet adaptors are available; the machines also support 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. Thunderbolt 3 is available with an add-in card.

This kind of hardware tends to be thirsty, and to that end, HP will fit the systems with up to a 1.7kW PSU.

Prices will start at $2,439 for the bottom spec; we’d expect the top-end configuration to cost 20 times that.

If you don’t need quite as much hardware, the Z6 workstation line offers a single socket, for a maximum of 28 cores, 384GB RAM, and 4TB storage, and the Z4 uses a Xeon W (which is more or less a Xeon-branded version of the regular desktop chips) and up to 256GB memory.

The airflow through the Z8 is very fancy.
Enlarge / The airflow through the Z8 is very fancy.

HP

Now we don’t expect everyone to rush out and buy one of these machines; HP is aiming them at markets such as 3D engineering and modeling and 8K video production, so they’re probably slight overkill for gaming and e-mail. But we can all marvel at the engineering that goes into them, especially the ducting to handle the airflow and keep everything cool, even with a pair of 205W processors and a ton of PCIe cards, and of course the tool-free cases.

Snapchat is bringing virtual Bitmojis into the real world (SNAP)

3D Bitmoji SnapchatSnap

Snapchat is taking the goofy camera effects it made famous one step further by integrating them with Bitmoji, the virtual avatar app it acquired for roughly $100 million last year.

Starting Thursday, Snapchat users will be able to place customizable Bitmojis of themselves onto the real world. The 3D Bitmojis will be accessible through the app’s rear facing camera alongside popular effects like the dancing hot dog.

Snapchat parent Snap Inc. hopes that 3D Bitmojis will help cement the company as a leader in augmented reality (AR) technology, which overlays virtual objects onto the real world. Apple recently used Snapchat’s selfie effects to show off the AR capabilities of its new iPhone X.

More than a third of Snapchat’s 173 million daily active users interact with its AR camera filters, dubbed lenses, every day, according to the company. Snapchat first debuted its selfie lenses in 2015 through the acquisition of Ukrainian startup Looksery and added so-called World Lenses to the app’s rear-facing camera in April 2017.

Adding Bitmoji World Lenses comes after Snap started hiring performance artists and animators to “sculpt” 3D digital characters in December 2016.

“Bitmojis have an emotional, playful appeal,” a Snap spokesperson told Business Insider. “Our community often uses them daily on Snapchat and elsewhere as a personal extension of themselves.”

Since acquiring Bitmoji parent Bitstrips last year, Snap has continued to operate the division out its headquarters in Toronto, Canada. Snapchat requires its users download the standalone Bitmoji app to create custom avatars, which can then be linked with their Snapchat accounts.

Snap has yet to make money off Bitmoji, and it’s unclear if the self-described camera company intends to do so. Users could end up having to pay for certain Bitmoji outfits through in-app purchases, or Snap could allow brands to sponsor certain outfits and accessories. The company declined to comment on any Bitmoji-related monetization plans.

Pokemon Go update TRANSFORMS app, but Niantic believes THIS is the real future of AR | Gaming | Entertainment

Pokemon Go is about to be transformed thanks to new technology available in the iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus.

The cameras on the iPhone 8 Plus are said to have been custom tuned for AR.

“Each camera is individually calibrated, with new gyroscopes and accelerometers for accurate motion tracking,” reads an Apple iPhone 8 statement.

“The A11 Bionic CPU handles world tracking, scene recognition and the GPU enables incredible graphics at 60fps, while the image signal processor does real-time lighting estimation.

“With ARKit, iOS developers can take advantage of the TrueDepth camera and the rear cameras to create games and apps offering fantastically immersive and fluid experiences that go far beyond the screen.”

But despite the improvements to AR, Niantic boss and Pokemon Go creator John Hanke still thinks the technology is limited.

In fact, Hanke thinks that AR glasses are the future of augmented reality.

Check out the gallery below for a look at Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3 Pokemon that could be included in the Pokemon Go Halloween 2017 event.

“AR on phones is a very important step on the path to full AR,” Hanke told Medium.

“But it’s a step that should be understood as one with limitations in its current form factor and level of development.”

After explaining that AR is more than just a digital overlay on your phone, Hanke added: “The point is that the AR camera view is a cool step forward, but it’s only part of what is going to make AR so important and powerful.

“Holding a phone in front of you to align an AR view is, honestly, a little awkward. Based on experiences with apps that are mostly focused on this visual aspect of AR, some will conclude that AR is a gimmick that lacks real utility.

“That’s a bummer, because it really is the first step to something that is going to transform the world as we know it.”

Hanke thinks that while devices like Google Glass were massively flawed, AR glasses are the way forward.

“Glasses are coming,” he continued. “They are hard and it will take a while but we will get them and once we do, we won’t go back.”

Hanke said that once the social implications of such a device are ironed out, AR glasses will transform the way we interact with the world.

“Imagine buildings, offices, homes, cities and transportation with live, dynamic interfaces customized to you and what you want to do.

“The billions of dollars a year that we spend on physical signs, directories, schedules, and all of the other ‘UI’ that we need to navigate the physical world won’t be needed and will be replaced with digital overlays with far greater functionality.

“And yes, colorful animated creatures can inhabit our backyards and parks, waiting to be discovered.

“Games beyond anything we can imagine today will be played out. Not by humans wired into Matrix-style pods, but by human beings walking, running, exploring, talking and connecting in the real world.”

The (real) Internship: catching up with our summer interns

They came, they saw, they interned.

Each summer, Google and Alphabet welcome thousands of interns to our offices around the world. Now that it’s time for the interns to head back to school, we sat down with a few of them to hear about the highlights from their experience.

1

Jacob Schaider, YouTube TV

Tell us about the work you did this summer:

I worked on an internal tool for YouTube TV. It was an amazing experience seeing how Google engineers solve a problem that hasn’t been solved before. I would do it over again in a heartbeat!

What was the highlight of your project/work:

It happened about halfway into my work. I finally accomplished the first part of my project and seeing my work pay off had never felt better. Another highlight was seeing actual Google engineers use my project as an internal tool. Something that I made was actually being used to help improve YouTube TV!

After spending a summer at Google, what does “Googleyness” mean to you?

Googleyness is the possession of qualities that Googlers strive for. It describes a collaborative, ingenious, passionate, friendly, genuine person, and I was privileged to work with so many people like this. My coworkers helped me through every problem I had and took the time to explain the answer. If I was working at my desk during lunch time, they would ask me to join them for food. They wanted to spend time with us outside of work. Googleyness is honestly the best compliment someone can receive.

What was your favorite snack in the microkitchen?

The microkitchen fueled me all day long—I can’t pick a favorite snack! When I first got into work, the only thing on my mind was a bowl of nice hot oatmeal with strawberries. My go-to afternoon snack was Babybel cheese and a cup of chocolate pudding.

What are you going to do next?

I’m a Sophomore year at University of Southern California. I play drums in the marching band here so my fall semester will be taken up by rehearsals, game days, and traveling with the football team. I also plan on getting more involved in the Computer Science community during my spring semester by joining an organization called Lavalab.

IMG_20170810_110107.jpg

Camille Eddy, Robotics, X

Tell us about the work you did this summer:

I worked on hardware projects in the robotics team at X.

What was the highlight of your internship?

I really enjoyed working with my team, and getting an inside view on an X project.

Can you share a particularly special moment from your internship?

As a woman of color in tech, it’s important for me to find role models in other women and people of color. I found that at X, and feel a sense of privilege to work at a company that values inclusion. I sat down with other female engineers, learned from their stories and challenged myself based on their advice.

Who is the most interesting person (X’er or intern) you met during your internship?

Astro Teller, CEO and Captain of Moonshots at X. His vision for the company and his explanation of what moonshots really are inspired me and convinced me that I’m in the right place!

What does “Googleyness” look like at X ?

X’s values center around  teamwork and team spirit, doing the right thing not because you have to, but because it fosters an inclusive and safe environment. And of course, being willing to jump in and take a moonshot!

What was your favorite snack in the microkitchen?

I enjoy the Hint water a lot. My favorite flavor is green apple.

What are you going to do next?

I am continuing my internship through the fall, and I look forward to learning more from my team!

IMG_20170810_110058.jpg

Tiam Jaroensri, Research & Machine Intelligence

Tell us about the work you did this summer:

Tuberculosis kills two million people each year. We use convolutional neural networks—the technique used to recognize pictures of cats and dogs—to recognize tuberculosis under a microscope. Tuberculosis cells are hard to find manually, which leads to misdiagnosis of tuberculosis in the developing world.

Outside of your project/work, what was the highlight of Life at Google:

Exploring Northern California. I went backpacking for the first time in Yosemite. The view was breathtaking.

After spending a summer at Google, what does “Googleyness” mean to you?

Googleyness means everyone is always willing to offer a helping hand, no matter how busy they are with their own code.

What was your favorite snack in the microkitchen?

Dried mango, definitely. It reminded me of home in Thailand.

What are you going to do next?

Going back to school to finish my PhD. Hopefully I’ll get to come back to Google one day!

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Solar damage to eyes is a real threat in eclipse, experts say | Living

Monday’s solar eclipse is expected to be a unique event, but it’s not worth burning your retinas over.

Experts recommend anyone viewing the eclipse Monday afternoon wear specially approved glasses to avoid solar retinopathy, or damage to the eye’s retina. Even though the sun will be partially obscured, the remaining rays can do damage to people who stare at it for a significant time.

Dr. Brett Foxman, ophthalmologist and retina specialist at Retinal and Ophthalmic Consultants in Northfield, said it’s common sense to not stare at the sun on a normal day. The habit to look away from the sun shouldn’t change Monday.

“It’s pretty rare for someone to come in with sight damage from looking at the sun too long, but it does happen,” he said. “It’s the same risk during a solar eclipse — and increased, because people may think they can look at the sun since the brightness is knocked down, but the remaining sun is still enough to cause damage.”

Foxman said looking at the sun can damage the macula, or center part of the retina, the nerve lining that covers the back of the eye. The image of whatever someone looks at is focused on the retina, and looking at something like the sun can burn the retina.

The reason this area of the retina is important is because the macula contains the fovea, an extremely small point in the center that is responsible for a person’s sharpest central vision.

Damage to that area of the eye can impair or completely destroy straight-ahead vision, experts say. In other words, Foxman said, it could be the difference of reading several lines down on an eye chart exam versus only the top letter E.

Experts say people are often not aware of the damage happening because it is painless.

Prolonged ultraviolet ray exposure from the sun can damage the macula, which is why experts like Foxman and solar eclipse scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration stress the importance of wearing special-purpose solar filters.

Regular sunglasses, welding glasses or anything else not approved by the American Astronomical Society most likely let in too much light and therefore are not effective for someone staring at the eclipse, Foxman said.

People should also not use things like binoculars or telescopes without special filters to view the solar eclipse as the sun’s heat will be magnified, NASA experts said.

People in the pathway of the total solar eclipse, which does not include any part of New Jersey, can remove their glasses when the moon completely covers the face of the sun.

Making a pinhole projector is also a safe, indirect way of viewing the solar eclipse. Foxman said that’s how he viewed a past solar eclipse with his children, and it was just as good a way to experience the event.

“If you make a big one, it could be something for a large number of people to see,” he said. “This weekend I’ll play around with it to remember how I did it back then, because as long as the sun’s out, you can practice.”

Finally! The ISS crew just received real ice cream thanks to SpaceX

When you’re away from home, care packages matter. But nothing quite says ‘we care’ like fresh ice cream launched into Earth’s orbit by a SpaceX rocket.

In the most ambitiously orchestrated snack delivery in human history, astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) have received a shipment of ice cream from home – and not that freeze-dried ‘astronaut ice cream’ stuff either, this frozen treat is the real deal.

 

The off-Earth care package came courtesy of SpaceX’s CRS–12 resupply mission that launched this week from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, docking with the ISS’s Harmony module on Wednesday after a 36-hour flight.

The payload carried more than 2,900 kilograms (6,400 lbs) of research equipment, cargo, and supplies to support over 250 research projects.

These include an experiment tracking the growth of protein crystals in space that could aid our understanding of how Parkinson’s disease works, a ‘Spaceborne Computer’ designed to see how supercomputers fare on long-haul space jaunts, and an ISS-CREAM instrument (no relation to the ice cream) to measure cosmic ray particles.

But, of course, as far as any astronaut sweet tooths are concerned, the real kicker is dessert. So what kind of ice cream can scientists on board the ISS look forward to digging into?

The space agency’s official ISS blog explains the “sweet treat” includes “small cups of chocolate, vanilla, and birthday cake-flavoured ice cream”, but doesn’t elaborate on any further details.

Luckily for those curious about these things, the manager of NASA’s Space Food Systems Laboratory, Vickie Kloeris, was a bit more forthcoming to NPR.

 

According to Kloeris, astronauts will get to snack on 30 individual cups of Blue Bell ice cream and some Snickers ice cream bars. Not a bad haul, but the shipment comes with a tantalising condition attached: snack quickly.

The time limit is due to the month-long window in which SpaceX’s Dragon capsule will remain docked to the ISS.

While there have been over 100 uncrewed supply missions to the ISS to date, it’s only in the modern SpaceX era of reusable spacecraft like the Dragon, that perks like ice cream are possible.

How come? Because on previous supply runs, the craft used couldn’t return to Earth without burning up.

Because SpaceX’s fleet has been designed around reusable vessels that can safely return to Earth, it means the Dragon can act like a taxi, ferrying cargo to the ISS, and then returning scientific samples and experiments back to Earth’s surface.

But to do that, the Dragon’s freezer space needs to be cleared out within one month so it’s got space for everything it’s taking back to Earth.

 

For astronauts, this is a good problem to have.

“It’s a really special treat, but when it gets there, they have no place to put it,” Kloeris told NPR.

“It’s tough duty, but they’ll manage to eat it in the time allowed.”

In addition to frozen foods, astronauts get to nominate what kind of snacks they receive in their “fresh-food kit”.

On this occasion, the crew only asked for coffee and condiments, so Kloeris threw in some unrequested avocados and apples.

On other hauls they receive things like tortillas, toilet paper (Americans are said to prefer a softer texture than their cosmonaut comrades), and fresh socks.

With the exception of occasional treats and fresh-food kits, Kloeris’s lab has developed a largely standardised menu for astronauts on the ISS, rather than letting them pick and choose their own food, which they once got to do.

That practice ended with the closure of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 – a side effect of which was that astronauts and their food choices ended up aboard the ISS at different times, meaning scientists inevitably ended up poaching each other’s food, sometimes out of necessity.

“That became a huge psychological issue,” Kloeris said. “We had so many complaints.”

 

Nvidia, Facebook and 13 other companies are the real earnings-season winners

Investors have been heartened by U.S. companies’ second-quarter earnings. But they ought to look beyond the headlines to find out what’s really going on with companies that have exceeded analysts’ earnings forecasts.

With 93% of S&P 500

SPX, -1.54%

 companies having reported results for quarters ending May 28 or later, we’ve listed those that have increased their sales per share the most, while also improving their gross profit margins.

Sales per share takes into account any dilution caused by the issuance of shares for any reason. Shares are often issued to fund an acquisition, so if sales-per-share go up after a merger is completed, it’s a good sign that the dilution was “worth it” for the acquiring company’s shareholders, or that the acquisition was partly or fully paid for with cash. The share count can also increase from stock-based compensation to executives — which companies routinely exclude from the adjusted-earnings figures that drive the “beat” or “miss” headlines. The per-share numbers also reflect any reduction to the share count caused by companies’ repurchase of stock.

More on creative accounting and possible remedies:

• Here’s how investors are duped each earnings season

• The SEC is cracking down on made-up earnings numbers. We crunched the numbers — it hasn’t helped

• Take-Two is one of five companies to say new accounting rules will have a material impact

• Netflix needs to address new accounting standards if it continues licensing content

• Target revises reporting after SEC calls out non-GAAP gross margin

• Amazon says new accounting rule will change when it recognizes sales of its devices

A company’s gross margin is its sales, less the cost of goods or services sold, divided by sales. It is a measure of the profitability of a company’s core business and, in the list below, is calculated by FactSet using GAAP numbers, not companies’ “adjusted” numbers.

So if a company increases its sales per share significantly, while its gross margin also increases, it’s a good sign that it didn’t need to offer huge discounts to juice sales. This provides a basis for further research as you consider which companies to invest in.

Here are the 15 S&P 500

SPX, -1.54%

 companies that increased their sales per share the most, for the most recently reported quarters through Aug. 16, while also improving their gross margins:

Company Ticker Sales per share – most recent reported quarter Sales per share – year earlier Increase in sales per share Gross margin – most recent reported quarter Gross margin – year earlier
Molson Coors Brewing Co. Class B

TAP, -1.51%

$14.29 $4.57 212% 40.75% 40.59%
EQT Corp.

EQT, +0.48%

$3.70 $2.08 78% 30.92% -8.21%
Micron Technology Inc.

MU, -3.49%

$4.73 $2.80 69% 46.87% 17.18%
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.

COG, -0.04%

$0.96 $0.59 62% 32.94% -4.86%
Nvidia Corp.

NVDA, -2.23%

$3.52 $2.26 56% 58.39% 57.84%
Ameriprise Financial Inc.

AMP, -3.22%

$19.11 $12.45 54% 49.27% 46.20%
Cimarex Energy Co.

XEC, -0.27%

$4.89 $3.21 52% 47.71% 21.45%
Applied Materials Inc.

AMAT, -3.01%

$3.26 $2.19 49% 44.78% 41.14%
Range Resources Corp.

RRC, -0.40%

$2.29 $1.58 45% 19.73% -26.49%
Lam Research Corp.

LRCX, -2.92%

$12.58 $8.70 45% 45.59% 45.19%
Facebook Inc. Class A

FB, -1.82%

$3.16 $2.22 43% 86.73% 85.75%
Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

APC, -1.90%

$5.46 $3.90 40% 23.46% 12.27%
EOG Resources Inc.

EOG, -1.88%

$4.52 $3.35 35% 17.03% 1.94%
Netflix Inc.

NFLX, -2.29%

$6.24 $4.80 30% 31.71% 30.03%
Halliburton Co.

HAL, -1.60%

$5.69 $4.46 28% 9.74% 2.69%
Source: FactSet

The tremendous increase in sales per share for Molson Coors Brewing Co.

TAP, -1.51%

reflects its October purchase of the 58% stake in MillerCoors that had been held by SABMiller PLC

SBMRF, -12.54%

 

You can click on the tickers for more information, including news coverage, valuation ratios, estimates, charts, filings and financial reports.

FactSet doesn’t calculate gross margins for about 10% of S&P 500 companies (mostly banks and insurance companies), because other measures of profitability are used in certain industries. So in order to represent them, we have listed the 10 companies for which gross margins are not available, that have had the highest returns on common equity during the most recent quarter:

Company Ticker Return on common equity – most recent quarter Return on common equity – year earlier Total return – 3 years Total return – 5 years
Mastercard Inc.

MA, -1.13%

74.86% 62.23% 80% 219%
Interpublic Group of Companies

IPG, -1.95%

28.27% 25.00% 14% 113%
Discover Financial Services

DFS, -2.93%

20.97% 20.90% 8% 78%
UnitedHealth Group Inc.

UNH, -0.55%

20.94% 17.81% 150% 294%
Aon PLC

AON, -1.88%

 

18.35% 24.28% 71% 178%
Humana Inc.

HUM, +0.12%

16.62% 9.35% 110% 281%
Progressive Corp.

PGR, -0.41%

16.33% 13.92% 113% 199%
Cigna Corp.

CI, -1.02%

16.12% 16.25% 94% 305%
Affiliated Managers Group Inc.

AMG, -3.02%

15.59% 16.77% -10% 50%
Everest Re Group Ltd.

RE, -1.65%

14.40% 9.74% 75% 182%
Source: FactSet

Seven of these companies with high returns on common equity have beaten the S&P 500’s 35% three-year return, while eight have beaten the index’s 94% five-year return.