|Day's range||2.2400 - 2.3800|
(Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co.’s shares slid nearly 3% on concerns that growth in chip demand may slow as the world emerges from Covid-19 in the second half of the year, outweighing a better-than-expected profit.The world’s largest manufacturer of memory chips and smartphones posted operating profit of 8.1 trillion won ($6.8 billion) in the three months ended June, beating the 6.2 trillion won average of estimates. Sales for the quarter were 52 trillion won, according to preliminary results released Tuesday. The company didn’t provide net income or break out divisional performance, which it will do later this month when it releases final results.The estimates include a one-time gain related to the display business. While the company didn’t offer details, some analysts estimated it could have recorded more than 1 trillion won in compensation from Apple Inc. for fewer-than-promised display orders.Despite its strong topline numbers, Samsung shares closed 2.9% down in Seoul on Tuesday, faring worse than the 1.1% drop in the KOSPI. Part of the negative sentiment may be explained by worries of a price decline in the key memory segment, where stockpiling orders in the current period might taper off.“The market is concerned about a potential slowdown in server expansions. Memory prices could be weakening in the 2H,” said Park Sung-soon, analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a silver lining for the tech industry in hastening the shift toward online activity such as video conferencing, web-based education and entertainment streaming, helping Samsung sell more chips in the quarter.“Because of this work-from-home situation, there’s been strong demand for a couple of its products,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, a research manager at IDC. “The demand for DRAM has seen a spike in Q2 due to demand in server and data centers.”Read more: Samsung’s Surprise Leaves More Confusion Over Tech: Tim CulpanAlthough Samsung had warned of a profit slide in the second quarter due to plant and store closings, it managed to mitigate the fallout by cutting marketing expenses and selling TVs and monitors to people spending more time working and playing at home.Samsung’s mobile and consumer electronics businesses took a hit from the closures since mid-March, but stores and factories began reopening across North America and Europe from June. Hana Financial Investment forecasts Samsung will report around 5.5 million smartphone shipments for the second quarter when it releases its full breakdown.While Samsung’s business appears to be weathering the virus storm, the company has another significant challenge to deal with in determining the fate of its de-facto leader, Jay Y. Lee. The company’s vice chairman is facing allegations of corruption in Korea that could lead to prosecution and a return to prison.Read more: Samsung Billionaire’s Fate at Risk Despite Role in Virus Fight(Updates with share price and analyst comment from first paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Samsung Electronics Co.’s second-quarter earnings seem like good news. But it’s really not as simple as that.Revenue beat estimates by around 3.6% while operating profit topped even the highest of sell-side analyst estimates by 6.3%, the South Korean giant reported Tuesday. Right off the bat, those numbers carry a caveat: The company posted a one-time gain related to its display business that would have helped the bottom line.Still, there’s no denying that the top line was largely ahead of expectations — likely due to sales of memory chips used in servers. That doesn’t mean that Samsung has beaten the Covid-19 pandemic, though. Total revenue is 7.4% lower than a year earlier. These numbers reflect the mid-point of guidance, which Samsung provides within days of a quarter’s closing. We don’t yet know the size of that one-time profit on its display business. However, Bloomberg News reports that it could be as much as 1 trillion won ($840 million) in compensation from Apple Inc. for fewer-than-promised orders of screens used in iPhones, iPads and other devices. Such a figure would account for most of the discrepancy between earnings and estimates.Rather than being good news, the payment would represent a bad sign for the technology sector, reflecting weaker demand for gadgets. We saw further signs of that late Monday, with Foxconn Technology Group’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. reporting a 9.1% slump in June sales, closing out second-quarter revenue with a 2.3% drop. Hon Hai assembles iPhones. This is traditionally low season for Apple’s flagship device, so much of that decline will be for other products that Foxconn makes, including personal computers, servers and data-center equipment. While a single-digit drop isn’t terrible given what’s happening in the global economy, it does contrast with the optimism shown in stock markets in recent weeks. Apple shares are at an all-time high, while Amazon.com Inc.’s market value just topped $1.5 trillion.Samsung investors seem a little befuddled, too. Its shares rose as much as 1.6% Tuesday after the announcement, but fell later in the morning as the market started digesting the news. The reaction also tells us that rather than being a positive sign, this earnings tidbit highlights just how confusing the current situation is.Samsung’s results are an allegory for much of what we see in the tech sector these days: Bad news (revenue dropping) taken as optimistic because it beat estimates, while seemingly good news (operating profit surpassing expectations) actually being a sign of weakness due to it being a compensatory payment.These are the kinds of conflicting signs we’ll see a lot more this earnings season. Investors need to get used to flying blind.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. said it is “assessing” a new Hong Kong security law that has sparked concern about criminalizing protests.The Cupertino, California-based technology giant also said it has not received requests for Hong Kong user data since the law kicked in last week, and noted that it doesn’t get requests directly from the government there.“Apple has always required that all content requests from local law enforcement authorities be submitted through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in place between the United States and Hong Kong,” the company said. Under that process, “the U.S. Department of Justice reviews Hong Kong authorities’ requests for legal conformance.”On Monday, other tech companies, including Google, Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. said they would pause processing user data requests from the Hong Kong government as they review the new law.On its website, Apple said that in the first half of 2019, it received 358 requests for user device information, 155 requests related to fraudulent transactions, and two requests for account data from Hong Kong.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The chief executive officers of Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc. will testify on July 27 before a congressional panel investigating competition in the technology industry, according to an announcement from the House Judiciary Committee.Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook are likely to face a torrent of critical questions from lawmakers on the panel’s antitrust subcommittee as the investigation builds a case for revamping antitrust enforcement.Bezos may be in for a particularly tough session. Unlike the other chiefs, the world’s richest man will be addressing Congress for the first time, and his company has sparred with subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline over previous testimony by another company official and allegations of anticompetitive conduct.The appearances may be virtual, according to the Monday evening announcement, which said additional details on the format would be forthcoming.“Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming,” said Cicilline and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler in a joint statement. “As we have said from the start, their testimony is essential for us to complete this investigation.”Some of the companies had been reluctant to send their top executives even though Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, has said he would be willing to subpoena CEOs. He has said he wants to use their appearances to inform a final report recommending changes to antitrust law.Antitrust scrutiny of giant technology companies is accelerating. Facebook and Alphabet’s Google both face competition inquiries by federal enforcers and nearly all 50 states. Amazon is under investigation in California, Bloomberg has reported, and both the e-commerce giant and Apple are facing scrutiny from the European Union.The Judiciary Committee had previously announced that the four men would testify, but had not set a date or format.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
NVIDIA and two other tech giants will give your portfolio valuable exposure to the growing AI market.
More than $91 billion of Berkshire Hathaway's $214 billion portfolio is invested in this very well-known company.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It doesn’t take much imagination to see the Federal Reserve supporting the stock price of Apple Inc.The central bank’s Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility recently released details about its “Broad Market Index,” which is a roadmap for which individual bonds it will buy for its portfolio after changing the rules to avoid forcing issuers to certify they’re in compliance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Just looking at the 13 companies with weightings of at least 1%,(2)which collectively make up almost one-fifth of the index, a few things stand out. First, there are six automobile companies, with subsidiaries of Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. and Germany’s Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG as the three largest issuers overall. In fourth is AT&T Inc., the largest nonfinancial borrower due in no small part to its $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. Then there’s Apple. As a reminder, it’s the largest U.S. company by market capitalization at $1.57 trillion, edging out Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. Its shares have easily rebounded from the selloff caused by the coronavirus pandemic, rallying 24% so far in 2020. Yes, Apple has about $100 billion of debt outstanding, but it’s also known for having one of the largest cash piles in the world. It’s so big, in fact, that the company could repay all its obligations and still have roughly $83 billion left over.With so much cash, that naturally raises the question: Why does Apple take on debt in the first place?In each of Apple’s past three dollar-bond sales, in November 2017, September 2019 and May, the company said it would use proceeds at least in part to repurchase common stock and pay dividends under its program to return capital to shareholders. In total, the company has doled out more than $200 billion since the start of 2018. It’s easy to see why company leadership would see it as too cheap not to borrow. Apple has the second-highest investment-grade credit ratings from Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, allowing it to issue $2.5 billion of 30-year bonds in May that yielded just 2.72%. Its $2 billion of three-year debt, within the Fed’s maturity range, priced to yield less than 0.85%.Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, said during the last quarter’s earnings call that the company has more than $90 billion in stock buyback authorization left, adding that it plans to continue the same capital allocation policy going forward.Obviously, cash is mostly fungible for large enterprises, and any number of American companies in recent years surely issued bonds for reasons other than buybacks and also repurchased shares. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimated some $700 billion of shares were acquired by U.S. companies in 2019, which would make them the biggest net buyer of equities.Still, Apple openly using debt sales to help finance share repurchases puts the Fed in a somewhat awkward position. Chair Jerome Powell has consistently framed questions about its secondary-market facility in the context of supporting the central bank’s full employment mandate. Workers are “the intended beneficiaries of all of our programs,” he said in a hearing last month. It’s possible Americans “are able to keep their jobs because companies can finance themselves.”And yet, the Fed’s secondary-market facility comes with no strings attached. In fact, as I noted last month, its maneuver to create Broad Market Index Bonds circumvented the CARES Act requirement that any company must have “significant operations in and a majority of its employees based in the United States.” Rather than focus on the American worker, the stated goal is to “support market liquidity for corporate debt,” and, by extension, keep borrowing costs down for creditworthy firms. So there’s every reason to expect that Apple can and will issue bonds again in the near future, at an even cheaper rate, to fund stock buybacks and dividends. That, in turn, would most likely support share prices.That shouldn’t sit well with many people. Even President Donald Trump, who has used the stock market as a barometer of his economic policies, has signaled a preference for capital projects over buybacks. On March 20, just before the S&P 500 Index fell to its lowest level of the Covid-19 selloff, he lamented that companies used the money saved from his 2017 tax cut to repurchase shares rather than build factories. He said at the time that he would support a prohibition on buybacks for companies that receive government aid.“When we did a big tax cut and when they took the money and did buybacks, that’s not building a hangar, that’s not buying aircraft, that’s not doing the kind of things that I want them to do,” Trump said. “We didn’t think we would have had to restrict it because we thought they would have known better. But they didn’t know better, in some cases.” The Fed’s strategy for buying corporate bonds is passive enough that few would equate it to receiving direct assistance from the federal government. The same can’t be said about the central bank’s Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility, which as of last week is open for business. Companies that want to place bonds directly with the Fed must certify that they have “not received specific support pursuant to the CARES Act or any subsequent federal legislation” and “satisfy the conflicts-of-interest requirements of section 4019 of the CARES Act.” As my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Matt Levine described in detail last week, there’s a huge amount of paperwork for issuers, and the Fed has the right to demand its money back if the forms are wrong and companies use funds for unapproved reasons.In all likelihood, these constraints will turn almost every company away from the Fed’s primary-market facility. Instead, finance officers will reap the benefits of the central bank’s broad secondary-market interventions to issue new debt to private investors at rock-bottom rates and with no such rules, as they have for the past three months. And Wall Streeters will be happy with business-as-usual in the credit markets.To put it plainly one more time: The Fed didn’t have to loosely interpret the law to create this index of corporate debt. It was already following through on its pledge to buy exchange-traded funds and had a system in place for companies to become eligible for individual purchases. It chose this third route, encouraging headlines like “Buying Corporate Bonds Is Almost Easy Money, Strategists Say.” What could go wrong?Now that it’s scooping up individual bonds issued for share buybacks without any stipulations, policy makers should be asked again why this program is the right way to go about supporting the recovery. The truth is likely that corporate America needs low-cost debt to survive. Apple and its shareholders are more than happy to tag along for the ride.(1) The Fed's facility has not yet purchased debt from all the companies in the index, at least according to its disclosure, which only covers the$429 million in bonds it bought on June 16 and 17. Its largest purchases were Comcast Corp., AbbVie Inc. and AT&T Inc.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Europe has its first $50 billion internet company: Spotify Technology SA breached the mythical barrier on Thursday. While it’s a moment worth savoring, the Swedish company isn’t entirely deserving of the inflated price tag. Unfortunately, investors seem a little out of tune with the music streaming service’s real potential.The stock has more than doubled from a March low, spurred by an aggressive push into podcasting. Since May it has signed deals with podcasting giant Joe Rogan, Superman and Wonder Woman parent DC Comics and reality TV star Kim Kardashian, adding to acquisitions such as the $230 million deal for production house Gimlet Media Inc. Altogether, it’s a $1 billion bet on a flourishing industry.It’s nice to see a European tech company finally flying high. The continent has long bemoaned its lack of a consumer-internet company to rival the giants of Silicon Valley. The continent’s tech behemoths often struggle to capture the popular imagination: Germany’s SAP SE makes enterprise software, ASML Holding NV builds machines to make semiconductors and Amsterdam-based investor Prosus NV owes its 138 billion-euro ($155 billion) valuation to a 31% stake in Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. Spotify is a rare success.The podcasting strategy of Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek is shrewd, but alone it is not going to fix Spotify’s biggest problem: paying a giant slice of revenue to the record industry for royalties. That expenditure is why it has a pitiful (for an internet company) gross margin of just 25%.Yes, podcasts will reduce the Stockholm-based firm’s dependence on music for its income, allowing it to chase higher margin advertising dollars where it won’t have to pay a cent to the record labels. But advertising is still likely to remain a small slice of total revenue. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Amine Bensaid estimates ad revenue will account for just 12% of sales by 2022, up from 8% this year. The impact on the gross margin will be limited.For sure, Spotify is concentrating on the right trends. Revenue in the U.S. podcast market is set to double to $1.4 billion by 2024, and that will help Spotify’s business slowly become more like Netflix Inc. The video streaming giant pays a flat rate for content, meaning that every additional subscriber brings incremental profit.But investors are already valuing Spotify more generously than Netflix. Including cash and debt, it’s valued at 48 times the analyst consensus for its 2024 Ebitda, a measure of earnings. Netflix is valued at just 18 times expected 2024 Ebitda. Even using the most optimistic analyst estimate for that year, Spotify is valued at more than 22 times Ebitda. Investor expectations are out of kilter with reality.What’s more, deep-pocketed rivals such as Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are also eagerly eyeing podcasts. Both firms have been seeking to develop more original shows, Bloomberg News has reported. Podcasting is a slightly different proposition for the two tech giants, since, if successful, they can subsequently be adapted for their video streaming offerings where Spotify doesn’t compete. There will be a lot of hands taking money from the increasingly lucrative podcast pot.The market reaction is hardly CEO Ek’s fault. He’s making much-needed bets to diversify his firm away from its reliance on the record industry. But investors are dancing a little too exuberantly to his melody.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) recently announced that it will permanently close all of its brick-and-mortar Microsoft Stores worldwide. In a press release, Microsoft VP David Porter noted that the tech giant's "product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location." Microsoft stated that it wouldn't lay off any staff as part of the reorganization, and that it would continue paying its retail employees as they transferred to remote sales, training, and support positions.
After having plunged during the first three months of the year, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI) have bounced back sharply from their worst levels of the year. Amid a couple dozen losing stocks in the Dow, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is doing a lot to limit the average's losses. What's particularly impressive about the software giant's 31% rise so far this year is that it comes on the heels of an even sharper 55% climb for Microsoft in 2019.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) (NYSE: BRK.B) shares fell 21% in the first six months of the year. Most of the stocks in Berkshire's investment portfolio were down as well. Here are Warren Buffett's three biggest winners in the first half of 2020 -- and whether or not they're still great stocks to buy for investors who aren't yet legends.
If you work at a non-essential business, your house or apartment has had to step up its game. It's become your office, school, gym, and much more for your entire family. Some households may have even added friends or relatives under their roofs as unemployment skyrockets.
The tech giant buys a struggling smart glass maker -- but it won’t necessarily launch a new version of Google Glass anytime soon.
There has been a lot of chatter recently about some secondary details Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is working out for the next iPhone in terms of pricing and accessories. The grapevine suggests that the next-generation device may come without an important accessory -- a power adapter -- and could also force buyers to invest in aftermarket (and potentially wireless) headphones as the box may be devoid of EarPods. At the same time, there are rumors of Apple pricing the base model of the alleged iPhone 12 at a mouth-watering $549.
Apple last week disclosed features in its forthcoming operating system for iPhones and iPads that will require apps to show a pop-up screen before they enable a form of tracking commonly needed to show personalized ads. Sixteen marketing associations, some of which are backed by Facebook Inc <FB.O> and Alphabet Inc's <GOOGL.O> Google, faulted Apple for not adhering to an ad-industry system for seeking user consent under European privacy rules.
(Bloomberg) -- With the U.S. Justice Department nearing a lawsuit against Alphabet Inc.’s Google for antitrust violations, a coalition of states that are conducting a parallel investigation are divided over the best strategy for taking on the internet giant, according to people familiar with the matter.While the multistate investigation into Google’s dominance of the digital advertising market is in its final stages, some state attorneys general are advocating to take more time to investigate Google’s conduct in other markets and potentially bring a broader case against the company, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing a confidential matter.The disagreement could affect whether states join a Justice Department complaint about Google. Like the states, federal antitrust enforcers have been investigating whether Google is thwarting competition in the digital advertising market, where it holds a commanding position.The Justice Department, which is coordinating with the states, wants to move quickly, two of the people said, and is on track to file a complaint this summer, another person said, though it wasn’t clear what conduct the complaint will ultimately target. The department declined to comment.“While we continue to engage with ongoing investigations, our focus is on creating free products that lower costs for small businesses and help Americans every day,” Google said in a statement.State attorneys general can play a pivotal role in enforcement cases against companies when they band together in group investigations. They joined the Justice Department in suing Microsoft Corp. in 1998 for antitrust violations. The case nearly led to the break-up of the company when a judge sided with the government. After an appeals court reversed the ruling, the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration settled the case.Two people familiar with the states’ investigation said the split among the states reflects normal tension about the best litigation strategy. A broad complaint would cover more conduct but would take more time to complete.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the investigation into Google’s conduct in the digital advertising market, which was announced in September on the steps of the Supreme Court. Other states, including Utah and Iowa, are focusing on internet search. Google dominates web search in the U.S., and rivals have complained that the company has prioritized its own services, such as travel and restaurant reviews, in results.Texas declined to comment. Representatives from Utah and Iowa didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.The digital advertising part of the probe focuses on Google’s control of the tools that deliver display ads across the web. Google owns much of the technology used by publishers and advertisers to buy and sell advertising space. Google has been accused of using its dominance to siphon advertising dollars from publishers.Earlier: Google Antitrust Road Map Goes to DOJ With U.S. Suit LoomingTexas is in the later stages of its probe in advertising and could join the Justice Department’s case with some states, said two of the people. States are still waiting to get a full look into the federal complaint, one of the people said.The investigations are so complex that few among the enforcers have a sense of what the Justice Department and all the states are doing, two of the people said.The investigation into online search is not advanced as far as Texas’s probe into the digital ad market, and some states are pushing for more time to investigate, said the people. At one point, states were also looking the company’s mobile operating system, Bloomberg reported last year, though it wasn’t clear whether that is an active part of the investigation.The chief executive officer of Google search rival DuckDuckGo Inc. said last month that state and federal enforcers have asked detailed questions about how to limit Google’s power in the search market as recently as the spring.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The coronavirus pandemic showed no signs of relenting on Thursday, with the U.S. marking a new record of over 50,000 cases in a day amid a surge of new cases in the Sun Belt.
The Dow's rally drove shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), McDonald's (NYSE: MCD), ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), and Boeing (NYSE: BA) higher despite mixed news. Apple and McDonald's pulled back on store reopening plans due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, Exxon disclosed that it would take a large earnings hit in the second quarter, and the FAA completed certification test flights for Boeing's 737 Max.
Apple today has launched an online portal for its Apple Card credit card, allowing account holders to manage their balances, view statements, schedule payments and more. In the past, you would have had to contact Goldman Sachs directly to do so. To use the site, cardholders will log in via their Apple ID.
In the face of the sudden and sharp increases in coronavirus cases in the U.S., Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has elected to once again close many of its retail outlets. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that the tech titan said it was temporarily shuttering more than two dozen of its Apple Stores, located in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Apple's policy is to evaluate the data and health regulations for every municipality in which it operates a store, mandating a closure where warranted.
Roku (ROKU) adds virtual fitness platform, Peloton App while streaming users increase in Health & Fitness category amid coronavirus.