200.34 -0.40 (-0.20%)
After hours: 5:55PM EDT
|Bid||200.50 x 800|
|Ask||200.70 x 1000|
|Day's range||195.64 - 202.82|
|52-week range||115.29 - 202.82|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.08|
|PE ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Earnings date||20 Aug 2020 - 24 Aug 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||200.14|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- China is nothing if not ambitious. Facing a coronavirus-battered economy, Beijing is speeding up an infrastructure build-out to stimulate growth, vowing to spend an estimated $1.4 trillion over five years on areas such as 5G, industrial automation and cybersecurity.This enthusiasm has propelled a fast and furious surge in stocks. The tech-heavy ChiNext Index is up 46% this year, and sports an eye-popping valuation of 35 times 2021 earnings. That’s above the Nasdaq Composite Index’s 27.5 times, which is already expensive and reason enough for the rally to fade.Investors are smart to play in fields where the fiscal dollars are. But it’s also a dangerous game. What’s recurring income and what counts as extraordinary items? Once we remove government subsidies, the valuations of China’s tech darlings become even airier. Helicopter money can come in many forms. First and foremost, Beijing is a large client. Even before the coronavirus, the government was the biggest buyer of IT security, accounting for 27% of total spending last year, according to IDC. Meanwhile, the latest policies, which require stringent security reviews, clearly favor local providers. Investors have picked up on this theme: Shenzhen-based Sangfor Technologies Inc., with a 25% and 22% market share in China’s VPN and content security segments, has soared 89% this year to $12.6 billion in market value. There are also regular cash handouts that lubricate companies’ daily operations, and money for new industrial parks. Injecting capital outright, as well as fast-tracking public-markets financing, are also on the table. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., China’s largest chip foundry and its best shot at catching up to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., checks all of the boxes. Its Hong Kong-listed shares have risen more than 200%, amassing a market cap of $29 billion.Without the Beijing put, though, the income statements of many tech firms would look drastically different. At SMIC, government funding, which appears in “other operating income,” rose 87% to $293 million in 2019. A further $59 million in the first quarter exceeded the foundry’s $51 million bottom-line profit; in other words, without subsidies, SMIC would be in the red — and it wouldn’t even have a price-to-earnings ratio to look at. This phenomenon is pervasive. Of the 37 listed companies classified as “integrated circuit” industries, subsidies accounted for a whopping 15% of operating profit last year, on a market-cap weighted basis, Bloomberg Opinion analysis shows.The stand-outs are memory-chip maker Gigadevice Semiconductor (Beijing) Inc. and Unigroup Guoxin Microelectronics Co., which designs chips used in smart cards. A similar picture emerges for software companies, such as Yonyou Network Technology Co., which aims to become China’s Salesforce.com Inc., and Sangfor. All these stocks are big winners this year. While it’s great Beijing is tending its tech gardens right now, the question is whether and when it will pull the plug. Over the years, China’s electric vehicle sector has had an on-again, off-again relationship with subsidies, creating turbulence in stocks, as my colleague Anjani Trivedi has written. Will the government get tired of paying for an expensive tech build-out, too? Another aspect worth considering is that, unlike previous endeavors, this new infrastructure spree will rely more on local governments than national spending. Indeed, major areas including Beijing, Shanghai and Jiangsu province have been rolling out ambitious investment blueprints lately. But, pinched by the virus outbreak, they have no money. Their funding gap will reach as much as 11.5 trillion yuan ($1.64 trillion) this year, according to the Ministry of Finance. The southwestern city of Chongqing, for instance, saw its fiscal revenue tumble by 16.8% in the first four months this year. Still, it vowed to become a strategic investor in Tsinghua Unigroup Co., which has the very expensive goal of becoming China’s Samsung Electronics Co. Will Chongqing be able to deliver? Of course, extraordinary times call for extraordinary ways to look at stocks. Right now, investors have big grins on their faces when they do a word search for mentions of “government” in company filings. China’s tech carnival can’t go on forever, though. At some point, wary of the trillion-dollar bills, Beijing will want to slow down the money flow. By then, investors will be left holding stocks with lofty ambitions and peanut-sized earnings.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shuli Ren is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Asian markets. She previously wrote on markets for Barron's, following a career as an investment banker, and is 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.
Yahoo Finance catches up quickly with Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield in the wake of the company announcing its sixth-ever acquisition.
Salesforce.com (CRM) closed at $196.38 in the latest trading session, marking a -0.68% move from the prior day.
(Bloomberg) -- The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating wealth and racial inequalities around the world. Nowhere is that more apparent than in San Francisco.While many low-income employees in the service sector have been laid off or risk getting sick if they do go to work, the city’s high-paid tech workers have been mostly shielded. The engineers and product managers who helped push up the cost of living in the area over the last 15 years aren’t nearly as affected by the pandemic, with companies like Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc. giving them cash bonuses to upgrade their home offices and organizing virtual yoga sessions to help them stay fit.Most tech employees aren’t worried about getting fired and the mostly-digital nature of software work means they can safely do their jobs from home. Many have even left the Bay Area completely.To help staff cope while working remotely, companies are rolling out perks. Salesforce.com Inc. recently sponsored a virtual talent show and is running a week-long “adventurers club” to entertain workers’ kids while they’re stuck at home, in addition to providing benefits such as six additional weeks of parental leave. Microsoft Corp. is also offering parents extra leave time amid school and camp closings.At the same time, service industry workers like Joe Grandov, who has a part-time security job at San Francisco International Airport, are struggling.Grandov, 65, says his hours have been cut by up to 20 a week since the pandemic began because he hasn’t been able to pick up overtime shifts. He also used to earn extra money driving for Lyft Inc. but said he had to stop because he was making as little as $35 a week, hardly enough to justify the health risks the gig posed. Business travel has come to a halt, which is hurting jobs like his that depend on a lively tech sector.“It’s not been easy,” said Grandov, who is a member of the airport’s local union. “We’ve been selling things we don’t need because we need the money more.”This divide between the tech and service industry is compounding the income disparities that have plagued the Bay Area for years. Since January, earnings among low-income workers in San Francisco County have fallen 52.1%, among the highest in the state, according to data from Opportunity Insights, a Harvard University research lab.“The service sector already had stagnating wages, then you introduce a pandemic, and it becomes not just an income gap but a stark divide between those who will survive versus those who can’t,” said Russell Hancock, chief executive officer of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a nonprofit that analyzes the region’s economy.The changes cut across racial lines too, deepening inequalities between White and non-White workers in the area. More than 30% of the Bay Area is Black or Latino, according to the Bay Area Equity Atlas. Fewer than 10% of Facebook and Google staff are Black or Latino, according to the companies’ latest diversity reports.The inequalities extend to the virus impact: In San Francisco, Hispanic and Latino people make up 50% of cases and about 15% of the population. In Santa Clara County, Latinos are 47% of cases and 26% of the population.Some of the companies boosting perks for their own employees are also acting to address economic and racial inequities. Salesforce is adding diversity recruiters and spending $200 million on organizations that are working to advance racial equality, and pledged to “advocate at federal, state, and local levels for policies to address the equity gap, exacerbated by Covid-19.”The effects of low-income job losses are already weighing on workers, according to Richard Garbarino, mayor of South San Francisco. While the city of about 68,000 hasn’t had major food insecurity issues in the past, it recently partnered with a food bank to distribute 750 meal boxes a week. The pandemic has hit low income families the hardest because they often rely on multiple part-time jobs, Garbarino said.Over 55% of leisure and hospitality jobs were cut between May 2019 and May 2020 in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, the most of any industry in the area, according to data from California’s Employment Development Department. Over the same period, professional and business services, which includes computer engineering and management, saw a 2% drop.San Francisco’s economy may face even more challenges the longer tech employees stay home. Google and Facebook have told their staff to prepare to work remotely until 2021. Twitter Inc. says anyone who wants to can work from home forever.“Restaurant and service workers are currently paid really well because they’re supported by big companies. When they take their work away, or those jobs away, that ripples through the rest of the economy,” said Jay Cheng, public policy director at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. If that happens, “San Francisco is no longer going to be able to be the golden child of the United States economy.”(Adds details on Salesforce policies in fourth and 12th paragraphs.)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) -- Augmented reality startup Magic Leap Inc. has hired Peggy Johnson, a Microsoft Corp. executive, to take over as chief executive officer starting next month, as the company continues to reshape itself as a provider of business services.Magic Leap had been one of the buzziest startups in recent years. It raised more than $2 billion from high-profile investors including Alphabet Inc., largely on the promise that it would turn augmented reality into a viable consumer technology. Rony Abovitz, the company founder and CEO, became the de facto evangelist for augmented reality, with bold and colorful pronouncements of its potential.But the Florida-based company struggled to execute, and sales of its flagship product, the Magic Leap One headset, never took off after extensive delays. The company said late last year it would focus more on business applications, and cut more than half of its workforce in April. Selling to companies is a far different prospect than building a consumer product, and one Abovitz rarely showed as much enthusiasm for. He announced in May he would step down once the company found a replacement.Johnson, who spent more than two decades at Qualcomm Inc., brings extensive experience negotiating partnerships with other large businesses. She joined Microsoft in 2014 as one of CEO Satya Nadella’s first major hires, at a time when the software maker’s dealings with other companies were often contentious. As head of business development, Johnson worked to repair Microsoft’s relationships with partners like Salesforce.com Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., becoming the face of a new, friendlier company. In 2016 she started Microsoft’s venture capital arm M12.“I look forward to strategically building enduring relationships that connect Magic Leap’s game-changing technology and pipeline to the wide-ranging digital needs of enterprises of all sizes and industries,” Johnson said Tuesday in a statement.Microsoft also makes one of the main rivals to Magic Leap, the Hololens, which it has always positioned primarily as a business tool. A Microsoft spokesperson said the company is satisfied that any confidentiality issues arising from Johnson moving to a direct competitor have been addressed.Microsoft will conduct an internal and external search to find Johnson’s replacement and her duties will be assumed in the short term by Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, who already oversees mergers and acquisitions, according to a spokesperson.(Updates with background on Johnson in the fourth 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.
OwnBackup has made a name for itself primarily as a backup and disaster recovery system for the Salesforce ecosystem, and today the company announced a $50 million investment. Insight Partners led the round, with participation from Salesforce Ventures and Vertex Ventures. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Salesforce Ventures chipped in when the majority of the company's backup and recovery business involves the Salesforce ecosystem, although the company will be looking to expand beyond that with the new money.
Over the last decade, cloud computing has been a top-performing investment theme. Thus, I think the winds filling the cloud computing industry's sails are far from abating. Global spending was expected to be a double-digit percentage growth story before coronavirus, and the pandemic is only increasing demand, making cloud stocks an annual spending opportunity now totaling in the hundreds of billions.
Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) finished the first six months of the year up 15%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, as the cloud software giant delivered solid results in the face of the global pandemic and rode a broader recovery wave in SaaS (software-as-a-service) stocks. Salesforce started out the year on a strong note as the company got a series of bullish analyst estimates projecting a strong year for the customer relationship management specialist. As the stock tumbled in March alongside the market crash, CEO Marc Benioff pledged not to lay off any employees for the next 90 days.
The billionaire tech chief warned that the school system needs to be prepared for the fall, especially if a new wave of COVID infections swamps the U.S.
Marc Benioff doubled down on his years-long criticism of the social network, which is being battered by a new controversy.
'We're learning a lot. We're seeing this incredible new world of work. Not everyone is coming back to the office,' says Benioff.
Salesforce introduced a new tool today at the Trailheadx Conference called Salesforce Anywhere that's designed to let teams collaborate and share data wherever they happen to be. Salesforce VP of product, Michael Machado says that the company began thinking about the themes of working from anywhere pre-COVID. "We were really thinking across the board what a mobile experience would be for the end users that's extremely opinionated, really focuses on the jobs to be done and is optimized for what workers need and how that user experience can be transformed," Machado explained.
Salesforce has a bunch of announcements coming out of the virtual TrailheaDX conference taking place later this week, starting today with some new developer tools. The goal of these tools is to give developers a more modern way of creating applications on top of the Salesforce platform. Perhaps the most interesting of the three being announced today is Salesforce Functions, which enable developers to build serverless applications on top of Salesforce.
(Bloomberg) -- Disgruntled customers don’t sit on hold anymore. They text and Zoom and Whatsapp and web chat and email, and they don’t want to wait 72 hours for a response. For MessageBird, the Dutch software company that helps clients make sense of the deluge, that’s meant a surge in sales and plans for an initial public offering.Robert Vis, MessageBird’s 36-year-old founder and chief executive officer, said there’s been a fundamental shift in the enterprise communications industry, away from the calls and emails that made up customer inquiries in the past to a proliferation of apps. It’s been driven by on-demand digital businesses, such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Airbnb Inc., and the growth of cloud-based tools such as those from Slack Inc. MessageBird is on track to grow by 50% to about 300 million euros ($337 million) this year, he said.“We’re working with bankers and my CFO has the directive to IPO in 12 months,” Vis said in an interview. “As a company ten years in, we should be able to IPO.” He added that there’s no specific timing for the potential share offering, or the company’s valuation, and the plans would remain under review.Few companies have been brave enough to try their luck on the stock market in an IPO since coronavirus lockdowns threatened economies around the world. European companies have raised about $5.8 billion in 2020 so far, down 35% from the same time last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. But some businesses have come out stronger.MessageBird’s listing would be following larger U.S. competitor Twilio Inc., which is now valued at about $30 billion four years after it listed with a $1.23 billion market value. Twilio’s share price has roughly doubled during the Covid-19 crisis due to a surge in demand for its products by companies depending on online services like WhatsApp and Zoom to resolve consumer complaints as stores sit vacant.‘Gold Rush’In an August report, Gartner analysts described the communications-platform-as-a-service market as “experiencing a gold rush.” MessageBird and Twilio let companies add a few lines of code to their app or website that allows customers to text, email or call-in their questions to support teams. When they work best, the tools are all but invisible to end users.MessageBird in addition makes sure that, no matter what platform they use, a business’s customer isn’t having to repeat security phrases or explain their inquiry to multiple support agents. It also works directly with mobile-phone carriers to help businesses equip themselves for sending two-factor authentication codes and one-time passwords to their users, among other functions.“It’s not as simple as just being on WhatsApp. That’s the easy part,” Vis said. “The hard part is how do you completely integrate it into your workflows and then shift over your very, very expensive legacy channels onto these messaging platforms?”On the agent side, integrations with products from Salesforce.com Inc. and Slack mean it’s possible for a business to acquire a new customer, answer questions and make sales without leaving MessageBird’s software. Moves by the likes of Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc. and also Shopify Inc. to blend and expand their messaging and payment products only increases the market opportunity for companies like MessageBird, Vis said.Read more: Facebook’s Zuckerberg Recommits to Commerce With ‘Shops’‘Bootstrapped Founder’Vis founded the company in 2011 after he sold his micropayments business, Zaypay. Amsterdam-based MessageBird now has about 350 employees in 21 cities, and additional offices in Singapore, San Francisco, Sydney and Bogota.The company isn’t profitable, and expects losses to be in the “low single-digit millions” this year, but Vis said he’s been an “extremely careful, bootstrapped founder” and MessageBird’s consistent year-on-year growth was a more important measure of the company’s health.“We grew to 100 million euros with no outside funding and no outside investor whatsoever,” he said. Since then, MessageBird’s raised about $100 million from venture capital investors such as Atomico, Accel and Y-Combinator.Coming from the Netherlands gives MessageBird unique advantages against its bigger rivals, Vis says. “Here, you have to stay global from day one because we’re a small country. So our view has really been on the world, not just the Netherlands or Europe.”The company uses artificial intelligence to translate messages in different languages and lets people pay in their local currency, he said.“Everybody wants to live in a messaging-first world,” Vis said. “I think that’s the key. Messaging is just, by all stats, a more efficient way to communicate with a business for marketing, for sales, for support.”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.
It was already a foregone conclusion, but it's now official: The National Bureau of Economic Research officially declared on June 8 that the economy is in recession. When a real economic recovery gets rolling, I expect Alphabet to come back with a vengeance.
Despite extreme uncertainty amid the coronavirus crisis and all the ensuing chaos, Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) released stellar results for its fiscal 2020 second quarter (the three months ended May 29, 2020).
With organizations migrating to cloud computing and other digital operating systems, the need for data analytics has been booming. Helping lead the charge has been Alteryx (NYSE: AYX), a software outfit that helps data analysts and scientists gather and clean up digital information -- what Alteryx calls Analytic Process Automation -- and then make decisions based on it. In the early days of this pandemic, Alteryx has done well; its data automation platform has been in high demand as companies try to adapt to the times.
All was well the first two months of the new decade before all hell broke loose, and while the global economy remains in various stages of lockdown and in recession due to you-know-what, the U.S. stock market indices have rallied to close to where they started at the onset of the year. Leading the charge in this new era are technology stocks -- specifically those helping organizations and individuals cope with shelter-in-place and work-from-home orders. Artificial intelligence (AI) was already a promising growth industry, but recent events have made the need for automation and efficient use of data more important than ever.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Pfizer, Comcast, salesforce.com, Costco Wholesale and BHP Group