|Day's range||52.53 - 52.53|
(Bloomberg) -- Follow Bloomberg on Telegram for all the investment news and analysis you need.It’s a tantalizing prospect for traders whose success often hinges on microseconds: a desktop PC algorithm that crunches market data faster than today’s most advanced supercomputers.Japan’s Toshiba Corp. says it has the technology to make such rapid-fire calculations a reality -- not quite quantum computing, but perhaps the next best thing. The claim is being met with a mix of intrigue and skepticism at financial firms in Tokyo and around the world.Toshiba’s “Simulated Bifurcation Algorithm” is designed to harness the principles behind quantum computers without requiring the use of such machines, which currently have limited applications and can cost millions of dollars to build and keep near absolute zero temperature. Toshiba says its technology, which may also have uses outside finance, runs on PCs made from off-the-shelf components.“You can just plug it into a server and run it at room temperature,” Kosuke Tatsumura, a senior research scientist at Toshiba’s Computer & Network Systems Laboratory, said in an interview. The Tokyo-based conglomerate, while best known for its consumer electronics and nuclear reactors, has long conducted research into advanced technologies.Toshiba has said it needs a partner to adopt the algorithm for real-world use, and financial firms have taken notice as they grapple for an edge in markets increasingly dominated by machines. Banks, brokerages and asset managers have all been experimenting with quantum computing, although viable applications are generally considered to be some time away.Why Quantum Computers Will Be Super Awesome, Someday: QuickTakeArbitrage OpportunitiesToshiba said its system is capable of calculating arbitrage opportunities for currencies in microseconds. The company has hired financial professionals to work on the project and aims to complete a real-world trial by March 2021.“Finance is the most familiar application,” Toshiba Chief Executive Officer Nobuaki Kurumatani said in an interview. “But there are so many uses. This is a technology with real potential.”Toshiba’s algorithm seems to outperform rival approaches on mathematical benchmarks, but how it will perform on real-world problems is anyone’s guess. Access to the company’s backtesting in currency trading and portfolio optimization isn’t publicly available and adopting the technology to a new problem would likely require rebuilding the algorithm from scratch.“There is a lot of talk about applications of quantum computing in finance, but it’s not very clear where it would be all that necessary,” said Takanobu Mizuta, a fund manager and senior researcher at Sparx Group Co. Optimizing a portfolio is not something that needs to be done in microseconds and calculations involved in high-frequency trading, where speed counts, are not very complicated, Mizuta said.Toshiba may choose to use the algorithm for areas outside finance. Other applications could include things like plotting complex shipping and logistics routes and developing new drugs with molecular precision, according to the company.First IdeaThe idea first arose in 2015, when senior research scientist Hayato Goto was exploring how the qualities of some complex systems can suddenly change with additional input, a phenomenon he describes as bifurcation. But it took him two years, he said, to realize the discovery could be used to craft algorithms that can efficiently sift through a huge number of possibilities -- like a quantum computer without the onerous requirements to run one.Goto partnered with Tatsumura, whose semiconductor expertise was crucial in making the calculations work on multiple processors in parallel.“We will see some ideas for specific applications of quantum computing coming out over the next five years,” said Masayuki Ohzeki, an associate professor at Tohoku University whose research focuses on the technology. “But real implementation will depend on when there is a good match between improvement in performance and techniques that simplify the calculations.”Toshiba revealed its Simulated Bifurcation Algorithm in April, initially garnering little attention outside the scientific community. In October, the company announced that its model had identified potential arbitrage opportunities in currency trading in just 30 microseconds -- fast enough, it claimed, to give it a 90% chance of making profitable trades. That triggered inquiries from financial institutions in Japan and abroad, Toshiba said.Quantum ComputingInvestment banks are already eyeing quantum computing as an opportunity and a threat. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has been building an in-house research team and late last year joined forces with startup WC Ware to speed up the search for a “quantum advantage.” Japan’s Nomura Holdings Inc. has partnered with Ohzeki’s lab at Tohoku University to explore applications in asset management using a machine made by Canada’s D-Wave Systems Inc.“Right now, what you can do with it is still hypothetical,” said Kazuyuki Takeda, a general manager at Mizuho-DL Financial Technology Co., a research arm of one of Japan’s biggest financial groups. “It will take quite a bit of time before we have practical uses of quantum computing. At least 10 years or so.”Alphabet Inc.’s Google claimed in October that its quantum computer -- built on a custom processor with bespoke cryogenic cooling -- could perform a task in 200 seconds that would take today’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years. Researchers at IBM have countered, saying that their supercomputer can match Google’s Sycamore processor “in a matter of days.” But that cluster of machines occupies an area the size of two basketball courts inside the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In either case, the cost of quantum-like computational capability appears to still be prohibitively high for most applications.In the meantime, Toshiba is hoping it will succeed in commercializing its new algorithms -- whether in finance or elsewhere -- by delivering a computational edge with existing technology.“We give ourselves about a one-year lead for the stuff that we release publicly,” Goto said. “The more cutting-edge knowledge we have internally gives us confidence that we won’t be easily caught up with.”(Updates with expert comment and latest developments in quantum computing.)\--With assistance from Michael Patterson.To contact the reporters on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at email@example.com;Grace Huang in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Shoko Oda in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad Savov, Tom RedmondFor 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.
With most blue-chip companies' earnings scheduled over the coming weeks and sentiments being mixed, investors should closely monitor the movement of the Dow ETF.
IBM's Q4 performance is likely to have gained from growing adoption of cloud solutions. However, currency rate fluctuations and declines in IBM Z product cycle may have been concerns.
Companies set a record for the largest number of U.S. patents in 2019, boosted in part by a patent surge from Chinese giants like Huawei.
(Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. broke into the top 10 recipients of U.S. patents last year, according to an analysis of filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the latest sign that Chinese companies are aggressive in pursuing the U.S. lead in global technology.The telecom company’s 2,418 patents, along with 2,177 new patents issued to display-screen maker BOE Technology Group, help propel China into the rank of fourth-biggest recipient of U.S. patents, behind Japan and South Korea but ahead of Germany for the first time, according to the analysis by Fairview Research’s IFI Claims Patent Services.“China’s growing rapidly but they’re still way behind the U.S. in terms of patents,” said Larry Cady, a senior analyst with IFI.International Business Machines Corp. retained its title of top recipient of patents for the 27th year, with a record 9,262 patents, far ahead of No. 2 Samsung Electronics Co. and No. 3 Canon Inc.Overall, the patent office issued 333,530 patents, an all-time high and a 15% jump after a decline in 2018. Cady said the increase likely reflects efforts to release a bottleneck over what can qualify for a patent, such as in the fields of artificial intelligence.AI, cloud computing, blockchain and security were among the top areas for IBM, the Armonk, New York, company said. The IBM patents reflect the work of more than 8,500 inventors over 45 states and 54 countries, the company added.While IBM may be consistently the top recipient of patents, its holdings aren’t the largest, IFI found. That title belongs to Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, with Canon Inc. of Japan the second-largest corporate owner of patents. The difference, Cady said, is that IBM doesn’t keep all of its patents.“We really look at new patents as an indication of innovation and we regularly review and prune our patent assets,” said Jason McGee, chief technology officer for IBM Cloud Platform. “We may get rid of ones that we don’t think are strategic or could be better served with someone else.”IBM also announced that it’s joined the License on Transfer, or LOT, Network, which was co-founded by Red Hat Inc. IBM bought the software company for $34 billion last year.Group members pledge that all network members will get a license to any patent that ends up with what’s known as a “patent assertion entity,” meaning a company that doesn’t make products and whose sole purpose is to extract royalties from those who do. The group helps protects automakers and retailers who are just entering the technology arena that’s often marked by lawsuits.“If you want to be any successful company, you have to be a successful high-tech company,” said Ken Seddon, head of the LOT Network.Overall, the list of top recipients is dominated by American and Asian technology companies. Behind IBM, Samsung and Canon are Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., LG Electronics Inc. and Apple Inc. topping the list after Canon. Ford Motor Co., which broke into the top 10 last year, was just ahead of Amazon.com Inc. and then Huawei.While the numbers are small, the fastest-growing patent classifications were in the gene-splicing technology known as CRISPR, hybrid plants, 3-D printing and cancer therapies, the analysis showed.Many of the patents issued to Huawei relate to things like high-frequency transmission that are needed for the next generation of wireless technology known as 5G.President Donald Trump’s administration in May moved to restrict U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei. The administration has said Huawei gear could be used for spying -- an allegation the company denied.“The U.S. is kind of at a funny position with Huawei -- we’re threatening them with limiting access to technology and access to the markets,” Cady said. “At the same time, 5G is rolling out and they’re the dominant in 5G.”To contact the reporters on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at email@example.com;Christopher Yasiejko in Wilmington, Delaware, at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at email@example.com, Elizabeth Wasserman, John HarneyFor 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 contract requires Science Applications (SAIC) to aid the transformation of about 800 Air Force and U.S. Army mission applications to the cloud.
Here at Zacks, our focus is on the proven Zacks Rank system, which emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions to find great stocks. Nevertheless, we are always paying attention to the latest value, growth, and momentum trends to underscore strong picks.
(Bloomberg) -- Xerox Holdings Corp. has arranged a $24 billion loan with a group of banks as it continues a pursuit of HP Inc.It’s the largest-ever bridge loan in the technology sector, surpassing International Business Machines Corp.’s $20 billion facility in 2018 for its acquisition of Red Hat Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rankings exclude the $51.2 billion bridge loan, which was part of a larger $100 billion debt financing for the failed Broadcom Inc. takeover of Qualcomm Inc. The deal was blocked by President Donald Trump.The Xerox bridge is also the first jumbo acquisition financing to emerge in the investment-grade loan market this year, which will be welcome news to banks hoping for more merger activity in 2020 after the pipeline dwindled last year.Read more: U.S. investment grade loans set for strong 2020 despite slow M&ACitigroup Inc., Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. have provided the debt commitment. It’s comprised of a $19.5 billion 364-day facility, which is expected to be syndicated, and a $4.5 billion 60-day facility intended to be replaced by cash on HP’s balance sheet, according to a filing.Companies typically replace bridge loans with bonds before a deal is completed.The debt pledge is intended “to remove any doubt” about Xerox’s ability to raise financing, according to a public letter sent on Monday from Xerox Chief Executive Officer John Visentin to HP’s board of directors.The letter referenced conversations with HP’s largest shareholders that revealed HP, based in Palo Alto, California, and its advisers had questioned Xerox’s ability to raise the money needed to finance the acquisition.A representative for Xerox declined to comment.Norwalk, Connecticut-based Xerox initially lined up financing from Citigroup in November, Bloomberg reported. But HP rejected the initial offer saying the price was too low. The computer company also declined Xerox’s request to open its financial books and questioned whether the smaller suitor could raise the funding.The $4.5 billion facility offers an initial margin of the London interbank offered rate plus 1.25%, while the opening pricing for the $19.5 billion facility is Libor plus 1.375%. Existing ratings are BB+ from S&P Global Ratings and Ba1 from Moody’s Investors Service.Xerox, known for making copier machines, became a fallen angel in 2018 after both S&P and Moody’s downgraded the company to high-yield amid challenges in the sector and falling revenue. Personal computer maker HP is rated Baa2 by Moody’s and BBB by S&P.Xerox last raised a $2.5 billion bridge loan in 2018 for its purchase of Japan’s Fujifilm with a margin of Libor plus 1.375%. It carried higher ratings of Baa3 from Moody’s and BBB- from S&P at the time.“Though Xerox’s assertion that the combined company is expected to have an investment grade credit rating may remain in question, funding should no longer be a concern following $24 billion in binding financing commitments,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Robert Schiffman wrote on Monday.\--With assistance from Lara Wieczezynski and Deana Kjuka.To contact the reporters on this story: Paula Seligson in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jacqueline Poh in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Natalie Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org, Boris KorbyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
VMware (VMW) completes the acquisition of Pivotal Software in a bid to expand its enterprise-grade Kubernetes-based offerings for modern applications.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- One of the buzzier books in business circles this past decade was Joshua Cooper Ramo’s The Seventh Sense. Its principal insight: The mere act of connecting things — from the device you’re reading this on to terrorist groups to whole societies — changes the nature of those things.This is nothing new for energy, the original global network of the modern age making all the other networks possible. What is new is that pathways that defined energy for decades are undergoing fundamental changes. The past decade’s jumble of frackers, Arab Springers, Muskovites, GND-ers, teenage sailors and millennial princes are all, in their disparate and sometimes opposing ways, part of the same thing: Energy’s great rewiring.Hustle And FlowThe frackers fooled everybody. Seemingly out of nowhere, America’s oil and gas business shook off decades of geriatric decline to take its biggest leap of any decade — ever. Simultaneously, U.S. energy consumption has flattened out, a striking shift from 20th-century trends.America flipped from fears of shortages to chest-beating about freedom fracks, reshaping the global energy trade along the way. Terminals to import liquefied natural gas were repurposed to pump out exports, up from virtually nothing in 2008 to 7% of the global LNG market in 2018 and climbing.In oil, demand from emerging markets overtook the OECD in 2013, with Asia tilting the board decisively eastward. In September 2019, the U.S. exported more oil than it imported for the first time since the Energy Information Administration began compiling monthly data in 1973. All that star-spangled energy hustling its way onto the high seas means heightened competition — and, thereby, deflation. The great irony of the frackers’ success is that it has mostly eaten their balance sheets. It has also eaten OPEC’s lunch; or rather, OPEC+, a marvelous construct where adding the positive advertises the underlying negative. Now more of a Saudi-Russian diarchy with a boisterous entourage, it closed out the decade with a contentious meeting to extend six-month supply cuts into their fourth year. Simultaneously, Saudi Arabia took the momentous step of floating the biggest, most profitable oil company on the planet; albeit resorting to an IPO that was more stage-managed than your average OPEC+ meeting. The big thing here isn’t so much volumes as vectors. When supply options multiply, consumers win. This is what oil-consuming nations did after the crises of the 1970s. More recently, LNG terminals and market reforms have enabled European countries to extract concessions from Russia’s Gazprom PJSC on gas supplies. The latter has, in turn, belatedly discovered the joys of LNG and sending gas eastward to diversify its own risks.(3) The Standard Oil Trust was broken up in 1911, but energy has remained fertile territory for oligopolies ranging from the Seven Sisters to OPEC (plus, of course, monopoly utilities) for much of the period since then. There’s a reason for that: Modernization required developing vast quantities of energy, which entailed raising vast quantities of capital — which demanded a level of certainty on pricing and control. The rewiring of the energy trade shifts power from sellers to buyers.The Smallest Guys In The RoomSome of that rewiring is literal. CERAWeek, oil’s annual get-together in Houston organized by IHS Markit, featured barely any IT companies in 2012 (IBM was there). Come 2019, the sponsor list was headlined by the likes of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Smaller shale producers spent the past decade — especially those leaner latter years — engaged in the mother of all efficiency drives, applying more of a manufacturing mindset (aided by a hefty dose of Big Data) than the bespoke approach of Big Oil’s traditional mega-projects.This was also the decade of the really little guy: the consumer. Big Energy’s longstanding mission was to expand supply, assuming bottomless demand would take care of itself. Now supply looks more bottomless than demand. So oil majors have rediscovered the charms of such things as petrochemicals and service stations, with Royal Dutch Shell Plc memorably trying to compare itself with another Main Street purveyor of addictive liquid energy.Big Power, its wires snaking their way into our very bedrooms, should have a head start on this. In theory. Attending a Bloomberg NEF summit in New York a few years ago, I heard a utility executive opine that “customers are finally becoming part of the energy value chain.” (6) Profound stuff, obviously, but also raising a rather troubling question: Thomas Edison died almost 90 years ago and customers are just entering the value chain now?That executive was right, though. Like drivers tied to gasoline pumps, consumers of electricity haven’t been spoiled for choice. Mostly, they haven’t cared so long as the lights came on. Flattening demand, cheaper technology and the odd (or increasingly routine) wildfire or deluge have begun to change that, spurring efforts to improve not just the quantity but the quality of electrons.It was only in 2015 that the Energy Information Administration even began publishing figures on U.S. rooftop-solar generation. Meanwhile, corporations from Apple Inc. to Exxon Mobil Corp. to Las Vegas casinos have also begun tugging at their ties to monopoly utilities (disclosure: My wife’s company enables virtual power plants using distributed energy resources).The proliferation of renewable and distributed energy changes the nature of how electricity is generated and consumed. Wind and solar power aren’t a mere evolution from fossil fuels. Extracted fuels require lengthy distribution chains from (usually) concentrated sources, requiring gigantic investment every year just to maintain current supply. That is a world conducive to oligopolies. Renewable energy is localized, modular and relatively unconstrained by geography, particularly in terms of technological development — oil comes from a few chosen geographies, but a battery laboratory or turbine factory can be anywhere. Renewables also exhibit the steady decline in costs you would associate with manufacturing, with utility-scale solar power’s all-in cost down 85% since 2010.We have seen the impact of this change in the physical grid itself, pushing it toward more of a multi-directional network rather than just utility-owned hubs pumping power down the spokes. Electricity also arced over in a big way to transportation, with hybrid and battery-powered vehicles putting a crack in oil’s previously unassailable redoubt. Just as coal did to wood, and natural gas did to coal, and renewables are doing to both of them.Back in the late 1870s, some oil producers in Pennsylvania took a novel approach to escaping Standard Oil’s grip on the market: They built a long-distance pipeline, bypassing John D. Rockefeller’s ubiquitous logistics network(7). Today’s LNG tankers, community-solar farms, electric sedans or demand-optimization software have a similar effect. A world used to thinking of fixed energy markets served by this or that specialized fossil fuel or producer has a growing range of choices cutting across geographies and technologies.More connections competing in a wider network, in other words.Plug In, Log On, Freak OutAccess to electricity was the last century’s hallmark of modernity (and it remains an aspiration for one in 10 people). Being plugged-in today means something more: Internet penetration doubled over the past decade to more than half the global population, four billion people or so(8).Energy networks? No. Energetic? Wildly so.The decade kicked off with an Arab Spring drawing organizing power from what was a relatively new tool: social media. The resulting oil-price spike supercharged the U.S. fracking boom — ultimately putting even more pressure on oil-funded social contracts across much of the Middle East. Another canny user of virtual networks is environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who went from Stockholm street protester to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in a flash.As with the change in energy’s proprietary networks, smartphones and bandwidth put more power into the hands of individuals — and simultaneously raised the risks of manipulation and surveillance — during a restless decade in the shadow of the financial crisis and fraying acceptance of globalization and liberal market economics. Observing the rise of digital populism and such earthquakes as Brexit and the election of America’s first tweeter-in-chief, Kevin Book of ClearView Energy Partners writes that “fast, socially mediated culture is colliding with a slow democracy.”Just as everyone is plugging in, the U.S. is tuning out. For energy, the aughts were defined by China’s emergence as a trading superpower. The teens are ending with a backlash against that — and emanating from the very country that underwrote the free-trading system enabling it.President Donald Trump’s Christmas trade truce with China belies the bigger shift underway (Democratic opponents aren’t fans of Beijing either). From hobbling the World Trade Organization to dumping the Carter Doctrine for a Barter Doctrine, Washington is calling time on its global commitments, in part because it no longer worries so much about oil imports. Global energy markets grew up under a Pax Americana emphasizing free flows and the sanctity of markets. Now the Secretary of State speaks of using energy to further American “values”. As Peter Zeihan, whose new book Disunited Nations foresees a return of old-style great power rivalries, writes:The Americans are not so much passing the torch as dropping it. It will start quite a few fires before someone picks it up.One thing to watch in the 2020s is the interplay of trade friction with multi-speed climate policies, with the latter potentially exacerbating the former. Two broader trends will also shape the next decade.First, energy’s incumbent model — based on the primacy of growth, tolerance of dangerous climate and geopolitical externalities, and reliance on the post-war trade and security order — is no longer fit for purpose. We will continue to engage in furious debate about how to fix that, but simply saying large-scale change is unrealistic runs into the reality that not changing is unrealistic. Meanwhile, a generational shift in politics is underway: Americans younger than the baby boomers accounted for a slight majority of votes for the first time in 2016 and the gap is widening. That guarantees nothing in terms of outcomes, of course, but the potential for sudden policy changes will increase.Second, the invisible network bankrolling energy’s visible networks is changing already. Coal miners were this past decade’s canaries about what happens when long-held assumptions about energy demand go awry. Oil and gas producers aren’t under nearly the same pressure right now. But a decade of poor financial performance due to an old-school emphasis on growth at all costs has weakened their relationship with capital markets just as the latter are also waking up to climate change. The deflation unleashed by shale and broader competition has kicked away a big reason to own these stocks: the oil-price option, a hedge against supply shocks.Risk isn’t the end of the story, though; reconfiguring the world’s energy networks is also a mammoth opportunity (as was the overhaul of our global communications systems over the past couple of decades). One of the weirder developments of this bit of the 21st century has been the use of ever-cruder arguments and policy volleys to consolidate America’s status as a producer of raw commodities rather than as an innovator in the next generation of energy technologies.In his latest quarterly review for investors, James Murchie, founder and CEO of Energy Income Partners LLC, which invests largely in pipeline and grid operators, writes that the shift from scarcity to abundance will shift investors away from owning traditional energy assets that benefit from supply disruptions toward those that benefit from fundamental disruption. Or, as he puts it, “toward owning the parts of the energy sector that will continue to benefit from — rather than suffer from — technological innovations that lower the cost of cleaner forms of reliable and safe energy.”Putting tangible values on things like atmospheric integrity rather than treating them as infinite landfill would speed that shift. Although this notion has been around for at least a century, it battles an incumbent view (and interests) hardwired for harvesting rather than conservation. In light of rising awareness and outrage over climate change, that incumbent view has aged in dog years over the past decade. The most potent, necessary, and ongoing act of energy’s rewiring concerns those thousands upon thousands of miles of network called the human brain. (1) Europe accounts for the bulk of the world's piped gas trade, sucking in volumes mainly from Russia, the North Sea and Africa. It accounted for more than two-thirds of pipeline exports in 2008, according to BP's Statistical Review of World Energy. By 2018, that was down to 59%. More importantly, while LNG's share of Europe's imports had only edged up from 12% to 13% in that time, the mere fact that the region's options for importing gas had multiplied put pressure on the likes of Gazprom to concede on terms. In this context, the recently opened "Power of Siberia" pipeline would be more accurately named "Power of China."(2) This was Andrew Vesey, then CEO of Australianutility AGL Resources Ltd. He is now CEO of a utility which really needs to work on its customer-relationship skills, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the main subsidiary of PG&E Corp. The summit was held in 2017.(3) As detailed in chapter two of Daniel Yergin'sThe Prize.(4) Obviously, these 21st-century networks still requireaccess to a more 20th-century plug at least occasionally.To contact the author of this story: Liam Denning at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Gongloff at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Liam Denning is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy, mining and commodities. He previously was editor of the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column and wrote for the Financial Times' Lex column. He was also an investment banker.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll apply a basic...