|Day's range||0.0200 - 0.0300|
If you want to find recession-proof stocks, look no further than the companies doing well amid the coronavirus pandemic. Because Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) delivers compelling products to both business-to-business (B2B) and consumer markets, the tech giant is well-positioned to weather an economic downturn. Microsoft's Windows and Office products are ubiquitous, but that's just one of its strengths.
Amazon has a big-budget game, another in the works, and a secretive cloud gaming service in the making. All of that could prove to be a problem for the industry's old guard.
Shares of Baozun (NASDAQ: BZUN) headed lower for the second day in a row as investors continued to sell the stock on fears that Chinese stocks would be delisted from U.S. stock exchanges. Baozun was down 9.3% as of 3:17 p.m. EDT. The latest salvo in the feud between the U.S. and China, which has taken on a new dimension due to the coronavirus pandemic, is the Senate's passage on Wednesday of a bill that threatens to delist Chinese stocks from U.S. exchanges.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The work-from-home movement is gaining steam in Silicon Valley as a flurry of companies – big and small – are embracing remote-working policies beyond the pandemic. But even as some executives extol its virtues, other tech leaders aren’t so sure, opening a growing divide inside the industry over the future of work. It’s a worthy debate.On Thursday, Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his company will start allowing some existing employees to work from home permanently. He said Facebook will also “aggressively open up remote hiring” for engineering talent in areas it doesn’t have an office, saying as much as 50% of the company’s employees could eventually work remotely within 10 years. In similar fashion, Shopify Inc. CEO Tobi Lutke said his e-commerce software company will allow its employees to work from home indefinitely, adding he expects that most of his staff will work remotely going forward. The days of “office centricity is over,” the executive posted on social media. The two companies join Twitter Inc., which said last week it will let employees work from home as standard practice as well.Not everyone in technology is on board. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. CEO Strauss Zelnick said on an investor call this week that he believes sustained strong productivity will get more difficult the longer people are forced to work from home, adding that “there is no substitute for in-person collaboration and connection.” That follows comments from Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella, who expressed concern in an interview with the New York Times last week that early positive remote-work productivity metrics may mask underlying deficiencies, in terms of managing and mentoring employees. He also raised worries about potential burnout and mental-health issues. “Maybe we are burning some of the social capital we built up in this phase where we are all working remote. What’s the measure for that?,” he asked.There’s something to be said for this pushback. Sure, there are many pluses to offering off-site work flexibility – including better employee retention and the ability to hire from a more diverse talent base in other geographies – but corporations should realize the work-from-home trend isn’t a panacea. In fact, there are significant drawbacks and challenges that shouldn’t be overlooked. As Zelnick pointed out, there are unquantifiable benefits derived from being in the same physical location. Scheduled videoconferencing meetings don’t engender the same spontaneous creativity compared to the many back-and-forth brief conversations during a typical day at an office. And nothing beats face-to-face interactions for building the relationships and trust required to persuade your colleagues on big decisions.It’s notable that even as Facebook projects confidence and forward-looking thought leadership in its charge toward its new work-from-home culture, it is implementing the change slowly. Zuckerberg said only the company’s senior engineers with strong performance reviews will be initially allowed to apply for remote-work flexibility, adding it will be a measured transition before extending the policy to non-engineers.To be frank, it wouldn’t surprise me to see many of these companies slow down their transitions to remote working. After all, the world is only a few months into this massive remote-work experiment. The initial productivity benefits may dissipate and significant negative consequences may well appear over time. Best not to rush into any drastic decisions.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.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.
Proclaiming Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC) the Amazon of online health might seem strange at first. After all, Amazon launched Amazon Care in 2019 to offer health services for employees. The company has also purchased an online pharmacy.
(Bloomberg) -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. reported declining sales and announced it would cut jobs and reduce executive pay, saying the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted supply chains for data-center hardware.Revenue fell 16% to $6 billion in the period ended April 30, the San Jose, California-based company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts, on average, expected $6.19 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit, excluding some items, was 22 cents a share, compared with an average estimate of 28 cents.The company said it was putting in place a plan to cut costs, with a goal of $1 billion in savings by the end of fiscal 2022. Measures will including simplifying its product portfolio and supply chain as well as changing customer support, marketing efforts and real estate strategies, HPE said in the statement.“It definitely was a tough quarter by every measure and I’m disappointed in the performance, but I don’t see this as an indication of our capabilities,” Chief Executive Officer Antonio Neri said in an interview. “This was clearly driven by supply chain disruptions because of coronavirus,” including a shortage of chip components from China, disrupted logistics and social-distancing guidelines in some regions.Neri said he expected HPE’s sales to “recover sequentially,” with the third quarter posting better results than the second and the fourth improving further. Still, he said, it’s unknown just how bad the economic downturn will be.The company withdrew its annual profit forecast last month, citing uncertainty from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced millions of people to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus.HPE shares dropped about 5% in extended trading after closing at $10.36 in New York. The stock has dropped 35% this year.Neri has struggled to spark sales growth at the computing and networking company, which has seen year-over-year revenue declines in all but one quarter since the company split from HP Inc. in 2015. Competing with larger hardware rival Dell Technologies Inc. and dominant cloud-computing companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp., HPE has hitched its future to edge computing, which distributes data-processing capacity closer to customers rather than at centralized data centers. More immediately, the company has sought to support sales by offering $2 billion of financing for clients trying to preserve cash in the pandemic.Under the company’s three-year plan to reduce expenses, senior executives including Neri will take 20% to 25% cuts to their base salaries and the board reduced each director’s cash retainer by 25% from July to the end of the fiscal year. The hardware maker will consolidate offices where possible, Neri said. He expects more than half of HPE’s employees won’t return to the office full time, instead dropping in for meetings and collaboration when necessary.The number of employees who may lose their jobs under the cost-cutting plan hasn’t been determined, Neri said. The company will spend the next few months working out the details and evaluating how much it can save in other areas. HPE has already instituted some temporary pay cuts and has frozen employee raises and promotions, executives said on a conference call after the results were announced.In the fiscal second quarter, revenue declined in all of HPE’s business segments. Server sales dropped 20% to $2.64 billion and storage hardware fell 18%. Neri said the company saw “steady” demand from large enterprises while small and mid-sized businesses struggled. HPE wasn’t able to produce as much data-center hardware as clients were ordering, he said.HPE’s integration of supercomputer maker Cray is on track and should yield synergies by 2021, executives said on the call.(Updates with additional details starting in ninth 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.
Facebook is going after the enterprise market with new video tools as the world shifts to remote workforces amid the pandemic.
Here are 3 blue-chip tech stocks that investors might want to buy as giants such as Amazon hit new highs despite the coronavirus...
Sustainable investing has finally caught the attention of Big Finance, and in just a few short years, has already grown into a $30 trillion market
Less than a year after raising $25M led by Microsoft for its take on building API marketplaces, RapidAPI has rapidly followed that up with another infusion of capital as it reaches 20,000 APIs tracked, integrated, and used across its marketplace by millions of developers. Today the startup is announcing that it raised another $25 million from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, DNS Capital, Green Bay Ventures, M12 (Microsoft’s Venture Fund), and Grove. Co-founder and CEO Iddo Gino would not disclose the actual amount in an interview this week.
Given that widespread uncertainty in the stock market is likely to endure for the rest of 2020 and beyond, it pays to know that you're investing in high-qualit...
For stockholders, FedEx (NYSE: FDX) has been dead money for years. FedEx's strength is in their express (or air) unit, which instead mainly supports business to business logistics. First, the bad: In FedEx's most recent quarter, CEO Frederick Smith reported a near 60% drop in profit year over year.
Google dropped out of the Pentagon's JEDI cloud contract battle fairly early in the game, citing it was in conflict with its "AI principals." While the company would not get specific about the number, the new contract involves using Anthos, the tool the company announced last year to secure DIU's multi-cloud environment. In spite of the JEDI contract involving a single vendor, the DoD has always used solutions from all three major cloud vendors -- Amazon, Microsoft and Google -- and this solution will provide a way to monitor security across all three environments, according to the company.
Facebook and Instagram are making a bigger push into e-commerce, MasterClass raises $100 million and Microsoft launches a new project management tool called Lists. Both Facebook and Instagram already supported a degree of e-commerce — for example, Facebook has its Marketplace and will likely make a bigger push through its Libra cryptocurrency initiative, while Instagram allows users to buy products featured in posts and ads.
Fortune released its annual Fortune 500 rankings this week, listing the largest companies by revenue generated last year. Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) was able to pull off a major coup: The e-commerce behemoth has leapfrogged Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to become the No.
Three no-brainer tech stocks that are poised to benefit as companies accelerate plans for a cloud-based digital future are Veeva Systems (NYSE: VEEV), Okta (NASDAQ: OKTA), and Arista Networks Inc (NYSE: ANET). As cloud software started to become mainstream, Veeva CEO and co-founder Peter Gassner realized that there weren't quality software solutions for the highly regulated life sciences industry, so he started the company in 2007.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. faces a crucial test on Wednesday with the release of its first original big-budget video game. The reception from homebound gamers will signal whether the company can become a force in a $159-billion global industry dominated by the likes of Microsoft Corp. and Activision Blizzard Inc.Crucible is a free-to-play PC game in which teams hunt down opponents and creatures on a distant planet. Amazon plans to start selling another game in August. Called New World, it will put players on a mysterious island where they will battle one another and hunt. The company is also working on The Lord of The Rings game and some unannounced projects.Crucible will make money by selling digital merchandise as well as seasonal battle passes. New World should fetch $40 for a standard edition and $50 for a deluxe version, including additional in-game items and a digital art book.“There’s tremendous room for invention in games,” says Mike Frazzini, the vice president of Amazon Games. “We’re just getting started.”If the first two titles are well received, Amazon’s gaming division could attract talent and shed a reputation for fits and starts. Popular games could also help build momentum for the company’s widely expected launch of a game-streaming service to rival Google Stadia, which lets users play a bunch games from any compatible device, without needing to download or update them. “There is much riding on the success of Crucible and New World,” says Billy Pidgeon, an analyst at Go Play Research.Amazon has been selling games from independent as well as the world’s largest publishers for decades, and its Amazon Web Services and tools support development of other companies’ games. It entered game publishing in 2012, partly to give consumers another reason to sign up for its Prime subscription, which along with free shipping offers a variety of entertainment options including television shows and movies. Early efforts that focused on mid-tier games, including some designed for Amazon's Fire TV streaming devices, didn't make a splash.Amazon constructed its game strategy from various pieces. In 2014, the Seattle-based company purchased Twitch, where people stream themselves playing such games as Fortnite and Valorant. Two years later, Amazon launched Twitch Prime, which gives game-playing Prime subscribers extra perks for no additional cost.The company began working on its own titles by hiring famed designers like Kim Swift. But Amazon has struggled to retain key talent, including Swift, who left for Electronic Arts Inc. and now works at Google. In 2018, Amazon canceled a game called Breakaway, in which teams tried to move a ball to their opponent’s goal. Last summer, the gaming news publication Kotaku reported that the company had laid off dozens of game developers and shelved some unannounced titles. Even the Crucible and New World release dates have been pushed out; Amazon blamed fallout from Covid-19.There’s plenty of competition. Microsoft, Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co. all have their own hardware—often an advantage because consoles enable advanced features. Facebook Inc., meanwhile, offers games like FarmVille on its social network, and its Facebook Gaming live-streaming service has been stealing share and streamers from Twitch. Amazon is also competing with established game publishers such as Activision and EA, which are constantly improving their existing games and coming up with new hits.Amazon has called in some extra help to push its games across the finish line. In 2017, former EA veteran Bing Gordon left Amazon’s board to help guide the division as a consultant. He has advised on marketing strategy and even played some games and offered feedback. Gordon is renowned for leading EA’s product development and creating an innovative pricing strategy for its online games.His initial agreement to consult for Amazon’s games division was extended and runs for about another year, according to a person familiar with the matter. A company spokesperson confirmed Gordon is advising the division. His involvement with Amazon’s game unit was previously reported by the tech news site The Information. Gordon is also on the board of mobile game maker Zynga Inc.“Amazon Game Studios is still finding its way,” says Susan Eustis, president of Wintergreen Research. But one hit game could provide a huge lift, she adds, and Amazon's 150 million paid Prime members globally represent a big market advantage.Launching a product in the midst of a pandemic may seem counter-intuitive. But gaming has become a go-to entertainment choice for people hunkered down at home—a captive audience if ever there was one. Players have been flocking to new releases like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as well as rediscovering old favorites like Fortnite. Still, as the lockdowns ease, the recent surge in game playing could abate. Whether people keep paying for games amid skyrocketing unemployment remains to be seen.Amazon’s new games are likely to get a bump from Twitch, which can help publishers market new releases. Twitch’s players and streamers have been involved in the development of Crucible from early on. The game itself is specifically adapted to show well on the service: Characters are easily recognizable from a distance. It’s fast-paced from the get-go, an effort to make it exciting to watch. Twitch has said that ads on the platform to promote EA’s Apex Legends game helped it get 25 million unique users in a week.“One of the things that we hear most often from people who try Crucible is that it feels unique,” Frazzini says. “There are elements and gameplay mechanics that feel familiar, but they’re combined in a way that’s different from anything else they’ve played.”But making a blockbuster game is not easy, for anyone. Some reviewers who got an early peek at the two games liked them; others have not.“The buzz on these games has not been that great,” says David Cole, founder of DFC Intelligence, which tracks digital entertainment. “They are ambitious, but the market changes fast and both products already look passe now.”There have been plenty of naysayers with many titles that have gone on to become a success. Ultimately, it’s the players who will decide whether Amazon will become a gaming powerhouse.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) -- Microsoft Corp. unveiled a package of cloud software designed for health care systems, starting with a free trial to help the industry weather a viral pandemic that is both increasing the need for technology solutions and putting hospitals in financial peril.Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare includes tools that allow for digital triage, telemedicine and coordination of care using internet-based services, chat and conferencing apps. The product, unveiled Tuesday as part of a virtual version of the company’s annual Build conference for software developers, is Microsoft’s first industry-specific cloud-computing offering. It’s available now via a preview and free trial for the next six months. The package combines Microsoft’s Azure cloud service — which helps organizations run programs and store and analyze data — with the Teams communication app and developer tools for creating applications. Microsoft, the second-biggest cloud infrastructure provider behind Amazon.com Inc., has made the health care industry a focus as it tries to gain customers. Some of the tools Microsoft has been working on for several years, including artificial intelligence and automated chat-bot software for communicating with patients, have gained traction as the Covid-19 outbreak has health care industry customers looking for ways to track the spread of the virus, predict equipment needs and connect patients and doctors online.“At this particular time there’s the increased demand to go virtual and have connectivity, while needing to pay attention to the bottom line so they can continue to serve,” said Greg Moore, corporate vice president of Microsoft Health. “This is a time for Microsoft to come in and help what are already our deep partners in health care.” Hospitals have been hit especially hard, with costs rising as they care for Covid-19 patients while revenue plunges because other procedures have been delayed.Providence St. Joseph Health, a chain with hospitals in seven Western states, has used a version of Microsoft's health care chat bot to screen patients for Covid-19 and funnel those who need care to a provider or a telemedicine consultation, Moore said. In total more than 1,600 Covid-19 care bots are in use that rely on Microsoft’s software, largely as a tool to reduce strain on emergency hotlines. They’re deployed in 23 countries in cities from Copenhagen to Tel Aviv, including a Covid assessment bot from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, St. Luke’s University Health Network and parts of the U.K.’s National Health Service have used Teams chat software for telemedicine appointments. Thirty-four million health care meetings, including appointments, were held in Teams in the four weeks ended April 25, Microsoft said.In November, the company announced a new Bookings app in Teams to let medical providers schedule, conduct and transcribe secure virtual appointments through Microsoft's chat and video-conferencing program. The plan was to try it out as Microsoft usually does for early-stage software — with a couple dozen key customers supervised by the software maker. Then the virus hit and demand accelerated for this kind of product, so Microsoft let some 483 hospitals and providers try the app. “When Covid happened we weren’t quite ready to make it generally available yet but we knew there was such an imminent need,” said Kristina Behr, a general manager at Microsoft. “We felt a sense of urgency to help.”Changes to federal regulations for telemedicine has also sped its usage. Last month, the federal government raised reimbursements to providers for telehealth appointments with Medicare and Medicaid patients. Currently, payments range from $14 to $41 per visit, but they will be increased to $46 to $110. Now the app will be released publicly, letting individual doctors’ offices or smaller practices use it. Next, the company will roll out the booking application to other industries. Already financial-services companies are trying it for appointments with advisers, and government agencies are also interested — imagine an online appointment to handle a parking ticket. In the future, Microsoft may blend the app with digital-signature capabilities for such tasks as online mortgage-signing appointments, Behr said. At the conference, Microsoft also planned to announce other tools for software developers and new products, including:A set of three tool-kits for making artificial intelligence models more explainable, fair and private. The tools will be part of Azure’s machine learning service and are also available on GitHub for anyone to use. One kit, called InterpretML, helps data scientists determine why a machine learning model is drawing certain conclusions and which parameters are driving the prediction. That's key for determining whether an AI algorithm is making decisions based on unfair or discriminatory information. A second tool-kit, called Fairlearn, helps developers understand whether the AI model is relying on data in a biased way. Ernst & Young LLP used it to find that their automated-lending algorithm gave a 15% advantage to males. And WhiteNoise is a new feature for making data more private within AI models. Microsoft said it built a powerful AI supercomputer using Azure in collaboration with and for the exclusive use of OpenAI, the research group working on artificial general intelligence that Microsoft invested $1 billion in last year. The supercomputer will be used to train massive AI models. (Updates with information about reimbursements in ninth 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.