|Bid||55.01 x 1200|
|Ask||55.24 x 1000|
|Day's range||54.76 - 55.24|
|52-week range||39.71 - 57.84|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.85|
|PE ratio (TTM)||17.93|
|Earnings date||09 Sep 2020 - 14 Sep 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.96 (1.74%)|
|Ex-dividend date||14 Jul 2020|
|1y target est||54.10|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Once you really get into puzzles, you start seeing them in everyday objects.(1) Even a simple atlas can turn into a Conundrum: Without the labels, you’re left scratching your head trying to figure out what the symbols represent.This week we’re looking at two such mysterious maps, created in collaboration with one of my students who goes by the nom de plume Spaceman Spiff. Each one plots some structured information, and your challenge is to figure out what the points represent.And while of course the data must somehow be geographically distributed, we haven’t limited ourselves to purely geographic features like the presence of lakes and monuments. The underlying pattern could reflect pretty much anything: demographic data, the price of eggs, or even historical milestones.The first one is a bit of a warm-up – figuring it out shouldn’t be the biggest challenge.(2) The second is the main event. It’s more difficult because in some sense it’s a map in motion: if we had waited another couple of months, there’d be one more dot in Russia.You might use all your quantitative skill to figure out what this map represents, and then discover it actually isn’t about the numbers at all.A couple ground rules: Each map represents a single, well-defined category, rather than something subjective. And the answer to each has something to do with the actual places, rather than other features like wordplay. That means the answer will be something like “locations of the mountains more than 10,000 feet tall,” rather than “major cities with a prime number of letters in their name.” Additionally, the data we used is publicly available and easily accessible. That means if you get a hunch, it should be straightforward to figure out if you’re right. So what are you waiting for? Get out your charts and compass and start exploring!If you map out one or both answers – or if you even make partial progress – please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org before midnight New York time on Wednesday, August 12. (If you get stuck, there’ll be a hint announced in Bloomberg Opinion Today on Tuesday, August 11. Sign up here.) To be counted in the solver list, please include your full name with your answer.Last Week’s Conundrum Fourteen famous figures gave us clues that led to a single person:As solvers started identifying our celebrities, they noticed a shared feature that was too unusual to be an accident: Each one had the same first and last initial.(3)That enabled us to convert each person into a single letter; reading in order then gave the message, “WHO FACES APOLLO[?].”First row:Walt Whitman Helen Hunt Oona O’NeilSecond row:Fred Flintstone Alan Alda Chubby Checker Emilio Estevez Sylvester StalloneThird row:Adam Ant Pablo Picasso Ozzy Osbourne Lindsay Lohan Lucy Liu Olive OylBut where to go from there? There are many potential Apollos to choose from – the name appears everywhere from Greek myth to space exploration.But I had hinted that the Conundrum’s answer was “hardly hidden,” and there was only one Apollo related to our famous fourteen: Apollo Creed, whom Sylvester Stallone faces in multiple movies as Rocky Balboa.Once you were on that track, you could recognize several other clues pointing in the same direction: My description of the figures as having been “boxed up,” not to mention the lines “quest for an answer” and “rise up to the challenge” in the Conundrum text, both of which are riffs on Rocky theme music.So indeed, “Sylvester Stallone” was the answer. And as promised, he was “hardly hidden.” He was looking at readers the whole time.Lazar Ilic solved first, followed soon after by Anna Collins, Jeff Schwartz, Ellen & Bill Kominers, and Zoz. Others among the 28 solvers included Ross Berger(4) & Sally Bloom, Kid Beyond, Andrew Bradburn, Michael Branicky, Ryan Buell, Hensley Carrasco, Filbert Cua, Philip Davidson, Rosie & Jack DeStories, Karl Mahlburg, Jeffrey & Patricia Miron, Tamar Oostrom & Pari Sastry, Ross Rheingans-Yoo, Ari Shnidman, Clive Sindelman, Nancy & Murray Stern, and Jeff Young.Suproteem Sarkar wrote a software script to identify all the images using Google. FiveThirtyEight’s Riddler, Zach Wissner-Gross, submitted a boxing glove emoji.And as we learned with our pyramid puzzles a few weeks ago, sometimes stars collide in ways that give Conundrums multiple solutions. Jonathan Zandberg took a trip down the rabbit hole to uncover a particularly spectacular alternate answer: It turns out that there is a book series called “The Trials of Apollo,” the first volume of which is “The Hidden Oracle” (“hardly hidden”). On the cover, Apollo looks upward at (we might say, he “faces”) the name of the author – Rick Riordan, who has the same first and last initial, just like our fourteen. The Bonus RoundTry a puzzle snack from Eric Berlin or a watermelon snack at the zoo; play Codenames online; and swap windows with people around the world. Bird song opera; Quantum Darwinism (hat tip: Christian Catalini); a new pangram (hat tip: Robin Houston); “The Crossword Revolution Is Upon Us” (hat tip: Ellen Kominers). Raccoon artists (hat tip: Jiafeng Chen). And inquiring minds want to know: hybrid fish?(1) In this column, we've already puzzled over chessboards, light switches, and chocolate bars.(2) Although with apologies, we know that it will be slightly harder for readers based outside the United States.(3) In hopes of getting readers to notice this, each paragraph in the Conundrum finished with two words that had the same first letter – “famous figures,” “full family,” “logical leaps,” and so forth.(4) His grandfather was apparently in Rocky III!This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Scott Duke Kominers is the MBA Class of 1960 Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics. Previously, he was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and the inaugural research scholar at the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago.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) -- Technology giants may join the rush to sustainable finance after this week’s record bond sale from Google parent Alphabet Inc. Issuance aligns with growing investor focus on social and environmental matters, and it’s being done at very low rates.“You’re going to see tech companies continue to follow this model,” said Scott Kimball, a portfolio manager at BMO Global Asset Management, which manages about $100 billion in fixed income assets. “Google is a leader in technology and they were able to raise a lot of money pretty cheap.”Companies from a wide variety of sectors are expected to offer bonds to investors focused on environmental, social and governance themes this year. The tech sector is expected to be a major participant amid growing scrutiny of its social impact given its dominance in the global economy, as well as its focus on renewable energy.Alphabet sold $10 billion of bonds on Monday at record-low rates, including $5.75 billion of sustainability notes -- a corporate record. Investors placed almost $40 billion in orders for the deal, which paid about $4 million in fees to minority-owned underwriters, a sum the company claims was the highest ever.“When Google does something people notice, whether they are in the tech space or not. This will definitely lead to more issuance in the sustainability market, social market and certainly the green market,” said James Rich, senior portfolio manager of sustainable fixed income at Aegon Asset Management, which has about $395 billion in global assets.Big technology companies like Oracle Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. or even Facebook Inc. could also look to tap the ESG bond market, according to Kimball, who bought some of the Alphabet bonds and doesn’t have any specific knowledge of a deal from those other companies. Representatives for the three tech firms did not respond to calls or emails requesting comment on debt sale plans.Issuance of social and sustainability bonds, dominated by governments and supranationals, is on track to double to more than $100 billion by the end of this year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence ESG analysts Simone Andrews and Adeline Diab.“Alphabet’s deal certainly sets a new high watermark for anyone to consider coming to the sustainability bond market,” said Jonny Fine, head of investment-grade syndicate for the Americas at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., a lead manager on the Alphabet bond sale, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.“We are getting calls from a very diverse corporate set of issuers wanting to understand more,” Marilyn Ceci, global head of ESG debt capital markets at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said in an interview Thursday. “You’ll continue to see active participation from corporates globally in the sustainable finance space,” she added. JPMorgan was also a bookrunner on the Alphabet sale.Better PricingAlphabet will use this week’s bond sale to fund organizations that support Black entrepreneurs, businesses impacted by Covid-19, affordable housing and green buildings among others. It hopes to “help develop this new market,” Ruth Porat, chief financial officer at Alphabet and Google, wrote in a blog post Monday.“As investors that focus on both financial and impact returns, what is most important to us is that Google has committed to providing impact measurements for the projects that are funded through this issuance,” said Stephen Liberatore, head of the responsible fixed-income strategy team at Nuveen.Alphabet saved about three to five basis points on the funding cost by doing the deal in an ESG format, according to Goldman’s Fine. Borrowers with more debt outstanding could save as much as 15 basis points, he said.Sustainable finance may also become more widespread in high-yield bonds and leveraged loans, according to Fine. Pattern Energy Operations LP raised $700 million to help finance sustainable projects last month, the biggest green junk bond sale since 2017, according to according to data compiled by Bloomberg.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) -- Saturday is Berkshire Hathaway Inc. earnings day, but don’t count on there being many insights from Warren Buffett himself.As Berkshire prepares to report its latest operating results and an update to its even more closely followed cash figure, what investors want most of all is to hear from the Oracle of Omaha. But unlike other companies, Berkshire’s quarterly earnings aren’t that illuminating. They usually entail only a perfunctory statement of the overarching numbers, with no prepared remarks or chance to ask questions.Berkshire’s longstanding tradition of not hosting earnings calls has always made it an outlier in Corporate America — that and the unconventional practice of reporting on weekends. But not having any regular forum to hear from Buffett and Berkshire’s other executives is especially unfortunate during a global pandemic and recession in which shareholders are seeking direction.Buffett has lived through numerous crises, and each time he remained sanguine about America’s economic prospects, while the conglomerate and reputation he built always emerged relatively unscathed. Covid-19 changed that. Shares of Berkshire have fallen 10% this year, while the S&P 500 index is back in positive territory.The last time shareholders heard directly from Buffett, he was in a lonely auditorium sounding dispirited during what should have been Berkshire’s annual investor summit. The company, which in the past has taken advantage of downturns to vacuum up good companies, was instead selling stocks as the virus worsened. Meanwhile, some of the most resilient members of the market have been technology companies and dividend payers — Berkshire is adamantly neither. Buffett did warm to two tech giants in recent years: Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., investments valued at $108 billion and $1.7 billion, respectively. But Buffett was a latecomer to the space, which has boasted a 208% return over the past five years, compared with Berkshire’s 42% gain. Increasingly, observers are questioning whether Buffett has lost his touch. Berkshire’s operating results, which are fairly predictable, have become less relevant to its shareholders over time. That’s not just because its stock-market investments now account for more than half the company’s value. It’s also that so much of the reason for owning Berkshire stock is the prospect of what Buffett does with the company’s cash. Lately, that’s been very little. Berkshire did buy more shares in Bank of America Corp. in recent days, after ditching most of its Goldman Sachs Group Inc. stake, but investors won’t find out what else Berkshire bought and sold until next week. Last month, it agreed to acquire $10 billion of natural-gas assets and associated debt from Dominion Energy Inc., a deal that had strategic logic, but fell well short of the fireworks moment investors have long awaited. (In June, I wrote that Costco Wholesale Corp. should be Buffett’s next takeover target — now that would set off fireworks.) Bill Ackman, the widely followed hedge-fund manager, even exited a position in Berkshire in May after determining Buffett’s reluctance to do deals may hold back its stock price. If not a deal, there’s at least one other announcement investors are bracing for: Buffett stepping down. He’s set to turn 90 years old at the end of the month, which he jokes is “urgent” territory. He has taken notable steps in recent years to line up his succession, such as elevating Greg Abel from the energy side of the business and Ajit Jain from the reinsurance side to vice chairmen. Abel also joined Buffett on stage during the virtual May meeting, as opposed to Charlie Munger, who is 96.Earnings calls can be mundane, especially when executives waste the time rattling off a financial report card that can be found in public filings. But they can also be fascinating opportunities to hear from people with a special vantage point in the broader economy. In the case of Berkshire, it would also be a chance for shareholders to get better acquainted with Abel or whoever is tasked with someday filling Buffett’s shoes, as well as the many other executives that run Berkshire’s dozens of businesses. And plus, how can Buffett retire without ever getting to hear “Nice quarter, guys?”This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column 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.