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Stock futures opened slightly lower Monday evening following another strong session of gains earlier in the day.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Samsung Electronics Co.’s second-quarter earnings seem like good news. But it’s really not as simple as that.Revenue beat estimates by around 3.6% while operating profit topped even the highest of sell-side analyst estimates by 6.3%, the South Korean giant reported Tuesday. Right off the bat, those numbers carry a caveat: The company posted a one-time gain related to its display business that would have helped the bottom line.Still, there’s no denying that the top line was largely ahead of expectations — likely due to sales of memory chips used in servers. That doesn’t mean that Samsung has beaten the Covid-19 pandemic, though. Total revenue is 7.4% lower than a year earlier. These numbers reflect the mid-point of guidance, which Samsung provides within days of a quarter’s closing. We don’t yet know the size of that one-time profit on its display business. However, Bloomberg News reports that it could be as much as 1 trillion won ($840 million) in compensation from Apple Inc. for fewer-than-promised orders of screens used in iPhones, iPads and other devices. Such a figure would account for most of the discrepancy between earnings and estimates.Rather than being good news, the payment would represent a bad sign for the technology sector, reflecting weaker demand for gadgets. We saw further signs of that late Monday, with Foxconn Technology Group’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. reporting a 9.1% slump in June sales, closing out second-quarter revenue with a 2.3% drop. Hon Hai assembles iPhones. This is traditionally low season for Apple’s flagship device, so much of that decline will be for other products that Foxconn makes, including personal computers, servers and data-center equipment. While a single-digit drop isn’t terrible given what’s happening in the global economy, it does contrast with the optimism shown in stock markets in recent weeks. Apple shares are at an all-time high, while Amazon.com Inc.’s market value just topped $1.5 trillion.Samsung investors seem a little befuddled, too. Its shares rose as much as 1.6% Tuesday after the announcement, but fell later in the morning as the market started digesting the news. The reaction also tells us that rather than being a positive sign, this earnings tidbit highlights just how confusing the current situation is.Samsung’s results are an allegory for much of what we see in the tech sector these days: Bad news (revenue dropping) taken as optimistic because it beat estimates, while seemingly good news (operating profit surpassing expectations) actually being a sign of weakness due to it being a compensatory payment.These are the kinds of conflicting signs we’ll see a lot more this earnings season. Investors need to get used to flying blind.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Once high-flying Chinese game-streaming platform Chushou TV has shuttered, becoming the latest casualty in a market increasingly dominated by Tencent Holdings Ltd.The mobile-focused streaming network’s demise on July 2 comes just two years after it received $120 million in investment from backers including Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The company, whose name translates as “tentacle,” has asked streamers who play exclusively on the platform to switch to Tencent-backed video-sharing app Kuaishou, according to an in-app notice viewed by Bloomberg News. Chushou and Google representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment sent via email.Chushou’s downfall further underscores Tencent’s supremacy in China’s game-streaming market, which iResearch estimates will generate 23.6 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) in revenue by the end of this year. Now, Tencent effectively controls the two largest platforms -- Huya Inc. and DouYu International Holdings Ltd. -- and has its own esports site eGame. In addition, the social media behemoth has stakes in fast-growing video services Kuaishou and Bilibili Inc., both of which are vying for more gaming content. Chushou said in 2018 it had 8 million unique streamers and 90 million registered users on its platform.Read more: The Billion-Dollar Race to Become China’s Amazon TwitchChina’s streaming companies live and die on fans splurging on virtual gifts to tip performers, leading to bidding wars over the top professional gamers and putting an enormous strain on smaller platforms. Last year, No. 3 player Panda TV also succumbed to competitive forces and shut down its service. Tencent, whose WeChat messaging service is the social media starting point for more than a billion people, can market its services broadly and has forged close ties with influencers, advertisers and content providers across the country.Chushou streamers complained recently online that they’ve not received their cut of virtual-gifting revenue for months and at least one influencer agency is suing Chushou for breach of contract. Last month, Shanghai Xiaren Internet Technology Ltd. secured a court order to freeze 5 million-yuan worth of assets owned by Chushou operator Hangzhou Kaixun Technology Ltd., according to court documents viewed by Bloomberg News. Other investors in Hangzhou-based Chushou include Qiming Venture Partners, GGV Capital, Shunwei Capital and Baidu Inc.’s Netflix-style iQiyi service.Tencent dominates at home but its streaming and social media efforts haven’t progressed far abroad -- something it may be looking to address. The WeChat operator has been quietly testing a mobile-focused streaming network in the U.S. since at least March. Called Trovo Live, the new service closely resembles Twitch in its appearance and functionality, and sports Tencent’s own portfolio of popular games including Fortnite and PUBG Mobile.(Updates with details on Tencent’s business 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.
(Bloomberg) -- Sina Corp., a Chinese social media company, has received a take-private proposal for $41 a share from an entity led by its chairman.The company said in a statement Monday that New Wave MMXV Ltd., the anglicized name of Sina, submitted a preliminary non-binding proposal letter dated Monday for a “going private” transaction. New Wave is controlled by Charles Chao, chairman and chief executive officer of Sina, according to the statement.At $41, the U.S.-listed company would be valued at about $2.7 billion, an 11.8% premium on its last closing price on Thursday.Sina operates Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter. The firm was among the first wave of Chinese internet companies to seek listings internationally at the beginning of the century. It went public on the Nasdaq in 2000, with its shares rising 174% since then. The S&P 500 Index rose 116% during the same period.With the encouragement of China’s government and to be closer to their customers, some U.S.-listed Chinese companies have reversed course and sought homecomings via Hong Kong listings in the past year. That includes Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., JD.com Inc. and NetEase Inc.Chao controls 13.5% of Sina’s ordinary shares, according to a filing. Sina said in its statement that New Wave and its beneficiaries control 58% of the voting power in the company. The acquisition, to be financed by a combination of debt and equity, will be evaluated by a special committee set up by Sina’s board, according to the statementAn investor group backed by private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic offered in June to take private 58.com Inc., a Chinese online bulletin board akin to Craigslist, in a deal valuing the company at about $8.7 billion.Sina shares jumped as much as 10.8% on Monday after the announcement disclosing the offer. They closed at $40.54 in New York.(Updates with closing share price in eighth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The chief executive officers of Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc. will testify on July 27 before a congressional panel investigating competition in the technology industry, according to an announcement from the House Judiciary Committee.Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook are likely to face a torrent of critical questions from lawmakers on the panel’s antitrust subcommittee as the investigation builds a case for revamping antitrust enforcement.Bezos may be in for a particularly tough session. Unlike the other chiefs, the world’s richest man will be addressing Congress for the first time, and his company has sparred with subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline over previous testimony by another company official and allegations of anticompetitive conduct.The appearances may be virtual, according to the Monday evening announcement, which said additional details on the format would be forthcoming.“Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming,” said Cicilline and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler in a joint statement. “As we have said from the start, their testimony is essential for us to complete this investigation.”Some of the companies had been reluctant to send their top executives even though Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, has said he would be willing to subpoena CEOs. He has said he wants to use their appearances to inform a final report recommending changes to antitrust law.Antitrust scrutiny of giant technology companies is accelerating. Facebook and Alphabet’s Google both face competition inquiries by federal enforcers and nearly all 50 states. Amazon is under investigation in California, Bloomberg has reported, and both the e-commerce giant and Apple are facing scrutiny from the European Union.The Judiciary Committee had previously announced that the four men would testify, but had not set a date or format.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
At that price, the e-commerce and cloud computing titan's market capitalization now exceeds a staggering $1.5 trillion. Many of Amazon's third-party merchants source their goods from Chinese manufacturers. Shipping delays have weighed on these merchants' -- and, by extension, Amazon's -- sales and profits in recent weeks, and a return to more normal shipping times will be a welcome relief for businesses and customers alike.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Investors with more than $4.5 trillion in assets want Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to stop loosening environmental rules and do more to control escalating deforestation in the Amazon and beyond. This may be their moment. Upcoming virtual discussions are well-timed: Faced with a pandemic-shattered economy and record outflows, the populist government that has brushed off foreign donors as interfering busybodies will find it harder to ignore sovereign bond holders and equity owners. They can help their case with a show of support for extra green incentives, like biodiversity and carbon credits.Big funds are becoming increasingly outspoken with governments, and not for pure altruism. It’s clear that poor management of Brazil’s natural wealth — most immediately with a proposed law that will legalize land grabs — is a symptom of deeper dysfunctions that manifest themselves in other areas, too, directly increasing risks for investors. Bolsonaro has failed to take the coronavirus seriously and garbled official guidance. Having parted company with two health ministers since April, Brazil has the second-highest number of cases after the United States. Brazil had previously done well in combatting deforestation, but the rate has worsened significantly under Bolsonaro. Last month, at the start of the dry season when farmers and loggers seek to clear ground, the number of fires rose to a 13-year high, according to the National Institute for Space Research. That will lift carbon emissions this year, even as the rest of the world sees a drop in climate-warming gases. Earlier in the year, Environment Minister Ricardo Salles was caught on camera suggesting that the government use the pandemic to push through more deregulation.The 32 major investors, led by Norway’s Storebrand ASA, said in a letter sent to Brazilian embassies last month that all of this increases “reputational, operation and regulatory risks.”The question of how the wider world convinces emerging economies to put global environmental priorities first has never been easy to answer. Concepts like payment for ecosystem services — compensating governments for forgoing the immediate benefits of land clearance — are helpful, but have often been resisted. Norway, which has paid $1.2 billion into the Amazon Fund under just such a program, suspended payments last year after Bolsonaro’s government, suspicious of non-governmental organizations, questioned the organization and closed the committee that selected projects. Investors have a louder voice than most, not least because Covid-19-era Brazil has little choice but to listen. Public debt is edging toward 100% of gross domestic product, the budget gap has ballooned and the currency has performed dismally of late. The economy could shrink more than 9% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.Yet how do fund managers turn talks with ministers into actually bringing change? Engaging with a government, be it South Korea or Brazil, is less straightforward than lobbying a company, where enough unsatisfied shareholders can ultimately spill the board.Raising awareness and highlighting concerns publicly as a group, as investors have done, is one step, coming when Brasilia is more sensitive to outside perceptions. Funds can afford to be specific in their demands, making it easier for both sides to measure success.There’s always the threat of divestment, most effective when made with the promise of reinvestment if behavior improves — a stick with a carrot attached. Done coherently, that can mean not just selling out of government bonds or shares in locally listed firms, but dumping shares in companies like beef producers and others with unsustainable Brazilian supply chains, widening eventual sources of pressure on the government. In one of the more creative examples, a green bond issued by Norway’s Grieg Seafood ASA last month explicitly promised the cash would not be used to buy feed from trader Cargill Inc. due to “soy-related deforestation risk.” Investors cannot dictate government action, but they can point to portfolio risk and cause plenty of direct and indirect pain. A few more carrots might help, though, in dealing with a government that has responded better to investment arguments than to moral ones. Options could include support from major investment firms to develop means of monetizing Brazil’s natural wealth by, say, the sale of carbon credits, as the head of wood-pulp producer Suzano SA pointed out last week, or biodiversity credits, increasingly in demand as firms scramble to offset emissions. Salles has estimated $120 per hectare would be necessary annually to protect the Amazon — a small price to pay given the region has the capacity to absorb as much as 5% of the world’s carbon emissions.Policy makers can provide backup for investor-led efforts at a time when a free trade deal agreed between the European Union and Mercosur, South America’s commercial block, has already met resistance. Real change in Brazil cannot happen without the agricultural sector lobbying for conservation. Bard Harstad, who works on environmental economics at the University of Oslo, says that will happen when producers anticipate that market access is under threat. Withholding the ratification of the agreement until conservation measures are re-introduced, or writing in credible conservation as a condition, would make the message plain.In the simple terms populists like: Money talks.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.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.
The stock market enjoyed a big bull market on Monday, and the Nasdaq helped lead the way. The Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) index climbed more than 2%, and the Nasdaq 100's gains amounted to 2.5% by the end of the day. The name of the game for Nasdaq investors in 2020 has been momentum, as winning stocks have tended to keep winning.
What a difference a pandemic can make in the fortunes of the sometimes-challenged Expedia Group vacation rental brand, Vrbo. It was only in February when Expedia Group officials discussed "six months of somewhat disarray" in adding 765,000 Vrbo listings to the Expedia lodging platform, or spoke of "fairly muted" Vrbo trends in the fourth quarter […]
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Uber Technologies Inc.’s deal to acquire Postmates Inc. isn’t just about the need for consolidation in the food-delivery industry. The company also has its eyes on a bigger prize: nabbing business from Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. in the local commerce market.Early Monday, and following reports of a deal last week, Uber announced it was buying Postmates for $2.65 billion in an all-stock transaction. A combined Uber Eats-Postmates would vault the company to second place in the U.S. food-delivery market with total share of about 30%, versus DoorDash’s 45% share, according to the latest Second Measure data. I previously wrote about how Uber should acquire Postmates, even though the option wasn’t as ideal as its failed merger with Grubhub, as it would still move the needle for the company by rationalizing the overly promotional industry environment and generating significant cost synergies. And in fact, Uber confirmed Monday that the merger would result in more than $200 million annualized savings after the first year, primarily through cuts in marketing and administrative expenses. Uber shares rose 6% following the acquisition news.But as important as the merger is in creating a bigger player with the chance of improving profitability and increasing scale, it also opens the door for an even more important longer-term opportunity to compete with big retailers for all categories in local commerce, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told investors on a call Monday. He explicitly called out Amazon and Walmart.Uber Eats has experimented with non-food deliveries. Earlier this year, the company expanded partnerships with supermarkets and local stores in a small number of markets to deliver groceries and certain essential items. But the merger will help to accelerate such efforts because of Postmates’ advanced technology platform, which offers better capabilities for batching orders together and increasing efficiencies. “The vision for us is to become an everyday service,” he said. Postmates is a “great step along that vision” of delivering anything to consumers homes within a couple hours.The Postmates’ website offers more clues on this future. The upstart already delivers groceries, alcohol and drug-store items in some markets, so for the combined company, grocery may be the best area of focus to start. But Postmates’ platform also can be used for other retail products such as home goods as well. Investors should take note of this, especially given Uber management’s clear message that the deal has much deeper ramifications beyond food delivery. As the pandemic is structurally boosting the trends towards all things digital, the deal may pay bigger dividends for Uber — and make Postmates less of a consolation prize.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.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. rallied on Monday, with the stock extending a recent advance deeper into record territory and topping $3,000 for the first time.Shares rose as much as 4.8% to touch $3,030.30, and were on track for their fourth straight daily gain. The stock is up more than 12% over the four-day stretch and has climbed about 80% off a March low, resulting in a market capitalization of $1.5 trillion.Amazon has seen accelerating demand for its e-commerce and cloud-computing services during the pandemic, which has closed brick-and-mortar rivals and led more people work remotely. Many analysts on Wall Street expect these trends will outlast the pandemic, solidifying the company’s market share and fueling the recent advance.Despite the growing optimism, Amazon’s rally has left most Wall Street analysts in the dust. Fewer than a quarter of the 50 or so analysts tracked by Bloomberg have a target above $3,000, and the average target is about $2,810. While that is up from the $2,179 average at the end of 2019, it still implies downside of about 7% from current levels.According to an analysis of Bloomberg data, the degree to which the share price exceeds the average target is at a multi-year high.Amazon remains a consensus favorite on Wall Street. Only one firm tracked by Bloomberg recommends selling the stock, compared with the 52 that advocate buying it. Four firms have the equivalent of a hold rating.Amazon is expected to report its second-quarter results later this month.(Adds context about recent gains and analyst price targets)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
NVIDIA and two other tech giants will give your portfolio valuable exposure to the growing AI market.
The artisan marketplace’s stock is hovering near an all-time high, but its strengths still outweigh its weaknesses.
Amazon has rallied nearly 40% since breaking out in April, setting off extremely overbought technical readings.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Best personal finance tip in this recession? Say “Good bye, Amazon” and “Hello, Vanguard.”This pandemic could be a once in a lifetime break in your spending habits, and a breakthrough for your saving habits.As people hunkered down, spending fell drastically for restaurants, hotels and airfares. Sales of clothes and shoes plunged 90%. I am not surprised. I don’t know of anyone working at home who used up any shoe leather or wore out a pair of pants. (We didn’t even wear proper pants with zippers.)If we’re spending less on stuff we don’t need, that’s a good thing. Electronics, appliances, sporting goods, home furniture and new cars are “Veblen” goods (named after the early 20th century economist) which a person usually buys to establish their status and induce envy in others. But these purchases have been shown to produce very little long-lasting satisfaction to the purchaser.Saving more right now could even help you break an addictive cycle: work by neurobiologist Dan Nettle, and sociologist Juliet Schor shows that buying creates its own addictive cycle of stimulus, reward and dissatisfaction.And indeed, some Americans have been able to save during this strange time: The saving rate increased from 8.2% in February to 33% in April, the highest rate in recorded economic history. It was lower but still quite high in May, at 23.2%.My advice? Turn this odd development into your personal advantage. Saving in a recession is a good idea for two reasons: one, you’ll need the money for retirement; and two, saving now means you can get a good deal on assets that may be below market value.Funneling what you can into your retirement savings can help you make up for any money you may have lost if, during this crisis, your employer stopped contributing to your 401(k). About 12% of employers say they’ve cut such contributions already, and another 23% say they may do so later this year. Those “contribution holidays” really can hurt your retirement security.Say you planned on saving 10% of pay for retirement for 36 years, including your employer’s contribution. But mid-career, one of your employers skips a year. The consequence is that your retirement savings at age 65 will be 5% less. Perhaps it happens again, and two of your employers take contribution holidays during your career. Your retirement income is now down a permanent 10%. (The same logic holds if you’ve had a period of unemployment — and such gaps are not uncommon for someone going through two or three recessions in a lifetime.) If you’ve managed to save during this time, you can make up for those gaps now.A second reason for saving during a recession is that investing means you’re doing what the rich do in recessions. Asset values — stocks, bonds, property — are still lower than they were in February — making a recession a good time to buy for the long term. Those with cash can buy low and sell high (much) later.Usually it is, primarily, the wealthy with cash in recession. This recession is different. All but the highest income households received $1,200 stimulus checks and $500 per child. Those with bank balances below $3,000 most likely already spent all of it — the working poor have been hit especially hard by this downturn — but those with a little more financial cushion still have a chance to save.And indeed, the people with more income are the ones who especially dropped their spending, according to Harvard data analyzed by Vox. On the other end of the spectrum, people with low incomes are the ones who especially saw their income increase, thanks to federal stimulus and unemployment benefits that amount to an extra $2,400 per month.All this means that for many people, if not quite all, this odd recession provides an opportunity to save for retirement, or at the very least create a cash cushion. Cash will be essential as we’ll likely see another economic dip if businesses close again due to new waves of Covid-19 cases, especially if Congress doesn’t extend income supplements to families and small businesses.In an otherwise dark recession, a chance to build savings is a bright spot.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Teresa Ghilarducci is the Schwartz Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research. She's the co-author of "Rescuing Retirement" and a member of the board of directors of the Economic Policy Institute.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.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Tesla, NVIDIA, Amazon.com, T-Mobile US and Eli Lilly
The British pound rallied a bit during the trading session on Monday, reaching into the same area that we had attempted late last week.
Here are seven top-ranked stocks to capitalize on the coronavirus crisis induced stay-at-home trend amid fears of a second wave with no vaccine yet in sight.
The first half of 2020 was a momentous time for the travel and leisure industry -- but not in a good way. In order to stave off bankruptcy, many in the travel and leisure industry have issued new high-priced debt, low-priced stock, or both, buying themselves time before the industry returns to health. With many "stay-at-home" stocks booming, the travel industry is still in the doldrums, with the stocks of many leading players far below their pre-pandemic highs.
Coronavirus-led lockdown has accelerated the online shopping trend and this will help the boom in e-commerce to continue in the second half of 2020
Futures: Fireworks continued on Wall Street, as Leaderboard stocks Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Tesla led the Nasdaq to a new high. Three other Leaderboard stocks broke out.
The chief executives of Amazon.com, Apple, Alphabet's Google and Facebook will appear before a U.S. House of Representatives panel on July 27, the committee said in a statement on Monday. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai of Google and Apple's Tim Cook will appear before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee as part of its probe into a small number of technology companies' dominance on digital platforms and whether existing antitrust laws and enforcement are adequate, the statement said.