• Texas Instruments (TXN) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Texas Instruments (TXN) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Texas Instruments (TXN) closed the most recent trading day at $129.46, moving -0.51% from the previous trading session.

  • Mark Hurd, Oracle CEO Who Led Three Tech Companies, Dies
    Bloomberg

    Mark Hurd, Oracle CEO Who Led Three Tech Companies, Dies

    (Bloomberg) -- Mark Hurd, who was chief executive officer of three major technology companies including Oracle Corp., has died. He was 62.Most recently Hurd was co-CEO at Oracle with Safra Catz where he focused on sales, marketing and press and investor relations, while she ran finances and legal matters. Oracle announced on Sept. 11 that Hurd had begun a leave of absence for unspecified health-related reasons and that Catz and Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison would assume his responsibilities during his leave. The company didn’t disclose a cause of death Friday.“It is with a profound sense of sadness and loss that I tell everyone here at Oracle that Mark Hurd passed away early this morning,” Ellison wrote in an online post. “Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague. Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle.”Hurd began his career in 1980 as a salesman for National Cash Register Corp. (now NCR), before rising in the ranks to the CEO post. In 2005, he was hired away as CEO by Hewlett-Packard Co., then the world’s biggest personal-computer maker. Hurd joined Oracle as a co-president in 2010, after resigning from HP following a sexual-harassment probe. While an internal investigation didn’t find a violation of the company’s sexual-harassment policy, it concluded that he violated company standards by filing inaccurate expense reports to conceal a personal relationship with a contractor.During his Oracle tenure, Hurd produced solid revenue and profits as the Redwood City, California-based company’s stock price hit a historic high in 2019. He was also a key driver in Oracle’s turn from an old model of licensing software toward the use of cloud computing, a burgeoning business dominated by rivals Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.When he hired Hurd, Ellison said, “There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark.” Ellison described Hurd’s dismissal by HP as the “worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs.”Transformed SalesforceHurd reshaped Oracle’s salesforce. Beginning in 2013, he implemented a “specialist” model that made each member an expert in a single product category. In that year alone, he hired more than 4,000 people to implement his idea.He also created the “Class of” program that was designed to inject a startup feel into Oracle. College graduates were hired for a dedicated program that prepared them to become Oracle’s future sales leaders.In 2014, Hurd and Catz were named co-CEOs, while Ellison continued to serve as chairman of the board, orchestrate management changes and develop products as chief technology officer.Hurd was regarded as the most media-friendly of the trio, frequently serving as the public face of the company to outline its goals. At the time Hurd and Catz were named CEOs, Oracle’s central business was selling software designed to run on gear owned by the customer and charging a license fee. Hurd was among those inside Oracle who saw the company’s future in cloud computing -- which would let customers rent software and run their data on servers owned by vendors such as Oracle. He predicted in 2015 that by 2025 all enterprise data would be stored in the cloud and that 100% of software development and testing would run through it.Today, the company is much less ambitious in its cloud efforts, and has been making smaller promises. In June, Oracle said it would partner with Microsoft, a decades-long rival, to connect the two companies’ cloud services, so customers can use Oracle databases or applications tied to Microsoft’s Azure cloud. While Catz said Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, wanted an alliance to give clients access to Oracle’s AI-driven databases, the move was a concession—signaling Oracle knew it could no longer go at it alone.It’s now Catz who will have to go it alone, at least for now. Some analysts expect the company will move to appoint a new partner soon. “It’s much more manageable to have two CEOs, so we would be surprised if Oracle goes back to one CEO going forward,” said John Barrett, an analyst at Morningstar Investment Service. “The larger question is how Oracle will go about searching for the co-CEO role and how quickly they can find a successor.”The succession will likely come from within the company’s deep bench. One option is Jeff Henley, Oracle’s vice chairman and former chief financial officer, according to Abby Adlerman, CEO of Boardspan, which provides software and services to address board governance. “I think from a succession planning perspective, they are in a much better place than most companies. They have a lot of options.” Ellison will likely stay close and in the long term, “it’s a matter of if Safra wants to go at it alone. It’s such a big company that there was a reason for the co-CEO role.”Ellison has mentioned Don Johnson, head of Oracle’s cloud infrastructure division, and Steve Miranda, head of Oracle’s applications unit, as possible partners to Catz in the future.Growth StrategyHurd led the charge to make Oracle one of the dominant cloud players, investing heavily in research and development and acquisitions, such as the $9.3 billion purchase of NetSuite Inc., sometimes called the first cloud company, in 2016. Oracle also bought Eloqua Inc., a marketing software company, and Taleo Corp., which makes talent-management.He secured significant deals with AT&T Inc., Bank of America Corp., and Qantas Airlines to transfer their existing databases to the cloud through Oracle. By late 2019, Oracle served more than 420,000 customers in 195 countries and territories, he said.Hurd had gone on a similar acquisition binge at HP, managing about $24 billion in deals, including buying Electronic Data Systems (EDS), as part of a larger plan to diversify the computer maker.He was also a drastic cost cutter who was responsible for firing thousands of workers when he first took over as HP’s CEO and laying off thousands more after the $13.9 billion purchase in 2008 of a struggling EDS, a move many investors disliked.Still, under Hurd’s tenure, HP increased profits for 22 straight quarters, while its revenue rose about 60% and its stock price doubled, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He also helped HP surpass International Business Machines Corp. as the largest computer maker by sales.There were some dark moments at HP too. In 2006, it was disclosed that Hurd had helped launch an investigation into internal leaks from the company’s board. Outside security consultants conducted surveillance on a journalist and HP board member, and used a subterfuge to acquire phone and fax records for HP employees, board members and journalists. The California attorney general’s office opened a criminal probe into possible privacy violations, and HP’s chairwoman at the time, Patricia Dunn, resigned her post when the scandal broke.For his part, Hurd defended the need to investigate company leakers, but claimed he didn’t know about the investigators’ tawdry tactics because he’d ducked out of a briefing on the investigation and, several months later, ignored a verbal and written summary of the leak probe.After Hurd was ousted following the sexual harassment probe in 2010, HP discontinued making smartphones and its tablet computer. Eventually it split into two companies, one focused on personal computers and printers and the other on software and services.Top CEODespite navigating several scandals, Hurd was lauded by the industry. In 2007, he was named one of Fortune magazine’s 25 most powerful business leaders. In 2008, the San Francisco Chronicle named Hurd CEO of the Year.“Saddened by the loss of Mark Hurd,” wrote Bill McDermott, who stepped down as CEO of SAP SE this month, on Twitter. “He was a self-made success in the industry & presided over mega accomplishments. While we competed vigorously in the market, we enjoyed professional respect. My heartfelt prayers are with Mark’s family on this solemn day.”Mark Vincent Hurd was born on Jan. 1, 1957, in New York and lived on the affluent Upper East Side of Manhattan. His Yale-educated father was a financier who moved the family to Miami while Hurd was in high school. His mother was a debutante.Hurd received a tennis scholarship to Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1979.He was hired in 1980 as a junior sales person by National Cash Register in San Antonio. He eventually became president, chief operating officer and CEO of the maker of automatic teller machines and cash registers.Based on his NCR record, HP hired him in 2005 as its CEO and added the chairman title the following year.“Mark just blew everybody else out of the water,” said Tom Perkins, a former HP executive who interviewed Hurd for the CEO job.Hurd served on a number of corporate boards and was a Baylor University trustee since 2014.He was married to the former Paula Kalupa in 1990. They had two daughters, Kathryn and Kelly.(Updates with comments from analyst in 12th paragraph)\--With assistance from Nico Grant, Peter Waldman and Candy Cheng.To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Oster in New York at poster@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Oil Posts a Weekly Loss Amid Dour Economic Outlook, Supply Rise
    Bloomberg

    Oil Posts a Weekly Loss Amid Dour Economic Outlook, Supply Rise

    (Bloomberg) -- Oil posted a weekly loss amid concerns over a slowing global economy and abundant crude supplies.Futures in New York fell 1.7% this week. China reported the slowest pace of economic growth since the early 1990s last quarter, and U.S. government data a day earlier showed American crude inventories expanding.“The oil market continue to be incredibly focused on demand and we continue to see indications of ‘luke warm’ oil at best,” said Leo Mariani, energy analyst at Keybanc Capital Markets in Dallas. “We’ve seen a lot of business investment freeze up and that has impacted oil investments.”U.S. crude inventories rose by 9.3 million barrels in the week through Oct. 11, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, surpassing analyst estimates of a 3 million-barrel increase.“The reality is that crude markets are still struggling with prospect of substantial surplus in next year, which is expected but is very much in line with what growth data is highlighting,” said Daniel Ghali, commodity strategist at TD Bank in Toronto. “There’s starting to be a worry out there on how much OPEC can do to offset it.”WTI for November delivery fell 15 cents to settle at $53.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.Brent crude for December settlement lost 49 cents to end the session at $59.42 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe. The global benchmark fell 1.8% this week and was at a premium of $5.55 to WTI for the same month.China’s gross domestic product trailed estimates and added to a deteriorating global demand outlook for crude. With a drop-off in exports to the U.S. expected to continue due to the trade war, the Chinese economy is likely to keep struggling as deflationary pressures hit company profits.“The demand outlook is a question mark since the overnight data out of China wasn’t great,” John Kilduff, partner at hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York, said in a telephone interview. “The slowness in GDP didn’t help things and the market is still battling that.”To contact the reporter on this story: Jacquelyn Melinek in New York at jmelinek@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at dmarino4@bloomberg.net, Mike Jeffers, Christine BuurmaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Mark Hurd: Silicon Valley’s Ultimate Salesman
    Bloomberg

    Mark Hurd: Silicon Valley’s Ultimate Salesman

    (Bloomberg) -- Mark Hurd was in his element at Indian Wells.The tennis tournament–more formally known as the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California— provided him with the perfect backdrop to flex his passions: tennis and selling stuff. Hurd turned the event, which Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison bought in 2009, into a two-week database and software sales extravaganza. He could be seen strolling the grounds or at nearby hotels constantly schmoozing with customers and using his connections with tennis legends like Chris Evert and Rafael Nadal to win people over and help close a deal. Along the way, Hurd, Oracle’s co-CEO, would sneak in a hit–he had a big serve and liked to flaunt it–or check on the American college players he was mentoring and the young pros he was quietly helping with financial aid. For Hurd, business and pleasure were one and the same and almost always intermixed in his life.This is what I’ll remember most about Hurd, who passed away Friday morning after a protracted illness: he was a relentless hustler and loved the art of doing business more than just about any other executive I’ve ever run across. In a statement issued after Hurd’s death, Ellison pointed to his friend’s business acumen. “Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle,” Ellison said. “All of us will miss Mark’s keen mind and rare ability to analyze, simplify and solve problems quickly.” Hurd arrived at Oracle in 2010 under tumultuous conditions. He’d resigned as CEO of Hewlett-Packard after being investigated by the company’s board for a relationship Hurd had with a marketing contractor. The board argued that Hurd had tried to cover up the relationship and misused his expense account, and Hurd argued that they were wrong and making much ado about nothing. The squabble was acrimonious enough to end Hurd’s time at HP, even though he had revived the company’s fortunes and turned it into a lean, mean maker of corporate technology products, printers and personal computers.At Oracle, Hurd applied his trademark skills at analyzing balance sheets and streamlining operations to try and improve the software maker’s bottom line. He could recite from memory the financial minutiae of every division and be blunt about what was working and what needed to be fixed. During his years at Oracle, the company’s share price more than doubled, and Hurd was a constant presence at the company’s events, sales meetings and customer sites. In many ways, he became the public face of Oracle, enjoying the limelight while Ellison made the occasional appearance and co-CEO Safra Catz preferred to operate in the background.Though Oracle remains the dominant database company, it still has much work to do to catch up in the booming market for cloud-based software and services. Oracle was late to the game modernizing its products. Hurd tried his best to paper over Oracle’s weaknesses through salesmanship and often succeeded. One of the biggest weaknesses throughout his career, though, was favoring bottom line performance over investing in research and development and revolutionary new products. Hurd often seemed to focus on the here and now, rather than plotting for what lay ahead. Oracle’s dual-CEO structure was unusual and not always to Hurd’s liking, as he reveled in controlling a business and overseeing all of its operations. He took on sales, marketing and press and investor relations, and Catz handled finances and legal. Last month Oracle said that Hurd was taking a leave of absence for an unspecified illness and that Ellison and Catz would assume his responsibilities. Ellison has said that Catz will stay in place and that he would like to keep the two-CEO structure. He cited Don Johnson, head of Oracle’s cloud infrastructure division, and Steve Miranda, head of Oracle’s applications unit, as possible partners to Catz in the future.What’s clear is that Hurd will not be easy to replace. On a personal note, he shared a tight bond with Ellison around tennis. The two men have been pumping money into American tournaments and players for years, hoping to spark a revival of U.S. male pros. And, when Hurd was at his lowest moment after the HP fiasco, it was Ellison who came to the rescue, championing Hurd in the press and offering him a high-profile gig at Oracle. These actions–along with massive annual pay packages-made Hurd very loyal to Ellison and left Hurd as eager as ever to prove Ellison right and his critics wrong.Not short on ego, Hurd saw business as a battlefield and perceived himself as a master general. On his worst days, he was short of temper and combative. But, on his best days–of which there seemed to be many–he was a numbers and strategy savant with a rare ability to inspire those under him to work incredibly hard. Hurd himself was a workaholic and considered Oracle’s performance as a reflection on his character. Very few people are as committed to their work or as passionate in their pursuit of it.Vance covered Hurd for 15 years in his roles as CEO of NCR, HP and Oracle and even played tennis with him once. To contact the author of this story: Ashlee Vance in Palo Alto at avance3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Molly Schuetz at mschuetz9@bloomberg.net, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Traders Now Almost Certain That Fed Will Cut Rates This Month
    Bloomberg

    Traders Now Almost Certain That Fed Will Cut Rates This Month

    (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve’s last words before the customary silence preceding policy makers’ meetings left traders nearly certain the central bank is about to deliver its third rate cut in a row.Futures are pricing in 23 basis points of reductions at the Fed’s Oct. 29-30 meeting after Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said Friday the central bank will “act as appropriate” to sustain the expansion as risks remain “evident.”“The Fed just confirmed via Clarida’s comments that they’re currently biased to cut rates at the October meeting,” said Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets. “The window to push back against that has effectively closed.”Traders also still see a possibility of more action in December, with futures implying a total of 34.5 basis points of reductions by the end of 2019. That means, if the anticipated quarter-point cut comes this month, markets are forecasting 38% odds of another in the final meeting of the year.“The Fed certainly wants to stop in October but if they shift to a truly data-dependent mode and the data doesn’t cooperate then the Fed will act as appropriate, and appropriate could well prove to be a cut in December,” Lyngen said.Fed policy makers stop giving public comments in the lead-up to Federal Open Market Committee meetings, and Clarida’s remarks were the last before the start of this blackout.The pause will leave investors guessing about the Fed’s interpretation of two key events that have been dragging global markets. U.S.-China trade negotiators are still laboring toward an early-stage deal, with the prospect of more talks this month. The U.K. prime minister faces a pivotal vote on the plan to exit the European Union. And pessimists on the growth outlook found some support in this week’s poor retail sales figures.Moreover, unless anything radical changes over the coming days, history suggests the Fed will cut, as it’s never withheld easing against the market’s expectations.(Updates December odds and adds quotes from a strategist)To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Barrett in New York at ebarrett25@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Purvis at bpurvis@bloomberg.net, Nick Baker, Mark TannenbaumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Nvidia Brings GeForce Now Cloud Gaming to Android
    Market Realist

    Nvidia Brings GeForce Now Cloud Gaming to Android

    Nvidia (NVDA) stock rose 6.7% to $199 after the company rolled out its cloud gaming service, GeForce NOW, to Android devices.

  • Materion (MTRN) to Report Q3 Earnings: What's in the Offing?
    Zacks

    Materion (MTRN) to Report Q3 Earnings: What's in the Offing?

    Materion's (MTRN) Q3 results are likely to reflect the benefits of its cost saving actions and manufacturing performance improvement initiatives.

  • Market Realist

    Intel Stock Looks Good before Its Q3 Earnings

    Intel (INTC) stock fell 1.12% on Thursday and closed at $51.86. The stock was trading 13.0% below its 52-week high of $59.59.

  • Badger Meter (BMI) Q3 Earnings Beat Estimates, Revenues Fall
    Zacks

    Badger Meter (BMI) Q3 Earnings Beat Estimates, Revenues Fall

    Badger Meter (BMI) surpasses third-quarter earnings estimates on the back of higher domestic water utility sales coupled with significant innovation efforts.

  • Cabot's New TECHBLAK 85 Series to Meet Sustainability Needs
    Zacks

    Cabot's New TECHBLAK 85 Series to Meet Sustainability Needs

    Cabot (CBT) unveils new black masterbatch series, designed to minimize industry's carbon footprint and advance circular economy of plastic raw materials.

  • Motorola Expands Software Portfolio to Help Investigators
    Zacks

    Motorola Expands Software Portfolio to Help Investigators

    Motorola's (MSI) new solution enables law enforcement agencies to connect apparently different crimes to identify patterns, accelerate case closures and improve public safety.

  • Synnex (SNX) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?
    Zacks

    Synnex (SNX) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

    Synnex (SNX) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues.

  • CMS Energy (CMS) Upgraded to Buy: Here's What You Should Know
    Zacks

    CMS Energy (CMS) Upgraded to Buy: Here's What You Should Know

    CMS Energy (CMS) has been upgraded to a Zacks Rank 2 (Buy), reflecting growing optimism about the company's earnings prospects. This might drive the stock higher in the near term.

  • Will Lower Steel Prices Hurt Nucor's (NUE) Earnings in Q3?
    Zacks

    Will Lower Steel Prices Hurt Nucor's (NUE) Earnings in Q3?

    Weaker U.S. steel prices are likely to have hurt Nucor's (NUE) profitability in Q3.

  • NVIDIA Falls 3%
    Investing.com

    NVIDIA Falls 3%

    Investing.com - NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) fell by 3.01% to trade at $188.45 by 12:19 (16:19 GMT) on Friday on the NASDAQ exchange.

  • Sherwin-Williams (SHW) to Post Q3 Earnings: What's in Store?
    Zacks

    Sherwin-Williams (SHW) to Post Q3 Earnings: What's in Store?

    Our proven model does not show that Sherwin-Williams (SHW) is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in Q3.

  • Intel Q3 2019 Earnings Preview: Will INTC Stock Climb?
    Zacks

    Intel Q3 2019 Earnings Preview: Will INTC Stock Climb?

    Intel stock has lagged far behind the broader semiconductor industry's 2019 climb. So let's take a look at what to expect from Intel's upcoming Q3 2019 earnings results to see if INTC stock might be set to pop...

  • Bloomberg

    Grab What You Can in India’s Bad-Loan Melee

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Snatch-and-grab is the new hallmark of Indian finance. As a banker friend in Mumbai put it to me only half-jokingly, a unit of "grabbed" cash collateral in hand is worth more than two units of hypothetical receivables. Yet this is no laughing matter. Not only is opportunistic behavior going to worsen India’s $200 billion-plus bad loan crisis, but now that everyone from the government’s sleuths to the courts are joining the melee, the ensuing chaos will limit the recovery for lenders and threaten depositors. Rajnish Kumar, chairman of State Bank of India, sat down for a chat with me at the Bloomberg Equality Summit in Mumbai this week. He had highlighted the problem last month by blaming what he called the selfishness of one bank for a default by Altico Capital India Ltd., a nonbank lender to property builders. When asked why his HDFC Bank Ltd. had choked Altico by helping itself to the money the shadow financier had raised elsewhere and parked with him, Aditya Puri, the managing director of India’s most valuable lender, replied: “What is out-of- turn? It is my security and I will exercise it.”Now the regulator, the Reserve Bank of India, will decide whether Kumar’s unhappiness is a case of sour grapes or if Puri did indeed cross a line. For State Bank of India, Altico is just one of the several instances where the taxpayer-funded bank has been at the receiving end.SBI didn’t drag tycoon Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications Ltd. to an in-court bankruptcy process, hoping instead that Ambani would be able to sell assets to his brother Mukesh, India’s richest man, out of court. Ericsson AB, an operational creditor, pursued the opposite strategy and got itself a very decent court-enforced settlement by invoking the younger Ambani’s personal guarantee. More recently, SBI’s Kumar received a fresh blow when India’s enforcement directorate, tasked to fight economic crime, attached the assets of insolvent Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd. on suspicion of money laundering by its previous management. Both the new owner, who won control of Bhushan during bankruptcy, and Kumar, who’s waiting for his check, are impatient. Yet, thanks to the enforcement directorate, the $2.8 billion sale has now been put on hold by an adjudicating authority.ArcelorMittal, too, has also been waiting endlessly to conclude a near-$6 billion purchase of Essar Steel India Ltd., the most keenly watched Indian bankruptcy. There, Kumar and other creditors are facing a legalized version of snatch-and-grab: An appellate authority has held that rights of financial creditors like SBI are no superior to those of unsecured operational creditors.Finance 101 is being turned upside down in India. Take securitization. It got a bad rep during the 2008 subprime crisis, but the reality is that for India’s cash-starved shadow banks to survive, they must package more of their small-ticket loans into securities and sell them on to people like Kumar, who have a more stable source of funding: deposits. How hard is this? A court order is blocking the troubled Dewan Housing Finance Corp., which is seeking a restructuring of its $12 billion liabilities to Kumar and other creditors, from putting cash collected from homeowners into accounts from which holders of its mortgage-backed securities are paid. Six of these bonds were downgraded this week by Moody’s Corp. affiliate ICRA — three of them defaulted. These notes were supposed to perform for investors even if Dewan went bankrupt. Securitization will not lead to a safer financial system in India if this basic tenet is flouted. Small savers may not understand the nuances of high finance, but they’re the ones who feel the pain when a cooperative bank goes up in flames and the regulator puts limits on cash withdrawals. That’s what happened recently after a $1 billion fraud at Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank. The Reserve Bank is playing with fire. Imagine the consequences if, say, housing societies decide to move money out of smaller institutions and into too-big-to-fail SBI or HDFC Bank. Bailing out even small parts of a large deposit-taking industry will become a headache for Indian taxpayers. A capital-constrained economy like India can’t afford a jungle raj in finance. Only a set of clear rules can end the cash grab by powerful intermediaries and state authorities. Once powerless depositors join in the free-for-all, it will be too late.To contact the author of this story: Andy Mukherjee at amukherjee@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at pmcdowell10@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • TSMC Just Showed Its Chips Are Hot
    Bloomberg

    TSMC Just Showed Its Chips Are Hot

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Investors looking for signs that the worst is over for the chip sector would be pleased by what Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. served up Thursday. All of its key earnings data point to a rebound in demand, and more importantly to pragmatic inventory management after a glut last year dragged down the entire industry. TSMC’s third-quarter net income beat estimates and its fourth-quarter revenue outlook came in at the top of analysts’ expectations. But the standout headline from the company’s investor conference was its decision to boost its capital expenditure this year by close to 40%. By the end of September it had already shelled out $9.4 billion of the “more than” $11 billion it had previously expected for the full year.That may seem like a brave wager, considering a deepening trade war on two fronts — between the U.S. and China, as well as Japan and South Korea — and President Donald Trump’s campaign against TSMC’s key client, Huawei Technologies Co. Just months ago, shoppers were eschewing futuristic gadgets and putting off smartphone upgrades. But TSMC has rarely made mistakes about how to spend its capex: This plan is not only bold but smart. The world’s biggest chipmaker plans to spend a record-breaking $14 billion to $15 billion this year on the leading-edge equipment it needs to manufacture chips for devices such as Apple Inc. iPhones and Huawei’s smartphones. The company turned more aggressive, CEO C.C. Wei explained, because it sees stronger-than-expected demand for next-generation manufacturing technologies. These chips will be used in smartphones, data centers, IoT devices (think Amazon Alexa) and even cars, he said. Wei said he’s confident that the higher spending will be justified by quicker revenue growth, especially with faster fifth-generation mobile networks and handsets ready to go mainstream in the coming year. Because of the technology involved, 5G networks require more base stations than an equivalent 4G rollout, which will further help semiconductor sales.What should really cheer investors, though, are the figures that often get overlooked, namely inventory. One of the biggest problems afflicting the sector a year ago was that companies — from Apple to PC-chipmaker Intel Corp. and iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group — all overshot the mark when it came to buying and building chips, only to be met with lackluster demand from consumers.TSMC’s inventory, measured in Taiwan dollars, fell by 8.2% in the September quarter, the biggest drop in more than two years. Days of inventory — another measure that tracks its stockpiles — dropped to 65 days, the lowest in 18 months. This shows that there’s a smaller risk that TSMC and its clients got ahead of themselves this time. Before celebrating a new dawn for the tech sector, there is a caveat. More sales for TSMC doesn’t necessarily mean more devices being sold to end consumers. That’s because smartphones are becoming even smarter, requiring more chips inside. High-end cameras, for example, require higher-resolution sensors, which in turn means more chips within a phone to manage the power, data and memory that such functionality requires. That said, investors looking for an excuse to jump back into tech shares got exactly what they needed from TSMC. If not signs of stronger demand, evidence of pragmatic inventory management makes it look like a safer sector to place a bet.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at tculpan1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis 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/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Keysight (KEYS) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Keysight (KEYS) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

    Keysight (KEYS) closed the most recent trading day at $97.05, moving +1.53% from the previous trading session.

  • TSM Stock Nudges Lower After Good Third Quarter
    Zacks

    TSM Stock Nudges Lower After Good Third Quarter

    TSM share prices were less than a percentage ppoint lower after reporting encouraging third-quarter results and fourth-quarter guidance.

  • Should You Take Comfort From Insider Transactions At Teck Resources Limited (TSE:TECK.B)?
    Simply Wall St.

    Should You Take Comfort From Insider Transactions At Teck Resources Limited (TSE:TECK.B)?

    We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. On...

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Southern Company, Applied Materials, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, NVIDIA and Edwards Lifesciences
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Southern Company, Applied Materials, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, NVIDIA and Edwards Lifesciences

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Southern Company, Applied Materials, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, NVIDIA and Edwards Lifesciences

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Verizon, Microsoft and Cisco Systems
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Verizon, Microsoft and Cisco Systems

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Verizon, Microsoft and Cisco Systems

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