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(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Investors in Argentina would seem to have no peers among global losers.After voters resoundingly rejected President Mauricio Macri and his free-market policies in primary elections earlier this month, the stock market, as measured by the S&P Merval Index, lost almost half its value in the biggest crash in at least six decades. The country’s currency, the peso, suffered its biggest decline since December 2015. The government’s benchmark-equivalent bond plummeted a record 26% to trade at 56 cents on the dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Argentina, whose economy is the third largest in Latin America, was already reeling from recession and inflation as high as 57.3% in May. The fear among investors now is the return to power of the Peronist party that traditionally stiffed creditors, defaulted on the nation’s bonds and rigged economic data so much that lenders had no incentive for a rescue.Amid the financial carnage, however, are two companies based in Argentina that highlight the country’s potential and showcase possible building blocks for its recovery. They are MercadoLibre Inc., Latin America’s largest online marketplace and biggest provider of online payment and digital financial services, and Globant SA, a software developer and technology services provider. Both are listed in the U.S., but if they were listed in their home country they would be 1.5 times the value of the local stock market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. MercadoLibre and Globant increased their worldwide workforces 30% and 31%, respectively, to 7,239 and 8,384 in 2018 when most of the nation’s employers were either letting people go or not hiring during the recession.MercadoLibre is the most valuable publicly traded company based in Argentina, with a market value of $30 billion and revenue last year of $1.4 billion. Chief Executive Officer Marcos Eduardo Galperin, who is 47, started the company in his Buenos Aires garage in 1999 after studying at Stanford University. When he was a student, he successfully pitched the idea for the company to an investor while he was driving him to the airport. The company he has built now has operations in 18 countries and is referred to frequently as the Amazon.com of Latin America, with a healthy dose of PayPal thrown in because of its successful payments system.MercadoLibre, which went public in 2007, has gained 442% during the past five years and is still delivering a 109% total return this year. Its revenue is expected to increase 53% this year and 39% in 2020, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. And while its 48% gross margin is down from previous years, it has been investing heavily in its businesses.Even with that success, Galperin sees a lot more room for growth. “Latin America has 600 million people and we have roughly 50 million people using our platform, up from 4 million” when the company went public, he said during an interview earlier this month at his Buenos Aires headquarters. MercadoLibre “can grow another 10 times from 50 million to 500 million” because “the number of transactions that are done per user in Latin America is still a 10th of what is happening in China.” The company derives only 21% of its revenue inside Argentina, so there’s plenty of room for expansion there.Martin Migoya, the 51-year-old chairman, CEO and co-founder of Globant, shared Galperin’s views about growth opportunities, calling the digital space “the largest single opportunity in the planet today.” His company, which was started in 2003, develops software and services for an array of mobile, social media, cloud-computing, gaming and big-data purposes, including artificial intelligence and machine learning. Its clients, 90% of which are in the U.S., have included such prominent companies as Google, Electronic Arts and Walt Disney.During an interview earlier this month at his Buenos Aires headquarters, Migoya said Globant, which generates only 5% of its sales in Argentina, is especially prepared to benefit from “a $5 trillion market in the next five years” made up of “digital transformation and cognitive transformation, which means applying artificial intelligence to pretty much everything.”Globant, which has a market value of $3.3 billion and generated $522 million in revenue last year, has gained 621% over the past five years and is returning 60% this year. Its sales are expected to increase 24% in 2019 and 21% next year, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.The performances of MercadoLibre and Globant haven’t gone unnoticed. Toronto-based Dynamic Power Global Growth Fund, managed by Noah Blackstein, produced the largest total returns during the past 10, five and one years among more than 1,000 global mutual funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. MercadoLibre is the largest holding, accounting for more than 7% of the fund, according to the most recent filing. Globant makes up 5%.Blackstein looks for companies, not countries, when he invests. “My focus is finding the biggest opportunities for growth wherever they lie in the world, be they in technology, health care and retail,” he said in a July interview.By his measure, Argentina has some of the brightest prospects. As the country descends once again into political and economic instability, MercadoLibre and Globant can remind citizens and investors alike that a downward spiral doesn’t have to be the status quo.\--With assistance from Shin Pei.To contact the author of this story: Matthew A. Winkler at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Matthew A. Winkler is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the editor-in-chief emeritus of Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Deutsche Post DHL will no longer deliver fresh food in Germany for Amazon as demand for the service launched in 2017 has been disappointing, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday. Selling food is a key part of the strategy of the world's top online retailer, especially since it bought the U.S. chain Whole Foods in 2017, but its Fresh service, launched in 2007 in Seattle, has grown much slower than the rest of the business. A spokeswoman confirmed a report in Germany's Lebensmittel Zeitung trade publication that DHL was ending its cooperation with Amazon Fresh, adding the rest of its business with Amazon was unaffected.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. today opened its largest campus building globally in the south Indian city of Hyderabad as it prepares for a furious expansion and battle with nemesis Walmart Inc. in one of the world’s fastest-growing retail markets.The Seattle-headquartered company is making an ambitious push in India, the last major retail frontier still primarily reliant on small-scale neighborhood and mom-and-pop stores. “E-commerce is so small in India relative to the total consumption, less than 3%,” said Amit Agarwal, Amazon’s country manager for India.The largely untapped country is critical to the global domination plans of both Amazon and Walmart, the latter of which spent $16 billion last year to buy India’s biggest startup, retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has so far pledged $5.5 billion for its India operations.Built in Hyderabad over three years, the new campus is Amazon’s first owned building outside of the United States, spans 1.8 million square feet of office space, or about 50 times the footprint of the Taj Mahal’s mausoleum. It will accommodate 15,000 workers. “The largest buildings in Seattle house about 5,000 employees,” remarked John Schoettler, vice president of Amazon’s Global Real Estate and Facilities. He said the campus was Amazon’s largest in the world but has plenty more room to grow.“This facility will build services globally,” Agarwal added, citing examples like AWS, Kindle, Alexa, Amazon.in and Amazon Home Services, which is “innovating on things like doorstep pick-up and electronics repair.”At the same time as it’s inaugurating its new Indian hub, Amazon is investing on other fronts within the nation. It is in negotiations to buy a 10% stake in one of India’s largest brick & mortar retailers, Future Retail, people familiar with the matter have said. Local media have also reported that Amazon is eager to add food delivery to its Indian repertoire and is negotiating with multiple food companies to kick-start that line of business.Amazon started its retail operations in India in 2013 and has since added several services to boost sales, including an expansion into producing Bollywood originals to boost its Prime Video loyalty program in the movie-loving country. Prime membership in India has doubled over the past 18 months, according to Agarwal, and he still sees “tremendous growth” going forward.To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest have hit a record number this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil's space research centre INPE. The surge marks an 83% increase over the same period of 2018 and is the highest since records began in 2013, raising concerns over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro's environmental policy. Satellite images spotted 9,507 new forest fires in the country since Thursday, INPE said.
(Bloomberg) -- Rates traders are gearing up for a keynote speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in Jackson Hole on Friday that could be wildly out of tune with their expectations.Futures markets are calling for the Fed to cut its key policy rate at least 50 basis points by year-end, and more than likely 75. Investors aren’t expecting great detail on the Fed’s plans for interest rates from its marquee annual event in Wyoming, but it’s widely expected that Powell will use the stage to signal more easing.His tone may disappoint. Not for the first time this year, he faces a market heavily invested in lower rates -- and yet again, the domestic data don’t necessarily warrant them. The tightest labor market in 50 years shows little sign of buckling, consumption continues to buoy growth and there’s even improvement on the inflation front. Powell has said the Fed will act to protect the U.S. economy from global risks, but no policy makers are suggesting that would amount to more than a couple of standard easings.Some traders may be waking up to this and preparing, given that short-end Treasury yields have risen relative to long-end yields so far this week. And a JPMorgan Chase & Co. survey of clients published Tuesday shows short positions in Treasuries rising to highest since April.“There seem to be some people out there who think this is going to be some sort of a really dovish speech and I think it’s going to be more balanced than that,” said Kathy Jones, chief fixed-income strategist at Charles Schwab & Co. She doesn’t see “a huge consensus” at the Fed for another 75 or 100 basis points of cuts over the next six or 12 months.There’s no clear sign that the two voters who dissented on the July cut have changed their stance. The Boston Fed’s Eric Rosengren said this week that he needed evidence of a U.S. slowdown to justify further easing.In July, the Fed managed to underwhelm even with the first rate cut in a decade. And this month, thanks to the latest deterioration in U.S.-China trade relations and ugly European data, yields reflect an even darker worldview.Last week, the 10- and 30-year yields dipped below 1.5% and 2%, respectively -- the latter an all-time low -- and they’re not far above those levels now. The two- to 10-year yield curve has recovered modestly from a brief inversion, but its recession signal was widely heeded.The most likely reaction of a dissatisfied market will be further flattening in the curve, Jones says, as traders pare positioning for rate cuts. That’s a rehash of what happened last month following the Fed’s meeting. And the trajectory could well be the same -- where an initial so-called bear flattening is replaced by a sharp decline in long-end yields on concern that the central bank will be too slow to avert a downturn.Reassurance OptionsTo reassure markets, Powell could dwell on the uncertainties arising from faltering trade talks, and the contraction in some of the world’s largest manufacturing sectors.But any confidence he manages to instill may be fragile. This weekend also brings the Group-of-Seven summit in France, and hopes for a more harmonious mood between U.S. President Donald Trump and his counterparts are so low that summit leaders are already making plans to scrap the traditional joint statement.Bret Barker at TCW Group Inc. expects that any snap back from the current lows in yields based on Powell’s remarks will be short-lived.“Our overall long-term view is that rates are heading lower,” he said.He’s favoring the two-year part of the curve, as he reckons the market’s call call on the path of rates this year is about right. He’s just not expecting any strong endorsement from Powell at the Wyoming retreat.For Barker, it’s hard to see why Powell would drop a big message into thin markets, “when he can just wait a couple more weeks and liquidity will be back and it’ll be September.”(Adds fourth paragraph to reflect change in market pricing, sentiment.)To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Barrett in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Purvis at email@example.com, Mark Tannenbaum, Vivien Lou ChenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Blockchain is one of the most revolutionary technologies of this generation and has applications that spread across every sector of our economy. The technology has applications that go way beyond a means of transferring wealth.
Amazon (AMZN) is trading at $1,812 per share—11% below its 52-week high of $2,050. AMZN is down about 3% this month and 4.3% since the start of June.
A JPMorgan Chase & Co precious metals trader pleaded guilty to spoofing, or placing bogus trade offers, on Tuesday, when he also resigned as an executive director at the bank. The guilty plea and resignation of Christian Trunz, 34, of London, were announced by the U.S. Department of Justice. Trunz admitted in the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, to having from July 2007 to August 2016 at JPMorgan and another bank placed thousands of orders for gold, platinum and palladium futures contracts that he never intended to complete.
President Trump and Federal Reserve, Home Depot (HD) and TJX (TJX) earnings, a broader look at the retail industry amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, and why Garmin (GRMN) is a Zacks Rank 1 (Strong Buy) stock on this episode of Free Lunch.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Justice Department intends to work with state attorneys general in a broad review of whether large technology companies are harming competition, the department’s top antitrust official said.More than a dozen states are interested in the issue and will likely cooperate with the Justice Department, Makan Delrahim, the head of the antitrust division, said Tuesday at a technology conference in Aspen, Colorado.“We will be taking a broad look, and we look at it with no preconceived agendas,” he said. “I anticipate it would be in cooperative manner,” he added about the state and federal efforts.The Justice Department in July said it intended to scrutinize the conduct of the largest tech platforms. It didn’t specify which firms it would look at but strongly suggested Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. are in the cross-hairs, saying it would examine concerns about search, social media and online retail.A group of state attorneys general is also gearing up to investigate tech companies, Bloomberg reported in June.Facebook-Instagram Deal Warrants New Scrutiny, Colorado AG Says“We continue to engage in bipartisan conversations about the unchecked power of large tech companies,” New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office said in a statement. “We must ensure we protect competition, protect our economy, and protect consumers.”Delrahim said cooperation between the Justice Department and the states would reduce the burden on the companies being investigated. His comments are likely to be welcome news to the tech companies. Separate state and federal investigations could mean multiple requests for documents and depositions as well as multiple penalties.Companies that are subjects of the Justice Department investigation are cooperating with investigators to provide information, Delrahim said. He said there is no specific time line for the probe.(Updates with comments on why companies would welcome joint investigation in 7th paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Vicky Graham in Arlington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Paula Dwyer, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Get ready, TV fans, because the next few months are going to be wild. Apple Inc., AT&T Inc., Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are spending billions of dollars on so much new streaming content that there will be little reason to leave your couch this winter – or to keep your cable subscription.Apple gave a taste yesterday of what it’s been working on by releasing a trailer for “The Morning Show,” an original series that looks so good it could easily be mistaken for an HBO production. With an all-star cast led by Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, Apple is said to be spending $300 million alone for the first two seasons. The company has committed a whopping $6 billion overall to produce original shows and movies, according to the Financial Times, which would match what Netflix spent in 2017 and would also be in the same ballpark as Amazon.com Inc.’s expected content investment for this year. Other outlets have disputed that Apple’s budget is quite so large. Either way, it’s clear the iPhone maker is serious about streaming. The Apple TV+ and Disney+ video-on-demand apps will both be available by mid-November, followed by AT&T’s HBO Max product. They are game-changers for the pay-TV industry, already littered with live-TV streaming products from Sling TV to YouTube TV.Disney has spent about $15 million per episode to make “The Mandalorian,” a live-action “Star Wars” series that will serve as the flagship of Disney+, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s about $120 million for the first season, which isn’t far from what Disney shelled out for “Captain Marvel,” the third-biggest movie of the year in terms of U.S. box-office ticket sales. The company expects to invest more than $1 billion in original content for the app next year and another roughly $1 billion for licensed content. These streaming wars are risky. Studio owners generally have a sense of what a TV program could deliver in advertising revenue and how large of a theater audience a film might draw. But Disney+ will charge just $7 a month and contain no ads. The company is betting it can build a large enough customer base so that all these pricey investments that have shareholders wincing right now will pay off some day.In the Apple TV trailer above, Aniston’s character at one point says, “I just need to be able to control the narrative so that I am not written out of it.” It struck me as funny because that’s exactly what Disney and its peers are trying to do as they flood the market with content and turn a blind eye to the cost. Disney predicts it will have 60 million to 90 million Disney+ subscribers globally by the end of fiscal 2024, when the app finally begins making money. Analysts see Apple TV+ topping 100 million in the next five years, according to Bloomberg News. While both are starting from zero, they do have the advantage of strong, far-reaching customer relationships – Disney through its movies and theme parks, and Apple by physically being in most of our pockets already. Netflix is protecting its turf by lighting it on fire. It’s projected to spend about $15 billion for in-house and licensed content this year while burning $3 billion of free cash flow. The company paid $100 million just to keep “Friends” on its platform through 2019. Even though the sitcom hasn’t aired new episodes in more than 15 years, it’s the second-most-watched program on Netflix. After this year, AT&T is reclaiming the rights to the show for its HBO Max product.A little over a year ago, Casey Bloys, HBO’s programming chief, referred to such spending as “irrational exuberance.” But then earlier this year, his boss, HBO Chairman Richard Plepler, left the company in a shake-up by its new parent AT&T. HBO is now ramping up its production slate to reduce churn, or the rate at which bored subscribers are canceling, and HBO Max is reportedly paying $425 million to carry “Friends” for five years starting in 2020. Likewise, the Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal has its own $500 million five-year exclusive rights deal for “The Office,” the No. 1 show on Netflix. There is a potential fallacy in the companies’ thinking around these lavish deals: What if Netflix subscribers were streaming “Friends” and “The Office” for hours on end simply for background noise, something to mindlessly tune in and out of as they scrolled Instagram or did chores? In that case, perhaps users won’t necessarily miss those specific shows and won’t switch to other services at a rate that would come close to justifying nearly $1 billion for two old sitcoms. In any case, I keep writing about the frustration of needing to pay for and toggle between numerous apps just to access all your favorite content and the confusion that comes with doing so. It’s only going to get worse once Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max launch. But at least there will be no shortage of stuff to watch, and with all this money being thrown around, you know it’ll be good. To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis 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 deals, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., media and telecommunications. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.