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Epic Games' Fortnite, which was removed from Apple, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) app store in August 2020, has managed to circumvent the restriction and reenter Apple's iOS-powered iPhone and iPads. Latest Ratings for NVDA DateFirmActionFromTo Nov 2021Deutsche BankMaintainsHold Nov 2021Truist SecuritiesMaintainsBuy Nov 2021NeedhamMaintainsBuy View More Analyst Ratings for NVDA View the Latest Analyst Ratings read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaJan 14th, 2022

Transcript: Edwin Conway

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS:… Read More The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, man, I have an extra special guest. Edwin Conway runs all of alternatives for BlackRocks. His title is Global Head of Alternative Investors and he covers everything from structured credit to real estate hedge funds to you name it. The group runs over $300 billion and he has been a driving force into making this a substantial portion of Blackrock’s $9 trillion in total assets. The opportunity set that exists for alternatives even for a firm like Blackrock that specializes in public markets is potentially huge and Blackrock wants a big piece of it. I found this conversation to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my conversation with Blackrock’s Head of Alternatives, Edwin Conway. MALE VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Edwin Conway. He is the Global Head of Blackrock’s Alternative Investors which runs about $300 billion in assets. He is a team of over 1,100 professionals to help him manage those assets. Blackrock’s Global alternatives include businesses that cover real estate infrastructure, hedge funds private equity, and credit. He is a senior managing director for BlackRock. Edwin Conway, welcome to Bloomberg. EDWIN CONWAY, GLOBAL HEAD OF ALTERNATIVE INVESTORS, BLACKROCK: Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: So, you’ve been in the financial services industry for a long time. You were at Credit Suisse and Blackstone and now you’re at BlackRock. Tell us what the process was like breaking into the industry? CONWAY: It’s an interesting on, Barry. I grew up in a very small town in the middle of Ireland. And the breakthrough to the industry was one of more coincident as opposed to purpose. I enjoyed the game of rugby for many years and through an introduction while at the University, in University College Dublin in Ireland, had a chance to play rugby at a quite a – quite a decent level and get to know people that were across the industry. It was really through and internship and the suggestion, I’ve given my focus on business and financing things that the financial services sector may be a great place to traverse and get to know. And literally through rugby connections, been part of a good school, I had an opportunity to really understand what the service sector, in many respects, could provide to clients and became absolutely intrigued with it. And what – was it my primary ambition in life to be in the financial services sector? I can definitively say no, but through the circumstance of a game that I love to play and be part of, I was introduced to, through an internship, and actually fell in love with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And alternative investments at Blackrock almost seems like a contradiction in terms. Most of us tend to think of Blackrock as the giant $9 trillion public markets firm best known for ETFs and indices. Alternatives seems to be one of the fastest-growing groups within the firm. This was $50 billion just a few years ago, it’s now over 300 billion. How has this become such a fast-growing part of BlackRock? CONWAY: When you look at the various facets which you introduced at the start, Barry, we’ve actually been an alternatives – will be of 30 years now. Now, the scale, as you know, which you can operate on the beta side of business, far surpasses that on the alpha side. For us, throughout the years, this was very much about how can we deliver investment excellence to our clients and performance? Therefore, going an opportunity somewhere else to explore an alpha opportunity in alternatives. And I think being so connected to our clients understanding, that this pivots was absolutely taking place at only 30 years ago but in a very pronounced way today, you know, we continue to invest in this business to support those ambitions. They’re clearly seeing this as the world of going through a tremendous amount of transformation and with some of the challenges, quite frankly, in the traditional asset classes, being able to leverage at BlackRock, the Blackrock muscle to really explore these alpha opportunities across the various alternative asset classes that in our mind wasn’t imperative. And the imperative, really, is from the firm’s perspective and if you look at our purpose, it’s to serve the client. So the need was coming from them. The necessity to have alternatives and their whole portfolio was very – was very much growing in prominence. And it’s taken us 30 years to build this journey and I think, Barry, quite frankly, we’re far from being done. As you look at the industry, the demand is going to continue to grow. So, I think you could expect to see from us a continued investment in the space because we don’t believe you can live without alternatives in today’s world. RITHOLTZ: That’s really – that’s really interesting. So let’s dive a little deeper into the product strategy for alternatives which you are responsible for at BlackRock. Our audiences is filled with potential investors. Tell them a little bit about what that strategy is. CONWAY: So we’re – I think as you mentioned, we’re in excess of 300 billion today and when we started this business, it was less about building a moat around private equity or real estate. I think Larry Fink’s and Rob Kapito’s vision was how do we build a platform to allow us to be relevant to our clients across the various alternative asset classes but also within the – within the confines of what they are permitted to do on a year-by-year basis. So, to always be relevant irrespective of where they are in their journey from respect of liabilities, demand for liquidity, demand for returns, so we took a different approach. I think, Barry, to most, it was around how do we scale into the business across, like you said, real estate equity and debt, infrastructure equity and debt. I mean, we think of that as the real assets platform of our business. Then you take our private equity capabilities both in primary investing, secondary et cetera, and then you have private credits and a very significant hedge fund platforms. So we think all of these have a real role and depending on clients liquidities and risk appetite, our goal was, to over the years, really build in to this to allow ourselves for this challenging needs that our clients have. I think as an industry, right, and over the many years alternatives have been in existence, this is been about return enhancement initially. I think, fundamentally, the changes around the receptivity to the role of alternatives in a client’s portfolio has really changed. So, we’ve watched it, Barry, from this is we’re in the pursuit of a very total return or absolute return type of an objective to now resilience in our portfolio, yield an income. And so things that probably weren’t perceived as valuable in the past because the traditional asset classes were playing a more profound role, alternatives have stepped up in – in many respects in the need to provide more than just total return. So, we’re taking the approach of how do you have a more holistic approach to this? How do we really build a global multi-alternatives capability and try to partner and I think that’s the important work for us. Try to partner with our clients in a way that we can deliver that outperformance but delivered in a way that probably our clients haven’t been used to in this industry before. Because unfortunately, as we know, it has had its challenges with regard to secrecy, transparency, and so many other aspects. We need to help the industry mature. And really that was our ambition. Put our client’s needs first, build around that and really be relevant in all aspects of what we’re doing or trying to accomplish on behalf of the people that they support and represent. RITHOLTZ: So, we’ll talk a little bit about transparency and secrecy and those sorts of things later. But right now, I have to ask what I guess is kind of an obvious question. This growth that you’ve achieved within Blackrock for nonpublic asset allocation within a portfolio, what is this coming at expense of? Are these dollars that are being moved from public assets into private assets or you just competing with other private investors? CONWAY: It’s really both. What – what you are seeing from our clients – if I take a step back, today, the institutional client community and you think about the – the retirement conundrum we’re all facing around the world. It’s such an awful challenge when you think how ill-prepared people are for that eventual stepping back from the workplace and then you know longevity is your friend, but can also be a very, very difficult thing to obviously live with if you’re not prepared for retirement. The typical pension plan today are allocating about 25 percent to 28 percent in alternatives. Predominantly private market. What they’re telling us is that’s increasing quite substantially going forward. But you know, the funding for that alpha pursue for that diversification and that yield is coming from fixed-income assets. It’s coming from equity assets. So there’s a real rebalancing that’s been taking place over the past number of years. And quite frankly, the evolution, and I think the innovation that’s taken place particularly in the past 10 years, alternatives has been really profound. So the days where you just invest in any global funds still exist. But now you can concentrate your efforts on sector exposure, industry exposures, geographic exposures, and I think the – the menu of things our clients can now have access to has just been so greatly enhanced at and the benefit is that but I think in some – in some respects, Barry, the next question is with all of those choices, how do you build the right portfolio for our client’s needs knowing that each one of our client’s needs are different? So, I would say it absolutely coming from the public side. We’re very thankful. Those that had a multiyear journey with us in the public side are now allocating capital to is now the private side to because I do think the – the industry given that change, given that it evolution and given the complexity of these private assets, our clients are looking to, quite frankly, do more with fewer managers because of the complexion of the industry and complexity that comes with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): And attention RIA’s. Are your clients asking for crypto? At interactive brokers, advisers can now offer crypto to their clients and you could trade stocks, options, futures currencies, bonds and more from the same platform. Commissions on crypto are just 12-18 basis points with no hidden spreads or markups and there are no ticket charges, custody fees, minimums platform or reporting fees. Learn more at crypto. RITHOLTZ: And I – it’s pretty easy to see why large institutions might be rotating away from things like treasuries or tips because there’s just no yield there. Are you seeing inflows coming in from the public equity side also? The markets put together a pretty good string of years. CONWAY: Yes. It absolutely has. And many respects, I think, we’ve had a multiyear where there was big questions around the alpha that can be generated, for example, from active equities? The question was active or passive? I think what we’ve all realized is that at times when volatility introduces itself which is frequent even independent of what’s been done from a fiscal and monetary standpoint, that these Alpha speaking strategies on the traditional side still make a lot of sense. And so, as we think about what – what’s happening here, the transition of assets from both passive and active strategies to alternative, it – it’s really to create better balance. It’s not that there’s – there’s a lack of relevance anymore in the public side. It’s just quite frankly the growth of the private asset base has grown so substantially. I moved, Barry, to the U.S. in 1998. And it’s interesting, when you look back at 1998 to today, you start to recognize the equity markets and what was available to invest in. The number of investable opportunities has shrunk by 40 plus percent which that compression is extraordinarily high. But yet you’ve seen, obviously, the equity markets grow in stature and significance and prominence but you’re having more concentration risk with some of the big public entities. The converse is true, though on the – on the private side. There’s this explosion of enterprise and innovation, employment creation, and then I believe opportunities has been real. So, I look at the public side, the investable universe is measured in the thousands and the private side is measured in the millions. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And I think part of the – part of the part of the thing our clients are not struggling with but what we’re really recognizing with – with enterprises staying private for longer, if not forever, and with his growth of the opportunities that open debt and equity in the private market side, you really can’t forgo this opportunity. It has to be part of your going forward concerns and asset allocation. And I think this is why we’re seeing that transformation. And it’s not because equities on fixed income just aren’t relevant anymore. They’re very relevant but they’re relevant now in a total portfolio or a whole portfolio context beside alternatives. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s discuss this opportunity set of alternatives where you guys at Blackrock scene demand what sectors and from what sorts of clients? Is this demand increasing? CONWAY: We’re very fortunate, Barry. Today, there isn’t a single piece of our business within – within Blackrock alternatives that isn’t growing. And quite frankly too, it’s really up to us to deliver on the investment objectives that are set forth for those clients. I think in the back of strong absolute and relative performance, thankfully, our clients look to us to – to help them as – as they think about what they’re doing and as they’re exploring more in the alternatives areas. So, as you know, certainly, the private equity and real estate allocations are quite mature in many of our client’s portfolios but they’ve been around for many decades. I think that the areas where we’re seeing – that’s called an outside demand and opportunity set, just but virtue of the small allocations on a relative basis that exist today is really around infrastructure, Barry, and its around private credits. So, to caveat that, I think all of the areas are certainly growing, and thankfully, for us that’s true. We’re looking at clients who we believe are underinvested, we believe they’re underinvested in those asset classes infrastructure both debt and equity and in private credit. And as you think about why that is, the attributes that they bring to our client is really important and in a world where your correlation and understanding those correlations is important that these are definitely diversifying assets. In a world where you’re seeing trillions of dollars, quite frankly, you’re providing little to no or even there’s negative yield. Those short falls are real and people need yield than need income. These assets tend to provide that. So the diversification, it comes from these assets. The yield can come from these assets and because of the immaturity of the asset classes, independence of the capital is flowing in, we still consider them relatively white space. You’re not crowded out. There’s much room for development in the market and with our client’s portfolios. And to us, that’s exciting because it presents opportunities. So, at the highest level, they’re the areas where I believe are most underdeveloped in our clients. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about both of those areas. We’ll talk about structured credit in a few minutes. I think everybody kind of understands what – what that is. What – when you see infrastructure as a sector, how does that show up as an investment are – and obviously, I have infrastructure on the brink because we’re recording this not too long after the giant infrastructure bill has been passed, tell us a little bit about what alternative investments in infrastructure looks like? CONWAY: Yes. It’s really in its infancy and what the underlying investments look like. I think traditionally, you would consider it as – and part of the bill that has just been announced, roads, bridges, airports. Some of these hard assets, some of the core infrastructure investments that have been around for actually some time. The interesting thing is the industry has evolved so much and put the need for infrastructure. It’s so great across both developed and emerging economies. It’s become something that if done the right way, the attributes we just spoke of can really have a very strong effect on our client’s portfolios. So, beyond the core that we just mentioned, well, we’ve seen a tremendous demand as a result of this energy transition. You’re really seeing a spike in activity and the necessity transition industry to cleaner technologies, a movement, not away completely from fossil fuel but integrating new types of clean energy. And as a result, you’ve seen a lot of demand on a global basis for wind and solar. And quite frankly, that’s why even us at BlackRock, albeit, 10-12 years ago, we really established a capability there to help with that transition to think about how do we use these technologies, solar panels, wind farms, to generate clean forms of energy for utilities where in some cases they’re mandated to procure this type of this type of – this type of power. And when you think about pre-contracting with utilities for long duration, that to me spells, Barry, good risk mitigation and management and ability to get access to clean forms of energy that throw off yield that can be very complementary to your traditional asset classes but for very long periods of time. And so, the benefits for us of these – these assets is that they are long in duration, they are yield enhancing, they’re definitely diversifying. And so, for us, where – we’ve got about, let’s call this 280 assets around the world that we’re managing that literally generate this – this clean electricity. I think to give the relevance of how much, I believe today, it’s enough to power the country of Spain. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And that’s really that’s really changing. So you’re seeing governments – so from a policy standpoint, you’re seeing governments really embracing new forms of energy, transitioning out of bunker fuels, for example, you know, burning diesels which really spew omissions into the – into the into the environment. But it’s really around modernizing for the future. So, developed and emerging economies alike, want to retain capital. They want to attract new capital and by having the proper infrastructure to support industry, it’s a really, really important thing. Now, on the back of that too, one things we’ve learned from COVID is that the necessity to really bring e-commerce into how you conduct your business is so important and I think from the theme of digitalization within infrastructure to is a huge part. So, it’s not just the energy transition that you’re seeing, it’s not just roads and bridges, but by allowing businesses to connect to a global consumer, allowing children be educated from home, allowing experiences that expand geographies and boundaries in a digital form is so important not just for commerce but in so many other aspects. And so, you think about cable, fiber optics, if you think about all the other things even outside of power, that enable us to conduct commerce to educate, there are many examples where, Barry, you can build resilience into your portfolio because that need is not measured in years. Actually, the shortfall of capital is measured in the trillions so which means this is – this is a multi-decade opportunity set from our vantage point and one of which our clients should really avail of. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And I mentioned in passing, structured credit, tell us a little bit about what that opportunity looks like. I think of this as a space that is too big for local banks but too small for Wall Street to finance. Is that an oversimplification? What is going on in that space. CONWAY: I probably couldn’t have set it better, Barry. It’s – if we go back to just the even the investable universe, in the tens of thousands of companies, just if we take North America that are private, that have great leadership that really have strategic vision under – at the – in some cases, at the start of their growth lifecycles are even if they maintain, they have a very credible and viable business for the future they still need capital. And you’re absolutely right. With the retreat of the banks from the space to various regulations that have come after the global financial crisis, you’re seeing the asset managers in many respects working behalf of our clients both wealth and institutional becoming the new lenders of choice. And – and when we – when we think about that opportunity set, that is really understanding the client’s desire for risk or something maybe in a lower risk side from middle-market lending or midmarket enterprises where you can support that organization through its growth cycle all the way to some higher-yielding, obviously, with more risk assets on the opportunistic or even the special situations side. But it – it expands many things. And going back of the commentary around the evolution of the space, private credit today and what you can do has changed so profoundly, it expands the liquidity spectrum, it expands the risk spectrum. And the great news is, with the number of companies both here and abroad, the opportunities that is – it’s being enriched every single day. And were certainly seeing, particularly going back to the question are some of these assets coming from the traditional side, the public side. When we think of private credit, you are seeing private credit now been incorporated in fixed-income allocations. This is a – it’s a yelling asset. This is – these are debt instruments, these are structures that we’re creating. We’re trying to flexible and dynamic with these clients. But it really is an area where we think – it really is still at its – at its infancy relevant to where it can potentially be. RITHOLTZ: That’s really quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): It’s Rob Riggle. I’m hosting Season 2 of the iHeart radio podcast, Veterans You Should Know. You may know me as the comedic actor from my work in the Hangover, Stepbrothers or 21 Jump Street. But before Hollywood, I was a United States Marine Corps officer for 23 years. For this Veterans Day, I’ll be sitting down with those who proudly served in the Armed Forces to hear about the lessons they’ve learned, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and the life-changing impact of their service. Through this four-part series, we’ll hear the inspiring journeys of these veterans and how they took those values during their time of service and apply them to transition out of the military and into civilian life. Listen to Veterans You Should Know on the iHeart radio app, Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcast. RITHOLTZ: Let’s stick with that concept of money rotating away from fixed income. I have to imagine clients are starved for yields. So what are the popular substitutes for this? Is it primarily structured credit? Is it real estate? How do you respond to an institution that says, hey, I’m not getting any sort of realistic coupon on my bonds, I need a substitute? CONWAY: Yes. It’s all of those in many respects. And I think to the role, even around now a time where people have questions around inflation, how do substitute this yield efficiency or certainly make up for that shortfall, how do you think about a world where increasingly seeing inflation, not of the transitory thing it feels certainly quasi-permanent. These are a lot of questions we’re getting. And certainly, real estate is an is important part of how they think about inflation protection, how client think about yield, but quite frankly too, we’ve – we’ve gone through something none of us really had thought about a global pandemic. And as I think about real estate, just how you allocate to the sector, what was very heavily influenced with retail assets, high street, our shopping behaviors and habits have changed. We all occupied offices for obviously many, many years pre the pandemic. The shape of how we operate and how we do that has changed. So, I think some of the underlying investment – investments have changed where you’ve seen heavily weighted towards office space to leisure, travel in the past. Actually, now using a rotation in some respects out of those, just given some of the uncertainties around what the future holds as we come – come through a really difficult time. But the great thing about this sector is between senior living, between student housing, between logistics and so many other parts, there are ways in real estate to capture where there’s – where there’s demand. So still a robust opportunity set and it – and we do think it can absolutely be yield enhancing. We mentioned infrastructure. Even if you think about – and we mention OECD and non-OECD, emerging and developed, when I think about Asia, in particular, just as a subset of the world in which we’re living in, that is a $2.6 trillion alternative market today growing at a 15 percent CAGR. And quite frankly, the old-growth is driven by the large economic growth in the region. So, even from a regional perspective, if we pivot, it houses 57 percent of the world’s population and yet delivers 47 percent of the world’s economic growth. So, think of that and then with regard to infrastructure and goes back to that, this is truly a global phenomenon. So if we just even take that sector, Barry, you’ll realize that the way to maintain that type of growth, to attract capital, to keep capital, it really requires an investment of significant amount of money to be able to sustain that. And when you have 42 million people in a APAC migrating to cities in the year going back to digitalization, that’s an important thing. So, when I say we’re so much at the infancy in infrastructure, I really mean it. It can be water, it can be sewer systems, it can be digital, it can be roads, there’s so much to this. And then even down to the regional perspective, it’s a – it’s a need that doesn’t just exist in the U.S. So, for these assets, this tend to be long in duration. There’s both equity and debt. And on the debt side, quite frankly, very few outside of our insurance clients and their general account are taking advantage of the debt opportunity. And – and as we both know, to finance these projects that are becoming more plentiful every single day, across the world, including like, I said, in APAC in scale, there’s an opportunity in both sides. And I think that’s where the acid mix change happen. It’s recognizing that the attributes of these assets can have a role, the attributes of these assets can potentially replace some of these traditional assets and I think you’re going to see it grow. So, infrastructure to us, it’s really equity and debt. And then on the credit side, like I mentioned, again, too, it’s a very, very big and growing market. And certainly, the biggest area today from our vantage point is middle-market lending from a scale opportunity standpoint. So, we think much more to come in all of those spaces. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. And let’s just stay with the concept of public versus private. That line is kind of getting blurred and the secondary markets is liquidity coming to, for lack of a better phrase, pre-public equities, tells little bit about that space. Is that an area that is ripe for growth for BlackRock? CONWAY: Yes. We absolutely think it is and you’re absolutely correct. The secondary market is – has grown quite substantial. If you even look at just the private equity secondary market and what will transact this year, I think it will be potentially in excess of 100 billion. And that’s what were clear, not to mention what will be visible and what will be analyzed. And that speaks to me what’s really happening and the innovation that we mentioned earlier. It’s no longer about just primary exposure. It’s secondary exposure. When we see all sort of interest and co-investment opportunities as well, I think the available sources of alpha and the flexibility you can now have, albeit if directed and advised, I believe the right way, Barry, can be very helpful and in the portfolio. So, your pre-IPO, it is a big part of actually what we do and we think about growth equity. There is – it’s a significant amount of capital following that space. Now, from our vantage point, as one of the largest investors in the public equity market and now obviously one of the largest investors and they in the private side, the bridge between – between private to public – there’s a real need. IPOs are not going away. And I think smart, informed capital to help with this journey, this journey is really – is really a necessity and a need. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about this recent restructuring. You are first named Global Head of Blackrock Alternative Investors in April 2019, the entire alternatives business was restructured, tell us a little bit about how that restructuring is going? CONWAY: Continues to go really well, Barry. When you look at the flow of acid from our clients, I think, hopefully, that’s speaks to the performance we’ve been generating. I joined the firm, as you know, albeit, 11 years ago and being very close to the alternative franchise as a critical thing for me and running the institutional platform. To me, when you watched this migration of asset towards alternatives, it was obviously very evident for decades now that this is a critical leg of the stool as our clients are thinking about their portfolios. We’re continuing to innovate. We’re continuing to invest, and thankfully, we’re continuing to deliver strong performance. We’re growing at about high double digits on an annual basis but we’re trying to purposeful too around where that growth is coming from. I think the reality is when you look at the competitive universe, I think the last number I saw, it was about 38,000 alternative asset managers out there today, obviously, coming from hedge funds all the way to private credits and private equity. So, competition is real and I do think the outcomes for our clients are starting to really grow. Unfortunately, some – in some cases, obviously, very good, and in some cases, actually not great. So our focus, Barry, is really much on how can we deliver performance, how can we be a partner? And I think we been rewarded with a trust and the faith our clients have in us because they’re seeing something different, I think, from us. Now, the scale of the business that you mentioned earlier really gives us tentacles into the market that I believe allows us to access what I think is the new alpha which is in many respects, given the heft of competition sourcing and originating new investments is certainly harder but for us, sitting in or having alternative team, sitting in 50 offices around the world, really investing in the markets because that – the market they grew up with and have relationships within, I think this network value that we have is something that’s quite special. And I think in the world that’s becoming increasingly competitive, we’re going to continue to use and harness that network value to pursue opportunities. And thankfully, as a result of the partnership we’ve been pursuing with her clients, like, we’ve – we’re certainly looking for opportunities and investments in our funds. But because of the brand, I think because of the successes, opportunities seeks us as much as we seek opportunity and that has been something that we look at an ongoing basis and feel very privileged to actually have that inbound flow as well. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. There was a quote of yours I found while doing some prep for this conversation that I have to have you expand on. Quote, “The relationship between Blackrock’s alternative capabilities and wealth firms marked a large opportunity for growth in the coming years.” This was back in 2019. So, the first part of the question is, was your expectations correct? Did you – did you see the sort of growth you were hoping for? And more broadly, how large of an opportunity is alternatives, not just for BlackRock but for the entire investment industry? CONWAY: Yes. It’s been very much an institutional opportunity set up until now. And there’s so much to be done, still, to really democratize alternatives and we certainly joke around making alternatives less alternative. Actually, even the nomenclature we use and how we describe it doesn’t kind of make sense anymore. It’s such a core – an important allocation to our clients, Barry, that just calling it alternative seems wrong. Just about the institutional clients. It ranges, I think, as I mentioned on our – some of our more conservative clients which would be pension plans which really have liquidity needs on a monthly basis because of the liabilities they have to think about. At about 25 plus percent in private markets, to endowments, foundations, family offices, going to 50 percent plus. So, it’s a really important part and has been for now many years the institutional client ph communities outcomes. I think the thing that we, as an industry, have to change is alternatives has to be for the many, not for the few. And quite frankly, it’s been for the few. And as we talked about some of the attributes and the important attributes of these asset classes to think that those who have been less fortunate in their careers can’t access, things they can enrich their future retirement outcomes, to me, is a failing. And we have to address that. That comes from regulation changes, it comes from structuring of new products, it comes from education and it comes from this knowledge transmission where clients in the wealth segment can understand the role of alternatives and the context of what can do as they invest in equities and fixed income too. And we think that’s a big shortfall. So, the journey today, just to give you a sense, as we look at her clients in Europe on the wealth side, on average, as you look from what we would call the credited investors all the way through to more ultra-high-net worth individuals, their allocation to alternatives, we believe, stands at around two to three percent of their total portfolio. In the U.S., we believe it stands at three to five. So, most of those intermediaries, we speak to our partners who were more supporting and serving the wealth channel. They have certainly an ambition to help their clients grow that to 20 percent and potentially beyond that. So, when I look at that gap of let’s call it two to three to 20 percent in a market that just given the explosion in wealth around the world, I think the last numbers I saw, this is a $65 trillion market. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: That speaks to the shortfall relative to the ambition. And how’s it been going? We have a number of things and capabilities we’ve set up to allow for this market to experience, hopefully, private equity, hedge funds, credit, and an infrastructure in ways they haven’t in the past. We’ve done this in the U.S., we’re doing it now in Europe, but I will say, Barry, this is still very much at the start of the journey. Wealth is a really important part of our future given our business, quite, frankly is 90 plus percent institutional today, but we’re looking to change that by, hopefully, democratizing these asset classes and making it so much more accessible in that of the past. RITHOLTZ: So, we hinted at this before but I’m going to ask the question outright, how significant is interest rates to client’s risk appetites, how much of the current low rate environment are driving people to move chunks of their assets from fixed income to alternatives? CONWAY: It’s really significant, Barry. I think the transition of these portfolios is quite profound, So you – and I think the unfortunate thing in some respects as this transition happens that you’re introducing new variables and new risks. The reason I say it’s unfortunate and that I think as an industry, this goes back to the education around the assets you own, understanding the role, understanding the various outcomes. I think it’s so incredibly important and that this the time where complete transparency is needed. And quite frankly, we’re investing capital that’s not ours. As an industry, we’re investing our client’s assets and they need to know exactly the underlying investments. And in good and bad times, how would those assets behave? So certainly, interest rates are driving a flow of capital away from these traditional assets, fixed-income, and absolutely in towards real estate, infrastructure, private creditors, et cetera, in the pursuit of this – this yield. But I do – I do think one of the things that’s critically important for the institutional channel, not just the wealth which are newer entrants is this transmission of education, of data because that’s how I think you build a better balanced portfolio and that’s a – that’s a real conundrum, I think, that the industry is facing and certainly your clients too. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. So let’s talk a little bit about the differences between investing in the private side versus the public markets, the most obvious one has to be the illiquidity. When you buy stocks or bonds, you get a print every microsecond, every tick, but most of these investments are only marked quarterly or annually, what does this illiquidity do when you’re interacting with clients? How do you – how do you discuss this with them in and how do perceive some of the challenges of illiquid investments? CONWAY: Over the – over the past number of decades, I think our clients have largely held too much liquidity in their portfolios. Like, so what we are finding is the ability to take on illiquidity risk. And obviously, in pursuit of that premium above, the traditional markets, I mean, I think the sentiment they are is it an absolute right one. That transition towards private market exposure, we think is an important one just given the return objectives, the majority of our clients’ need but then also again, most importantly now, with geo policy, with uncertainty, with interest rate uncertainty, inflation uncertainty, I mean, the – going back to the resilience point, the characteristics now by introducing these assets into the mix is important. And I think that’s – that point is maybe what I’ll expand on. As were talking to clients, using the Aladdin systems, and as you know, we bought eFront technologies, albeit a couple of years ago, by allowing, I think, great data and technology to help our clients understand these assets and the context of how they should own them relative to other liquidity needs, their risk tolerances, and the return expectations are really trying to use tech and data to provide a better understanding and comprehension of the outcomes. And as we continue to introduce these concepts and these approaches, by the way, that there is, as you know, so used to in the traditional side, it – it gives them more comfort around what they should and can expect. And that, to me, is a really important part of what we’re doing. So, we’ve released recently new technology to the wealth sector because, quite frankly, we mentioned it before, the 60-40 portfolio is a thing of the past. And that introduction of about 20 percent into alternatives, we applaud our partners who are – who are suggesting that to their clients. We think it’s something they have to do. What we’re doing to support that is really bringing thought leadership, education, but also portfolio construction techniques and data to bear in that conversation. And this goes back to – it’s no longer an alternative, right? This is a core allocation so the comprehension of what it is you own, the behavior of the asset in good and bad times is so necessary. And that’s become a very big thing with regard to our activities, Barry, because your clients are looking to understand better when you’re talking about assets that are very complex in their nature. RITHOLTZ: So, 60-40 is now 50-30-20, something along those lines? CONWAY: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Really, really intriguing. So, what are clients really looking for these days? We talked about yield. Are they also looking for downside protection on the equity side or inflation hedges you hinted at? How broad are the demands of clients in the alternative space? CONWAY: Yes. It ranges the gamut. And even – we didn’t speak to even hedge funds, we’ve had differing levels of interest in the hedge fund world for years and I, quite frankly, think some degree of disappointment too, Barry, with regard to the alpha, the returns that were produced relevant to the cost. RITHOLTZ: It’s a tough space to say the very least exactly. CONWAY: Exactly right. But when you start to see volatility introducing itself, you can really see where skill plays a critical factor. So, we are absolutely seeing, in the hedge fund, a resurgence of interest and demand by virtue of those who really have honed in on their scale, who have demonstrated an up-and-down markets and ability to protect and preserve capital, but importantly, in a low uncorrelated way build attractive risk-adjusted returns. We’re starting to see more activity there again too. I think with an alternatives, you’ve really seen a predominant demand coming from privates. These private markets, like a set of growths so extraordinarily fast and the opportunities that is rich, the reality too on the public side which is where our hedge funds operate, they continue to, in large part, do a really good job. The issue with our industry now with these 38,000 managers is how do you distill all the information? How do you think about your needs as a client and pick a manager who can deliver the outcomes? And just to give you a sense, the difference now between a top-performing private equity manager, a top quartile versus the bottom quartile, the difference can be measured in tens of percent. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: Whereas if you look at the public equity side, for example, a large cap manager, top quartile versus bottom quartile is measured in hundreds of basis points. So, there is definitely a world that has started where the outcomes our clients will experience can be great as they pursue yield, as they pursue diversification, inflation protection, et cetera. I think the caveat that I would say is outcomes can vary greatly. So manager underwriting and the importance of it now, I think, really is this something to pay attention to because if you do have that bottom performing at the bottom quartile manager, it will affect your outcomes, obviously. And that’s what we collectively have to face. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about real estate. There are a couple of different areas of investment on the private side. Rent to own was a very large one and we’ve seen some lesser by the flip algo-driven approaches. Tell us what Blackrock is doing in the real estate space and how many different approaches are you bringing to bear on this? CONWAY: Yes, we think it’s both equity and debt. Again, no different to the infrastructure side, these projects need to be financed. But on the – as you think about the sectors in which you can avail of the opportunity, you’ve no doubt heard a lot and I mentioned earlier this demand for logistics facilities. The explosion of shopping online and having, until we obviously have the supply chain disruption, an ability to have nearly immediate satisfaction because the delivery of the good to your home has become so readily available. It’s a very different consumer experience. So the explosion and the need for logistics facilities to support this type of behavior of the consumer is really an area that will continue to be of great interest too. And then you think about the transformation of business and you think about the aging world. Unfortunately, you can look at various economies where our populations are decreasing. And quite frankly, we’re getting older. And so, were you’re thinking of the context of that senior living facilities, it becomes a really important part, not just as part of the healthcare solution that come with it, but also from living as well. So, single-family, multifamily, opportunities continue to be something that the world looks at because there is really the shortfall of available properties for people to live in. And as the communities evolve to support the growing age of the population, tremendous opportunity there too. But we won’t give up on office space. It really isn’t going away. Now, if you even think about our younger generation here in BlackRock, they love being in New York, they love being in London, they love being in Hong Kong. So, the shape and the footprint may change slightly. But the necessity to be in the major financial centers, it still exists. But how we weighed the risks has definitely changed, certainly, for the – for the short-term and medium-term future. But real estate continues to be, Barry, a critical part of how we express our thought around the investment opportunity set. But clients largely do this themselves too. The direct investing from the clients is quite significant because they too see this as still as a rich investment ground, albeit, one that has changed quite a bit as a result of COVID. RITHOLTZ: Well, I’m fascinated by the real estate issue especially having seen some massive construction take place in cities pre-pandemic, look over in Manhattan at Hudson Yards and look at what’s taking place in London, not just the center of London but all – but all around it and I’m forced to admit the future is going to look somewhat different than the past with some hybrid combination of collaborative work in the office and remote work from home when it’s convenient, that sort of suggests that we now have an excess of capacity in office space. Do you see it that way or is this just something that we’re going to grow into and just the nature of working in offices is changing but offices are not going away? CONWAY: Yes. I do think there’s – it’s a very valid point and that in certain cities, you will see access, in others we just don’t, Barry. And quite frankly, as a firm, too, as you know, we have adopted flexibility with our teams that were very fortunate. The technologies in which we created at BlackRock has just become such an amazing enabler, not just to help us as we mention manage the portfolios, help us a better portfolio construction, understand risks, but also to communicate with our clients. I think we’ve all witnessed and experienced a way to have connectivity that allows them to believe that commerce can exist beyond the boundaries of one building. However, I do look at our property portfolios and even the things that we’re doing. Rent collections still being extraordinarily high, occupancy now getting back up to pre-pandemic levels, not in all cities, but in many of the major ones that have reopened. And certainly, the demand for people to just socialize, that the demand for human connectivity is really high. It’s palpable, right? We see it here too. The smiles on people’s faces, they’re back in the office, conversing together, innovating together. When people were feeling unsafe, unquestionably, I think the question marks around the role of office space was really brought to bear. But as were coming through this, as you’ve seen vaccine rates change, as you’ve seen the infection rates fall, as you’ve seen confidence grow, the return to work is really happening and return to work to office work is really happening, albeit, now with degrees of flexibility. So, going back to the – I do believe in certain areas. You’re seeing a surplus. But in many areas you’re absolutely seeing a deficit and the reason I say that, Barry, is we are seeing occupancy in certain building at such a high level. And frankly, the demand for more space being so high, it’s uneven and this goes back to then where do you invest our client’s capital, making sense of those trends, predicting where you will see resilience versus stress and building that into the portfolio of consequences as you – as you better risk manage and mitigate. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And so, we are seeing this transition across a lot of different segments of investing, are you seeing any products that were or – or investing styles that was once thought of as primarily institutional that are sort of working their way towards the retail side of things? Meaning going from institutional to accredited to mom-and-pop investors? CONWAY: Well, certainly, in the past, private equity was really an asset class for institutional investors. And I think that’s – that has changed in a very profound way. I mentioned earlier are the regulation has become a more adaptive, but we also have heard, in many respects, in providing this access. And I think the perception of owning and be part of this illiquid investment opportunity set was hard to stomach because many didn’t understand the attributes and what it could bring and I think we’ve been trying to solve for that and what you’re seeing now with – with regulators, understanding that the difference between if we take it quite simply as DD versus DC, the differences between the options you as a participant in a retirement plan are so vastly different that – and I think there’s a broad recognition now that there needs to be more equity with regard to what happens there. And private equity been a really established part of the alternatives marketplace was once, I think, really believed to be an institutional asset class, but albeit now has become much more accessible to wealth. We’ve seen it by structuring activities in Europe working with the regulators. Now, we’re able to provide private equity exposure to clients across the continent and really getting access to what was historically very much an institutional asset class. And I do think the receptivity is extraordinarily high just throughout people’s careers, they have seen wealth been created as a result of engineering a great outcome with great management teams integrate business. And I do believe the receptivity towards private equity is high as an example. In the U.S., too, working with the various intermediaries and being able to wrap now private equity in a ’40 Act fund, for example, is possible. And by being able to deliver that to the many as opposed to the few, we think has been a very good success story. And I think, obviously, appreciated by our clients as well. So, I would look at that were seeing across private equity as well as private credit and quite frankly infrastructure accuracy. You’re seeing now regulation that’s becoming more appreciative of these asset classes, you’re seeing a more – a greater level of openness and willingness to allow for these assets to be part of many people’s experiences across their investment portfolio. And now, with innovation around structures, as an industry, were able to wrap these investments in a way that our clients can really access them. So, think across the board, it probably speaks the innovation that’s happening but I do think that accessibility has changed in a very significant way. But you’ve really seen it happen in private equity first and now that’s expanding across these various other asset classes. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. I know I only have you for a relatively limited period of time, so let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all of our guests. Starting with tell us what you’ve been streaming these days. Give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime shows. CONWAY: That is an interesting question, Barry. I don’t a hell of a lot of TV, I got to tell you. I am – I keep busy with three wonderful children and a beautiful wife and between the sports activities. When I do watch TV, I have to tell you I’m addicted to sports and having – I may have mentioned earlier, growing up playing rugby which is not the most common sport in the U.S., I stream nonstop the Six Nations that happens in Europe where Ireland is one of those six nations that compete against each other on an annual basis. Right now, they’re playing a lot of sites that are touring for the southern hemisphere. And to me, the free times I have is either enjoying golf or really enjoying rugby because I think it’s an extraordinary sport. Obviously, very physical, but very enjoyable to watch. And that, that truly is my passion outside of family. RITHOLTZ: Interesting stuff. Tell us a bit about your mentors, who helped to shape your early career? CONWAY: Well, it even goes back to some of the aspects of sports. Playing on a team and being on a field where you’re working together, there’s a strategy involved with that. Now, I used to really appreciate how we approach playing in the All-Ireland League. How we thought about our opponents, how we thought about the structure, how we thought about each individual with on the rugby field and the team having a role. They’re all different but your role. And actually, even starting from an early age, Barry, thinking about, I don’t know, it’s sports but how to build a great team with those various skills, perspective, that can be a really, really powerful combination when done well. And certainly, from an early age, that allowed me to appreciate that – actually, in the work environment, it’s not too different. You surround yourself with just really great people that have high integrity that are empathetic and have a degree of humility that when working together, good things can happen. And I will say, it really started at sports. But I think of today and even in BlackRock, how Larry Fink thinks about the world and I think Larry, truly, is a visionary. And then Rob Kapito who really helps lead the charge across our various businesses. Speaking and conversing with them on a daily basis, getting their perspectives, trying to get inside your head and thinking about the world from their vantage point. To me, it’s a huge thing about my ongoing personal career and development and I really enjoy those moments because I think what you recognize is independent of how much you think you know, there’s so much more to know. And this journey is an ever evolving one where you have to appreciate that you’ll never know everything and you need to be a student every single day. So, I’d probably cite those, Barry, as certainly the two most important mentors in my life today, professionally and personally quite frankly. RITHOLTZ: Really. Very interesting. Let’s talk about what you’re reading these days. Tell us about some of your favorite books and what you’re reading currently? CONWAY: Barry, what I love to read, I love to read history, believe it or not. From a very small country that seems to have exported many, many people, love to understand the history of Ireland. So, there’s so many books. And having three children that have been born in the U.S. and my wife is a New Yorker, trying to help them understand some of their history and what made them what they are. I love delving into Irish history and how the country had moments of greatness and moments of tremendous struggle. Outside of that, I really don’t enjoy science fiction or any of these books. I love reading, you name any paper and any magazine on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I wake at about 4:30, 5 o’clock every day. I spent my first two hours of the day just consuming as much information as possible. I enjoy it. But it’s all – it’s really investment-related magazines, not books. It’s every paper that you could possibly imagine, Barry, and I just – I have a great appreciation for certainly trying to be a student of the world because that’s what we’re operating in an I find it just a very interesting avenue to get an appreciation to for the, not just the opportunities, but the challenges we’re collectively facing as a society but also as a business. RITHOLTZ: I’m with you on that mass consumption of investing-related news. It sounds like you and I have the same a morning routine. Let’s talk about of what sort of advice you would give to a recent college graduate who was interested in a career of alternative investments? CONWAY: Well, the industry has – it’s just gone through such extraordinary growth and the difference, when I’ve started versus today, the career opportunity set has changed so much. And I think I try to remind anyone of our analysts who come into each one of our annual classes, right, as we bring in the new recruits. I think about how talented they are for us, Barry, and how privileged we all are to be in this industry and work for the clients that we do. It’s just such an honor to do that. But I kind of – I try to remind them of that. At the end of the day, whether you’re supporting an institution, that institution is the face of many people in the background and alternatives has really now become such an important part of their experience and we talked about earlier just this challenge of retirement, if we do a good job, these institutions that support the many, they can have, hopefully, a retirement that involves dignity and they can have an ability to do things they so wanted to do as they work so hard over their lives. Getting that that personal connection and allowing for those newbies to understand that that’s the effect that you can have, an alternatives whether it’s private equity, real estate, infrastructure, private credit, hedge funds, all of these now, with the scale at which they’re operating at can allow for a great career. But my advice to them is always don’t forget your career is supporting other people. And that comes directly to how we intersect with wealth channel, it comes indirectly as a result of the institutions. And it’s such a privilege to do that. I didn’t envision when I grew up, as I mentioned, my first job, milking cows and back in a small town in the middle of Ireland that I would be one day leading an alternatives business within BlackRock. I see that as a great privilege. So, for those who are joining afresh, hopefully, try to remind them that it is for all of us and show up with empathy, dignity, compassion, and do the best you can, and hopefully, these people be sure will serve them well. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what you know about the world of alternative investing today you wish you knew 25 years or so ago when you were first getting started? CONWAY: I think if we had invested much more heavily as an industry in technology, we would not be in the position we are today. And I say that, Barry, from a number of aspects. I mentioned in this shortfall of information our clients are dealing with today. They’re making choices to divest from one asset class to invest in another. To do that and do that effectively, they need great transparency, they needed real-time in many respects, it can’t be just a quarterly line basis. And if we had been better prepared as an industry to provide the technology and the data to help our clients really appreciate what it is they own, how we’re managing the assets on their behalf, I think they would be so much better served. I think we’re very fortunate at this firm to have built a business on the back of technology for albeit 30 plus years and were investing over $1 billion a year in technology as I’m sure you know. But we need to see more of that in the industry. So, the client experience is so important, stop, let’s demystify alternatives. It’s not that alternative. Let’s provide education and data and it’s become so large relative to other asset classes, the need to support, to educate, and transmit information, not data, information, so our client understand it, is at a paramount now. And I think it certainly as an industry, things have to change there. If I knew how big the growth would have been and how prominent these asset classes were becoming, I would oppose so much harder on that front 30 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Thank you, Edwin, for being so generous with your time. We’ve been speaking with Edwin Conway. He is the head of Blackrock Investor Alternatives Group. If you enjoy this conversation, please check out all of our prior discussions. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast at. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at MIB You can sign up for my daily reads at Check out my weekly column at Follow me on Twitter, @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Mohammed ph is my audio engineer. Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my head of research, Atika Valbrun is our project manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 22nd, 2021

Here"s what 14 top executives are saying about the "metaverse"

Companies including Disney, Bumble, and Coinbase said in recent earnings calls that they plan to make investments in metaverse technology. Getty Images Tech leaders are increasingly using the vague term "metaverse" in earnings calls with investors.  Many are following the lead of Meta, who announced it would be focusing on building the metaverse. Executives had different expectations for what the "metaverse" will be when questioned in earnings calls. The "metaverse" has become a hot topic for executives, analysts, and investors alike, being mentioned in the earnings calls of more than 15 companies in the past few months alone. As the tech world grapples with what the metaverse will actually look like, several executives have started weaving mentions of it into discussion with investors. However, their remarks indicate they are still fairly unsure of what specifically the metaverse is and how it functions. While Facebook's recent rebranding to Meta helped increase awareness of the metaverse and propelled it to a topic of global conversation, even CEO Mark Zuckerberg only has a vague notion of the definition of the metaverse. "The best way to understand the metaverse is to experience it yourself, but it's a little tough because it doesn't fully exist yet," Zuckerberg said at a conference last month. Some companies are divided on whether it represents a real virtual space or if it's just a concept, while others are unsure if a metaverse will ever actually exist and are weary of the nebulous technology. Analysts at Morgan Stanley said the metaverse could represent an $8 trillion opportunity, but it would be a challenge to get people interested in using it. Augmented reality and artificial intelligence experts also told Insider that a metaverse could drastically amplify society's political polarization.Still, companies are willing to make large investments in the metaverse, even if they don't fully understand it yet. The space is expected to be worth $82 billion by 2025, according to The Information, and companies plan to expand their goods and services into the experimental virtual space.Here's what some company executives are saying about the metaverse, and what they intend to do with it.Agora Inc.The real-time video platform just announced a network product that would "accelerate any kind of data, not just video or audio, and for any application, whether it's gaming, e-commerce, collaboration, or metaverse," according to CEO Tony Zhao."Recently, we have seen an accelerating trend of real-time engagement in extended reality environment, creating the infrastructure of metaverse," Zhao said in a November call with investors. "Our plan is to further enhance our capabilities in these areas and become an instrumental infrastructure provider for metaverse."Bilibili"Metaverse is a concept, it's not a product," Bilibili CEO Rui Chen said in a call with investors on Wednesday, suggesting elements of the metaverse have existed for a long time, but companies are only now jumping onboard."I think that if someone hears the concept of metaverse and decided to get into this business, probably would be a little bit too late," Chen said. "When we talk about metaverse, we think this is not something that can be done by a singular company. You need to have massive content production capability to produce another world."Whitney Wolfe Herd is the founder and CEO of Bumble.Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Fast CompanyBumbleBumble plans to build new engagement and community relationships for users "through the communities they build, the virtual goods and experiences they acquire or through new ways of owning their identity as they navigate the metaverse," CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said in an earnings call in November."Built on blockchain technology, we believe [Bumble BFF] will enable a level of participation and empowerment that will make our mission come to life," Herd said. "In the near term, this means new engagement, participation and creator models."Coinbase Co-founder and CEO Brian ArmstrongPhoto by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunchCoinbaseCoinbase COO Emilie Choi said in a November earnings call that the company had been spending "a lot of time" developing the metaverse alongside blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and NFTs, which are being used by "tens of millions of Americans.""We think there's just an abundance of innovation in this space, and we want to keep doubling down on those opportunities," Choi said in the call. Dolby Laboratories Dolby laboratories said it sees potential of the metaverse to integrate with its technology, particularly when it comes to auditory features. "I think the metaverse can take many forms, but ultimately, it is an audiovisual experience," CEO Kevin Yeman said in an earnings call on Tuesday, noting he hopes to integrate it with their technology. "I think some of our developers, they even define themselves as virtual environments and maybe, by extension, the metaverse."Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook Connect 2021FacebookFacebookFacebook's Mark Zuckerberg announced the company was changing its name to Meta in a push to focus its attention on the metaverse. Zuckerberg previously said Meta's first venture into the metaverse would be focused on building a virtual reality workspace, where employees could interact in virtual meetings. "You can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it," Zuckerberg told The Verge.Match GroupMatch Group CEO Sharmistha Dubey said in an earnings call in November she imagines using metaverse features for the company's dating apps, like "a piano bar where people's digital selves are gathering around, but they're actually playing their pianos at home and jamming with others.""It is metaverse experiences coming to life in a way that is transformative to how people meet and get to know each other on a dating or social discovery platform and is much more akin to how people interact in the real world," Dubey said. Microsoft CEO Satya NadellaSean Gallup/Getty ImagesMicrosoftMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella touted the company's new Azure service in its earnings call in July to help decentralize computing, with companies like Campbell Soup, L'Oréal, and SAP migrating to its service."As the digital and physical worlds converge, we are leading in a new layer of the infrastructure stack, the 'enterprise metaverse," Nadella said.NetEaseThe Chinese tech entertainment company said the company is "technologically ready" for a move into the metaverse space."The metaverse is indeed the new buzzword everywhere today. But then, on the other hand, I think nobody has actually had firsthand experience in what it is," Margaret Shi, NetEase head of investor relations, said on a November earnings call.David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox, presents at the Roblox Developer Conference on August 10, 2019 in Burlingame, California.Ian Tuttle/Getty ImagesRobloxRoblox has been frequently cited as an example of a potential metaverse model. Roblox CEO David Baszucki said in an earnings call in June that the company is driven to "really participating in inventing and shepherding in the metaverse in an innovative way.""When we think about the metaverse and what Roblox is, we do think of it as a utility," Baszucki said.The company aims to connect more than 1 billion people in the metaverse, according to Chief Product Officer Manuel Bronstein. The metaverse will also house experiences from ad agencies, according to Chief Business Officer Craig Donato.Unity SoftwareThe video game software company recently acquired Weta Digital, which it said will help with entry into the metaverse space, especially with a creator-focused approach. In an effort to populate the metaverse, the company has started building thousands of digital assets, such as virtual collectibles."That's going to really help us extract and help build the metaverse around the notion the world's a better place with more creators in it," CEO John Riccitiello said on an earnings call in November. "This really puts under our platform something that is, at least from an artist perspective, truly magic and they're the largest tappable audience we have in our universe."Vonage HoldingsThe cloud communications provider said it's focusing on cloud-based technology to increase user engagement in preparation for something bigger, hinting at use in a metaverse context. Vonage Holdings CEO Rory Read said on an earnings call in November that the company expects to see a more fleshed out version of the metaverse in the next five to ten years."We believe this is only going to accelerate as this 360-degree kind of engagement in the metaverse expands and explodes," Read said.Bob Chapek, CEO of the Walt Disney Co.Jeff Gritchen: MediaNews Group: Orange County Register via Getty ImagesThe Walt Disney CompanyCEO Bob Chapek said he is confident in Disney's ability to capitalize on the metaverse with its broad properties, citing the company's history with adopting technologies, like synchronized audio and computer animation."Suffice it to say, our efforts to date are merely a prologue to a time when we'll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing for storytelling without boundaries in our own Disney metaverse," Chapek said in a November call, suggesting the company creates its own metaverse.Warner Music GroupWarner Music Group discussed the potential for content creation and distribution for their music on large-scale metaverse platforms, like Roblox and Fortnite, in its earnings call in November."When you begin to look at the global reach, the number of people that spend meaningful amounts of time in these new worlds, I think it provides a universe of opportunity," CEO Stephen Cooper said.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 21st, 2021

Calix (CALX) Unveils Network Enhancements, Offers 10G Services

Calix (CALX) launches end-to-end enhancements for Intelligent Access EDGE, and Calix Operations Cloud to deliver consistent 10G services. Calix, Inc. CALX recently unveiled avant-garde improvements to its Intelligent Access EDGE and Operations Cloud platforms. These two offerings are powered by the Network Innovation Platform (AXOS). The latest move underscores Calix’s commitment to providing enhanced 10G services that will support applications like 4K content streaming and cloud-enabled interactive gaming on the back of superior future-proofing capabilities.The newly added end-to-end improvements include Passive Optical Network (PON) redundancy capabilities, alarm aggregation and analysis capabilities, optics extending geographic coverage more than 300%, and new Optical Network Terminals (ONTs). Thanks to the 10G Always On services, these capabilities will aid broadband service providers (BSPs) to minimize operational expenses in remote rural areas with upgraded subscriber services.It is worth mentioning that at a time when the telco industry is facing unprecedented demand for high-speed and high-bandwidth services, broadband operations teams are managing the deployment of advanced network platforms, one of them being Calix Operations Cloud. It enables personnel to promptly respond to changes in bandwidth usage and subscriber demand in real-time to improve network health while ensuring the best service delivery.Encouraged by valuable customer feedback, BSPs can integrate analytics into their processes with a 360-degree view of both the access and premises networks. Apart from identifying security issues and significantly reducing truck rolls, the solution eliminates human intervention by optimizing and automating tasks that are simple and repetitive.Calix Operations Cloud capitalizes on superior machine learning algorithms to prioritize maintenance recommendations, thereby replacing red-flagged infrastructure before equipment failure occurs. The latest Intelligent Access EDGE and new XGS-PON capabilities have been specifically designed to enable BSPs to streamline 10G-powered service delivery even in extreme environments.The Calix Network Innovation Platform capability for Automated Network Service Provisioning and GP1101X XGS-PON ONT with the on-premises 10G LAN connectivity reduces OPEX and removes the hassle of on-premises hardware upgrades. This will enable BSPs to meet subscriber requirements with greater flexibility. Also, the unique combination of Operations Cloud enhancements and Network Innovation Platform XGS-PON Redundancy allows repair teams to rapidly pinpoint and restore damaged fiber lines, thereby ensuring a continuous supply of critical network services.Calix is well-positioned to benefit from customer base expansion amid the coronavirus-induced disruptions. The company is committed to aligning investments with its strategy and maintaining strong discipline over operating expenses, along with a favorable product and customer mix. Moreover, the transition of Calix into a communications cloud and software platform business will manifest in improved financial performance over the long term.Calix currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Its shares have surged 205.1% against the industry’s decline of 1.7% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMaterialise NV MTLS is a better-ranked stock in the industry, sporting a Zacks Rank #1. The consensus estimate for current-year earnings has been revised a whopping 140% upward over the past 30 days.Materialise delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 141.3%, on average. The stock has gained 18.8% in the past three months.Datto Holding Corp. MSP is another solid pick for investors, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The consensus estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 11.1% upward over the past 30 days.Datto delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 34.6%, on average. It has declined 5% in the past three months. MSP has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 6.1%.Mimecast Limited MIME also carries a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised 7% upward over the past 30 days.Mimecast delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 21.8%, on average. It has returned 40.7% in the past three months. MIME has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 35%. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Calix, Inc (CALX): Free Stock Analysis Report Materialise NV (MTLS): Free Stock Analysis Report Mimecast Limited (MIME): Free Stock Analysis Report Datto Holding Corp. (MSP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 19th, 2021

Euronet (EEFT) Unveils Solution to Ease Cross-Border Payments

Euronet (EEFT) launches payments platform called Dandelion, which is equipped with an expansive global reach and has the ability to ease cross-border payments for businesses and consumers. Euronet Worldwide, Inc. EEFT recently unveiled an innovative business to business (B2B) cross-border payments platform named Dandelion. The real-time solution can aid several financial players such as fintechs, banks, ERPs and tech platforms to seamlessly process cross-border payments into business or consumer accounts.Shares of Euronet lost 4.3% on Nov 10, replicating declines in broader markets.Dandelion is a first-of-a-kind product launched by Euronet as it does not merely focus on enhancing the payments interface but also tends to effectively communicate both sides of a cross-border transaction. The product addresses the dire need for end-to-end solutions for upgrading outcomes in the cross-border payments space, which otherwise is weighed down by a string of complicated and time-consuming processes.Other notable features of Dandelion include its expansive global reach, strong real-time bank network, ability to integrate into wallets and alternative payment platforms, and enhanced compliance capabilities utilizing Euronet’s leading compliance know-how. Backed by its capabilities, the product is expected to provide real-time payments to those countries, which account for over 80% of the global GDP, by the first quarter of 2022.The recent move reinforces Euronet’s sincere efforts to bolster its product portfolio and alternative global payout capabilities. With the help of the new platform, EEFT intends to strengthen the global payments footprint of a diversified range of businesses. The platform also eliminates the need to invest substantial resources on the part of businesses for effectively processing international payments and better serving customers.The latest move comes at an opportune time as well, considering the substantial uptick in the number of cross-border payments over a substantial time period. Per management of the global strategy consulting arm of Ernst & Young, the worldwide cross-border payment flow is witnessing a CAGR of 5% each year and is projected to reach $156 trillion within 2022. The space is continuously evolving with changes ranging from inclination toward digital payments, entrance of temporary and gig workers amid the global labor market, and accelerated expansion into emerging markets. These transformations are making it difficult for consumers and small businesses to keep pace. This is where Dandelion seems to come in handy as it aims to address these issues by delving into the most inaccessible regions as well.Given the robust demand for real-time payments, Euronet is poised to capitalize on the prevailing scenario. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) provider of global financial technology solutions and payments has been committed to bolstering its digital suite and promoting digitization of the money movement process. The pandemic induced uncertainty made digital money transfers the need of the hour for addressing emergency needs. EEFT’s Money Transfer and epay segments have contributed significantly to Euronet’s efforts as well.Similar to Euronet’s recent move, other companies such as The Western Union Company WU, Mastercard Incorporated MA and American Express Company AXP have also resorted to either launch B2B platforms or collaborated with renowned financial service providers for easing payments.Western Union boasts of a robust B2B payments platform. WU keeps on pursuing collaborations with several global financial service providers with an aim to boost its platform and offer enhanced management of international payments on the back of its expansive worldwide network spanning across 200 countries and territories. In September 2021, Western Union collaborated with Japan’s KYODAI Remittance in a bid to offer enhanced B2B cross-border payments for corporate clients.Mastercard launched Mastercard Track Business Payment Service in 2020 with an aim to upgrade B2B payments. MA partners with several organizations and rolls out cost-effective solutions for tapping the current prospects across the B2B payments space globally. Mastercard has been undertaking significant investments aimed at modernizing the B2B payments space and enhancing real-time payments functionality.American Express joined forces with Goldman Sachs in October 2021 for offering a cloud-based payments solution to large corporate clients, who will be empowered to manage multiple payment platforms and consequently, result in seamless B2B payments. AXP continues to pursue a host of measures focused on technology upgradations, introduction of secured digital solutions and assisting businesses in regulating payments.Shares of Euronet have lost 14.2% over a year compared against the industry’s rally of 31.2%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhile shares of Mastercard and American Express have gained 7.8% and 56.5%, respectively, in a year, Western Union's stock has lost 19.4% in the same time frame. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Mastercard Incorporated (MA): Free Stock Analysis Report American Express Company (AXP): Free Stock Analysis Report The Western Union Company (WU): Free Stock Analysis Report Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (EEFT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 19th, 2021

Greenhaven Road Capital 3Q21 Commentary: Digital Turbine

Greenhaven Road Capital commentary for the third quarter ended September, 2021, discussing their largest position, Digital Turbine Inc (NASDAQ:APPS). Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Fellow Investors, On the first page of every recent letter, I have noted that we will have down months, quarters, and years. Well, we just had a […] Greenhaven Road Capital commentary for the third quarter ended September, 2021, discussing their largest position, Digital Turbine Inc (NASDAQ:APPS). if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Fellow Investors, On the first page of every recent letter, I have noted that we will have down months, quarters, and years. Well, we just had a down quarter. The funds returned approximately -6% net for the third quarter, bringing YTD returns to approximately +14%. Please check your statements for actual numbers as they may vary by entity, investment date, and class. This may be of little solace to those like my Italian cousin who just joined the partnership, but since the Q1 2020 depths of the pandemic, we have had five straight quarters of positive performance returning well in excess of 250% over the past 15 months. We remain focused on the long term. Declines along the way are inevitable and sometimes offer buying opportunities. We are not trying to time the market; we are trying to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns over a multi-year period. Summer Of APPS When a top five holding starts the quarter at $76 and drops to $48 in a virtual straight line, questions should be asked. This was my July and August with Digital Turbine Inc (NASDAQ:APPS). If I liked the stock enough at $76 for it to be a top five holding, I should love it at $48, but Mr. Market was clearly flashing warning signs. While some of you may have enjoyed a carefree summer, I dove back into Digital Turbine to try and figure out what I might be missing and what the market might be missing. I did the best I could to parse every word and action of CEO Bill Stone, connected with dozens of investors, looked at every sell side report and model I could find, studied competitors, and spoke with former employees. There was such a wide gap between my perception of the company and the daily drubbing of its share price, and I was eager to understand if I was missing something or if there was actually a compelling buying opportunity in front of me. I went deep into the weeds, looking at what was said as well as what was unsaid. Over the summer and into the fall, a more detailed mosaic emerged, and I reached three conclusions. The first is that, after making four acquisitions in a little more than a year, the company has many more moving parts and is very difficult to model at a granular level. Nobody has a robust multi-year model that they have any certainty in. This includes yours truly, who (via the funds) has a large percentage of his family’s net worth invested in APPS, as well as sell-side analysts and even firms that specialize in building financial models for public companies. Digital Turbine’s model has gone from requiring three inputs – phone activations, revenue per phone, and percentage of revenue shared with carriers – to requiring dozens in order to achieve any real detail. The acquisitions each have different drivers, and the company’s new complexity is compounded by the fact that the most recent acquisition closed in Q2. As a result, Digital Turbine has not yet issued one full quarter of reporting with all of the acquired companies included. As best as I can tell, very few investors are letting themselves imagine what the economics will look like if there actually is an industrial logic to these acquisitions – if the companies truly are better combined than as stand-alone entities. To be fair, management was not spoon-feeding investors and was cautious with their public statements, spending months restricting their comments/guidance to saying that operating margins will improve over time. They finally opened up a crack in September, acknowledging that they were tracking 13 areas of potential revenue synergies. The combination of complexity and management conservatism created uncertainty, and many investors sell uncertainty and ask questions later. There was plenty of selling this summer. The second conclusion I reached is that Digital Turbine’s underlying business is extremely healthy. The core app discovery business was profitable last quarter and had organic revenue growth over 90%. The companies they acquired are growing revenue quickly, e.g. AdColony at +46% and Fyber at +198%. Even excluding the opportunities presented by the acquisition discussed below, there is the possibility of substantial future growth from increased penetration. Digital Turbine’s software is still on only 700 million phones, so there is a long runway for international growth with both carriers and manufacturers. Further, the company’s Mobile Posse division (a Q1 2020 acquisition) will be rolling out a new offering to Verizon and AT&T Android customers, and Samsung will be rolling out SingleTap on all devices worldwide. Despite what the share price was implying during Q3, I don’t believe the growth story is impaired. The third conclusion that I reached was that the acquisitions were done to control the advertising transaction from end to end, allowing Digital Turbine to capitalize on both a distribution advantage and a data advantage. They bought AdColony for its relationships with large advertisers and Fyber for its inventory of ads, effectively adding demand and supply, respectively, to their digital advertising platform. Digital Turbine’s distribution advantage is derived from a new offering called SingleTap, which allows an Android phone user to click on an app’s ad and download it in the background without being taken into the Google Play store. This patented offering leads to 2X-5X improved advertising efficiency. In the app world, this is massive, lowering the cost per install by 50% to 80% just by running ads with SingleTap embedded. What started as a $1M/quarter business is quickly approaching a $100M/year business. On an October investor call for Oppenheimer clients, management revealed that this $100M run-rate had been achieved with only 12 clients. A number of “last mile” technical issues have slowed growth and are being addressed, but the logic of taking the SingleTap technology and introducing it to AdColony clients to purchase ads served on Fyber’s networks is very interesting. Controlling the transaction and technology from end to end can yield superior outcomes for all parties. To date, none of the reported numbers reflect the opportunities presented by owning AdColony or Fyber, and there are reasons to believe that a technology that lowers acquisition costs by 50% will be used by more than 12 clients. The second reason that Digital Turbine wants to control the digital advertising from end to end is to take fuller advantage of their data advantage in the marketplace. They do not publicly emphasize their data advantages, but because Digital Turbine software is on the phone and operates under the carrier or OEM’s user agreement, they have access to a lot of data that other digital advertisers lack. How much data and how they can use it is determined, in part, by each carrier or hardware manufacturer, but at a high level, they know the model of phone and when it was activated, the demographics of the owner, what apps are installed, and which and when they have been opened. In a marketplace where advertisers are paying for app installs and activations, these data advantages can yield significantly lower cost per activation and drive advertising dollars towards the Digital Turbine ecosystem. It will take time to integrate the data advantages into campaigns and sell those campaigns to AdColony clients to be run on Fyber ad networks, but the combination of SingleTap and a measurable data advantage for a growing client base could yield lollapalooza results. It is easy to look and feel smart by being pessimistic and snarky, but optimism is usually more profitable. Buying more shares of a company that is up over 10X from the start of 2020 is not easy, but we did. I think Digital Turbine is in an enviable position with sound strategic rationale for controlling the digital advertising from end to end, pairing significant supply with significant demand, and layering in distribution and data advantages in a massive mobile advertising market where their overall market share is still small. On the left tail of negative outcomes, there are execution risk as well as risks associated with Google’s control of Android. At the same time, there are also massively positive potential outcomes such as the possibility that Digital Turbine eventually runs Verizon- or AT&T-branded app stores for the carriers. SingleTap could also be licensed to Snap or other large platforms. Again, SingleTap currently has only 12 clients. What will their revenue be with 100? When you layer in a below-market multiple with potentially dramatic sustained growth, the set-up is attractive. APPS’ price has rebounded from the lows of the summer, but I don’t think my summer was wasted. I now have a different (and potentially more informed) view of Digital Turbine’s distribution and data advantages than many in the market and believe that the market will gain a greater appreciation for the magnitude of the opportunity after the company’s analyst day in November. I think that the summer of 2021 will wind up being a lot more financially rewarding than the summers I cleaned pools. Here is a link to a brief slide deck on APPS that I presented at VALUEx Vail. Given the limited time window to present, it does not get into the details of data, but I think it will still be informative. Top 5 Holdings Our top five holdings should be familiar to limited partners, as we have owned them all prior to this quarter. The largest position is Digital Turbine Inc (NASDAQ:APPS) – discussed at length above. Below are brief updates on the remaining four: PAR Technology (PAR) PAR Technology Corporation (NYSE:PAR) continues to make progress towards moving quick-service restaurant chains to a cloud-based point of sale (POS) system, positioning itself to take advantage of all the opportunities that creates, such as integrating payments, inventory management, and loyalty program apps. The company raised capital during the quarter, which some may view as a negative, but I thought was incrementally quite positive. CEO Savneet Singh’s excellent capital allocation decisions are core to our PAR thesis. So far, every time that he has raised capital, he has made an acquisition. I look forward to seeing what he buys. The other positive development in Q3 was the announcement that PAR’s defense business won a large contract that they had been waiting on. This non-core, non-strategic asset greatly muddles company reporting, and I believe the announcement increases the likelihood that the defense business will be sold, simplifying the story and giving Savneet more capital to invest. KKR (KKR) KKR & Co Inc (NYSE:KKR) remains an extremely resilient business with an A+ team enjoying the secular tailwinds of the migration of investable dollars toward alternative assets, where large allocators like the returns and love the muted volatility. Elastic Software (ESTC) Share prices are up more than threefold since our first purchases of Elastic Software. Elastic NV (NYSE:ESTC) continues to report best-in-class net revenue retention (amount generated from existing customers) of 130%. With recent acquisitions, they are continuing their expansion into security. This is the company with the highest product velocity and largest addressable markets in our portfolio. With a massive base of customers using freemium/opensource products, there are fertile hunting grounds for growth. MarketWise (MKTW) During Q3, MarketWise Inc (NASDAQ:MKTW) reported their first quarter of earnings as a public company. I think it is fair to say that the market was underwhelmed. As of the writing of this letter, shares are down approximately 30% from our purchase price, which I thought was a fair one. As a reminder, MarketWise sells subscriptions to financial newsletters and related products. It is one of a very small handful of businesses that I know of that has grown to $500M+ in annual revenue with only $50,000 invested in the business to date. Gross margins are higher than most software companies at 86%, the company has been profitable all 20 years of operation, and revenue has grown for 18 of the 20 years. In the second quarter, they grew revenues 71%, generated over $50M in cash flow from operations, grew paid subscribers 45%, and grew free subscribers 75%. MarketWise has many attributes we seek from the businesses that we own, including: High Insider Ownership: 92% of outstanding shares are owned by insiders Recurring Revenue: 90%+ customer retention Operating Leverage: Incremental subscriber additions are highly profitable Long Runway for Growth with No Additional Capital: Customers are added at less than 1/5 of their lifetime value and marketing spend is paid back in less than 9 months. By most measures, this is an extremely healthy business, so why the decline? One can never be certain on this question, but my supposition is that the main driver has been the fact that MarketWise does not have a long history in the public markets or any publicly traded peers. Their forward guidance indicated a softening of demand as consumers focused elsewhere with the economy, recreational opportunities, and travel opening back up. These facts – combined with the market’s lack of familiarity with the business, its lack of publicly traded peers, the general apathy for SPACs, and overall uncertainty – led MarketWise to join a very long list of SPACs trading below their $10 IPO price. My working theory is that the company will get better at communicating and the market will get more comfortable with the inputs of the business and the strength of its operating model. There is a large list of free subscribers to convert and a history of growth and operating profits. If growth and profits continue, there is little room for multiples to compress further, and thus we believe the price should rise over time. Shorts The partnership remained short major indices and no individual companies. We have identified a couple of SPAC-related shorts that were not actionable; in one case there was no borrow available, and in another it was at the rate of 200% per year. While we continue to look for diamonds in the rough, rest assured, SPACs are still a fertile hunting ground for shorts. Outlook I generally believe that if we own good businesses run by great management teams, we will do well over time. I tend to discount many of the macro themes of the day. For instance, in 2015 when Greece’s issues were roiling global financial markets, I took some solace in the fact that the GDP of Greece was one-quarter that of the state of Ohio and represented far less than 1% of revenue for any of the companies that we owned. As I look at the wall of worry that is facing investors today, most items, such as supply chain issues, seem temporary and isolated to specific industries. The one worry that is more insidious than supply chains and has a far broader reach than a country-specific issue is inflation. Could the hangover of printing trillions and trillions of dollars include inflation? Yes, there are certainly indications that it could. When I look at our portfolio, I take some solace in the fact that most of the businesses that we own should be able to navigate an inflationary period well. KKR and Digital Turbine are not apparent beneficiaries of inflation, but they should be able to bear the environment as they operate with high margins, have no debt, don’t suffer from major labor costs, and lack long-term contracts where increases cannot be passed on. I also believe that my being right or wrong about my variant perceptions related to core holdings will have a larger impact than the CPI index movements. Thus, I am not building a bunker and we are not going to pivot immediately to gold, but of the thousands of variables out there in the cacophony of worry, inflation is the one I am focused on the most and it may influence our portfolio over time. Just as I have ended many of our letters... as volatility arises, I will attempt to take advantage of the opportunities it creates. We will continue to invest with a long-time horizon, and we will continue to invest like it is our own money – because it is. Thank you for the opportunity to grow your family capital alongside mine. Sincerely, Scott Miller Updated on Nov 2, 2021, 5:09 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 2nd, 2021

Futures At All Time High On Evergrande Reprieve Despite Intel, Snapchat Collapse

Futures At All Time High On Evergrande Reprieve Despite Intel, Snapchat Collapse S&P 500 futures traded to within 2 points of their September all time high, rising 0.12% to 4547, just shy of their 4549.5 record after China's Evergrande unexpectedly made a last minute coupon payment, averting an imminent weekend default and boosting risk sentiment. But while spoos were up, Nasdaq futures edged -0.18% lower after Intel warned of lower profit margins, while Snap crashed 22%, leading declines among social media firms after flagging a hit to digital advertising from privacy changes by Apple. Intel plunged 10% in premarket trading as it missed third-quarter sales expectations, while its Chief Executive pointed to shortage of other chips holding back sales of the company's flagship processors. 10Y yields dropped 2bps, the dollar slumped and bitcoin traded above $63,000. Fed Chair Powell is scheduled to speak at 11am ET.  The Chinese property giant’s bond-coupon payment has boosted sentiment because it reduces risks to the broader financial system, according to Pierre Veyret, technical analyst at ActivTrades. “However, this optimistic trading mood may be short-lived as investors’ biggest concern remains inflation,” he said. “Traders will listen intently to Jerome Powell today as the Fed chairman is expected to give more clues about monetary policy.” Not everything was roses, however, and Facebook fell 3.7%, while Twitter lost 4.1% after Snap said privacy changes by Apple on iOS devices hurt the company's ability to target and measure its digital advertising Snap plunged 20.9% on the news and cast doubts over quarterly reports next week from Facebook and Twitter, social media firms that rely heavily on advertising revenue. Meanwhile supply chain worries, inflationary pressures and labor shortages have been at the center of third-quarter earnings season, with analysts expecting S&P 500 earnings to rise 33.7% year-on-year, according to Refinitiv data. Some analysts, however, said such worries will only have a temporary impact on earnings from mega-cap technology and communications companies this reporting season. "Intel also produced less than stellar results. Shorting big-tech has been a good way to lose money in the past two years, and I expect only a temporary aberration," wrote Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA in a client note. Elsewhere, Apple rose 0.2%. Other giga tech stocks including Tesla, Microsoft and Netflix also rose, limiting declines on Nasdaq 100 e-minis. Here are some more premarket movers: Mattel (MAT US) rose 6.7% after the firm known for its Barbie and Fisher-Price toys lifted its full-year guidance amid a sales rebound, even as it grapples with a global logistics crunch ahead of Christmas. Digital World Acquisition (DWAC US) jumped 67% after more than quadrupling on Thursday after news that the blank-check company would merge with former President Donald Trump’s media firm. Phunware (PHUN US) soared 288% as the company, which runs a mobile enterprise cloud platform, is plugged by retail traders on Reddit. Whirlpool (WHR US) fell 2% as the maker of refrigerators reported sales that fell short of Wall Street’s estimates, citing supply chain woes. Investors were more upbeat about Europe, where consumer and tech companies led a 0.6% gain for the Stoxx 600 Index which headed for a third week of gains with cosmetics maker L’Oreal SA jumping more than 6% after reporting sales that were significantly higher than analysts expected. Euro Stoxx 50 and CAC gain over 1%, FTSE 100 and IBEX lag but hold in the green. Tech, household & personal goods and auto names are the strongest sectors. On the downside, French carmaker Renault SA and London Stock Exchange Group Plc were the latest companies to report supply-chain challenges. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: L’Oreal shares rise as much as 6.8% after its 3Q sales beat impresses analysts, with Citi praising the French beauty-product maker’s capacity to re-balance growth between different geographies at a time of worry over China. The stock posted its biggest gain in almost a year. Essity shares are the biggest gainers in the OMX Stockholm 30 large cap index after 3Q EPS beat consensus by 10%, with Jefferies citing lower financing costs as among reasons for the improved earnings. Thule shares rise as much as 6.7%, most since July 21, after the company reported earnings for the third quarter. Klepierre shares gain as much as 4.8%, hitting the highest since Sept. 30, after the French mall owner boosted its net current cash flow per share view amid an ongoing recovery in its markets and stronger-than- expected rent collection. Wise shares fell as much as 5.4% after co-founder Taavet Hinrikus sold a stake worth GBP81.5m in the digital-payments provider to invest in early-stage businesses. Boliden shares declined as much as 6.1%, most since May 2020, after 3Q earnings missed estimates. London Stock Exchange declines as much as 4.2% following third-quarter earnings, with Citi (neutral) describing the revenue mix as “marginally disappointing” amid underperformance in the data and analytics division. Shares in holding company Lifco fell as much as 8% after reporting disappointing sales numbers in its dental business, missing Kepler Cheuvreux’s revenue estimates by 18%. European stocks ignored the latest warning print from the continent's PMIs, where the composite flash PMI declined by 1.9pt to 54.3 in October—well below consensus expectations—continuing the moderation from its July high. The area-wide softening was primarily led by Germany, although sequential momentum slowed elsewhere too. In the UK, on the heels of a succession of downside surprises, the composite PMI surprised significantly to the upside for the first time since May. Supply-side constraints continue to exert upward price pressures, with both input and output prices rising further and reaching new all-time highs across most of Europe. Euro Area Composite PMI (October, Flash): 54.3, GS 54.9, consensus 55.2, last 56.2. Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (October, Flash): 58.5, GS 57.1, consensus 57.1, last 58.6. Euro Area Services PMI (October, Flash): 54.7, GS 54.8, consensus 55.4, last 56.4. Germany Composite PMI (October, Flash): 52.0, GS 54.5, consensus 54.3, last 55.5. France Composite PMI (October, Flash): 54.7, GS 54.3, consensus 54.7, last 55.3. UK Composite PMI (October, Flash): 56.8, GS 53.6, consensus 54.0, last 54.9. Earlier in the session, Asian equities climbed, led by China, as signs that Beijing may be easing its property policies and a bond interest payment by Evergrande boosted sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2%, on track to take its weekly advance to almost 1%. Chinese real estate stocks, including Seazen Group and Sunac China, were among the top gainers Friday, after Beijing called for support for first-home purchases, adding to recent official rhetoric on property market stability. China Evergrande Group pulled back from the brink of default by paying a bond coupon before this weekend’s deadline. The payment “brings some near-term reprieve ahead of its official default deadline and presents a more positive scenario than what many will have expect,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. The Asian measure was also bolstered by tech shares, including Japan’s Tokyo Electron and Tencent, while the Hang Seng Tech Index capped a 6.9% rise for the week in its biggest climb since August. The gains in the sector offset declines for mining shares as coal futures in China extended a price collapse to more than 20% in three days. Unlike in the U.S., where stocks are trading at a record high, Asian shares have been mixed in recent weeks as traders try to assess the impact on earnings of inflation, supply chain constraints and China’s growth slowdown. Falling earnings growth forecasts, combined with rising inflation expectations, are continuing to cast “a stagnation shadow over markets,” Kerry Craig, a global markets strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, said in a note. In rates, Treasuries resumed flattening with long-end yields richer by more than 2bp on the day, while 2-year yield breached 0.46% for the first time since March 2020, extending its third straight weekly increase. 2-year yields topped at 0.464% while 10-year retreated from Thursday’s five-month high 1.70% to ~1.685%, remaining higher on the week; 2s10s is flatter by 2.5bp, 5s30s by ~1bp. In 10-year sector bunds cheapen by 3.5bp vs Treasuries as German yield climbs to highest since May; EUR 5y5y inflation swap exceeds 2% for the first time since 2014. In Europe, yield curves were mixed: Germany bear-flattened with 10-year yields ~2bps cheaper near -0.07%. Meanwhile, measures of inflation expectations continue to print new highs with EUR 5y5y inflation swaps hitting 2%, the highest since 2014, and U.K. 10y breakevens printing at a 25-year high. In FX, AUD and NZD top the G-10 scoreboard. The Bloomberg dollar index Index fell and the greenback traded weaker against all its Group-of-10 peers apart from the pound; risk-sensitive Scandinavian and Antipodean currencies led gains. The pound inched lower after U.K retail sales fell unexpectedly for a fifth month as consumer confidence plunged, adding to evidence that the economic recovery is losing momentum. The cost of hedging against inflation in the U.K. over the next decade rose to the highest level in 25 years amid mounting concern over price pressures building in the economy. The Aussie dollar climbed as positive sentiment was boosted by the news about Evergrande Group’s bond payment; it had earlier fallen to a session low after the central bank announced an unscheduled bond-purchase operation to defend its yield target. The yen held steady following two days of gains as a rally in Treasuries narrows yield differentials between Japan and the U.S. In commodities, crude futures recover off Asia’s worst levels, settling around the middle of this week’s trading range. WTI is 0.5% higher near $82.90, Brent regains a $85-handle. Spot gold adds ~$10 to trade near $1,792/oz. Most base metals trade well with LME nickel and zinc outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, the main data highlight will be the aforementioned flash PMIs from around the world, on top of UK retail sales for September. From central banks, Fed Chair Powell will be speaking, in addition to the Fed’s Daly and the ECB’s Villeroy. Earnings releases will include Honeywell and American Express. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,538.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 471.82 MXAP up 0.2% to 200.16 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 661.40 Nikkei up 0.3% to 28,804.85 Topix little changed at 2,002.23 Hang Seng Index up 0.4% to 26,126.93 Shanghai Composite down 0.3% to 3,582.60 Sensex down 0.2% to 60,775.00 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,415.48 Kospi little changed at 3,006.16 Brent Futures up 0.2% to $84.81/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,792.58 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.18% to 93.60 Euro up 0.2% to $1.1645 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The Bank of England will likely defy investors’ expectations of a sudden interest-rate increase next month because it rarely shifts policy in such dramatic fashion, according to three former senior officials. The ECB will supercharge its regular bond-buying program before pandemic purchases run out in March, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Euro-area businesses are reporting a sharp slowdown in activity caused by an aggravating global supply squeeze that’s also producing record inflation. French manufacturing output declined at the steepest pace since coronavirus lockdowns were in place last year, while growth momentum deteriorated sharply in Germany, purchasing managers report. Private-sector activity in the euro area slowed to the weakest since April, though it remained above a pre-pandemic average. China continued to pull back on government spending in the third quarter even as the economy slowed, with the cautious fiscal policy reflecting the desire to deleverage and improve public finances. President Joe Biden said the U.S. was committed to defending Taiwan from a Chinese attack, in some of his strongest comments yet as the administration faces calls to clarify its stance on the democratically ruled island. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded with a positive bias but with gains capped following the temperamental mood on Wall St amid mixed earnings results and although a late tailwind heading into the close lifted the S&P 500 to a record high and contributed to the outperformance of the NDX, futures were then pressured after hours as shares in Intel and Snap slumped post-earnings with the latter down as much as 25% on soft guidance which subsequently weighed on tech heavyweights including social media stocks such as Facebook and Twitter. ASX 200 (Unch.) was subdued amid weakness in mining names and financials but with downside cushioned after the recent reopening in Melbourne and with the RBA also conducting unscheduled purchases to defend the yield target for the first time since February. Nikkei 225 (+0.3%) recovered from opening losses with risk appetite at the whim of a choppy currency and with some encouragement heading into the easing of restrictions in Tokyo and Osaka from Monday. News headlines also provided a catalyst for individual stocks including Nissan which was subdued after it cut planned output by 30% through to November and with Toshiba pressured as merger talks between affiliate Kioxia and Western Digital stalled, while SoftBank enjoyed mild gains after a 13.5% increase in WeWork shares on its debut following a SPAC merger. Hang Seng (+0.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.3%) traded, initially, with tentative gains after another respectable liquidity injection by the PBoC and news of Evergrande making the USD-bond interest payment to avert a default ahead of tomorrow’s grace period deadline. This lifted shares in Evergrande with attention now turning to another grace period deadline for next Friday, although regulatory concerns lingered after the PBoC stated that China will continue separating operations of banking, securities and insurance businesses, as well as signed an MOU with the HKMA on fintech supervision and cooperation in the Greater Bay area. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling following a resumption a resumption of the curve flattening stateside where T-note futures tested the 130.00 level to the downside amid inflationary concerns and large supply from AerCap which launched the second largest IG dollar bond issuance so far this year. In addition, the gains in Japanese stocks and absence of BoJ purchases in the market today added to the lacklustre demand for JGBs, while today also saw the RBA announce unscheduled purchases valued at AUD 1bln to defend the yield target for the first time since February, although the impact on yields was only brief. Top Asian News Tencent Blames WeChat Access for Search Engines on Loophole JPM’s Yang Joins Primas Asset Management’s Credit Trading Team Gold Rises on Weaker Dollar to Head for Second Weekly Gain Interest Payment Made; Junk Bonds Rally: Evergrande Update A choppy start to the session has seen European equities extend on opening gains (Stoxx 600 +0.8%) with the Stoxx 600 on course to see the week out relatively unchanged. After a marginally positive lead from Asia, European stocks picked up after the cash open with little in the way of clear catalysts for the surge. Macro focus for the region has fallen on flash PMI readings for October which painted a mixed picture for the Eurozone economy as the EZ-wide services metric fell short of expectations whilst manufacturing exceeded forecasts. Despite printing north of the 50-mark, commentary from IHS Markit was relatively downbeat, noting that "After strong second and third quarter expansions, GDP growth is looking much weaker by comparison in the fourth quarter.” Stateside, futures are mixed with the ES relatively flat whilst the NQ (-0.3%) lags after shares in Intel and Snap slumped post-earnings with the latter down as much as 25% on soft guidance which subsequently weighed on tech heavyweights including social media stocks such as Facebook (-4% pre-market) and Twitter (-4.5% pre-market). Elsewhere in the US, traders are awaiting further updates in Capitol Hill, however, moderate Democrat Senator Manchin has already tempered expectations for a deal being reached by today’s goal set by Senate Majority Leader Schumer. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly firmer with outperformance in Personal & Household Goods following earnings from L’Oreal (+6.2%) who sit at the stop of the Stoxx 600 after Q3 earnings saw revenues exceed expectations. To the downside, Telecom names are lagging amid losses in Ericsson (-3.1%) after the DoJ stated that the Co. breached obligations under a Deferred Prosecution Agreement. Elsewhere, Vivendi (+3.1%) is another notable gainer in the region as Q3 earnings exceeded analyst estimates. LSE (-3.3%) sits at the foot of the FTSE 100 post-Q3 results, whilst IHG (-3.5%) is another laggard in the index post-earnings as the Co.’s fragile recovery continues. Top European News U.K.-France Power Cable Has Unplanned Halt: National Grid Banks Prepare to Fight Basel Over Carbon Derivatives Rule Wise Slumps After Founder Hinrikus Offloads $112 Million Stake London Stock Exchange Says Supply Chains to Delay Tech Spend In FX, the Greenback has topped out yet again, and partly in tandem with US Treasury yields following their latest ramp up, but also against the backdrop of improved risk appetite that emerged during APAC hours when reports that China’s Evergrande made an overdue interest payment helped to lift sentiment after a late tech-led downturn on Wall Street. The index may also have lost momentum on technical grounds following a minor extension to 93.792, but still not enough impetus to reach 94.000 or test a couple of resistance levels standing in the way of the nearest round number (Fib resistance at 93.884 and 21 DMA that comes in at 93.948 today compared to 93.917 on Thursday), and a fade just shy of yesterday’s best before the aforementioned drift back down to meander between a narrow 93.789-598 corridor. Ahead, Markit’s flash PMIs and a trio of Fed speakers including Williams, Daly and chair Powell feature on Friday’s agenda alongside today’s batch of earnings. AUD/NZD/CAD - Honours remain pretty even down under as the Aussie and Kiwi both take advantage of the constructive market tone that is weighing on their US counterpart, while assessing specifics such as RBA Governor Lowe reiterating no target rate for Aud/Usd, but the Bank having to intervene in defence of the 0.1% 3 year yield target for the first time in 8 months overnight in wake of upbeat preliminary PMIs. Meanwhile, NZ suffered another record number of new COVID-19 cases to justify PM Adern’s resolve to keep restrictions tight until 90% of the population have been vaccinated and keep Nzd/Usd capped under 0.7200 in mild contrast to Aud/Usd hovering just above 0.7500. Elsewhere, some traction for the Loonie in the run up to Canadian retail sales from a rebound in WTI to retest Usd 83/brl from recent sub-Usd 81 lows, as Usd/Cad retreats towards the bottom of a 1.2375-30 range. EUR/CHF/GBP/JPY - All marginally firmer or flat against the Dollar, but the Euro easing back into a lower band beneath 1.1650 and not really helped by conflicting flash PMIs or decent option expiry interest from 1.1610-00 (1.4 bn) that could exert a gravitational pull into the NY cut. The Franc is keeping afloat of 0.9300, but under 0.9250, the Pound has bounced to probe 1.3800 on the back of considerably stronger than expected UK prelim PMIs that have offset poor retail sales data and could persuade more of the BoE’s MPC to tilt hawkishly in November, especially after the new chief economist said the upcoming meeting is live and policy verdict finely balanced. Conversely, the BoJ is widely tipped to maintain accommodation next week and as forecast Japanese inflation readings will do little to change perceptions, putting greater emphasis on the Outlook Report for updated growth and core CPI projections and leaving the Yen tethered around 114.00 in the meantime. SCANDI/EM - The Sek and Nok are on a firm footing circa 9.9800 and 9.7000 against the Eur respectively, and the former may be acknowledging an upbeat Riksbank business survey, while the latter piggy-backs Brent’s recovery that is also underpinning the Rub in the run up to the CBR and anticipated 25 bp hike. The Cnh and Cny are back in the ascendency with extra PBoC liquidity and Evergrande evading a grace period deadline by one day to compensate for ongoing default risk at its main Hengda unit, but the Try is still trying in vain to stop the rot following Thursday’s shock 200 bp CBRT blanket rate cuts and has been down to almost 9.6600 vs the Usd. In commodities, WTI and Brent are marginally firmer this morning though reside within overnight ranges and have been grinding higher for the duration of the European session in-spite of the lack of newsflow generally and for the complex. Currently, the benchmarks are firmer by circa USD 0.40/bbl respectively and reside just off best levels which saw a brief recapture of the USD 83/bbl and USD 85/bbl handles. Given the lack of updates, the complex remains attentive to COVID-19 concerns where officials out of China reiterated language issues yesterday about curbing unnecessary travel around Beijing following cases being reported in the region. Elsewhere, yesterday’s remarks from Putin continue to draw focus around OPEC+ increasing output more than agreed and once again reiterating that Russia can lift gas supplies to Europe; but, as of yet, there is no update on the situation. Finally, the morning’s European earnings were devoid of energy names, but updated Renault guidance is noteworthy on the fuel-demand front as the Co. cut its market forecast to Europe and anticipates a FY21 global vehicle loss of circa 500k units due to component shortages. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are firmer but have been fairly steady throughout the session perhaps aided by the softer dollar while elevated yields are perhaps capping any upside. Base metals remain buoyed though LME copper continues to wane off the closely watched 10k mark. US Event Calendar 9:45am: Oct. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 55.0 9:45am: Oct. Markit US Services PMI, est. 55.2, prior 54.9 9:45am: Oct. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 60.5, prior 60.7 10am: Fed’s Daly Discusses the Fed and Climate Change Risk 11am: Powell Takes Part in a Policy Panel Discussion DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Hopefully today is my last Friday ever on crutches but with two likely knee replacements to come in the next few years I suspect not! 6 days to go until the 6 weeks of no weight bearing is over. I’m counting down the hours. Tomorrow I’ll be hobbling to London to see “Frozen: The Musical”. I’ve almost had to remortgage the house for 5 tickets. There is no discount for children which is a great business model if you can get away with it. Actually given the target audience there should be a discount for adults as I can think of better ways of spending a Saturday afternoon. The weekends have recently been the place where the Bank of England shocks the market into pricing in imminent rate hikes. Well to give us all a break they’ve gone a couple of days early this week with new chief economist Huw Pill last night telling the FT that the November meeting was “live” and that with inflation was likely to rise “close to or even slightly above 5 per cent” early next year, which for a central bank with a 2% inflation target, is “a very uncomfortable place to be”. Having said that, he did add that "maybe there’s a bit too much excitement in the focus on rates right now" and also talked about how the transitory nature of inflation meant there was no need to go into a restrictive stance. So the market will probably firm up November hike probabilities today but may think 1-2 year pricing is a little aggressive for the moment. However, it’s been a volatile ride in short sterling contracts of late so we will see. Ultimately the BoE will be a hostage to events. If inflation remains stubbornly high they may have to become more hawkish as 2022 progresses. This interview capped the end of a day with another selloff in sovereign bond markets as investors continued to ratchet up their expectations of future price growth. In fact by the close of trade, the 5yr US inflation breakeven had risen +10.0bps to 2.91%, and this morning they’re up another +3.5bps to 2.95%, which takes them to their highest level in the 20 years that TIPS have traded. 10y breakevens closed up +4.7bps at 2.65%, their highest level since 2011. Bear in mind that at the depths of the initial Covid crisis back in 2020, the 5yr measure fell to an intraday low of just 0.11%, so in the space of just over 18 months investors have gone from expecting borderline deflation over the next 5 years to a rate some way above the Fed’s target. Those moves weren’t just confined to the US however, as longer-term inflation expectations moved higher in Europe too. The 10yr German breakeven rose +5.4bps to a post-2013 high of 1.87%, and its Italian counterpart hit a post-2011 high of 1.78%. And what’s noticeable as well is that these higher inflation expectations aren’t simply concentrated for the next few years of the time horizon, since the 5y5y inflation swaps that look at expectations for the five year period starting in five years’ time have also seen substantial increases. Most strikingly of all, the Euro Area 5y5y inflation swap is now at 1.95%, which puts it almost at the ECB’s 2% inflation target for the first time since 2014. The global increase in inflation compensation drove nominal yields higher, with the yield on 10yr US Treasuries up +4.4bps yesterday to a 6-month high of 1.70%, as investors are now pricing in an initial hike from the Fed by the time of their July 2022 meeting. And in Europe there was a similar selloff, with yields on 10yr bunds (+2.4bps), OATs (+2.1bps) and BTPs (+2.7bps) all moving higher too. Interestingly though, the slide in sovereign bonds thanks to higher inflation compensation came in spite of the fact that commodity prices slid across the board, with energy, metal and agricultural prices all shifting lower, albeit in many cases from multi-year highs. Both Brent Crude (-1.41%) and WTI (-1.63%) oil prices fell by more than -1% for the first time in over two weeks, whilst the industrial bellwether of copper (-3.72%) had its worst daily performance since June. Even with high inflation remaining on the agenda, US equities proved resilient with the S&P 500 (+0.30%) posting a 7th consecutive advance to hit an all-time high for the first time in 7 weeks. Consumer discretionary and retail stocks were the clear outperformer, in line with the broader reflationary sentiment. Other indices forged ahead too, with the NASDAQ (+0.62%) moving to just -1.04% beneath its own all-time record, whilst the FANG+ index (+1.11%) of megacap tech stocks climbed to a fresh record as well. In Europe the major indices were weaker with the STOXX 600 retreating ever so slightly, by -0.08%, but it still remains only -1.29% beneath its August record. Looking ahead, the main theme today will be the release of the flash PMIs from around the world, which will give us an initial indication of how various economies have fared through the start of Q4. Obviously one of the biggest themes has been supply-chain disruptions throughout the world, so it’ll be interesting to see how these surface, but the composite PMIs over recent months had already been indicating slowing growth momentum across the major economies. Our European economists are expecting there’ll be a further decline in the Euro Area composite PMI to 55.1. Overnight we've already had some of those numbers out of Asia, which have showed a recovery from their September levels. Indeed, the Japanese service PMI rose to 50.7 (vs. 47.8 in Sep), which is the first 50+ reading since January 2020 before the pandemic began, whilst the composite PMI also moved back into expansionary territory at 50.7 for the first time since April. In Australia there was also a move back into expansion, with their composite PMI rising to 52.2 (vs. 46.0 in Sep), the first 50+ reading since June. Elsewhere in Asia, equity markets have followed the US higher, with the Hang Seng (+0.92%), CSI (+0.87%), Hang Seng (+0.42%), KOSPI (+0.27%) and Shanghai Composite (+0.09%) all in the green. That also comes as Japan’s nationwide CPI reading moved up to +0.2% on a year-on-year basis, in line with expectations, which is the first time so far this year that annual price growth has been positive. In other news, we learnt from the state-backed Securities Times newspaper that Evergrande has avoided a default by making an $83.5m interest payment on a bond whose 30-day grace period was going to end this weekend. Separately, the state TV network CCTV said that 4 Covid cases had been reported in Beijing and an official said that they would be testing 34,700 people in a neighbourhood linked to those cases. Looking forward, equity futures are pointing to a somewhat slower start in the US, with those on the S&P 500 down -0.08%. Turning to the pandemic, global cases have continued to shift higher in recent days, and here in the UK we had over 50k new cases reported yesterday for the first time since mid-July. New areas are moving to toughen up restrictions, with Moscow moving beyond the nationwide measures in Russia to close most shops and businesses from October 28 to November 7. In better news however, we got confirmation from Pfizer and BioNTech that their booster shot was 95.6% effective against symptomatic Covid in a trial of over 10,000 people. Finally, there was some decent economic data on the US labour market, with the number of initial jobless claims in the week through October 16 coming in at 290k (vs. 297k expected). That’s the lowest they’ve been since the pandemic began and also sends the 4-week average down to a post-pandemic low of 319.75k. Alongside that, the continuing claims for the week through October 9 came down to 2.481m (vs. 2.548m expected). Otherwise, September’s existing home sales rose to an annualised rate of 6.29m (vs. 6.10m expected), and the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook survey fell to 23.8 (vs. 25.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned flash PMIs from around the world, on top of UK retail sales for September. From central banks, Fed Chair Powell will be speaking, in addition to the Fed’s Daly and the ECB’s Villeroy. Earnings releases will include Honeywell and American Express. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 08:07.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 22nd, 2021

Will Healthy Top-Line Growth Aid Verizon (VZ) Q3 Earnings?

Verizon (VZ) is likely to have recorded higher aggregate revenues year over year driven by a healthy momentum in its wireless business. Verizon Communications Inc. VZ is scheduled to report third-quarter 2021 results on Oct 20, before the opening bell. In the last reported quarter, the New York-based telecom and media giant beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7 cents. The company is expected to have recorded higher aggregate revenues year over year driven by a healthy momentum in its wireless business.Factors at PlayDuring the third quarter, Verizon continued the aggressive rollout of 5G Ultra Wideband service to expand its coverage to 82 cities across the country. The company also deployed Home Internet service in select cities, where users experience a maximum download speed of up to 1 Gbps, to bring its coverage to 57 markets. It further expanded its 5G Business Internet service that offers an alternative to cable broadband to 54 cities. The diversified offerings for different user groups are expected to get reflected in the third-quarter results.In the quarter, Verizon secured a prime contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to provide 5G mobility service to seven Air Force Reserve Command installations. Verizon Public sector, the unit dedicated to serving various public sector entities, has been entrusted to deliver 5G Ultra Wideband service in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas Air Force bases. This includes the deployment of c-band radios at outdoor locations at the facilities to improve signal bandwidth at higher speed and lower latency. These are expected to have driven the company’s top-line growth.During the quarter, Verizon upgraded some of the features of its subsidiary BlueJeans that offers an interoperable cloud-based video conferencing service across a wide range of devices and conferencing platforms. The move is aimed to facilitate a seamless transition to a hybrid workplace with a spontaneous and engaging interactive digital platform as the work-from-home option continues to gain traction. Technological innovations are likely to provide flexibility to remote workers and unlock workplace productivity and happiness. Such initiatives are likely to have led to top-line growth in the third quarter.During the third quarter, Verizon partnered with Mastercard to develop solutions that will transform the global payments industry. The solutions will enable smartphones or other connected devices to seamlessly accept payment and unlock touchless retail shopping experiences. It will also create new ways to consume physical and digital goods and deliver digital capabilities for small and medium businesses.In addition, Verizon formed a new business unit — Robotics Business Technology — to develop enterprise-grade solutions for aerial and ground robotics. The unit will provide comprehensive solutions that leverage Verizon’s 5G and mobile edge compute capabilities. The unit will provide connected robotics solutions to customers for indoor and outdoor use cases in manufacturing, construction, logistics and utilities, among others. These efforts are likely to have improved its revenues in the to-be-reported quarter.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for total revenues for the company stands at $33,411 million. It generated revenues of $31,543 million in the prior-year quarter. The consensus mark for earnings is currently pegged at $1.36 per share, indicating a healthy improvement from $1.25 reported in the year-earlier quarter.Key Developments in Q3During the quarter, Verizon amicably settled two patent lawsuits with telecommunication equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies in an out-of-court settlement, the details of which were kept under wraps. The legal resolution puts to rest the uncertainty embroiled with the court proceedings and both the companies were reportedly pleased with the settlement, despite maintaining the secrecy of the due process involved. Verizon is likely to benefit from the eventualities to better focus on its 5G roadmap in the country.Earnings WhispersOur proven model predicts an earnings beat for Verizon this time around. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the chances of an earnings beat. This is perfectly the case here.Earnings ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is +0.28%. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter. Verizon Communications Inc. Price and EPS Surprise Verizon Communications Inc. price-eps-surprise | Verizon Communications Inc. QuoteZacks Rank: Verizon currently has a Zacks Rank #3.Other Stocks to ConsiderHere are some other companies you may want to consider, as our model shows that these too have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this season:Qualcomm Incorporated QCOM is set to release quarterly numbers on Nov 3. It has an Earnings ESP of +0.35% and a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Earnings ESP for AT&T Inc. T is +1.11% and it carries a Zacks Rank of 3. The company is set to report quarterly numbers on Oct 21.The Earnings ESP for T-Mobile US Inc. TMUS is +18.33% and it carries a Zacks Rank of 3. The company is scheduled to report quarterly numbers on Nov 4. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report AT&T Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ): Free Stock Analysis Report TMobile US, Inc. (TMUS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 18th, 2021

Amazon (AMZN) Enters Multi-Year Agreements with Stellantis

Amazon's (AMZN) technology products and solutions are selected by Stellantis to deepen its push toward a sustainable mobility tech company. Amazon’s AMZN robust technology products and solutions continue to drive its customer momentum.This is evident from latest multi-year agreements signed with Stellantis STLA to leverage Amazon’s products, technology and Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) capabilities.We note that the latest agreements reflect a win-win situation for both companies.Stellantis strives to deepen its push toward turning into a sustainable mobility tech company on the back of these deals. Also, STLA intends to deliver an enhanced in-vehicle experience to its customers.Amazon will boost its last mile delivery program and accelerate its shift toward a sustainable delivery network with Stellantis’ upcoming electric vehicles.Further, this latest strategic move by Stellantis added strength to Amazon’s customer, Inc. Price and Consensus, Inc. price-consensus-chart |, Inc. QuoteMore Into HeadlinesAmazon collaborated with Stellantis to provide software for STLA SmartCockpit, a software-defined platform designed to deliver personalized in-vehicle experiences.With the support of Alexa and various AI-powered applications, Stellantis will be able to integrate STLA SmartCockpit with the digital lives of customers, seamlessly.The platform will help customers manage their vehicles from their Alexa-enabled devices at home or via their Alexa smartphone app.Apart from STLA SmartCockpit, Stellantis chose AWS as the preferred cloud provider vehicle platform. By leveraging AWS capabilities, STLA intends to migrate its vehicle data pipeline across its brands and geographies to an AWS-backed data mesh for building an advanced cloud-enabled infrastructure for vehicle platforms.Additionally, Stellantis is gearing up to launch collaborative engineering initiatives and AWS-powered innovation hubs with the help of AWS.Amazon in FocusThe latest move strengthens Amazon’s strategic relationship with Stellantis, which has been supporting AMZN’s last mile delivery program with several light commercial vehicles like Ram ProMaster, Fiat Ducato and Peugeot and Citroen since 2018.The move will make Amazon the first customer of Stellantis’ new Ram ProMaster Battery Electric Vehicle with strong last mile delivery features. The vehicle will be launched in 2023.These vehicles will serve on the delivery routes of Amazon across the United States.This remains a major positive as the last mile delivery program holds much significance for Amazon. It is continuously helping the e-commerce giant gain momentum among its online customers. This is very crucial for AMZN’s online retail business.Further, Stellantis’ selection of AWS highlights the reliability and efficiency of Amazon’s cloud-computing portfolio. AWS continues to witness growth in its clientele owing to its focus on enhancing service offerings.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderCurrently, Amazon carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the retail-wholesale sector are Target TGT and Costco Wholesale COST, which carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Target has gained 20.2% over a year. The long-term earnings growth rate for the stock is currently projected at 14.4%.Costco has gained 49.1% over a year. The long-term earnings growth rate for the stock is currently projected at 8.8%. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First To New Top 10 Stocks >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Target Corporation (TGT): Free Stock Analysis Report Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report Stellantis N.V. (STLA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 6th, 2022

NETGEAR (NTGR) Enhances Portfolio With Game Booster Launch

NETGEAR (NTGR) Game Booster is equipped with essential features for a superior gaming experience. NETGEAR Inc. NTGR recently augmented its portfolio by introducing a feature-packed service for gaming buffs. Dubbed the NETGEAR Game Booster, the service is likely to be a strategic fit for gaming enthusiasts and offers an integrated solution to enhance performance and eliminate unnecessary network lag.Powered by DumaOS — a powerful router operating system that offers control of the home network system — NETGEAR Game Booster is equipped with essential features for a superior gaming experience. These include Ping Heatmap, which helps players identify and choose the fastest game servers for their preferred games by viewing and analyzing ping for servers and Geo-Filter that reduces lag by selecting best-performing servers based on distance and ping rate. It further allocates and prioritizes bandwidth usage to gaming devices and applications through the Network Priority feature while Bandwidth Allocation and Traffic Prioritization enable to control bandwidth and prioritize gaming traffic for a seamless experience.In addition, the NETGEAR Game Booster includes an Adblocker feature that helps to block unwanted ads and limits tracking from other websites. The service is priced at $49.99 per year following a 30-day free trial.NETGEAR is likely to bolster positive cash flow and boost its paid subscriber base to drive the momentum in 2022. A solid work-from-home networking market backed by a robust demand environment is a major tailwind as well.The company continues to introduce products and services that hinge on affordability, reliability and ease of use. In order to capitalize on the increasing demand for cloud-based applications for small and medium-sized enterprises, NETGEAR is introducing next-generation commercial products. These include PoE switches, Multi-gigabit Ethernet switches, high capacity local and remote unified storage, small-to-medium capacity campus wireless LAN and security appliances. These products are likely to augment the effectiveness and efficiency of its hybrid cloud access network and strengthen its position in the market.With an exponential growth in data traffic, consumers, businesses and service providers need a complete set of wired and wireless networking and broadband products that are tailored to their specific needs and budgets. The company’s products are designed with an industrial appearance, including metal cases, the ability to mount the product within standard data networking racks as well as unique mounting solutions for other uses and targeting the business market. These products typically include higher port counts, higher data transfer rates and other performance characteristics designed to meet the needs of a business user, providing a competitive edge to outsmart its rivals.Shares of NETGEAR have lost 25.2% in the past year against the industry’s rise of 41.5%. Nevertheless, we remain impressed with the inherent growth potential of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchA better-ranked stock in the broader industry is Clearfield, Inc. CLFD, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Clearfield delivered an earnings surprise of 50.8%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 68.2% since January 2021. Over the past year, Clearfield has gained a solid 230.4%.Aviat Networks, Inc. AVNW, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), is another solid pick for investors. It delivered an earnings surprise of 32.1%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Over the past year, Aviat has gained 90.9%. Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 6.9% over the past 90 days. Aviat is likely to benefit in the long run from solid rural broadband network expansion policies.Sierra Wireless, Inc. SWIR carries a Zacks Rank #2. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 12.5% and delivered an earnings surprise of 34.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Over the past year, Sierra Wireless has gained 17.4%. The company continues to launch innovative products for business-critical operations that require high security and optimum 5G performance. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Sierra Wireless, Inc. (SWIR): Free Stock Analysis Report NETGEAR, Inc. (NTGR): Free Stock Analysis Report Aviat Networks, Inc. (AVNW): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 4th, 2022

The best streaming services you can sign up for in 2022

These are the best streaming services in 2022 to watch popular shows and movies on, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max, and more. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.The best streaming services include on-demand, live TV, and channel-specific apps.Google Play; Netflix; Disney+; Apple TV; Amazon Prime Video; Hulu; Alyssa Powell/Business InsiderThe streaming market has grown a lot in recent years, with newer services like Paramount Plus, Peacock, Discovery Plus, and HBO Max launching to compete with industry juggernauts like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus.Viewers now have more places to watch their favorite movies and shows than ever, and studios are producing more original content to fill their streaming libraries. These new choices come with a price tag though, and signing up for every streaming service out there will quickly start to weigh on your wallet.Choosing the right streaming service for your needs will depend on a number of factors, including your budget, which exclusive programs you like the most, how many screens you want to watch on, and more.To help you decide what to sign up for, we rounded up the best streaming services of 2022 and broke down what makes each of them unique. Our picks primarily focus on on-demand platforms like Netflix and Hulu, but we also included separate sections for live TV and specialty streaming channels.Here are the best streaming services:Best on-demand streaming services: Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock, Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus, Discovery Plus, and Amazon Prime VideoBest live TV streaming services: Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, FuboTV, Philo TV, and DirecTV StreamBest channel-specific streaming services: Showtime, Starz, and ESPN+NetflixArtur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesNetflix Gift Card$25.00 FROM AMAZONNetflix Monthly Subscription$8.99 FROM NETFLIXWith its exclusive shows and incredible 4K quality, Netflix continues to set the streaming standard for the competition.Netflix Basic: $9 a month for standard definition (SD) streamingNetflix Standard: $14 a month for high definition (HD) streaming on up to two devices at the same timeNetflix Premium: $18 a month for up to 4K HDR streaming with Dolby Atmos on up to four devices at the same timePros: Fantastic library of originals, industry-leading video quality, impressive app support, special interface for kids, no commercialsCons: Slightly more expensive than the competition, movie selection pales in comparison to newer servicesNetflix has spent the last few years producing a growing collection of original programming, including exclusive movies, ongoing TV series, documentaries, and comedy specials. Netflix Originals keep subscribers invested when their favorite classic show or movie leaves the platform for another service. The success of Netflix exclusives, like "Squid Game," "Bridgerton," "The Witcher," and "Tiger King," has helped the service justify its slightly higher price, and encouraged streaming competitors to prioritize creating their own original titles to generate more value. Netflix also has a large library of children's series and a separate interface designed to let kids choose their own shows without running into adult programming, making it a good choice for families in need of all-ages entertainment.When it comes to app support, Netflix is available on virtually any streaming device you can think of, including computers, smartphones, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, smart TVs, and more. It also offers support for all of the latest video and audio formats, including 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos — though it does charge extra for those features.HuluTed Soqui/Contributor/Getty ImagesHulu Streaming Service $6.99 FROM HULUDisney+/Hulu/ESPN+ Bundle Monthly Subscription$13.99 FROM DISNEY+Thanks to a mix of content and various plans, Hulu remains one of the most affordable streaming options with unmatched choice.Hulu with ads: $7 a month for ad-supported on-demand streamingHulu without ads: $13 a month for ad-free on-demand streamingHulu + Live TV: $70 a month for ad-supported on-demand and live TV streamingHulu (No Ads) + Live TV: $76 a month for ad-free, on-demand and ad-supported live TV streamingRead our full breakdown of Hulu plans and pricesPros: On-demand library with live TV option, can subscribe to "channels" like HBO, discounted bundle with Disney Plus and ESPN+Cons: Harder to share due to two-device limit on basic plan, basic plan includes commercialsHulu offers two main packages that provide on-demand streaming, including a basic option with commercials and a premium plan without commercials. The service also offers upgrade packages that add live TV channels.Hulu arguably boasts the most impressive TV show library of any on-demand streaming service, with a wider range of new and classic shows than Netflix or Amazon. This includes next-day streaming access to select broadcast series on networks like ABC, FX, and Fox. Hulu also offers a solid selection of original shows, like "Dopesick," "Nine Perfect Strangers" and "The Handmaid's Tale," but its slate of exclusives isn't quite as notable as some of its competitors.Though Hulu does offer 4K and HDR streaming on select devices, its 4K lineup is limited compared to Netflix, Amazon, and Disney Plus. Hulu allows only two devices to stream at the same time, but you can remove that limit with Hulu + Live TV subscription and the $10 add-on for unlimited screens. Hulu also lets subscribers add other channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz for an extra monthly price. You can even bundle Hulu's on-demand service with Disney Plus and ESPN+ for a 30% discount on the monthly price of all three. All of Hulu's live TV plans now include the bundle as part of a standard subscription.Amazon Prime VideoAmazonAmazon Prime Video Monthly Subscription$8.99 FROM AMAZON PRIME VIDEOAmazon Prime Monthly Subscription$12.99 FROM AMAZONAmazon Prime Video is a capable, competitive streaming service that's more than just a Prime membership perk.Amazon Prime with Prime Video: $119 a year or $13 a month as part of an Amazon Prime membershipPrime Video (Standalone): $9 a month for Prime Video on its ownRead our Prime Video guidePros: Included with Amazon Prime, offers extra movie rental and purchase options, lots of international titles, can add streaming channels, 4K HDR support is included in base planCons: The Prime Video library is less impressive than the competitionMore than 110 million Amazon Prime members help make Prime Video one of the largest on-demand services in terms of subscribers, even if they're not all streaming video on a regular basis. Prime Video features a mix of movies and shows that are included with your membership. The selection even includes exclusive titles like "Wheel of Time," "The Boys" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." You can also rent or buy just about any film that's available on home video for your personal collection and watch with the Prime Video app whenever you like. This is a feature that most subscription streaming apps don't offer.Prime Video has launched several award-winning original shows since 2013 and has successfully imported dozens of series from the BBC, as well as Hindi language films from India. The platform offers up to 4K streaming with support for HDR10+ playback on select titles. And, unlike Netflix, it doesn't charge extra to get the best video and audio quality.Though Prime Video is included with a Prime Membership, you can subscribe to the service on its own for $9 a month if you prefer. You can also sign up for add-on channels to other services, like Showtime, AMC Plus, Starz, and even Paramount Plus.Disney PlusHakan Nural/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesDisney Plus Monthly Subscription Service$7.99 FROM DISNEY+Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ Bundle Monthly Subscription$13.99 FROM DISNEY+Disney Plus is the top streaming choice for families and fans of blockbuster franchises like Marvel and "Star Wars."Disney Plus: $8 a month or $80 a yearDisney Plus with ESPN+ and Hulu: $14 a monthRead our Disney Plus guidePros: Disney's vault of classic movies and shows, 4K HDR support, blockbuster Marvel and "Star Wars" titlesCons: Lack of mature content limits the platform's potentialDisney Plus is the fastest growing streaming service on the market, having amassed more than 100 million subscribers since its launch in November 2019. The platform is the sole subscription streaming home of Disney's classic animated films, as well as franchises like "Star Wars" and "The Simpsons."With that in mind, the main draw of the service is its wide catalog of existing Disney, "Star Wars," Marvel, and Pixar content. There are some original films and series as well, but the lineup remains small compared to Netflix and Amazon. It's also important to note that Disney Plus is designed to be family-oriented, so even Disney's hit exclusive shows, like "The Mandalorian" "Loki," and "Hawkeye" are rated for teen viewers. Movies are also limited to PG-13 so you won't find any R-rated content here.That said, at $8 a month with no commercials, Disney Plus might offer the best combination of titles, streaming quality, and value. With an endless supply of family friendly entertainment, Disney Plus is a popular choice for parents, but adults who didn't grow up on Disney or "Star Wars" may want to find a second streaming service to fill their palette with more mature shows.On that note, you can bundle Disney Plus with Hulu and ESPN+ for $14 a month. The bundle saves you about $8 a month compared to signing up for each service separately. HBO MaxSOPA Images/ShutterstockHBO Max Monthly Plan (ad-free)$14.99 FROM HBO MAXHBO Max (ad-supported)$9.99 FROM HBO MAXHBO Max is a premium service for fans of prestige television, iconic films, and the latest movie releases.HBO Max (ad-free): $15 a month for ad-free access to full HBO Max libraryHBO Max (ad-supported): $10 a month for ad-supported access to HBO Max library with the exception of Warner Bros in-theater releasesRead our HBO Max guide and our breakdown of the ad-supported HBO Max planPros: Prestige shows and films, new Warner Bros. movies 45 days after they debut in theaters, collections from Adult Swim, TCM, Sesame Street, and moreCons: More expensive than most competitors, only a few 4K titles so farHBO Max combines critically acclaimed shows and movies from HBO's cable network with new originals, additional WarnerMedia films, classic shows like "Friends," and collections from channels like Adult Swim, TCM, DC Universe, and the anime streaming service Crunchyroll.Like the cable channel, HBO Max prides itself on having some of the best movies recently released on home video. HBO exclusive shows, like "Succession," "Insecure," and "Station Eleven" continue to define prestige television and HBO Max is the best way to catch up on past hits like "The Wire" and "The Sopranos."New episodes of "Sesame Street" are the highlight of HBO Max's family offerings; there's not a ton of educational content for young children, but there's enough to satisfy kids for a few hours on an indoor afternoon.HBO Max was also home to brand-new Warner Bros. movies on the same day they premiered in theaters throughout 2021. Warner Bros. won't continue this release strategy in 2022, but upcoming releases, like "The Batman," are expected to arrive on HBO Max just 45 days after they hit theaters.For now, the biggest drawbacks of HBO Max are technology related. Outside of the new Warner releases, HBO Max doesn't offer much support for 4K or HDR, limiting the quality of some movies and shows. For example, "Game of Thrones" is available in 4K on Blu-ray, but HBO Max streams are limited to 1080p.Paramount PlusParamount PlusParamount Plus Premium Monthly Plan (ad-free)$9.99 FROM PARAMOUNTParamount Plus Essential Monthly Plan (ad-supported)$4.99 FROM PARAMOUNTParamount Plus is a fantastic destination for classic cable TV shows, with potential for even more value in the future.Paramount Plus (Essential): $5 a month or $50 a year for ad-supported streaming. Paramount Plus (Premium): $10 a month or $100 per year for commercial-free streaming and live CBS.Read our Paramount Plus guide and our Paramount Plus reviewPros: Huge library of classic TV shows, live CBS with Premium plan, new Paramount films 45 days after theater releaseCons: Less original content than the competitionParamount Plus is a new on-demand streaming service from ViacomCBS, replacing CBS All Access. The platform gives viewers access to the live CBS TV channel (Premium Plan only), along with a large collection of TV shows and movies. In addition to CBS series, Paramount Plus draws programming from Viacom cable channels like MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. Paramount Plus is also home to exclusive content like the "Yellowstone" spin-off "1883," a reboot of "iCarly" and several "Star Trek" shows.The streaming service hosts newly released Paramount movies as soon as 45 days after they hit theaters. "A Quiet Place Part II" was the first film to get an early release on the service. "The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run" was a launch title for Paramount Plus, and "Mission Impossible 7" is due out next year.Sports fans can also tune into local NFL games broadcast on CBS, as well as UEFA soccer matches and March Madness college basketball matchups when each season is in session. PeacockPeacockPeacock Premium (Monthly Plan)$4.99 FROM PEACOCK TVPeacock Premium (Annual Plan)$49.99 FROM PEACOCKWith free and premium streaming options, Peacock is a convenient source for hit TV shows and movie nostalgia.Peacock: Free for ad-supported streaming access to a limited library of contentPeacock Premium: $5 a month for ad-supported streaming access to the full Peacock libraryPeacock Premium Plus: $10 a month for ad-free access to the full Peacock libraryRead our Peacock guidePros: Free to watch many shows and movies, live news and sporting eventsCons: Premium plan doesn't offer many exclusives, movie library lacks newer releases, no 4K or HDR supportPeacock is the free-to-watch streaming home for NBCUniversal shows like "30 Rock," "Cheers," and "The Office," as well as some new original titles. The service also offers a rotating slate of hit movies. Though few of the choices are less than 10-years old, Peacock has dozens of memorable films.Peacock's base plan is free but it offers a limited library and it's ad-supported. If you want access to all of the platform's content you can pay $5 a month, but this plan still features commercials. To unlock everything with ad-free access, you need to pay $10 a month for the Peacock Premium Plus plan.Starting in 2022, the service will stream brand-new Universal movies within four months of their theatrical releases. Select movies also debuted on Peacock at the same time they premiered in theaters, like "The Boss Baby: Family Business" and "Halloween Kills."Peacock has some live news and sports broadcasts as well. In 2021, the service became the exclusive streaming home of WWE Network, and it streamed highlights from the 2021 Olympics.Peacock doesn't stream in 4K resolution, though given the platform's emphasis on television and older films, the 1080p limit isn't a huge drawback.Discovery PlusDiscovery PlusDiscovery Plus Monthly Plan (ad-supported)$4.99 FROM DISCOVERY PLUSDiscovery Plus is the on-demand streaming home for TLC, Food Network, HGTV, and Discovery shows.Discovery Plus (ad-supported): $5 a monthDiscovery Plus (ad-free): $7 a month for commercial-free streaming.Read our Discovery Plus guidePros: A huge library of shows from 14 cable networks, including Food Network, HGTV, TLC, History, and Animal PlanetCons: Certain newly aired shows won't appear on Discovery Plus, no downloads for offline viewing, and no parental controlsDiscovery Plus is one of the the fastest growing streaming services in the business, delivering a ton of popular shows for fans of reality TV, true crime, cooking, and competition series, like "Chopped," "Dirty Jobs," "Extreme Makeover," and "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives." The service collects shows, documentaries, and movies from more than a dozen different cable channels, including Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, ID, A&E, History, Lifetime, OWN, Travel, and more.Discovery Plus boasts more than 55,000 individual episodes for on-demand streaming, and the service includes "channels" to let you watch a 24-hour stream of specific shows like "House Hunters" and "Chopped."Unfortunately, Discovery Plus is not as technologically advanced as some other streaming services. There are no parental controls to prevent kids from watching explicit content, and the app does not include downloads for offline viewing when traveling. Its library is also lacking when it comes to scripted series, so the service will really only appeal to fans of nonfiction programming. Apple TV PlusIt's possible to cancel your Apple TV Plus subscription using different Apple devices.Halfpoint/ShutterstockApple TV Plus (Monthly Plan)$4.99 FROM APPLE TV+Apple One Subscription$14.95 FROM APPLEApple TV Plus has a limited lineup, but its cheap price makes it a solid option for fans of its exclusive shows.Apple TV Plus: $5 a month or $50 a year for ad-free streamingApple One: $15 a month for Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, 50GB of iCloud, and Apple ArcadeFind out how to get three months of Apple TV Plus for freePros: Affordable price, exclusive shows, movie rental and purchase options, can add streaming channels, 4K HDR supportCons: The lineup of movies and shows is small compared to other services, no back catalog of programs from a major studio or networkApple TV Plus is one of the most affordable streaming services you can subscribe to. The platform costs just $5 a month for ad-free access to its entire lineup of on-demand movies and shows, and new Apple devices include a three-month trial.While that's an attractive price, the Apple TV Plus library is relatively small compared to competing platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu. Most notably, the service lacks a large back catalog of movies and shows from other networks and studios. That said, there are some standout exclusive series like "Ted Lasso," "The Morning Show," and films like "Macbeth."Like Prime Video, Apple TV Plus also lets you access a huge library of additional movies and shows that you can pay to rent or purchase. Though it would be great to have more programs included as part of your subscription, being able to order more titles within the Apple TV Plus app is convenient. You can also add extra channels to your subscription, like Showtime, for an extra fee.If you're someone who plans to use other Apple services, you should also consider the Apple One bundle. The base package includes Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $15 a month.  The best live TV streaming servicesFurboLive TV streaming services are marketed as a cheaper alternative to cable or satellite, offering tighter channel packages for potential "cord cutters." However, prices have gone up in this space, reducing the cost benefit that streaming has over traditional TV.That said, in many cases you can still save with certain services, but choosing the right package is essential for getting the most out of these platforms, so you'll want to figure out which TV stations are your must-haves before you choose a provider.If you plan to use a live TV streaming service to replace cable on multiple TVs in your home, be prepared to pay a bit extra so you can stream simultaneously on separate devices. Also, keep in mind that these TV services have the same commercials and general experience as cable even though they're broadcast online.Streaming quality can vary from channel to channel, but they all typically maintain 720p or 1080p resolution. Again, you'll want to check the specific channel packages and other perks offered by each service to figure out which is best for you.Here's a rundown of the leading live TV services available now:Sling TV - Sling TV offers two different packages, Sling Blue and Sling Orange, for $35 a month each, or for $50 a month bundled together.Sling Blue offers streaming on up to three devices and more channels, including MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, and the NFL Network. Sling Orange offers Disney channel and the ESPN family of networks, but only allows one streaming device at a time. You can find a full breakdown of Sling channels here.Getting the bundle makes the most sense, since you'll get the full set of channels and features for $15 extra. It's worth noting that Sling viewers can't access their local ABC or CBS affiliates, so if you want those channels, you should look to another service or an antenna.Sling TV $35.00 FROM SLINGHulu + Live TV - Hulu's Live TV plan costs $70 a month for access to around 75 channels. You need to pay for an upgrade to stream on more than two devices at the same time, however, and it also costs extra if you want more than 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage. On the plus side, Hulu + Live TV automatically includes Hulu's entire on-demand service, Disney Plus, and ESPN+, so you get a bit more value there.The base package includes all the major local networks in most markets, the ESPN family of channels, Fox and NBC Sports channels, and SEC Network. However, the service lacks access to AMC, NBA TV, and the MLB Network, all of which are standard for YouTube TV. Hulu + Live TV$69.98 FROM HULUFubo TV - FuboTV starts at $65 a month for over 100 channels, 250 hours of cloud DVR space, and streaming on up to three devices. Unlike most of its competitors, Fubo charges extra for sports channels like the SEC Network, NBA TV, and the MLB Network. Local channels are included at no additional cost.Fubo TV (Starter Plan)$64.98 FROM FUBOTVYouTube TV - YouTube TV costs $65 a month for more than 85 channels with unlimited cloud DVR storage and streaming on up to three devices at once. YouTubeTV includes more sports channels in its base package than its competitors, including ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, the NFL Network, NBA TV, and the MLB Network.YouTubeTV is also the only live TV streaming service currently offering PBS alongside local affiliate networks from CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC. New members can get their first three months for a discounted rate of $55 a month.Youtube TV$54.99 FROM YOUTUBEOriginally $64.98 | Save 15%DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV) - Starting at $70 a month for a no-contract plan, DirecTV TV provides more pricing and package options than most live TV streaming competitors — the service offers nearly every channel, but like standard cable, it can be hard to get all the channels you want in a cheap bundle.Because DirecTV Stream comes from AT&T, which is HBO Max's parent company, most of the packages also include an HBO Max subscription, which would cost $15 a month separately.DirecTV Stream$69.98 FROM DIRECTVPhilo TV - Philo TV is the most affordable option at $25 a month for 60+ channels. Unfortunately, Philo viewers don't have access to their local affiliate networks, and the service doesn't offer many upgrade options for watching sports or cable news. It does offer popular channels like Comedy Central, MTV, and AMC, though, so there's still plenty to watch.Philo TV$25.00 FROM PHILOThe best streaming channelsAlyssa Powell/Business InsiderSome streaming services act as an online portal for access to a specific channel. If you want to watch Showtime, for instance, but don't want to subscribe through a cable provider, you can simply sign up for the network's standalone streaming option. Some of these channel-specific platforms also include exclusive content you can't find anywhere else.In many cases, these types of streaming channels can also be added to existing platforms, like Hulu and Prime Video, while others are exclusive to certain devices and services. Be sure to check if the channel you want is available on your device before signing up.Here's a breakdown of some of the best streaming channel services you can subscribe to now:Showtime - Showtime offers a lineup of critically acclaimed original shows and blockbuster movies from the premium cable channel. Some of Showtime's most popular hits are "Billions," "Shameless," and "Homeland." You can stream Showtime directly from the official website or app for $11 a month, or sign up through Prime Video or Hulu.Showtime Monthly Streaming Subscription$11.99 FROM SHOWTIME$10.99 FROM AMAZONStarz - Like Showtime and HBO, Starz offers on-demand streaming of its original shows and a rotating catalog of movies. Notably, Starz is home to series like "Outlander" and "American Gods." The service costs $9 a month, though new subscribers can get their first three months for $3 a month.Starz Streaming Service Monthly Subscription$8.99 FROM STARZESPN+ - ESPN's service is another example of a channel-specific streaming platform, offering live broadcasts of sporting events that aren't normally aired on cable and exclusive access to niche coverage of sports like UFC and "League of Legends." With that said, ESPN+ does not actually provide live streaming access to the regular ESPN cable channel. The service costs $7 a month, and you can bundle it with Disney Plus and Hulu for $14 a month.ESPN+ Monthly Subscription Service$6.99 FROM ESPNWhat we look for in on-demand streaming servicesMaskot/Getty ImagesSubscription services, like Netflix, popularized streaming by providing a larger library of on-demand movies and shows than cable providers could offer, and at a cheaper price. Subscribers gain instant access to thousands of titles rather than paying more for dozens of channels or rental fees for new releases. Many streaming services have also launched their own exclusive programming that you can't see anywhere else. Since the goal is entertainment, choosing the best on-demand streaming service for your needs will largely come down to your personal tastes. However, we can judge the different on-demand platforms based on a few common factors, like their library size, selection of critically acclaimed exclusives, video quality, app functionality, and price.The best on-demand streaming services have set a standard for 4K video quality, with support for HDR color and contrast on compatible TVs. TV channels rarely broadcast in 4K, so we have lower expectations for live TV streaming services, which still use HD resolutions like 1080p or 720p.Quality can still vary based on the movie or show being streamed, and you'll need a strong, stable internet connection to stream consistently at 4K. Even if you don't have a 4K TV, these services will still deliver the best possible quality for your setup.We expect app support on iOS, Android, and most home entertainment devices, though the growing number of streaming services has led to slower releases on competitive platforms, like Amazon and Roku. The best on-demand services also give subscribers an option to save select movies for offline viewing while they travel, though an online check-in is still required occasionally.When comparing catalogs, we try to consider the range of entertainment offered by each streaming service, how much the platform has invested in exclusive programming, and which age ranges are best suited to watch. While most streaming services will have a rotating list of movies, it's important to pay attention to which series and franchises will remain platform exclusive, like "The Office," "Star Wars," and "Stranger Things."The best deals on streaming servicesdamircudic/Getty ImagesStreaming services offer frequent promotions and discounts for new members and students. Special packages are also common, allowing you to bundle services together and save.Check out some notable streaming deals you can take advantage of right now, below. We'll update this list of deals with more discounts as they become available.College students can save big on streaming services — check out deals from Amazon Prime, Hulu, Paramount Plus, and moreDiscovery's streaming service, Discovery Plus, is free for an entire year for some Verizon Unlimited customersNew Apple Music subscribers can get 6 months free from Best Buy, no purchase necessaryNew and returning Starz subscribers can stream 3 months of service for only $3 a monthGet 3 months of Apple TV Plus for free when you buy select Apple devices, or 6 months if you own a PS5You can save 16% off the monthly price of Paramount Plus if you sign up for an annual planYou can get up to 6 months of Disney Plus for free with an Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

8 Top CEOs Give Their Predictions for the Wild Year Ahead

(To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders… (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders from across the world of business to share their priorities and expectations for the year ahead. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, wants to leverage the advances his pharmaceutical company has made in fighting COVID-19 to tackle other diseases, while Rosalind “Roz” Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, has made improving access to healthcare one of her goals over the next year. GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan says building trust will be at the heart of decision-making at the crowdfunding platform—both with workers and its wider community. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Innovation is key to Intel CEO Patrick P. Gelsinger and Forerunner Ventures founder and managing partner Kirsten Green. And Rothy’s CEO Stephen Hawthornthwaite, Albemarle CEO Kent Masters, and Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, shared their suggestions for how companies and policymakers can respond to persistent supply chains problems. Read on to see how some of the most powerful people in business envision the coming year. (These answers have been condensed and edited for clarity.) What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you expect in the year ahead? Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer: The scientific advancements made by Pfizer and others over the past year have brought us very powerful tools to battle the worst pandemic of our lives. But, unfortunately, we don’t see everyone using them. I am concerned about the limited infrastructure and resources in the poorest countries as they struggle to administer their supply of COVID-19 vaccines to their people. Some of these countries have asked us to pause our deliveries of doses while they work to address these issues. While I am proud of the work Pfizer has done to make vaccines available to low- and lower middle-income countries over the past year, we need to find new ways to support the World Health Organization as they work with NGOs and governments to address these infrastructure issues. Getty ImagesAlbert Bourla, CEO, Pfizer Over the next year I’d like us to help find solutions to issues like the shortage of medical professionals, vaccine hesitancy due to limited educational campaigns, lack of equipment and even roads to allow timely delivery of vaccines. Throughout every chapter of this pandemic, we have been reminded of the importance of collaboration and innovative thinking. We need to work harder than ever before to address these health inequities so that people around the globe are protected from the virus. Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel: Throughout the history of technology, we’ve seen the pendulum swinging between centralized and decentralized computing. And there is still a tremendous untapped opportunity in edge computing as we bring greater intelligence to devices such as sensors and cameras in everything from our cars to manufacturing to the smart grid. Edge computing will not replace cloud; we’re swinging back to where decentralized compute becomes the primary growth for new workloads because the inference and AI analysis will take place at the edge. Technology has the power to improve the lives of every person on earth and Intel plays a foundational role within. We aim to lead in the opportunity for every category in which we compete. Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens: The pandemic affirmed Walgreens as a trusted neighborhood health destination to help our customers and patients manage their health. We provide essential care to our communities, including administering more than 50 million COVID-19 vaccines as of early December 2021. The opportunity ahead of us at Walgreens Health—our new segment launched this past fall—is to create better outcomes for both consumers and partners, while lowering costs across the care continuum. A year from now I want to look back on this time as an inflection point and a moment in time where real, lasting change happened—that we will all have collectively banded together to get through the pandemic and at the same time delivered real change toward improving accessible and affordable healthcare. I feel inspired and hopeful that some good will come out of this very difficult time in our country and the world’s history. Jason Redmond—AFP/Getty ImagesRosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens, speaks in Seattle, Washington on Mar. 20, 2019. Tim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe: We’re going to see continued disruption in the world and the workplace in 2022—this will require more people to come together to help each other. Our opportunity is to use our voice and platform to bring more people together to help each other with all aspects of their lives. Asking for help is hard but coming together to help each other is one of the most important and rewarding things we can do in life. We are continuously improving our product to make it easier for more people to both ask for and give help, whether it’s helping an individual fulfill a dream, working on a global cause like climate change, or supporting a family during a difficult time. Kirsten Green, founder and managing partner of Forerunner Ventures: We are nearly two years into the pandemic, and it is still ongoing. We must embrace this new normal and figure out how to make that reality work for our businesses, our consumers, and our people. Thankfully, we often see innovation come out of these periods of change and fluctuation. At the same time, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that the world has evolved, and it is still important to understand that the ‘reset’ button just got hit for a lot of people. Values, goals, and core needs are being reevaluated and reestablished, and we as a society need to figure out how to move forward during a volatile period. Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles: Our industry needs to help drive the American economic recovery amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The top priority remains getting goods to American consumers and creating a more fluid supply chain. We also need to address the growing trade imbalance. Imports are at all-time highs while U.S. exports have declined nearly 40% over the past three years in Los Angeles. We have to help American manufacturers and farmers get their products to global markets. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, our team is working to get our fair share of federal funds to accelerate projects to improve rail infrastructure, local highways and support facilities. The Port of Los Angeles is the nation’s primary trade gateway, yet east and gulf coast ports have received most of the federal funding in the past decade. The best return on port infrastructure investment is in Los Angeles, where the cargo we handle reaches every corner of the country. Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle: Challenges will likely continue to include competition for top talent, supply chain disruptions due to possible pandemic impacts to raw material availability and logistics, and potential inflation impacts to material and freight costs, all of which we’re monitoring closely so we can respond quickly. With the global EV market growing rapidly, we have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us for years to come. Next year, we’ll advance our lithium business through new capacity ramp-ups in Chile, Australia and China, and restart the MARBL Lithium Wodgina hard rock resource in Australia to help feed our new conversion assets and meet customer needs. We’re also keenly focused on organizational goal alignment and continuous improvement to drive greater productivity through our global workforce next year. What do you expect to happen to supply chains in 2022? Gelsinger: The unprecedented global demand for semiconductors—combined with the impact of the global pandemic—has led to an industry-wide shortage, which is impacting technology providers across the industry. Intel is aggressively stepping in to address these issues and build out more capacity and supply around the globe for a more balanced and stable supply, but it will take time and strong public-private partnerships to achieve. Read more: From Cars to Toasters, America’s Semiconductor Shortage Is Wreaking Havoc on Our Lives. Can We Fix It? Brewer: We learned a lot over the past two years and companies are taking action with investments in capacity, resiliency and agility for supply chains across the world. We will continue finding creative ways to increase manufacturing and shipping capacity. Manufacturers will continue expanding capacity and increasing the diversity in their supplier base to reduce reliance of single sourcing. Companies will continue to invest to increase resiliency through expanded inventory positions, extended planning horizons and lead-times, and increased agility in manufacturing and logistics capabilities to fulfill customer needs. As the marketplace changes, we must be agile and adapt quickly as we respond to shifts in consumer behavior. Investments in technology, such as real time supply chain visibility and predictive/prescriptive analytics, will enable companies to deliver the speed and precision expected by today’s consumer. Seroka: Goods and products will get to market. The maritime logistics industry must raise the bar and make advances on service levels for both our import and export customers. Retailers will be replenishing their inventories in the second quarter of the year. And by summer, several months earlier than usual, we’ll see savvy retailers bringing in products for back to school, fall fashion and the winter holidays. Despite the challenges, retail sales reached new highs in 2021. Collectively, supply chains partners need to step up further to improve fluidity and reliability. Stephen Hawthornthwaite, CEO of Rothy’s: In 2022, pressure from consumers for transparency around manufacturing and production, coupled with pandemic learnings about existing supply chain constraints, will push businesses to condense their supply chains and bring in-house where possible. I also predict that more brands will test make-to-demand models to better weather demand volatility and avoid supply surpluses—a benefit for businesses, consumers and the planet. Nimbleness and a willingness to innovate will be crucial for brands who wish to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world. At Rothy’s, we’ve built a vertically integrated model and wholly-owned factory, enabling us to better navigate the challenges that production and logistics present and unlock the full potential of sustainability and circularity. Courtesy of Rothy’sStephen Hawthornthwaite, chairman and CEO, Rothy’s Green: The pandemic crystallized what a lot of us knew to be true, but hadn’t yet evaluated: There’s not nearly as much innovation in the supply chain as a flexible world is going to need. What we’re seeing now is a giant wake-up call to the entire commerce ecosystem. This is more than a rallying cry; it’s a mandate to reevaluate how we’re managing our production processes, and 2022 will be the start of change. Expect a massive overhaul of the system, and expect to see more investment building innovation, efficiency, and sustainability into the supply chain space. Read more: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain Masters: As the pandemic continues with new variants, we expect global supply chain issues to persist in 2022. To what degree remains to be seen, but I would expect impacts to some raw materials, freight costs, and even energy costs. On a positive note, we can successfully meet our customer obligations largely because of our vertically integrated capabilities. This helps us continue to be a reliable source of lithium, as well as bromine. Worldwide logistics issues are a factor, but more marginal in the supply question when the determining factor is the ability to convert feedstock to product and bolster the supply chain. In lithium, we have active conversion facilities running at full capacity now. As we bring more capacity online (La Negra III/IV, Kemerton I/II, Silver Peak expansion, and our Tianyuan acquisition in China) while making more efficient use of our feedstocks, it will help strengthen the global supply chain. How will the labor market evolve and what changes should workers expect in the coming year? Brewer: The labor market will continue to be competitive in 2022. I often say to my team: as an employer, it’s not about the products we make, it’s not about our brand. It’s about how are we going to motivate team members to feel good about themselves, fulfilled and passionate about their work, to contribute at their highest level of performance. How do we create a culture that means Walgreens Boots Alliance is the best place to work—so our team members say, “Yes, pay me for the work that I do, but help me love my job.” In the coming year and beyond, broadly across the market, we will see that managers will continue to become even more empathetic and listen more actively to their team members as people. Workers will expect that employers and their managers accept who they are as their whole, authentic selves, both personally and professionally. Read more: The ‘Great Resignation’ Is Finally Getting Companies to Take Burnout Seriously. Is It Enough? Gelsinger: Our employees are our future and our most important asset, and we’ve already announced a significant investment in our people for next year. As I’ve said, sometimes it takes a decade to make a week of progress; sometimes a week gives you a decade of progress. As I look to 2022, navigating a company at the heart of many of the pandemic-related challenges, we must all carefully consider what shifts are underway and what changes are yet to come. It will continue to be a competitive market and I expect you’ll continue to see companies establish unique benefits and incentives to attract and retain talent. We expect the “hybrid” mode that’s developed over the past years to become the standard working model going forward. Al Drago/Bloomberg—Getty ImagesPatrick Gelsinger, chief executive officer of Intel Corp., speaks during an interview at an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Dec. 9, 2021. Bourla: The past couple of years have challenged our workforce in ways that we never would have imagined. Companies have asked employees to demonstrate exceptional flexibility, commitment, courage and ingenuity over the past two years—and they have risen to the challenge. I predict that we are likely to see an increase in salaries in the coming year due to inflation—and I believe this is a good thing for workers, as it will help close the gap in income inequality. That said, financial rewards are no longer the only thing that employees expect from their employers. Increasingly, people want to work for a company with a strong culture and a defined purpose. As such, companies will need to foster and promote a culture in which employees feel respected and valued for their contributions and made to feel that they are integral to furthering the purpose of their company. Businesses that are able to create such a culture will not only be able to attract the best talent, but also maximize the engagement, creativity and productivity of their people by enabling them to bring their best selves to every challenge. Green: For many years, Forerunner has been saying, “It’s good to be a consumer. Consumers want what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and they’re getting it.” That same evolution of thought has now moved into the labor market: It’s a worker’s market, not a company’s market, and the relationship between the worker and the employer needs to evolve because of that. Workers should expect to get more flexibility, respect, benefits, and pay in some cases—but they still need to show up and deliver impact at work. It’s a two-way street, and we need to tap into a broader cultural work ethic. As a society, we need to be more holistic in our approach to meeting both company and worker needs. Read more: The Pandemic Revealed How Much We Hate Our Jobs. Now We Have a Chance to Reinvent Work Seroka: There’s a need for more truck drivers and warehouse workers in southern California. President Biden’s new Trucking Action Plan funds trucker apprentice programs and recruit U.S. military veterans. It’s an important step forward to attract, recruit and retain workers. Private industry needs to look at improved compensation and benefits for both truckers and warehouse workers. We need to bring a sense of pride and professionalism back to these jobs. On the docks, the contract between longshore workers and the employer’s association expires June 30. Both sides will be hard at work to negotiate and reach an agreement that benefits the workers and companies while keeping cargo flowing for the American economy. Courtesy Port of Los AngelesGene Seroka, executive director, Port of Los Angeles. Masters: I think there will still be a fight for talent next year. It’s a tight labor market overall and Covid-19 restrictions are a challenge in some regions. Albemarle has a really attractive growth story and profile, especially for workers interested in combatting climate change by contributing in a meaningful way to the clean energy transition. We are embracing a flexible work environment, much like other companies are doing, and upgrading some benefits to remain an employer of choice in attracting and retaining the best people on our growth journey. And, of course, we should all expect pandemic protocols to continue next year to ensure everyone’s health and safety. How do you see your role as a leader evolving over the coming year? Bourla: We are entering a golden age of scientific discovery fueled by converging advancements in biology and technology. As an industry, we must leverage these advancements to make disruptive changes in the way we discover, develop and bring new medicines to patients. Since I became CEO of Pfizer, we have been working to reimagine this process by operating as a nimbler, more science-driven organization, focused on delivering true breakthroughs for patients across our six therapeutic areas. In the past few years, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver on this promise of bringing true scientific breakthroughs through our colleagues’ tireless work in COVID-19. But there is more work to be done to address the unmet need in other disease areas—and now is the time to do it. In the year ahead, my leadership team and I will focus on leveraging these advancements in biology and technology, as well as the lessons learned from our COVID-19 vaccine development program, so that we may continue to push this scientific renaissance forward. This is critical work that we must advance for patients and their families around the world who continue to suffer from other devastating diseases without treatment options. Gelsinger: We are in the midst of a digital renaissance and experiencing the fastest pace of digital acceleration in history. We have immense opportunities ahead of us to make a lasting impact on the world through innovation and technology. Humans create technology to define what’s possible. We ask “if” something can be done, we understand “why,” then we ask “how.” In 2022, I must inspire and ensure our global team of over 110,000 executes and continues to drive forward innovation and leadership on our mission to enrich the lives of every person on earth. Brewer: Purpose is the driving force at this point in my career. I joined Walgreens Boots Alliance as CEO in March of 2021, what I saw as a rare opportunity to help end the pandemic and to help reimagine local healthcare and wellbeing for all. Seven months later, we launched the company’s new purpose, vision, values and strategic priorities. My role as CEO now and in 2022 is to lead with our company’s purpose—more joyful lives through better health—at the center of all we do for our customers, patients and team members. I’m particularly focused on affordable, accessible healthcare for all, including in traditionally medically underserved communities. Healthcare is inherently local, and all communities should have equitable access to care. John Lamparski—Getty Images for Advertising Week New YorkTim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe, speaks in New York City on Sept. 26, 2016. Cadogan: The last two years were dominated by a global pandemic and social and geopolitical issues that will carry over into 2022. The role of leaders in this new and uncertain environment will be to deliver value to their customers, while helping employees navigate an increasingly complex world with a completely new way of working together. Trust will be at the center of every decision we make around product development and platform policies—do the decisions we are making align with our mission to help people help each other and do they build trust with our community and our employees? Green: Everything around us is moving at an accelerated pace, and being a leader requires you to operate with a consistent set of values while still leaning into opportunity. Arguably, the pandemic has been the most disruptive time in decades—a generational disruption on par with the Depression or WWII. People’s North Stars are in the process of transforming, and leaders need to figure out what that means for their companies, their cultures, and their work processes. How does this change require leaders to shift their priorities as a business? Courtesy, Forerunner VenturesKirsten Green, founder and managing partner, Forerunner Ventures Masters: My leadership style is to make decisions through dialogue and debate. I encourage teams to be curious about other perspectives, be contrarian, actively discuss, make decisions, and act. I wasn’t sure how well we could do this from a strictly remote work approach during the pandemic, but watching our teams thrive despite the challenge changed my mind. Our people adapted quickly to move our business forward. We’ve worked so well that we’re integrating more flexibility into our work environment in 2022. With this shift to hybrid work, it will be important for all leaders, myself included, to empower employees in managing their productivity, and ensure teams stay engaged and focused on our key objectives. We’re facing rapid growth ahead, so our culture is vital to our success. I’ll continue to encourage our teams to live our values, seek diverse viewpoints, be decisive, and execute critical work to advance our strategy. Courtesy of Albemarle Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle Seroka: Overseeing the nation’s busiest container port comes with an outsized responsibility to help our nation—not just the Port of Los Angeles—address the challenges brought about by the unprecedented surge in consumer demand. That means taking the lead on key fronts such as digital technology, policy and operational logistics. On the digital front, our industry needs to use data better to improve the reliability, predictability, and efficiency in the flow of goods. Policy work will focus on improving infrastructure investment, job training and advocating for a national export plan that supports fair trade and American jobs. Operationally, we’ll look for new ways to improve cargo velocity and efficiency......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 2nd, 2022

Telecom Stock Roundup: Verizon to Power Smart Glass, AT&T"s EC Approval & More

While Verizon (VZ) will deliver an immersive AR experience in the sports and gaming arena, AT&T (T) secures an unconditional antitrust clearance from the European Commission for WarnerMedia sale. Over the past week, U.S. telecom stocks have witnessed a steady downtrend as the industry appeared to be on a collision course with the aviation sector due to the potential interference of the C-Band spectrum with aviation safety standards. With the C-Band spectrum for 5G expansion slated to take off on Jan 5, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) has released a ‘Safety Alert for Operators’. The alert includes recommended action in the form of ‘Notice To Air Missions’, primarily based on restrictions issued earlier by the FAA. This, in turn, is likely to significantly affect air cargo and commercial air travel at most of the biggest airports and highest traffic destinations across the country, with airlines warning that about 4% of daily flights are likely to be delayed, canceled, or diverted.     The FAA has raised concerns that the commercial launch of the C-band wireless service in the 3.7-3.98 GHz frequency band could cause the airwaves to interfere with radar or radio altimeter signals that measure the distance between the aircraft and ground. Data from these devices are fed to the cockpit safety system that helps pilots gauge the air safety metrics and prevent mid-air collision, avoid crashes and ensure a safe landing. Consequently, the FAA has issued certain flight restrictions that would prevent pilots from operating the automatic landing option and other cockpit systems during inclement weather conditions. This has put the transportation industry and the broader economy in jeopardy. Although the FCC has argued that both systems could safely co-exist, the impasse is unlikely to resolve anytime soon, fueling uncertainty within the industry.Notable company-specific news that grabbed the spotlight over the past week includes Verizon Communications Inc.’s VZ collaboration with Vuzix and AT&T Inc.’s T approval from European Commission for WarnerMedia sale. Also, Telefónica, S.A. TEF has decided to retrench 2,700 workers in Spain and Vodafone Group Public Limited Company VOD has launched a 5G mobile broadband device.Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals has supported an FCC move to open up 1,200 MHz of spectrum in the 6GHz band for unlicensed use. The court approval is likely to witness a proliferation of Wi-Fi standards as demand to connect more devices to the network rises exponentially. This, in turn, will facilitate enterprises and service providers to support emerging applications and ensure all connected devices perform at optimum levels.Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories1.     Verizon recently inked a definitive agreement for an undisclosed amount with Vuzix to deliver an immersive augmented reality (AR) experience in the sports and gaming arena. The first-of-its-kind offering is likely to sow the seeds for future endeavors related to the commercialization of AR technology in various domains.  Per the deal, Vuzix will aim to leverage Verizon’s 5G and edge computing technologies for AR experience in its Shield smart glass. The collaboration is the culmination of a proof-of-concept program that was completed earlier this year, which demonstrated the power of Verizon's 5G and edge computing platform on Vuzix smart glasses in terms of improved response time, longer battery life and increased computing capacity.      2.     AT&T’s game-changing deal with Discovery, Inc. for the divesture of its WarnerMedia business recently got a big boost, with the European Commission granting unconditional antitrust clearance for the transaction. AT&T expects the merger to be completed by mid-2022. The transaction aims to spin off the carrier’s media assets and merge them with the complementary assets of Discovery.The antitrust clearance enables both the companies to move a step closer to the formation of Warner Bros. Discovery, a premium entertainment firm with enviable media content under a single platform. Post completion of the deal, AT&T will receive $43 billion in a combination of cash and debt securities and will own 71% of the new entity, while Discovery will own the remainder. The transaction is expected to enable the carrier to trim its huge debt burden and focus on core businesses. The separation of the media assets is likely to offer the company an opportunity to better align its communications business with a focused total return capital allocation strategy.3.    Telefónica has inked an agreement with local labor unions in Spain to retrench about 15% of its domestic workforce. The strategic decision is aimed at reducing operating costs, lowering debt and improving cash flow for extensive 5G deployment and upgrade of existing network infrastructure.The company is reportedly the third-largest telecom firm in Europe, with a global employee count of approximately 114,000. Telefonica will cut about 2,700 jobs from an estimated workforce of 18,500 in Spain. The voluntary severance package is likely to yield annual savings of more than 230 million euros from 2023. In addition, it is likely to generate positive cash flow in 2022 as the employees exit during the first quarter.4.    Vodafone recently announced the launch of its first-ever 5G mobile broadband device — 5G MiFi. This innovative offering has been specifically designed to cater to the connectivity requirements of customers ‘on the go’. The touchscreen device from Vodafone is ideal for supporting the connectivity of small businesses and it can also be used in the home premises. It is equipped with a simple web interface. It boasts an exceptional 8.5-hour battery life that enables customers to seamlessly share Wi-Fi with up to 32 users or devices, backed by hassle-free configuration.  Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major telecom stocks over the past week and six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past five trading days, Juniper gained the most, with its stock rising 5.4%. Bandwidth has declined the most, with its stock falling 3.1%.Over the past six months, Arista has been the best performer, with its stock appreciating 37.8%, while Bandwidth has declined the most, with its stock falling 94.9%.Over the past six months, the Zacks Telecommunications Services industry has declined 9.1%, while the S&P 500 has rallied 10.8%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Next in the Telecom Space?In addition to 5G deployments and product launches, all eyes will remain glued to how the new year unfurls for the industry and how the administration aims to address the potential deadlock between the aviation and telecom industry. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report AT&T Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ): Free Stock Analysis Report Vodafone Group PLC (VOD): Free Stock Analysis Report Telefonica SA (TEF): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 2nd, 2022

5 Tech Stocks That Outperformed Bitcoin in 2021

Here we pick five technology stocks - Clearfield (CLFD), SiTime (SITM), Synaptics (SYNA), Perficient (PRFT) and NVIDIA (NVDA) - which have crushed bitcoin's return this year. Bitcoin has had a topsy-turvy 2021, hitting an all-time high of $68,990.90 on Nov 8 from a low of $27,882.79 on Jan 4, and then again dropping to $45,588.83 on Dec 20. It is currently trading at $50,805.02, up 75.86% year to date, per data.The idea of bitcoin being a solid investment vehicle gained ground among institutional investors this year. Markedly, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are a good hedge against the pandemic-induced weakness in traditional currencies (including the U.S. dollar) as well as inflation.Endorsements by institutional investors like Tesla TSLA CEO Elon Musk, as well as Paul Tudor Jones and Ray Dalio, have played an important part in making bitcoin and other cryptos acceptable as an asset class that promises solid return.However, bitcoin’s dramatic upside run, which was fueled by Tesla’s announcement of accepting the digital coin as payment for its cars, came to a screeching halt after Musk cited environmental concerns of mining bitcoins — heavy power consumption that requires usage of fossil fuel.Regulatory crackdown in China has also rattled bitcoin investors. Apart from shutting down bitcoin mining projects in the Sichuan province, banks and fintech organizations were asked to stop dealing in cryptocurrencies.Per a report by Arcane Research, which cited data from, bitcoin hashrate — a measure of computing power on the network — “almost halved,” in the month following China’s crackdown on miners in May.Soaring Tech Stocks a Better BetTech stocks have been benefiting from the ongoing digitalization in the sector. The adoption of cloud computing and the integration of AI and machine learning have been key catalysts.Rapid adoption of a hybrid work environment is expected to keep demand for PCs and laptops high. The work-from-home set-up continues to boost demand for cloud-based video conferencing, web conferencing, teleconferencing, as well as workspace communication and collaboration solutions.Undoubtedly, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are high-risk investments and not everybody’s forte due to their inherent volatility. Instead, tech stocks are currently better choices for building a growth-focused investment basket.Here we pick five such tech stocks that have outperformed bitcoin this year, so far. These stocks flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Top BetsClearfield CLFD shares have returned 217.7% year to date.Clearfield provides fiberprotection, management and delivery solutions that enable rapid and cost-effective fiber-fed deployment throughout the broadband service provider space. Clearfield is benefiting from strong demand for broadband in rural areas.Clearfield currently flaunts a Zacks Rank of 1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $1.85 per share, having been raised 8.8% in the past 60 days.SiTime SITM shares are up a massive 153.7% year to date.SiTime offers MEMS-based silicon timing system solutions. Its offerings include oscillators, resonators and clock IC products used in automotive, Internet of things (IoT), mobile and wearables, consumer and aerospace defense.SiTime also flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2021 earnings is pegged at $2.79 per share, having been revised 21.3% upward in the past 60 days.Synaptics SYNA shares have returned 188.7% year to date.Currently, Synaptics has a Zacks Rank #2. Synaptics is a leader in designing and marketing human interface solutions such as touchpads for notebook computers, capacitive touch screen controllers for handsets and biometric fingerprint sensors for mobile devices.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Synaptics’ 2021 earnings stands at $11.21 per share, having moved 12.1% north over the past 60 days.Perficient PRFT shares have returned 173.9% year to date.This digital consultancy provider is riding on an expanding customer base. Strong demand for Perficient’s global delivery model (40% of delivery resources are offshore) has been a key catalyst.Perficient currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The consensus mark for its 2021 earnings has been revised 3% upward to $3.40 per share in the past 60 days.NVIDIA NVDA shares are up 127% year to date.NVIDIA is benefiting from the coronavirus-induced work- and learn-from-home wave. It is riding on strong growth in GeForce desktop and notebook Graphic Processing Units, boosting gaming revenues. A surge in Hyperscale demand remains a tailwind for NVIDIA’s Data Center business.NVIDIA currently carries a Zacks Rank of #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $4.33 per share, having been revised 4.6% upward in the past 60 days. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First to New Top 10 Stocks >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report Synaptics Incorporated (SYNA): Free Stock Analysis Report Perficient, Inc. (PRFT): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report SiTime Corporation (SITM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 27th, 2021

United Parcel Service (UPS) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

United Parcel Service (UPS) closed the most recent trading day at $212.19, moving +1.8% from the previous trading session. In the latest trading session, United Parcel Service (UPS) closed at $212.19, marking a +1.8% move from the previous day. This change outpaced the S&P 500's 0.62% gain on the day. At the same time, the Dow added 0.55%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.03%.Coming into today, shares of the package delivery service had gained 1.78% in the past month. In that same time, the Transportation sector lost 1.26%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.87%.United Parcel Service will be looking to display strength as it nears its next earnings release. In that report, analysts expect United Parcel Service to post earnings of $3.05 per share. This would mark year-over-year growth of 14.66%. Meanwhile, our latest consensus estimate is calling for revenue of $26.97 billion, up 8.35% from the prior-year quarter.Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $11.58 per share and revenue of $96.42 billion. These totals would mark changes of +40.7% and +13.93%, respectively, from last year.Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for United Parcel Service. Recent revisions tend to reflect the latest near-term business trends. With this in mind, we can consider positive estimate revisions a sign of optimism about the company's business outlook.Research indicates that these estimate revisions are directly correlated with near-term share price momentum. To benefit from this, we have developed the Zacks Rank, a proprietary model which takes these estimate changes into account and provides an actionable rating system.The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 0.02% lower. United Parcel Service is holding a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold) right now.Valuation is also important, so investors should note that United Parcel Service has a Forward P/E ratio of 18.33 right now. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 17.42, so we one might conclude that United Parcel Service is trading at a premium comparatively.Also, we should mention that UPS has a PEG ratio of 1.51. The PEG ratio is similar to the widely-used P/E ratio, but this metric also takes the company's expected earnings growth rate into account. The Transportation - Air Freight and Cargo was holding an average PEG ratio of 1.51 at yesterday's closing price.The Transportation - Air Freight and Cargo industry is part of the Transportation sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 29, which puts it in the top 12% of all 250+ industries.The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.Make sure to utilize to follow all of these stock-moving metrics, and more, in the coming trading sessions. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 25th, 2021

Atlas Air Worldwide (AAWW) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

Atlas Air Worldwide (AAWW) closed the most recent trading day at $91.95, moving +0.58% from the previous trading session. In the latest trading session, Atlas Air Worldwide (AAWW) closed at $91.95, marking a +0.58% move from the previous day. This change lagged the S&P 500's 0.62% gain on the day. Elsewhere, the Dow gained 0.55%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.03%.Coming into today, shares of the airplane leasing company and service provider had lost 2.37% in the past month. In that same time, the Transportation sector lost 1.26%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.87%.Investors will be hoping for strength from Atlas Air Worldwide as it approaches its next earnings release. In that report, analysts expect Atlas Air Worldwide to post earnings of $5.99 per share. This would mark year-over-year growth of 24.02%. Meanwhile, our latest consensus estimate is calling for revenue of $1.09 billion, up 16.65% from the prior-year quarter.Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $17.39 per share and revenue of $3.96 billion. These totals would mark changes of +27.21% and +23.18%, respectively, from last year.It is also important to note the recent changes to analyst estimates for Atlas Air Worldwide. These revisions typically reflect the latest short-term business trends, which can change frequently. With this in mind, we can consider positive estimate revisions a sign of optimism about the company's business outlook.Research indicates that these estimate revisions are directly correlated with near-term share price momentum. We developed the Zacks Rank to capitalize on this phenomenon. Our system takes these estimate changes into account and delivers a clear, actionable rating model.The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. The Zacks Consensus EPS estimate remained stagnant within the past month. Atlas Air Worldwide is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).Digging into valuation, Atlas Air Worldwide currently has a Forward P/E ratio of 5.29. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 17.42, so we one might conclude that Atlas Air Worldwide is trading at a discount comparatively.The Transportation - Air Freight and Cargo industry is part of the Transportation sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 29, which puts it in the top 12% of all 250+ industries.The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.You can find more information on all of these metrics, and much more, on More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 25th, 2021

3 Under $10 Electronics Stocks Wall Street Analysts Recommend Buying

Here are three electronic stocks, One Stop Systems (OSS), Babcock & Willcox, and Flux Power, which hold solid investment opportunities. The electronics industry has been gaining from the coronavirus pandemic-led work-from-home and learn-from-home trends.The trends, which are expected to prevail in 2022 as well, are leading to the growing proliferation of laptops, notebooks, office equipment, and network peripherals, which have turned out to be boons for electronics companies.An uptick in demand for 5G test solutions, which are required for 5G deployment, remains another major positive. Moreover, the current coronavirus outbreak-triggered remote-working wave globally, which is bolstering the demand for high-speed Internet services, bodes well for electronic companies that are enhancing their 5G efforts.The rapid adoption of cloud computing technology and the rising need for data centers to ensure an efficient remote-working environment are benefiting electronics companies offering supply-chain solutions.The solid adoption of AI and industrial revolution 4.0, which focus on interconnectivity, automation, Machine Learning (ML) and real-time data, is another tailwind.The growing proliferation of fitness trackers and smartwatches, high-end smartphones, smart speakers, and smart cars and autonomous vehicles is fuelling the demand for electronic components.Additionally, the increasing use of medical devices such as electronic monitoring devices, infrared laser thermometers and thermal imaging cameras throughout the world has been boosting the demand for electrical equipment.We note that all the above-mentioned facts are expected to continue shaping the growth trajectory of the electronic industry. Moreover, these are creating an extremely conducive growth environment for electronic stocks in the near term.Considering the upbeat scenario, we believe fundamentally strong electronics stocks offer lucrative investment opportunities.Our PicksHere we have picked three electronics stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.To narrow down the list further, we have selected those with an average estimate of Wall Street analysts less than or equal to two.Additionally, we have focused on the stocks that are trading under $10 a share. Low-priced stocks may not seem attractive to some because fewer people follow them and less has been said about them. But it is also true that the low-priced stocks could be greatly rewarding based on their strong fundamentals.Babcock & Willcox BW is benefiting from its expanding clean and renewable energy business. The company’s acquisition of solar installation and services firm, Fosler Construction Co., is expected to boost its prospects in the solar installation and construction services space in the United States.Apart from this, the company’s increasing number of booked renewable waste-to-energy projects is likely to continue contributing well to top-line growth. Further, its strengthening environmental business and growing momentum across the decarbonization platform, namely ClimateBright, remain major positives.Babcock & Willcox, which is a provider of energy and environmental technologies and services for the power and industrial markets, is further gaining from its well-performing renewable segment. The recent acquisition of VODA, a multi-brand aftermarket parts and service provider for energy plants, positions Babcock & Willcox well to rapidly penetrate the renewable service market of Europe.Currently, the company flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. Additionally, BW has an average broker rating of 1.Babcock Price and Consensus Babcock price-consensus-chart | Babcock Quote One Stop Systems OSS is riding on the growing momentum across the media and entertainment markets on the back of improving sales of its ruggedized servers. Solid demand for the company’s differentiated military AI transportable data processing and storage products remains another tailwind. It is continuously gaining traction among new applications within the key accounts, which remain other positives. Further, its well-performing European subsidiary, Bressner, will likely aid its financial performance in the days ahead.The company, which designs and manufactures ultra-dense high-performance computing systems for learning, oil and gas exploration, financial trading, media and entertainment, defense, and traditional HPC applications, is expected to continue gaining from its expanding offerings in the edge computing systems market.Notably, One Stop Systems sports a Zacks Rank #1 at present. Further, OSS has an average broker rating of 1.One Stop Systems, Inc. Price and Consensus One Stop Systems, Inc. price-consensus-chart | One Stop Systems, Inc. QuoteFlux Power FLUX is benefiting from the rising uptake of its packs with a high selling price. The increasing demand for lithium-ion energy storage solutions worldwide remains another tailwind for the company. The growing momentum across its lithium-ion LiFT Pack solution on the back of environmental benefits that it provides over propane-based power solutions remains a major positive.Flux Power, a developer of advanced lithium-ion battery packs for commercial and industrial equipment, remains well-poised to capitalize on the increasing demand for zero-emission GSE battery packs in the airline industry, which is recovering from the pandemic-led disruptions.Currently, the company carries a Zacks Rank #2. Further, FLUX has an average broker rating of 1.Flux Power Holdings, Inc. Price and Consensus Flux Power Holdings, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Flux Power Holdings, Inc. Quote Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First to New Top 10 Stocks >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Babcock (BW): Free Stock Analysis Report Flux Power Holdings, Inc. (FLUX): Free Stock Analysis Report One Stop Systems, Inc. (OSS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 23rd, 2021

Telecom Stock Roundup: NOK Inks KDDI Deal, JNPR to Boost Bharti Network & More

While Nokia (NOK) inks a deal with KDDI to support its transition to a fully-automated 5G core architecture, Bharti Airtel selects Juniper (JNPR) for network upgrade in India. U.S. telecom stocks witnessed a steady uptrend over the past week as concerns regarding Omicron receded with the broad-based medical opinion that the variant is not as severe as initially feared. Reassuring claims by various pharmaceutical companies that a three-shot course of their COVID-19 vaccine could neutralize the risks associated with the new variant further fueled the industry's growth. The renewed sector optimism also found resonance in the Senate approval of Jessica Rosenworcel as the first appointed female chairperson of the FCC after serving as the acting head for almost a year.  The confirmation was affirmed by a Senate vote of 68-31 in favor of Rosenworcel. This, in turn, ensured a Democratic majority in the FCC to seamlessly pursue a government initiative to improve broadband infrastructure for greater access and deeper penetration in the underserved domestic markets to bridge the digital divide. This will help realize President Biden’s goal of providing all Americans with affordable Internet connectivity. Rosenworcel’s appointment is also expected to steer the industry to safety amid perceived threats from China-based adversities and oversee the next era of spectrum allocations.Notable company-specific news that grabbed the spotlight over the past week includes Nokia Corporation’s NOK 5G deal with KDDI in Japan and Juniper Networks, Inc.’s JNPR network upgrade deal with Bharti Airtel in India. Also, T-Mobile US, Inc. TMUS became the preferred wireless provider of Alaska Airlines, Qualcomm, Incorporated QCOM launched the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform for gamers and Ericsson ERIC secured a contract to boost 5G connectivity in rural Kansas.Meanwhile, a federal appeals court opposed a plea by China Telecom against an earlier FCC directive to bar it from operating in the United States over national security concerns. Without any temporary relief against the ban, the China-based telecom firm has to cease its operations in the country next month. This is likely to aggravate the already strained Sino-US bilateral trade relationship and could induce retaliatory measures by Beijing in the near future.Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories1.     Nokia has inked a deal with KDDI Corporation for an undisclosed amount to support the Japan-based carrier’s transition to a fully-automated 5G core architecture. The deal will likely enhance network scale to enable subscribers to experience lower latency, increased bandwidth and higher capacity. The contract also reinforces the 25-year business relationship between the two firms.Per the transaction, Nokia will offer 5G core standalone solutions for near-zero automation capabilities along with related software support and integration. In addition, the company will provide 5G monetization and data management software solutions to unlock future revenue-generating opportunities. These include cloud-native converged charging – used to consolidate all service charges into a single customer invoice, policy controller that acts as guardrails for greater security, and mediation that converts call data to pre-defined layouts for a specific billing system.      2.     Juniper has been selected by Bharti Airtel, a leading communications service provider in India, to deliver network upgrades for the expansion of the latter’s broadband coverage across the country. The deal builds on the long-standing partnership between the companies. It will support the increased penetration of broadband connectivity into the underserved markets.Juniper will supply, install and support upgrades to the MX Series routers and line cards as part of its broadband network gateway to manage Airtel’s services and carrier-grade NAT solutions for encryption across the network.3.    T-Mobile has secured a contract from Alaska Air Group, Inc. for an undisclosed amount to become the preferred wireless provider of Alaska Airlines. The collaboration is likely to improve the seamless travel experience for air passengers with unmatched network connectivity of the Un-Carrier across the country.Per the agreement, Alaska Airlines will migrate the majority of its mobility business, including data and voice lines, to T-Mobile to leverage the uptick in demand for improved data connectivity. This, in turn, will likely ensure low latency high bandwidth services to optimize the air travel experience starting from ticketing to check-in, on-time departures, arrivals and baggage tracking.4.    Qualcomm recently unveiled the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform for gamers to enjoy their favorite games on the go. The platform combines all the Snapdragon Elite Gaming Technologies to create a new category of gaming devices. It brings superior performance to run all Android games, play content from cloud gaming libraries and stream games from home console or PC. It features the Qualcomm Adreno GPU to run games at an ultra-smooth 144 frames per second. Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 Mobile Connectivity with Wi-Fi 6 and 6E offers fast upload and download speeds. 5G mmWave and sub-6 offer lag-free cloud gaming and bandwidth-intensive game streaming.  5.    Ericsson has inked a contract with Nex-Tech Wireless for an undisclosed amount to augment 5G network connectivity in the rural markets of Kansas. The deal is in sync with President Biden’s initiative to offer broadband access to all Americans by enabling carriers to expand networks in rural areas that lack high-quality Internet service.Ericsson radio solutions will enable Nex-Tech to offer high-speed 5G capabilities in the rural communities of Kansas and help bridge the digital divide. This, in turn, will likely ensure low latency, high bandwidth services for superfast data transfer.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major telecom stocks over the past week and six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past five trading days, Bandwidth gained the most with its stock rising 10.9%, while none of the stocks declined.Over the past six months, Arista has been the best performer, with its stock appreciating 28.3% while Bandwidth has declined the most, with its stock falling 59.2%.Over the past six months, the Zacks Telecommunications Services industry has declined 16% while the S&P 500 has rallied 11%. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Next in the Telecom Space?In addition to 5G deployments and product launches, all eyes will remain glued to how the administration implements key policy changes to safeguard the industry’s interests and address the bottlenecks to spur growth. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Ericsson (ERIC): Free Stock Analysis Report Nokia Corporation (NOK): Free Stock Analysis Report Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR): Free Stock Analysis Report TMobile US, Inc. (TMUS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 10th, 2021

Nutanix (NTNX), Build-A-Bear Tie Up For Bear Builder 3D Workshop

Nutanix (NTNX) and Build-A-Bear Workshop team up to develop technology for powering Bear Builder 3D Workshop, an online shopping experience. Nutanix NTNX recently collaborated with Build-A-Bear Workshop BBW, Buzz 3D and  TierPoint to jointly develop technology to power an interactive online shopping experience — Bear Builder 3D Workshop.The new addition will not only accelerate the global retailer and entertainment company’s digital transformation process but also provide consumers an innovative way to purchase a furry friend for life virtually, which can provide real-world hugs to guests of all ages. This high-end digital experience does not have high bandwidth requirements and can be run on both PC and mobile devices.With this move, Build-A-Bear’s expanded business model goes beyond mere simple transactional engagements. It has leveraged Nutanix Frame, a Desktop as a Service (“DaaS”) solution that streams high performance and graphics-intensive applications to develop this 3D online Workshop.Build-A-Bear leverages TierPoint’s public cloud-as-a-service model, which runs Nutanix’s hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software.Nutanix, a pioneer in HCI solutions, is expected to benefit from its HCI growth prospects in the long run. Per a report of MarketsandMarkets, the global HCI market is anticipated to reach $27.1 billion by 2025, witnessing a CAGR of 28.1% during the 2020-2025 period. Nutanix Price and Consensus Nutanix price-consensus-chart | Nutanix QuoteIn the fiscal third quarter, Nutanix’s clientele totaled 19,430 with the addition of 660 customers. Its growing recurring revenue stream reflects customer loyalty to its solutions, which improves the visibility of the revenue growth trajectory. The third-quarter top line was primarily driven by growth in the company’s core HCI software and solid adoption of its new capabilities. It reported revenues of $344.5 million in the third quarter, reflecting year-over-year improvement of 8%.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderNutanix currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), while Build-A-Bear sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector are Advanced Micro Devices AMD and Qualcomm QCOM, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Advanced Micro Devices’ fourth-quarter 2021 earnings has been revised upward by 7 cents to 75 cents per share over the past 60 days. For 2021, earnings estimates have moved north by 1 cent to $2.64 per share in the last 60 days.Advanced Micro Devices’ earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 14%. Shares of AMD have rallied 58.2% in the YTD period.The consensus mark for Qualcomm’s first-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings has been raised to $3.01 per share from $3 in the past 30 days. For fiscal 2022, earnings estimates have been revised upward by 1.5% to $10.49 per share in the past 30 days.Qualcomm’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 11.2%. Shares of QCOM have gained 19.7% YTD. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD): Free Stock Analysis Report BuildABear Workshop, Inc. (BBW): Free Stock Analysis Report Nutanix (NTNX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 10th, 2021

Amazon (AMZN) Expands Cloud Offerings With AWS Cloud WAN

Amazon's (AMZN) AWS unveils a service, namely AWS Cloud WAN, which aids in seamless development, management, operation and monitoring of a global network with the help of a central dashboard. Amazon's AMZN cloud computing arm — Amazon Web Services ("AWS") — continues to strengthen its services offerings in a bid to sustain its cloud dominance.This is evident from the latest announcement of a managed wide area network (WAN) service, namely AWS Cloud WAN.The new service aids in the seamless development, management, operation and monitoring of a global network with the help of a central dashboard.The service enables a robust connection among on-premise data centers, branch offices, and cloud resources. It also connects Amazon Virtual Private Clouds across the AWS global network.AWS Cloud WAN prevents enterprises from configuring and managing different networks individually by allowing them to use simple network policies for the same purpose.Customer Base to ExpandWe believe that the latest move will help AWS gain strong momentum among customers in the data-driven world, wherein the demand for a single unified network continues to increase.Notably, customers like Cisco, Deloitte, Swisscom, Verizon, VMware and Flutter have already shown interest in AWS Cloud WAN.We believe that the growing customer momentum will continue to drive AWS's top line. Strengthening clientele will continue to aid its dominance and competitive edge against its strong peers like Microsoft MSFT and Alphabet's GOOGL Google.Apart from customer interests in the new service, AWS was picked by the largest social media platform, Meta FB, as the strategic cloud provider.Notably, Meta will expand the use of computing, storage, databases and security services of AWS for ensuring privacy. Also, it will run third-party collaborations on AWS.Further, Aurora has recently chosen AWS as its preferred cloud provider for machine learning training and cloud-based simulation workloads.Then again, Nasdaq has signed a multi-year agreement with AWS in a bid to accelerate the development of advanced cloud-enabled infrastructure for the world's capital markets. It is gearing up to transfer its North America markets to AWS.Per the latest Canalys report, AWS accounted for 32% of the global cloud spending in third-quarter 2021, sustaining its leading position in the booming cloud market.Azure, the second-largest cloud-service provider, accounted for 21% of the worldwide cloud spending. Google Cloud represented 8% of the cloud spending, marking it the third-largest cloud, Inc. Price and Consensus, Inc. price-consensus-chart |, Inc. QuotePortfolio ExpansionThe latest move bodes well for the growing efforts of AWS toward expanding its product and services portfolio.Apart from AWS Cloud WAN, the company recently unveiled a visual development environment — AWS Amplify Studio — which enables web application user interface creation with minimal coding.The company introduced AWS Private 5G, which enables enterprises to deploy and scale their 5G mobile network seamlessly.AWS announced a new managed service called AWS IoT FleetWise, which helps collect and transfer data from millions of vehicles to the cloud in real-time cost-efficiently.It announced AWS IoT TwinMaker, which helps in the quick creation of digital twins of devices, equipment, and processes.The company unveiled three Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, namely C7g, Trn1 and Im4gn/Is4gen/I4i.It announced four storage services and capabilities — Amazon Simple Storage Service Glacier Instant Retrieval, Amazon FSx for OpenZFS, Amazon EBS Snapshots Archive and AWS Backup.AWS introduced six capabilities for Amazon SageMaker, namely Canvas, Ground Truth Plus, Studio, Training Compiler, Inference Recommender and Serverless Inference.Along with these, Amazon recently announced the general availability of Babelfish for Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible Edition, which helps run Microsoft SQL Server applications on Amazon Aurora seamlessly.AWS made Amazon EC2 DL1 instances generally available. DL1 instances, backed by Gaudi accelerators from Habana Labs, assist in training ML models.To ConcludeWe believe that all these endeavors along with expanding data centers and cloud region will continue to aid Amazon in winning clientele in the booming cloud market.However, Amazon, which currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), is currently facing stiff competition from Microsoft and Alphabet.You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Notably, Microsoft Azure has become the key growth driver for Microsoft. The company is currently riding on the robust adoption of Azure cloud offerings. Notably, Azure's increasing number of availability zones and regions globally along with strength in its consumption-based business is likely to continue driving Microsoft's cloud momentum in the near term.Similarly, Google Cloud is contributing substantial growth to the total revenues of Alphabet. Expanding data centers, availability zones and cloud regions are expected to keep boosting Alphabet's cloud position. Investor Alert: Legal Marijuana Looking for big gains? Now is the time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $13.5 billion in 2021 to an expected $70.6 billion by 2028. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could kick start an even greater bonanza for investors. Zacks Investment Research has recently closed pot stocks that have shot up as high as +147.0%. You’re invited to immediately check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 6th, 2021

Buy These Strong Tech Stocks Now at Big Discounts Amid Omicron Selloff?

Here are a few strong technology names investors might want to consider buying amid the downturn if they plan on holding the stocks for a long time... Selling returned to the market in a big way Friday, prolonging a wild up-and-down stretch that began on Black Friday. Constant headlines and current uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, alongside Jay Powell’s comments that inflation might justify faster tapering have driven the recent wave of selling and volatility.The central bank had planned to end its run of stimulus-focused bond purchases by June, while leaving interest rates untouched. Ongoing supply chain bottlenecks and rising prices might force their hand much sooner. Wall Street also honed in on Powell’s suggestion that it could be time to end its ‘transitory’ phrasing.It’s unclear what impact the new variant will have on rebounding economies and international travel. And the market reacted to those unknowns in a big way. Former high-flyers and big covid winners are getting crushed, as investors drop growth names, with tons hitting new 52-week lows.The selling, some of which slowly began in the spring, has washed away a year’s worth of gains for many and completely recalibrated tons of longer-term tech plays that had become overheated following the massive run off the covid lows.The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both whipsawed around their 50-day moving averages in the last several sessions. And there could be more near-term selling, with the S&P 500 down around 4% off its highs and the Nasdaq about 7% lower after it fell 1.9% Friday.Yet, investors with longer-term horizons can do themselves a disservice by attempting to precisely time the market. The last two years, though extraordinary, showcased the need to attempt to stay exposed and consider adding your favorite stocks at discounts when you can. This is what the Wall Street heavyweights do.Here are a few strong technology names investors might want to consider buying amid the downturn if they plan on holding the stocks for a long time…Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchCrowdStrike CRWDCrowdStrike is a cloud-focused cybersecurity firm that utilizes machine learning and AI to protect endpoints and cloud workloads. This is crucial in a cloud age full of rapidly expanding endpoints that include laptops, desktops, smartphones, IoT devices, and more. CRWD has expanded in the last year through acquisitions, as it aims to bolster its offerings in a world where hacking and cyber security breaches cost trillions of dollars annually.CrowdStrike went public in 2019 and its revenue soared 93% during its first full year (FY20) before it surged another 82% during its fiscal 2021. CrowdStrike just beat our Q3 FY22 estimates on December 1 and executives raised their full-year guidance.CrowdStrike’s new subscription customers jumped 75% last quarter to roughly 14,687, with those that pay for four or more modules up 68%. Zacks consensus estimates call for its revenue to climb another 64% to $1.43 billion and then pop nearly 40% higher next year to reach $1.96 billion. And these estimates could improve as analysts update their guidance.Investors might not love to see the projected slowdown in terms of percentage growth. But CrowdStrike’s top-line expansion is still impressive, with it expected to pull in over $500 million more in annual sales next year, or more than it did in all of FY20.  Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMeanwhile, CrowdStrike’s adjusted earnings are projected to surge 78% this year and another 69% to come in at $0.82 a share in FY23. The company has also consistently topped our EPS estimates, including a 70% beat in its recently-reported quarter.CRWD lands a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at the moment, alongside “B” grades for Growth and Momentum in our Style Scores system. Plus, 16 of the 21 brokerage recommendations Zacks has for CrowdStrike are “Strong Buys,” with two more “Buys” and only one below a “Hold.” And fitting with today’s topic, the stock is trading well off its high and at a huge discount to its price targets.CrowdStrike has plummeted 35% from its records on November 10, which included a 6% dive Friday that had it hovering at $197 per share. The stock is not yet at 52-week lows, but it’s trading where it was in mid-December 2020. Its lightning quick down pushed it well below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages and into oversold RSI territory (30 or under) at 26.CrowdStrike shares are still up 250% in the past two years to destroy its industry’s 30% climb. And the pullback could see both long-term buyers and technical-focused traders jump in sooner than later. The stock is also trading at roughly 18-month lows at 25.5X forward 12-month sales. This might still be too expensive for many. But for those looking to scoop up a growth tech name trading nearly 60% below its current Zacks consensus price target, CRWD could be worth considering.Mastercard Incorporated MAMastercard is a global payments powerhouse that operates consumer and business-centric credits card, as well as an elaborate backend processing network. The company in recent years has bolstered its fintech offerings and MA is poised to make a splash in the cryptocurrency world. Mastercard is currently working to integrate and make it easier for crypto players to connect to its network.Mastercard’s cryptocurrency efforts include “signing up a number of new crypto wallet providers and exchanges” in Q3. Plus, it acquired in October security and fraud monitoring firm CipherTrace for its “expertise, technologies, and insights into more than 900 cryptocurrencies.” MA also made a deal with Bakkt at the end of October to help “enable consumers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency, deliver unique, crypto-centric loyalty opportunities, and streamline issuance of branded crypto debit and credit cards.”On top of that, MA is prepared to enter the red-hot ‘buy now, pay later’ space with its recently announced Mastercard Installments offering. The company said it’s set to stand out in the growing market because it “enables banks, lenders, fintechs and wallets to seamlessly bring buy-now-pay-later solutions to consumers and merchants at scale.” The move could be pivotal as the space grows in popularity with a younger generation of consumers.MA topped our Q3 estimates on Oct. 28 amid solid domestic spending and its cross-border unit returned to pre-pandemic levels. More recently, the company on November 30 announced that it raised its quarterly dividend by 11%. Investors should also be pleased to know that MA’s board authorized an additional $8 billion share repurchase program at the same time.  Mastercard revenue did take a hit last year, as people cut back on spending, especially on travel. Luckily, it’s already bounced back in a big way and Zacks estimates call for its FY21 revenue to climb 23% to outpace its pre-pandemic total by $2 billion. It is then projected to jump another 20% in FY22 to reach $22.49 billion in sales.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMeanwhile, its adjusted earnings are expected to climb by 29% and 27%, respectively and it has consistently topped our bottom-line estimates. Even with all of the positives, Mastercard stock has fallen nearly 20% from its April records, including a 13% decline since mid-November.MA stock showcased some life in the last few days and even popped 0.60% during regular hours Friday. The recent positivity could mean Wall Street’s not that worried about a downturn in global travel. Plus, Mastercard trades 33% below its current Zacks consensus price target of $427 a share. And 18 of the 23 brokerage recommendations Zacks has are “Strong Buys” with nothing below a “Hold.”Mastercard currently lands Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and its stock has climbed over 200% in the last five years to blow away its industry and its sector. The recent downturn has also readjusted its valuation, with it trading right near year-long lows at 31.2X forward 12-month earnings. This also represents solid value compared to the 37.1X it traded at right before the initial covid selloff. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Mastercard Incorporated (MA): Free Stock Analysis Report CrowdStrike (CRWD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 4th, 2021