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Sacramento Region Innovation Awards: Cordico"s app helps first responders ask for help

First responders are tough people, surrounded by others like them, and that makes it difficult for them to stand up and say they need help, said David Black, founder and president of Cordico Inc......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

4 Software Stocks to Watch for in a Booming Industry

Computer Software industry participants like Microsoft (MSFT), Salesforce (CRM), Intuit (INTU) and Cadence Design Systems (CDNS) are benefiting from a steady digital transformation environment and strong adoption of cloud computing, despite coronavirus-led disruptions. The Zacks Computer Software industry is benefiting from the pandemic-induced accelerated digital transformation drive across the globe. Software is ubiquitous and has become the focal point of technological innovation. Apart from running devices and applications, its usage has been extended to managing infrastructure. The industry is primarily gaining from the ongoing cloud transition. The role of software is evolving. With the continuation of remote work setup and mainstream adoption of hybrid/flexible work model, the demand for voice and video communication software as well as productivity software is expected to increase exponentially. These trends bode well for industry participants like Microsoft MSFT, Salesforce CRM, Intuit INTU and Cadence Design Systems CDNS. Industry DescriptionThe Zacks Computer Software industry comprises companies that provide software applications related to cloud computing, electronic product designing, digital media and marketing, customer relationship management, on-premises as well as cloud-based database management, accounting and tax purposes, human capital management, cybersecurity and application performance monitoring and cloud-based enterprise communications platform among others. Some of the companies specialize in the development and marketing of simulation software (like the computer-aided design or “CAD”, 3D modelling, product lifecycle management or “PLM”, data orchestration and experience creation), which are widely used by engineers, designers and researchers across a broad spectrum of industries like architecture, engineering and construction; product design and manufacturing; and digital media3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Software IndustryHigher Spending on Software Aids Prospects: The industry’s prospects are bright, given higher spending by the enterprises on software procurement. Continued investment in big data and analytics along with the ongoing adoption of software as a service or SaaS opens up significant opportunities for industry players. Cloud offers a flexible and cost-effective platform to develop and test applications. The deployment time is also much shorter compared with legacy systems. SaaS companies are expected to register strong top-line growth on a higher percentage of recurring revenues, subscription gross margin and a lower churn rate.Cloud Computing Adoption Gaining Traction: The increasing need to secure the cloud platforms, amid growing incidents of cyber-attacks and hacking, is driving demand for cyber security software. Enterprises are focused on rapid migration to cloud and DevOps technologies to achieve scalability and agility for software development as well as IT operations. This helps in delivering a flawless digital experience to clients. This trend has brought immense value to application and infrastructure performance monitoring. It is driving the demand for performance management monitoring tools that are not only scalable but also suitable for cloud-based environments.Remote Work to Drive Demand, Worsening COVID-19 Situation a Concern: The continuation of work-from-home and online-learning set up along with the adoption of distributed workforce model is fueling demand for enterprise communication, workspace management and human capital management software solutions, among others. However, the coronavirus situation is highly evolving with the emergence of a more contagious Omicron variant. Several parts of the world (especially the U.K. and the rest of Europe) are grappling with increasing infection rates, leading to the reimposition of several COVID-19 restrictions. Even the United States is witnessing a surge in the Omicron outbreak. This could affect spending across small- and medium-sized businesses globally. The uncertainty in business visibility could dent the industry’s performance in the near term.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Computer Software industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer And Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #99, which places it in the top 39% of more than 254 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bright near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gaining confidence in this group’s earnings growth potential. Since Jan 31, 2021, the industry’s earnings estimate for 2021 has improved 6.1%.Before we present some stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, considering their prospects, let us look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Outperforms Sector and S&P 500The Zacks Computer Software industry has outperformed the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the S&P 500 Index in the past year.The industry has rallied 25.1% over this period compared with the S&P 500’s rise of 18.4% and the broader sector’s increase of 8%.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current Valuation On the basis of forward 12-month P/E, which is a commonly used multiple for valuing software companies, we see that the industry is currently trading at 32.9X compared with the S&P 500’s 20.65X. It is also above the sector’s forward-12-month P/E of 26.08X.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 37.26X, as low as 22.60X and at the median of 27.07X, as the chart below shows.Forward 12-Month Price-to-Earnings (P/E) RatioForward 12-Month P/E Ratio4 Software Stocks to Snap Up Right NowSalesforce: Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Salesforce is the leading provider of on-demand Customer Relationship Management software, enabling organizations to manage critical operations, such as sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, document management, analytics and custom application development.Salesforce is benefiting from a robust demand environment as customers are undergoing a major digital transformation. The rapid adoption of its cloud-based solutions is driving demand for its products. Salesforce’s sustained focus on introducing more aligned products per customers’ needs is driving the top line. The recent acquisition of Slack would position the company as a leader in the enterprise team collaboration solution space and compete with Microsoft’s Teams product.Salesforce sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is at $4.68 per share, up 6.4% in the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: CRMMicrosoft: The Redmond, WA-based company is benefiting from momentum in its Azure cloud platform amid accelerated digital transformation around the globe. The company is now one of the two public cloud providers that can deliver a wide variety of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions at scale.Microsoft is witnessing growth in the user base of its different applications, including Microsoft 365 suite and Dynamics. Recovery in ad and job market boosted LinkedIn and Search revenues. Teams’ user growth is gaining from the continuation of remote work and the implementation of a flexible work model. The solid uptake of new Xbox consoles is aiding the gaming segment performance.Shares of Microsoft have returned 33.5% in a year’s time. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $9.14 per share, up 2 cents in the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: MSFT  Intuit: Mountain View, CA-based Intuit is a business and financial software company that develops and sells financial, accounting and tax preparation software and related services for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals globally.Intuit is benefiting from strong momentum in online ecosystem revenues and solid professional tax revenues. The TurboTax Live offering is also driving growth in the Consumer tax business. Solid momentum in the company’s lending product, QuickBooks Capital, remains a positive factor. Moreover, the company’s strategy of shifting its business to a cloud-based subscription model will help generate stable revenues over the long run.Shares of Intuit have returned 45.3% in a year’s time. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #2 company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $11.68 per share.Price and Consensus: INTU Cadence Design Systems: The San Jose, CA-based company is well-positioned to gain from strength across segments like digital & signoff solutions and functional verification suite. Expanding product portfolio and frequent product launches are a key catalyst.Increasing investments on emerging trends like Internet-of-things (IoT), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) as well as autonomous vehicle sub-systems present significant growth opportunities for the company in the long haul. The recent acquisitions of Pointwise and NUMECA are expected to boost the top line.In the past year, shares of Cadence have returned 9.4%. The consensus mark for this Zacks Rank #2 company’s 2021 earnings is pegged at $3.25 per share, unchanged in the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: CDNS  5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>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 Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report salesforce.com, inc. (CRM): Free Stock Analysis Report Intuit Inc. (INTU): Free Stock Analysis Report Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (CDNS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

General Electric (GE) Partners Circle to Improve Health Outcome

General Electric's (GE) 10-year partnership deal with Circle Health will likely improve patient health outcomes across the latter's network of around 50 hospitals in the United Kingdom. General Electric Company’s GE business unit GE Healthcare recently entered into a 10-year collaboration deal with U.K.’s leading independent healthcare provider, Circle Health Group. The deal will involve both companies collaborating on improving health outcomes for patients across Circle Health’s network of hospitals in the U.K.The company’s share price dipped 2.4% yesterday, to eventually close the trading session at $98.25.Inside the HeadlinePer the deal, GE Healthcare will be responsible for providing Circle Health with several types of medical equipment for the latter’s network of around 50 hospitals over 10 years. In financing, GE Healthcare Financial Services will offer about $70 million to procure advanced medical equipment. Also, GE Healthcare will collaborate with construction contractors for medical equipment installation.As noted, the contract incorporates a servicing agreement between the parties. It will involve GE Healthcare to provide maintenance services for Circle Health’s medical imaging equipment. This also includes technology that would not be offered by GE Healthcare. This apart, the company will provide Circle Health with digital consultancy services to integrate IT systems and electronic patient records, which is underway.This long-term contract is likely to enable Circle Health’s clinicians to take quicker and more efficient decisions in diagnosis and treatment, thereby enhancing patient care across hospitals.Separately, GE Digital introduced Autonomous Tuning, a software solution developed for gas turbines. The solution helps gas turbines to run with optimal combustion, thus reducing fuel consumption and emissions.Zacks Rank, Price Performance and Estimate TrendGeneral Electric, with a $107.9 billion market capitalization, currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). The company has been witnessing softness in the onshore wind market in the United States apart from supply-chain constraints and inflationary pressures. Its portfolio-restructuring program and its focus on product innovation and expansion in the digital business are likely to be beneficial.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past three months, its share price has decreased 4.8% compared with the industry’s decline of 5.1%.In the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s earnings for 2021 (results awaited) has gone down from $2.02 to $2.01, while the same for 2022 has gone up from $4.02 to $4.05.Stocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked companies are discussed below.Berry Global Group, Inc. BERY presently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Its earnings surprise in the last four quarters was 16.50%, on average.In the past 30 days, Berry Global’s earnings estimates have increased 0.1% for fiscal 2022 (ending September 2022) and 0.4% for fiscal 2023 (ending September 2023). BERY’s shares have gained 9.4% in the past three months.Carlisle Companies Incorporated CSL presently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Its earnings surprise in the last four quarters was 38.89%, on average.In the past 30 days, Carlisle’s earnings estimates have been stable for 2021 (results are awaited) and increased 0.2% for 2022. CSL’s shares have gained 4.5% in the past three months.Danaher Corporation DHR presently carries a Zacks Rank #2. Its earnings surprise in the last four quarters was 24.05%, on average.Danaher’s earnings estimates have increased 0.1% for 2021 (results are awaited) and 1.4% for 2022 in the past 30 days. DHR’s shares have lost 8.9% in the past three months. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>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 General Electric Company (GE): Free Stock Analysis Report Danaher Corporation (DHR): Free Stock Analysis Report Carlisle Companies Incorporated (CSL): Free Stock Analysis Report Berry Global Group, Inc. (BERY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation

It is not the flashiest or most dynamic part of the real estate industry. The concept of a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, goes back more than 100 years when local boards would meet in a dusty office and exchange paper copies of listings. Eventually, these were consolidated into larger volumes accessible by members of […] The post Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation appeared first on RISMedia. It is not the flashiest or most dynamic part of the real estate industry. The concept of a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, goes back more than 100 years when local boards would meet in a dusty office and exchange paper copies of listings. Eventually, these were consolidated into larger volumes accessible by members of local or regional associations, before the dawn of the internet blurred regional lines and gave broad access to listing data for both consumers and real estate professionals. Today, the MLS landscape retains vestiges of that fractured, paper-driven local data sharing. But as technology has improved, regulations have tightened and consumers have found other avenues to access home listing data, the traditional MLS needed to evolve. Exactly what this means, though, varies widely, and companies across the country are taking very different approaches to consolidation, expansion and tech investments—all of which could upend the traditional methods real estate data is shared and accessed. “The real benefit is modernization, and giving the consumer something they expect in the year 2022,” says Michael Barbaro, President of SmartMLS in Connecticut Like many regions, Connecticut was once divided into dozens of individual MLS organizations, which eventually consolidated into two larger companies with overlapping and sometimes arbitrary boundaries. Barbaro describes all-too familiar scenarios with agents paying multiple fees and signing into different systems, and consumers receiving clunky, redundant and inconsistent listing data. But in 2017, following a blitz of meetings, surveys and compromises, SmartMLS became the state’s main—though still not sole—MLS service, consolidating the two previous systems and staff to serve over 90% of the state. This merger was the subject of a glowing case study report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which lauded Barbaro’s ability to foster relationships and come up with innovative solutions (having co-CEOs for the new company and realigning fee structures, among other things). Almost five years later, Barbaro says this process—which took a lot of work but only about six months to put together—has allowed the combined MLS to better serve both real estate professionals and consumers while also investing in the technology that will be needed to keep SmartMLS from falling behind. “We are looking to change the game of real estate,” Barbaro says. “I’ve been encouraged by the fact that MLSs are starting to see the writing on the wall.” But in the enormous, diverse landscape of the U.S., how applicable is the experience of one small Northeast state? How realistic is it to expect big metros and tiny villages, huge national brokerages and small local teams to use the same platforms and data? Not too unrealistic, according to Jon Coile, vice president of MLS & Industry Relations for HomeServices of America and former chair of BrightMLS, a large, multi-regional MLS in the Washington D.C. and Philadelphia area. Coile is currently helping lead NAR policy studies focused on the MLS industry, which has considered state-wide standards to help eliminate some of the obvious issues with the current landscape. “I have a state license, I can sell anywhere in the state,” he says. “But in states where they don’t share data, I might have to and belong to 15 or 20 MLSs to get access to the data. Meanwhile the consumer, they just go to one website—Zillow or Redfin or whatever—and they can access everything. So, the consumer knows more about real estate than I know as a REALTOR®, and that makes no sense.” Data-sharing, with some number of MLS companies creating a separate database that contains all their listing data and standardizes platforms or entries is not a new concept, and seems like common sense in the face of Zillow. Some have still resisted—Barbaro says there are a couple MLSs in small, affluent Connecticut towns that are holding onto their independence. Brian Donnellan is the CEO of BrightMLS. He made it clear that the data-sharing approach is both “extremely effective” and widely beneficial to consumers, real estate professionals and the MLSs themselves. “By providing both more access to listings on the buying side, and more exposure on the seller side, consumers have more choice among a wider range of listings,” Donnellan says. “The shift toward working from home for many buyers and sellers has opened up a larger area of possibilities for many consumers.  More options presented in a simple and straightforward way helps agents and brokers serve consumers more efficiently.” One solution to the regionalization problem is to disregard these local boundaries entirely. Dawn Pfaff runs My State MLS, which offers a national platform that attempts to create flexibility and an expansive, unrestricted listing landscape—including auctions and manufactured homes. “The biggest advantage to My State MLS, is that you can list anywhere you are licensed,” Pfaff says. “We believe that cooperation is essential, and we agree to cooperate with everyone who is also licensed in the same state.” Joe Rand is the CEO of another national initiative called the Broker Public Portal (BPP), which powers consumer portal HomeSnap.The idea is to create a set of standards behind a Zillow-type national portal that is more agent-focused and doesn’t monetize leads, instead creating a more level playing field that will still provide the national MLS experience for consumers. “I just don’t see how MLS systems can be cordoned off the way they used to be,” Rand says.  “Smart MLSs realize they can’t shield themselves from the outside world. As brokerages get bigger, they’re increasingly frustrated by having to deal with multiple MLS systems that don’t collaborate with each other. Given that MLSs themselves espouse cooperation among brokers, it makes sense that they should also be cooperative with each other. “ Ruth Hackney is the CEO of the REALTORS® Association of Southwest Wisconsin, and former CEO of the Montana Regional MLS. She says Wisconsin has had state-wide data sharing for more than a decade now, with the platform owned by the three largest MLSs in the state while smaller companies maintain some independence. Those relationships have been defined by convivial discussion and consideration of each other—something that not every state or region can claim. “Wisconsin is a very friendly place. Nobody wants to hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone upset, so when we go forward, we want to make sure we’re going forward together,” she said. Because everyone is essentially happy with the current system, Hackney says there is no strong impetus for further consolidation right now. But at the same time, having larger, more formal partnerships and centralized resources is becoming vital to the success of any MLS. Tech Savvy New York City is an almost incomparably unique geographic and political area, and therefore unique as far as real estate as well. The Real Estate Board of New York, or REBNY, is independent of NAR unlike most local associations, having essentially seceded from the national body in 1994 in a dispute over membership fees. REBNY owns its own listing database which technically is not called an MLS, instead christened “RLS,” or “Residential Listing Service.” Other associations around and in the city—which are affiliated with NAR—continue to compete for territory and offer their own MLSs. In this much more cutthroat environment, (REBNY Board of Governors member Fredrick W. Peters described the history of MLS in the city as “warring fiefdoms”) the priority is to provide a better product. Because MLS companies are tech companies at heart, that means having the best technology. Ninve James is the senior vice president of the RLS serving 12,000 agents and $45 billion in listings. Set to launch in the second quarter of 2022, James touts “Citysnap,” a proprietary consumer-facing website and app exclusive to the RLS built by HomeSnap. “I know it’s something the industry has been looking to have for a while,” she says. For real estate professionals, leads are routed directly to the listing agent or broker at no cost, James says, and there are no listing fees. It is also meant to ensure all listings comply with the complex advertising and fair housing laws in the city. Creating that product, which is molded to the unique NYC landscape, along with migrating the RLS to national software and data standards, is the “big thing” for the organization, James says, and Citysnap is an “all hands on deck” project. Though REBNY, as the oldest and most established real estate association in the country’s largest metro, has a huge head start on the competition, James makes it clear that they will not be sitting back. “It’s going to provide much needed data transparency for New Yorkers, which is a huge win for our city’s real estate industry and consumers,” she says. Donnellan highlights BrightMLS’s hub for showing service, which became an especially important tech integration in the “incredibly busy market” of the last year or so. “It’s about speed—what’s coming on the market, what’s available at any given moment, etc. Agents and brokers need to be able to present the fullest, most complete representation of the market to their clients as quickly as possible,” he says. Not everyone in the MLS world has reacted in a timely manner to innovations and opportunities, according to Barbaro, particularly around technology. Companies and products that are pushing the industry forward are being bought out at “ridiculous valuations,” and he argues there is no reason that MLS companies can’t begin investing in these products themselves rather than relying on vendors. “I’ve been talking about this for years, I don’t understand why we don’t own the technology, why we don’t develop the technology,” he says. “We use them, we’re a captive audience. Now we’re finally starting to see come out there.” Barbaro points to one of the largest MLSs in the country, California Regional MLS, which recently invested $15 million in a venture capital fund to take a more direct hand in its own tech future. My State MLS also owns their own tech, and Pfaff says their clients can feel confident knowing their membership fees are being invested directly into improving software and data technology. But even small MLSs can band together, he adds, and take control of their technology future, with Barbaro saying there are numerous cases of half a dozen or so small companies getting together to buy a product or invest in a technology, to the benefit of all. “I think that the most important tech advancements are all about integration of tools by smart tech providers,” Rand says. “People want technology to be seamless, which you can’t achieve if you’re not ethically sharing data across platforms to better service agents and consumers.” In Wisconsin, Hackney says the three largest MLS companies own the software that powers the state-wide shared database. She describes tech advancement as “staff-driven” and mostly starting with leadership in the larger organizations, with any big decision or change inclusive of all the members who share and use it. “We just sit down and start to brainstorm,” Hackney says. “We’re just constantly kind of keeping our eye out—is an MLS already doing something and it’s working? Then how can we adopt that and make it work for our unique system?” The Devil in the Details It is not these big-picture questions that are hampering growth and cooperation in the MLS industry today, according to Barbaro. Nearly everyone has now woken up to the fact that consumers are turning to Zillow and Redfin for listings, and that technology can and must make the MLS experience simpler and more straightforward for real estate professionals. What makes things difficult is every little structural and bureaucratic line that has been drawn. That can be everything from what data fields to use to staffing responsibilities, and can take an enormous amount of effort and time to find consensus among dozens of organizations with their own histories and structure. Barbaro says the case study on SmartMLS did not allow any specific discussions about staff ahead of the merger and created a new streamlined fee structure and had the state association offset costs of legal fees and meeting expenses. A lot of real estate professionals are happy with their MLS staff and service, Barbaro suggests, and even though there were obvious improvements to be made in Connecticut they still wanted to hang on to staff “People are like, ‘I get good service,’ and I thought that was interesting. Most people really care about that, and there is an amount of that,” he says. All these things were worked out, though, in a relatively short time through a lot of conversations and listening to people’s concerns, according to Barbaro—with the NAR case study saying his role was “highly praised” as he “created a partnership atmosphere” through the delicate process. Though REBNY is not in the same situation as far as mergers or consolidation, James says that the RLS also must work hard to listen to their stakeholders, who are made up of a particularly vibrant and diverse real estate community. “We’re in constant communication,” James says. “We have multiple committees across the city that basically get updates and meet on a constant cadence to make sure that we send out communications and stay in touch with our constituents.” Understanding how New York City functions—whether that means adding data fields for things like which buildings have doormen and elevators, or mapping distance to parks and transportation—will be vital to the success of any system in the city, and James says the RLS is building that through feedback. “When you look at Citysnap it will cater to what’s expected in New York City,” she says. Coile says that the Real Estate Standards Organization, or RESO has come up with what he calls a “data dictionary” that can actually translate those regional differences automatically and eliminate the sticking points for MLSs. For example, checking the same box would result in a property being designated “waterfront” in one region or “shorefront” in another depending on the preference. “All the computer knows is that field F42 is on or off,” he says. “There could be 10 different words in there.” Fees and pricing will always be an issue and will definitely need to be worked out, though Coile says that consolidation almost always results in lower costs for technology as companies can get a lower price per agent if they serve hundreds or thousands instead of dozens. Pfaff touts My State MLS for not having any fines or board membership requirements, which is another way to attract more business, and says that they also offer webinars on things like digital marketing to help add value to the service. Membership to a single, national MLS also makes sense in more rural areas where properties are spread out, she says. Even though BrightMLS exists in a limited geographic region, Donnellan agrees that eliminating “digital boundaries” that are often arbitrary and mean nothing to the consumer will be the future of the industry. “We…have the opportunity to continue to lead the way on further market transparency for the benefit of consumers,” he says. “Ultimately, this clear open market is in the best interest of all. Transparency and a complete most accurate picture of the market puts them in a position to help their clients succeed.” MLSs are businesses, and at the end of the day if they are not serving the best interests of clients and consumers, they are not going to survive, and no amount of history or pushback from the old guard will change that. Hackney says that she experienced some of the difficulties in getting different organizations to work together in her previous role in Montana, which was in the process of merging MLSs at the time. Now in the very convivial landscape of Wisconsin, she says she still holds on to that lesson: that an MLS is first and foremost a tool for clients and consumers. While everyone does their utmost to avoid disruption and maintain staffing, there still has to be a willingness—especially at the top—to accept the inevitability of change. “The goal is to create efficiencies, and as staff it’s our job to serve the best interests of the member,” she says. “When you have a really strong MLS executive, those people are going to see the benefit of it, they’re going to be willing to make compromises.” Jesse Williams is an associate online editor at RISMedia. Email him with your real estate news ideas jesse@rismedia.com The post Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaJan 21st, 2022

Enphase (ENPH) Extends Its Product Offerings to Colorado

Enphase Energy (ENPH) reveals the expansion of its Enphase Energy System in Colorado, thus capitalizing on the rising residential battery storage capacity in the region. Enphase Energy, Inc.ENPH recently revealed that it has recorded the increased adoption of its Enphase Energy System, comprising IQ Microinverters and IQ Batteries in Colorado. The increased deployment of IQ Microinverters and IQ Batteries exemplifies Enphase Energy’s ability to capitalize on the improving demand in the residential battery storage market.What’s Favoring Enphase Energy’s Growth?The increased adoption of Enphase Energy’s product offerings worldwide reflects its capabilities in offering the best standard and technologically advanced products to its customers. Also, Enphase Energy’s continuous efforts to improvise on its product offerings to provide homeowners with an excellent experience and improve customer reliability have resulted in huge demand for its products.Additionally, extreme weather conditions resulting in prolonged power outages in some regions have propelled demand for an efficient battery storage system. In this context, it is imperative to mention that the recent surge in the deployment of its products in Colorado is supported by homeowners’ hunt for a reliable and durable alternative, which will lower dependence on the power grid. Battery storage and microinverters of ENPH will support customers’ electricity needs during the extreme winter days that bring extended power outages.Colorado exemplifies massive growth potential for renewable sources of energy as the region enjoys sunny skies almost throughout the year, exhibiting immense opportunities for solar companies to develop solar projects and shine on the same.This also adds impetus to the growth of the battery storage market in the region as it enables homeowners to store the energy when not in use. This, in turn, provides a huge growth platform for companies like Enphase Energy to prosper through its innovative products.Moreover, per the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report from the Energy Storage Association and Wood Mackenzie, Colorado may witness two times more deployments in 2022 in residential battery storage while boasting 12-fold growth rate momentum in deployments over the next six years.Considering the solid growth prospects in the battery storage market in Colorado going forward, Enphase Energy may further witness the increased adoption of its products, which may boost its revenues from the Enphase Energy System line of business in the long haul.U.S. Battery Storage BoomThe United States zero-emission target is impelling the adoption of various renewable sources of energy. Underpinned by growth in renewable sources of energy, the battery storage system is also gaining momentum as it reduces dependence on the grid and supports its proper functioning.Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States is likely to witness an addition of 10,000 megawatts of large-scale battery storage projects to be installed between 2021 and 2023.Such compelling growth projections of the U.S. battery storage market embody ample opportunities for companies like Enphase Energy to flourish on the growing trend. Prominent solar players like SolarEdge Technologies SEDG, SunRun RUN and SunPower SPWR have also capitalized on the bright prospects of the U.S. battery storage market with their product range.For instance, SolarEdge’s StorEdge battery storage system helps meet energy demands with less or cheaper electricity. The company recently strengthened its presence in the United States by launching its SolarEdge Energy Bank residential battery and SolarEdge Energy Hub inverter with enhanced backup power.The long-term (three-five years) earnings growth rate of SolarEdge stands at 20.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SEDG’s 2022 sales entails an improvement of 35.6% over the prior-year estimated figure. Shares of SolarEdge have returned 8% to its investors in the past six months.SunRun’s Bright Box battery storage system offers the flexibility to generate, store and manage clean, affordable solar energy. Brightbox can buffer homeowners from increasing energy costs so that they have power when they need it the most, thus enabling homeowners to take charge of their electric bills and get control of energy needs now and in the future.In the last reported quarter, SunRun delivered an earnings surprise of 120.00%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for RUN’s 2022 sales indicates an improvement of 13.1% over the prior-year estimated figure.SunPower’s Equinox system with SunVault Storage solution offers an effective storage solution to homeowners by collecting excess energy in the daytime and distributing it as needed to power essential devices during an outage. This reduces reliance on grid electricity. This also reduces peak-time charges.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SunPower’s 2022 sales implies an upward revision of 4.4% in the past 60 days. The long-term earnings growth rate for SPWR stands at 15.6%.Price MovementIn the past three months, shares of Enphase Energy have decreased 17% compared with the industry’s 19.8% decline.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankEnphase Energy currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. 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 5 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 SunPower Corporation (SPWR): Free Stock Analysis Report Enphase Energy, Inc. (ENPH): Free Stock Analysis Report SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. (SEDG): Free Stock Analysis Report Sunrun Inc. (RUN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

Northwest Arkansas will pay you $10,000 in bitcoin to move there and help turn it into a crypto hub

It's part of a broader push to spur migration to the region and bolster its efforts to become a hub for all things crypto. DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images A nonprofit in Northwest Arkansas is hoping to lure tech workers with $10,000 in free bitcoin. The offer also includes a free bike and has garnered more than 35,000 applicants so far. It's one of over a dozen US programs launched during the pandemic to attract remote workers. A nonprofit in Northwest Arkansas is offering $10,000 worth of free bitcoin to lure newcomers to the region. It's part of a broader push to spur migration to Northwest Arkansas and to create a crypto hub in the area, according to the Northwest Arkansas Council, which is offering the incentive. While the council is mostly hoping to attract tech workers and entrepreneurs with an interest in the blockchain, the offer is open to anyone who wants to make the move, it said Wednesday. This offer "embraces the growing trend toward the use of cryptocurrency as a payment option by employers, but also helps increase our pipeline of talent," Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the council, said in a press release. Northwest Arkansas has been incentivizing artists, entrepreneurs, and other types of tech talent to move to region since November 2020 with an offer of $10,000 cash and a bike — those selected could choose between a road bike and a mountain bike.The offer — funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the family behind Walmart — has garnered more than 35,000 applicants from people in over 115 countries, the council said.So far, 50 people have moved to the region, Bloomberg reports. By offering bitcoin incentives, the council hopes to help fill the roughly 7,500 open technology jobs expected in the next decade, Axios reports. Northwest Arkansas also boasts a tech hub on the University of Arkansas campus known as the Blockchain Center of Excellence, which leads academic research on blockchain technologies.Northwest Arkansas is one of several regions that has worked to attract remote workers during the pandemic. Nearby Tulsa offered workers $10,000 to move there in November 2020 — one couple who took the offer told Insider it was "the best decision we've ever made." Greensburg, Indiana, granted newcomers $5,000 and offered to supply senior citizen caregivers to families with children, and West Virginia's program, Ascend WV, promised $12,000 to live and work in the state for two years. The program received so many applicants that it offered those who weren't selected $2,500 off their mortgage.Vermont, Alabama, Kansas, and over a dozen other cities and towns across the US have offered various incentives of their own, including up to $20,000, free internet, or a relocation stipend — one town even offered a free house. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022

Global Economy Heading For "Mother Of All" Supply Chain Shocks As China Locks Down Ports

Global Economy Heading For "Mother Of All" Supply Chain Shocks As China Locks Down Ports Over the past month, as Wall Street turned increasingly optimistic on US growth alongside the Fed, with consensus (shaped by the Fed's leaks and jawboning) now virtually certain of a March rate hike, we have been repeatedly warning that after a huge policy error in 2021 when the Fed erroneously said that inflation is "transitory" (it wasn't), the central bank is on pace to make another just as big policy mistake in 2022 by hiking as many as 4 times and also running off its massive balance sheet... right into a growth slowdown. The Fed is going from one huge error (inflation is transitory) to another huge error (4 rate hikes and runoff won't crash markets). — zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 11, 2022 And, as we have also discussed in recent weeks, one place where this slowdown is emerging - besides the slowdown in US consumption of course where spending is now being funded to record rates by credit cards - is China and its "covid-zero" policy in general, and its covid-locked down ports in particular. But what until recently was a minority view confined to our modest website, has since expanded and as Bloomberg writes overnight, the effects of restrictions in China as the country maintains its Covid-zero policy "are starting to hit supply chains in the region." As a result of the slow movement of goods through some of the country’s busiest and most important ports means shippers are now diverting to Shanghai, causing the types of knock-on delays at the world’s biggest container port that led to massive congestion bottlnecks last summer that eventually translated into a record number of container ships waiting off the coast of California, a glut that hasn't been cleared to this day. With sailing schedules already facing delays of about a week, freight forwarders warn of the impact on already back-logged gateways in Europe and the US and is also why HSBC economists are warning that the world economy could be headed for the “mother of all” supply chain shocks if the highly infectious omicron variant which is already swamping much of the global economy spreads across Asia, especially China, at which point disruption to manufacturing will be inevitable. "Temporary, one would hope, but hugely disruptive all the same" in the next few months, they wrote in a research note this week first noted by Bloomberg. For those who have forgotten last year's global shockwave when China locked down its ports for several days, a quick reminder: it led to an unprecedented hiccup in global logistics and shipping which hasn't been resolved to this day. That's because China is the world’s biggest trading nation and its ability to keep its factories humming through the pandemic has been crucial for global supply chains. While the outbreak of omicron in China has been small compared to other nations (if one believes China's official data, which is a big if) authorities are taking no chances, especially with China's continued "zero-covid" policy. In recent weeks scattered infections of both the delta and omicron variants have already triggered shutdowns to clothing factories and gas deliveries around one of China’s biggest seaports in Ningbo, disruptions at computer chip manufacturers in the locked-down city of Xi’an, and a second city-wide lockdown in Henan province Tuesday. Below is a brief timeline of the most recent events courtesy of Deutsche Bank: China's first Omicron outbreak was detected in the city of Tianjin over the weekend. On the morning of Jan 8, two patients in Tianjin who actively sought medical treatment were confirmed as being infected with the Omicron variant. The local government immediately locked down certain districts, restricted travel, and conducted large-scale screening. A total of 41 positive cases have been reported as of the morning of Jan 11. The source of the local cases in Tianjin is still unknown, and community transmission is possible, according to local disease control officials. All previous local Omicron cases in Tianjin belonged to the same transmission chain. However, the above cases cannot be confirmed to be in the same transmission chain as the sequences of the imported cases of the Omicron variant that have been found in Tianjin. The early confirmed cases do not have any travel history outside Tianjin either. The specific source of the local cases found in Tianjin is still unknown at this time. More alarmingly, the same Omicron virus strain has already spread to outside Tianjin. Two positive cases were found in Anyang, Henan on Jan 8, and were later confirmed to be the same Omicron variant found in Tianjin. Through contact tracing and gene sequencing, the source was identified as a college student who returned to Anyang from Tianjin on December 28, 2021, and who did not show any symptoms. 81 cases have since been confirmed in Anyang over the past few days. This suggests that (1) the Omicron virus may have been transmitted in Tianjin for almost 2 weeks; and (2) other travelers might have already carried the Omicron virus from Tianjin to elsewhere in China. Looking at the recent data, China's Covid outbreak this winter could be worse than in the previous winter - as shown in the chart below more provinces have detected Covid outbreaks this winter. Entering Q4, there are 12 provinces which have found more than 19 local cases in the past 14 days. More significantly, the total number of new cases in the past 14 days in Shann’xi has already exceeded 1500, which is a record high, except for in Hubei when Covid first occurred in early 2020, and this has happened despite China now having very high vaccination rates and strict regulations such as lockdowns. In addition, comparing the differences between months near Chinese New Year in 2021 and 2022, not only have the number of news cases been larger this year, the provinces hit by Covid outbreaks this year also tend to have higher GDP and population density. As Bloomberg adds, Henan and Guangdong, which also has an outbreak, are centers of electronics production. If cases continue rising there, it could impact the supply of iPhones and other smartphones. This also brings us to what Bloomberg calls the paradox of China’s aggressive “Covid-zero” strategy: while on one hand it helps contain the virus spread, to do so usually requires significant disruption or lockdowns as authorities limit the movement of people. The repeated mandatory testing of whole cities interrupts businessess and production, although nothing to the extent seen in places like the US, where the omicron wave caused an estimated 5 million people to stay home sick last week, leading to further economic slowdown (as discussed in "A March Rate Hike? Not So Fast") That risk of disruption for factories is already prompting companies to spread their risk by ensuring they have alternative production facilities, Stephanie Krishnan, a supply chain expert at IDC in Singapore, told Bloomberg. “We are starting to see companies mitigating risk, seeing where they can increase capabilities for production of different products in different factories so they can shift that around,” she said. Echoing what we said last night in "New Year Brings New All-Time High For Shipping's Epic Traffic Jam", Krishnan doesn’t see an end to the global supply crunch anytime soon and cautions it could take several years for the snarls to unwind. It’s a sobering outlook to start a year that many had hoped would mark the beginning of the end of the Big Crunch which dogged producers and consumers through much of last year. Clearly what happens next is critical, and how China’s control of the virus plays out will ultimately be crucial, said Deborah Elms, executive director of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre. Those companies whose supply chains are fully located inside China may be insulated by the country’s mitigation strategy. But that won’t apply to everyone, she said. “Lots of products in supply chains come from outside China,” Elms said. “Given challenges elsewhere, even zero Covid doesn’t solve all the issues of disruption.” * * * In its assessment of next steps, Deutsche Bank expects the government will try to contain the Omicron outbreak with more lockdowns and quarantines rather than taking a "live with Covid" approach. This will pose downside risks to near-term growth. The impact on consumption could be significant, although probably not as large as what happened in 2020. While Omicron is far less deadly than other Covid variants, it is still deadly enough to cause healthcare service shortages in China, at least in some regions. Vaccination has proven to be ineffective in preventing Omicron from spreading, and while it offers protection against hospitalization, China still has some 20% of the population who are not vaccinated and will face serious health risks if Omicron becomes widespread. As such, DB says that a containment approach is still the government's optimal choice for this winter regardless of how fast Omicron spreads in the next few weeks. It will be good news if travel restrictions, lockdowns and large-scale testing and contact tracing work in containing the outbreak. Even if outbreaks cannot be contained in some regions, these measures will still be considered necessary in flattening the curve and preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed nationwide. What is much more important for the US, global capital markets and the Fed's monetary policy - which has assumed much stronger growth in 2022 - is that China's Omicron outbreaks are significant downside risks for near-term consumption demand. Restrictions will likely be imposed nationwide to reduce travel before the Chinese New Year and encourage people to stay where they are. Cities where new cases were found will reimpose lockdowns and social distancing measures. The impact in each city will depend on local authorities. Experience from the past 2 years was that while some cities (such as Shenzhen and Shanghai) can manage outbreaks in a less disruptive way, other cities (such as Xi'an) have resorted to stricter and larger scale lockdowns, causing severe disruptions to consumption and service sector activities. Businesses such as restaurants, as well as those linked to travel, and leisure & entertainment will suffer from sharp revenue reductions or even temporary shutdowns. This may also cause temporary job and income losses and negatively impact consumer goods purchases. Retail sales growth dropped by 3ppt in Jan-Feb 2021 (in 2-year average terms). Retail sales might weaken again in Jan-Feb 2022, though the YoY growth rate might not drop much owing to the low base in 2021. Nevertheless, consumption will likely recover rapidly once lockdowns are lifted. Similar to what happened before, such negative shocks will likely be transitory and will be followed by strong recovery once lockdowns are lifted and businesses reopen. Still, the notorious bull-whip effect will emerge once again, as supply chains once again become stretched, and like in 2021 the question will be how the trade off between rising costs - as goods in transit end up stuck on a ship far longer than expected - and slowing growth will impact the Fed's view on what the optimal policy response is. While the Fed's prerogative for now is clearly to contain inflation, the reality is that much of the inflation experienced today is on the supply side, something which Brainard told the Senate in her confirmation hearing the Fed is powerless to address. Meanwhile, if we see a "surprise" drop in growth in the coming months, the Fed will have no choice but to delay or at least stagger its tightening as the last thing the Fed can afford to do is hike into another recession, which will then quickly be followed with even more easing.  Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 13:06.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 13th, 2022

The Estee Lauder Companies (EL) Gains 38% in a Year: Here"s Why

The Estee Lauder Companies' (EL) Skin Care portfolio has been performing well for a while now. The company's online operations also look impressive. Growing Skin Care sales and the online business are favoring The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. EL. The company’s robust presence in emerging markets and cost-saving efforts are encouraging.Owing to the upsides, shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have gained 38.3% in the past year compared with the industry’s 0.4% growth. Also, the stock has comfortably outpaced the Zacks Consumer Staples sector’s growth of 7.4%.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Skin Care Business Holds PromiseThe Estee Lauder Companies’ Skin Care portfolio has been performing well for a while now. In first-quarter fiscal 2022, brands like La Mer and Clinique witnessed solid growth in the skincare portfolio. This was backed by product offerings and innovations. Other brands within the skincare portfolio also continued to perform well.In the quarter, the Skin Care category’s sales were up 20% year over year (up 18% at constant currency) to $2,449 million. Management expects to keep witnessing solid growth in the Skin Care category in fiscal 2022.Online Business: A Key DriverThe Estee Lauder Companies has a strong online business. It expects the same to be a major growth engine for the upcoming few years. The company has been implementing new technology and digital experiences, including online booking for each store appointment, omni-channel loyalty programs and high-touch services. The initiatives and the company’s digital-first mindset have been aiding its online sales.Moreover, The Estee Lauder Companies' brand teams have been fully committed to enhancing consumer experiences online since the initial coronavirus outbreak. In this regard, they have been focusing on proper product placement and showing case tools, including virtual try-on to ease decision-making.Apart from these, management has been on track to expand brand presence across various third-party sites, rolling out digital payment technologies and enhancing its loyalty programs as it continues to widen market reach.Solid Presence in Emerging MarketsThe Estee Lauder Companies has a strong presence in the emerging markets, which bode well. The company derives significant revenues from emerging markets like Thailand, India, Russia, and Brazil, which encourage it to make distributional, digital, and marketing investments in these countries. In first-quarter fiscal 2022, sales in the Asia Pacific region increased 15% (up 11% at cc) to $1,326 million, mainly driven by growth in Mainland China and Korea.Mainland China is a major area of focus for The Estee Lauder Companies. The company is expanding its footprint in specialty-multi and freestanding stores alongside increasing advertising expenditure to drive growth across the region. It is making investments to cater to demand from consumers in China and Asia.To this end, the company bought Korea-based skincare brand Dr. Jart in 2019. Also, it is on track to open its end-to-end innovation center in Shanghai inthe second half of fiscal 2022. Further, management is building a state-of-the-art production unit near Tokyo, which is likely to start operations in the same year.Wrapping UpThe Estee Lauder Companies’ cost-saving efforts along with the aforementioned upsides keep it well-placed for growth in the cosmetics industry. We note that uncertainties related to COVID-19 led management to implement stringent cost-curtailment practices. In addition, the company has been benefiting from cost-saving initiatives like Leading Beauty Forward as well as the post-COVID business acceleration program.More Consumer Staple BetsSome other top-ranked companies are Helen of Troy Limited HELE, Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. NUS and United Natural Foods UNFI.Helen of Troy, the developer and distributor of a portfolio of consumer products worldwide, currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. Shares of HELE have gained 6% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Helen of Troy’s current financial year’s sales suggests growth of 0.8% from the year-ago reported figure. HELE has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 19.1%, on average.Nu Skin, which develops and distributes personal care and wellness products worldwide, currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. Shares of NUS have dipped 6.4% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Nu Skin’s current financial year’s sales suggests growth of 3.7% from the year-ago reported figure. NUS has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 16.6%, on average.United Natural Foods, the leading distributor of natural, organic and specialty food and non-food products in the United States and Canada, carries a Zacks Rank #2 at present. Shares of UNFI have surged 104.4% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for United Natural Foods’ current financial year’s sales suggests growth of 4.8% from the year-ago reported number. UNFI has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 35.4%, on average. Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities. Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly. See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>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 The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (EL): Free Stock Analysis Report United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI): Free Stock Analysis Report Helen of Troy Limited (HELE): Free Stock Analysis Report Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NUS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

Delta Air Lines Announces December Quarter and Full Year 2021 Financial Results

ATLANTA, Jan. 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today reported financial results for the December quarter and full year 2021 and provided its outlook for the March quarter 2022.  Highlights of the December quarter and full year 2021 results, including both GAAP and adjusted metrics, are on page five and are incorporated here. "2021 was a year like no other for Delta, with significant progress in our recovery supported by growing brand preference, enabling us to be the only major U.S. airline to deliver profitability across the second half of the year," said Ed Bastian, Delta's chief executive officer.  "As always, our people drove this success, which is why we were happy to announce this morning a special profit-sharing payment for all eligible employees." "While the rapidly spreading omicron variant has significantly impacted staffing levels and disrupted travel across the industry, Delta's operation has stabilized over the last week and returned to pre-holiday performance," Bastian said.  "Omicron is expected to temporarily delay the demand recovery 60 days, but as we look past the peak, we are confident in a strong spring and summer travel season with significant pent-up demand for consumer and business travel." December Quarter 2021 Financial Results  Adjusted pre-tax income of $170 million excludes a net impact of $564 million primarily in equity method losses, mark-to-market adjustments on investments and special profit-sharing payment Adjusted operating revenue of $8.4 billion, which excludes third-party refinery sales, was 74 percent recovered versus December quarter 2019 on capacity that was 79 percent restored Total operating expense decreased $833 million compared to the December quarter 2019. Adjusted for costs from third-party refinery sales, total operating expense decreased $1.9 billion or 19% percent in the December quarter 2021 versus the comparable 2019 period Remuneration from American Express in the quarter was $1.2 billion, up 11 percent compared to the December quarter 2019 At the end of the December quarter, the company had $14.2 billion in liquidity, including cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments and undrawn revolving credit facilities Full Year 2021 Financial Results  Adjusted pre-tax loss of $3.4 billion excludes a net benefit of $3.8 billion from items primarily related to the Payroll Support Programs (PSP), partially offset by equity method losses, debt extinguishment charges and special profit-sharing payment Generated a pre-tax profit of $1.1 billion in the second half of 2021. Excluding PSP, mark-to-market adjustments, equity method losses and debt extinguishment charges reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of $386 million in the second half of 2021 Adjusted operating revenue of $26.7 billion, which excludes third-party refinery sales, was 57 percent recovered versus full year 2019 on capacity that was 71 percent restored Total operating expense, which includes $4.5 billion of benefit related to PSP, decreased $12.4 billion compared to 2019. Adjusted for the benefits related to PSP and costs from third-party refinery sales, total operating expense, adjusted decreased $10.9 billion or 27 percent versus 2019 Remuneration from American Express for full year 2021 was $4.0 billion, 98 percent restored compared to full year 2019 Invested $2.9 billion back in the business and reduced financial obligations by $7 billion, including fully funding the pension plans on a Pension Protection Act (PPA) basis The company had total debt and finance lease obligations of $26.9 billion with adjusted net debt of $20.6 billion at the end of December 2021 March Quarter 2022 Outlook 1Q22 Forecast Capacity 1 83% - 85% Total Revenue 1, 2 72% - 76% Fuel Price ($/gal) 2, 3 $2.35 - $2.50 CASM-Ex 1, 2, 4 Up ~15% Gross Capital Expenditures 2 ~$1.6 billion Adjusted Net Debt 2 ~$22 billion 1 Compared to March quarter 2019 2 Non-GAAP measure 3 Fuel guidance based on prices as of January 11 (Brent at $81, cracks at $17, Monroe profit with RINS at $1.31) 4 Includes an ~3 point impact of operational disruption related cost Revenue Environment "The commercial strengths we spoke about last month at Capital Markets Day are evident in our December quarter results.  We ended December with revenues nearly 80 percent recovered to 2019 levels on strong demand and pricing during the holiday period, our premium products continued to perform well, we saw encouraging trends in business and international travel and our diverse revenue streams remained resilient," said Glen Hauenstein, Delta's president. "The recent rise in COVID cases associated with the omicron variant is expected to impact the pace of demand recovery early in the quarter, with recovery momentum resuming from President's Day weekend forward.  Factoring this in to our outlook, we expect total March quarter revenue to recover to 72 to 76% of 2019 levels, compared to 74% in the December quarter."  Operating revenue, adjusted of $8.4 billion for the December quarter 2021 improved 2 percent, or $149 million from September quarter 2021.  Compared to the same period in 2019, operating revenue, adjusted was 74 percent restored, in line with the company's mid-December guidance update on system capacity that was 79 percent restored compared to December quarter 2019 levels. Compared to the September quarter 2021, system yields improved 7 percent on a system load factor decline of 2 points to 78 percent.  As a result, total unit revenue, adjusted improved 6 percent sequentially. Revenue-related Highlights: Domestic revenue recovery progresses on strong holiday demand: Domestic passenger revenue was 78 percent restored compared to December quarter 2019, a 6 point sequential improvement in the rate of recovery versus the September quarter 2021 driven by robust leisure demand, improving corporate travel and strong holiday bookings. International passenger revenue recovered to 50 percent of December quarter 2019 levels, an 8 point improvement sequentially. Premium cabins continue to outperform main cabin: Domestic and short-haul Latin premium product revenue recovery outpaced main cabin by approximately 10 points, flat sequentially, with Domestic premium revenues 84 percent recovered compared to December quarter 2019. Business demand continues to improve: Business travel continues to progress with domestic passenger volumes approaching 60 percent restored during the December quarter 2021. This includes both managed corporate and Small and Medium Enterprises. American Express remuneration exceeded 2019 levels: American Express remuneration of $1.2 billion in the quarter was up 11 percent compared to December quarter 2019 and up 8 points sequentially. Co-brand spend was 121 percent of December quarter 2019, driven by strong holiday retail spend and T&E spend that exceeded December quarter 2019. Co-brand card acquisitions were 86 percent recovered compared to December quarter 2019. Cargo revenue achieves five consecutive quarters of positive growth: Cargo revenue increased to $304 million, a 63 percent improvement compared to the December quarter 2019 and up 24 points sequentially on strong holiday demand and yields. Cost Performance "The Delta team executed incredibly well in 2021, delivering another profitable quarter in an environment that remains dynamic," said Dan Janki, Delta's chief financial officer.  "With omicron impacting our near-term outlook, we expect losses in January and February months with a return to profitability in the month of March.  Despite expectations for a loss in the March quarter, we remain positioned to generate a healthy profit in the June, September and December quarters, resulting in a meaningful profit in 2022." For 2021, total operating expense, adjusted of $29.2 billion decreased 27 percent compared to full year 2019, driven by lower salaries and related benefits, fuel and volume and selling-related expense.  Non-fuel CASM for 2021 increased 11.4 percent versus 2019, on 29 percent lower capacity over the same period. Total operating expense, adjusted of $8.1 billion in the December quarter 2021 increased 3 percent sequentially, driven by both higher fuel and non-fuel costs from the continued restoration of the airline.  Fuel expense, adjusted of $1.6 billion in the December quarter 2021 increased 4 percent, or $55 million compared to the September quarter 2021.  Adjusted fuel price of $2.10 per gallon was up 8 percent compared to the September quarter 2021 driven by higher market prices and partially offset by continued refinery contribution and an improvement in RINs pricing and volume obligations.  During the December quarter 2021, fuel efficiency, defined as gallons per 1,000 ASMs, improved 4.3 percent versus the same period in 2019 as a result of our fleet renewal efforts.  In addition, carbon offsets expensed during the quarter drove a 3¢ impact on fuel prices as Delta supports its commitment to carbon neutrality by pursuing high quality, verified offsets.  Non-fuel cost, adjusted of $6.5 billion was up 3 percent sequentially on a 4 percent decrease in capacity.  This was driven primarily by people-related and seasonal costs.  Compared to the December quarter of 2019, non-fuel unit costs (CASM-Ex) were 8.3 percent higher, including a 1.2 point impact primarily due to omicron disruptions the last two weeks of the December quarter. Non-operating expense for the December quarter 2021 was $658 million including equity method losses, mark-to-market losses on certain investments and losses on the extinguishment of debt.  Non-operating expense, adjusted was $175 million. Balance Sheet, Cash and Liquidity "During 2021, we made significant progress restoring our balance sheet, reducing gross debt by $6 billion and fully funding our pension plans on a PPA basis," Janki said.  "Reducing debt remains a top financial priority as operating cash flow improves to support the return of our balance sheet back to investment grade metrics by 2024." At the end of the December quarter 2021, the company had total debt and finance lease obligations of $26.9 billion with adjusted net debt of $20.6 billion and a weighted average interest rate of 4.2 percent.  Operating cash flow during the December quarter 2021 was $555 million.  Free cash flow was negative $441 million for the quarter with gross capital expenditures reinvested in the business of $948 million. The company's Air Traffic Liability was $6.4 billion at December quarter-end, approximately flat compared to the end of the September quarter.  Delta ended the December quarter with $14.2 billion in liquidity, including $2.9 billion in undrawn revolver capacity.  Other Highlights from the December Quarter 2021 Culture and People Increased vaccination rates to more than 95 percent of employees as Delta continues to prioritize the health and safety of the Delta people Provided free, convenient COVID-19 testing options to Delta people Celebrated 75 years of Delta Cargo, which has played a pivotal role throughout the pandemic transporting vaccines and personal protective equipment as well as life-saving organs for transplant Committed to an eight-year partnership with LA28, making Delta the inaugural founding partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028 and a sponsor of the United States Olympic and Paralympic teams through 2028. As Team USA's official airline, Delta will manage travel for U.S. Olympians and Paralympians to Beijing 2022, Paris 2024, Milano Cortina 2026 and Los Angeles 2028 Celebrated 200 Chairman's Club inductees through a historic 25th annual gala; this special one-time class of 200 honorees were recognized for embodying the spirit of Delta Customer Experience and Loyalty Named No. 1 in the annual Business Travel News Airline Survey for the 11th consecutive year, sweeping all categories for the 8th straight year Opened the first-ever Delta-TSA PreCheck express lobby and bag drop at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with expanded facial recognition capabilities for touch-free, seamless entry Installed high-speed Viasat-powered Wi-Fi on 300 aircraft in 2021, enabling customers on Delta's most popular routes to stream and browse their favorite sites at fast speeds for a simple, flat rate of $5 per flight Launched in-flight entertainment partnership with leading interactive fitness platform Peloton to offer exclusive well-being focused content, giving customers more ways to stretch and unwind at their seats Enhanced Delta FlyReady, a digital solution that takes the guesswork out of international travel in the pandemic era, enabling customers to understand and manage entry requirements at their destination Extended Medallion Status for current Medallion members and rolled over all Medallion Qualification Miles for the second year in a row Launched updates to Global Upgrade Certificates, allowing customers more access to premium seats in Delta Premium Select Environmental, Social and Governance Announced strengthening of executive leadership team with the hiring of Pam Fletcher as the industry's only C-suite Chief Sustainability Officer Recognized as the No. 1 transportation company on The Just 100: Companies Doing Right By America and an overall ranking of No. 38 on the comprehensive global list Promoted health equity and responded to employee feedback with a new 2022 healthcare option designed to increase predictability and lower unplanned, out-of-pocket expenses for plan participants Engaged senior leaders in Racial Equity Leadership Workshops, led by the Groundwater Institute Built upon Delta's commitment to supplier diversity by launching vodka from Du Nord Social Spirits, America's first Black-owned distillery, on all domestic flights and Une Femme's 100 percent women-made wine on select flights Concluded 2021 with a robust set of climate-related goals including committing to set a medium-term science-based target for our global airline as well as a net zero emissions target for 2050, both aligned with the SBTi framework and the UN Race to Zero Signed 27 SAF agreements with corporate and agency customers in 2021. Beginning in 2025, Delta expects to receive 81 million gallons of SAF annually from producers Aemetis, Gevo, Neste and NWABF December Quarter and Full Year 2021 Results December quarter and full year results have been adjusted primarily for the government grant recognition, impairments and equity method losses, losses on extinguishment of debt, unrealized losses on investments, special profit-sharing payment and third-party refinery sales as described in the reconciliations in Note A. GAAP Adjusted GAAP Adjusted ($ in millions except per share and unit costs) 4Q21 4Q19 4Q21 4Q19 FY21 FY19 FY21 FY19 Pre-tax (loss)/income (395) 1,397 170 1,417 398 6,198 (3,415) 6,214 Net (loss)/income (408) 1,099 143 1,098 280 4,767 (2,598) 4,776 (Loss)/diluted earnings per share (0.64) 1.71 0.22 1.70 0.44 7.30 (4.08) 7.32 Pre-tax margin (4.2)% 12.2 % 2.0 % 12.4 % 1.3 % 13.2 % (12.8)% 13.3 % Operating revenue 9,470 11,439 8,430 11,384 29,899 47,007 26,670 46,718 Total revenue per available seat mile (TRASM) (cents) 18.30 17.47 16.29 17.39 15.37 17.07 13.71 16.97 Operating expense 9,207 10,040 8,086 9,961 28,013 40,389 29,197 40,082 Capital expenditures 1,217 1,072 948 954 3,247 4,936 2,876 5,306 Total debt and finance lease obligations 26,920 11,160 26,920 11,160 Adjusted net debt 20,581 10,489 20,581 10,489 Cost per available seat mile (CASM) (cents) 17.79 15.34 12.56 11.59 14.40 14.67 12.12 10.88 Fuel expense 1,577 2,012 1,588 1,983 5,633 8,519 5,625 8,477 Average fuel price per gallon 2.09 2.01 2.10 1.99 2.02 2.02 2.02 2.01 Non-operating expense 658 2 175 6 1,488 420 888 422 Operating cash flow / free cash flow 555 969 (441) 141 3,264 8,425 1,255 4,164 About Delta Air Lines  In a world that thrives on connection, no one better connects the world than Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL). Powered by its people around the world, Delta is the U.S. global airline leader in safety, innovation, reliability and customer experience. Delta was named by J.D. Power & Associates as the No. 1 airline in its 2021 North American Satisfaction Study, a recognition of its decade-long airline industry leadership in operational excellence and award-winning customer service. Delta is a values-driven company with a mission of connecting the people and cultures of the globe, striving to foster understanding across a diverse world. Delta is the first airline to commit to becoming carbon neutral on a global basis by focusing on carbon reductions and removals, stakeholder engagement, and coalition building. Delta's long-term vision is zero-impact aviation: air travel that does not damage the environment directly or indirectly via greenhouse gas emissions, noise, waste generation or other environmental impacts. Its people are committed to these values while leading the way in ensuring safe, reliable and comfortable travel. Forward Looking Statements Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections, goals, aspirations, commitments or strategies for the future, should be considered "forward-looking statements" under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are not guarantees or promised outcomes and should not be construed as such. All forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections, goals, aspirations, commitments and strategies reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the material adverse effect that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our business; the impact of incurring significant debt in response to the pandemic; failure to comply with the financial and other covenants in our financing agreements; the possible effects of accidents involving our aircraft or aircraft of our airline partners; breaches or lapses in the security of technology systems on which we rely; disruptions in our information technology infrastructure; our dependence on technology in our operations; our commercial relationships with airlines in other parts of the world and the investments we have in certain of those airlines; the effects of a significant disruption in the operations or performance of third parties on which we rely; failure to realize the full value of intangible or long-lived assets; labor issues; the effects of weather, natural disasters and seasonality on our business; the cost of aircraft fuel; the availability of aircraft fuel; failure or inability of insurance to cover a significant liability at Monroe's Trainer refinery; failure to comply with existing and future environmental regulations to which Monroe's refinery operations are subject, including costs related to compliance with renewable fuel standard regulations; our ability to retain senior management and other key employees, and to maintain our company culture; significant damage to our reputation and brand, including from exposure to significant adverse publicity; the effects of terrorist attacks, geopolitical conflict or security events; competitive conditions in the airline industry; extended interruptions or disruptions in service at major airports at which we operate or significant problems associated with types of aircraft or engines we operate; the effects of extensive government regulation we are subject to; the impact of environmental regulation, including increased regulation to reduce emissions and other risks associated with climate change, on our business; and unfavorable economic or political conditions in the markets in which we operate or volatility in currency exchange rates. Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties that could cause differences between actual results and forward-looking statements is contained in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 and our Quarterly Report for the quarterly period ended September 30, 2021. Caution should be taken not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements, which represent our views only as of the date of this press release, and which we undertake no obligation to update except to the extent required by law. DELTA AIR LINES, INC. Consolidated Statements of Operations (Unaudited) Three Months Ended Year Ended December 31, December 31, (in millions, except per share data) 2021 2019 $ Change % Change 2021 2019 $ Change % Change Operating Revenue: Passenger $       7,241 $     10,245 $      (3,004) (29)% $     22,519 $     42,277 $    (19,758) (47)% Cargo 304 187 117 63% 1,032 753 279 37% Other 1,925 1,007 918 91% 6,348 3,977 2,371 60%   Total operating revenue 9,470 11,439 (1,969) (17)% 29,899 47,007 (17,108) (36)% Operating Expense: Salaries and related costs 2,632 3,046 (414) (14)% 9,728 11,601 (1,873) (16)% Aircraft fuel and related taxes 1,577 2,012 (435) (22)% 5,633 8,519 (2,886) (34)% Ancillary businesses and refinery 1,233 299 934 NM 3,957 1,245 2,712 NM Contracted services 697 742 (45) (6)% 2,420 2,942 (522) (18)% Landing fees and other rents 542 538 4 1% 2,019 2,176 (157) (7)% Depreciation and amortization 504 622 (118) (19)% 1,998 2,581 (583) (23)% Regional carrier expense 478 536 (58) (11)% 1,736 2,158 (422) (20)% Aircraft maintenance materials and outside repairs 386 417 (31) (7)% 1,401 1,751 (350) (20)% Passenger commissions and other selling expenses 313 542 (229) (42)% 953 2,211 (1,258) (57)% Passenger service 236 325 (89) (27)% 756 1,312 (556) (42)% Aircraft rent 118 105 13 12% 430 423 7 2% Restructuring charges (16) — (16) NM (19) — (19) NM Profit sharing 108 387 (279) (72)% 108 1,643 (1,535) (93)% Government grant recognition — — — NM (4,512) — (4,512) NM Other 399 469 (70) (15)% 1,405 1,827 (422) (23)%   Total operating expense 9,207 10,040 (833) (8)% 28,013 40,389 (12,376) (31)% Operating Income 263 1,399 (1,136) (81)% 1,886 6,618 (4,732) (72)% Non-Operating Expense: Interest expense, net (265) (72) (193) NM (1,279) (301) (978) NM Impairments and equity method (losses)/gains (232) 18 (250) NM (337) (62) (275) NM Gain/(Loss) on investments, net (197) 136 (333) NM 56 119 (63) (53)% Loss on extinguishment of debt (54) — (54) NM (319) — (319) NM Miscellaneous, net 90 (84) 174 NM 391 (176) 567 NM   Total non-operating expense, net (658) (2) (656) NM (1,488) (420) (1,068) NM (Loss)/Income Before Income Taxes (395) 1,397 (1,792) NM 398 6,198 (5,800) (94)% Income Tax Provision (13) (298) 285 (96)% (118) (1,431) 1,313 (92)% Net (Loss)/Income (408) 1,099 (1,507) NM $          280 $       4,767 $      (4,487) (94)% Basic (Loss)/Earnings Per Share $        (0.64) $         1.71 $         0.44 $         7.32 Diluted (Loss)/Earnings Per Share $        (0.64) $         1.71 $         0.44 $         7.30 Basic Weighted Average Shares Outstanding 637 642 636 651 Diluted Weighted Average Shares Outstanding 637 644 641 653   DELTA AIR LINES, INC. Passenger Revenue (Unaudited) Three Months Ended Year Ended December 31, December 31, (in millions) 2021 2019 $ Change % Change 2021 2019 $ Change % Change Ticket - Main cabin $       3,687 $       5,238 $      (1,551) (30)% $     11,626 $     21,919 $    (10,293) (47)% Ticket - Business cabin and premium products 2,585 3,684 (1,099) (30)% 7,713 14,989 (7,276) (49)% Loyalty travel awards 573 726 (153) (21)% 1,786 2,900 (1,114) (38)% Travel-related services 396 597 (201) (34)% 1,394 2,469 (1,075) (44)% Total passenger revenue $       7,241 $     10,245 $      (3,004) (29)% $     22,519 $     42,277 $    (19,758) (47)%.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJan 13th, 2022

Calling all startups! Inno Madness bracket competition now accepting nominations.

It’s tournament time. We’re getting ready to kick off Inno Madness, our annual contest formerly known as Tech Madness, which aims to build awareness and excitement for the region’s innovation universe and the companies that make it what it is. Nothing wrong with a little fun-and-friendly competition, right? So we’re building the bracket — and we’d love your input. Here’s what we want from you: Nominate your contenders. We’re looking for startups or small businesses that are private,….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 13th, 2022

Should You Hold Cboe Global (CBOE) Stock in Your Portfolio?

Cboe Global (CBOE) is set to grow on higher trading volumes, strategic acquisitions and solid capital position. Cboe Global Markets CBOE is poised for growth on the back of higher transaction and recurring non-transaction revenues, strategic acquisitions as well as effective capital deployment.Earnings EstimateThe Zacks Consensus Estimate for Cboe Global’s 2022 earnings per share is pegged at $5.99, indicating a year-over-year increase of 2.3%. The figure has moved 1% north in the past seven days, reflecting analysts’ optimism.Earnings Surprise HistoryCboe Global has a decent earnings surprise history. The company’s earnings beat estimates in three of the last four quarters and missed in one. It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 3.22%, on average.Zacks Rank & Price PerformanceCboe Global currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The stock has rallied 29.4%, outperforming the industry’s increase of 16.7% in the past year.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchStyle ScoreCboe Global has a favorable VGM Score of A. VGM Score helps identify stocks with the most attractive value, best growth and the most promising momentum.Return on Equity (ROE)The company’s ROE for the trailing 12 months is 17.5%, better than the industry average of 13.4%. This reflects the company’s efficiency in utilizing shareholders’ funds.Business TailwindsCboe Global continued to witness solid top-line growth across each of the business segments, riding on higher transaction and recurring non-transaction revenues.Higher volumes in index options and volatility products, increased demand for its suite of data and access solutions and growth in trading volumes across all the segments are likely to drive the performance of the security exchange.Given the solid performance in the first nine months, Cboe Global raised its 2021 organic growth target for recurring non-transaction revenues to approximately 14% from the earlier guidance of 12-13%. Additional units or subscribers, continued demand for access to exchanges, proprietary market data and new subscribers to Cboe’s front-end platforms, including Silexx and Trade Alert, are expected to drive organic recurring non-transaction revenues.Cboe Global, being the largest stock exchange operator by volume in the United States and a leading market for ETP trading, expects to deliver total net revenue growth of 5-7% annually, an increase from 4-6% growth expected earlier for the medium term.  For the first time, CBOE guided medium-term return on invested capital target of at least 10%. While Cboe Global expects Data and Access Solutions to contribute organic net revenue growth of 7- 10% annually over the medium term, derivatives initiatives will likely contribute 2-4% of total organic net revenue growth over the medium term. Cboe Global expects medium- to long-term organic total net revenue growth of 4-6%.Cboe Global Markets boasts a compelling inorganic growth story. In November 2021, CBOE agreed to buy Aequitas Innovations in an effort to strengthen its North American presence. The security exchange pursues acquisitions to strengthen its business. These acquisitions enable Cboe Global to pursue the development of derivatives trading, clearing capabilities in the European equities business region, gain a foothold in the key capital market and build a comprehensive equities platform.Cboe Global boasts a robust liquidity position, which mitigates balance-sheet risks and accelerates capital deployment.Riding on strong cash flow generation, CBOE has hiked dividends each year since its IPO and increased the same by 14% in October 2021. This marked the 11th consecutive year of dividend hikes. It currently yields 1.5%, which is better than the industry average of 0.9%. At present, it has $318.9 million remaining under its existing share repurchase authorization.Stocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked stocks from the finance sector include OTC Markets Group OTCM, Usio USIO and Intercontinental Exchange ICE. While OTC Markets and Usio sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Intercontinental Exchange carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for OTC Markets Group’s 2022 earnings has moved up 14.8% in the past 60 days. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 9%.OTC Markets Group’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average beat being 41.39%. In the past year, OTCM has gained 71.4%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Usio’s 2022 earnings per share indicates a year-over-year increase of 66.6%.Usio’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average beat being 81.25%. In the past year, USIO has gained 27%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Intercontinental Exchange’s 2022 earnings has moved up 0.9% in the past 30 days. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 10.3%, higher than the industry average of 9.5%.ICE’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average beat being 3.11%. In the past year, ICE has gained 12%.  The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Intercontinental Exchange’s 2022 earnings implies 9.7% year-over-year growth. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now >>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 Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE): Free Stock Analysis Report Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (CBOE): Free Stock Analysis Report OTC Markets Group Inc. (OTCM): Free Stock Analysis Report Usio Inc (USIO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

Top Stock Picks For 2022

2022 is a stock pickers market and the recent dip provides us with some favorable pricing for these winning picks. After a brief yield-fueled market pullback to start the year, 2022’s looks ripe with fresh investment opportunities. Below I break down 6 innovation-powered picks for the rapidly digitalizing economic environment that the new normal is poised to drive materially higher.An Accommodative FedFed Chair Powell's dovish words of relief in his reconfirmation hearing on Capitol Hill provided a friendly bid for recently pressured equities (especially deeply discounted innovation), giving US Treasury yields a chance to take a momentary pause before the Fed's January meeting at the end of this month.Jerome Powell remains stoic in his positioning regarding the persistent nature of global supply and demand imbalances that he maintains are being generated by relentless COVID pressures, which have yet to subside (I agree with this perspective).Jerome acknowledged that the aggressive monetary stimulus the Fed provided public markets for nearly 2 years now is no longer necessary but didn't sound anxious to raise the Fed Funds rate back to pre-pandemic levels in any expedited manner.Powell reiterated what he had said in December's FOMC meeting: we are operating in a digitalized economic environment that is entirely different than the one we left behind in 2019 (no past comparable can be used as reference). The Fed has lowered its long-term target Fed Funds range by 50 basis points since the pandemic began, implying a systemic economic shift that could support lower rates.Jerome's dovish comments about the natural inflation curbing ahead coupled with a slow and steady monetary tightening strategy were just what the market needed to hear. Powell may have put a bottom in for the best-positioned high-growth stocks in the market. It's time to get greedy as others remain fearful.CrowdStrike (CRWD)When asked what he thought the greatest threat to the US economy was at present, Fed Chair Jerome Powell's answer wasn't the Omicron-variant, inflation, or even global economic turmoil but a cyberattack on a prominent US financial institution. CrowdStrike CRWD and its unmatchable cutting-edge AI-fueled cybersecurity platform is the long-term opportunity for this looming digital threat. Any price below $200 a share is a steal for CRWD.CrowdStrike is trusted by Wall Street's top firms, including Goldman Sachs GS and Credit Suisse CS, who can't afford to have any digital vulnerabilities.CrowdStrike is a modern cloud-based solution for the escalating security threats that the increasingly mobile internet age has brought. This company leverages AI, cloud computing, and graph databases for its vigilant security software. CrowdStrike's security AI is perpetually improving as it advances from crowdsourcing and economies of scale. CRWD's cloud-based Falcon platform is an intelligent and evolving digital protector that detects and stops breaches in real-time. This business was provided with a tremendous tailwind in 2020 as the enterprise's best-in-class AI-driven cybersecurity platform became arguably the most sought-after in the industry. Business spending is taking off as we enter 2022 and the economy finally reemerges from the Pandemic downturn. Upgrading cybersecurity is on the top of that Cap Ex list for many financial institutions. CrowdStrike's best-in-class AI-powered Falcon platforms are the obvious solution to any business's digital susceptibility concerns.The TradeThe Fed has now set its interest rate expectations for 2022, and I believe it's prudent to start a position in this best-in-class cybersecurity stock for the future.The market looks to have put in a bottom to CRWD's precipitous decline at just below $175 a share. Look to buy CRWD between $200 and $190, which I presume we reach at some point in today's session, with profit pulling in mega-cap tech weighing on sentiment for high-valuation stocks.Final Thought On CRWDCrowdStrike is taking over the cybersecurity space with its unmatchable threat detection and immediate response capabilities that continue to improve as its proven AI-driven platform learns and adapts to mounting risks. No matter what happens in the broader economy, there will continue to be a swelling demand for this technology as the rapid digital adaptation exposes more and more endpoint liabilities.The company is expected to turn a full-year profit in 2022. Its proliferating subscription-based business model provides the visibility & reliability that justify its still frothy valuation (24x price to forward sales).This is a high-risk/high-reward play, so I am only giving it a 5% allocation. Still, with price targets averaging around $300 a share, I am confident that reward far outweighs the risk in the long run, as long as you can stomach some short-term volatility.ACM Research (ACMR)The time to reopen our Headline Trader portfolio to the recently suppressed Chinese stocks has come, with Biden's administration making clear efforts to resume its alliance with Beijing (after years of political turmoil). At the same time, China's overdue economic recovery commences as it prepares for the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, which is now less than 4 weeks away.At the same time, the ripping rally in US public equities has been decelerating over the past 2 months, following an over 100% bull run from the S&P 500 since the pandemic lows in March 2020 (40% above pre-pandemic high), and investors are beginning to look abroad for higher return opportunities.I am adding ACM Research ACMR, a niche small-cap semiconductor play with ideal exposure in Asia. ACMR provides substantial upside potential at its currently discounted valuation, with its rapidly accelerating chipmaking capacity and its strategic Chinese exposure being the primary buy catalyst.ACM Research is a global leader in semiconductor equipment. As chip manufacturers in Asia begin ramping up production, ACM's best-in-class chipmaking equipment is poised to take flight following a year and a half of sideways trading action.Chip demands far surpassing current production capacities entering the digital renaissance of the 4th Industrial Revolution, positioning this business to explode as the Roaring 20s recommence.China Risk's May Be USChinese stocks have been hammered for nearly a year now, as President Xi and his increasingly autocratic communist administration crackdown on the swelling wealth in its booming tech sector. Xi's fear of losing control of "his" nation to a wealthy group of elites is reminiscent of Mao Zedong's totalitarian regime.This paranoid egotistical positioning has led to a tidal wave of new tech-focused regulations under the guise of elevating "equality" and improved "productivity." These have capitulated the value of this nation's most prominent innovators by a meaningful amount.Those stocks that had been at the center of these regulatory headwinds have seen their share values significantly deteriorate, presenting some superior long-term prospects as the global economy reemerges from the pandemic with a digitally fueled ambition.The CatalystACM Research is a US-based capital equipment firm. Yet, its 3 most prominent customers, representing 76% of 2020 revenue, are based in mainland China, with another nearly 10% of its sales going to a South Korean chip innovator. Over the past 5 years, China and Korea have seen their semiconductor spaces drive compounded annual revenue growth of 20.7% & 19.5% and have become the epicenter for future development for ACMR.As ACM Research takes advantage of the booming demand, this chip equipment powerhouse is rapidly ramping up its own equipment production capacity and capabilities (more offerings) in the region. The company has several new expansion projects for organic growth that will continue to fuel this stock's growth in 2022.ACMR remains a small-cap equity with a market cap of less than $1.5 billion, but with proven profitable growth between 35% - 45% in the past 3 years, and a place in Morgan Stanley's short list of 2022 chip picks, it’s only a matter of time before the market gets wind of this unique investment thesis and lifts ACMR out of its small-cap shadow and into the large-cap spotlight.6 out of 6 analysts are calling ACMR a buy today now, with price targets between $100 and $150 (representing upsides between 27% and 92%). Not to mention the increasingly bullish outlook on ACMR has thrusted this stock into a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).SMART Global Holdings (SGH)SMART Global Holdings SGH is the under-the-radar semiconductor stock you've been looking for, with its broadening portfolio of cutting-edge chips poised to take flight in this commencing technological Renaissance.SGH is roaring out of the shadows with an ambitious growth strategy that won't remain under the investors' radars for much longer. New CEO Mark Adams is transforming this once complacent memory-focused legacy tech business into a motivated leader in niche innovations.The company released a record quarterly report at the start of 2022, blowing analysts' estimates out of the water and raising forward guidance. However, SGH's undiscovered attributes appear to have both positive and negative consequences, which we saw in its (unwarranted) post-earnings capitulation. This drop-off is a technical retreat catalyzed by the overbought RSI levels it had reached in recent weeks after an over 100% 52-week run into this year opening earnings report (confusion about the upcoming stock split may also be playing a role).The good news is that it presents us with an excellent long-term investment and short-term trading opportunity as the stock picks up support at its 50-day moving average.SMART Global shares' exceedingly thin trading volumes (low liquidity due to its under-the-radar quality) allowed a small group of controlling institutional shareholders to direct its post-earnings narrative. They pulled profits from this recent winner (up 70% since mid-October), and the downward momentum catalyzed a fear-fueled momentum sell-off.The TradeDon't let these big-shot Wall Street firms scare you away from this clear-cut winner. SGH's post-earnings capitulation is extraordinarily overdone and with the recent shareholder shuffle.Silver Lake, a nearly $100 billion tech-focus private equity fund, had been the primary shareholders of SGH since it went public in 2017 until this past fall when the global investment group completely exited the trade (with public returns of nearly 400% in just a few years), leaving $10s of millions in stock value up for grabs.SMART Global's ownership has since been erratic, with most of the investing world still unaware of this small-cap stock's existence. SGH's ownership is almost entirely institutional at this point, and with the already thin volumes, its vulnerability to short-term price manipulation is high.Nevertheless, those analysts covering SGH are more bullish than ever after its most recent quarterly release.The Earnings ReportSMART Global SGH reported its November quarter results (fiscal Q1 2022) after the closing bell Tuesday afternoon (1/4), beating analysts' estimates and raising guidance, yet SGH fell off a cliff. SMART Global achieved record revenues and margins that flowed down to an incredible 177% increase in per-share profits, with its top-of-the-line intelligence platforms (AI, HPC, & other cloud-functionality) being this next-generation innovator's primary growth driver.SGH was down as much as 18% in its post-earnings price action, but I remain unconvinced that it will stay below $70 a share for long. This knee-jerk sell-off reaction resulted from its small market cap (less than $1.5 billion), concentrated ownership, and overbought RSI levels, which SGH had floated up into following its sizable 25% end-of-year rally.SGH also announced that it would be initiating a 2-for-1 stock split, which would go into effect at the beginning of February. This is a clear signal from SMART Global's new CEO, Mark Adams, whose savvy ambition for innovative growth is the primary reason we are in SGH, that this stock is headed much higher. Either way, I'm more bullish on SGH post-earnings than ever before.The TransformationNow is the time to add this hidden gem to your portfolio before the broader investing world catches wind of this discounted chip winner.SMART Global has been around since the late 80s, but it wasn't until Mark Adams took the helm amid the pandemic last year that this chipmaker's upside potential went through the roof. Adams is transforming this once complacent memory-focused legacy tech company into an energized visionary.Adams was the leading force behind SGH's quick strategic acquisition of Cree's niche LED chip business at the peak of pandemic fear for a steal at $300 million. Cree LED's synergies are already paying dividends as it drives margin expansion, improves the firm's capital & operational efficiency, and provides critical industry relationships.SMART Global's new forward-thinking chief has already vastly improved its operational performance and is ramping up R&D spending to ensure that the enterprise remains ahead of the innovative curve.Analysts are getting increasingly bullish on this under-the-radar transformation play as SGH flips the switch on accelerating profitable growth, knocking estimates out of the park by an expanding percentage over the past 3 quarters. Zacks Consensus EPS Estimates for SGH's have been soaring across all time horizons after this most recent quarterly report driving the stock into a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), and all 6 covering analysts agree on a buy rating for the unique value opportunity here.The New Business MixSMART Global Holdings had been a reliable pure-play memory leader in the chip space for over 30 years before deciding to broaden its product portfolio, which appeared to be catalyzed by activist investors following SGH's 2017 IPO. The company has since executed 4 strategic acquisitions.Penguin Computing was SGH's first vital acquisition ($85 million price tag) back in 2018, adding a broad portfolio of leading next-generation products, including high-performance computing (HPC), cloud computing, hyperscale data centers, and the development of artificial intelligence (AI). This segment has exploded since its acquisition as its AI-focused products experience budding demand. In the summer of 2019, this resourceful chip giant acquired Artesyn Embedded Computing and Inforce Computing for $80 million and $12 million, respectively. Artesyn (which is now called Smart Embedded Computing) provides critical data center architecture used in "industries such as telecom, military and aerospace, medical, and diverse automation and industrial markets," according to its website.SMART Wireless Computing (formerly known as Inforce Computing) exposes the enterprise to cutting-edge technologies like "medical imaging, collaboration/videoconferencing, wearable hands-free computing, and robotics/unmanned aerial vehicles," according to its investor relations page.SMART's diverse set of growing end-market demands provides the company with an enormous total addressable market (TAM), significant upside potential, and not to mention an excellent hedge against the cyclical nature of the semiconductor market.The mere 11x forward P/E that SGH is currently trading at is a remarkably underappreciated valuation multiple for a high-growth tech business that is expected to exhibit consistent 20%+ earnings growth in the years to come.Final Thoughts On SGHWith its fresh innovation-oriented operational outlay, Mark Adams at the helm (with a now proven track record of skilled management), and an industry-wide outlook of accelerating growth, the future SGH has never been brighter. SGH’s post-earnings capitulation has presented us with an incredible investment opportunity today.Analysts are more bullish than ever on this undiscovered profitable growth chip innovator, which will likely not remain under the broader market’s radar for long. I’m looking at price targets between $90 and $100 a share.Uber (UBER)Uber's UBER heavily discounted valuation is finally receiving the attention it deserves as investors begin to recognize the opportunity that this leading mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) business provides in the new normal. Uber Eats & Uber Rides are poised to explode with margin expanding growth in the new normal as our digitally conditioned global economy relies on these leading mobility services more than ever.A flood of analysts are coming out with exceptionally bullish outlooks on this next-generation global leader in digitally fueled mobility solutions. 22 out of 25 analysts are calling Uber a buy now, with no sell ratings. UBER is trading 75% below its average price target of more than $70 a share and it continues to rise.Alaskan Air (ALK)Alaskan Air ALK is perfectly positioned for the 2022 as it becomes the go-to budget airliner. Alaskan took advantage of the unique growth opportunity the pandemic shutdowns presented, adding 70 new markets, and is one of the few commercial airlines to return to profitability in the third quarter of 2021. Its commitment to customer satisfaction and focus on ESG goals will keep ALK at the top of its class.  The CompanyAlaskan Air ALK, primarily driven by vacationers instead of business travel, generated its first positive quarterly earnings since the pandemic began in Q3 as it benefited from the summer getaway rush. I see ALK as the best-positioned airline moving forward with its best-in-class budget vacation offering and still ripening synergies from its acquisition of Virgin America back in 2016.ALK has been an outperforming airline throughout the pandemic with an ESG-focus and no business travel reliance. Analysts have been pushing their price targets to around $80 a share (38% upside), with estimated record earnings by 2023. ALK just busted above its 50-day moving average, and is on its way towards its consensus price target.With remote working functionalities like cloud computing, video conferencing, team messaging, workflow automation, etc., analysts are beginning to rightly question whether companies will be paying up for flights when the job can and has proven to be done in a remote environment.Corporate travel will not return to pre-pandemic levels, at least not anytime soon, and the stocks to stick with are the budget vacation plays, with Alaskan Air being at the top of that value list. I’m looking at price targets between $75 and $100 a share, for this airliner of the New Normal.Upstart (UPST)Upstart UPST, the AI-driven fintech innovator changing the way creditworthiness is assessed, is ripe for a buy today with a couple of key support levels ready to maintain its recent buoyancy, following an overdone sell-off.The final quarter of 2021 was horrendous for the top fintech innovators, with Cathie Wood's ARK Invest Fintech ETF ARKF, the benchmark for next-generation digital finance, falling over 25%. Investors have been selling growth stocks indiscriminately, creating some excellent buying opportunities for the best-positioned fintech equities.UPST has seen significant valuation compression from its mid-October 2021 highs at $400, but the over 1,500% gain it saw from its IPO last December may have been a little overzealous. With UPST now 70% below those highs, it's time to consider adding UPST to your portfolio.Upstart's recent capitulation was catalyzed by profit-pulling in the face of Q3 earnings coupled with the Fed's accelerating tapering timeline, which has valuation compressing impacts on this fintech giant, do to its outsized growth outlay (analysts expecting to see 250% topline appreciation in 2021).UPST found critical support at a vital Fib-derived level around $160, where the markets appear to have put in a temporary bottom.I am looking at a UPST price target of $300+ with quarterly performance continuously outpacing even the most optimistic analysts. Upstart is looking at an unprecedented profitable growth outlook, and with most fresh fintech startups not even able to post positive earnings, UPST is more attractive than ever.The BusinessThis AI-powered cloud incepted fintech business is changing the way banks assess creditworthiness. Many fintech giants are competing against banks, but Upstart has decided to partner with them in its next-generation offering. This is an excellent position to be in as a high-growth company in a rising interest rate environment because higher rates means more profits for banks, which should inevitably drive significant demand for Upstart's one-of-a-kind product offering.The AI platform uses more than 1,600 differing variables before coming to the conclusion of creditworthiness compared to the typical bank, which only looks at 8-15 and the most sophisticated models 30.Upstart's CEO David Girouard said his lending algorithm is 5 times more effective than current systems at accurately depicting a person's ability to repay a loan. Saying that on a scale of 1-100, the current credit regimes are only at about 2 on predicting risk of default, and David believes his AI platform would put banks at closer to a 10, with still a lot more room to grow. Upstart's AI is continuously learning and will continue to be more effective as it is provided with more datasets.A Strategy To Stick To Amid 2022’s Chop:“Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful”Continue to buy the dips in your favorite stocks and look past the short-term volatility (don’t let this choppy market discourage you).Happy Trading!Dan LaboeEquity Strategist & Manager of The Headline Trader Portfolio at Zacks Investment Research Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now >>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 The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS): Free Stock Analysis Report Credit Suisse Group (CS): Free Stock Analysis Report ACM Research, Inc. (ACMR): Free Stock Analysis Report Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK): Free Stock Analysis Report SMART Global Holdings, Inc. (SGH): Free Stock Analysis Report ARK Fintech Innovation ETF (ARKF): ETF Research Reports Uber Technologies, Inc. (UBER): Free Stock Analysis Report CrowdStrike (CRWD): Free Stock Analysis Report Upstart Holdings, Inc. (UPST): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

MoneyGram (MGI) Boosts Coinme Partnership With 4% Stake

MoneyGram International's (MGI) partnership with Coinme is a crucial one as it is targeted at enhancing the crypto ecosystem and reducing the gap between crypto and traditional finance. MoneyGram International, Inc. MGI recently announced a strategic minority investment in Coinme, a cryptocurrency cash exchange company. The investment move, following a Series A funding round, has given MoneyGram around 4% ownership stake in the crypto ATM operator.The latest move bolsters MoneyGram’s partnership with Coinme. Last May, the two firms partnered to expand access to crypto-fiat exchanges. It created a crypto-to-cash model and thousands of U.S. retail locations to trade bitcoin. Further, the two companies have additional plans to strengthen their partnership.The latest move is expected to fuel MoneyGram’s innovation efforts and position it well for using the blockchain technology. The growing partnership with the cryptocurrency company opens MGI’s business to a new client segment and diversifies its revenues sources. MGI’s massive global network and infrastructure, coupled with strategic investments, will likely enable the partnership to expand to international markets.MoneyGram’s partnership with Coinme is a crucial one as it is targeted at enhancing the crypto ecosystem and reducing the gap between crypto and traditional finance. This is a growing space and MGI is expected to capitalize on the rising demand for crypto services. Several other major companies are also working hard to grab a share of this huge lucrative market.Last month, Visa Inc. V strengthened its partnership with Nuvei Corporation NVEI to roll out crypto-friendly debit cards in Europe and reduce the fiat-crypto currency gap. The new cards will use the Visa Principal Membership and EMI license to serve clients by simply spending crypto anywhere Visa is received. The Simplex Banking will enable Nuvei to provide clients with a simplified fiat-to-crypto on-ramp and off-ramp process. It will help clients to use and spend crypto sales funds in a unified manner.In July 2021, Mastercard Incorporated MA collaborated with a series of crypto companies in a bid to unveil a card offering and offer seamless cryptocurrency conversion. Mastercard has been collaborating with cryptocurrency platforms to tap the growing number of consumers entering the crypto space. MA pursues continuous endeavors to offer seamless cryptocurrency wallets and exchange experience, which result in more consumers’ shift toward crypto cards for purchasing digital assets or incurring spending. Early November, Mastercard announced a partnership with Amber Group, Bitkub and CoinJar to provide crypto-funded Mastercard payment cards in the Asia Pacific region.Price Performance & Zacks RankMoneyGram’s shares have risen 12.4% in the past year compared with the 16.9% rise of the industry.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMoneyGram currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. 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 Mastercard Incorporated (MA): Free Stock Analysis Report Visa Inc. (V): Free Stock Analysis Report MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI): Free Stock Analysis Report Nuvei Corporation (NVEI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 6th, 2022

5 ways to build a sustainability-focused work culture that aligns with employee values

Many company leaders and employees are looking to expand workplace sustainability initiatives. Here's how they can make a greener work culture. Insider spoke with experts about five ways leaders can develop sustainable values across their organization.Drazen_/Getty Images A survey suggested young employees were choosing where to work based on personal ethics.   Company leaders must create a purpose-driven culture focused on sustainability, experts say.  Two experts outlined five ways to create a sustainable workplace.    Sustainability continues to be a hot topic in the workplace in 2022, especially as employees put more pressure on their company leaders to create an environmentally conscious culture. In Deloitte's 2021 millennial and Gen Z survey, 49% of people between 18 and 25 and 44% of respondents between 26 and 38 said they'd picked their work and employers based on their personal ethics. The younger group identified climate change as their top concern, while the older cohort identified it as their third-highest concern, after healthcare and disease prevention and unemployment."Building a sustainably focused culture isn't just about how you manage your company's footprint," Mastercard Chief Sustainability Officer Kristina Kloberdanz told Insider. "It's equally important to also focus on how you innovate and ensure that employees are empowered and encouraged to think and build with a climate-conscious mindset."Tools and techniques to build a green culture To build a company culture around sustainability, leaders must create a purpose-driven organization where employees can find meaning in their work.Jeana Wirtenberg, an associate professor at Rutgers Business School, associate director of the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation, and the CEO of Transitioning to Green, said a marker of business success is being able to converge company growth with service to the environment.Insider spoke with Wirtenberg and Kloberdanz about five ways leaders can develop sustainable values across their organization.1. Incentivize employees while making sustainability fun and accessible Creating practical environmentally conscious activities can provide more interactive fun for employees, Wirtenberg said, suggesting that companies lean into their young workforce and create competitions with rewards.At Transitioning to Green, a global management-consulting firm that helps companies integrate sustainability into their organizations, Wirtenberg's team is rolling out simulations and games, including an ecological-footprint game in which people can calculate their carbon emissions. For Kloberdanz, this means merging an internal rewards program with sustainability: The program encourages employees to reward their colleagues with trees planted in their honor through Mastercard's Priceless Planet Coalition, which supports global forest restoration. Kloberdanz also said that at Mastercard, senior employees' compensation is linked to progress in the company's three global environmental, social, and governance priorities, one of which is carbon neutrality. 2. Reimagine the employee relationship Wirtenberg said leaders should ensure that their human-resources teams are engaged in hiring and supporting a workforce focused on sustainability. This includes listening to employees' climate-related concerns, hiring people who express an interest in sustainability, training employees on best practices, and engaging the wider company on sustainable initiatives.3. Promote activism Wirtenberg said millennial and Gen Z employees believe their companies have a responsibility to pay attention to and act on global issues. For example, Microsoft has said that in 2020, after hearing feedback and concerns from its employees, it established three sustainability-related goals for 2030: become water-positive, carbon-neutral, and waste-free.4. Inspire company innovation Wirtenberg advised that companies pull from their top talent to develop green products and services, make supply chains greener, and conduct life-cycle analyses of new products.In 2021, Kloberdanz said, Mastercard launched a Global Sustainability Lab to give employees a space to innovate on climate solutions and work with a network of outside partners to create sustainable enterprises. With the help of the data service provider Doconomy, the lab recently launched Mastercard's Carbon Calculator. Kloberdanz said the tool had gained the interest of banking partners and created more opportunities for Mastercard's sales teams.  5. Create internal initiatives Wirtenberg suggested integrating sustainable actions into the everyday work culture — for example, matching employees' gifts to nonprofit organizations that they care about and offering volunteer opportunities during the workday. For example, through WeSpire's employee-engagement software, companies can add funds to their employees' accounts to donate to causes including environmental protection. It gives each person the ability to control where to direct the funds and allows them to add their own money to the donation.WeSpire said in a blog post that employees of one company that used its program donated 62% of the company's funds in three months. Sustainability and the year ahead While sustainability became a top corporate priority in 2021, Wirtenberg expects more companies to announce measures to reduce their carbon footprints and consider the ways that climate justice plays a role in their diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. Wirtenberg also predicted that companies, faced with demand for ESG goals and initiatives, will be called on by employees to help them reskill, including by increasing training around sustainability and green development goals. "We need to be clear that sustainability isn't a passing trend but something every company and every individual is responsible for," Kloberdanz said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 6th, 2022

CONAGRA BRANDS REPORTS SECOND QUARTER RESULTS

CHICAGO, Jan. 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) reported results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2022, which ended on November 28, 2021. All comparisons are against the prior-year fiscal period, unless otherwise noted.  Certain terms used in this release, including "Organic net sales," "EBITDA," "Two-year compounded annualized," and certain "adjusted" results, are defined under the section entitled "Definitions."  See page 5 for more information. Highlights Second quarter net sales increased 2.1%; organic net sales increased 2.6%. On a two-year compounded annualized basis, fiscal 2022 second quarter net sales increased 4.1% and organic net sales increased 5.3%. Operating margin decreased 435 basis points to 13.4%; adjusted operating margin decreased 500 basis points to 14.6%. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the second quarter decreased 26.0% to $0.57, and adjusted EPS decreased 21.0% to $0.64. On a two-year compounded annualized basis, second quarter EPS increased 3.7% and adjusted EPS increased 0.8%. The Company is reiterating its adjusted EPS guidance for fiscal 2022 and updating its organic net sales and adjusted operating margin guidance to reflect continued top line strength, higher inflation expectations, and the timing of additional pricing actions. The Company's updated fiscal 2022 guidance is as follows: Organic net sales growth is expected to be approximately +3% versus prior guidance of approximately +1% Gross inflation (input cost inflation before the impacts of hedging and other sourcing benefits) is expected to be approximately 14% versus prior guidance of approximately 11% Adjusted operating margin is expected to be approximately 15.5% versus prior guidance of approximately 16% Adjusted EPS is expected to be approximately $2.50, representing no change to prior guidance CEO Perspective Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Conagra Brands, commented, "Our business delivered another quarter of strong net sales growth as we continued to experience elevated levels of demand across our portfolio. I am proud of our team for continuing to demonstrate great agility in navigating the dynamic external landscape with a refuse to lose attitude and dedication to executing our Conagra Way playbook every day. Our focus on strategic innovation and our intentional approach to investment helped us maintain brand momentum in the second quarter and continue capturing share across each of our domains – frozen, snacks, and staples." He continued, "Looking ahead, we expect to continue experiencing cost pressures above original expectations in the second half of fiscal 2022. However, we believe the sustained elevated consumer demand coupled with the mitigating actions we have successfully executed, and will continue executing, put us on track to overcome these near-term challenges, improve margins in the back half of the fiscal year, and deliver on our profit plan." Total Company Second Quarter Results In the quarter, net sales increased 2.1% to $3.1 billion.  The increase in net sales primarily reflects: a 0.7% net decrease from the divestitures of the H.K. Anderson business, the Peter Pan peanut butter business, and the Egg Beaters business (collectively, the Sold Businesses); a 0.2% increase from the favorable impact of foreign exchange; and a 2.6% increase in organic net sales. The 2.6% increase in organic net sales was driven by a 6.8% improvement in price/mix, which was partially offset by a 4.2% decrease in volume. Price/mix was driven by favorable brand mix and net pricing as the company's inflation-driven pricing actions were reflected in the marketplace throughout the quarter. The volume decrease was primarily a result of lapping the prior year's surge in at-home food demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The year-over-year comparison negatively impacted fiscal 2022 second quarter volume growth rates in the company's retail reporting segments. Gross profit decreased 15.1% to $755 million in the quarter, and adjusted gross profit decreased 14.4% to $767 million.  Second quarter gross profit benefited from higher organic net sales, supply chain realized productivity, lower COVID-19 pandemic-related expenses, and cost synergies associated with the Pinnacle Foods acquisition. These benefits, however, were not enough to offset the impacts of cost of goods sold inflation of 16.4% and the lost profit from the Sold Businesses. Gross margin decreased 500 basis points to 24.7% in the quarter, and adjusted gross margin decreased 483 basis points to 25.1%. Adjusted gross margin declined more than originally expected as the company experienced higher-than-expected cost of goods sold inflation, made additional investments to prioritize servicing orders to maximize food supply for consumers, and experienced additional transitory supply chain costs. Selling, general, and administrative expense (SG&A), which includes advertising and promotional expense (A&P), decreased 3.5% to $345 million in the quarter.  Adjusted SG&A, which excludes A&P, was relatively flat compared to the prior-year period, increasing 1.7% to $248 million.  A&P for the quarter increased 12.5% to $71 million, driven primarily by higher eCommerce investments.  Net interest expense was $95 million in the quarter.  Compared to the prior-year period, net interest expense decreased 11.8% or $13 million, primarily due to a lower weighted average interest rate on outstanding debt. The average diluted share count decreased 1.8% compared to the prior-year period to 482 million, driven by the company's share repurchase activity in prior quarters. In the quarter, net income attributable to Conagra Brands decreased 27.3% to $275 million, or $0.57 per diluted share.  Adjusted net income attributable to Conagra Brands decreased 22.8% to $306 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, in the quarter.  The decreases were driven primarily by the decrease in gross profit. The combination of higher than expected inflation, investments to service orders, and additional transitory costs is estimated to have impacted adjusted EPS by approximately $0.04 to $0.06 in the quarter.   Adjusted EBITDA, which includes equity method investment earnings and pension and postretirement non-service income, decreased 17.9% to $585 million in the quarter, primarily driven by the decrease in adjusted gross profit. Grocery & Snacks Segment Second Quarter Results Net sales for the Grocery & Snacks segment decreased 1.4% to $1.3 billion in the quarter reflecting: a 0.8% decrease from the impact of the Sold Businesses; and a 0.6% decrease in organic net sales. On an organic net sales basis, volume decreased 5.3% and price/mix increased 4.7%.  The volume decline was primarily due to lapping the prior year's surge in at-home food demand from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Price/mix was primarily driven by favorability in inflation-driven pricing coupled with favorable brand mix. In the quarter, the company gained share in staples categories such as beans, and in snacking categories, including popcorn and seeds. Operating profit for the segment decreased 21.2% to $249 million in the quarter.  Adjusted operating profit decreased 14.1% to $274 million, primarily driven by cost of goods inflation, the organic net sales decline, incremental transitory supply chain costs, and the lost profit from the Sold Businesses. These negative impacts were partially offset by supply chain realized productivity, cost synergies associated with the Pinnacle Foods acquisition, and lower COVID-19 pandemic-related expenses. Refrigerated & Frozen Segment Second Quarter Results Net sales for the Refrigerated & Frozen segment increased 3.0% to $1.3 billion in the quarter reflecting: a 0.9% decrease from the impact of the Sold Businesses; and a 3.9% increase in organic net sales. On an organic net sales basis, volume decreased 4.7% and price/mix increased 8.6%.  The volume decline was primarily due to lapping the prior year's surge in at-home food demand from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The price/mix increase was driven by favorable brand mix and favorability in inflation-driven pricing. In the quarter, the company gained share in categories such as frozen single serve meals, whipped topping, and frozen desserts. Operating profit for the segment decreased 36.3% to $168 million in the quarter.  Adjusted operating profit decreased 30.4% to $189 million primarily due to cost of goods sold inflation, additional investments the company made to service orders, increased A&P investment, and the lost profit from the Sold Businesses. These impacts were partially offset by the benefits of supply chain realized productivity, higher organic net sales, lower COVID-19 pandemic-related expenses, and cost synergies associated with the Pinnacle Foods acquisition. International Segment Second Quarter Results Net sales for the International segment increased 5.0% to $262 million in the quarter reflecting: a 0.1% decrease from the impact of the Sold Businesses, a 3.0% increase from the favorable impact of foreign exchange; and a 2.1% increase in organic net sales. On an organic net sales basis, volume decreased 5.8% and price/mix increased 7.9%. Volume decreased primarily due to lapping the prior year's surge in demand from the COVID-19 pandemic. The price/mix increase was driven by inflation-driven pricing and favorable product mix.  Operating profit for the segment decreased 5.8% to $37 million in the quarter.  Adjusted operating profit decreased 5.9% to $37 million as the negative impacts of cost of goods sold inflation and increased A&P investment more than offset the benefits from favorable foreign exchange, supply chain realized productivity, and higher organic net sales. Foodservice Segment Second Quarter Results Net sales for the Foodservice segment increased 14.9% to $246 million in the quarter reflecting: a 0.3% decrease from the impact of the Sold Businesses; and a 15.2% increase in organic net sales. On an organic net sales basis, volume increased 9.1% as restaurant traffic continued to improve from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Price/mix was favorable at 6.1% in the quarter driven by inflation-driven pricing and favorable product mix. Operating profit for the segment decreased 39.1% to $14 million and adjusted operating profit decreased 18.1% to $19 million in the quarter as the impacts of cost of goods sold inflation more than offset the benefits of higher organic net sales and favorable supply chain realized productivity. Other Second Quarter Items Corporate expenses decreased 47.0% to $59 million in the quarter primarily from lapping incremental expenses related to the extinguishment of debt in the prior year period. Adjusted corporate expense increased 10.1% to $71 million in the quarter driven by increased employee related costs. Pension and post-retirement non-service income was $16 million in the quarter compared to $14 million of income in the prior-year period. In the quarter, equity method investment earnings were $30 million.  The $7 million increase was primarily driven by favorable market conditions for the Ardent Mills joint venture. In the quarter, the effective tax rate was 23.4% compared to 17.6% in the prior-year period.  The adjusted effective tax rate was 22.9% compared to 23.2% in the prior-year period. In the quarter, the company paid a dividend of $0.3125 per share, the first dividend payment at the increased rate.  Outlook The company is reiterating its adjusted EPS guidance for fiscal 2022 and updating its organic net sales and adjusted operating margin guidance. The outlook reflects expectations for continued top line strength, and higher cost of goods sold inflation, and the timing effect of additional pricing actions. The company previously shared its expectations that consumer demand for its retail products would remain elevated versus historical levels throughout fiscal 2022, as consumers have developed new habits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the trends to date, including stronger-than-expected consumer demand and lower-than-anticipated elasticities of demand, as well as additional planned pricing actions, organic net sales growth is now expected to be higher than previously anticipated. The company also continues to experience elevated cost of goods sold inflation, the rate of which was higher than expected during the second quarter of fiscal 2022. The company has taken, and plans to continue taking, a variety of actions to counteract the impact of this inflation, including incremental pricing actions and cost savings measures. The company continues to expect that the timing of the associated benefits from these margin lever actions will increase as the fiscal year progresses and, as a result, the company continues to expect margins to improve in the second half of the fiscal year. The Company's updated fiscal 2022 guidance is as follows: Organic net sales growth is expected to be approximately +3% versus prior guidance of approximately +1% Gross inflation (input cost inflation before the impacts of hedging and other sourcing benefits) is expected to be approximately 14% versus prior guidance of approximately 11% Adjusted operating margin is expected to be approximately 15.5% versus prior guidance of approximately 16% Adjusted EPS is expected to be approximately $2.50, representing no change to prior guidance. The above guidance is the company's best estimate of its expected financial performance in fiscal 2022. The company's ultimate fiscal 2022 performance will be highly dependent on factors including, without limitation: how consumers purchase food as foodservice establishments continue to reopen and people return to in-office work and in-person school; the cost of goods sold inflation the company experiences; consumers' response to inflation-driven price increases; and the ability of the end-to-end supply chain to continue to operate effectively as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. The inability to predict the amount and timing of the impacts of foreign exchange, acquisitions, divestitures, and other items impacting comparability makes a detailed reconciliation of forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures impracticable.  Please see the end of this release for more information. Items Affecting Comparability of EPS The following are included in the $0.57 EPS for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 (EPS amounts are rounded and after tax).  Please see the reconciliation schedules at the end of this release for additional details. Approximately $0.02 per diluted share of net expense related to restructuring plans Approximately $0.02 per diluted share of net benefit related to legal matters Approximately $0.01 per diluted share of net benefit related to proceeds received from the sale of a legacy investment Approximately $0.07 per diluted share of net expense related to impairment on businesses held for sale Approximately $0.01 per diluted share of net impact due to rounding The following are included in the $0.77 EPS for the second quarter of fiscal 2021 (EPS amounts are rounded and after tax).  Please see the reconciliation schedules at the end of this release for additional details. Approximately $0.03 per diluted share of net expense related to restructuring plans Approximately $0.01 per diluted share of net benefit related to corporate hedging derivative gains Approximately $0.01 per diluted share of net benefit related to the gain on divestiture of a business Approximately $0.07 per diluted share of net expense related to the early extinguishment of debt Approximately $0.05 per diluted share of net benefit related to a release of a valuation allowance on our capital loss carryforward Approximately $0.01 per diluted share of net impact due to rounding Definitions Organic net sales excludes, from reported net sales, the impacts of foreign exchange, divested businesses and acquisitions, as well as the impact of any 53rd week.  All references to changes in volume and price/mix throughout this release are on an organic net sales basis. References to adjusted items throughout this release refer to measures computed in accordance with GAAP less the impact of items impacting comparability. Items impacting comparability are income or expenses (and related tax impacts) that management believes have had, or are likely to have, a significant impact on the earnings of the applicable business segment or on the total corporation for the period in which the item is recognized, and are not indicative of the company's core operating results.  These items thus affect the comparability of underlying results from period to period. References to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) refer to net income attributable to Conagra Brands before the impacts of discontinued operations, income tax expense (benefit), interest expense, depreciation, and amortization.  References to adjusted EBITDA refer to EBITDA before the impacts of items impacting comparability. References to two-year compounded annualized numbers are calculated as: ([(1 + current year period's growth rate) * (1 + prior year period's growth rate)] ^ 0.5) – 1. Please note that certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform with current year presentation Discussion of Results Conagra Brands will host a webcast and conference call at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time today to discuss the results.  The live audio webcast and presentation slides will be available on www.conagrabrands.com/investor-relations under Events & Presentations. The conference call may be accessed by dialing 1-877-883-0383 for participants in the U.S. and 1-412-902-6506 for all other participants and using passcode 3428984. Please dial in 10 to 15 minutes prior to the call start time. Following the Company's remarks, the conference call will include a question-and-answer session with the investment community.  A replay of the webcast will be available on www.conagrabrands.com/investor-relations under Events & Presentations until January 6, 2023. About Conagra Brands Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE:CAG), headquartered in Chicago, is one of North America's leading branded food companies. Guided by an entrepreneurial spirit, Conagra Brands combines a rich heritage of making great food with a sharpened focus on innovation. The company's portfolio is evolving to satisfy people's changing food preferences. Conagra's iconic brands, such as Birds Eye®, Marie Callender's®, Banquet®, Healthy Choice®, Slim Jim®, Reddi-wip®, and Vlasic®, as well as emerging brands, including Angie's® BOOMCHICKAPOP®, Duke's®, Earth Balance®, Gardein®, and Frontera®, offer choices for every occasion. For more information, visit www.conagrabrands.com. Note on Forward-looking Statements This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Readers of this document should understand that these statements are not guarantees of performance or results. Many factors could affect our actual financial results and cause them to vary materially from the expectations contained in the forward-looking statements, including those set forth in this document. These risks, uncertainties, and factors include, among other things: the risk that the cost savings and any other synergies from the acquisition of Pinnacle Foods Inc. (the Pinnacle acquisition) may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; the risk that the Pinnacle acquisition may not be accretive within the expected timeframe or to the extent anticipated; the risks that the Pinnacle acquisition and related integration will create disruption to the Company and its management and impede the achievement of business plans; risks related to our ability to achieve the intended benefits of other recent acquisitions and divestitures; risks associated with general economic and industry conditions; risks associated with our ability to successfully execute our long-term value creation strategies; risks related to our ability to deleverage on currently anticipated timelines, and to continue to access capital on acceptable terms or at all; risks related to our ability to execute operating and restructuring plans and achieve targeted operating efficiencies from cost-saving initiatives, and to benefit from trade optimization programs; risks related to the effectiveness of our hedging activities and ability to respond to volatility in commodities; risks related to the Company's competitive environment and related market conditions; risks related to our ability to respond to changing consumer preferences and the success of our innovation and marketing investments; risks related to the ultimate impact of any product recalls and litigation, including litigation related to the lead paint and pigment matters, as well as any securities litigation, including securities class action lawsuits; risk associated with actions of governments and regulatory bodies that affect our businesses, including the ultimate impact of new or revised regulations or interpretations; risks related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, suppliers, consumers, customers and employees; risks related to our forecasts of consumer eat-at-home habits as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic abate; risks related to the availability and prices of supply chain resources, including raw materials, packaging, and transportation including any negative effects caused by changes in inflation rates, weather conditions, or health pandemics; disruptions or inefficiencies in our supply chain and/or operations, including from the COVID-19 pandemic; risks associated with actions by our customers, including changes in distribution and purchasing terms; risks and uncertainties associated with intangible assets, including any future goodwill or intangible assets impairment charges; risks related to a material failure in or breach of our or our vendors' information technology systems; the amount and timing of future dividends, which remain subject to Board approval and depend on market and other conditions; and other risks described in our reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements included in this document, which speak only as of the date of this document. We undertake no responsibility to update these statements, except as required by law. Note on Non-GAAP Financial Measures This document includes certain non-GAAP financial measures, including adjusted EPS, organic net sales, adjusted gross profit, adjusted operating profit, adjusted SG&A, adjusted corporate expenses, adjusted gross margin, adjusted operating margin, adjusted effective tax rate, adjusted net income attributable to Conagra Brands, two-year compounded annualized organic net sales, two-year compounded annualized adjusted EPS, free cash flow, net debt, net leverage ratio, and adjusted EBITDA. Management considers GAAP financial measures as well as such non-GAAP financial information in its evaluation of the Company's financial statements and believes these non-GAAP measures provide useful supplemental information to assess the Company's operating performance and financial position. These measures should be viewed in addition to, and not in lieu of, the Company's diluted earnings per share, operating performance and financial measures as calculated in accordance with GAAP. Certain of these non-GAAP measures, such as organic net sales, adjusted operating margin, and adjusted EPS, are forward-looking.  Historically, the Company has excluded the impact of certain items impacting comparability, such as, but not limited to, restructuring expenses, the impact of the extinguishment of debt, the impact of foreign exchange, the impact of acquisitions and divestitures, hedging gains and losses, impairment charges, the impact of legacy legal contingencies, and the impact of unusual tax items, from the non-GAAP financial measures it presents.  Reconciliations of these forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are not provided because the Company is unable to provide such reconciliations without unreasonable effort, due to the uncertainty and inherent difficulty of predicting the occurrence and the financial impact of such items impacting comparability and the periods in which such items may be recognized.  For the same reasons, the Company is unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information, which could be material to future results. Hedge gains and losses are generally aggregated, and net amounts are reclassified from unallocated corporate expense to the operating segments when the underlying commodity or foreign currency being hedged is expensed in segment cost of goods sold. The Company identifies these amounts as items that impact comparability within the discussion of unallocated Corporate results.   Conagra Brands, Inc. Consolidated Statements of Earnings (in millions) (unaudited) SECOND QUARTER Thirteen Weeks Ended Thirteen Weeks Ended November 28, 2021 November 29, 2020 Percent Change Net sales $ 3,058.9 $ 2,995.2 2.1 % Costs and expenses: Cost of goods sold 2,304.1 2,106.3 9.4 % Selling, general and administrative expenses 345.4 357.7 (3.5) % Pension and postretirement non-service income (16.1) (13.7) 17.7 % Interest expense, net 94.9 107.7 (11.8) % Income before income taxes and equity method investment earnings 330.6 437.2 (24.4) % Income tax expense 84.2 80.7 4.3 % Equity method investment earnings 29.5 23.0 28.3 % Net income $ 275.9 $ 379.5 (27.3) % Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests 0.4 0.6 (23.2) % Net income attributable to Conagra Brands, Inc. $ 275.5 $ 378.9 (27.3) % Earnings per share - basic Net income attributable to Conagra Brands, Inc. $ 0.57 $ 0.77 (26.0) % Weighted average shares outstanding 480.2 489.1 (1.8) % Earnings per share - diluted Net income attributable to Conagra Brands, Inc. $ 0.57 $ 0.77 (26.0) % Weighted average share and share equivalents outstanding 481.9 490.9 (1.8) %   Conagra Brands, Inc. Consolidated Statements of Earnings (in millions) (unaudited) SECOND QUARTER YEAR TO DATE Twenty-Six Weeks Ended Twenty-Six Weeks Ended November 28, 2021 November 29, 2020 Percent Change Net sales $ 5,712.2 $ 5,674.1 0.7 % Costs and expenses: Cost of goods sold 4,284.0 3,975.0 7.8 % Selling, general and administrative expenses 655.5 658.0 (0.4) % Pension and postretirement non-service income (32.2) (27.5) 17.0 % Interest expense, net 189.1 221.4 (14.6) % Income before income taxes and equity method investment earnings 615.8 847.2 (27.3) % Income tax expense 153.9 167.4 (8.1) % Equity method investment earnings 49.7 29.5 68.5 % Net income $ 511.6 $ 709.3 (27.9) % Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests 0.7 1.4 (50.5) % Net income attributable to Conagra Brands, Inc. $ 510.9 $ 707.9 (27.8) % Earnings per share - basic Net income attributable to Conagra Brands, Inc. $ 1.06 $ 1.45 (26.9) % Weighted average shares outstanding 480.3 488.6 (1.7) % Earnings per share - diluted Net income attributable to Conagra Brands, Inc. $ 1.06 $ 1.44 (26.4) % Weighted average share and share equivalents outstanding 482.1 490.3 (1.7) %   Conagra Brands, Inc. Consolidated Balance Sheets (in millions) (unaudited) November 28, 2021 May 30, 2021 ASSETS Current assets Cash and cash equivalents $ 68.7 $ 79.2 Receivables, less allowance for doubtful accounts of $3.0 and $3.2 977.2 793.9 Inventories 1,858.7 1,709.7 Prepaid expenses and other current assets 111.1 95.0 Current assets held for sale 23.6 24.3 Total current assets 3,039.3 2,702.1 Property, plant and equipment, net 2,622.8 2,572.0 Goodwill 11,332.0 11,338.9 Brands, trademarks and other intangibles, net 4,092.2 4,124.6 Other assets 1,441.0 1,344.7 Noncurrent assets held for sale 64.7 113.3 $ 22,592.0 $ 22,195.6 LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY Current liabilities Notes payable $ 585.8 $ 707.4 Current installments of long-term debt 270.6 23.1 Accounts payable 1,596.9 1,655.9 Accrued payroll 114.6 175.2 Other accrued liabilities 707.4 743.0 Current liabilities held for sale 1.7 1.6 Total current liabilities 3,277.0 3,306.2 Senior long-term debt, excluding current installments 8,527.8 8,275.2 Other noncurrent liabilities 2,027.9 1,979.6 Noncurrent liabilities held for sale 2.4 3.2 Total stockholders' equity 8,756.9 8,631.4 $ 22,592.0 $ 22,195.6   Conagra Brands, Inc. and Subsidiaries Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (in millions) (unaudited) Twenty-Six Weeks Ended November 28, 2021 November 29, 2020 Cash flows from operating activities: Net income $ 511.6 $ 709.3 Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash flows from operating activities: Depreciation and amortization 193.5 193.0 Asset impairment charges 41.6 3.9 Loss on extinguishment of debt — 44.3 Gain on divestitures — (5.3) Equity method investment earnings in excess of distributions (24.2) (8.4) Stock-settled share-based payments expense 14.3 30.9 Contributions to pension plans (4.9) (20.7) Pension benefit (25.5) (19.1) Other items (14.5) 14.2 Change in operating assets and liabilities excluding effects of business acquisitions and dispositions: Receivables (183.3) (88.3) Inventories (148.4) (247.2) Deferred income taxes and income taxes payable, net (13.9) (39.9) Prepaid expenses and other current assets (10.4) (39.8) Accounts payable (14.1) 111.2 Accrued payroll (60.6) (58.0) Other accrued liabilities 0.9 (67.9) Deferred employer payroll taxes — 29.2 Net cash flows from operating activities 262.1 541.4 Cash flows from investing activities: Additions to property, plant and equipment (257.5) (282.0) Sale of property, plant and equipment 9.9 1.0 Purchase of marketable securities (1.9) (4.1) Sale of marketable securities 1.9 6.0 Proceeds from divestitures, net of cash divested 0.1 8.6 Other items 3.3 - Net cash flows from investing activities (244.2) (270.5) Cash flows from financing activities: Issuance of short-term borrowings, maturities greater than 90 days 392.6 298.6 Repayment of short-term borrowings, maturities greater than 90 days (249.8) — Net issuance (repayment) of other short-term borrowings (264.4) 68.9 Issuance of long-term debt 499.1 988.2 Repayment of long-term debt (29.4) (1,881.7) Debt issuance costs (2.5) (5.4) Repurchase of Conagra Brands, Inc. common shares (50.0) — Payment of intangible asset financing arrangement (12.6) (12.9) Cash dividends paid (282.0) (207.3) Exercise of stock options and issuance of other stock awards, including tax withholdings (17.4) (8.4) Other items (7.3) — Net cash flows from financing activities (23.7) (760.0) Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash (5.7) 3.8 Net change in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash (11.5) (485.3) Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of period 80.2 554.3 Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of period $ 68.7 $ 69.0   Conagra Brands, Inc. Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures to Reported Financial Measures (in millions) Q2 FY22 Grocery &Snacks Refrigerated & Frozen International Foodservice Total Conagra Brands Net Sales $ 1,264.5 $ 1,285.9 $ 262.2 $ 246.3 $ 3,058.9 Impact of foreign exchange — — (7.5) — (7.5) Organic Net Sales $ 1,264.5 $ 1,285.9 $ 254.7 $ 246.3 $ 3,051.4 Year-over-year change - Net Sales (1.4) % 3.0 % 5.0 % 14.9 % 2.1 % Impact of foreign exchange (pp) — — (3.0) — (0.2) Net sales from divested businesses (pp) 0.8 0.9 0.1 0.3 0.7 Organic Net Sales (0.6) % 3.9 % 2.1 % 15.2 % 2.6 % Volume (Organic) (5.3) % (4.7) % (5.8) % 9.1 % (4.2) % Price/Mix 4.7 % 8.6 % 7.9 % 6.1 % 6.8 % Q2 FY21 Grocery & Snacks Refrigerated & Frozen International Foodservice Total Conagra Brands Net Sales $ 1,283.1 $ 1,248.0 $ 249.8 $ 214.3 $ 2,995.2 Net sales from divested businesses (10.8) (10.1) (0.4) (0.5) (21.8) Organic Net Sales $ 1,272.3 $ 1,237.9 $ 249.4 $ 213.8 $ 2,973.4 Q2 FY21 Grocery &Snacks Refrigerated & Frozen International Foodservice Total Conagra Brands Net Sales $ 1,283.1 $ 1,248.0 $ 249.8 $ 214.3 $ 2,995.2 Impact of foreign exchange — — 6.0 — 6.0 Net sales from divested businesses (1.6) — — (0.3) (1.9) Organic Net Sales $ 1,281.5 $ 1,248.0 $ 255.8 $ 214.0 $ 2,999.3 Year-over-year change - Net Sales 12.6 % 6.8 % 6.6 % (23.1) % 6.2 % Impact of foreign exchange (pp) — — 2.5 — 0.2 Net sales from divested businesses (pp) 2.8 1.0 — 1.6 1.7 Organic Net Sales 15.4 % 7.8 % 9.1 % (21.5) % 8.1 % Volume (Organic) 13.7 % 6.4 % 6.4 % (25.4) % 6.6 % Price/Mix 1.7 %.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJan 6th, 2022

Here"s Why Hold Strategy is Apt for Newell (NWL) Stock Now

Newell (NWL) is poised for growth on solid demand, product innovation, e-commerce growth, and robust core sales growth. Cost inflation and supply-chain issues remain headwinds. Newell Brands Inc. NWL is well-positioned for long-term growth due to its efforts to leverage its robust e-commerce capabilities. The company has been gaining from solid demand, product innovation and robust core sales growth, aiding the quarterly results. Continued improvement in the Writing business also bodes well.Despite cost inflation and supply-chain issues, results gained from solid demand, product innovation and robust core sales growth. In third-quarter 2021, Newell’s top line also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and grew year over year. Net sales advanced 8.5% from the third-quarter 2019 level. The uptick was driven by core sales growth of 3.2%, as every business unit and key region witnessed higher core sales. This marked the fifth successive quarter of core sales growth.Shares of Newell have risen 1.2% in the past year against the industry's decline of 7.3%.In the past 30 days, estimates for this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company's 2022 earnings per share have been unchanged at $1.89, suggesting 9.4% growth year over year. For 2022, its sales estimates are pegged at $10.56 billion, suggesting 1.03% growth from the year-ago period's reported figure.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchHere's Why Newell Should Retain the MomentumNewell is on track to leverage its robust e-commerce capabilities, which have remained strong for some time now as consumers are increasingly shifting to the online platform. Capitalizing on the shift to digital consumption, the e-commerce business witnessed mid-single-digit sales growth, accounting for nearly 22% of total sales in the third quarter. The company launched buy online and pick up in stores as well as ship from store facilities in its Yankee Candle retail stores. This led to positive customer feedback. The company expects further digital penetration, driven by expanded omnichannel capabilities.In third-quarter 2021, Newell witnessed healthy consumption trends in the United States as business trends normalized. This marked the sixth straight quarter of consumption growth, with robust consumption across all business units on a two-year basis. Trends in the food and commercial businesses, which witnessed a significant rise in demand last year, have moderated.Meanwhile, consumption trends for the Baby business delivered double-digit growth, driven by solid consumption growth on a year-over-year and a two-year basis. Home Fragrance and Connected Home & Security businesses also witnessed strong consumption in the United States. The healthy consumption trend led management to lift the 2021 top-line view.Newell has been witnessing continued improvement in the Writing Business, with core sales growth of double digits in this unit in the third quarter. Broad-based strength in the United States and international markets aided results. It reported strong back-to-school performance on the back of innovative products, including Sharpie S-Gel and Sharpie S-Note as well as robust merchandising plans and distribution gains. Strong demand for pens, pencils, glue, permanent markers, dry erase markers and highlighters also contributed to the strong back-to-school season.On a two-year basis, the unit delivered significant growth. The Writing business witnessed improved consumption in the United States for the most of 2021, which accelerated sequentially in the third quarter.Driven by the robust trends, management raised the 2021 view and issued upbeat fourth-quarter guidance. The company now anticipates 2021 sales of $10.38-$10.46 billion compared with the earlier mentioned $10.1-$10.35 billion. Core sales growth is likely to be 10-11%, up from the prior stated 7-10%. The normalized operating margin is expected to be slightly down from the previously communicated 11.1%. Normalized earnings per share are forecast to be $1.69-$1.73 for the year compared with the earlier mentioned $1.63-$1.73. The company envisions generating an operating cash flow of $1 billion.For fourth-quarter 2021, net sales are envisioned to be $2.6-$2.68 billion, with core sales down 2% to up 1% year over year. For the quarter, the company expects a normalized operating margin of 8.7-9.2% and normalized earnings of 29-33 cents a share.Hurdles to OvercomeNewell continues to witness elevated advertising and promotional expenses related to product launches and omni-channel investments. As a result, adjusted SG&A expenses rose 2.9% year over year in the third quarter of 2021. Higher costs weighed on third-quarter margins and the bottom line. Management anticipates inflationary cost pressure to escalate further in the fourth quarter, which is expected to hurt margins. The 2021 normalized operating margin is expected to be slightly down from the previously communicated 11.1%.The company also remains exposed to port congestion, limited container availability, and shortage of labor and truck drivers. Significant inflation in freight costs and supply-chain disruptions remain concerning.Stocks to ConsiderWe have highlighted some better-ranked stocks from the broader Consumer Staples space, namely Flowers Foods FLO, Nu Skin Enterprises NUS and United Natural Foods UNFI.Flowers Foods currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). FLO has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 15.4%, on average. Shares of the company have gained 21.1% in a year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for FLO’s 2022 sales of $4.4 billion suggests growth of 1.9%.  The consensus estimate for Flowers Foods’ 2022 earnings per share has been unchanged in the past 30 days at $1.25.Nu Skin carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. NUS has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 16.6%, on average. Shares of the company have declined 8.2% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for NUS’ 2022 sales and earnings per share suggests growth of 1.2% and 5.2%, respectively, from the year-ago period The consensus estimate for Nu Skin's 2022 earnings per share has been unchanged in the past 30 days at $4.19.United Natural Foods, a Zacks Rank #2 stock at present, has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 35.4%, on average. Shares of the company have gained 185.6% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for United Natural Foods’ fiscal 2022 sales and earnings per share suggests growth of 4.8% and 7.7%, respectively, from the year-ago period. The consensus estimates UNFI’s fiscal 2022 earnings per share has moved up 2.5% in the past 30 days. 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 Newell Brands Inc. (NWL): Free Stock Analysis Report Flowers Foods, Inc. (FLO): Free Stock Analysis Report United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI): Free Stock Analysis Report Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NUS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 4th, 2022

Restaurant Brands (QSR) to Boost Popeyes" South Korea Presence

Restaurant Brands' (QSR) Popeyes teams up with Silla Group subsidiary to boost its portfolio of restaurants in South Korea. Restaurant Brands International Inc.’s QSR Popeyes recently announced a Master Franchise and Development Agreement with Silla Group subsidiary to boost its portfolio in the South Korea region. The company will open its first restaurant in 2022.With this collaboration, Restaurant Brands intends to bring in hundreds of new Popeyes’ restaurants in South Korea to develop businesses and expand the brand in the region. Also, it emphasized on delivering a seamless guest experience through digital innovation like digital ordering screens, mobile ordering and delivery.David Shear, president of RBI International, the parent company of Popeyes, stated, "Our entry illustrates our commitment to serving more guests around the world and the execution of our growth plans for the Asia Pacific region."Focus on ExpansionPer Restaurant Brands, expanding presence in existing markets and entering new markets will provide huge growth opportunities.Earlier, the company’s Popeyes brand carried out successful international expansions in Spain, Switzerland, China, Brazil, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. The brand has significantly expanded its global reach by entering several new markets. In 2021, the brand announced expansion agreements in the U.K., Romania, France, India, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.Going forward, QSR intends to evaluate opportunities to ramp up international development by establishing master franchisees with exclusive development rights and joint ventures with new and existing franchisees. Also, it plans to focus on its pipeline to deliver solid net restaurant growth in 2022.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past year, shares of Restaurant Brands have increased 1.2% compared with the industry's 15.1% growth.Zacks Rank & Key PicksRestaurant Brands currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Some better-ranked stocks in the Zacks Retail-Wholesale sector include Genesco Inc. GCO, Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. ARCO and Tapestry, Inc. TPR.Genesco sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 2,739.6%, on average. Shares of the company have increased 125.2% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Genesco’s 2022 sales and earnings per share (EPS) suggests growth of 34.9% and 669.5%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Arcos Dorados flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. ARCO has a long-term earnings growth of 42.9%. Shares of the company have increased 25.2% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Arcos Dorados’ 2022 sales and EPS suggests growth of 10.4% and 255.6%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Tapestry sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 29%, on average. Shares of the company have increased 24.8% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Tapestry’s 2022 sales and EPS suggests growth of 14.8% and 17.9%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. 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 Genesco Inc. (GCO): Free Stock Analysis Report Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. (ARCO): Free Stock Analysis Report Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR): Free Stock Analysis Report Tapestry, Inc. (TPR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 4th, 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

3 Reasons to Add McKesson (MCK) Stock to Your Portfolio

Investors continue to be optimistic about McKesson (MCK) owing to its robust Biologics business. McKesson Corporation MCK has been gaining on the back of its robust Biologics business. A solid second-quarter fiscal 2022 performance, along with its strategic deals, is expected to contribute further. However, stiff competition and weaker generic pharmaceutical pricing trends persist.Over the past year, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has gained 43.1% compared with 16.9% growth of the industry and 28.6% rise of the S&P 500 composite.The renowned health care services and information technology company has a market capitalization of $38 billion. McKesson projects 9% growth for the next five years, in which it expects to maintain its strong performance. The company’s earnings surpassed estimates in all the trailing four quarters, the average earnings surprise being 19.90%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchLet’s delve deeper.Strength in Biologics: Investors are optimistic about McKesson’s robust Biologics business. Independent specialty pharmacy, Biologics by McKesson, has been making impressive progress of late. This month, the pharmacy was selected by PharmaEssentia USA Corporation as a specialty pharmacy provider of BESREMi (ropeginterferon alfa-2b-njft) for the treatment of adults with polycythemia vera.The same month, Biologics by McKesson was selected by Takeda Pharmaceuticals as a specialty pharmacy provider of LIVTENCITYTM (maribavir), indicated for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients (above the age of 12 and weighing at least 35 kg) with post-transplant cytomegalovirus infection or disease that is refractory to treatment (with or without genotypic resistance) with ganciclovir, valganciclovir, cidofovir or foscarnet.Strategic Deals: McKesson has inked some strategic deals over the past few months, raising investors’ optimism on the stock. The company, in November, inked an agreement to sell off its U.K. businesses to the pan-European asset management group AURELIUS. The agreement is an important step in advancing McKesson’s efforts to streamline its business and fully exit the European region.In August, McKesson’s oncology and insights business, Ontada, announced a strategic agreement with Merck, which is expected to facilitate the development of real-world research excellence and innovation.Strong Q2 Results: McKesson’s robust second-quarter fiscal 2022 results buoy optimism. The company recorded strong segmental performances by three of its four segments. A raised earnings outlook for fiscal 2022 instills confidence in the stock. Double-digit adjusted operating profit growth across all segments is encouraging. The company’s crucial role in the COVID-19 response efforts in the United States and abroad have been through the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, ancillary supply kits and COVID-19 tests is impressive.DownsidesWeak Trends: McKesson distributes generic pharmaceuticals, which are subject to price fluctuation. The Distribution Solutions segment had experienced weaker generic pharmaceutical pricing trends, which continue to persist. Continued volatility, unfavorable pricing trends, reimbursement of generic drugs, significant fluctuations in the nature, frequency and magnitude of generic pharmaceutical launches could have a material adverse impact on McKesson.Stiff Competition: Distribution Solutions faces stiff competition both in terms of price and service from various full-line, short-line and specialty wholesalers, service merchandisers, self-warehousing chains, manufacturers engaged in direct distribution, third-party logistics companies and large-payer organizations. Moreover, the company depends on fewer suppliers for its products. As a result, it is not in a position to negotiate pricing.Estimate TrendMcKesson is witnessing a positive estimate revision trend for fiscal 2022. In the past 90 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its earnings has moved 12.4% north to $22.64.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s third-quarter fiscal 2022 revenues is pegged at $65.97 billion, suggesting a 5.4% rise from the year-ago quarter’s reported number.Other Key PicksA few other top-ranked stocks investors can consider in the broader medical space are Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings LH or LabCorp, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. TMO and AMN Healthcare Services AMN.LabCorp, carrying a Zacks Rank #2, has an estimated long-term growth rate of 10.6%. LH’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 25.73%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.LabCorp has gained 53.9% compared with the industry’s 16.9% rise over the past year.Thermo Fisher has an estimated long-term growth rate of 14%.TMO’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 9.02%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.Thermo Fisher has gained 42.9% compared with the industry’s 11.9% rise over the past year.AMN Healthcare has an estimated long-term growth rate of 16.2%. AMN’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 19.51%. It currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1.AMN Healthcare has gained 78.5% against the industry’s 49.9% fall over the past year. 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 Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LH): Free Stock Analysis Report Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (TMO): Free Stock Analysis Report McKesson Corporation (MCK): Free Stock Analysis Report AMN Healthcare Services Inc (AMN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 2nd, 2022

Photos show the devastating Colorado wildfires that scorched up to 1,000 homes and displaced more than 35,000 residents

In a press conference on Friday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said there have been no deaths reported in what he described as a "New Year's miracle." Two homes burn during a wildfire in the Centennial Heights neighborhood on December 30, 2021 in Louisville, Colorado.Marc Piscotty/Getty Images Wildfires ripped through through Colorado on Thursday and Friday, scorching 6,000 acres of land and destroying up to 1,000 homes.  No deaths have been reported as of Friday afternoon, according to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. Here's a look at the devastating fires that caused thousands of residents to flee from their homes.    Devastating wildfires ripped through Colorado on Thursday and Friday, scorching 6,000 acres of land and destroying up to 1,000 homes. The fires, which began on Thursday morning from what officials believe may have been a downed power line, spread rapidly into the suburbs of Denver and Boulder as the day progressed. Regional droughts and high-speed wind that reached more than 100 miles per hour exacerbated the blazes.Officials on Friday said that there are no reported deaths at this time, although an estimated 35,000 residents were displaced from their homes as they fled to safety."We might have our very own New Year's miracle on our hands if it holds up that there was no loss of life," Gov. Jared Polis said in a press conference. Here's a closer look at the damaging fires that have engulfed the state. The flames first began to spread Thursday morning, intensified by high-speed winds that reached upwards of 100 miles per hour.Fire burns in bushes near a La Quinta hotel on December 30, 2021 in Louisville, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesThe intensity of the fire came suddenly and unexpectedly, officials said. "In the blink of an eye, many families having minutes, minutes to get whatever they could, their pets, their kids into the car and leave," Gov. Polis said on Friday.Two homes burn during a wildfire in the Centennial Heights neighborhood on December 30, 2021 in Louisville, Colorado.Marc Piscotty/Getty ImagesBy late afternoon, flames had started to engulf suburban neighborhoods, demolishing homes in communities around Denver and Boulder.A house fully involved engulfed in flames on December 30, 2021 in Superior, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesThe fires also wreaked havoc on several local businesses and companies.Fires burn near the Tesla dealership along McCaslin Blvd on December 30, 2021 in Superior, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesThe towns of Superior and Louisville were fully evacuated as the wildfires picked up strength.Flames engulf homes as the Marshall Fire spreads through a neighborhood in the town of Superior in Boulder County, Colorado on December 30, 2021.JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty ImagesAn estimated 35,000 residents total fled their homes on Thursday and Friday.Fire burns in neighborhoods on December 30, 2021 in Superior, ColoradoHelen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesAuthorities on Friday said the blaze was the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.A home burns after a fast moving wildfire swept through the area in the Centennial Heights neighborhood of Louisville, Colorado on December 30, 2021.Marc Piscotty/Getty ImagesOfficials estimated that between 500 and 1,000 homes were destroyed as a result of the fires.Fires burn near structures and homes in the historic downtown area on December 30, 2021 in Superior, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesGov. Polis said a period of drought in the region had likely contributed to the spread to residential areas. "It wasn't a wildfire in the forest, it was a suburban and urban fire," he said on Friday.A Christmas wreath hangs on the side of a house where fire creeps towards the back on December 30, 2021 in Superior, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesSheriff Joe Pelle of Boulder County said on Friday that he estimated that the fire has burned 6,000 acres across the state.An Arvada firefighter walks back to the firetruck as a fast moving wildfire swept through the area in the Centennial Heights neighborhood on December 30, 2021 of Louisville, Colorado.Marc Piscotty/Getty ImagesThough the cause has not yet been determined, officials said they believe the wildfires originated from a fallen power line.An officer directs traffic out of neighborhoods on December 30, 2021 in Superior, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesOfficials said a significant amount of the fire has been contained, and they expect snowfall forecasted for the region to help snuff out remaining blazes.Fires burn near structures and homes in the historic downtown area on December 30, 2021 in Superior, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesSmoke from the fires left eerie yellow smoke hovering in the air of the Colorado suburbs affected.A car makes its way down smoky, yellow skies along McCaslin Blvd on December 30, 2021 in Louisville, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesSome residents even tried to put out small scale blazes with water bottles.People try to put out fire along a median with water bottles in neighborhoods on December 30, 2021 in Superior, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesThe fires continued into the evening on Thursday night and into Friday morning.Dr. Bonnie Abbott (L) embraces her husband George as they watch flames engulf homes as the Marshall Fire spreads through a neighborhood in the town of Superior in Boulder County, Colorado on December 30, 2021. -JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty ImagesAn estimated 15,000 residents are currently without power across the state, according to outage trackers.Marc Piscotty/Getty ImagesIn response to Colorado's request for federal support, the White House on Friday said that President Joe Biden would ensure "that every effort will be made to provide immediate help to people in the impacted communities."Embers fly through the air as fires continue to burn into the evening in neighborhoods on December 30, 2021 in Louisville, Colorado.Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images"The President is grateful to all of the first responders who have come to the aid of Colorado communities and families impacted by the fires," The White House continued in its statement.Flames engulf homes as the Marshall Fire spreads through a neighborhood in the town of Superior in Boulder County, Colorado on December 30, 2021.JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images)Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 1st, 2022

Zoom (ZM) Buys Liminal Assets, Improves Virtual Event Abilities

Zoom (ZM) acquires the Liminal assets to add professional broadcasting tools to its portfolio for larger events. Zoom Video Communications ZM recently announced the acquisition of assets from Liminal — a start-up offering an event production solution.The acquisition will help Zoom create higher-quality event productions than its average Zoom meetings.During the pandemic, Liminal focused on building better solutions for Zoom to bridge the gap between a virtual meeting and an in-person event. It concentrated on enhancing Zoom’s software development kit and developed apps like ZoomISO and ZoomOSC.ZoomISO generates video outputs of the participants in a Zoom meeting, which can be exported to media servers or other production formats, including high definition.ZoomOSC helps users effortlessly send a command from a third-party application or software to Zoom.The acquisition of these assets will help Zoom to prepare for the post-pandemic era, as the demand for solutions supporting hybrid work environment is expected to increase.Acquisitions and Partnerships Expand PortfolioAcquisitions and strategic partnerships have been key catalysts for Zoom.Zoom announced the acquisition of Karlsruhe Information Technology Solutions - Kites GmbH (Kites) in June 2021. Kites is a Germany-based start-up, which focuses on developing real-time Machine Translation (MT) solutions.The MT solutions from the acquisition, which will provide multi-language translation capabilities in the Zoom platform, are expected to improve meeting productivity and efficiency for Zoom users.Zoom also collaborated with VMWare VMW to enable a more secure and improved collaboration experience for hybrid-work environments.The partnership allows interoperability between the Zoom collaboration platform and VMWare’s Anywhere Workspace. This tie-up will improve utility, application, security and network performance.Zoom and VMWare will create more resilient organizations by helping them improve user experience, security and visibility.Zoom Video Communications, Inc. Price and Consensus Zoom Video Communications, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Zoom Video Communications, Inc. QuoteInvestments in R&D to Drive Top-Line GrowthZoom gained excellent traction with the emergence of remote work and online learning during the pandemic. Easy deployment, convenience, hassle-free management and solid scalability made Zoom’s software popular among users.The company has been working relentlessly to eliminate the privacy and security loopholes and launched more features and solutions to expand its clientele.The company is investing massively in research and development. In third-quarter fiscal 2022, Zoom reported research and development expenses of $96.7 million, up 131.3% year over year.Zoom also announced a new $100-million venture fund — Zoom Apps Fund — to usher in innovation in the Zoom Apps ecosystem. The Zoom Apps Fund will invest in developer partners with early market traction and viable products, enhancing Zoom’s user experience and improving productivity.Earlier this year, Zoom announced the launch of Zoom Events — an all-in-one platform —  which can produce interactive and engaging virtual experiences. This comprehensive solution enables event organizers to produce ticketed live events for an audience of any size.Zacks Rank and Stocks to ConsiderCurrently, Zoom holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Computer & Technology are Arrow Electronics ARW and Advanced Micro Devices AMD, both carrying a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Arrow’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 earnings has been raised to $4.42 per share, up 14.8% in the past 60 days. For fiscal 2021, earnings estimates have moved north by 8.1% to $14.6 per share in the past 60 days.Arrow beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 18.6%. Shares of ARW have appreciated 38% year to date.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Advanced Micro Devices’ fourth-quarter 2021 earnings has been revised up by 10.3% to 75 cents per share in the past 60 days. For 2021, earnings estimates moved north by 0.38% to $2.65 per share in the last seven 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 68.3% year to date.  5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>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 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD): Free Stock Analysis Report VMware, Inc. (VMW): Free Stock Analysis Report Arrow Electronics, Inc. (ARW): Free Stock Analysis Report Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (ZM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 28th, 2021