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China’s manufacturing, services sectors weaken in January
China’s manufacturing, services sectors weaken in January
Contracts on the Nasdaq ticked up after the index sank into a correction by the end of the regular session, plunging more than 10% from a recent record closing high. Shares of Tesla steadied in after-hours trading after falling another nearly 6%, bringing its March-to-date loss to almost 17%, while Apple shares sank to the lowest level since November.
(Bloomberg) -- One of the best manifestations of the rotation from formerly high-flying growth stocks to value shares can be seen in the divergence of the Nasdaq 100 from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.As the 125-year-old benchmark climbed to another intraday record, the Nasdaq 100 slumped to a level traditionally seen as a correction. It’s the first time since 1993 that the Dow rose and closed within 1% of a record, while the tech-heavy gauge was down more than 10% from its high.“Investors are feeling better about the recovery and looking to own improving fundamentals within large caps outside of tech and growth where valuations are more reasonable,” said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners. “The focus on better fundamentals at a reasonable price may be driving the Dow to new highs.”All but five of the 30-member Dow index traded higher Monday at the 4 p.m. close in New York, with shares of Walt Disney Co. leading with a 6.3% gain. Visa Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Home Depot Inc. each advanced more than 2%. Meanwhile, drops in Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc. weighed on the 36-year-old Nasdaq 100.Shares of other companies that had done well in 2020’s stay-at-home environment, including Microsoft Corp. and Netflix Inc., also dented the tech-centric Nasdaq 100, as did those whose businesses helped consumers work from home during the pandemic, including Zoom Video Communications Inc., which fell almost 8%, and DocuSign Inc., down about 6%.The split-market activity on display is another manifestation of the rotation underway as investors switch into shares of companies whose fortunes are closely tied to the economic cycle. That’s been painful for high-growth, high-valuation tech shares that become less appealing amid bond-market turbulence that’s sent yields on 10-year Treasuries to 1.61%.Earlier: SPAC Froth Turns on Itself With Stocks Plunging 20% in Two WeeksThe rotation is even harsher in once-hot areas like the market for special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, another 2020 craze whose allure has fizzled in recent days. A gauge tracking such firms -- IPOX SPAC Index -- declined 2.6% Monday, its fourth down day out of the last five sessions. A popular SPAC by Chamath Palihapitiya -- the Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. V, or IPOE -- fell as much as 11% at one point before closing Monday down 9%.“It feels like an attitude adjustment for tech and growth stocks,” said Bailey. “Investors have decided that these Covid winners just got too expensive and now it’s time for a valuation haircut.”(Updates prices throughout.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
U.S.-listed Chinese electric vehicle (EV) makers Li Auto Inc, Nio Inc and Xpeng Inc plan to list in Hong Kong as soon as this year, tapping a growing investor base closer to home, said people with direct knowledge of the matter. Based on their New York market capitalisation on Monday, proceeds could reach $5 billion. Li Auto, Nio and Xpeng - which have raised $14.7 billion in U.S. markets since 2018 - declined to comment.
The S&P 500 and the Dow rose on Monday, led by stocks poised to benefit the most from an economic rebound as the U.S. Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, while heavyweight tech-related stocks clawed back some losses. President Joe Biden said he hoped for a quick passage of the revised bill by the House of Representatives so he could sign it and send $1,400 direct payments to Americans.
The potential market moving event this week occurred over the weekend when the U.S. Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
(Bloomberg) -- Eric Yuan, chief executive officer of Zoom Video Communications Inc., donated more than a third of his stake in the company, filings show.Yuan gifted almost 18 million shares of the conferencing-technology firm last week. The filings didn’t specify the recipient of the stock, which was owned by a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust, or GRAT, for which Yuan is a trustee.The shares were valued at about $6 billion, based on Friday’s closing price.The distributions are consistent with the Yuans’ “typical estate planning practices,” a Zoom spokesman said in a statement.Yuan, 51, joins other members of the world’s mega-rich who’ve been transferring stock recently -- including Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, who last month gave some of his Zoom holding to his businessman son Richard. Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, has been donating shares of Amazon.com Inc. in support of a $10 billion pledge made last year to combat climate change.Pandemic SurgeYuan became one of the world’s wealthiest people as demand for Zoom’s main product skyrocketed during the pandemic. The stock surged almost 400% last year, but has dipped 7.8% in 2021.He’s the world’s 130th-richest person with a pre-transfer net worth of $15.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a $9.2 billion increase since last March. The company has also brought huge gains to other shareholders, including Tiger Global Management’s Chase Coleman and Taiwanese investor Samuel Chen. Li’s Zoom stake now represents almost one-fifth of his net worth. Born in China, Yuan was refused a U.S. visa eight times before finally prevailing and moving to Silicon Valley. An early employee of rival video-conferencing group WebEx Communications, he founded Zoom in 2011, inspired in part by the challenges of maintaining a long-distance relationship when he was in college.The Wall Street Journal reported the share transfer earlier Monday.(Adds that Li Ka-shing cut his Zoom holding in fifth paragraph, details about the stake in seventh)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
And will you even get a payment this time, under the new limits the president agreed to?
(Bloomberg) -- Tucked away among the Ford, Dodge and Chevy sedans, the 12,000-gallon storage container and the inoperable Caterpillar tractor being auctioned off by the U.S. government is an unusual item: 0.7501 of a Bitcoin.The U.S. General Services Administration typically uses its auctions to sell surplus federal equipment to the general public. With lot 4KQSCI21105001, which goes up for auction in a week, the government is offering an amount of Bitcoin worth about $38,000 at Monday’s price.The government doesn’t say where its surplus digital currency came from. And while it’s a far cry from the 30,000 Bitcoins auctioned off by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2014 after they were seized from the Silk Road marketplace, the GSA auction is one more indication of how Bitcoin is becoming more and more mainstream.On Wall Street, too, there is a newfound openness to the world’s most valuable digital currency: Custody banking giant Bank of New York Mellon Corp. said it will hold, transfer and issue digital currencies, while Mastercard Inc. announced plans to let cardholders transact in certain cryptocurrencies on its network. A Morgan Stanley unit known for picking growth stocks is considering adding Bitcoin to its possible bets and, last week, a person close to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the bank plans to reopen a trading desk for cryptocurrencies.The Bitcoins auctioned off by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2014 were estimated at the time to be worth about $19 million, though the winning bid -- by venture capitalist Tim Draper -- wasn’t disclosed. Those coins would be worth $1.5 billion today as the cryptocurrency’s price has skyrocketed to almost $51,000.The GSA auction is scheduled to be held from March 15 to 17.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. soared Monday, as the "meme" stock's bounce from last month's plunge continued, after Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter doubled his price target ahead of the company's earnings report, citing an increasing optimism over the post-pandemic environment.
It's true: Hurrying with your tax return could put your relief money at risk.
The U.S. Senate finally passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill over the weekend and stocks are broadly moving higher at the start of the week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury (BX:TMUBMUSD10Y) up 64 basis points this year through Friday, rose 2 basis points to 1.589% on Monday. After its biggest intraday comeback in a year at the end of last week, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP) was 0.9% down into afternoon trading after a volatile morning.
Goldman Sachs didn't start ranking bitcoin versus global assets until late January, but its year-to-date return is double the next-closest competitor.
(Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc economists expect several developing nations to see “some tangible benefits” of the International Monetary Fund’s proposal to allocate $500 billion in reserve assets known as special drawing rights.The IMF’s chief said earlier this month that the institution is proceeding with work on the plan after the Group of 20 urged it to propose a fresh allocation of the fund’s reserve assets.Emerging-market countries will probably account for “no more than” $206 billion of the new SDR allocations, Barclays economists including Ercan Erguzel said in a report to clients.Bahrain could exchange its SDR holdings with Saudi Arabia to boost reserves, according to BarclaysThe distribution may also benefit Turkey, “where the central bank aims to reverse the downtrend in reserves”Barclays estimates that Zambia’s additional allocation could reach around $1.1 billion, or some 6% of gross domestic product, “thus placing the country in a less fragile position as it embarks on its debt restructuring talks”Countries including Egypt and South Africa also stand to gain from the increase in reservesFor South Africa, Barclays estimates that its foreign-exchange holdings may be boosted by the equivalent of some $3.2 billionThe government “could in fact come to some arrangement” with the South African Reserve Bank where the central bank “keeps the SDRs but Treasury liquidates an equivalent amount from its excess reserves at the SARB to fund its external borrowing commitments for the year”Momentum has been building for the injection of funds after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen leaned toward supporting the action, reversing opposition last year under President Donald Trump. Her predecessor, Steven Mnuchin, blocked the move in 2020, saying that because reserves are allocated to all 190 members of the IMF in proportion to their quota, some 70% would go to the G-20, with just 3% for the poorest developing nations.“The Covid-19 pandemic has morphed into a global health crisis, necessitating closer global policy coordination to rein in infection spread,” the Barclays economists said in the note. “This has brought the IMF’s role as global ‘firefighter’ back to the centre stage.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
With President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, your 2020 tax return has become a moving target.
They have been trading longer than many adults, and are learning valuable lessons about investing early. MarketWatch speaks to four teenagers who are taking on the markets.
(Bloomberg) -- South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Inc.’s initial public offering is on track to be the largest listing by a Korean company in a decade. And, like most of the major tech offerings these days, it’s happening in New York.There are three big reasons that explain why the U.S. is a better pick for the e-tailer backed by SoftBank Group Corp.’s Masayoshi Son. Perhaps most significantly, New York offers a considerable valuation premium. It also has a deeper, more liquid market, and allows uneven voting rights that would benefit Coupang’s founder, Harvard Business School drop-out Bom Kim.The U.S. has been the destination of choice for mega tech IPOs, with 2020’s biggest debuts Airbnb Inc. and DoorDash Inc. both listed in New York. Chinese e-commerce giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc. also went public there. Coupang is seeking to raise up to $3.6 billion in its IPO and could garner a value of more than $50 billion. That would make it the largest float by a Korean company since Samsung Group took its insurance unit public at home in 2010.Had the loss-making e-commerce firm listed in Korea -- which from this month will allow unprofitable companies to go public -- Coupang could have fetched a maximum valuation of just $10 billion, according to Suh YongGu, a marketing professor at Sookmyung University.“The history of capitalism in South Korea is short, so Koreans don’t ascribe high valuations to loss-making companies,” said Suh.South Korea’s stock market is less than 70 years old, and is dominated by chaebols, or family-controlled industrial groups. In fact, SK Bioscience Co., a unit of SK Group, one of the county’s largest chaebols, will be the latest to have a stock market presence when it goes public this month. The maker of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine for Korea, is seeking to raise $1.3 billion ahead of its March 18 listing, according to Korean-language Seoul Economic Daily Monday.Korean investors’ appetite for their homegrown entrepreneur-led startups, however, will be tested in coming months with IPOs by Krafton Inc., the creator of hit game PUBG, and the country’s biggest mobile-only bank Kakao Bank. Unlike Coupang, those firms are profitable.Coupang has lost money in the last three years, recording an accumulated deficit of $4.12 billion as of December, according to its filing. Thanks to the surge in online shopping during the pandemic, however, it managed to nearly double its revenue to $12 billion last year.A $51 billion valuation would put Coupang among the five most valuable companies in Korea, of which Samsung Electronics Co. is the biggest. Korea’s other big startups with growing clout in e-commerce -- the $58 billion Internet conglomerate Naver Corp., and the $39 billion messaging app Kakao Corp. -- are both listed in Seoul, but were both profitable when they went public. The two are backed by entrepreneurs and not linked to the chaebols like Samsung Group.In fact, Coupang’s listing in the U.S. will allow it to exceed the combined market value of the six chaebol-owned retailers trying to expand their presence in e-commerce -- E-Mart Inc., Lotte Shopping Co., GS Retail Co., Shinsegae Inc., BGF Retail Co., and Hyundai Department Store Co..Liquidity is another allure of the U.S. market, allowing companies to raise funds frequently through secondary share sales. Korea’s stock market, at a total value of $2.12 trillion, is a fraction of the $44.2 trillion of the U.S., according to Bloomberg data.“It’s easier for investors to exit” their stakes in the U.S., said Seo Sang-Young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities in Seoul. “And the trading volume is much larger.”And finally, a U.S. listing gives founders more power.Korea doesn’t allow uneven voting rights, favored by tech firms like Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc., who see it as a way for founders to focus on the long-term. But the U.S. does, even if the ownership structure is itself not without controversy, as it lacks shareholder protections. Kim, Coupang’s 42-year-old founder, will end up with 76.7% of the company’s voting rights with just 10.2% of its outstanding shares.“We would have liked Coupang to list in Korea,” said Kim Sung-gon, a spokesperson at Korea Stock Exchange. “But we respect the company’s choice.”Korea IPO Boom Year Kicks Off With Coupang FloatStill, missing out on the chance to buy into one of the country’s hottest companies in the biggest Asian company IPO since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $25 billion New York listing in 2014 is rankling the retail investors who have come to dominate Korea’s stock market since the pandemic spread.“There is certainly regret among retail investors that they cannot buy into the IPO,” said Kim DongJoo, the CEO of Iruda Discretionary Investment, a Seoul-based investment firm catering to retail investors seeking to buy foreign stocks.Largest IPOs by Korean Companies:Coupang prides itself on its same-day or at least pre-dawn deliveries. It is also giving its warehouse staff and 15,000 full-time delivery workers a total of $90 million in pre-IPO stock, a unique largess that comes at a time when the deaths of a string of couriers from overwork as online orders soared is causing a national uproar.“We believe we are the first company in Korea to make our front-line employees stockholders,” Kim said in a letter to shareholders in Coupang’s IPO filing.Five Coupang warehouse workers have died in the past year, according to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, a major labor organization. On Saturday, a Coupang delivery driver was found dead in an incident which Yonhap News said showed symptoms his colleagues attributed to overwork.Coupang said in a statement on Monday that the deceased worker had “worked around four days a week on average and worked about 40 hours for the past 12 weeks.” It added, however, that it would “make efforts to thoroughly protect the health and safety of workers.”(Updates with Coupang’s statement on a worker’s recent death in the last two paragraphs)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
On March 8, David Tepper, the founder of Appaloosa Management, said during an interview with Joe Kernen of CNBC that the rise in interest rates on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes (BX:TMUBMUSD10Y) to a yield of about 1.60% signaled that a major risk for U.S. bonds and stocks was “off the table.” Tepper, whose predictions are closely watched by Wall Street, went on to say that the expected $1.9 trillion government stimulus would be a near-term catalyst for stocks, pointing to Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) as especially attractive. Amazon’s shares fell 8.5% for the three-week period through the close March 5.
A former high-ranking Chinese government minister has said that China is at least 30 years away from becoming a “great power” in the manufacturing sector. What Happened: China has been the world’s dominant figure in manufacturing since 2010, according to United Nations data, with $4.8 trillion in industrial added value last year and a nearly 30% global share that is approximately equal to the combined share of the U.S., Germany and Japan. China’s State Council Development Research Center issued a report in January that defined the nation as being in the third tier in a four-tier ranking system based on key criteria including innovation, quality and effectiveness, environmental factors and global competitiveness, according to a South China Morning Post report. In comparison, the U.S., Germany and Switzerland were in the top tier, while Japan, South Korea, Singapore and France were in the second. In a speech before the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the government’s leading advisory body, former Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei warned that while China reigns in terms of industrial supply chains and accounts for more than one-third of global manufacturing output, its industries’ dependence on U.S. high-tech products including semiconductors remains a strategic obstacle that needs to be overcome. "Basic capabilities are still weak, core technologies are in the hands of others, and the risk of 'being hit in the throat' and having 'a slipped bike chain' has significantly increased," said Miao, who stepped down from his ministry post last year after a decade in office. "The ratio of manufacturing output to GDP has been declining too early and too quickly, which not only weighs on economic growth and affects employment, but also brings security loopholes to our industries and diminishes our economy's ability to withstand risks, and its global competitiveness." Related Link: Beyond Bitcoin: China's Publicly-Listed Beauty App Meitu Buys M Ethereum What Happens Next: Miao said a lack of progress on market-oriented financial reforms including tax relief and a deficit of high-tech talent in manufacturing is keeping the sector from reaching its fullest potential. "China's manufacturing industry has made great achievements in recent years, but the situation of being 'big but not strong' and 'comprehensive but not good' has not been fundamentally changed," he said. "We must maintain our strategic resolve, stay clear-headed and deeply understand the gaps and deficiencies." Miao, who is now vice chairman of the CPPCC’s economic committee, also acknowledged that China’s services sector has overtaken manufacturing as the nation’s main economic force, with 54.5% of its economic output last year coming from the services sector versus 37.8% from manufacturing. “We should emphasize the strategic role and contribution of manufacturing and stabilize its share of the economy,” Miao said. “We should protect our most comprehensive manufacturing system and upgrade our self-reliance in industry and supply chains.” Related Link: Tesla Reaches 6,000 Supercharger Installs In China Miao Wei. Photo courtesy G20 Argentina/Creative Commons. See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaDisney's 'Raya And The Last Dragon' Opens To Disappointing .6M Domestic Box OfficeMarkets Close On Positive Note After Turbulent Week© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
(Bloomberg) -- The Chinese yuan erased all its gains against the dollar this year, the latest to fall prey to the Treasury-led global market selloff.The onshore yuan weakened as much as 0.5%, falling past the 6.5283 per dollar level it closed at last year. At its January peak, it was up 1.6% from 2020 as the economy rebounded and investors poured money into the Chinese bond market.Optimism over a global recovery from the pandemic has morphed into concerns that central banks will withdraw stimulus quicker-than-expected, leading to higher bond yields. This latest bout of market selling was spurred by the U.S. stimulus package and better Chinese exports data.“Surging U.S. Treasury yields and a USD rebound are pressuring EM Asia currencies including the renminbi,” said Ken Cheung, chief Asia currency strategist at Mizuho Bank Ltd in Hong Kong. “Foreign investors may have started to trim their emerging-market asset exposure and repatriate capital back into dollars. We turn more cautious on the CNY outlook in the near term.”Monday’s rout across markets picked up pace as Treasury 10-year yields hit 1.61%, nearing Friday’s high. A Bloomberg gauge of the dollar’s strength gained as much as 0.5% to its highest in almost four months.Trading volumes for onshore yuan rose to $48.9 billion on Monday, the highest level in over two months. Some bank clients who were previously hoarding dollars were selling off positions at higher prices, according to China-based traders, who asked not to be identified as they’re not authorized to speak publicly.The traders added they also received a higher volume of requests for forward prices on the greenback, including from clients who had just signed import orders and were looking to lock in foreign-exchange rates to guard against further yuan depreciation risks.China’s main stock benchmark entered a correction on Monday, with concerns over liquidity conditions and lofty valuations in some stocks fueling bearish sentiment.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Hi tech is the cool kid of investment sectors, offering an unbeatable combination of cutting edge chic and long-term stock market returns. It’s understandable; our digital world has clearly passed a point of no return in the integration of tech with our daily lives. Tech companies, whether large or small, are clearly in a position to gain from this trend, offering the products and innovations that will facilitate and expand the growth of our high-tech footprint. Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is at the forefront the tech wave. AI systems, which allow machines to learn from experience, adapt to change, and process more information faster than ever before, are powering the evolution of tech. New AI systems are making possible autonomous vehicles, personalizing sales and marketing, and speeding up the networked systems that hold the digital universe together. From an investor standpoint, the companies that are building and using AI systems now are in position for gains in the near future. AI is here, and it’s only going to expand its presence. With this in mind, we’ve opened up the TipRanks database to get the scoop on three "Strong Buy" stocks, according to the analyst community, which are making profitable use of AI technology, and jockeying for position out of the gate. iCAD, Inc. (ICAD) We’ll start in the medtech segment, where iCAD produces solutions, including advanced image analysis, radiation therapy, and workflow to facilitate early identification and treatments for cancer. iCAD offers a comprehensive platform of hardware and software. The company’s ProFound AI Risk tool is an integrated platform that streamlines the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer; the VeraLook platform uses similar advanced technology to improve image processing in the detection of colon polyps. Medical technology is in high demand, and iCAD’s AI-powered platforms take common diagnostic tools and improve their accuracy. It’s part of a natural trend in medtech, of greater integration of tools and treatments. The field, like much of the medical industry, is growth, and iCAD reported $10.5 million in revenues for 4Q20, a sequential gain of 47%, which was powered by a 70% sequential gain in product revenue from ProFound AI. Year-over-year, quarterly revenue was up 11%, and the ProFound AI sales, in particular, gained 21%. Covering this stock for Oppenheimer, analyst Francois Brisebois sees ProFound AI as powerful gainer for the company. "We believe growth investors will be rewarded over the years as ICAD gains further share in a growing TAM by providing transformative AI-driven breast cancer detection products as well as targeted, efficient, cancer therapy solutions (quality over quantity). We believe ICAD represents an attractive vehicle for investors looking for exposure to biotech innovation themes and AI data growth waves. Ultimately, while ProFound AI Risk is in its very early stages of launch, we believe it represents a great example of AI's potential in changing treatment paradigms," Brisebois opined. Unsurprisingly, Brisebois rates ICAD an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $27 price target. This figure implies a 63% one-year upside. (To watch Brisebois’ track record, click here) The unanimous Strong Buy consensus rating on ICAD shares shows that Wall Street is in broad agreement with Oppenheimer’s analyst; there are 7 Buy-side ratings on ICAD shares. The $21.57 average price target implies an upside of 30% from the $16.55 trading price. (See ICAD stock analysis on TipRanks) Baidu, Inc. (BIDU) Not every high-end AI stock is based in the US. Shifting our view to China, we’ll take a look at Baidu, the Asian giant’s largest search engine. In fact, Baidu is the largest internet search platform in the world’s largest language, used daily by well over 1.3 billion people. Baidu has a massive userbase, and just because Western and Chinese internet systems aren’t interconnected doesn’t mean that Western investors should overlook BIDU stock. Baidu’s gains are driven by a series of initiatives. The company benefits, like Google, from placing targeted ads on the search platform, ads that are powered by AI software. In addition, Baidu has been expanding the potentialities of its AI, moving into cloud computing and autonomous vehicles. In the past year, the company has even begun launching an autonomous vehicle system, the 14-passenger Apolong bus, in Guangzhou. In February, Baidu reported 4Q20 earnings and revenues, with slightly mixed results. The top line revenues came in at $4.6 billion, just below the forecast of $4.7 billion, but was still up 12% year-over-year; EPS on the other hand, at $3.08, slipped 25% yoy despite beating the forecast by over 10%. Among BIDU's bulls is Fawne Jiang, a 5-star analyst with Benchmark, who writes: “BIDU is making great strides monetizing new AI initiatives including smart transportation and intelligent driving, which should fuel the Company’s longer-term growth. We believe BIDU is well positioned to grow into a meaningfully expanded TAM capitalizing on growth opportunities in cloud, smart transportation, intelligent driving and other AI initiatives.” In line with these upbeat comments, Jiang rates BIDU as a Buy, and sets a $385 price target that indicates confidence in a 65% upside potential. (To watch Jiang’s track record, click here) With 14 recent Buy ratings, opposed to only 4 Holds, the BIDU shares have earned a Strong Buy from the analyst consensus. The stock is selling for $232.68, and its $343.44 average price target implies ~48% upside from that level. (See BIDU stock analysis on TipRanks) Five9 (FIVN) Let’s look into the cloud now, where Five9 offers a scalable contact center platform using an AI cloud technology. Contact centers have been a successful growth segment in the past couple of decades, and cloud computing has changed the way we use software. AI, by making computers smarter and data analysis faster, more efficient, and more accurate, has revolutionized both; contact centers using AI ‘smart’ clouds can track and route calls, process information, and direct callers and service agents to each other faster for better results. In 4Q20, the most recent reported, the company showed 39% year-over-year growth in revenue, to $127.9 million – a company record. EPS, however, was negative, with the loss hitting 11 cents per share. This was an unfortunate turnaround from the 1-cent EPS profit posted in the year-ago quarter. On a more positive note, the company finished 2020 with $67.3 million in operating cash flow, up 31% from the prior year. Also of interest to investors, Five9 on March 4 announced that it has been selected as the cloud computing vendor for CANCOM, a leading UK IT company. The partnership makes Five9 the platform that CANCOM will use to expand its call center services, and gives Five9 a strong foothold in the European market. Weighing in for Craig-Hallum, 5-star analyst Jeff Van Rhee noted, “Digital transformations have been kicked into high gear by COVID and the genie is not going back in the bottle. In addition, FIVN has been very aggressive over the past few years moving to public cloud for the entire stack and layering in outstanding AI capabilities. Demand for AI was noted to be playing an extremely important role in many of the largest deals… there’s little doubt about the momentum, performance, and remaining opportunity for FIVN.” Van Rhee puts a Buy rating on the stock, along with a $215 price target implying a 40% one-year upside. (To watch Van Rhee’s track record, click here) Once again, we are looking at a Strong Buy stock. The analyst consensus rating here is based on 17 recent reviews, including 15 Buys and 2 Holds. Shares are trading for $153.81 and have a $202.31 average price target, making the 12-month upside ~32%. (See FIVN stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for AI stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.