|Day's Range||7.30 - 7.90|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Since the U.K. decided more than three years ago to leave the European Union, the nation's savviest investors have succeeded by putting their money where Brexit matters least.Uncertainty about the date of Britain’s departure (now pushed back to Oct. 31) and the terms of the divorce has meant purging the U.K. from their holdings or limiting them to investments traditionally impervious to man-made and natural disasters. Over 38 months, British sterling depreciated 16 percent, the worst shrinkage for any similar period in 8 years. The pound remains the poorest performer in the actively-traded foreign exchange market and inferior to the No. 3 euro.Europe's strongest major economy in the 21st century became a shadow of its former self, reversing two decades preceding the June 23, 2016 referendum when the U.K. outperformed the European Union in growth and investment. London's stock and bond markets similarly languished as laggards to world benchmarks, after beating them consistently in the 20 years prior to the decision to leave the EU, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“If I give myself some credit, I would say that we acted reasonably fast liquidating U.K. shares” in 2016, said Ben Rogoff, whose Polar Capital Technology Trust PLC has been the most consistent winner out of the 212 British global funds with at least 1 billion pounds this year and during the past three years. His team's 114 percent total return (income plus appreciation) was 22 percentage points better than the Dow Jones World Technology Index, mostly because 68% of the fund is invested in the U.S., two-thirds of that in California companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It's all about the Internet and where do you get exposed to the Internet? The U.S. and China,” Rogoff said last month during an interview at Bloomberg in London.While Rogoff reduced his holdings of three California tech powers during the past year — Cupertino-based Apple Inc., Menlo Park-based Facebook and Santa Clara-based Advanced Micro Devices — he acquired more shares in Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings Ltd, Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. and Tokyo-based Yahoo Japan Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The 46-year-old graduate of St. Catherine's College, Oxford, became the lead manager of the trust in 2006, “and at that time,” he said, “the U.K. weighting might have been 5% to 10%, so if you had already been backing away to the door, it's a lot easier to escape than if you built a career around being an expert in U.K. equities.” Since the Brexit referendum, he said, “There's just been a complete buyers' strike of U.K. equities.”Proof of such disdain comes with the crisis this year at the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, Britain's most-prized investment when it was launched by star money manager Neil Woodford in 2014. The celebrated stock picker became even more prominent with his contrarian bullish stance on Brexit. The fund plummeted 31% during the past two years by holding a combination of large and small U.K. companies and has frozen redemptions indefinitely.“It's symptomatic of a broader problem,” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney told reporters earlier this month. “Our sense is that the financial-stability risks are increasing.”One U.K. investor who’s successfully resisted the trend away from domestic stocks is Nick Train, who manages Finsbury Growth & Income Trust. It returned 61% the past three years — more than twice the FTSE All-Share Index benchmark — as the most consistent one- and three-year performer among the 129 U.K.-based funds investing mostly in domestic stocks or bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Unlike Woodford, who doubled down on the British economy writ large, Train, a 60-year-old graduate of Queen’s College, Oxford, dramatically increased his holdings in consumer staples. These are the companies that make such essentials as food, beverages and household goods and can resist business cycles because their products always are in demand.Train, who declined to be interviewed, increased the consumer staples weighting relative to the benchmark to 27% from 23% in 2015 and he enhanced his holdings of Deerfield, Illinois-based Mondelez International Inc., which manufactures and markets packaged food products, and London-based Diageo PLC, the world's largest producer of spirits and beer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.That's likely to be a safe bet as no one is counting on the British economy rebounding significantly from near the bottom of the EU while the uncertainty created by Brexit persists. “If you take a long view, then this may well be a great time to be investing in U.K. equity,” said Rogoff. “Thankfully, I don't have to make that binary call because there are very few U.K. companies I'm frankly interested in.”\--With assistance from Shin Pei, Richard Dunsford-White and Kateryna Hrynchak.To contact the author of this story: Matthew A. Winkler at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Matthew A. Winkler is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the editor-in-chief emeritus of Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Foxconn founder Terry Gou never considered an independent run for Taiwan’s presidency, a spokeswoman for the electronics tycoon said, after Gou lost the nomination to lead the island’s opposition party into January’s election.Speculation that Gou will leave the Kuomintang to pursue leadership of Taiwan is a “fake issue,” his spokeswoman Amanda Liu said in a text message on Tuesday. Gou’s response comes one day after Han Kuo-yu, the firebrand mayor of the southern port city of Kaohsiung, overcame Gou and three other candidates in the party’s presidential primary.Liu declined to elaborate further when asked if Gou still intended to seek Taiwan’s presidency in another capacity, leaving the door open to speculation that the tech tycoon -- who in June quit as chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Foxconn’s main listed arm -- would find another way to run in the election. A solo bid by Gou could have a significant impact on the outcome, likely siphoning votes from the KMT as it tries to unseat incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen.Shares of Hon Hai climbed as much as 2.8% to their highest in about two months as investors expect Gou to focus more on the company.Power BrokerThe 68-year-old is a major power broker in the global electronics industry, with unusually strong ties to both the U.S. and China. He built Foxconn Technology Group from a maker of television knobs into a global powerhouse that is now Apple’s largest supplier and China’s largest private employer, with as many as 1 million mostly migrant workers assembling everything from iPhones to Dell desktop computers.Earlier: China-Friendly Mayor Tops Foxconn’s Gou to Vie for Taiwan LeaderGou also has ties to U.S. President Donald Trump, agreeing to build a 13,000-worker facility in the state of Wisconsin in exchange for more than $4.5 billion in government incentives.Hailed by Trump as “one of the great deals ever,” the project has since been criticized for low-paying jobs and sudden dismissals. Foxconn says the plant is on track to begin producing LCDs next year.\--With assistance from Miaojung Lin and Adela Lin.To contact the reporters on this story: Debby Wu in Taipei at firstname.lastname@example.org;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org, Edwin Chan, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Netflix (NFLX), the cable killer, is continuing its tear with subscription growth appearing to be proliferating to no end, although Disney's (DIS) Disney+ video streaming platform has some investors nervous.
Earning Season is coming. And this time, it might be a tough one, as more than 80 S&P; 500 companies have warned that second quarter earnings will likely be flatter than anticipated. Time Of The Season As we’ve said earlier Earning Call Season is when “a company’s management gets on a big, public conference call with analysts to answer questions about what’s in its quarterly earnings report and what’s going on with the profits, losses, and anything else that might move the stock.” (Not an analyst? Here’s some info on how to ask questions on a bunch of upcoming calls via Say.) Down Market These calls start this week, and for a number of reasons expect management to deliver bad news. Apple, who is just not having a great year, is expected to report a 14.7% decline in second quarter profit margins. Road and railway freight companies are generally considered the canary in the coal mine for growth, and unfortunately the trucking company JB Hunt is expecting profit growth of 1.7% this quarter, which is quite a drop from the 15.2% increase analysts expected only six months ago. All in all, this could be the biggest quarterly contraction in three years. But Why? Last year corporate earnings went through the roof because of President Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. That effect has largely worn off. While Trump’s tax cuts were helpful in making corporations richer, it would seem his tariff war is well on its way to undoing that growth. And China’s ongoing economic slowdown isn’t helping the situation either. It would seem that just like the Federal Reserve, companies everywhere are feeling a bit nervous about the state of the world. But hey, maybe the interest rate cut will help? -Michael Tedder Picture: Adobe
With Q2's Netflix earnings just around the corner, here's what you can expect from the online streaming giant and the broader streaming space.
Executives from Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., and Facebook Inc. should brace for tough questions around antitrust as federal probes gain steam.
China released its second-quarter GDP report today. The country’s GDP expanded 6.2% in the second quarter, marking its slowest growth since 1992.
(Bloomberg) -- Two key Republican senators pressed the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc. decide what content appears on their social media platforms, calling the companies’ power a potential threat to democracy. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri made their demand in a letter sent to the FTC on Monday, a day before a hearing by a Senate panel into social media bias that will feature testimony from a top Google executive. The letter and hearing come just days after President Donald Trump aired similar grievances at a White House summit of conservative tech critics, fringe social media voices and GOP lawmakers including Hawley. “Big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter exercise enormous influence on speech,” the two Republican senators wrote in the letter, which Hawley’s office provided. “They control the ads we see, the news we read, and the information we digest. And they actively censor some content and amplify other content based on algorithms and intentional decisions that are completely nontransparent.”The request comes as Republicans increasingly allege that the companies engage in systematic anti-conservative bias, an unsupported claim. But the possibilities for abuse “are alarming and endless,” including potentially swaying elections, the senators said.Like Trump, both senators have been vocal about claims that social media silences conservatives. Cruz, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on Google’s “censorship.” The company’s global policy chief, Karan Bhatia, will testify, he said in a Monday opinion piece.“We go to extraordinary lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in such a way that political leanings are not taken into account,” Bhatia wrote in Fox News.All three companies have previously said they don’t make content decisions based on politics, though they have acknowledged occasional mistakes in taking down or limiting the reach of content or accounts of conservatives.“Importantly, these mistakes have affected both parties and are not the product of bias,” Bhatia wrote in his opinion piece. Spokesmen for Facebook and Twitter declined to comment on Monday.Cruz has said his views are based on anecdotes rather than rigorous data, which he blames on the opaque nature of the companies’ decisions regarding content.Hawley has previously proposed legislation that would require tech platforms to prove to the FTC that they’re politically neutral in their content decisions if they want to keep a key liability shield that protects them from lawsuits over content that third parties post on their platforms. Hawley was the featured speaker during Trump’s summit, during which the president called his bill “very important.”Almost 65% of Republicans or those who lean Republican believe big tech companies support liberal views over conservative ones, and 85% think it’s at least somewhat likely the companies are intentionally censoring political viewpoints, according to a Pew Research Center survey from last year.The FTC has authority to collect non-public information from companies and study matters related to competition and consumer protection, even if the issue isn’t related to a law enforcement matter. It has opened an investigation into how Internet service providers collect and use consumer data, and the agency has also started a task force to probe potentially anti-competitive conduct by tech giants.The Justice Department and FTC also have taken the first steps toward specific investigations of four big tech firms for antitrust violations. The Justice Department has taken responsibility for Google and Apple Inc., while the FTC will oversee Facebook and Amazon.com Inc.(Updates with Google response from fifth paragraph)\--With assistance from David McLaughlin.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Brody in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark Niquette, Linus ChuaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Leading the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rumor mill today is news of India iPhone sales. Today, we'll look at that and other Apple Rumors for Monday.Source: Shutterstock iPhone India: Apple is reportedly going to stop selling some older versions of the iPhone in India, AppleInsider notes. According to this report, the tech company is going to stop selling the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus in the country. This has the tech company cutting out many of its budget devices in India. Instead, it leaves customers there with the iPhone 6s as the cheapest AAPL smartphone available for purchase. This probably has to do with a changing stance on its retail strategy in the country.MacBook Air SSD: It looks like Apple skimped on the 2019 MacBook Air in one area, reports MacRumors. Speed tests of the SSD in the 2019 MacBook Air show that it is slower than the one in its 2018 counterpart. The 2019 model has an SSD that supports read speeds of 1.3GB per second. For comparison, the 2018 has an SSD with read speeds of 2GB per second. The write speeds for the two SSDs remain mostly the same, but the 2019 model is slightly faster.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsiPhone 6 Fire: A recent report claims that one person's iPhone 6 caught fire, 9to5Mac notes. An iPhone 6 belonging to an 11-year-old girl allegedly sparked in her hand and she threw it away from her. It landed on her blankets and reportedly caught fire, burning holes in them. Apple is aware of the situation and is investigating it.Subscribe to Apple Rumors As of this writing, William White did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.The post Monday Apple Rumors: Apple Stops Selling Older iPhone Models in India appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has been a wild, up-and-down ride for the past three years, which has probably left some long-term investors investors feeling a bit queasy.Source: Shutterstock First, there was a lot of volatility in the stock because of the failed NXP Semiconductor (NASDAQ:NXPI) acquisition. Then there were ongoing issues with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), that were raging until earlier this year when they were finally resolved. Both companies dropped all lawsuits involved at the time. But the combined volatility from all this uncertainty has provided investors multiple opportunities to go long over the past three years.Going forward, given the clarity the company now has with the Apple dispute done and over with, Qualcomm has the opportunity to return to being a stellar dividend growth stock.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips QCOM Stock and the Chip Sector Dividend YieldWhen looking at the major players in the chip sector, Qualcomm has the second highest dividend yield only to Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO). * 7 Dependable Dividend Stocks to Buy I think I'd give the edge to Qualcomm over Broadcom right now because of the fact that Broadcom is still digesting the nearly $19 billion CA Technologies acquisition that closed in November 2018.Symbol Company Dividend Yield AVGO Broadcom 3.7% QCOM Qualcomm 3.3% TSM Taiwan Semiconductor 3% MXIM Maxim Integrated Products 3% TXN Texas Instruments 2.6% SWKS Skyworks Solutions 1.9% ADI Analog Devices 1.9% MCHP Microchip Technology 1.6% STM STMicroelectronics 1.4% XLNX Xilinx 1.2% NXPI NXP Semiconductors 1% NVDA Nvidia 0.4% AMD Advanced Micro Devices NA Source: FinViz Increasing Cash Flows & Share RepurchasesAn attractive aspect for Qualcomm, as I mentioned above, is the fact the Apple dispute is over and the deal the two companies struck will allow Qualcomm to return to a point where they are generating higher cash flows than they are now.As you can see in the chart below, cash flows have been trending down for years as the saga has gone on and now I expect that trend will reverse.ZacksAn additional positive aspect for Qualcomm is they used a large portion of the cash they had accumulated to repurchase a massive amount of stock. Shares outstanding for Qualcomm are down nearly 18% year-over-year, which will help support future dividend growth. Technical Outlook for QCOM Stock Click to Enlarge The technical outlook for Qualcomm is appealing because the stock is near the midpoint of the range that it has traded in this year. With the drop that occurred last week, shares are right near the 38.2% retracement level.In addition, many times when a stock has a large gap up, it will retrace and "fill the gap."As you can see in the chart, shares of Qualcomm gapped up from $70 to $79 on April 17. The $70 level is right in the buy zone between the 50% level of $69 and the 38.2% level of $74 would be a quality entry point. Bottom LineThe bottom line for Qualcomm is cash flows should be increasing going forward. When the potential for increasing cash flows is combined with a significantly lower share count, Qualcomm can support a strong pace of dividend growth forward. Shares are right near a level of technical support and a quality buy zone, which makes any weakness in the stock an opportunity.As of this writing, Brad Kenagy holds a position in NXP Semiconductor. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Dependable Dividend Stocks to Buy * 10 Stocks Driving the Market to All-Time Highs (And Why) * 7 Short Squeeze Stocks With Big Upside Potential The post Qualcomm Is an Attractive Chip Stock to Buy appeared first on InvestorPlace.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Investors are giddy about Amazon.com Inc.’s fast-growing pool of advertising sales, which largely come from merchandise sellers buying commercial messages to make their goods more prominent on Amazon’s website.Calling this “advertising” is true, but also a misnomer that leads investors to imagine a Google-like marketing machine inside Amazon. It’s not – or not yet, at least. Amazon’s advertising is better understood as an additional tax the company imposes on the millions of businesses that sell through its vast digital mall. It’s one more toll extracted from sellers to access the fast lane of Amazon’s beautiful freeway for shopping.Ads may be a justified expense for merchants to access Amazon’s hundreds of millions of shoppers, and it’s a common business tactic to juice revenue. But it’s also risky for Amazon to milk its merchants for a higher effective commission than most businesses of its kind can command. And as regulators and politicians question whether the superpowers of U.S. tech are using their popular services to unfairly advantage themselves, Amazon may pay a cost in reputation the more it squeezes cash from its hold on online shopping. More than half the items bought on Amazon come from independent merchants that sell slacks or bocce sets through the e-commerce king. Amazon in some cases handles a lot of the leg work, in exchange for commissions and other fees. In recent years, Amazon has given those “marketplace” sellers and product manufacturers more options to buy Google-like advertisements, in part based on product searches, for an additional cost. Someone typing "dog beds" into Amazon’s search box, for instance, might first see results from the FurHaven brand or a merchant that resells pet products on Amazon, with an icon that notes those listings are “sponsored.” RBC last year estimated that about one out of every six product results on Amazon’s app was a sponsored listing. Products from companies without paid listings are pushed further down the page.As Amazon kicks off its annual Prime Day fake shopping holiday, it appears the company is offering even more paid product promotions. All those advertisements make up most of Amazon’s $11 billion yearly sales in a category that also includes fees for its branded credit cards. In my conversations with businesses that sell products on Amazon or advise merchants, there isn’t much hostility about Amazon charging them for promotion on top of other fees. Companies realize that paying to make their merchandise front and center on Amazon is a cost of doing business, and they generally say those paid placements generate enough sales to justify the expense. In a survey of businesses that sell on Amazon, the merchant services firm Feedvisor found three-quarters of respondents were satisfied with Amazon’s advertising platform. Ads, of course, also transfer money from merchants to Amazon’s wallet. The company on average takes about 26 cents of each dollar of transactions made by its marketplace vendors, according to Bloomberg Opinion estimates from Amazon’s disclosures. Add in an estimate of Amazon's revenue from the merchants’ advertising — which, again, is mostly an added fee paid by goods sellers and product manufacturers as a cost of doing business — and Amazon’s average haul per transaction likely tops 29 cents on each dollar.(2) In 2015, the company’s take was closer to 20 cents. Other marketplace businesses that connect sellers with customers — eBay Inc., Airbnb Inc. and Grubhub Inc., for example — tend to take an effective commission of 15% to 25% on each transaction, including advertisements if available.(3) Consider that some makers of apps, including Spotify and the company behind the the Fortnite video game, have complained that Apple Inc.’s up to 30% commission on transactions in its iPhone app store is far too high. Amazon itself doesn’t sell its e-books, movie downloads or other digital goods in the company’s iPhone apps, to avoid giving Apple a cut of 30 cents on every dollar — about what Amazon takes from its merchants.To be fair, Amazon is doing a lot of work for its cut of sales. It provides a vast customer base for merchants, often stores inventory for them and handles shipments, and takes responsibility for customer service and payments. That’s arguably far more work than Apple does for its 30% commission on a purchase of an iPhone game.(1) And all advertising is, in a way, a toll levied by a powerful distributor. Businesses buy ads on Facebook and Google to ensure their products and services don’t get drowned out by a sea of other information. Frito-Lay pays a supermarket extra to ensure its chips are on visible spots on shelves. Alibaba and eBay sell ads similar to those that Amazon offers to merchants. There’s nothing particularly unusual about what Amazon is doing in carving out room for merchants to market themselves, for a fee.But there is also something perverse about paying Amazon a kind of tax to make sure your product is seen on Amazon, so people will buy the item on Amazon. Even Google’s ad empire isn’t this kind of a closed loop. And if one Amazon merchant doesn’t purchase an ad, one of its competitors’ dog beds — or Amazon's own brand — might instead nab an eye-catching display and wrest a sale instead. Amazon is just different, in a way that makes typical business tactics a little icky. Amazon’s growing cut from its merchants is one reason why the company's revenue is increasing more quickly than its merchandise sales. Amazon is extracting a bigger share for itself. Like other powerful tech companies, Amazon is able to charge more to the partners that rely on it, because they don't really have a choice. (Updates the “Take a Cut” chart to include an average effective commission for Airbnb instead of the high end of listed commission rates.)(1) This estimate is based on recent company disclosures that for the first time enabled calculations of the total value of goods sold on Amazon's digital mall. My calculation of Amazon's effective commission is the company's 2018 reported net revenue from commissions and other fees paid by marketplace vendors, $42.7 billion, out of roughly $166 billion in total merchandise sales made by those independent merchants. The effective commission including advertising is a rougher estimate, because it assumes 58% of Amazon's "other" revenue of $10.1 billion in 2018 -- primarily ads but also other services -- are paid listings purchased by Amazon's marketplace merchants. (That percentage corresponds to the merchants' share of total sales on Amazon.) The figure may overestimate Amazon's take from merchants, but probably not by much.(2) These companies’ effective take of transactions in some cases isn't entirely comparable to Amazon’s, because they do more or less work for their commissions and other fees. But they each get paid for their role as middlemen.(3) Earlier this year, my Bloomberg colleague Spencer Soper wrote about the mixed feelings among companies that sell on Amazon. Many of them find customers they couldn't have reached without Amazon, but some also grouse about the growing array of fees they pay the e-commerce giant or other downsides of selling goods there. Some merchants told Soper that Amazon is taking upwards of 40% of each sale.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Second-quarter earnings are usually pretty sleepy, with forecasts for the back-to-school and holiday periods tucked away for later review amid summer vacation schedules. You may want to pay attention this year, though.