2,422.12 +0.26 (0.01%)
Pre-Market: 7:54AM EDT
Commodity Channel Index
|Bid||2,425.05 x 1000|
|Ask||2,442.00 x 1200|
|Day's Range||2,415.00 - 2,462.00|
|52 Week Range||1,626.03 - 2,525.45|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.35|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||115.68|
|Earnings Date||Jul 23, 2020 - Jul 27, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||2,645.67|
As more online brands look for ways to move beyond third-party cookies as a way of gaining more direct insights about their users and customers, a startup that has developed a platform to help them has raised a big round of funding. Bluecore, a marketing technology firm that uses data gained from direct marketing like email, social media, site activity and combines that with machine learning to make better predictions about who might want to buy what among its customers, is today announcing that it has raised $50 million. The funding will be used to build the next generation of the Bluecore platform, expected later this year, which will tap into aggregated engagement data (but not actual browsing individuals) from "hundreds" of brands, which customers can combine with their own first-party data -- based on consent-based, first-party customer IDs -- to develop better targeting insights.
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) took another step into social commerce last week with the introduction of Facebook Shops. The feature gives small and medium-sized businesses the ability to upload their catalog to Facebook and Instagram, providing shoppers with another way to buy online. The service is free to use, and Facebook will only collect a fee from small businesses that use the Checkout feature it introduced on Instagram last year.
The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly going to change things. The fear of getting an infection in a public place may well change consumer attitudes toward using a car rather than public transport for travel. Examples include the auto parts retailers like O'Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ: ORLY), AutoZone (NYSE: AZO), and Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP).
AT&T’s WarnerMedia division launches its HBO Max streaming service on Wednesday, taking on Netflix, Disney and Amazon at a time when coronavirus lockdowns have boosted demand for streaming even as rising unemployment has cut disposable incomes. HBO Max launches to a captive audience stuck at home without access to theater, live music, shopping excursions or live or televised sporting events. If HBO Max does not resume production by this fall, the service could start to see a shortage of original content as early as January, according to a source familiar with the company.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Is India’s richest man betting on a tech cold war?Petrochemicals czar Mukesh Ambani plans to list his fledgling digital business overseas, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of Jio Platforms Ltd.’s initial public offering, which is planned for the next 12 to 24 months.Going to the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq would make sense. U.S.-traded Chinese technology firms such as JD.com Inc. and NetEase Inc. are looking for an alternative home closer to the mainland in case tensions between Washington and Beijing escalate, as my colleague Nisha Gopalan wrote this week. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. held a secondary listing in Hong Kong in November. With Washington considering a range of sanctions against Chinese officials and firms as punishment for Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong, now may be the perfect time to pitch American investors on the potential of the other internet market with a billion-plus people.A splashy overseas foray will be an unusual step for a family that brought the retail equity culture to India. Dhirubhai Ambani, Mukesh’s late father who founded the empire, booked a football stadium in Mumbai in 1985 to hold a shareholders’ meeting for the polyester textile maker that he had floated eight years earlier. But then, Mukesh Ambani is already moving old furniture around as he pivots flagship Reliance Industries Ltd. away from an oversupplied energy and chemicals market. At the same time, he’s beefing up the balance sheet after a seven-year, $100 billion debt-fueled expansion. A big chunk of that was for Jio, the wireless carrier that has become India’s largest in less than four years.A $7 billion rights issue, Reliance’s first in three decades, buttressed by more than $10 billion raised in a month from the sale of shares in unlisted Jio Platforms may help cut the company’s $20 billion of net debt to zero before Ambani’s March 2021 target. A U.S. IPO should give Jio’s new backers, including Facebook Inc., KKR & Co., Silver Lake Partners and General Atlantic, a better valuation in a capital market that’s deeper than Mumbai’s.Will Wall Street be so hospitable as to give Ambani, say, a $100 billion valuation? (Alibaba, a more mature business, was valued at $168 billion six years ago.) Jio Platforms, which is centered on the the 4G mobile network, is the cornerstone of Reliance’s emerging triple play on carriage, content and commerce. With almost 400 million customers under his belt, Ambani needs to prove he can garner at least $3 from each of them every month. Modest as that sounds, it isn’t an easy task when per-user revenue is at present only a little over half as much. The coronavirus lockdown has ravaged India’s economy, setting its growth prospects back perhaps by several years. Mass market consumers, who comprise Jio’s user base, have been badly hurt.That’s where a tech cold war may help. Wall Street investors have been able to profit from the explosion of e-commerce in China, even though the likes of Facebook and Amazon.com Inc. are largely shut out of the People’s Republic. If that access gets curbed by geopolitics, then Ambani’s story becomes more compelling. He can offer the vision of a vast retail network that has Facebook’s popular WhatsApp messaging system processing orders and payments for neighborhood shops connected digitally to a billion-plus buyers. That could be a big draw. A U.S. home is within Ambani’s reach, especially if Chinese firms are forced to vacate. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon is in advanced talks to acquire self-driving start-up Zoox, in what would mark the ecommerce group’s first purchase of a self-driving start-up, according to two people familiar with the matter. Zoox was founded in 2014 and is unique in the self-driving sector in seeking to master the triple challenge of creating a driverless system, building a ride-hailing network and manufacturing a bespoke autonomous vehicle at scale. Pulling this off would require enormous capital and unlike Cruise, the self-driving company backed by General Motors, or Argo AI, which has support from Volkswagen and Ford, Zoox does not have a major automotive partner.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is in talks to buy driverless vehicle startup Zoox Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that would accelerate the e-commerce giant’s automation efforts.Other companies in the automotive and chip industries have also held talks with Zoox about a potential investment, the people said. At least one other business besides Amazon has offered to buy the company, they added. Zoox is unlikely to sell for less than the $1 billion that it has already raised, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations.“Zoox has been receiving interest in a strategic transaction from multiple parties and has been working with Qatalyst Partners to evaluate such interest,” the startup said. It declined to comment on Amazon’s interest. A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment.Zoox had outsized ambition and financial backing. The startup wanted to build a fully driverless car by this year. However, after a 2018 funding round that valued Zoox at $3.2 billion, the startup’s board voted to oust Chief Executive Officer Tim Kentley-Klay. The executive criticized the move, saying the directors were “optimizing for a little money in hand at the expense of profound progress.”Dow Jones reported that Amazon is in advanced talks to buy Zoox for less than the $3.2 billion valuation from 2018.Amazon is willing to spend heavily to automate its e-commerce business. The online retail giant purchased warehouse robot-maker Kiva Systems Inc. in 2012 for $775 million and now has tens of thousands of robots in warehouses around the world.Paying drivers to deliver packages is still one of the biggest costs in the company’s operation, though. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos announced plans for drone delivery in 2013, though they have yet to materialize at scale. Last year, Amazon revealed an experimental delivery robot called Scout in the Seattle area that rolls on sidewalks like a shopping cart.Buying Zoox could help Amazon “manage rising shipping costs that we project will exceed $60 billion by 2025,” Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Jitendra Waral and April Kim wrote in a research note on Tuesday.(Updates with other parties involved in second paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd. is working with banks on early preparations for an overseas listing of its digital and wireless business, people with knowledge of the matter said, after the unit attracted more than $10 billion of investment in a month.The conglomerate backed by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, is preparing Jio Platforms Ltd. for an initial public offering outside of India, the people said. The offering could happen in the next 12 to 24 months and the company hasn’t decided on a listing venue, one of the people said. There’s also no final decision on timeline and size, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.KKR & Co. last week became the latest investor piling into Jio Platforms after Ambani sealed deals with Facebook Inc., Silver Lake Partners and General Atlantic recently. An overseas listing could potentially give the digital business a higher valuation and allow existing investors to exit, the people said.Read: Asia’s Richest Man Lures $10 Billion of Investment in WeeksA representative for Reliance Industries declined to comment.Jio Platforms combines Reliance’s digital assets with its wireless carrier, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., into a holding company aimed at becoming a top e-commerce and payments operator in India’s vast consumer market.Investors are betting on Jio’s access to India’s huge consumer market, and its potential to shake up traditional industries in the country -- from retail to education and payments -- with its technology. India is the only major open Internet market where foreign technology giants such as Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc. and Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. can compete for market share.Started in 2016, Reliance Jio is now India’s largest wireless carrier. The operator stormed past rivals by building a nationwide 4G network, then offering free calling and data services at prices established competitors with older networks could not match without losing money. Ambani was weighing an IPO of Reliance Jio three years ago after a $31 billion investment spree, Bloomberg News reported in 2017.Shares of Reliance Industries have fallen about 5% this year, giving the conglomerate a market value of about $120 billion.(Updates to add Reliance’s share performance in the last paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- After weathering a couple of months of withering news coverage about its response to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon.com Inc. is offering its own take on the news.Several local TV news stations recently broadcast strikingly similar reports that focused on the safety measures the online retail giant has implemented at its warehouses, according to a video compiled by the Courier, part of a progressive media company with ties to groups supporting the Democratic Party. That similarity is because the segments were based on scripts and footage provided by Amazon, journalists who received similar pitches from the company said on Twitter.“Million of Americans staying at home are relying on Amazon,” news anchors say in one repeated refrain. Later, the anchors say, “The company is keeping its employees safe and healthy.”Amazon, which confirmed it circulated the footage, says offering a video package and accompanying script through press release newswires is a common way for companies to distribute background footage. The company said it was intended to fill a gap for newsrooms interested in covering the company’s response to the pandemic but unable to send their own reporters.“This type of video was created to share an inside look into the health and safety measures we’ve rolled out in our buildings and was intended for reporters who for a variety of reasons weren’t able to come tour one of our sites themselves,” Alyssa Bronikowski, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.Amazon has served as a lifeline to people sheltering at home during the pandemic, delivering groceries and other essential goods. At the same time, the company has faced criticism from staff, labor groups and politicians for its response to the disease, which has sickened hundreds of its workers and killed several. Employee complaints included a lack of cleaning supplies and close-quarter work conditions that didn’t allow for the kind of social distancing recommended by public health authorities. The company, which has defended its safety record and said it has adjusted its workplaces to allow for separation between employees, has declined to disclose how many of its workers have been diagnosed with Covid-19.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Wednesday is looking like a watershed moment in history. The scheduled afternoon launch of a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 4:33 p.m. would mark the first time a privately owned vehicle takes astronauts into orbit.Elon Musk, the billionaire space entrepreneur and chief executive of Tesla Inc., founded SpaceX in 2002. If the launch succeeds — bad weather could push it to Saturday — it would be the company’s crowning achievement to date. Musk’s hope is to enable the colonization of Mars. Delivering two astronauts to the International Space Station suggests that his grand ambition might be more than a pipe dream.Even if not, it will be a breakthrough moment in the commercialization of space. All of a sudden, space tourism seems plausible. If SpaceX can fly astronauts from Florida to the orbiting laboratory, then why couldn’t it fly you and me — soon — to an orbiting restaurant to have dinner above the atmosphere?For years, the U.S. has been buying rides to space from Russia, spending $3.5 billion for 52 rides since 2011. Instead of turning to Russia, NASA will now rely on private-sector spacecraft. For many Americans, this will be a needed boost of pride.A half-century ago, the U.S. sent Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon, in part with the goal of beating the Soviet Union in the space race. At the height of the Cold War, competition with the U.S.S.R. provided an organizing principle for U.S. efforts in space, and a remarkable amount of government resources were brought to bear in the effort. At its peak in the mid-1960s, $7 out of every $1,000 of national income was spent by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.Having beaten the Soviet Union, the U.S. lacked a clear objective, and the space program drifted. In 2011, the space shuttle program was terminated. The SpaceX launch will mark a rebirth, the first time astronauts have flown to space from the U.S. in nearly a decade.In these wilderness years, the U.S. gradually forged a new space exploration relationship between the government and the private sector. In 2004, two years after Musk founded SpaceX, a presidential commission concluded that business should play a larger role than it ever had. “In NASA decisions, the preferred choice for operational activities must be competitively awarded contracts with private and nonprofit organizations,” the commission wrote.It also defined a more limited role for the U.S. space agency. “NASA's role must be limited to only those areas where there is irrefutable demonstration that only government can perform the proposed activity,” it said.With the reins for much space activity handed over to commercial interests, the past decade has seen an explosion of investment in a profusion of companies. In a 2018 paper, economist Matthew Weinzierl documented the rise of “space access” companies sending people and payloads into space, “remote sensing” companies providing images of the earth, “habitats and space station companies” providing secure facilities for tourism, research and manufacturing, and “beyond low-earth orbit” companies focusing on asteroid mining, space manufacturing and colonizing the moon and Mars. Weinzierl listed several dozen companies, including SpaceX.Weinzierl reported that investment in startup space-sector firms increased to roughly $2.5 billion per year in 2015 and 2016 from less than $500 million annually during the 2000s. Financing often comes from entrepreneurs like Musk, who are wealthy enough to absorb the high fixed costs needed to enter the space-commerce market.This week’s launch with a crew will heighten commercial interest in space and strengthen market forces already at work. Information about consumer and industry preferences will need to be aggregated. Willingness to pay for space commerce needs to be determined. Resources and capital need to be allocated to their best uses. Innovation needs to be fostered. Only markets can build a commercial sector in space.Investors and entrepreneurs will be needed. They will be seeking the enormous profits promised by space commerce, but will need to tolerate enormous risk, as well. If Musk succeeds today, the risk they face will go down a notch.Indeed, competition is a back story to today’s success. In 2014, NASA awarded contracts both to SpaceX and Boeing. In December, a timing error on its debut flight forced the Boeing Starliner capsule to miss a rendezvous with the International Space Station. Boeing will be scrambling to catch up, keeping the pressure on SpaceX. Blue Origin, founded in 2000 by the billionaire chief executive of Amazon.com Inc., Jeff Bezos, is another notable competitor, working to create reusable launch vehicles to lower the cost of space access.Even as the private sector plays a larger role in space, there are glaring needs for governments to provide basic rules and structure. Public policy in outer space is in its infancy. For example, space debris in earth’s orbit could impose significant damage to private property. It needs to be dealt with, perhaps by assigning property rights or by taxing it. And with low-earth orbit in the hands of the private sector, NASA should feel intensifying pressure to achieve goals more plausibly beyond the reach of commerce, like landing on asteroids and colonizing Mars.The sad backdrop to this historic achievement is the coronavirus pandemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives around the world and devastated economies in many countries, including the U.S. The end of the decade-long U.S. retreat from space is like a shaft of light piercing that dark cloud. And when that cloud is a distant memory, SpaceX’s accomplishment will still be with us.Commerce is bringing the U.S. back to the stars.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Michael R. Strain is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is director of economic policy studies and Arthur F. Burns Scholar in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of “The American Dream Is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It).”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
As Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet trade near all-time highs, fellow FAANG stock Apple has broken out and is now trying to polish up a new alternate buy point.
Managers of hedge funds and mutual funds are worlds apart on a lot of investing decisions, but do have some overlap. Investors may be able to learn from both.
With the original fan favorite TV series The Walking Dead wrapping up its final season, AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AMC) now has a fairly likely timetable for the franchise to rise from the grave in the spinoff series The Walking Dead: World Beyond. Talking with Hollywood Reporter, AMC's Chief Operating Officer Ed Carroll revealed a probable air date in the fourth quarter of 2020. Both the last episode of The Walking Dead and the start of World Beyond were filmed prior to the coronavirus-related shutdown.
Shares of Spotify Technology SA are down 0.4% in Tuesday morning trading after Axios reported that Amazon.com Inc. was interested in investing in localized podcast content. The report said that sports content was "top of mind" for the e-commerce giant as it looks to pair the audio programming with the video rights to live sports. Amazon is also interested in news content so that it has "short-form audio content" that it can present users who ask relevant questions to its Alexa voice assistant. Amazon declined to comment on its plans. Spotify has been getting more serious about its podcasting ambitions and it recently scooped up the exclusive rights to comic Joe Rogan's podcast in a multi-year deal reportedly worth more than $100 million. Spotify shares have added 35% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has dropped 3.3%.
Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell weighs in on the state of the retailer amidst the coronavirus pandemic in a Yahoo Finance interview.
Sentieo Data Show Google and Twitter Interest in Bitcoin Doubling So Far This Year Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have played a divisive role in the last few years, but recently, the interest has drawn a far wider investor base. Indeed, Paul Tudor Jones surprised Wall Street earlier this month when he revealed a significant […]
(Bloomberg) -- DefinedCrowd, an Amazon.com Inc.-backed startup that provides data sets to train artificially intelligent speech programs, is setting its sights on a public listing in the next five years as voice interactions between humans and machines become more common.The Seattle-based company raised $50.5 million in a recent funding round led by existing investors, paving the way for an initial public offering within the next five years, Chief Executive Officer Daniela Braga said in an interview. The company declined to comment on its valuation.“It’s the road to an IPO,” Braga said, adding her company’s ambition is to support the development of AI so that people eventually will “communicate with machines the same way we do with humans.”Founded by Braga in 2015, DefinedCrowd curates voice and text data for clients including BMW AG and Mastercard Inc. to train virtual assistants and customer-service chatbots. The company designs the sets to be diverse and balanced, representing certain dialects or age ranges for audiences most likely to use the systems. Revenue grew 656% last year and is expected to triple this year, Braga said.Once the pandemic subsides, Braga said she expects businesses from a range of industries – including telehealth and education – to build AI personal assistants to better serve customers, something that might require more specific data that incorporates an industry’s vocabulary.Amazon, Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have come under fire over revelations they used recordings of customers’ interactions with virtual assistants to train their AI systems. A former contractor working on Apple’s Siri transcription project in Ireland last week complained to European privacy authorities over the “massive violation of the privacy of millions of citizens.” The companies said they’ve made changes to provide users with more control over their data.By contrast, DefinedCrowd uses a crowdsourcing platform, Neevo, to generate data from a paid community of more than 290,000 members in 70 countries. Crowd members are asked to complete tasks like recording their voices or transcribing and annotating recordings rather than pulling data from customers who are using voice AI products.Braga said the newly raised funds will help the company expand its products and nearly double the number of employees in 2020. The company current employs around 268 people. Existing investors that participated in the funding round include Evolution Equity Partners, Kibo Ventures, Portugal Ventures, Bynd Venture Capital, EDP Ventures, and Ironfire Ventures as well as new investors Semapa Next and Hermes GPE.Amazon and Sony Corp., which is also an existing investor, didn’t increase their stakes in the latest round, Braga said, adding it was a strategic move not to increase the involvement of other companies as DefinedCrowd moves toward an IPO.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- An effective unemployment-insurance system plays an essential role in a healthy economy. It helps people get by when they lose jobs. It improves productivity by supporting workers while they find the best match for their skills. It mitigates recessions by maintaining consumers’ spending power. It’s not a handout; it’s something people should be encouraged to use as quickly as possible when trouble hits.Amid the coronavirus crisis, millions of Americans have encountered something very different. Instead of receiving timely benefits, they’ve spent weeks waiting in epic lines, battling glitchy websites and navigating bureaucracies that in some cases were designed to keep them out. Their struggles demonstrate just how far the U.S. system has fallen, and how overdue it is for reform.The origins of today’s system can be traced to the New Deal. In a departure from the highly successful Social Security program, however, Congress left the management of unemployment insurance largely to the states. Beyond some general guidelines, such as the minimum amount of income to be taxed, states were — and still are — free to decide crucial details such as who qualifies for benefits, how much they receive and for how long.The result is a confounding inconsistency, in which benefits depend heavily on where workers happen to live and all too often fall short of what’s needed. Some states provide something close to the support that the system’s creators envisaged: Before the pandemic hit, Washington state’s regular unemployment program replaced an average 48% of wages for a maximum of 26 weeks. Others not so much: Florida’s replaced just 31% for 12 weeks, and even that was hard to get. The state’s daunting claims process ensured that only about 1 in 10 unemployed workers received anything — among the lowest rates in the nation.When recessions hit, Congress invariably supplements state benefits with emergency federal funds — as it did in March, adding $600 a week for an initial four months and extending coverage to gig workers, the self-employed and others who don’t typically qualify. Even this, though, has been unacceptably slow to reach people, because years of underinvestment have left too many state unemployment offices poorly staffed, ill-equipped and running on computer systems so old that it’s hard to find programmers to work on them (COBOL, anyone?). As of April 25, as many as 8 million of the 28 million people who had filed unemployment claims since mid-March were still waiting to be processed. All too often, breaking through the bureaucracy has become a full-time job.Such a broken system can’t be fixed overnight. Reducing the immediate backlogs will depend primarily on state efforts to ramp up staffing and find creative ways to loosen bottlenecks — as, for example, Rhode Island and New York have done in partnership with Amazon Web Services and Google. State by state, voters need to hold their governments accountable and demand more competent administration. That said, Congress can help by making more federal funds available in its next relief package, and by tying the money to measurable progress in processing and paying claims.Reform shouldn’t stop there. The federal government should get more involved — and even consider handing the system over to the Social Security Administration. This would entail a significant investment, but would also improve efficiency, provide more consistent benefits and free workers to move where the jobs are. At the very least, Congress should impose more stringent requirements — for coverage, access, and minimum and extended benefits — on state programs and empower the Labor Department to enforce them.Granted, any reform will require increasing the taxes that fund unemployment insurance, but not nearly as much as they’ve fallen in the past several decades. And the money will go toward an undeniably desirable end: a more resilient, prosperous and equitable nation.Editorials are written by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Facebook, Inc. (FB) Apple (AAPL), Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) and Alphabet, Inc.'s (GOOGL) Google have outperformed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The stock market’s performance has created challenges for investors who must decide how to best control stocks without paying top dollar just in case the recent market advance reverses course.
Trading in the previous week suggested that the leading United States technology stocks are moving past the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.Here's how the so-called "FAANG" stocks performed over the week.Facebook Hits Record As It Unveils 'Shops'Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) closed 1.5% higher on Friday at an all-time record high of $234.91.The social media company's shares added 11.4% over the week, as it announced the launch of its e-commerce venture "Facebook Shops."Loss of advertising revenue hurt the Menlo Park-based company's business during the pandemic, but analysts noted that it benefited from the increased user engagement."The Facebook break is pretty spectacular. It's been a long consolidation -- as you pull up that first weekly chart, it's just a beautiful trending parallel channel. ... This $220 break was very, very impressive," Ascent Wealth Partners Managing Director Todd Gordon told CNBC last week.The stock is up 14.4% year-till-date.Amazon Soars As It Restarts Non-Essential Deliveries Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) closed 0.4% lower at $2,436.88 on Friday.The e-commerce giant also reached its record closing price of $2,497.94 earlier on Wednesday, before slipping. Overall, it added 1.1% value to its stock over the week.Amazon continued to operate during the lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus as an essential business and added 175,000 workers to meet the increased demand.The company has recently focused on bringing its one- and two-day prime deliveries back on course, including for non-essential items, as coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted."Amazon is the big winner in all of this because everyone [putting] off going to the grocery store has ordered directly from Amazon, has ordered anything they need from any store as most retail has been shut down from Amazon," Chantico Global CEO Gina Sanchez said, as reported by CNBC."I think Amazon has the longest, broadest story that would come out of this with the trends still intact."The Seattle-based company's stock is up 31.8% YTD.Apple To Struggle With Lowered Demand Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) closed 0.6% higher at $318.89 on Friday.The shares added 3.6% over the week as the company reopened retail stores in the U.S. but remained about 2.5% below the record high of $327.20, reached earlier in February this year."Apple, they're such high-priced products that they require very strong consumption and what we're clearly seeing is that this is lasting longer than we've expected and the consumption is going to be very weak," Sanchez told CNBC.The Cupertino-based company's shares are up 8.6% YTD.Netflix Hits Record High, But Analyst Warns Of Collapse Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) closed 1.6% lower at $429.32 on Friday, down nearly 5.5% over the week.The streaming video-on-demand service's shares also hit an all-time record high of $454.19 earlier in the week.Netflix has seen a rise in subscriptions and viewership during the lockdown periods imposed across the globe to curb the spread of the coronavirus.Morningstar analyst Neil Macker, in a conversation with Yahoo! Finance, said the streaming company's stock is significantly overvalued and could crash more than 60% soon.The stock is up about 32.7% YTD.Alphabet Trails The Other FAANG Stocks Alphabet Class A shares closed nearly 0.5% higher at $1,413.24 on Friday, adding 2.9% over the week.The Google parent company's shares remain 7.3% lower than its all-time high closing price of $1,524.87 reached earlier in February.Sanchez told CNBC that the search engine giant is competing with major broadcasters, Facebook, and others for "an ever-shrinking [advertising] spend in this next coming year."Alphabet Class A shares are up 5.5% YTD.The overall performance of the FAANG stocks in the past week have analysts convinced of recovery beyond COVID-19."[These] FAANG stocks are strong once again and they're continuing to lead the overall market much like they did [before COVID-19]," Gordon told CNBC.See more from Benzinga * KKR To Invest .5B In India's Jio Platforms, Joins Facebook, Three Other US Firms As Stakeholders * Facebook Plans To Resume Work In Office In July At 25% Capacity And Safety Measures In Place * Facebook Acquires Giphy, Reportedly For 0M(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Eleven local TV news stations ran stories praising Amazon.com, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AMZN) health and safety efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic without disclosing the content was produced by Amazon.What Happened The TV stations ran near-identical stories without telling their viewers the script and footage were produced by Amazon spokesman Todd Walker, who released it to the media according to Courier, a left-leaning digital newspaper.With the exception of Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) owned ABC affiliate WTVG in Toledo, Ohio, other stations ran the story without any explanations about its links to Amazon.Amazon told the Courier, "This type of video was created to share an inside look into the health and safety measures we've rolled out in our buildings and was intended for reporters who for a variety of reasons weren't able to come tour one of our sites themselves." Why It Matters The news segment aired ahead of Amazon's shareholder meeting on Thursday. It presents Amazon in a glowing light, touting the online retail giant's dedicated service to the millions stuck at home during the pandemic.Amazon shareholders plan to demand more information from the company regarding health and safety measures taken to protect its employees' health and safety amid the pandemic.According to an Amazon worker, over 600 employees became ill with COVID-19 and at least six are dead.Price Action Amazon shares traded 0.22% lower at $2,416.61in the after-hours session on Tuesday. The shares had closed the regular session 0.62% lower at $2,421.86.Image Credit: Screenshot of Amazon video.See more from Benzinga * Trump Gets Mad Over Fact Check Warning On Twitter, Claims Election Interference * Amazon Shareholders Demand Disclosures On COVID-19 Worker Safety * Amazon Reschedules Prime Day to September As It Tries To Restore Pre-Pandemic Operations(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
According to a report in Axios published on Tuesday and citing "a source familiar with the company's plans," the retailer is searching through its voice technology venture capital unit, Alexa Fund, for podcast companies to acquire. According to Axios' source, Amazon is particularly interested in podcasts that have a local focus. Apparently, Amazon "sees a strategic advantage in podcasts by leveraging Alexa voice tech to help users discover personalized content," Axios wrote.