|Bid||0.00 x 3100|
|Ask||17.65 x 45900|
|Day's Range||17.39 - 17.98|
|52 Week Range||17.39 - 36.83|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||N/A|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Earnings Date||Oct 31, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||26.57|
Shares of Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) have plunged over the past few months, falling from above $30 to below $20, as the company's nascent digital advertising business has slowed too much, too soon. Specifically, last quarter, Pinterest's revenue growth rate, in a highly unusual development, dropped below 50%, while its guidance called for growth to fall below 40% next quarter.Source: Nopparat Khokthong / Shutterstock.com Investors freaked out, inferring from the slowdown that the digital ad market is simply too tough and too competitive for Pinterest to succeed in it. Those investors sold PINS stock in bunches. PINS stock price collapsed, losing about 50% of its value in a matter of three months.But this selloff of Pinterest stock is a golden buying opportunity, and the most likely path forward for PINS stock is a huge rebound in 2020.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsMy rationale is simple. Pinterest had a bad quarter. That's not the norm. It's an outlier. Next year, Pinterest will get back to reporting very good quarters. A streak of really good quarters in 2020 will help propel PINS stock -- which is significantly undervalued at its current levels -- way higher. Indeed, this stock seems positioned to rally back to $30 over the next 12 months.That would be a gain of nearly 70%. That's huge, and it's too much potential to pass up on now. As a result, I think now is the time to buy PINS stock on weakness and wait for a huge 2020 rally. Pinterest Will Bounce BackThe company's fundamentals indicate that PINS stock is due for a huge rebound in 2020 as its growth outlook regains momentum. * These 7 S&P 500 Stocks Will Deliver a Repeat Performance in the Next Decade Pinterest reported bad Q3 results, with its revenue growth meaningfully slowing. That's natural for an early-stage company, especially one whose revenues are growing at a 50%-plus pace.There are always a few quarters here and there that don't meet expectations. Sometimes those bad quarters are a sign of the times and provide a good reason to sell the stock. Other times, those bad quarters are simply minor hiccups and create good buying opportunities.The latter scenario has unfolded for Pinterest. PINS still has a ton of global users (it has over 320 million global users; that's bigger than pretty much everyone besides Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). It's also growing its global user base at a healthy pace, as its year-over-year user growth last quarter came in at 30%. That's the highest among the publicly traded social media companies.And, perhaps most importantly, those users are significantly under-monetized. Pinterest's average revenue per user rate is 90 cents, a fraction of the $6-plus rates of Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook.Also of note, ads make perfect sense on Pinterest and should have high click rates because the platform is already a feed of recommended products and services, packaged into pretty visuals. So they're very similar to ads.The core fundamentals of Pinterest's digital ad business remain highly favorable. As a result, last quarter was an outlier, not the norm. The norm is sustained high growth. Thanks to various initiatives, like making Pinterest more "shoppable" through a partnership with Shopify (NYSE:SHOP), Pinterest's high growth should return in 2020. As it does, investors will regain confidence in its growth outlook and PINS stock will bounce back. Pinterest Stock Is UndervaluedPinterest stock could rally tremendously in 2020 because PINS stock is extremely undervalued.Pinterest will close the year with about 340 million monthly active users, up more than 40% from last year. Pinterest should sustain decent user growth in the 5%-10% range, thanks to non-cyclical tailwinds such as a pivot towards artistic digital media products. Realistically, Pinterest should be able to reach about 500 million monthly active users by 2025.Based on management's revenue guidance, PINS' 2019 average revenue per user will be around $3.25. That's up 14% from a year ago. Pinterest should sustain double-digit growth going forward because: 1) Its ARPU rate is well below that of its bigger peers 2) Pinterest is a good website for ads, given its visual-oriented, product-oriented platform, and 3) more and more dollars are shifting into digital ads every day. Assuming Pinterest's ARPU increases at a sustained 15%-20% rate, Pinterest's ARPU could come in around $8.50 by 2025.An $8.50 ARPU on 500 million users would produce revenue potential of $4.25 billion in 2025. During this stretch, its gross margins should climb towards 80%, which is average for the digital ad sector.Finally, its operating spending rate should be driven down towards 50%, which is closer to average for the digital ad sector.Under those assumptions, Pinterest has a realistic and visible opportunity to grow its earnings per share to $2.25 by fiscal 2025. Based on a forward price-earnings multiple of 21,,which is average for technology stocks and a 10% annual discount rate, that equates to a 2020 price target for PINS stock of over $30. The Bottom Line on PINS StockPinterest is a great company that had a bad quarter. As a result, the recent weakness of PINS stock is an opportunity to buy the shares on weakness. In 2020, Pinterest will get back to reporting good quarters, and as it does, its shares will rebound tremendously.As of this writing, Luke Lango was long PINS, FB, and SHOP. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * These 7 S&P 500 Stocks Will Deliver a Repeat Performance in the Next Decade * 7 Tech Stocks to Stuff Your Stocking With * 7 Sinfully Good Casino Stocks That Could Win the Jackpot in 2020 The post Why Now Is a Great Time to Buy Pinterest Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Editor's note: This column is part of our Best Stocks for 2020 contest. Neil George's pick for the contest is Hercules Capital (NYSE:HTGC).2020 should be setting up for a challenging stock market. After all, 2019 has been a solid success with a huge performance from the base of the S&P 500. As of this writing, that index has returned 26%. Driving that return has been a U.S. economy which remains in growth mode while other major global economies are sluggish or in near recessionary conditions. U.S.-centric companies have been the go-to for successful portfolios and I see the same for much of 2020.But there is a catch.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsOn Nov. 3, 2020, there is a general election in the U.S. And this brings a whole lot of uncertainty as to how potential leadership changes in Washington may change the economic and business landscape.My single stock recommendation for 2020 is set up to continue to capitalize on the U.S. economy. But it's also capable of dealing with potential changes in government.It is one of a great collection of companies that is set up under the Investment Companies Act of 1940 as well as the Small Business Investment Incentives Act of 1980. Under these laws, the company can make specific investments in its operations while avoiding federal income taxes. This means shareholders receive more cash. And the company can even reinvest without sharing more cash with the U.S. Treasury. Business Development CompaniesThis format is known as a business development company (BDC) and allows my pick to provide loans and financing to companies much like commercial banks. But unlike commercial banks, BDCs are shielded from the litany of regulatory woes which continue to plague banks after the 2007-2008 financial mess.This means that BDCs can operate without the onerous capital and compliance costs which have crippled many of the commercial banks in the U.S. This means lower costs and better operating margins. And it shows up in a much better efficiency ratio, which measures how much it costs to generate each dollar of revenue. * These 7 S&P 500 Stocks Will Deliver a Repeat Performance in the Next Decade Unlike commercial banks, these companies don't need to rely on deposits. Given the current yield environment, deposits are still costly when compared to lending rates for short- to intermediate-term loans. This means better net interest margins.And then we get back to the elections. There has been a lot of rhetoric over re-regulating or further restricting U.S. banks and financial institutions by some on the campaign trail. And while major banks do have a lot to fear -- none of this is focused on my pick and its peers in BDC segment.This makes the company an under-the radar-opportunity which has been faring well and should continue to fare well into 2021 regardless of electoral results.And it is not just about the structure of the company, but its focus and successful history in providing and capitalizing on one of the U.S. economy's best growth segments in technology. Alchemy InvestingTechnology is like alchemy. Whether it is taking grains of silicon and transforming it into the must-have new electronic gizmo or generating innovative ideas that propel services to transform industries, it makes something near worthless into riches.And the epicenter for global tech is Silicon Valley, in the pleasant town of Palo Alto, California.This is where so many modern technologies have been conceived, developed and brought to eager markets. And those behind the whiz-bang products and services often become billionaires in the process.But this isn't just something that happens. Just as there have been many tech titans that have created and built impressive companies, there are many more that that never make it out of their parent's garages. This is where financial backing and guidance come in. Ideas are only as good as they can be brought to the market. Companies are only as good as their management and their labs. Best Stocks: Hercules CapitalSource: Chart by BloombergOne of the best companies that specializes in investing and guidance is Hercules Capital (NYSE:HTGC).Based in the heart of Palo Alto, Hercules is an investment company that focuses on financing and guiding technology from start to IPO. It is structured as a BDC, which as noted above, means that as an investment company it does not pay corporate income tax but pays its shareholders its profits on a pass-through basis.The company has more than 350 current investments in varied groups of technologies. They include internet consumer services, clean and green technology businesses, and drug development companies.It has a long track record of participating in many successful companies -- including some in its current portfolio. They've included Box (NYSE:BOX), the cloud-based storage company; Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) in social media; FanDuel in gaming/gambling; Sling Media in video steaming; Ancestry.com for history and green energy companies including BrightSource Energy.The company scouts out innovators in various stages of development. And in turn, it creates financing to fund their development. But beyond just making loans, it also takes equity stakes in the companies either directly or via warrants. These stakes provide the ability to cash in when companies complete their IPOs or other exit strategies.It has been in the business since 2004, and since coming to the public market in June 2005, it has generated a return for investors of 353.1% which equated to an average annual equivalent of 11% per year.And for 2019 year-to-date, it has generated a return of 42% -- well above the S&P 500. Hercules By the NumbersSource: Chart by BloombergThe company continues to ramp up revenues, with the average over the trailing three years running at gains of 9.8%. And as noted above, revenue gains over the past four quarters have been accelerating with the recent reported quarter showing gains of 31.6%.Its net interest margin is more than ample at 9.4%, which means that its cost of funds is significantly below its loan revenues. This is a dream of most banks trying to compete with HTGC.And unencumbered by regulatory woes, its efficiency ratio is running at 52.5%, meaning that it only costs 52.5 cents for each dollar of revenue. This again is an envy of many traditional lenders in the U.S.HTGC's efficiency ratio means a return on its assets of 5.4% -- which is multiples of traditional lending banks. And the return on equity is also an ample 10.7%.Leverage is not a threat, as its debts are a mere 49.8% of assets. This means that if the U.S. credit markets run into issues for 2020-2021, the company is in good credit condition. The Bottom Line on HTGC StockSource: Chart by BloombergNow comes some really good news about the company. The current dividend yield is running at 9%. And the regular distribution is running at 32 cents per share, and has been on the rise. Just over the past year it has risen by 5.6%, continuing a nine-year long pattern.And it gets better. Hercules also pays regular special dividend distributions throughout the year, bringing the annual dividend yield up to 9.4%.Now, you might expect to pay up for the stock of such a good company. But it is only valued at 1.4 times its impressive book of assets. And that book value continues to advance so that investors aren't just getting a rising stock price, but rising underlying assets.All of this comes down to a well-run technology investment company with tax advantages and big and rising dividends. 2020 and beyond should be rewarding for this alchemy investment in Hercules Capital.Neil George was once an all-star bond trader, but now he works morning and night to steer readers away from traps -- and into safe, top-performing income investments. Neil's new income program is a cash-generating machine … one that can help you collect $208 every day the market's open. Neil does not have any holdings in the securities mentioned above. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * These 7 S&P 500 Stocks Will Deliver a Repeat Performance in the Next Decade * 7 Tech Stocks to Stuff Your Stocking With * 7 Sinfully Good Casino Stocks That Could Win the Jackpot in 2020 The post Best Stocks for 2020: Hercules Capital Stock Is Great Election-Proof Play appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Third quarter earnings season boosted U.S. stocks. Broad market indices reached all-time highs and kept gaining until a modest speed bump in recent sessions. But not every stock participated in the rally.Indeed, several well-known names stumbled badly after their third-quarter reports, including Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM). But the news was even worse for the biggest earnings losers in the third quarter. * 10 Best-Performing Growth Stocks of the 2010s These three stocks aren't necessarily the stocks that saw the biggest decline after earnings, though one of them is. But for all three companies, third-quarter earnings materially and negatively changed the long-term outlook. Intrepid investors may look to buy the dip -- but after these reports, significant caution is advised.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Party City (PRTY)Source: Shutterstock Among stocks with a market capitalization above $100 million, Party City (NYSE:PRTY) appears to have posted the largest post-earnings decline after Q3. PRTY stock fell a stunning 67% in a single session after posting a surprise loss and cutting its full-year outlook for the second time.There is an intriguing case to step into the decline. Party City stock looks ridiculously cheap at roughly 2x -- yes, just two times -- its earnings per share guidance for 2019. A helium shortage has limited Party City's sales, taking 210 basis points off same-store sales in the third quarter. Brick-and-mortar retail is a fraught business at the moment, but Party City does sell through Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and e-commerce competition in its vertical would seem to be limited.Investors haven't bought the dip, however: PRTY stock actually is down another 12% from its post-earnings close. And there are significant risks. Most notably, Party City has a potentially dangerous debt load of just over $2 billion. That's more than 6x the company's guided Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) -- a dangerously high multiple.And that debt colors the story here. Retailer Michaels Companies (NASDAQ:MIK) too trades below 3x forward earnings -- with a lighter, if still risky, debt load. Investors have shown in recent years that they don't trust retailers in general, and particularly those with debt concerns. Party City has a long road ahead to change that opinion. Pinterest (PINS)Source: Nopparat Khokthong / Shutterstock.com Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) picked the wrong time to provide disappointing guidance. As growth stocks generally were struggling in late October, the company missed Wall Street estimates for revenue and gave a below-expected outlook.PINS stock already had declined heading into the report amid valuation concerns. It dropped another 17% after earnings, and the pressure has continued. Pinterest stock sits near its all-time low, and now trades below its initial public offering price of $19.Here, too, there's a case for stepping in, as Will Ashworth argued last month. Pinterest still is posting impressive revenue growth. Adjusted EBITDA turned positive in the quarter. Q3 results don't necessarily look disastrous, but rather closer to modestly disappointing.And there are echoes of Snap (NYSE:SNAP) in the report. Slower U.S. user growth is a concern, as it was for Snap not long after its IPO. International monetization disappointed in the early going for both companies. In the Q3 release, Pinterest's CEO cited a redesign of the site and app in the quarter, akin to what Snap did back in 2017. SNAP stock would fall below its IPO price and keep falling. * 7 Energy Stocks That Are Still Worth Buying In 2020 Of course, in retrospect it seems like Snap's redesign was the right move all along, and SNAP stock has been one of the market's best in 2019. The concern here is that even if history repeats itself, PINS story looks like a 2020 story at best, and a falling knife in the meantime. Dollar Tree (DLTR)Source: digitalreflections / Shutterstock.com Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR), too, picked the wrong time for disappointing guidance, but for different reasons. While weak earnings and soft guidance made Dollar Tree one of the biggest earnings losers from Q3, its rivals were posting impressive numbers.Indeed, Dollar General (NYSE:DG) just this week beat analyst expectations and raised full-year guidance. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) posted a strong quarter. So did Target (NYSE:TGT). It certainly looks like consumer spending on the low-to-middle end of the spectrum is strong. It also appears that Dollar Tree is losing share.In that context, a 15% sell-off to a 2019 low hardly seems surprising. And while DLTR stock has posted a modest rally in recent sessions, this doesn't look like a "buy the dip" scenario. As tough as retail is at the moment, it seems safest to stick with the winners. And, at least for now, Dollar Tree doesn't look like one of those winners.As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * The 10 Best-Performing Growth Stocks of the 2010s * 10 Stocks With Little or No Debt to Own for the Next 50 Years * 5 Restaurant Stocks Dominating Holiday Season Foot Traffic The post 3 Earnings Losers From Q3 Reports appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the...
Back in April, Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) came public in a high-profile offering, with the shares jumping 28% on its first day of trading. The stock price would hit a high of $36 by late August. But since then, things have not gone too well. Keep in mind that Pinterest stock is actually below its initial offering price, which was $19. This puts the market cap at about $10.5 billion.Source: tanuha2001 / Shutterstock.com Part of the reason for this has been the rotation away from consumer internet initial public offerings (IPOs). For example, Uber (NYSE:UBER) is off 33% from its IPO while Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) is down even more. All in all, investors are looking beyond the top line and instead want to see a pathway to profitability.In a way, this is actually good news for the PINS stock price. Note that -- at least on an adjusted basis -- the company has been able to show modest profitability.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsBut unfortunately, it has still not been enough. The latest earnings report was not necessarily encouraging, and yes, this was the main reason that Pinterest stock has taken a dive.Now the company did beat on the bottom line, with adjusted earnings of 1 cent a share. By comparison, the consensus was for a loss of 4 cents a share.The problem? Well, revenues were off a bit. They came in at $279.7 million, while the forecast was for $281 million. No doubt, in today's tough environment, there is little room even for a small miss!Yet, I think this has been an overreaction. * 7 Hot Stocks for 2020's Big Trends Let's face it, Pinterest is still growing at a torrid pace. The quarterly ramp in revenue was 47% year-over-year -- and it is also important to note it is getting tougher to churn out the growth as the revenue base increases.Besides, Pinterest is continuing to invest in bolstering the platform. For example, there is more relevancy and personalization, such as with using algorithms for recommendations. This should not only allow for a more engaging experience, but also improved click-through rates and monetization.Next, Pinterest has revamped the design for its Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android apps. Much of this is the result of extensive user feedback. There has also been more of an emphasis on lessening the friction of the user experience.Oh, and Pinterest is broadening the concept of topics for pinning. To this end, there is a collection for well-being activities, such as to deal with stress and anxiety. As seen with the huge success of the Noom app, this approach does have lots of potential. Bottom Line on Pinterest StockWhen it comes to social networks, there needs to be great care with the monetization. As a result, Pinterest has been methodical -- but this does not mean it has been a laggard either. The company has continued to improve the ad features, in terms of bidding, targeting and analytics. There have also been interesting partnerships for shoppable pins, such as with Shopify (NYSE:SHOP).But perhaps the biggest opportunity for PINS stock is the global market. During the latest quarter, worldwide monthly active users (MAUs) increased by 28% to 322 million. There was double-digit growth in nearly all countries. In fact, Pinterest currently sells ads in 28 countries, up from 19 in the second quarter.Something else: the global average revenue per user (ARPU) is 90 cents; That is, there is room for improvement here.Thus, Pinterest should be a solid growth play. The company also provides an immersive user experience, which is critical for today's e-commerce shopper and is unique when compared to other platforms like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY). So, with the recent weakness in Pinterest stock, there is an opportunity here for investors.Tom Taulli is the author of the book, Artificial Intelligence Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Hot Stocks for 2020's Big Trends * 7 Lumbering Large-Cap Stocks to Avoid * 5 ETFs for Oodles of Monthly Dividends The post Pinterest Stock: Should You Pin It To Your Portfolio? appeared first on InvestorPlace.
If you like to follow Wall Street's smart money, Snap (NYSE:SNAP) should be on your radar. But for shrewder investors, the monthly view of the Snapchat stock price chart is where lasting proof of profits will be likely gleaned. Let me explain.Source: dennizn / Shutterstock.com Everyone knows social media giant Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). In fact, it's surprising when you come across someone that doesn't take an occasional scroll the platform's news feed. At a minimum you'd be hard-pressed to find an individual that hasn't at least considered opening an account.For the Gen X and Baby Boomer populations, along with Facebook's Instagram platform and possibly Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) or Pinterest (NYSE:PINS), that's likely where one's social media presence ends. But the social media buck doesn't stop there.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsIn today's digital world there is another wildly popular way to express yourself. For younger Millennials and Gen Z, there is Snapchat. The photo-sharing app known for its short-lived, finite visible footprint and whose images disappear into the ether has been a sensation. And Wall Street is doing more than simply paying attention to SNAP stock price.Most recently, Snapchat stock has gained the interest of hedge fund muscle Two Sigma. This $60 billion quant-driven powerhouse has netted more than $15 billion for clients since opening shop in 2001. It's enough to put the firm on LCH Investments' list of most successful hedge funds. * 7 Retail Stocks to Buy That Dominated Thanksgiving Shopping Now Two Sigma is betting big on Snapchat stock. The company has amassed a position worth $87.3 million in SNAP shares. Put another way, Two Sigma owns 5,528,277 shares for an average cost of $15.79. The fund isn't alone in believing Snap's momentum can continue and drive shares higher either.Of 21 analysts rating SNAP stock at TipRanks, the consensus has shares pegged as a moderate buy. Perhaps more telling, the low price target of $14 represents downside risk of around 7%. At the same time, an average price target of $18.82 and range high of $24 a share compare favorably with 12-month return expectations of 25% and 60% respectively. Nice, right? Snapchat Stock Price Weekly ChartSource: Charts by TradingViewIf we're to believe what Wall Street is saying and doing, the future looks good for SNAP. And judging by Snapchat stock's monthly technical picture, that view is reinforced.Over the last several months, SNAP has broken firmly above its former downtrend. Gains of nearly 275% stymied by Snapchat stock's 50% retracement level have been digested in a healthy and quite common 31% correction. To say the least, supports for a rally look good.But it gets better.Since establishing October's bullish hammer pattern, shares have continued to consolidate inside the bottoming candlestick. A move through the high of November's smaller doji would indicate SNAP is beginning to reaffirm its strength and is ready to build another leg higher.For those in agreement, buying SNAP above $16 makes sense. My first target for taking profits would be $20. The combination of a nice round figure and challenge of the 62% level make it a nice spot to peel off some risk. Likewise, a move below November's low of $13.50 provides a smarter money investment, both off and on the price chart, in more than one way.Investment accounts under Christopher Tyler's management do not currently own positions in any securities mentioned in this article. The information offered is based upon Christopher Tyler's observations and strictly intended for educational purposes only; the use of which is the responsibility of the individual. . For additional market insights and related musings, follow Chris on Twitter @Options_CAT and StockTwits. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Retail Stocks to Buy That Dominated Thanksgiving Shopping * 6 Manufacturing Stocks to Buy as the Economy Recovers * The 7 Best Cryptocurrencies to Buy as Blockchain Heats Up The post How to Follow the Money into Snapchat Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Harry Cendrowski, Founding Member and Managing Director of Cendrowski Corporate Advisors By John Jannarone WeWork’s private investors including Masayoshi Son’s Softbank Group Corp apparently gave the shared office space company a software valuation, a consequence of a frenzied investment environment that paid little regard to fundamental analysis or corporate governance. That’s according to governance expert […]
Pinterest, Inc. today announced that Ben Silbermann, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, will participate at the Barclays Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference on December 12, 2019 at 8:00 am PT .
At Insider Monkey, we pore over the filings of nearly 750 top investment firms every quarter, a process we have now completed for the latest reporting period. The data we've gathered as a result gives us access to a wealth of collective knowledge based on these firms' portfolio holdings as of September 30. In this […]
Airbnb is a popular online marketplace where users can list a home or apartment for vacation or other short-term stays. It's also one of the most-anticipated IPOs of next year.
An old investment saw goes like this: "Market tops are processes, bottoms are events." This means that in the stock market, it takes time for all the moving parts to top out and head lower. It's usually a gradual affair, unlike major bottom that are often marked with panic selling and sharp moves.The market can easily shrug off events that could hurt it, such as a wide miss on economic growth or unusually weak housing statistics. However, when major issues start to accumulate, before we realize it, we've hit a tipping point where there are too many changes for the bull market to handle.Let's be clear: We are not trying to pick a top or master market timing. But investors should take action when it becomes clear things have changed for the worse. And the sooner we recognize that change, the better.Here are five signs investors should look for to gauge the likelihood of a stock market top. They're not set in set in stone - what was effective at one peak might not be effective for the next. However, evaluating these major areas still can provide clues as to the market's health and intentions. SEE ALSO: The 15 Best Recession-Resistant Stocks to Buy
Even the best-performing new stock companies from the region have been hit by a reset that appears to be happening on Wall Street.
(Bloomberg) -- If Google is feeling pressure from the government scrutiny bearing down, the company isn’t showing it. Last Friday the search giant announced it was paying $2.1 billion to buy Fitbit, the struggling maker of fitness gadgets. The deal was Google’s second multi-billion dollar acquisition in the last several months, flying in the face of repeated critiques from public officials that large tech companies are stifling competition by buying startups. “By attempting this deal at this moment, Alphabet Inc.’s Google is signaling that it will continue to flex and expand its power in spite of this immense scrutiny,” David Cicilline, the Democratic congressman leading Congress’s investigation into antitrust issues in tech, said in a statement.People close to Google say the decision to move forward with the Fitbit acquisition bears the fingerprints of one of its key leaders: Kent Walker, Google’s chief legal officer. Company lawyers don’t inspire the same public fascination as young tech founders. But Walker has quietly become one of the most influential people within Google over the last four years. By extension, that makes him one of Silicon Valley’s most important players as the industry enters a moment of unprecedented political peril. Unlike Facebook Inc., which has spent much of the last year trying to explain its policies to a skeptical public, Google has kept its head down and conducted its business as usual. In September, when attorneys general from 48 states announced an antitrust investigation into the company, Walker’s department didn’t bother to send an email to staff explaining the situation. “You take it seriously, but don’t overreact,” said Matt Tanielian of the Franklin Square Group, a lobbying firm. “That's a sign of someone like Kent being in charge.” Walker's supporters see his leadership style as a welcome sign of corporate maturity. Other people see a company that hasn’t adjusted its approach to changing circumstances. For the first time in its history, Google has no shortage of political enemies, yet it seems unwilling to engage them, according to Gigi Sohn, a fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy. “They’re so used to winning that they don’t necessarily push forward with maximum effort,” she said. “There’s a lack of recognition that they’re not in another time. It’s not 10 years ago. It’s not five years ago. It’s not even two years ago.” Sohn, who has known Walker for years, refers to him as “a lawyer’s lawyer,” a common compliment for those who have worked with him. But Google, whose founders have receded from public view and whose CEO, Sundar Pichai, is unusually reserved for a Silicon Valley CEO, is lacking a charismatic champion at the top. It has a good attorney, when what it might really need is a good politician. Walker, 58, spent his childhood on a series of military bases, before attending Harvard University and Stanford Law School. He spent his early career as a federal prosecutor, and did stints at eBay Inc., Netscape Communications Corp., and AOL before joining Google in 2006. At first, Google’s small legal department was consumed with legal challenges over copyright and privacy. But several years into Walker’s tenure, the company began facing its first challenges with antitrust investigations. Walker’s background is not in antitrust law, and he didn’t oversee Google’s 2013 settlement with U.S. regulators over competition. But he has had ample opportunity to learn the subject. “Kent, frankly, really grew with the company,” said Shirley Tilghman, who served on Google's board from 2005 to 2018. Walker, who declined an interview request, has become a prominent figure within Silicon Valley’s insular circle of top lawyers. His protégés have gone on to lead the legal departments at Twitter Inc., Pinterest Inc., Dropbox Inc. and other Silicon Valley firms; many went into the Obama Administration. He’ also a typical Google executive in many ways. Several friends and former colleagues described him as an eager polymath, an obsessive, hands-on, manager—and a huge science fiction fan. Walker has a reputation of coming to conversations armed with data to back up his arguments, his friends said, and considers the word "thoughtful" to be the highest compliment. “He’s intellectually ambidextrous,” said Adam Kovacevich, who spent 12 years at Google's policy division. “He has always cautioned everyone to take Google’s critics seriously.” Walker’s purview expanded when Google created Alphabet to be its parent company in 2015. When it did so, the company’s co-founders and its longtime legal chief, David Drummond, stepped back from Google’s daily operations. Google’s head of policy, Rachel Whetstone, left for Uber the same year, and Walker took over her policy portfolio. Last summer, he became Google’s chief legal officer and head of global affairs, taking control of oversight of corporate policy, cyber-security and philanthropy. Now, nearly every contentious issue at Google eventually bubbles up to Walker—antitrust controversies in Europe, debates over digital data privacy and artificial intelligence ethics, what to do about China, confrontation with Google’s workforce over sexual harassment and contract workers. Walker also plays a key role in managing relationships with governments, a task normally associated with chief executives. Not every company entrusts its top lawyer with so much power. “For Google, it’s a huge, huge portfolio,” said Doug Melamed, the former general counsel at Intel Corp. “The fact that he has it is testament to the respect he commands with the board and other executives. There are signs of strain, however. Attrition among the legal and policy staff has been bad enough that one former Google official referred to Walker as “the only one left.” To run global affairs, Walker hired Caroline Atkinson, a former Obama official based in Washington, D.C., but she lasted less than two years. Walker spent another year searching for a replacement before hiring Karan Bhatia, a former Bush administration official, last June. This spring, Walker confided to his friend Melamed, the former tech lawyer, that he felt “spread a little thin.” Walker has also become a target in recent years for current and former employees who think Google has sacrificed its idealistic culture in favor of conventional commercialism. Former employees describe how the company’s legal and policy departments once engaged in robust debates over sensitive topics, but say the back-and-forth faded as Walker consolidated power. Meredith Whittaker, a former Google researcher who has become a prominent critic of the company, argued that this is particularly important because of the impact Google’s policies have outside the company. “He's put there to protect the company from liability, which also means protecting Google from being accountable to its workers and to the public,” she said. “In that way, he's doing all of us—those affected by Google's services and the workers there—a great disservice.” Trust between Google’s management and its restive workforce has deteriorated since the revelation that the company was working on Project Maven, a Pentagon program to use computer vision software to analyze drone imagery. Google said last year it would stop working on the project, setting off a round of recriminations in Washington. According to his critics, Walker has shown an inclination to stymie the kind of activism that led Google to back out of Maven. An all-staff memo from Walker, sent earlier this year, reminded employees that accessing certain “need to know” documents was a fireable offense, which some employees interpreted as an attempt to stifle activism. A Google representative said at the time this did not represent a new policy. In August, the company sent out new “community guidelines” to staff warning them not to spend time debating “non-work topics.” Several current employees complained that what they saw as Walker’s desire to tamp down political expressions was an attempt to mollify conservative critics who accuse Google of liberal bias. Walker’s obscurity may be undercutting his influence outside the company. Eric Schmidt, the company’s former chief executive officer and executive chairman, largely served as Google’s public face during his tenure. Schmidt left in 2017, and Sundar Pichai, his successor, cuts a lower profile. Walker now takes many of the high-level meetings that Schmidt did, but he does so without the cachet of being a chief executive. When Walker planned to testify last summer at a Congressional hearing on Russian election interference, the Senate demanded Google send Pichai instead. Google simply didn't show, and committee staff pointedly set out an empty chair where Pichai would have sat.A Democratic staffer in Congress, who asked to not to be identified discussing private matters, said Walker has been much more reluctant to communicate with lawmakers than his counterparts at other tech giants. “Say what you want about Facebook, at least they’re apologetic,” said Sohn. At Google, she continued, “they haven’t admitted to any error. That might be a mistake.” \--With assistance from Ben Brody and Alistair Barr.To contact the author of this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Brustein at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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