181.55 +0.61 (0.34%)
After hours: 7:40PM EDT
|Bid||181.27 x 1000|
|Ask||181.07 x 1400|
|Day's Range||180.24 - 181.69|
|52 Week Range||121.60 - 184.07|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.82|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||34.74|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1.00 (0.56%)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- For 47 years, the Business Roundtable has lobbied on behalf of corporate America. Much of that time, it maintained a fiction(1) -- that the sole purpose of a corporation was to maximize profits on behalf of shareholders. This philosophy has been under assault for several years now, and this week the Business Roundtable announced it wants to put it to rest.In a widely circulated memo, the 200-member organization reversed itself, writing that "shareholder primacy” is no longer the sole purpose of a corporation. Instead, corporations must include a commitment to “all stakeholders,” which includes customers, employees, suppliers and local communities.Some kudos are in order for JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, and chairman of the Business Roundtable, for driving these changes. He has been discussing the need for a more inclusive form of capitalism, both in public speeches and in his letters to shareholders, for some time.But turning this aircraft carrier around won’t be easy, in large part because of the group's own history. Indeed, the Roundtable has spent most of the past four decades advocating against the interests of those exact stakeholders. To cite some of the more notable examples:\-- It fought the rise of labor unions and pro-union legislation;\-- Helped to defeat antitrust bills;\-- Prevented the formation of the Consumer Protection Agency;\-- Opposed corporate governance changes to make boards of directors and CEOs more accountable to stockholders;\-- Fought proper accounting of stock options given as compensation to executives and insiders;\-- Opposed increases in the national minimum wage (it now favors increases);\-- Lobbied to prevent restrictions on executive compensation;\-- Fought legislation that would create cleaner energy and address climate change;\-- Pushed for corporate income-tax cuts;\-- Supported anti-consumer Supreme Court decisions, including the fiction that corporations are legal people, and that campaign donations equal speech. The Roundtable might respond that this is all in the past. Let’s hope so. But the organization has an even greater challenge: Scan the list of 181 signatories to the recent memo and it's a Who’s Who of corporate behavior that has burdened and disadvantaged the very stakeholders they will now champion.Consider a few of the signatories:\-- Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc.: Two of the most valuable companies in the world are famously effective at using various tax dodges to avoid paying their fair share. I can recall when the Internal Revenue Service went after maneuvers that serve no valid business purpose other than tax avoidance. Consider that what isn't paid in tax by those who avoid them must be made up for by those who do -- mostly average Americans who also happen to be customers of these companies.The share of federal tax revenue paid by corporations has dropped by two-thirds in the past seven decades -- from 32% in 1952 to 10% in 2013; and corporate income tax as a share of gross domestic product has fallen from about 6% in 1946 to about 1.5% today.\-- Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and American Express Co.: Show good faith -- working with card-issuing banks as needed -- by simplifying the incomprehensible small print in the cardholder agreement and spell out in clear language the terms and penalties for late payment. Second, do the same for mandatory arbitration clauses that take away the right of customers to seek redress in public courts.\-- Ameriprise Financial Inc., Morgan Stanley and Principal Financial Group Inc: The brokers and insurers on the list have been zealous opponents of the fiduciary rule. Instead, they prefer a less stringent rule that allows them to sell products that are better for them than for their customers. Until those firms -- and Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan are in this group -- embrace a higher duty of care, their gestures toward stakeholders are hollow. Oh, and they should drop the requirement that customers agree to mandatory arbitration clauses as one of the conditions for opening a brokerage account.\-- Coca Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc.: For years these companies have been helping the American public achieve record levels of diabetes and obesity by selling health-damaging sugary drinks. They should acknowledge and warn customers of the consequences of consuming too much of their products, and accept the same kinds of taxes and health warnings now affixed to cigarettes.\-- Deere & Co.: The maker of farm machinery has led the fight against customers, insisting that they not make repairs to the equipment they own, and denying them access to parts and instructions. Repairs can only be made by Deere service technicians in what has come to be known as a “repair monopoly.” Apple, by the way, does the same thing.\-- Walmart Inc. and McDonald's Corp.: Both were steadfast opponents of increases in minimum wages for years. Although both now offer higher minimum pay, it was only after a tightening labor market forced them to increase wages. But this wasn't a case of corporate altruism -- their stores were messy and employees were sullen, and pay increases were part of plans to keep ill-treated customers from defecting. (McDonald's is not a signatory to the Roundtable memo).For the Roundtable commitment to be meaningful, the signatories are going to have to alter their behavior in ways large and small, and maybe even in ways that aren't always optimal for maximizing short-term profits. Still, we should be encouraged. But the proof will be in the follow through and the actual actions of the Roundtable members.(Corrects to clarify section on credit-card companies to indicate the role of banks in setting terms for customers. )(1) In “The Shareholder Value Myth,” Lynn Stout explained how the entire theory is based on a misreading of a 1919 court case -- Dodge vs. Ford – at the time, both privately held, non-public companies.To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Synchrony Financial's (SYF) interest income and strategic initiatives should aid revenue growth. This will likely boost its share price further.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In France, they call it taking mustard after dinner. In Germany, they talk about a child having already fallen in the well. In England, they speak of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.They all are good ways of describing how regulators have tended to deal with the world’s biggest tech firms. But when it comes to Facebook Inc.'s digital coin, Europe's antitrust watchdog seems to be intent on breaking with this previous inaction.Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that the European Commission is scrutinizing the two-month-old Libra project and the group backing it amid concern the currency will be detrimental to competition. This is a good sign the regulator will do something about it.That’s welcome because antitrust authorities have, over the years, repeatedly failed to prevent the sort of practices which have cemented the dominance of Silicon Valley firms in their target markets. Regulators then struggle to rebalance the market after the fact.Some past decisions look misguided in hindsight. The most obvious are Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of DoubleClick in 2008, which cemented the search giant’s control over digital ads, and Facebook’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp – deals that made it the preeminent social network.Facebook’s plan should give regulators plenty of reasons for concern. The organization administering the digital currency, the Libra Association, comprises 28 members so far, but the extent of Facebook’s leading role warrants closer examination.QuicktakeWhy Everybody (Almost) Hates Facebook’s Digital CoinThe motivation for many of the members seems at this stage to be a fear of missing out. After all, Facebook’s 2.4 billion monthly active users give it unparalleled scale. But that could also be construed as the Menlo Park, California-based firm abusing a dominant position: Members of the association might feel they can’t risk being left out, so have little choice but to take part.The group includes most of the world’s biggest payments companies: Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc., Paypal Holdings Inc., Stripe Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc, whose M-Pesa mobile money transfer service is dominant in parts of Africa.That means it could be seen as a horizontal agreement, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Aitor Ortiz. Those kind of arrangements may be acceptable in certain cases if they benefit the end user, but are normally anti-competitive if they consolidate the influence of a discrete group at the expense of consumers or rivals.Facebook has said that it won’t push ahead with Libra until it has secured all the necessary regulatory approvals. The European Commission’s message seems to be: Don’t push your luck. If the group fails to pay heed, it risks fines and punishments further down the line. That will make it harder to sign up new partners who are unwilling to expose themselves to such regulatory hazards.One has to wonder whether the growing regulatory scrutiny the currency is attracting will make the project worth the effort for Facebook. For sure, the social networking giant needs to find a way to diversify its revenue away from advertising. But I’m unconvinced that Libra does that.If anything, it will become another pillar of the advertising business by supplying valuable data on purchasing intent: every time you make a purchase using Facebook’s digital wallet, you give the company a better understanding of what you’re buying and why.All this highlights the contradiction at the heart of Libra: if it is truly independent, what’s in it for Facebook? Regulators are right to press for an answer.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Blockchain is one of the most revolutionary technologies of this generation and has applications that spread across every sector of our economy. The technology has applications that go way beyond a means of transferring wealth.
(Bloomberg) -- European Union antitrust regulators are already probing Facebook Inc.’s two-month-old Libra digital currency project, according to a document seen by Bloomberg.The European Commission is "currently investigating potential anti-competitive behavior" related to the Libra Association amid concerns the proposed payment system would unfairly shut out rivals, the EU authority said in a questionnaire sent out earlier this month.Officials said they’re concerned about how Libra may create "possible competition restrictions" on the information that will be exchanged and the use of consumer data, according to the document, which is a standard part of an early-stage EU inquiry to gather information.The investigation into founder Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitions to take on traditional cash adds to another preliminary EU investigation into how Facebook may unfairly use its power to squeeze rival apps. The Brussels-based commission, Europe’s most feared regulator, has already targeted Google and Apple Inc.Facebook and the commission both declined to comment on the investigation. The Menlo Park, California-based company has previously promised to appease all regulators before launching the cryptocurrency, a process that could take some time.Global CurrencyLed by a social network with more users than the combined population of China and the U.S., Libra represents a potential challenge that the guardians of money have never faced: a global currency they neither control nor manage.The EU questionnaire said regulators are also examining the possible integration of Libra-backed applications into Facebook services such as WhatsApp and Messenger. It said their investigation focuses on the governance structure and membership of the Libra Association.Facebook has previously promised to appease all regulators before launching the cryptocurrency, a process that could take some time.Visa Inc. declined to comment while the Libra Association representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Mastercard Inc. had no immediate comment.Aside from the antitrust division, other EU regulators are "monitoring market developments in the area of crypto assets and payment services, including Libra and its development," a spokesman for the commission’s financial services department said.Data-protection supervisors are also worried about how Libra will share information. They said earlier this month that Facebook had the potential to combine "vast reserves of personal information with financial information and cryptocurrency, amplifying privacy concerns about the network’s design and data-sharing arrangements."\--With assistance from Alexander Weber, Alastair Marsh and James Hertling.To contact the reporters on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Arlington at email@example.com;Aoife White in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.com, Peter Chapman, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Banking on growing revenues, strategic capital management and high card sales volume, Discover Financial (DFS) holds potential to benefit investors.
Euronet Worldwide (EEFT) assists the Commercial Bank of Ceylon to launch the first unique Quick Response (QR)-based payment application in Sri Lanka.
The acquisition is expected to enhance Accenture's (ACN) services related to the rapidly evolving risk environment and cater to U.K. financial institutions.
Consistency and diversity of operations and increased focus on delivering consumer-centric strategic business solutions ensure persistent profitability for Omnicom (OMC).
Clean Harbors (CLH) looks well poised on the back of expansive infrastructure, specialized equipment, capital base and customer relationships.
(Bloomberg) -- One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges is looking to partner with governments and companies to develop new digital currencies as it competes with the Libra project spearheaded by Facebook Inc.To that end, Malta-based Binance said it plans to create an independent “regional version of Libra,” the digital coin being developed by Facebook Inc. and partners, in a Chinese-language statement on its website Monday. The firm run by Chief Executive Officer Zhao “CZ” Changpeng said its open blockchain project, Venus, is intended to “empower developed and developing countries to spur new currencies.’’Developing so-called stable coins like Tether that are pegged to the U.S. dollar or another traditional currency has become a goal for many crypto platforms. Traders have flocked to these lower-volatility coins as they can be used to facilitate transactions and to park funds during wild swings in prices.Unlike Facebook, which announced its Libra coin with 27 partners from Visa Inc. to Uber Technologies Inc. signed up, Binance did not say if any other players have signed up to Venus. Instead the company said it “welcomes additional government partners, companies and organizations with a strong interest and influence on a global scale to collaborate with us to build a new open alliance and sustainable community.’’Binance already has experience with stable coins, having issued a token pegged to the U.K. pound earlier in the year. The exchange says it handles an average $1.2 billion of trading volume a day.Crypto firms have not only struggled to maintain stability in coin prices, but also with security in holding the digital assets. In May, Binance said hackers withdrew 7,000 Bitcoins worth about $40 million in a “large scale security breach.”\--With assistance from Shiyin Chen.To contact the reporter on this story: Alastair Marsh in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Hertling at email@example.com, Todd White, Sid VermaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The acquisition is expected to enhance Accenture's (ACN) innovation and digital capabilities and boost its growing applied intelligence business.
FLEETCOR (FLT) continues to benefit from organic revenue growth and strategic acquisitions. Higher interest expenses are a major concern.
Editor's note: "5 Great Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy" was previously published in July 2019. It has since been updated to include the most relevant information available.If you're like me, the current bout of trade-induced volatility isn't sitting too right. And while swings and bear markets are a part of investing, the kind of big plunges we've recently seen does make for some sleepless nights. Which is why the best stocks to buy could be America's blue-chip stocks.Blue-chip stocks don't necessarily have a formal definition, but they are generally stable and well-established companies. Blue-chip stocks are typically household names with billions in revenues and steady rising profit profiles. Often, they share the wealth with their investors via rich dividend and buyback programs.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 7 Safe Dividend Stocks for Investors to Buy Right Now The best part is that investors can count on blue-chip stocks to help them get through periods of malaise and bear markets as they tend to be less volatile than let's say, smaller growth stocks. To that end, with the markets starting to feel a bit shaky, blue-chip stocks could be the best way to position your portfolio in the upcoming months.But which blue-chip stocks make sense to buy? Here are five that could help you get through the next few months and an upcoming bear market. Cisco Systems (CSCO)The technology sector is often seen as a growth element for a portfolio. However, the sector does feature plenty of blue-chip stocks that produce mountains of cash flows, steady dividends, and rising profits. Case in point, former dot-com darling Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO).Source: Shutterstock After building the internet and networking with its focus on switching gear and routers, CSCO made the smart pivot into services and reoccurring revenues. It basically created the model that many tech firms have copied.And in doing that, Cisco has become a cash generation machine. Last quarter alone, the firm managed to produce more than $3.5 billion in free cash flows.The best part is that CSCO continues to share that cash with investors. The firm recently raised its dividend by 6% and added another $15 billion to its authorized buyback program.And yet, more could be in store for Cisco. The firm continues to add new capabilities to its services platform and recently unveiled new conversational A.I. to its interfaces. Adding in continued data center demand as well as the pending 5G upgrades and Cisco continues to look great.For investors looking for a strong tech sector blue-chip stock, Cisco has to be your top pick. Merck (MRK)The steadfastness of the healthcare sector makes it a prime place to find plenty of blue-chip stocks. And one of the best could be pharmaceutical giant Merck (NYSE:MRK).For starters, MRK features a wide portfolio of current and former blockbuster drugs, vaccines and other therapies. This huge portfolio continues to drive profits and cash flows at the giant. But MRK isn't resting on its laurels. A few years ago, Merck made the shift into newer biotech and advanced cancer-fighting medications. That has turned out to be the right move.MRK's Keytruda has quickly become the go-to medicine for a variety of lung cancers and sales going through the roof. Last quarter alone, the company reported more than $2.2 billion in Keytruda sales.That double-digit growth has allowed Merck to up its total forecast and guidance for the entire year. * 7 Safe Dividend Stocks for Investors to Buy Right Now The growth of Keytruda could continue. Merck has begun several trials looking to use the drug in other indications. This could provide even more cash flowing Merck's way. Considering the growth of its cancer portfolio and the rest of its steady drug options, Merck is looking like a great buy for the long haul.In the end, MRK's 2.5% yield and continued growth make it a powerful blue-chip stock for any investor. American Express Company (AXP)One of Warren Buffett's favorite blue-chip stocks happens to be American Express (NYSE:AXP). And the Oracle of Omaha isn't wrong to own it. The financial powerhouse has continued to thrive in the rising economy and has a lot to offer investors.Source: Shutterstock AXP is kind of a weird bird. Like its rivals, Visa (NYSE:V) and Mastercard (NYSE:MA) (two blue-chip stocks also worth owning), American Express operates a secured payment network and acts as a toll road when customers swipe their cards. Here, Amex scores a hefty fee.The firm's discount revenue rate was last quarter was 2.37%. Basically, for every $100 spent on its cards, $2.37 flowed back to AXP. All in all, last quarter, American Express pulled in more than $6.2 billion in revenue from these operations.Secondly, unlike V and MA, American Express is an issuer of its cards. Because of this, it's able to score hefty membership fees, interest and creates a leverage effect for its profits. Moreover, Amex's entire M.O. is about rewards and its partners pay the credit issuer plenty of fees to get their products/offers onto AXP's platform.The best part is that AXP tends to focus on the higher end of the credit spectrum. This removes many of the uncertainty and issues with offering loans and reduces default rates.All of this has made American Express a powerhouse in the financial sector. Genuine Parts Company (GPC)Sixty-three years. That's an amazing streak for any firm to consistently raise its dividend. But for blue-chip stock Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC), it's just par for the course. The secret lies with the firm's massive and irreplaceable moat.Source: Shutterstock There's a good chance that you've never walked into one of GPC's locations, but your mechanic has. Under the NAPA banner, the firm operates one of the largest networks of auto parts and industrial distribution locations in the nation.Those 9,250 locations are located pretty much everywhere, and that's key. Auto parts are generally a "need it now" sort of item and are pretty much immune from the whims of online sales.Because of this huge network, GPC and NAPA are pretty much the only game in town when it comes to getting parts to body shops, mechanics and service centers. This has been beyond good for GPC's bottom line over the years. In its 90-year history, sales have increased in 85 of those years. * 8 Dividend Aristocrat Stocks to Buy Now No Matter What This streak was continued last year as GPC recorded more than $18.7 billion in revenues. Analysts predict that revenues will jump by about 4% this year. Naturally, those sales have turned into profits and a long streak of dividend increase for investors.This consistency has made GPC one of the best blue-chip stocks to own for the long haul. Coca-Cola (KO)When it comes to blue-chip stocks, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) could be the bluest. Its brand is worldwide and is enjoyed millions of times daily. This has allowed KO to pay a constantly rising dividend for the last 55 years and provide plenty of ballast to a portfolio in markets just like today.Source: Chris Nielsen via FlickrAnd there is still growth to be had.Coke has moved into new beverage categories as tastes have changed. Sparkling water, juices, teas, and other healthy drinks are now on a menu at the firm.And these items continue to grow, with revenues for these products now accounting for about half of KO's total pie. Meanwhile, KO has improved margins via new packaging designs and sizes. Adding in some tech -- such as its Arctic Coolers and Freestyle machines -- and Coke seems to be winning the beverage wars.The proof is in the pudding. Continued product mix development has resulted in a big 5% jump in revenues last quarter. Likewise, earnings saw a big surge and KO has managed to produce roughly $6.28 billion in free cash flow over the last 12 months.Yes, KO is boring. But that's what exactly what investors should be looking for in a blue-chip stock. Consistency, with a touch of growth. If that doesn't describe Coca-Cola, then I don't know what does.Disclosure: At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt did not have a position in any stock mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Best Stocks for 2019: A Volatile First Half * 7 Simple Ways for Young Investors to Invest Their First $1,000 * 6 Stocks to Buy Based on Insider Buying The post 5 Great Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Reston threat intelligence and security software company ThreatQuotient Inc. has raised $7.86 million in fresh funding — and it aims to double in size in the next year, according to CEO John Czupak. The new round was from existing, and early, investors, including Cisco Systems Inc. and Blu Venture Investors, according to Czupak, bringing the company's total fundraising to $64.5 million, according to venture data firm PitchBook.