|Bid||1,820.74 x 800|
|Ask||1,821.47 x 800|
|Day's Range||1,817.00 - 1,826.00|
|52 Week Range||1,307.00 - 2,050.50|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.58|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||75.55|
|Earnings Date||Oct 23, 2019 - Oct 28, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||2,261.27|
The No. 2 U.S. department store chain got off to a weak start in 2019, but the first of several key sales growth initiatives began to kick in last month.
Reportedly, Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) has agreed to acquire an e-commerce company, Kaola Unit, from NetEase Inc. for approximately $2 billion.
VMware's (VMW) second-quarter fiscal 2020 results are expected to benefit from continued enterprise deal wins, portfolio strength and partnerships with the likes of AWS and IBM.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.A senior official at the European Central Bank warned that banks embracing external data storage and other digital technology need to face an uncomfortable truth: there’s a good chance they’ll get hacked.“There will be accidents, especially in the cloud,” Korbinian Ibel, a director general at the ECB’s supervisory arm, said in an interview. “It’s not that clouds are more vulnerable, they’re actually often better protected than in-house systems, but they’re seen as juicy targets.”So far, Europe has been spared the kind of hack that hit Capital One Financial Corp., which said last month that data from about 100 million people in the U.S. was illegally accessed. That may change as the region’s banks face increasing pressure to reduce costs with new technology and make up for the squeeze on revenue from lower interest rates.European banks already use some services of companies like Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG eventually wants to move the majority of its applications to the cloud -- giant external data centers -- from what it has called “expensive and inflexible physical servers.” For now, European banks tend to avoid putting “highly confidential data” on public clouds, said Ibel.“We see the benefits” of cloud computing, Ibel said. “The rule is that the banker is always responsible for their data and services.”Failings can have consequences. The ECB can tell riskier lenders to hold more capital, squeezing their returns, or order potentially costly qualitative measures such as improving how users access computer systems.Banks have responded to the digital revolution by hiring tech experts, sometimes even naming them to their top management bodies. That’s good, but it doesn’t go far enough, said Ibel.“It’s not enough to have one person as the IT expert,” he said. “You need a common understanding at board level of the needs and risks of IT.”To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Comfort in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at email@example.com, Christian BaumgaertelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Somewhere between Spotify crashing and Alexa failing to locate his favorite sushi place, Rafael Rivera decided he was dealing with an unfinished product.The software developer’s rectangular Echo Auto, perched on the dashboard of his 2005 Mini Cooper, picked up his voice seamlessly over blaring music or air conditioning. But repeated restarts and clunky mapping made the on-the-go hub for Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa less useful.“Am I part of a beta program?” he recalls thinking. “Is this thing done?”Introduced almost a year ago and shipped to the first invited customers in January, the sometimes-buggy Echo Auto is the most visible element so far of Amazon’s ambition to take Alexa on the road.Behind the scenes, the company is trying to persuade automakers to bake the voice-activated digital assistant into their entertainment systems. Those efforts are gaining some traction—BMW and Audi earlier this year began selling select models that integrate Alexa’s software by default. But Amazon is entering a market already contested by Google and Apple Inc., not to mention automakers leery of ceding control of the dashboard to Big Tech.While colonizing the car probably won’t generate much in the way of revenue at first, just being there would help Amazon position itself for a coming era of voice-based services. “Amazon wants to get into the car in a big way,” says Mike Ramsey, a senior research director at Gartner who tracks the auto industry. “They sense that there is a big opportunity.”Amazon declined to make anyone available to discuss the program, but a spokesman pointed to comments Ned Curic, vice president of Alexa Automotive, made last month to the Automotive News: “The real North Star for us is to be embedded with all the cars,” Curic said. “We’re working very hard to get there because we believe that is the best experience.”The company has said it wants to make Alexa, its hub for trivia, music and Amazon products, ubiquitous. The company built teams in recent years charged with making the software useful beyond the living room, seeking ties to home automation and security companies, building out voice and video calling functionality and even exploring wearable devices and home robots.The first tie between Alexa and an automaker was, like many Amazon efforts, an experiment. In 2016, Hyundai Motor Co. rolled out the first application linking Alexa to a big carmaker in a tool that let owners of some models start their vehicle or set the climate control from an Alexa device.Amazon formalized its push a year later, hiring Curic, an executive with Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American subsidiary, to run the automotive efforts. Curic’s team plucked staff from Lab126, the San Francisco Bay Area hardware division behind the Echo speaker, and Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud-computing arm. Amazon also went shopping for recruits who knew their way around the industry, seeking veterans of German stalwarts like Daimler AG, BMW and Volkswagen, companies that have been among the most aggressive in exploring voice software.Hanging over the exercise to take Alexa on the road is Amazon’s failure to build a smartphone to rival Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple. About 62% of people who use their voice to control music or other applications in their car today do so through a smartphone, a market dominated by Google and Apple, according to a survey by voice technology news site Voicebot and dashboard entertainment startup Drivetime. Another 32% opt for the software included in their car’s entertainment system while 6% use different technology, including the Echo Auto.“Amazon’s Achilles heel is not having a play on the phone,” says John Foster, chief executive of Aiqudo Inc. a startup working to tailor mobile applications for voice control. “They’re going at it the best way they can. But I do think they suffer from this disadvantage that Google is really starting to make clear.”Google, the company behind Android, the world’s most popular operating system, has gotten automakers on board, building ties that could be used to hook drivers into Google's Assistant, Alexa's biggest rival in the U.S. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Volvo are all building entertainment systems on Android.“Google has a much bigger footprint in the auto industry than Amazon does,” says Ramsey, of Gartner. “They’re getting big wins. Amazon is just starting to scratch the surface.”Other carmakers are going their own route.Some, like Daimler’s Mercedes, have thrown their weight behind proprietary voice software. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience system, like many automaker-branded software, is powered by technology built by Nuance Communications Inc., a software company in Massachusetts.“Each of these manufacturers wants to preserve their own brand” in the car, says Richard Mack, a Nuance marketing executive. “When you press that button on the steering wheel, Mercedes would much rather see their emblem come up rather than a Google or an Amazon or a Microsoft logo.”Amazon has tried to assuage carmakers worried about Google or Apple's potential automotive ambitions by suggesting Alexa could be one among several voice assistants embedded in a future entertainment system, according to two people who have heard the pitch, but aren't authorized to publicly discuss it. Amazon last year released tools that let carmakers build Alexa into their cars. The company has also tried to leverage Alexa’s popularity in the home, saying to potential partners that customers would rather use voice software they’re already familiar with than learn a new program while behind the wheel.As Curic’s team negotiated with carmakers, Lab126 engineers got to work on an end around, repurposing the Echo speaker’s microphone arrays and software, originally designed for homes, for noisy car environments. The device avoided dealing with in-car communications systems entirely by piggybacking off of customers’ smartphone to connect to Alexa servers.When it was released, analysts said the Echo Auto seemed to fill a gap in the market, offering a device that promised to bring modern voice control to older car models. It drew more than 1 million orders, Amazon said, though the device is still shipping in batches and only to invited customers.Reviewers said the device lacked polish, coming off at times like a work-in-progress. A reviewer at tech news site the Verge said some of the auto-focused applications Amazon touts on its website “are laughably bad right now.”It’s harder to get a read on how customers feel because Amazon, which helped popularize online product reviews, has disabled customer reviews for the Echo Auto.Ryan Adzima, who bought one to replace the outdated voice control system that came standard in his Jeep, is a fan. The owner of five Echo smart speakers figured the device’s introductory price tag of $25 was a bargain compared with replacing his entertainment system or buying a voice-activated navigation system.He liked the device, which heard his commands over road noise with the windows open and top down and easily handled tasks like calls and music. Connectivity, dependent on sometimes spotty wireless service around his Las Vegas home, left something to be desired, forcing him to reach for his phone to skip songs by hand when Alexa’s servers couldn’t be reached.Adzima isn’t in the market for a new car. But if Alexa is integrated in enough models by the time he is, he’ll consider it.“If I was sitting on a lot, and one car had Alexa built in, the other didn’t, and the cost difference wasn’t that much?,” he says. “That would definitely make my decision.”To contact the author of this story: Matt Day in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at email@example.com, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The bank's stock has been down since it announced it was the subject of ongoing government agency investigations.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The relationship between President Donald Trump and the largest U.S. technology companies has often been frosty but a common opponent -- France’s plan to tax U.S. tech giants -- will bring the two sides together, at least temporarily.Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are all scheduled to testify in Washington on Monday in support of the Trump administration’s efforts to potentially punish France for enacting a 3% tax on global tech companies with at least 750 million euros ($832 million) in global revenue and digital sales of 25 million euros in France.France’s digital tax “is a sharp departure from long-established tax rules and uniquely targets a subset of businesses,” according to prepared remarks a Google representative is scheduled to deliver in the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office hearing in Washington on Monday. “French government officials have emphasized repeatedly that the” tax is intended to target foreign technology companies.How ‘Digital Tax’ Plans in Europe Hit U.S. Tech: QuickTakeThe U.S. is probing France’s new tax, which French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law last month, using a tool that could be a precursor to new tariffs or other trade restrictions. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer could take action as soon as Aug. 26 when a comment period on the issue closes.‘Radical Left’The effort to crack down on France has created common ground for Trump -- who has called Google and Facebook “on the side of the Radical Left Democrats” and accused Amazon of avoiding taxes -- and technology companies that are both worried foreign governments are looking to use American corporations as a way to collect additional tax revenue.The U.S. is looking to use France as an example to deter other countries from targeting American technology firms for tax dollars. The U.K., New Zealand, Spain and Italy are among countries considering their own digital taxes, a move that U.S. officials say could lead to companies being taxed multiple times on the same profits.Trump has threatened to tax French wine or other goods in response to the digital tax. He tweeted last month “we will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly!” The so-called 301 investigation, which looks into unfair trade practices, is the same tool Trump used to slap tariffs on China over alleged intellectual-property theft.The U.S. says countries considering their own version of a digital tax should focus on ongoing global talks with 130 countries on how to tax tech companies. Any future pact would likely create a whole new set of rules governing which countries have the right to tax the companies, which corporate profits are taxable, and how to resolve the inevitable disputes that would arise. A deal could be reached as soon as next year.Opposition to France’s tax is a rare area of bipartisan agreement in Congress. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in June, Senators Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, urged the U.S. to look at “all available tools under U.S. law to address such targeted and discriminatory taxation.”The lawmakers included a suggestion to use a section of the tax code that would double the rate of U.S. taxes on French citizens and companies in the U.S.To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at email@example.com, Sarah McGregor, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Elsewhere on Monday, -- A new Satoshi claimant . -- Solar roadways turned out to be not so good. -- What is WeWork? -- Some Kenyans believe fintech apps are enslaving them in debt. -- And some Cambodians ...
For sellers looking to make extra cash from online retailing, the decision to go online is easy but the choice between eBay and Amazon might not be so easy.
(Bloomberg) -- A top long-only equity hedge fund is betting big on Internet dating.Helsinki-based HCP Focus, which has a slim portfolio of only 12 “high-conviction” stocks, has 16% of its funds invested in Tinder-operator Match Group Inc. The owner of subscription-based online dating websites and applications has risen 93% so far this year, with a surge in new Tinder subscribers boosting second-quarter revenue and fueling a record gain on August 7. HCP entered the stock at the beginning of 2017.“If you’re a heterosexual single guy, you don’t really care about the technical details,” Ernst Gronblom, portfolio manager at Helsinki Capital Partners, said by phone on Thursday. “When a dating platform has reached critical mass, it’s very, very hard to dislodge it. If a competing platform tries to enter the market, it’s very hard to convince people to create accounts on several dating platforms.”HCP Focus manages about 70 million euros ($78 million) and was the top long-only equity fund over the three years through the first quarter, according to BarclayHedge. It returned an average 22% a year in the past five years through July. Match is its biggest holding, followed by Amazon.com Inc., which has been one of the main holdings since the start of the fund.“It’s not overvalued,” he said. “But I don’t see an explosive upside in it anymore because it’s so huge. It has the potential to give a reasonably good return for quite some time.”Gronblom focuses on companies with network effects that can create “natural monopolies”. He also holds PayPal Holdings Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Facebook Inc., which has the strongest network effects “of any big company on the planet,” he said.Zeroing in on just 12 stocks is the “sweet spot” for Gronblom, giving enough diversification to keep volatility in check yet concentrated enough to give the full benefits of stock-picking, he said. That’s a strategy that has outperformed in recent years, but it faces risks in the short term from a global bear market.“Most of my portfolio companies are highly valued, at least according to traditional metrics,” he said. “If there’s a panic in the market these companies will typically suffer more severe losses than regular companies.“To contact the reporter on this story: Jonas Cho Walsgard in Oslo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at email@example.com, Stephen TreloarFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Indonesia’s president wants to spend at least $30 billion to move the capital to a forest on the island of Borneo. The proximate trigger is climate change – Jakarta is sinking into the sea. President Joko Widodo is planning a giant wall to keep big waves out, but global warming presents a clear danger to low-lying cities. After analyzing 393 cyclone-vulnerable coastal cities in 31 countries, World Bank economists have concluded that 40% of the damage from storm-surge catastrophes would fall on three Asian cities — Jakarta, Manila and Karachi, Pakistan. The Philippines is shifting government offices from coastal Manila to higher ground: the old American air base of Clark City.No wonder Widodo wants to move to the province of Kalimantan in Borneo, an island Indonesia shares with Malaysia and Brunei. The private sector and financial center will remain in metropolitan Jakarta, a megalopolis teeming with 30 million people. Yet in practice, the relocation will be a big prize for the private sector, with everything from real-estate development, urban gas supply, hospital management and many others up for grabs. The move is planned to start around 2024.What kind of capital will the nation of 267 million people get? A Naypyidaw, the nearly empty new city in central Myanmar conceived by a military junta? Or something more like Brasilia, which Brazil carved out of the Amazon in the 1960s to lessen the over-arching role that Rio de Janeiro had played since Portuguese colonial times? Widodo will be hoping for a Brasilia and to shake up the primacy of Java, the main island of the more than 18,000 that make up Indonesia. The move could also tilt the economic growth model away from state-owned enterprises, which are playing a bigger role since the president, known as Jokowi, came to office in 2014 and pledged to develop infrastructure in far-flung parts of the country.Indonesia has a historic mistrust of private enterprise. The resource-rich archipelago was plundered by foreign concessionaires and their cronies under former President Suharto’s 32-year dictatorship, which collapsed in the 1998 Asian crisis. Since then, Indonesia has been maturing as a democracy and stars like the ride-hailing app Gojek are the face of a youthful new private sector. A $30 billion new city project can be a playground for creativity – or a den of corruption. Indonesia has to choose wisely.A similar choice exists for the environment. The annual haze that engulfs Singapore and Malaysia emanates in part from forest fires in Kalimantan as farmers clear land for plantations. Will having the president in the neighborhood improve the policing of oil-palm estates? If the foul air quality in the Indian capital of New Delhi because of paddy-stubble burning in Punjab is any guide, the answer isn’t obvious. But if Jokowi does succeed, it will be a PR coup — European ambassadors’ children living in Kalimantan could persuade their home countries to stop objecting to the use of Indonesian palm oil in biofuel. That would safeguard the livelihood of 6% of Indonesians. The history of planned, new capital cities is mixed. The broad boulevards of Naypyidaw still await that one ingredient without which no city is complete: people. But there are successes. Why shouldn’t moving the seat of political power give Indonesia its own Canberra? The century-old, low-profile Australian capital is home to 400,000 residents. How hard can it be to fill a new urban agglomeration with 1.5 million inhabitants, asks Bambang Brodjonegoro, the minister of national development planning. Indonesia has 11 times as many people as Australia. Then there’s Brasilia. As Portugal did with Rio, the Dutch East India Company made Batavia – modern-day Jakarta – the epicenter of a vast trading network. And just as post-colonial Brazil felt the need to weaken Rio’s centrality, Jokowi has tasked Brodjonegoro to reduce the political role of Java, the most-populous island and a 59% contributor to annual GDP. Dated as Brasilia’s pioneering modernist look might seem now, the city helped change Brazil for the better. “Jakarta is in Java,” the minister tells me. “It reflects the Javanese identity.” But Indonesia is meant to be more than Java. If the idea is to reduce the entrenched homogeneity of majority Malay-Muslim Javanese power and diversify across the ethnic, cultural and religious mix that makes up ``Indonesian flavor,’’ as Brodjonegoro describes it, then the effort is praiseworthy.There’s no escaping the prevailing global zeitgeist of majoritarianism. By today’s standards, just wanting to lean against it makes Jokowi a very different kind of leader.To contact the author of this story: Andy Mukherjee at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at email@example.comThis 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/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Investors are bracing for a significant downturn in the world economy, cutting earnings estimates amid a market sell-off. While all cyclical industries face some form of risks, some companies within each sector are more vulnerable than others as the outlook deteriorates.In recent recessions, technology and finance were the triggers -- the internet bubble caused the 2000 market crash and subprime lending led to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis that spread to housing, manufacturing and consumer demand.“The financial sector was leading in 2002-2007. In this cycle, it’s the tech sector,” said Bloomberg Chief Equity Strategist Gina Martin Adams. Still, she cautioned that in spite of the warning signs, it may be too early to predict a recession, adding that “tech is the strength of the economy.”Here are five global companies that may stand to lose more than others:AmazonAmazon.com Inc. is among the most cyclical U.S. internet companies because the Seattle-based e-commerce giant relies heavily on consumer spending. It’s also been building its employee base, adding more than 600,000 jobs and hundreds of huge warehouses to store and ship products. Some of those costs are fixed, while others may be hard to reduce quickly if there’s a steep economic decline. It also faces regulatory risks.“Amazon’s near-term growth may be at risk as macroeconomic conditions worsen, regulatory scrutiny rises and spending cycles spark concern,” Jitendra Waral and April Kim, analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in a recent note. “If demand were to slow amid Amazon’s increased spending on logistics, profit would face a double whammy.”One of Amazon’s fastest-growing new businesses -- digital advertising -- is also susceptible to economic ups and downs. Still, Amazon is riding a broad e-commerce growth trend that is unlikely to reverse during a recession.SwatchMakers of luxury items tend to endure more risks in a recession than producers of mass-market consumer goods. This time around, the effects would be compounded by U.S.-China trade tensions and protests in Hong Kong, which has already hurt the city’s economic outlook.Swatch Group AG, the biggest maker of Swiss timepieces, has more exposure to Hong Kong than any other luxury company, generating more than a third of the group’s sales in the Greater China region, according to Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox. The maker of Omega watches also has a smaller presence in the steadier luxury categories of jewelry and fashion than rival Richemont, which owns brands including Chloe, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier.The high-end segment has also been far less elastic in a downturn. In 2009, Swiss watch exports slumped 22% amid the financial crisis.So far, the economic slowdown in China has done little to damp the appetite of Chinese consumers for luxury goods. But watchmakers are feeling the effects of the sometimes violent demonstrations in Hong Kong, their largest export market. Timepiece sales there could plunge as much as 40% in the second half, Cox said.Swatch also faces sluggish watch sales in Europe. If the U.S. takes a turn for the worse, the industry could be hit by a reversal of the recovery in its second-biggest market.Swatch ExportsDaimlerThe German corporate giant just doesn’t just face a slowdown in its home market -- it also has substantial exposure to a potential downturn in the U.S. The automaker produces two high-margin SUVs in Alabama and its Freightliner division is the leader in the North American heavy-truck market. Demand for transportation of goods tends to closely mirror broader economic swings and analysts say heavy-truck sales in the region have peaked following years of robust growth.Daimler AG relies on the U.S. for about a quarter of the group’s revenue last year. That’s more than Germany or China, where it operates a joint venture with BAIC.After two back-to-back profit warnings following their debut in May, Daimler’s new leadership duo has vowed to improve efficiency. Profitability at the Mercedes-Benz passenger-car division has been sub-par compared with its peers, and the car unit is up against waning demand in its two biggest markets by volume: China and the U.S.CaesarsAn economic downturn could be particularly ill-timed for Caesars Entertainment Corp. The largest owner of casinos in the U.S. is about to increase its debt load again to finance a megadeal, after struggling for years to recover from a 2008 leveraged buyout that left it saddled with debt at the height of the Great Recession. (Caesars ended up putting its largest division into bankruptcy to clean up its balance sheet.)Caesars is set to merge with Eldorado Resorts Inc. early next year in a deal that involves $8.2 billion in new financing, amid rising competition from new casinos, both online and at its properties. Unlike some of its peers that focus more on luxury, such as Wynn Resorts Ltd., Caesars operates a lot of casinos in small markets including Tunica, Mississippi, and Metropolis, Illinois. Combined with Eldorado, it will have 60 owned, operated and managed casino–resorts across 16 states.And even the Las Vegas Strip, once considered invincible as a gambling destination, has yet to see casino revenue return to its 2007 high.Toll BrothersA major economic slowdown would almost certainly hit home sales and prices for builders like Toll Brothers Inc. “If we do go into a recession, housing isn’t going to be the cause,” said Drew Reading, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’s going to be the victim.”The bigger challenge for the industry right now is affordability, especially in high-cost metros on the West Coast. Toll Brothers, the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder, has been trying to diversify geographically. But it’s still highly reliant on California, where it got nearly a third of its revenue last year.One the plus side: Single-family housing starts still haven’t returned to historical levels more than a decade after the financial crisis, which means homebuilders won’t be sitting on as much supply if the economy takes a turn for the worst.\--With assistance from Christoph Rauwald, Kevin Miller, Corinne Gretler, Noah Buhayar, Ian King, Christopher Palmeri and Alistair Barr.To contact the reporter on this story: Cécile Daurat in Wilmington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at email@example.com, Linus Chua, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Responding to recent reports on the difficult working conditions of Amazon warehouses, an army of totally real Amazon employees have begun defending the company on Twitter. House On Fire Amazon has been under fire for... a lot of things recently, from its connection to ICE to its facial recognition technology to its anti-union activities, but also for the reportedly back-breaking conditions of workers at its fulfillment center warehouses, where employees are often made to perform strenuous activities for hours at a time with little break; a report on these warehouses by Last Week Tonight With John Oliver recently went viral. It would seem Amazon is not taking the criticisms lying down, but their attempts to counter them on social media is not that convincing to many critics. This Is Fine In response to the negative attention, Amazon employees known as “FC ambassadors” (short for fulfillment centers) have been pushing back on Twitter, talking about how great it is to work there. The ambassadors first popped up last year, and seem to have picked up steam lately, after the Amazon News Twitter account invited followers to tour a center “to see what our warehouses are really like,” and the responding criticisms went viral. "Everything is fine, I don't think there is anything wrong with the money I make or the way I am treated at work,” was a typical response of one Ambassador. Mr. Roboto Critics of the FC Ambassadors mocked the “robotic” nature of their replies on Twitter, and there certainly is good reason to be suspicious of them. The New York Times reported that it seems like the users names and pictures of the FC accounts shift frequently, with the same talking points and stilted language reoccurring. A data analysis found that about 50 of the accounts were using the social media management tool Sprinklr, which is typically used by brands like Nike for online marketing. Amazon declined to tell the Times how many Ambassadors it employs. Prime The Pump On Prime Day last July, workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota held a strike to protest unsafe working conditions. They were joined by engineers who flew to Minnesota to show solidarity. -Michael Tedder Photo: Carlos Jasso / REUTERS
As the Democratic presidential candidates argue about “Medicare for All” versus a “public option,” two simple policy changes could slash U.S. health-care costs by 75% while increasing access and improving the quality of care. If they were rolled out nationally, the United States would save $2.4 trillion per year across individuals, businesses, and the government. The first policy—price tags—is a necessary prerequisite for competition and efficiency.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly lashed out at technology giants and their leaders, announced on Friday evening that he would be dining with Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.“Having dinner tonight with Tim Cook of Apple,” Trump, who is staying at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, wrote on Twitter. “They will be spending vast sums of money in the U.S. Great!”He did not elaborate, and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting.Heads of other major technology companies, including Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. have not fared as well in the president’s tweets and public remarks.He and his political allies have made unsupported claims that social media companies muzzle conservative views. Trump has assailed Amazon for edging out brick-and-mortar retailers and criticized its founder Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post.Pressure on tech companies is increasing in Washington as congressional Republicans examine accusations of bias against conservatives; Democrats in the House conduct an antitrust inquiry and officials at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission divvy up oversight of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.Earlier this week, FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in an interview that he wouldn’t let Trump’s complaints about the size and political inclinations of large technology platforms affect his agency’s decisions.Cook visited the White House in June to discuss the Trump administration’s efforts to develop job training programs that meet the changing demands of U.S. employers. The meeting was part of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, a working group that includes many corporate leaders. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump unveiled the initiative earlier this year.\--With assistance from Alistair Barr.To contact the reporter on this story: John Harney in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at email@example.com, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B, $198.31) Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett hasn't found much to his liking in 2019.The Oracle of Omaha bought and sold left and right at the end of 2018. He used the fourth quarter's near-bear market to snap up bargains and exit a few underperforming investments, amassing a total of 17 common-stock trades. But thanks to significantly higher prices across 2019, Buffett has dialed things down, making 10 such moves in Q1 and just six in the three months ended June 30.Nonetheless, we can gleam a few things from what Buffett is doing, so today we will take a look at the most recent changes to Berkshire Hathaway's equity portfolio.The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's own rules require Buffett to open up about these moves. All investment managers with more than $100 million in assets must file a Form 13F every quarter to disclose every change in stock ownership. That's an important level of transparency for anyone well-funded enough to significantly impact a stock with their investment. And in this case, it helps people who appreciate Buffett's insights track what he's doing - some investors view a Berkshire buy as an important seal of approval. (Just remember: A few of Berkshire's holdings are influenced or even outright decided by lieutenants Ted Weschler and Todd Combs.)Here's what Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway was buying and selling during the second quarter of 2019, based on the most recent 13F that was filed on Aug. 14. The list includes six changes to the equity portfolio, and a notable seventh investment. SEE ALSO: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio: All 47 Buffett Stocks
Does anybody want to work with ICE? While the actual answer is still “probably,” one has to at least wonder, based on the growing number of employees who are calling on their companies to cut ties with the controversial federal agency. And CBP isn’t looking so cool either. The Whole World A coalition of workers at Whole Foods, who have previously gone public with their attempts to unionize and have called out what they call unfair working conditions, have called on their parent company Amazon to cut all ties with Palantir, a tech company that provides computer services that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses to track and detain immigrants; the agency has been under fire the mistreatment of immigrants. The Whole Food employees also pledged their support for Amazon workers pressuring the company to stop selling the facial recognition technology Rekognition to ICE. Mad Men Also joining in on the employee movement to stand with immigrants are workers at the global PR firm Ogilvy, who raised their objections to the company’s contract with the Customs and Border Protection agency during a recent company town hall, with one employee telling Chief Executive Officer John Seifert “this is about people, not money.” In response, Seifert sent a memo saying the company will continue working with the agency. Melting The pressure on corporations by their employees to have absolutely nothing to do with ICE or the detainment of migrants has been heating up ever further of late, as Google employees recently launched a petition for the company to not bid on contracts with CBP or ICE, citing concerns over the violation of human rights. Last May, Amazon shareholders rejected proposals to both stop selling facial recognition technology to government agencies. -Michael Tedder Photo: Brendan McDermid / REUTERS