3,087.00 +3.00 (0.10%)
After hours: 7:59PM EDT
|Bid||3,085.76 x 900|
|Ask||3,088.00 x 1200|
|Day's range||2,950.00 - 3,125.50|
|52-week range||1,626.03 - 3,344.29|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.32|
|PE ratio (TTM)||147.31|
|Earnings date||23 Jul 2020 - 27 Jul 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||2,852.48|
Amazon this morning announced a partnership with Crossover Health to build worker healthcare facilities near its fulfillment centers. The plan is still in a pilot phase, as the e-commerce giant employs the services of Crossover, which builds clinics for corporate clients. The startup has built such facilities for Apple and Facebook, and was even rumored to be a potential target for an Apple acquisition a few years back.
Google, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft have refused to agree to a proposal that would give Hong Kong regulators access to customer banking records, putting the companies on a collision course with city authorities. The technology groups have been locked in negotiations since last year with the Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong regulator, over providing access to financial data held on their cloud platforms.
In the latest trading session, Amazon (AMZN) closed at $3,084, marking a -0.64% move from the previous day.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The U.S. stock market has had a remarkable run since its coronavirus-induced swoon in March, with technology stocks from Big Tech to upstarts leading the comeback and soaring off their lows. A hot stock market tends to stoke demand for IPOs as well, and that’s exactly what has happened — especially in the area of cloud software and internet services. The latest manifestation of this phenomenon came on Tuesday, when cloud-banking software provider nCino Inc. surged more than 170% in its trading debut. The enthusiasm for this digital niche does make sense on a fundamental level. The pandemic has accelerated the spending shift to cloud-related technologies that enable the work-from-home and digital services we all need to live in a Covid-19 world. So, it’s natural that investors would latch on to the story and bid up many companies related to the space, including new issues. NCino isn’t alone: Cloud-based business-intelligence company ZoomInfo Technologies Inc. soared 62% in its first day of trading in June, while earlier this month, insurance digital-services startup Lemonade Inc. had a triple-digit percentage gain in its debut. All three are posting stellar growth rates and rely on cloud-based infrastructure to deliver their offerings.But a frothier environment is also a recipe for some on Wall Street to take advantage of the heightened investor interest. One potential IPO — Rackspace Technology Inc. — stands out as being particularly suspect. The cloud-computing service provider, owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, filed to go public last Friday. After looking at the offering documents, it appears Apollo and its name-brand underwriters such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are trying to ride the recent wave of cloud enthusiasm with a subpar candidate. For those of us who remember, Rackspace was a second-tier data center and web-hosting company that had trouble competing with Amazon Web Services back when the investment firm took it private in 2016. It doesn’t look like much has changed since then.Simply, Rackspace’s anemic financial results punch a hole in its “cloud” narrative. The company doesn’t deserve to be put in the same breath as the recent big winners in the space. Whereas leading cloud companies have generated stunning sales increases over the past year, Rackspace posted no growth in 2019, according to the filing. And while its revenue did rise marginally about 8% in its March quarter, it is still nowhere in the vicinity of the sector’s best-of-breed. Never mind the fact it lost $48 million in those three months.To illustrate the disparity, cloud monitoring software provider Datadog Inc.’s sales surged by 87% in its latest reported quarter, while user authentication company Okta, Inc. generated revenue growth of 46%. Even Amazon Web Services, at its gargantuan size, saw sales increase by 33% in its March quarter to $10.2 billion, generating $3.1 billion in operating profit for the period. Companies need to show surging demand for their product and services to justify a cloud calling card. These companies do; Rackspace, not so much.On the flip side, one can argue the recent IPOs are widely overvalued. For example, nCino, ZoomInfo and Lemonade are trading at nose-bleed valuations of more than 50 times last year’s sales. But their track records and strong growth prospects can offer at least a shot at a better prospective future.At a time when the surging market has some invoking the word “bubble” and questioning the sustainability of the rally, investors need to look carefully at what bankers and Wall Street firms may be trying to off-load while the arrows are still pointing upward. They should look through the hype, sift through the numbers and analyze each company’s prospects on a case-by-case basis. Not all of the so-called cloud stocks are headed for the sky.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Walmart (NYSE: WMT) stock is getting a lift in Tuesday-afternoon trading, up more than 1% (the Dow Jones Industrial Average as a whole is up less than 1%) on news that the retail giant is expanding its influence in India. Two years ago, Walmart bought its way into the Indian e-commerce market with a $16 billion purchase of a 77% stake in local company Flipkart, India's No. 1 e-commerce company, ahead of No. 2 Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). Walmart and other, unnamed investors are investing a further $1.2 billion in Flipkart.
JPMorgan reported better-than-expected results, and an analyst sees big gains for Walmart as it takes on Amazon Prime.
(Bloomberg) -- Employees at an Amazon.com Inc. warehouse in Memphis, Tennessee, say the e-commerce giant erred in withdrawing unpaid leave and has failed to ensure their safety just as colleagues fall ill with Covid-19 and the surrounding region suffers an explosion in cases.Workers at Amazon’s MEM1 facility say managers require them to continue working even when experiencing symptoms. In one case, a worker told human resources he had headaches, a runny nose and loss of smell and taste, according to four people familiar with the matter. The worker got tested that day but kept working for five days until the results came back positive, the people said. In another instance, an Amazon employee training about two dozen new workers was pulled aside during a lunch break and told to go home because she had Covid-19, but those remaining weren’t immediately informed about their potential exposure, the people said.Earlier this year, about the time coronavirus cases began appearing at warehouses in New York, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, Amazon gave workers an extra $2 an hour and let them take leave with no questions asked. But as states in the Northeast and Midwest appeared to be getting the virus under control, the company ended those short-term programs and required workers to apply for sick leave—a process some employees say has been plagued by confusion and delays. Now that cases are exploding in Tennessee and other southern states, Amazon workers must show up for work or risk being fired. The Memphis workers say they get conflicting instructions, forcing them to make difficult decisions without clear guidance from the company. A key point of aggravation is being told to continue showing up by someone who’s allowed to work from home.“We feel like sitting ducks,” said one worker, who requested anonymity to speak freely without jeopardizing her job. “We don’t want to get sick or threaten our children and our families, and we feel like they are playing around with our lives.”It’s unclear how many workers have contracted the virus in Memphis, and Amazon has declined to provide a national or state-by-state tally despite pressure from several national politicians. A group of employees, who have been keeping their own spreadsheet of cases, said in June that there were more than 1,500 cases in Amazon warehouses around the country and more than a dozen in the Memphis warehouse. The company says the infection rate among workers at the facility is lower than the surrounding county.The company earmarked more than $800 million in the first half of the year on virus-related safety measures, including purchasing masks and hand sanitizer and installing thermal cameras and thermometers. Some employees have been redeployed to ensure workers are adhering to social-distancing guidelines among other safety-related tasks.In a statement, Amazon said: “Temperature checks are mandatory and if an employee is found to have a temperature above 100.4 then they are sent home and paid for their scheduled shift, up to five hours. Associates need to stay home until they’ve been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine. If anyone is experiencing symptoms, in addition to or separate of, a fever, they are instructed to stay home until their symptoms subside.”Amazon Tells Staff Hand-Washing Time Won’t Be Held Against ThemWhile Tennessee hasn’t been hit as hard as Florida, Texas and Arizona, the Memphis area began reporting a spike in Covid-19 cases at the end of June. Nearly 14,000 people have been infected and more than 220 have died from the virus in Shelby County, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Shelby County, where the warehouse is located, had an infection rate of 33 per 100,000 people, among the highest infection rates in the state.Tennessee was among the first states to reopen its economy and paid for residents to get tested. But the recent surge in cases is forcing some cities to reimposes stricter measures because hospitals are overwhelmed. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland last week extended a state of emergency; local health officials ordered bars to close for the foreseeable future and restaurants to close at 10 pm.Workers at the Memphis warehouse say colleagues began getting sick about the time cases surged in the area. Like Amazon workers elsewhere, they say the company isn’t providing enough information about new cases or how many people at the facility have tested positive or come down with Covid-19. Messages sent to workers are formulaic, vague and have arrived several days after workers were potentially exposed. One message sent to workers July 8 said: “We were recently notified that individuals who work at MEM1 have received a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. They were last onsite on 07/03/2020.” Employees interpret the lack of transparency as a deliberate attempt by the company to mask the prevalence of the virus among the workforce, forcing them to make difficult decisions about their safety and financial well-being without facts.When managers told the Memphis warehouse trainer to go home mid-shift, the workers say they weren’t told why. They learned she had Covid-19 only because the trainer told them herself, they said. The trainees were relocated to another part of the building, the workers said. The employees said they complained to the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration and reported the cases to a Shelby County Health Department hotline, but there is little regulators can do. OSHA doesn’t have much oversight over the spread of germs in the workplace beyond making sure employees have access to soap and water for handwashing, agency spokesman Chris Cannon said. Joan Carr, a spokeswoman with the Shelby County Health Department, declined to comment on the workers’ complaints.Employees at the Memphis warehouse say they resent that unlimited unpaid time off is no longer available now that they could use it. Rather than creating a one-size-fits-all pandemic policy, they say, Amazon should tailor its response to local conditions—echoing the argument now being put forward by school districts opposed to a wholesale re-opening amid the surge in infections. “It’s very scary,” one worker said. “They’re putting everyone at risk.”(Updates with company spending on safety measures. )For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) wants to bring the "just walk out" technology that powers its Amazon Go convenience stores to your local supermarket. The Amazon Dash Cart will debut at the Woodland Hills, California, grocery store the e-commerce giant opened earlier this year, which is separate from its Whole Foods Market chain. Like the Amazon Go technology, the shopping cart version links to your Amazon account and, when you pass through a special checkout lane in the store, it automatically charges your account for the items in your cart.
Two massive media companies launched new streaming services this summer: AT&T (NYSE: T) introduced HBO Max at the end of May, and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) started offering a preview of Peacock in April with a public launch this month. There are three big issues for AT&T and Comcast in their negotiations with Amazon and Roku.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Legendary investor Bill Miller, this week's guest on Masters in Business, is anything but your standard-issue value-stock money manager. He has owned high-flying stocks such as (Google parent) Alphabet and Amazon since their initial public offerings. At one time, he was one of the 100 biggest holders in Bitcoin, personally, buying the cryptocurrency between $200 and $400 (it recently traded at about $9,200). He has not yet sold any.Miller says that “value has led markets out of every recession as far back as the data goes.” That is because value stocks tend to be more cyclical and their returns on capital decline when the economy peaks. Whatever advantage value may have had will be short -ived, as growth will reassert itself. Low nominal growth rates and low inflation are much more challenging for value stocks and make growth stocks look cheap.Miller rebooted his investing philosophy after the 1987 stock-market crash and his fund’s terrible market returns in 1989 and 1990. He began integrating academic research that had showed a benefit of focusing on return on capital through a market cycle. Instead of the using traditional measures embodied in generally accepted account principles, he focused on free cash flow yield, return on invested capital and full-cycle earnings.The result of these changes was the fund he was managing, Legg Mason’s Capital Management Value Trust, soon went on an unprecedented winning streak: after-fees returns beat the S&P 500 Index for 15 consecutive years from 1991 through 2005.Today, his firm, Miller Value Partners, manages more than $2 billion in client assets.A list of his favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is here.You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Overcast, Google, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Martin Franklin of Mariposa Capital. Franklin is credited with successfully reviving the use of special purpose acquisition companies, or so-called blank-check companies, as public vehicles for mergers and acquisitions with closely held companies.This 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/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- In late June, when India banned 59 Chinese apps, including global sensation TikTok, the short-video platform stopped working for its 200 million local users. Within hours, an avalanche of new sign-ups pushed the servers of one of its Bangalore-based rivals, Roposo, to breaking point.Two weeks on, Roposo, which also offers short videos, says it’s peaking at 500,000 new users an hour and expects to have 100 million by month’s end. That’s almost double the 55 million it had before the ban, and puts Roposo among a profusion of Indian startups to benefit from TikTok’s troubles in the country.The ban from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government covered other big Chinese names such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s UC Web mobile browser and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat messaging app, and came amid a brutal border face-off between India and China that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.While India cited privacy and security concerns, the restrictions are poised to dramatically alter the competitive landscape in the nation’s digital economy. They give local firms a fighting chance at winning a larger chunk of the country’s more than half-a-billion internet denizens. And they could pave the way for some Indian firms to compete more aggressively with global giants such as Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., who are also seeking to profit from one of the world’s largest digital booms.“It was a rocket ship instant for the country’s app startups,” said Naveen Tewari, founder of the startup that owns Roposo, munching nuts against the backdrop of the red-brick-walled study in his Bangalore home on a recent Zoom call. “We have a viable chance to become the world’s fourth technology hub after the U.S., China and Russia.”His decade-old digital advertising startup InMobi, Roposo’s parent, has in earlier years drawn investments from global names such as SoftBank Group. Last year, PayPal co-founder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel backed its unit, Glance, which acquired Roposo in November.Roposo features videos showcasing moves set to Bollywood music, humor minus the ribaldry, pranks, fashion and even jokes about the coronavirus pandemic. Roposo, as Tewari put it, is the app you won’t be embarrassed to show your mom.TikTok has faced censure from courts, women’s groups, users and governments for content seen as sexually explicit or for the depiction of events like acid attacks on women. Roposo and other Indian TikTok imitators, on the other hand, market their content as fun that’s more in line with India’s relatively conservative culture.TikTok didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story. In a June 30 statement, it said it was invited to meet government stakeholders to provide clarifications, and has and will continue to comply with security and data privacy requirements under Indian law. The Chinese app has in the past emphasized its efforts to moderate content and said its policies don’t permit videos that risk people’s safety, promote physical harm or glorify violence against women. Earlier this year, it suspended the account of a prominent content creator for posting a mock acid attack video.Many Indian apps have a late start, and most lack the sophistication and user-friendly interfaces of TikTok. Nor do they have the investment appetite and the deep pockets of the likes of TikTok parent Bytedance Ltd., which is the world’s most valuable startup and was valued at more than $100 billion in May.Still, the Indian government’s ban throws open multiple, billion user business models, said Manjunath Bhat, a senior director analyst at Gartner Inc. “India’s entrepreneurs didn’t lack talent, they were just short on ambition,” Bhat said. “The combined effect of the coronavirus lockdown and the app ban presents a never-before, never-again opportunity.”With Indian names like Chingari (Hindi for spark), Mitron (meaning friends) and Bolo Indya (Tell me, India), a string of small Indian TikTok challengers, have been notching up titanic user numbers since the ban on the Chinese apps. Some like the Moj app are barely weeks old.Battlers in other categories have also received a windfall as other Chinese names like highly-downloaded image scanner CamScanner were also blocked. The new contenders from a variety of categories have three themes in common. Their apps are made in India. Their data is stored in India. Their content, mainly in regional languages, is attuned to local sensibilities.The followers of an Indian spiritual guru, Sri Sri Ravishankar, created Elyments, an all-in-one rival for WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, of the Reliance conglomerate, launched JioMeet, a video conferencing rival to the popular San Jose-based Zoom.Sumit Ghosh, cofounder of Chingari, says many of the China short video apps have adult content designed to grab attention and ensure they go viral. “In contrast, our algorithms are built to ensure trash will never trend on Chingari,” said Ghosh. Its videos are slow-dripped to users to check for offensive content. If multiple users complain, videos are pulled off.Ghosh and his cofounder began building the app just over a year ago when data consumption started exploding. It catered to Indians in smaller towns who hungered for relatable, Indian language content. In the months that followed, the founders closely matched TikTok, feature for feature, adding everything from livestreams to AR filters, the computer-generated special effects that users can layer over real-life video and images.Bangalore-based Chingari, which had 3.5 million users on the day of the ban, says it has crossed 17.5 million. Its overwhelmed founders are now creating a company, Chingari Media Pvt. They are drawing up a corporate and equity structure, testing revenue strategies and growing their eight-engineer team. TikTok influencers – stars with huge following who market products and services - are popping up by the thousands on Ghosh’s Twitter asking to be on Chingari as verified users. He says his startup is in “late funding talks”.In New Delhi, Trisha Girdhar’s influencer management agency could portend the future. Until last month, TikTok accounted for the bulk of her earnings. Now, the 22-year-old is now straining to shift her star clients - influencers from far-flung towns like Akola, Nabha, Katni and Birati - to Roposo and other platforms. “Brands are looking seriously at our influencers,” said Girdhar who herself specializes in belly dancing videos and has a fan following on Roposo.Roposo itself is getting a deluge of influencer marketing agencies and celebrities wanting to come aboard. It’s discussing contracts with celebrity users and content creators. It’s investing in camera filters and Indian themes. “This isn’t an opportunity just for entrepreneurs,” said Tewari. “Investors ought to be rushing over.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. has developed a smart shopping cart that will ring up purchases and let consumers check out more speedily.Equipped with a flat screen, the Dash Cart will debut at a new kind of supermarket Amazon is opening later this year in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, the company said Tuesday.The e-commerce giant has been trying to stand out in the competitive physical retail market, most notably with its Amazon Go convenience stores that automate the checkout process.Earlier this year, the company confirmed that it will license a version of its Go technology, called “Just Walk Out,” to other companies. The system uses an array of cameras and algorithms to track shoppers as they browse and charge them automatically when they leave.Installing Amazon Go technology in existing stores would require shutting the location down for an extended period. By contrast, smart carts can be deployed without disrupting operations. It’s unclear if Amazon plans to license the Dash Cart to other retailers, but it already has competition: Caper and Veeve both sell carts that let shoppers scan products as they roam the aisles. Caper, for instance, is used in Ctown and Foodcellar in Long Island City, New York.Computer vision and sensors identify items as they’re placed in the cart, and shoppers will exit the store through a special lane that can identify the cart and process payment, the Seattle-based company said in an e-mail. The cart was designed for small- to medium-sized grocery trips and fits two grocery bags, Amazon said. It also features a coupon scanner.Photos of the Woodland Hills store and planning documents seen by Bloomberg appear to show a conventional supermarket layout, with space for a pickup-and-returns counter.The Verge reported on the cart earlier.(Updates with smart cart competion.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
When Warren Buffett invests in a company, it pays to find out why. The legendary value investor bought his first stock at age 11 and now, 78 years later, he is the fourth-richest man in the world and the head of the $430 billion holding company Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) (NYSE: BRK.B). Berkshire's portfolio is publicly available through SEC filings, giving regular investors a glimpse into the mind of the oracle of Omaha.
After notching stellar gains so far in 2020, should investors buy one of the year's hottest stocks or take their money and run?
IMDb TV and Amazon Prime Video have secured the exclusive U.S., Germany, Austria and Latin America rights to original series Alex Rider.
Amazon (AMZN) to gain traction among industrial customers with its latest service, AWS IoT SiteWise.
Reportedly, Amazon (AMZN) has ordered delivery trucks to support delivery services.
Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google plans to invest $10 billion in India over the next five-seven years.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced a health care pilot with Crossover Health, an expert in comprehensive primary care services, to establish local, convenient health centers near Amazon fulfillment centers and operations facilities across the country. The first Neighborhood Health Center location will be available for Amazon employees and their families in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
(Bloomberg) -- Google released a slate of new cloud-computing products on Tuesday, including an unorthodox approach to securing lucrative public sector deals.That particular service, called Assured Workloads for Governments, is designed to meet government security and compliance requirements with mostly software rather than a specialized data center.U.S. agencies, such as the Defense Department, are shifting billions of dollars in information technology spending to the cloud. But Alphabet Inc.’s Google has largely sat those deals out, as the company lacked key credentials and sales operations, and faced resistance from some of its employees.Yet Google is now intent on competing. The company’s cloud division improved its government security clearance last year and has hired several executives with experience selling to the public sector. The latest feature is the first from the company's cloud service tailored specifically for government buyers.To date, many major government cloud deals involve setting up special data centers to keep sensitive information physically separate from other clients’ data. Google deemed that model unnecessary, said Jeanette Manfra, who joined Google recently from the Department of Homeland Security.“Our approach is to make the entire commercial cloud a secure and protected one that works for the public sector,” Manfra, director of global security and compliance for Google Cloud, said.With Assured Workloads, customers can pick the region of the country where their data is stored and can limit which Google customer support staff they work with, through background checks or based on citizenship, Google said. It is releasing the new service this fall in the U.S. and expects to expand to other markets.Google failed to renew a contract with the Pentagon in 2018 after employee protests. That prompted criticism from U.S. politicians and military officials. Since then, Google has tried to mend ties. The company pursued one option to meet growing public sector security demands with a solution involving physically isolated data centers. The company closed that effort earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported.It’s new solution was announced along with a handful of other security-focused products as part of Google’s Next cloud conference. A continued focus for the third-placed cloud provider is its “multi-cloud” offering that lets customers more easily store data and run applications through a variety of providers.That approach could help it in the public sector, where it’s becoming a more attractive strategy. The Central Intelligence Agency is planning to hire multiple cloud providers in a new program that will give rivals a chance to take on market leader Amazon.com Inc.. In 2018, President Donald Trump’s administration released guidance that urged federal agencies to adopt cloud technology and consider hybrid and multi-cloud models because they “can be effective and efficient.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
As we all know, the fate of many lives, not to mention the U.S. and global economy, largely depends on the containment of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus. If a vaccine is a no-show, and treatments are only partially effective, is there anything U.S. citizens can do to help improve these outcomes?
The first pick is Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS), an entertainment company that can monetize its valuable intellectual property over a wide range of mediums. Walt Disney is arguably the top entertainment brand in the world. While Disney is having a tough time during the coronavirus pandemic -- with park attendance plummeting and the stock falling by 19% year to date -- this is a great opportunity for investors to scoop up shares while they are still cheap.
(Bloomberg) -- Trading ideas are stacking up for what’s set to be a difficult second-quarter earnings season featuring a wide variation in performance due to the coronavirus pandemic.Stocks have surged from March’s lows despite the bleakest profit outlook since the global financial crisis, with S&P 500 earnings expected to drop about 44%. Megacap technology firms led the stimulus-fueled rally and a key debate is whether they will keep that role as the earnings picture becomes clearer.“For all but a fortunate few -- notably among the FAANGs -- the earnings numbers will be abysmal,” Tan Kai Xian, a statistician and U.S. analyst at Gavekal Research, wrote in a note, using a common acronym for big tech stocks. But there’s a “reasonable prospect” of brighter estimates and positive second-half surprises, which would support stock prices, he said.Here’s a rundown of some recent thinking going into the earnings season:Performance ReversalJulian Emanuel, head of equity and derivatives strategy at BTIG LLC, raises the prospect of leaders and laggards swapping roles, after stocks such as eBay Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. rallied 20% or more from a June 8 peak in the S&P 500, while companies like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and General Motors Co. fell more than 10% over the period.“We view earnings season as a potential catalyst for performance reversion,” he wrote in a note, while also adding that “if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that anything can happen -- and probably will.”Tech Risk?Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, flags the possibility that disappointing earnings and guidance from technology companies may be an “underappreciated” risk. Investors should consider adding gold, corporate credit and non-U.S. stocks to portfolios that are overweight the S&P 500, she wrote in a note.OptionsAmy Wu Silverman, derivatives strategist at RBC Capital Markets, sees an opportunity for investors to use the current high premiums in call options in their favor. Specifically, she recommends call spreads on Amazon and Netflix Inc. -- a strategy that involves both buying and selling the bullish options but with different strike prices -- as a way to profit from further modest gains in their stock prices.Long FinancialsEvercore ISI strategists led by Dennis DeBusschere have recommended going long financials into the earnings season because “there’s upside potential for a battered-down sector that’s priced in negative headlines already.”IndustrialsStuart Kaiser, head of equity derivatives research at UBS Securities LLC, recommends call options on the Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund to position for upside in earnings, as the firm’s “big data” analysis shows revenue for industrials above consensus heading into the reporting season.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- For a long time, U.S.-based internet giants entertained the idea of finally accessing the world’s biggest market and tapping into a base of more than 1.3 billion potential consumers. Now, just as the door to China appears firmly shut, the next giant market is opening up.Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai is ready to realize India’s potential with the one way executives know best: a big fat check. The American search-engine giant said its Google unit plans to spend $10 billion over the next seven years on operations, infrastructure and investments as a “reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy.”American corporate leaders from Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos to Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg have all known that India could be the next big thing. Pichai, himself Indian-born, hasn’t sat idly by, either.Their entry has been slowed by lack of broad-based demand for services offered only in English, a national market fragmented by whimsical local taxation, and an inadequate road and warehousing network that would facilitate quick e-commerce logistics.Favorable Chinese treatment, and protectionism, allowed Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. to develop super-apps that deliver a smorgasbord of offerings from instant messaging to news and deliveries to financial services. No U.S. giant offers anywhere near the breadth and depth of services as their Chinese counterparts.Indian oil billionaire Mukesh Ambani has designs on doing in his home country just what the Americans couldn’t do in theirs. Four years ago, he upended the telecommunications sector with a new entrant that offered free voice calls and really cheap data. Suddenly, hundreds of millions more Indian consumers had a mobile phone in their hands and a reliable, affordable internet connection. Ambani followed that up by getting Facebook to buy a 10% percent stake in Jio Platforms Ltd. — Ambani’s holding company for telcos, media and other digital assets — for $5.7 billion. With Facebook now owning a stake in Jio, it makes sense for Google to look for its own telco dance partner, be it Bharti Airtel Ltd. or Vodafone Idea Ltd. — the only two meaningful competitors to Jio’s wireless service that are still left in the fray.Google’s big move is well-timed. The nation’s largely state-owned banking system was in bad shape even before Covid-19. After the inevitable pandemic-linked losses, institutions will be grateful to limp again and digital commerce will present a new growth avenue. When Indian consumers need loans, they’ll be giving consent to lenders to digitally piece together their credit history by pulling scraps from everywhere. Suppliers of goods and services will also want to tap cheaper working capital by sharing a real-time snapshot of their cash flows.Indian banks are at a disadvantage in the coming shakeup. Information collection, analysis and distribution is exactly what the U.S. internet companies do best. Jio with Facebook, Google (with or without a chosen partner), and even Amazon.com could have deeper insights into consumer and supplier habits than the traditional financiers. A Jio or Google-backed finance app could dish out a loan faster than a banker could pull out a ballpoint pen. That would leave the state-owned lenders offering little more than their vast balance sheets for credit creation.Not only is India finally getting the fast mobile coverage it sorely needs, its payments infrastructure is also ready. Pichai has built a payments service specifically for India, using the local platform that allows any two parties, holding accounts at different banks, to send and receive money instantly without knowing anything more than each others’ virtual IDs. The revamped network is so modern and innovation-friendly that Google has asked the U.S. to consider emulating it.Jio has garnered much of the recent attention, helped by a splashy fundraising spectacle that adds up to half of the investment in global telecom deals this year. But Google’s payment app as well as WalMart’s PhonePe have been quietly scaling up. Now, when Indian consumers want deliveries, entertainment, or a loan there’s a good chance they’ll be searching Google. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. told employees at a New York warehouse, where workers have sued and gone on strike over safety concerns, that they won’t be punished for insufficient productivity or extra time washing their hands.In a message Amazon sent recently to employees and posted in bathrooms at the Staten Island facility, the e-commerce giant said workers wouldn’t be disciplined for falling short of quotas based on how many tasks they complete each hour. Time spent on safety measures like handwashing also won’t be counted against them under Amazon’s “Time Off Task” policy, which limits the number of unproductive minutes allowed in their day.The company also said that the more lenient policy, instituted in response to the coronavirus pandemic, had been in place since mid-March.Amazon’s legal team shared the message on Monday with the judge handling a lawsuit, filed by warehouse employees and family members, that claims the company’s “oppressive and dangerous” policies have exacerbated Covid-19 risks. Jason Schwartz, an attorney representing Amazon, wrote that the company’s policies were already clear to workers, but that it reiterated the message “in an abundance of caution.”The plaintiffs disputed that Amazon had already told workers about this. In a declaration also filed Monday, employee Derrick Palmer said that prior to that morning’s email he hadn’t received any communication from the company about such a policy change.“I have continued to work as fast as I did before the outbreak of COVID-19, and I have continued to do things like rush back to my workstation following breaks or skip trips to the bathroom to wash my hands, in order to keep my rate up and to limit my TOT,” he wrote.Amazon has denied wrongdoing. Lisa Levandowski, a company spokesperson, declined to comment on pending litigation. The largest U.S. internet retailer has said that it’s made over 150 process updates to protect employees, and expects to spend more than $800 million on coronavirus safety measures including masks, hand sanitizer, thermal cameras, and additional handwashing stations.The company also provided the court a list of talking points which it said was given to managers earlier this year so they could inform employees of the more lenient Covid policy. The document specified that it was “for verbal use only.”“Amazon is trying to have it both ways -- to say that they had a policy protecting workers without those workers actually knowing about it,” David Seligman, the executive director of non-profit Towards Justice, said.Seligman, whose organization brought the lawsuit along with fellow advocacy groups Public Justice and Make the Road New York, said Monday’s message from Amazon was a “tremendous victory.” The lawsuit, which accuses Amazon of “purposeful miscommunication with workers” and “sloppy contact tracing” as well as a “culture of workplace fear,” remains ongoing.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.