• Microsoft says it will fix an Internet Explorer security bug under active attack
    TechCrunch

    Microsoft says it will fix an Internet Explorer security bug under active attack

    Microsoft has confirmed a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer is currently being used by hackers, but that it has no immediate plans to fix. Microsoft said all supported versions of Windows are affected by the flaw, including Windows 7, which after this week no longer receives security updates. The vulnerability was found in how Internet Explorer handles memory.

  • Why Beyoncé’s Ivy Park launch could boost Adidas more than Kanye West did with Yeezy's
    Yahoo Finance

    Why Beyoncé’s Ivy Park launch could boost Adidas more than Kanye West did with Yeezy's

    The relaunch of Beyoncé’s athleisure brand with Adidas is finally here.

  • Bloomberg

    Democrats Try to Reassure Latinos Over Trump’s Socialism Cry

    (Bloomberg) -- Democrats seeking to counter President Donald Trump’s use of “socialism” as a slur can look to a yearlong effort to fight back now underway in Florida.Trump frequently attacks Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as socialists in the mold of progressives in Congress like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who are pushing the party to adopt far-left policies.This attack has particular resonance among Hispanic voters, particularly those from socialist countries. Democrats were stung by a narrow loss in a gubernatorial race in 2018 that featured similar accusations, and Florida Democrats are looking to blunt those attacks in the crucial 2020 swing state. The party is reaching out to voters whose negative experiences with governments in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba have heightened their concerns about socialism and made them receptive to Trump’s criticisms.Over the past year, the state Democratic Party has hired a Latino outreach director, launched a Spanish-language radio show and trained surrogates to make their case on Univision, Telemundo and local TV and radio. It’s also seeking to register more Latino voters as part of a $2.8 million effort on voter registration.Roughly one in six registered voters in Florida is Hispanic, according to the Pew Research Center. Exit polls showed that Cuban Americans, who make up roughly a third of Florida Hispanics, were about twice as likely to vote for Trump in 2016 as non-Cuban Hispanics.Democrats nationally fear that the attack is effective enough to peel off votes from other Latin American immigrants in 2020.Charges of socialism have “absolutely worked” in the past, said Evelyn Perez-Verdia, a Colombian-American consultant who works in South Florida. “They are playing with the fears of our communities,” she said.Joshua Karp, a former spokesman for Andrew Gillum, a Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2016, said he’s concerned that the national party is underestimating the potency of that messaging, especially in such a closely fought state.Gillum lost by slightly less than half a percentage point in a race in which both Trump and the Republican candidate, Ron DeSantis, painted him as a “far-left socialist” who “wants to turn Florida into Venezuela,” a label Gillum rejected and fact-checkers rated as false.Still, Karp said the accusation may have been effective in damaging Gillum’s campaign in a state where races are often decided by the thinnest of margins.“In the research I have seen, this word is a gateway to people believing other negative narratives about Democrats,” he said. “By leading with socialism, Republicans can inject other arguments about Democrats that would otherwise be dismissed by a lot of voters.”Trump has signaled that he will intensify those attacks, regardless of the eventual Democratic nominee.One recent series of ads by the Trump campaign on Facebook claimed that “every 2020 Democrat candidate” has embraced “the ideas of radical socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar to try and appeal to their extreme left-wing base.”“We’ve seen socialism completely FAIL in countries like Venezuela and Greece,” the ad says before asking voters to take an “official socialism approval poll.”Trump is hardly the first Republican to paint an opponent as a socialist. John McCain and Mitt Romney both used the label to describe Barack Obama at times. Among the crowded Democratic field, only Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist,” while the attacks have helped push Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden to state they are capitalists.At a debate in September, Sanders was pressed by a Univision reporter to explain the difference between his views and those of authoritarian socialists like Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. ”Let me be very clear: Anybody who does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant,” Sanders responded.Trump is already pushing hard on the attack line in online ads that are aimed at building up lists of potential voters and donors.Online AdsA recent online ad segues from a news segment on the Green New Deal proposal endorsed by Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to images of Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro and a flag-burning by a fringe U.S. group, the Revolutionary Communist Party, all shown beneath a banner urging viewers to text the campaign.Trump is spending big on online ads already, putting $28 million toward ads on Facebook and $13 million for ads on Google so far, making him one of the biggest advertisers on both platforms.But Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Luisana Pérez Fernandez said many of the key voters there can be reached better through local radio and TV shows. That led the party to launch “Democracia al Dia,” a half-hour radio show on Saturdays that reaches about 6,000 listeners each week, and why it’s training media surrogates to appear on local news shows.Among the arguments that Democrats are making: criticizing the Trump administration’s handling of Venezuela’s troubled government, deportations of Cuban residents and failure to grant temporary protected status to Venezuelans. They’re also hitting back with an epithet of their own, calling Trump a “caudillo,” a Spanish word for an authoritarian leader.“His systematic attacks against the free press, his intentions to pack the judiciary, his idea of justice -- where the whole Justice Department, the FBI and the intelligence community has to be loyal to him -- this is exactly what we fled in Latin America,” said Leopoldo Martinez, a Democratic National Committee member who fought the regime of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. “This is not a thing of left or right.”But Republicans argue that Democrats brought the charge of socialism on themselves. Rory Cooper, a Republican political strategist, said that Democratic proposals for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal and free college have reinvigorated the debate over socialism, as has the prominence of Sanders in the primary.“If you look at the platform that the Democrats are struggling with right now, it’s very clear that within their own party there is this generational tension between the Bernie Sanders platform and the Obama-Biden pragmatic platform,” he said. “I think it makes complete sense for Republicans to take advantage of that tension.”(Updates Trump spending on Facebook ads in 19th paragraph. A pervious version of this article corrected name of Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Luisana Pérez Fernandez in 20th parargraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in Washington at rbeckwith3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Steve GeimannFor 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.

  • Nike (NKE) Up 3.3% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?
    Zacks

    Nike (NKE) Up 3.3% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

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  • Accenture (ACN) Up 0.4% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?
    Zacks

    Accenture (ACN) Up 0.4% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

    Accenture (ACN) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues.

  • Bloomberg

    Noom Signs Up Dieters as Investors See New Wins for Weight Loss

    (Bloomberg) -- This New Year’s Day, 55,000 people signed up to lose weight with the smartphone app Noom. You’ve probably seen the ads -- it claims to have helped more than 350,000 get slimmer.Dieting, not to mention keeping weight off, is an iffy proposition, but Americans spend billions each year trying.Noom, which combines human coaches and AI, has attracted $114 million from A-list investors such as Sequoia Capital, Groupe Arnault-backed Aglaé Ventures, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, Serena Williams, and other prominent names that see promise in its approach and growth.The company’s founders say they’re in constant conversation with their investors who are watching the market to assess a possible IPO as soon as this year.Crowded MarketIndeed, in a competitive market, Noom has racked up impressive growth, driven in part by aggressive advertising: Noom closed 2019 with $237 million in revenue, up from $61 million and $12 million in the two previous years, respectively.“For a certain demographic, Weight Watchers is more comfortable and familiar,” said David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “For a younger, more digitally savvy audience, Noom is a different way to get a grip.”Shares in WW International Inc., the diet company formerly known as Weight Watchers, have more than doubled from last year’s low in June. In September, WW announced the Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus Tour with shareholder Oprah Winfrey. Investors will have to wait for WW’s fourth-quarter results in late February for a sense about early-year sign ups.Industry analysts note the cyclical nature of the dieting industry and that Noom’s robust start this year does not necessarily herald lasting success.“You’ve got a lot of program starts after the holidays, and that’s the nature of the business,” said Steven Halper, a senior health-care IT and managed care analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.Pounds Off, Pounds On“You get in shape, you lose your weight, everyone wants to look good at the beach in the summer time, and lo and behold the weight comes back on,” Halper said. He covers Tivity Health Inc., which acquired WW rival Nutrisystem in March.Noom was founded over a decade ago by Artem Petakov, a former Google engineer, and Saeju Jeong, lover of heavy metal, who strayed from his family lineage of 29 medical doctors to be an entrepreneur.“Noom’s story didn’t initially work,” said Amy Sun, a partner at Sequoia Capital. Sequoia invested for the first time in the $58 million Series E round that Noom announced in May 2019.“They tried a whole bunch of different angles, including doing pure AI where it’s completely automated, and they tried 100% human coaches, and it wasn’t until they married the two that the company started to grow,” said Sun.The company now employs 1,600 remote, full-time coaches in 36 states.Not Peloton“The product they have today is not what they started with,” said Miyuki Matsumoto, head of U.S. investments at Groupe Arnault’s tech venture-capital arm Aglaé Ventures. The firm invested the second most after Sequoia in the most recent funding round.“We weren’t thinking we were going to get our money back in two years or less, even though that’s a possibility,” Matsumoto said.Sun notes that Sequoia is looking to capitalize on the trend of digital companies focused on helping people manage their health. Other investors saw that trend in Peloton Interactive Inc., which priced at $29 a share in its September IPO, but traded as low at $21 a share a month later.“Peloton is quite different because so much of their revenue is hardware,” Sun said. “It’s hardware plus subscription, versus Noom is all digital.”To contact the reporter on this story: Hailey Waller in New York at hwaller@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Ludden at jludden@bloomberg.net, Ian FisherFor 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.

  • If You Had Bought Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) Shares Five Years Ago You'd Have Made 46%
    Simply Wall St.

    If You Had Bought Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) Shares Five Years Ago You'd Have Made 46%

    If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. Better yet, you'd like to see the share...

  • Financial Times

    Judge cuts $8bn J&J Risperdal verdict to $6.8m

    in a lawsuit related to the antipsychotic drug Risperdal has been cut to $6.8m. in punitive damages to a Maryland man who alleged that J&J failed to properly warn young men that Risperdal could cause enlarged breasts. The plaintiff, Nicholas Murray, was also awarded $680,000 in compensatory damages.

  • Putin Hunted for Scapegoats and Found Medvedev
    Bloomberg

    Putin Hunted for Scapegoats and Found Medvedev

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a radical overhaul of Russia’s governance system this week, he also ended the Medvedev era. Dmitry Medvedev was, at least formally, Putin’s closest sidekick, the politician with whom the strongman was most willing to share formal power.  Whether or not it’s time for Medvedev’s political obit, his stint near the top of Russia’s so-called power vertical will serve as an example of how the Putin system’s inertia can suffocate the best modernizing intentions.Medvedev abruptly resigned as prime minister on Wednesday, without giving advance notice to members of his government, who also had to tender their resignations. “We as the government must give our country’s president the opportunity to make all the necessary decisions,” Medvedev said, though it wasn’t clear how his continued occupancy of the top cabinet post could get in the way of Putin’s reform. Putin expressed rather tepid gratitude for the prime minister’s service. “Not everything has worked out, but then things never work out completely,” he said. Putin has always avoided firing close, trusted associates, but as prime minister since 2012, Medvedev presided over Russia’s longest run of declining real incomes during Putin’s 20-year rule. The government’s $400 billion “national projects” spending plan, designed to rectify things, hasn’t gotten off to a great start. The new job Putin has offered Medvedev didn’t even exist before — deputy chairman of the Security Council, an advisory body that includes Russia's mighty security chiefs. It’s formally headed by Putin but run by its secretary, former secret police chief Nikolai Patrushev. The council has been described, including by Kremlin propaganda outlets, as the closest Russia has to the Soviet Union's ruling Politburo. So the newly created post, with Putin as the direct supervisor, can be enormously influential — but perhaps not when filled by Medvedev, who has never really commanded the respect of the security bosses in the way Putin does, with his KGB record and training.Medvedev’s move means he isn’t likely to be Putin’s successor as president when the latter's term ends in 2024. Nor will he return to the prime ministerial post, now handed to a supremely skillful technocrat, former tax chief Mikhail Mishustin. His career has been launched on a downward trajectory — something he probably expected. For years, he has appeared bored and morose at official functions, time and again photographed with his eyes closed and seemingly asleep. Opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny posted one such photo taken as Putin delivered his Wednesday address, tweeting, “Only one thing in Russia is really stable and unshakable — Dmitry Medvedev, asleep during the president’s state of the nation speech.”During a recent award ceremony, Medvedev’s New Year’s greetings included this quotation from Anton Chekhov: “The newer the year, the closer you are to death, the wider your bald spot, the twistier your wrinkles, the older your wife, the more kids you have and the less money.” Some of the incredulous listeners couldn't help but recall Medvedev's most famous quote, his answer to a woman in Russian-annexed Crimea in 2016 who complained that her pension was too low: “There's just no money now. When we find the money, we'll raise pensions. You hang on in there, stay cheerful and healthy.”Medvedev may have been fatigued and depressed lately as his government failed to deliver on Putin's promises of a tangible improvement in living standards, but money isn't something he's lacked himself. During this snowless winter, the vast land plot around his residence in Central Russia is covered with artificial snow. Medvedev has never given a substantive answer to a long video produced by Navalny's team and watched more than 33 million times on YouTube, in which he was accused of accumulating vast wealth while working for the government.Medvedev's approval rating never recovered from that video's release, languishing below 40% in recent months, while Putin's remains close to 70%. Government spending cuts that began in 2015 and lasted through 2018 didn't help, and the government’s decision in June 2018 to raise the retirement age — made by Putin, but often ascribed to Medvedev because of his perceived insensitivity — dealt his popularity an especially crippling blow.The visibly bored, defeated Medvedev at the end of his prime ministership was a far cry from the hopeful, cheerful modernizer who started a four-year presidency in 2008 and charmed U.S. President Barack Obama and his aides into trying a reset of U.S.-Russia relations. Though many Putin opponents — myself included — never believed Medvedev could pursue an independent policy, so-called system liberals, believers in changing the system from within, vested serious hopes in the younger, more polished leader. They believed he could shake off Putin's conservative influence if he ran for a second term in 2012, and that Russia would then gradually become freer both economically and politically.Medvedev tried some promising things. He set up a large innovation center at Skolkovo near Moscow, trying to lure investors and entrepreneurs into a Russian version of Silicon Valley. He started reforms in the self-serving, thoroughly rotten law-enforcement agencies, and he modernized Russia's obsolete armed forces, starting an ambitious reorganization and rearmament. He removed some of the most entrenched, hidebound regional leaders, breaking up the corrupt monopolies that had sprung up around them.But the system liberals’ hopes were probably dashed in March 2011, when Medvedev ordered the Russian representative in the United Nations Security Council to abstain on a resolution authorizing the U.S. and its allies to use force against the regime of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. Putin publicly criticized his protege for not ordering a "no" vote, likening the Western intervention in Libya to a “medieval crusade." In his book, “From Cold War to Hot Peace," Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and a believer in Medvedev's liberal intentions, wrote that “U.S. military intervention in Libya, which helped topple Qaddafi, also inadvertently might have helped remove Medvedev from power in Russia."In September 2011, Putin and Medvedev announced they intended to switch jobs the following year, a development that bitterly disappointed the system liberals. Protests against a rigged parliamentary election, which broke out less than three months later, only served to convince Putin that the West was trying to undermine him and empower Medvedev instead. But, perhaps out of a sense of loyalty toward his temporary successor who hadn't tried to cling to power, Putin made no attempt to replace Medvedev as prime minister.The latter never really raised his head again. He avoided making major decisions or advocating big reforms; the cabinet ministers learned they needed Putin's approval for anything remotely controversial. In a way, that helped Russia build a protective economic wall after Putin annexed Crimea and, simultaneously, the oil price crashed in 2014. Amid Western sanctions and a tightening hold of Putin's cronies and enforcers on the economy, Russia's generally competent economic managers could only cut spending to insulate the budget from external shocks — and accumulate international reserves every time the price of oil edged up. Medvedev's tenure ended with these reserves at $554 billion, near the 2008 historic high of $569 billion.Putin's patience was sorely tested. Busy with geopolitical chess and with finding ways to retain power after 2024, he clearly wanted his hands free from domestic economic management. He wanted to set goals and let someone else get to them. Time after time, he told Medvedev that he wanted "results.” They failed to materialize.Meanwhile, Medvedev's work as the formal leader of the Kremlin's loyalist party, United Russia, also proved insufficient. The party's support melted away, and its legislative majorities and governorships have had to be obtained with increasing rigging efforts and administrative pressure. In December, only 29% of Russians were willing to cast a vote for United Russia in a national election, a threat to its parliamentary majority even in an unfair system. Putin needs a stronger party behind him post-2024, and an effort to build one on the basis of his broad support network, the United People's Front — or to reform United Russia — is to be expected.Putin’s legendary personal loyalty stretched far enough not to send Medvedev, who is only 54, into retirement. But then, it was Putin himself who backpedaled in 2011 instead of letting Medvedev pursue his cautiously reformist course. It was Putin who created a system that paralyzed any kind of economic liberalization and who launched Russia on military adventures that limited its ability to develop trade. Putin, who gave Medvedev the exhilarating hope of building a more modern Russia, then quickly took it away, leaving his former successor with little except the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by the Russian elite.It was Putin's country to give and to take back.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.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

    Bloomberg Would Require All New Cars To Be Electric: Campaign Update

    (Bloomberg) -- The Democratic National Committee announced the rules to qualify for the next presidential debate in New Hampshire on Feb. 7.The six candidates who participated in the January debate in Iowa on Tuesday -- Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer -- have already made the cut for the forum at St. Anselm College outside Manchester hosted by ABC News, WMUR-TV and Apple News.To qualify under the new criteria, candidates must either meet polling and donor thresholds or have emerged from the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses with at least one pledged delegate to the Democratic National Convention.The new rules require candidates to have 5% in four national polls approved by the DNC, or 7% in two early-state polls from New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. They must also have contributions from 225,000 donors.Candidates have until the night of Feb. 6 to qualify. The New Hampshire primary is on Feb. 10.Sanders Leads in Emerson Poll of New Hampshire (3:27 p.m.)Bernie Sanders maintains his top spot in New Hampshire, less than a month before voters will cast their ballots in the first primary state, according to an Emerson College poll.Sanders is at 23%, followed by Pete Buttigieg at 18% and Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, both at 14%. The numbers were only slightly changed from an Emerson poll in November, and the order of the top four candidates remained the same. Sanders dropped 3 percentage points from the last poll and Buttigieg fell 4. Warren and Biden didn’t change.The biggest movement was for Amy Klobuchar, who had 10% support against 2% in November. Andrew Yang had 6%, followed by Tulsi Gabbard at 5% and Tom Steyer at 4%.Spencer Kimball, polling director for Emerson College, said even though Sanders is the front-runner, many of his supporters doubt he’ll be the ultimate winner of the state. “It appears his supporters are doubting that he will be the actual nominee, with only 49% expecting him to win the nomination,” Kimball said in a statement. “On the flip side, Joe Biden supporters are confident, with 87% thinking he will be the nominee.”The poll published Thursday was conducted Jan. 13-16 and had a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points. -- Emma KineryBiden Is Endorsed by Henry Cisneros (2:59 p.m.)He’s the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development and a high-profile Latino politician endorsing a 2020 candidate.No, not Julián Castro.With Castro on the campaign trail with Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden is counter punching by announcing the endorsement of Henry Cisneros, who has almost the same political biography.Their career paths track so closely, you might even call Cisneros Castro’s doppelgänger, if Castro didn’t already have a twin. Cisneros was mayor of San Antonio in the 1980s, a position Castro held from 2009 to 2014. Cisneros served as HUD secretary under former President Bill Clinton while Castro had the job under Barack Obama.Biden also informally got the nod from another former HUD secretary, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, back in January of 2019. -- Ryan Teague BeckwithBloomberg Would Require All Electric Vehicles (11:11 a.m.)Michael Bloomberg would require all new vehicles sold by 2035 to be electric with 15% of new trucks and buses pollution-free by 2030 as part of a plan to replace gas-powered vehicles and reduce emissions.The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate released a plan Friday addressing emissions from transportation -- now the largest source of carbon pollution -- that includes setting a national zero-emissions standard and offering rebates to help low- and moderate-income families buy electric vehicles or get vouchers for using transit.Bloomberg’s campaign didn’t say how much the initiative would cost or how it would be funded. It also didn’t provide funding details for other elements of his plan such as building more electric-vehicle charging stations, increasing investment in public transit and jump-starting high-speed rail.Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. -- Mark NiquetteCOMING UP:The Democratic presidential candidates will debate again in New Hampshire on Feb. 7.The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses will be held Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11. Nevada holds its caucuses on Feb. 22 and South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29.(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)\--With assistance from Mark Niquette and Ryan Teague Beckwith.To contact the reporter on this story: Max Berley in Washington at mberley@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley, Ros KrasnyFor 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.

  • Adobe Systems (ADBE) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Adobe Systems (ADBE) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, Adobe Systems (ADBE) closed at $349.74, marking a +1.26% move from the previous day.

  • Why Nvidia (NVDA) Stock is a Strong Buy Ahead of 2020 Chip Growth
    Zacks

    Why Nvidia (NVDA) Stock is a Strong Buy Ahead of 2020 Chip Growth

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  • Q4 Earnings Season Showing Revenue Momentum
    Zacks

    Q4 Earnings Season Showing Revenue Momentum

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  • Google Joins The Trillion-Dollar Club: Who's Next?
    Zacks

    Google Joins The Trillion-Dollar Club: Who's Next?

    Google Joins The Trillion-Dollar Club: Who's Next?

  • Tech Daily: GOOGL, AMZN, AAPL, TSM, FB, MSFT
    Zacks

    Tech Daily: GOOGL, AMZN, AAPL, TSM, FB, MSFT

    Alphabet's trillion dollar valuation, Amazon's India troubles and TSM's upbeat earnings announcement are the top stories in this daily.

  • Top STock Analyst Reports for Microsoft, American Express & Others
    Zacks

    Top STock Analyst Reports for Microsoft, American Express & Others

    Top STock Analyst Reports for Microsoft, American Express & Others

  • Which Stocks are in the $1 Trillion Club?
    Zacks

    Which Stocks are in the $1 Trillion Club?

    The $1 Trillion Valuation Club is one of the most exclusive groups on Wall Street, and it just added its newest member.

  • Bloomberg

    Sonos CEO Tells House Antitrust Panel Google Abused Power

    (Bloomberg) -- Sonos Inc. Chief Executive Officer Patrick Spence accused Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. of using their market power to thwart competition a week after filing a lawsuit against the world’s largest search engine.“Today’s dominant companies have so much power across such a broad array of markets and continue to leverage that power to expand into new markets that we need to rethink existing laws and policies,” said Spence Friday at a congressional antitrust hearing in Boulder, Colorado, led by Representative David Cicilline, the Rhode Island Democrat who is investigating competition in the technology sector.Sonos, a 1,500-person company, sued Google Jan. 7 for allegedly infringing five patents covering multi-room audio technology. Spence said Google’s dominance enabled it to violate the speaker company’s intellectual property. He said that Google tries to prevent customers from using its voice assistants alongside another company’s on Sonos speakers. While Amazon doesn’t go that far, he said, it has used its power to “to subsidize the conquest” of the booming smart-speaker market, particularly by under-pricing its offerings.Sonos has worked with the committee since before it decided to file the lawsuit, according to a person familiar with the discussions. It has also responded to questions that the committee sent to customers of the large technology platforms.Google has disputed Sonos’ claims and said it will defend itself. The search giant, which faces antitrust probes by 48 state attorneys general as well as the U.S. Justice Department, says it faces robust competition. Cicilline is using the hearing to air grievances by smaller companies, following a series of Washington meetings that focused on the tech giants.“It is apparent that the dominant platforms are increasingly using their gatekeeper power in abusive and coercive ways,” Cicilline said in his opening statement.The panel also heard from David Barnett, the founder of Boulder-based PopSockets, which makes phone holders and stands. He alleged that Amazon frequently engaged in “bullying,” including deliberately selling counterfeits, threatening to go to unauthorized resellers and dropping prices without consulting. “We have $10 million less to innovate this year” because of PopSockets’s decision to end its relationship with Amazon even though it’s more difficult to sell elsewhere, Barnett said.“It seems like Amazon is so dominant that there is no alternative,” said Representative Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican on the committee.Amazon said in a statement that PopSockets is a “valued retail vendor” and added: “We’ve continued to work with PopSockets to address our shared concerns about counterfeit, and continue to have a relationship with PopSockets through Merch by Amazon, which enables other sellers to create customized PopSockets for sale.”The company said it refuses to work with some resellers to ensure low prices, and rejects the notion that it’s dominant, saying it represents just 4% of U.S. retail.The panel also heard from Kirsten Daru, general counsel of Tile Inc., which makes devices that pair with phones to help people locate lost items such as keys or purses.Apple Inc. is reportedly preparing to unveil a competing service, and Daru’s 100-employee company alleges the phone maker has started putting up roadblocks to Tile’s business, such as burying permissions that allow the phone and Tile devices to communicate and prompting users to disable permissions that have been set.“You’re playing up against a team that owns the field, the ball and can change the rules at any given time,” Daru said in an interview before the hearing, adding that a majority of the company’s customers are on Apple’s operating system.Apple said that its treatment of permissions, which focused on location, were designed to protect user privacy and that it’s working with developers whose customers may want particular apps to be able to track them at all times.Daru said Apple also removed Tile devices from its retail stores, and that it bid on search terms related to the would-be rival to drive up the cost of advertising 50% each week during the fall.Cicilline has said his goal is to develop a final report with recommendations for Congress this year. He told reporters on Tuesday that he wants to wrap up his probe by the end of March and said he’s hopeful the tech giants will cooperate with requests for chief executives to give information without subpoenas, preferably in public hearings.“It’s hard to imagine that we’d conclude the investigation without hearing from some of the large technology CEOs, particularly in companies whether there’s such really centralized decision making,” he said.(Updates with comments from PopSockets CEO from eighth paragraph)\--With assistance from Mark Gurman, Rebecca Kern and David McLaughlin.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at btenerellabr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Paula DwyerFor 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.

  • Buy Google parent Alphabet Stock at its New $1 Trillion Market Cap?
    Zacks

    Buy Google parent Alphabet Stock at its New $1 Trillion Market Cap?

    Shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) have jumped 9% in 2020 to help it ascend into the $1 trillion market cap club. Is it time to buy?

  • Apple Lands ‘Seinfeld’ Star Julia Louis-Dreyfus for TV+ Service
    Bloomberg

    Apple Lands ‘Seinfeld’ Star Julia Louis-Dreyfus for TV+ Service

    (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. reached a multiyear agreement with former “Seinfeld” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus to produce and star in new projects for its TV+ streaming service, adding more big-name talent to its fledgling video effort.The actress and producer is known for her roles as Jerry Seinfeld’s best friend on the show, which ran from 1989-1998, and most recently as the lead in HBO’s “Veep.” The longtime comedian, who has won eight Emmy Awards as an actor and three as a producer, also performed on “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s. No financial terms of the deal were released.“I am thrilled about this new partnership with my friends at Apple,” Louis-Dreyfus said in a statement the company released Friday announcing the agreement. “Also, many thanks and kudos to my representatives for structuring the deal in such a way that I am paid in AirPods.”Apple has cut several similar agreements for its TV+ service, including with Oprah Winfrey and Alfonso Cuaron. The company is also working with other top Hollywood names like Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston.Despite the deals, it’s unclear how well Apple TV+ is performing. Apple said last year the service wouldn’t immediately have an impact on its financial results, and the company hasn’t shared any data to indicate viewership or sign-ups for the $4.99-a-month subscription streaming service. An accurate assessment may not come until after Apple’s first free-year promotions for the service begin expiring.Apple is banking on services like TV+ to boost revenue as sales growth slows for its central device, the iPhone. The company generated almost 18% of its $260 billion 2019 fiscal year revenue from services.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at mgurman1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at abarr18@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Nick TurnerFor 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 Is Left Out of Mega-Cap Tech Surge to Records
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Is Left Out of Mega-Cap Tech Surge to Records

    (Bloomberg) -- Major technology and internet companies have long fueled the U.S. stock market’s climb to record levels, but that trend has come with one notable exception: Amazon.com Inc., which has languished in a fairly narrow trading range for months.Amazon shares haven’t notched an all-time high since September 2018, in contrast to mega-cap peers like Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Facebook, which have been hitting records on a near-daily basis. Many of these names experienced pronounced draw-downs over the past year and a half, mostly due to disappointing earnings reports or outlooks. But they regained their momentum last year, as their growth assuaged investor caution. Amazon, however, remains about 8.5% below its own peak.Because of its long-term prospects, Amazon is about as close as a stock can be to a consensus choice among Wall Street firms. Over the near term, though, it is “the most hotly debated among investors” as “debates persist on both AWS and next day shipping efforts,” according to UBS analyst Eric Sheridan, referring to its Amazon Web Services cloud-computing business.Since the start of 2019, Amazon shares are up about 24%, below the 32% rise of the S&P 500, as well as the much larger gains seen in other bellwethers. Microsoft and Facebook are both up more than 60% since the start of last year, while Apple has doubled. The rally resulted in trillion-dollar valuations for Apple, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet, a milestone that Amazon briefly eclipsed in 2018.The underperformance reflects concerns over Amazon’s earnings trends, even as it has continued to grow revenue at a double-digit clip. Major investments into initiatives like one-day shipping are seen as headwinds, and shares “may be range bound ‘tactically’” given the impact of this spending, Morgan Stanley wrote on Thursday. The firm added that “near-term profitability is likely to still disappoint” because of these investments, even as it sees the effect as temporary and one-day shipping deepening Amazon’s competitive moat within e-commerce.Another key issue is the waning dominance of Amazon Web Services, which has long been a major driver for earnings and margins, but has faced growing competition from rivals like Alphabet and especially Microsoft. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, which cited IDC data, Amazon Web Services was 12 times larger than Microsoft’s cloud business in 2014. By 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, it was just four times larger.James Bach, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote that Amazon was particularly facing “stiffer competition” with government contracts. “Microsoft’s extensive sales experience, installed base within U.S. agencies and broad range of edge-computing products all make a compelling offering,” he wrote. Microsoft is “uniquely positioned to claim market share as federal agencies upgrade and secure IT systems.”In October, Microsoft beat out Amazon for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract, a deal Amazon had been seen as the favorite to win. The company subsequently claimed it lost the contract because of political interference by President Donald Trump, and filed a lawsuit challenging its validity.Amazon earlier this week named a new sales chief for AWS. Deutsche Bank wrote that the “magnitude of personnel changes” at AWS, along with rising competition, underscored the “increased risk of further deceleration” at the business.Separately, Morgan Stanley this week wrote that a quarterly survey of chief investment officers suggested some cause for caution about AWS growth. “Quarterly survey results can be volatile, but AWS saw a notable [quarter-over-quarter] drop in net expected budget share gains” over the next three years, analyst Brian Nowak wrote. “It will be important to continue to monitor these metrics going forward as we think about AWS forward growth.”Amazon is expected to report fourth-quarter results later this month. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Wall Street is looking for revenue growth of nearly 19% and expecting net income to fall by nearly a third. AWS revenue is seen growing more than 30% on a year-over-year basis, according to a Bloomberg MODL estimate.Wall Street remains almost unanimously positive on the stock. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, 53 firms recommend buying the stock, compared with the four with a hold rating. None advocate selling the shares.To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Vlastelica in New York at rvlastelica1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at clarkin4@bloomberg.net, Steven Fromm, Janet FreundFor 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.

  • 3 Reasons Growth Investors Will Love MasterCard (MA)
    Zacks

    3 Reasons Growth Investors Will Love MasterCard (MA)

    MasterCard (MA) possesses solid growth attributes, which could help it handily outperform the market.