• Microsoft starts testing a new news reading experience in Windows 10
    TechCrunch

    Microsoft starts testing a new news reading experience in Windows 10

    Microsoft announced its latest Windows 10 preview build today, and, while that is a pretty routine affair these days, the company also used today's announcement to launch the beta version of a new news consumption experience that anybody on a Windows 10 device can try out today. The Microsoft News Bar aggregates news from the 4,500 publishers in the Microsoft News network and then displays those as a semi-persistent bar on any side of your screen. Windows 10 has long featured the Microsoft News app, which is more of a full-featured news reading experience (though I admit I always forget it even exists).

  • Saudis, Russia Agree on Contours of Historic Deal to Fight Slump
    Bloomberg

    Saudis, Russia Agree on Contours of Historic Deal to Fight Slump

    (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia and Russia have agreed on the outline of a deal to cut oil production in an effort to lift the market from a pandemic-driven collapse.The two nations appear to have buried differences that led to a huge supply surplus, delegates said. The rapprochement came just before the extraordinary virtual meeting of OPEC and its allies kicked off.It’s however still unclear how some of the obstacles will be cleared. Saudi Arabia was pushing for any supply curbs to be measured against a higher baseline -- its April production of above 12 million barrels a day, delegates said earlier. At the same time, Russia showed no sign of weakening its insistence that a deal was only possible if the U.S. cuts output too.Oil surged as much as 11%.Moscow, whose grudge against U.S. shale could still arguably prevent a final deal, said Wednesday it’s willing to reduce output by 1.6 million barrels a day, or roughly 15%. Saudi Arabia was also discussing a cut of 15% to 17% on Thursday, delegates said, asking not to be identified because the talks were private.However, the two sides were still disagreeing over the baseline for those reductions, the delegates said. It’s a debate that could make a huge difference to the size of the production cut. As the Saudis have pushed for their contribution to be measured against current record output, Russia has favored using an average of the first quarter, when the kingdom pumped about 9.8 million barrels a day.At stake is the fate of entire oil-dependent economies, thousands of companies and millions of oil industry jobs as the OPEC+ coalition and Group of 20 energy ministers gather in two key video conferences this week. Crude futures have plunged to the lowest levels in almost two decades as the lockdowns around the world slash oil demand by as much as 70% in some places and Russia and Saudi Arabia battle for their share of a shrinking market.See also: Goldman Warns Global Oil Output Cuts of 10M B/D Won’t Be EnoughWith Trump pressing hard for a deal, and the whole Group of 20 involved too, a lot is riding on this week’s negotiations. Following the OPEC+ meeting, Saudi Arabia will lead a virtual conference of G-20 energy ministers on Friday at 3 p.m. Riyadh time.So far, the Kremlin has insisted the U.S. should do more than just let market forces reduce its record production. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has put huge diplomatic pressure on Russia and Saudi Arabia, while saying America’s cut will happen “automatically” as low prices put America’s shale patch in dire straits.“I think they’ll straighten it out -- a lot of progress has been made over the past week,” Trump said at a White House briefing Wednesday. “We have a tremendously powerful energy industry in this country now, number one in the world, and I don’t want those jobs being lost.”The pressure on Saudi Arabia to prop up oil prices has been immense, with U.S. government officials and lawmakers all abandoning their traditional stance that cheap gasoline is good for America. Republican lawmakers in particular have sent pointed letters to Riyadh, demanding quick action. On Wednesday evening, a group of 48 Congressmen wrote to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman saying the kingdom was “artificially” depressing global oil prices, hurting American interests.Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the world that can boast crude production that’s profitable in the current environment. But the kingdom’s economy is at risk, too, as Riyadh needs much higher prices to fund its budget. So does Russia.Oil FloodThe two largest oil exporters broke a historic pact to curb production in March, unleashing a flood of crude that’s overwhelming storage facilities worldwide just as the Covid-19 crisis wipes out demand. Russia argued at the time that it wasn’t willing to keep sacrificing production at its companies to prop up prices while shale explorers in the U.S. benefited from the cuts without contributing to them.Moscow hasn’t walked back from that view, but its apparent movement toward a deal after days of intense negotiation coincided with a slew of data showing the decline in oil demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns is deepening. Russia doesn’t have enough storage capacity to keep pumping crude if no one is buying it.While China is expected to ramp up oil processing in April, providing a glimmer of hope to the market, the move likely won’t negate historic declines in the U.S., India and elsewhere.U.S. demand now has fallen to 14.4 million barrels a day, the lowest level in data going back to 1990 and down more than 30% from pre-crisis levels, government figures showed Wednesday. In India, the world’s third biggest oil consumer, official data showed demand plunged nearly 18% in March, despite the fact the country went into lockdown only on March 25. And refiners privately said demand was down as much as 70% in early April.The staggering losses, coupled with anecdotal declines of up to 70% in Europe, mean the world may be consuming even less oil than previously thought, traders said. In normal times, the world uses about 100 million barrels a day, but some traders believe it’s consuming just 65 million, or even less.“Ultimately, the size of the demand shock is simply too large for a coordinated supply cut,” said Damien Courvalin, oil analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The cut may prop up prices briefly but “this support will soon give way to lower prices with downside risk to our near-term WTI $20 a barrel forecast.”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.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AeroVironment, Cadence Design Systems, PTC, NVIDIA and TransEnterix
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AeroVironment, Cadence Design Systems, PTC, NVIDIA and TransEnterix

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AeroVironment, Cadence Design Systems, PTC, NVIDIA and TransEnterix

  • E-learning a Rising Trend Amid Coronavirus Crisis: 3 Stocks
    Zacks

    E-learning a Rising Trend Amid Coronavirus Crisis: 3 Stocks

    The technology industry has been gaining traction in the wake of the pandemic on a surge in trends like e-learning.

  • 4 Good Quality Sector ETFs & Stocks to Buy Right Now
    Zacks

    4 Good Quality Sector ETFs & Stocks to Buy Right Now

    These sectors are extremely well-positioned to survive market shocks. Buy the related ETFs and stocks.

  • 4 Cloud Computing Stocks to Beat Coronavirus Blues
    Zacks

    4 Cloud Computing Stocks to Beat Coronavirus Blues

    To stay connected amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, people across the world are relying heavily on the Internet, which brightens up prospects for cloud players.

  • Bloomberg

    Visa Teams With Startup Fold for Bitcoin Rewards on New Card

    (Bloomberg) -- The mainstream adoption of Bitcoin is getting a boost from credit card giant Visa Inc., which joined startup Fold to offer a card that earns rewards denominated in the cryptocurrency instead of airline miles or cash.As much as 10% of cash purchases made with the co-branded credit card from San Francisco-based Fold and Visa will be credited to users in Bitcoin, Fold Chief Executive Officer Will Reeves said. He expects it can bring a wave of consumers to the world’s most-valuable digital asset.“People are not interested in spending Bitcoin right now, but are interested in accumulating it,” Reeves said in an interview. “If people don’t understand Bitcoin as money yet, they certainly will understand it as a better reward.”Visa’s approach to crypto has been evolving. Just two years ago it was in a public fight with the Coinbase Inc. exchange over issues related to purchases made using its cards. Then, in February, Coinbase and Visa announced the Coinbase Card, which allows users to spend Bitcoin using the Visa debit card.The Fold partnership was announced Thursday in a statement from the companies, and Reeves said cards are expected to be issued in July. He declined to name the banks that are backing the card.Bitcoin is a challenging technology for retail users, who must establish an account on an exchange and set up a virtual “wallet” to help protect from hackers. Reeves said his firm is working to make the process simpler. Fold users also have the option to spend Bitcoin within the company’s system to buy U.S. dollar-denominated gift cards at companies including Starbucks Inc. or Uber, he said.Placing Bitcoin rewards next to familiar incentives like airline miles, loyalty points or cash shows a maturity in how people are viewing cryptocurrencies, Reeves said.Bitcoin “enters the pantheon where it’s that much closer to everyday consumers,” he said. “I fundamentally believe there are more shoppers than speculators.”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.

  • Investing.com

    Crude Oil Gains Ahead of Key OPEC+ Meeting

    Expectations of a drastic reduction in output are growing after Russia’s energy ministry said Moscow was ready to reduce output by 1.6 million barrels a day as part of a deal that includes producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, and beyond. This prompted Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab, who holds OPEC’s rotating presidency, to say that the emergency meeting of the OPEC+ coalition on Thursday will discuss a “massive output reduction.” “While this is around 15% of their total output and would be a meaningful cut, it would still be a struggle for the whole of OPEC+ to reach 10MMbbls/d, and therefore require the help of other oil producers if they are to get near this target,” ING analysts said in a research note.

  • Oil Demand Slumps 70% in India as Third-Biggest Buyer Shuts Down
    Bloomberg

    Oil Demand Slumps 70% in India as Third-Biggest Buyer Shuts Down

    (Bloomberg) -- Oil demand in the world’s third-biggest consumer has collapsed by as much as 70% as India endures the planet’s largest national lockdown, according to officials at the country’s refiners.The estimate for the current demand loss is a stark reminder of the challenge facing oil producers as they haggle over a deal to cut supply and prop up the global energy industry. Consumption for the entire month could average about 50% below last year’s levels but that’s based on India’s three-week lockdown ending April 15 as planned, according to the officials.The reduction equates to a staggering 3.1 million barrels a day of lost oil demand, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. To put that in perspective, it means the decline in India alone would eat away a third of the 10 million barrel-a-day supply cut that President Donald Trump last week touted as being under consideration by the world’s biggest crude producers in talks due to culminate this week.“This is an unprecedented situation, I have neither seen nor heard anything like this in my entire life,” said R.S. Sharma, former chairman of Oil & Natural Gas Corp., India’s biggest producer, which also has two refining units. “There’s lot of turmoil and things are going to worsen,” said Sharma, an oil industry veteran who helmed ONGC during the 2008 financial crisis.India’s March 25 decision to impose a three-week lockdown on its 1.3 billion people was the most far-reaching measure undertaken by any government to curb the spread of the coronavirus. It has helped plunge global energy markets deeper into turmoil just as hopes had started to surface that resurgent Chinese demand could offer some support as the world’s biggest consumer emerged from its own lockdown.The scale of the demand loss also puts into perspective India’s plans to add to its strategic reserves, a sign of its support for the global measures to help stabilize the oil market. The country has only 15 million barrels of spare capacity in its strategic reserves.Spokespeople for the oil ministry and state refiners Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. didn’t respond to requests for comment.“Our demand is running at 30% to 40% of normal, varying from product to product,” said Sanjiv Singh, chairman of the biggest state refiner, Indian Oil Corp. “We will get a boost when things start opening up, but probably not to the pre-Covid level. That may still take some time.”For now, India’s streets remain deserted, factories shut and cargo movement has pretty much ground to a halt with transportation of goods by road collapsing to less than 10% of normal levels.The shutdown is catastrophic for fuel demand. The three state refiners that account for more than 90% of the nation’s fuel sales are predicting a decline of about 60% in gasoline consumption in April compared with last year and a 40% slump in diesel use, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential. They’re banking on an improvement in demand in the second half of the month as the lockdown ends.India consumed 4.48 million barrels a day of oil in April 2019, including about 690,000 barrels a day of gasoline and 1.8 million barrels of diesel, according to government data.Deal HopesOptimism that producers are inching closer to a global deal has helped prop up oil prices that collapsed more than 60% since the beginning of the year. The U.S. on Tuesday said its production will drop dramatically in 2020, helping pave the way for Saudi Arabia and Russia to coordinate output cuts at Thursday’s virtual OPEC+ meeting. Moscow said Wednesday it’s willing to reduce output by 1.6 million barrels a day, or roughly 15%. On Friday, they’ll seek cooperation from other nations in a Group of 20 conference.However, even a cut by 10 million barrels a day may only dent the supply glut caused by the lockdown of billions of people around the world to slow the spread of the virus, which is estimated to have reduced demand by as much as 35 million barrels a day. The destruction of India’s oil consumption represents a significant share of that. An additional 4 million barrels a day of price induced shut-ins would still be necessary, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said on Wednesday.“India’s oil demand is falling off a cliff, as the whole nation has come to a standstill,” said Senthil Kumaran, an oil markets consultant at Facts Global Energy. “Demand for key oil products should shrink by 53% year-on-year to just 1.8 million barrels a day in April.”London-based consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. sees India’s total oil demand dropping by at least 1.5 million barrels a day in April, down about 30% from a year ago.Demand was already suffering before the lockdown as economic activity and travel slowed around the world. Diesel sales by India’s three biggest state-run fuel retailers declined by about a quarter in March. Gasoline sales were 17% lower while jet fuel sales plunged by a third as air travel was suspended. The only fuel showing growth was liquefied petroleum gas as people cook more at home.The collapse has forced refiners to slash operations by as much as half. And as demand has crashed, the government advised them late last month that they could invoke a rarely used legal clause to walk away from contracts to import crude oil.Indian Oil declared force majeure for some April crude shipments as it slashed processing rates at most of its refineries by as much as 30%. Before this, HPCL and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals sought refuge under the clause as plunging demand filled up storage, while BPCL was said to be considering a similar move.The steepest declines in demand are expected in the first half of the month and “in all likelihood, some form of social distancing will continue through mid-May, according to our sources, so we assume demand in May will be lower by 10%,” Energy Aspects analyst Sandra Octavia said. “We expect April Indian refinery runs to drop by over 40% from the previous month to just 3 million barrels a day.”(Updates with oil-deal developments from 12th paragraph.)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

    Don't Let This Billion Dollar Bailout Fool You

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- China’s stimulus for the auto industry has been all over the map. Measures that help some players wind up setting back priorities for others. But one thing is clear: The billions of yuan that vaulted China to become the world’s largest car market aren’t there. Don’t be fooled by the numbers you see in coming months.All told, China’s aid package adds up to around 8 billion yuan ($1.13 billion), according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. That’s a far cry from the 25 billion yuan to 30 billion yuan spent just on electric vehicle incentives last year, or the 100-billion-yuan-plus laid out in the 2015 to 2017 stimulus cycle. There’s a bigger problem than fiscal constraints, though. Beijing’s policies will do little to boost consumer demand and only add volume — exactly what a market awash in supply doesn’t need. Big discretionary spending items like cars are unlikely to top post-coronavirus shopping lists, even if people are initially wary of public transportation.In recent weeks, policymakers have laid out a slew of measures to boost sales, which were slumping even before Covid-19. Subsidies that were supposed to end this year have been extended to 2022. The government is incentivizing auto companies in several provinces to meet targets and high growth rates, and urging them to offer sweeteners for bulk purchases. In other cities, like Hangzhou, restrictions on license plates — aimed at curbing excessive sales — are being loosened and quotas expanded. Yet all this easing of limits on conventional cars has come at the cost of the drive toward greener ones. Electric-vehicle specific policies have been lackluster.The latest program looks a lot like the U.S.'s cash for clunkers experiment of 2009. In places like Tianjin and Hebei, the central government is turning to vouchers and coupons instead of the usual subsidies. In Beijing, for instance, car owners can get 7,000 yuan this year, and a little less next year, for scrapping older, higher emission models or transferring them out of the city. Local officials are also urging automakers to match or exceed government offers for shoppers who then go and buy new vehicles. In theory, this program cleans out old stock, encourages sales and makes people feel like they can start spending again. In the U.S., this ultimately backfired because it shifted demand to cheaper cars and reduced spending.Most of the perks laid out, if they stick, will result in soaring sales and a steep recovery. (Electric car sales, meanwhile, will remain subdued.) Local brands like Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., SAIC Motor Corp., Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. and BYD Co. will likely post figures closer to those before the viral outbreak. But things will look good for all the wrong reasons.For clues about the health of China’s auto market, investors may be better served looking elsewhere. Dealership traffic and sales of foreign, especially luxury, carmakers that stayed ahead of the broader market will be a clearer indication of demand. While 98.8% of dealers have re-opened and are aggressively luring consumers, showroom traffic is still around 66%. The SAIC-General Motors Corp.-Wuling venture for instance, is subsidizing buyers with a targeted total amount of 1 billion yuan, according to CLSA Ltd. Last month, they launched a no-questions-asked return policy within 30 days for their newly launched Baojun series.Another area to watch is premium car sales and pricing. Big luxury automakers haven’t been major beneficiaries partly because some of the perks are focused on lower-tier cities, where there are more joint ventures with foreign players that haven’t done so well. No one’s scrapping a Beemer anytime soon.Since many of the incentives are coming from local governments, it will also be important to assess sales on a city-by-city or regional basis. Shanghai and Hangzhou are saturated markets – their ability to significantly boost purchases by loosening restrictions is much lower than areas in central and western China, where numbers may start rising a lot faster.The other lever Beijing will lean on is household credit. While China relies less on auto financing than other countries, the sector is still growing quickly. The market for auto asset-backed securities, backed by pools of car loans, is also booming, so performance here will be key. Prepayments will be another tell-tale sign; who is paying and who isn't. Already, delinquency rates for some buyers are rising faster than others.In the bust, boost and boom cycle of China’s car market, there will be more losers than winners — the glossy stimulus headlines won’t help you find them. It’ll take a bit more digging.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Anjani Trivedi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies in Asia. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal. 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.

  • Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler to Liquidate, Convert Stock Shares
    Bloomberg

    Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler to Liquidate, Convert Stock Shares

    (Bloomberg) -- Senator Kelly Loeffler said Wednesday she and her husband are liquidating their investment portfolio following criticism of their sales and purchases of millions of dollars worth of stocks amid the coronavirus outbreak.The Georgia Republican, who is running to keep her Senate seat in a Nov. 3 nonpartisan primary, announced in a Wall Street Journal opinion-page article that the couple’s stock holdings will be converted to mutual funds and exchange-traded funds to be controlled by third-party advisers.She and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, the chief executive of Intercontinental Exchange, parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, have a net worth estimated at more than $500 million.“While the American people are enduring the impact of Covid-19, I have become a top target of baseless attacks from political adversaries and the media,” wrote Loeffler in the article headlined “I Never Traded on Confidential Coronavirus Information.”In an effort to move on past “these distractions,” said Loeffler, she and her husband’s holdings would be converted.Loeffler was appointed in December by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to finish the term of Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, who retired.Loeffler has been criticized about her sales and purchases of stocks following government briefings to Congress on the virus. She and her husband sold $46,027 worth of stock in an online travel company in the day leading up to President Donald Trump’s announcement of a ban on most European travel to the U.S. They had purchased that stock just days earlier.Some stock sales by another senator, Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, have prompted a government inquiry.In a press release Wednesday, Loeffler’s Senate campaign said her investments are managed by third-party money-managing advisers at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Sepio Capital, and Wells Fargo. Loeffler had previously refused to identify her advisers.“These professionals buy, sell and option stocks on behalf of Senator Loeffler and her husband,” the campaign release stated. “Neither Senator Loeffler nor her husband directed trading in these accounts.”Primary ChallengersLoeffler is also quoted as saying she and her husband put the arrangement in place to insulate themselves “from these sorts of unfounded accusations.”She faces several challengers in Georgia’s Nov. 3 primary for her Senate seat from Representative Doug Collins, a fellow Republican, as well as three Democrats, a Libertarian and an independent.If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two will be in a runoff likely in January.Collins has raised the controversy over Loeffler’s stock trades in his campaign. His campaign spokesman Dan McLagan said in an email Wednesday regarding her move, “This is essentially a guilty plea, and Georgians who just saw their retirement plans crater while she profited are not going to agree to the plea deal.”“Same advisers, different funds and no blind trust? We’re not buying it,” McLagan said.Helen Kalla, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement, “Nothing can undo the damage that’s already been done with voters who have no reason to trust anything she says or does in public office.”(Adds Democratic group’s statement in last paragraph; an earlier version corrected ‘billion’ to ‘million’ in third paragraph)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.

  • ETF Areas That Make Good Investment Choices for April
    Zacks

    ETF Areas That Make Good Investment Choices for April

    Here we highlight some ETF areas that investors can consider amid the coronavirus crisis.

  • Goldman’s Tequila Bond Bet Tests Recession-Proof Label
    Bloomberg

    Goldman’s Tequila Bond Bet Tests Recession-Proof Label

    (Bloomberg) -- Investors betting on the resilience of bonds from the world’s top tequila maker may get some vindication after a big decline last month.Dollar-denominated debt from Mexico City-based Becle SAB, the maker of Jose Cuervo, is trading near a one-year low after emerging-market assets tumbled in March amid the sell-off sparked by the pandemic. The nation’s coronavirus caseload exceeds 2,700, among them a positive test from Becle Chief Executive Officer Juan Domingo Beckmann.But some traders say the company’s notes now look like a bargain. For one, unlike some breweries, the Jose Cuervo distillery in the town of Tequila is carrying on with production after the state government deemed it essential. Moreover, sales of booze have soared while most Americans remain on lockdown. Longer term, demand for alcohol holds up better than other products during a recession, Fitch Ratings wrote last week, keeping a stable outlook for Becle at the third-lowest investment grade.“The Cuervo bonds should do well,” said Ray Zucaro, the chief investment officer at RVX Asset Management in Miami. “I have personally drank every day of quarantine to help their top line!”That’s encouraging news for investors like Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which was the largest reported holder of the notes as of Feb. 28, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Goldman declined to comment on the debt. The $500 million of bonds due in 2025 rallied by the most in almost three weeks Wednesday to 96 cents on the dollar.The Cuervo family’s road to a multi-billion dollar fortune began in the late 1700s, when Jose Maria Guadalupe de Cuervo won the first tequila-making license from King Carlos IV of Spain. The agave-based spirit became a staple for soldiers in the Mexican-American War, while the introduction of railroads helped establish a tequila boom at the turn of the 20th century. Becle took the company public in 2017, and it’s now worth about $4.5 billion. Besides Jose Cuervo, it also makes Bushmills whiskey and Hangar 1 vodka.Becle said last month that Beckmann was in good condition as he coped with the virus at home. The company hasn’t released any updates and didn’t respond to a request for comment.The pandemic is also providing an unexpected benefit to Becle. Mexico’s peso has plunged almost 20% since the end of February, yet since the company gets more than three-quarters of its sales from abroad, that should boost revenue in peso terms while reducing its local costs, according to Fitch.(Updates with bond move in fifth paragraph.)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

    There’s a Work-From-Home ETF Coming and Its Ticker is WFH

    (Bloomberg) -- With millions of people around the world stuck in their home offices to help contain the coronavirus outbreak, companies that specialize in remote-working products are becoming a hot spot.For that reason, Direxion is planning to start a new “work-from-home” exchange-traded fund that tracks industries such as cloud technologies, remote communications and cyber security, according to a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The ETF will trade under the ticker WFH.Thematic funds, which seek to capture trends that are easily explained to retail investors, have struggled in a crowded ETF marketplace. However, Direxion’s remote-work offering is likely to resonate with traders given the recent popularity of those companies, according to CFRA Research’s Todd Rosenbluth.“This ETF combines some popular, well-established thematic strategies focused on cloud computing and cyber security with remote learning and document management that are all the more pressing, given Covid-19 concerns are likely to remain,” said Rosenbluth, CFRA’s director of ETF research.Read more: Cloud Computing Seen as Tech Haven Amid Pandemic UncertaintyCloud-computing companies have been a clear beneficiary of the stay-at-home and social distancing measures to help combat the spread of the virus. Shares of Microsoft Corp. soared last week after the company said its cloud services usage spiked by 775%.Still, some analysts aren’t convinced about the positive trend for the industry. While WFH’s narrative is “compelling,” the valuations of the tracked companies likely reflect the market’s enthusiasm for this theme, according to Morningstar Inc.’s Ben Johnson.“This too shall pass and investors have already bid up the shares of a lot of these stocks,” said Johnson, Morningstar’s co-head of passive strategy research.Other issuers have sought to capitalize on the work-from-home boost. The Wedbush ETFMG Global Cloud Technology ETF, which tracks global small and mid-cap companies involved in cloud infrastructure and technology, began trading this week.Unlike the majority of Direxion’s products, WFH won’t use leverage to amplify returns. The new offering is consistent with Direxion’s focus on broadening its thematic offerings to “buy-and-hold” investors, head of ETF product David Mazza wrote in an email. The firm launched three non-leveraged ETFs in February as part of that strategy.“While leveraged ETFs remain part of their lineup, they have expanded beyond the nice and highly tactical short-term oriented products,” Rosenbluth said.(Adds tout. An earlier version of this story corrected Microsoft’s share price.)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.

  • Earnings Preview: Goldman Sachs (GS) Q1 Earnings Expected to Decline
    Zacks

    Earnings Preview: Goldman Sachs (GS) Q1 Earnings Expected to Decline

    Goldman (GS) doesn't possess the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely earnings beat in its upcoming report. Get prepared with the key expectations.

  • Microsoft (MSFT) Azure Adopted by Blackrock to Host Platform
    Zacks

    Microsoft (MSFT) Azure Adopted by Blackrock to Host Platform

    Microsoft's (MSFT) cloud revenues expected to benefit from Blackrock's adoption of Azure Cloud Platform.

  • Goldman Tells Rich Clients U.S. Stocks Promise Best Returns
    Bloomberg

    Goldman Tells Rich Clients U.S. Stocks Promise Best Returns

    (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is advising its wealthy clients to return to equities and particularly favors U.S. stocks on optimism for a strong economic recovery after the end of the virus lockdowns.“Our own advice to clients is that right now is a good time to get back into markets and take advantage of the decline in equity markets to position for the rebound,” Silvia Ardagna, managing director in the investment strategy group within Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management, said in a phone interview.While Goldman strategists expect a sharp near-term decline in global economic activity, they also forecast a V-shaped rebound in the second half of the year. Ardagna said her team has been “positively impressed” by the response of policymakers and while these measures won’t prevent a recession in the first half, they’ll likely fuel a powerful recovery.Goldman’s investment strategy group recommended in mid-March that clients use the selloff to slowly add to risk assets and said it was using options instead of direct purchases of U.S. stocks. Ardagna said that in its tactical fund, Goldman has since gone outright long the S&P 500 Index to position for the bounce. U.S. equities reached their low on March 23 after slumping 34% over the course of a month and have since rallied 21%.“We see light at the end of the tunnel because we believe that sooner or later the medical community will make breakthroughs, and because the fiscal and monetary response around the world, especially in the U.S., where we’re overweight stocks, has been pretty aggressive and forceful,” she said, while adding that the market may remain volatile because of the pandemic.Strong ReboundHer comments echo those of Peter Oppenheimer, Goldman’s chief global equity strategist, who said on Bloomberg TV that global growth is expected to rise 6% next year, fueling a strong rebound in equities. He added that the stock market isn’t yet reflecting a pick-up in earnings in 2021 that is expected to be at least 50% in Europe and the U.S.Fiscal support measures in the U.S. are giving businesses incentive to retain workers, which should allow them to restart their operations more quickly once lockdowns are lifted, Ardagna said. Sentiment among U.S. small businesses collapsed in March by the most on record and payrolls slumped by more than 700,000, seven times as much as economists had forecast.Goldman’s consumer and wealth-management unit had $561 billion of assets under supervision at the end of 2019, up 23% from a year earlier.Ardagna said the team isn’t recommending positions in high-yield credit or European government bonds because U.S. stocks offer a much better risk-reward. The S&P 500 gained as much a 1.8% today, extending its recovery on optimism for another round of stimulus and an eventual move toward reopening the economy.“When valuations are so low, when there’s been pretty sharp drawdowns in equity markets, on a 12- to 18-month horizon, the probability of getting a positive return is pretty high,” she said.(Updates with today’s U.S. stock market in penultimate paragraph)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.

  • Rising Work-From-Home Trend to Boost 5 Industries & ETFs
    Zacks

    Rising Work-From-Home Trend to Boost 5 Industries & ETFs

    As many are working from home now to contain the spread of the coronavirus, some specific industries are benefiting.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Procter & Gamble, AbbVie, QUALCOMM, PepsiCo and CME Group
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Procter & Gamble, AbbVie, QUALCOMM, PepsiCo and CME Group

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