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The Black Cloud Is Over Europe and Its Airlines

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Airlines News

It’s official, the EU is on lockdown as of noon, Paris (Central European Standard Time) as the World Health Organisation has declared a global pandemic of COVID-19 and Europe as its new epicenter. This literally means- no one enters nor gets to leave the Union for at least 20 days in an effort to contain the spread as flattening the curve is the world’s best bet against the coronavirus which contaminated 179,400 people in at least 140 countries, taking away more than 7,000 lives. For now, among the most severely hit countries are Italy and Spain. As France’s President, Emmanuel Macron declared on Monday evening, we are at war with an invisible enemy. And besides Europe’s citizens mentally suffering in isolation that will last for several weeks, the airline industry is living its worst nightmare as flights are canceled and demand is dropping severely in several months ahead. And it’s extending far beyond Europe as Trump’s decision to set curbs on European flights capped a tumultuous week and is expected to upend a trans-Atlantic market that’s usually the world’s most lucrative.

Airlines bleeding

The Italian government is considering pumping $333 million into an already struggling Alitalia SpA which was already in an urgent need for restructuring. The troubled airline is burning cash at a rate of around $334 million a year so the coronavirus might just be the last drop. Additionally, the government might even take over the airline, according to Bloomberg. The head of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (OTC:NWARF) admitted the discount carrier is on the brink of a fall out as he pleaded for help.

Lufthansa AG Deutsche Lufthansa AG (OTC:DLAKY)

Already last week before the lockdowns took place, in order to avoid layoffs due to the slashing demand and capacity by as much as 50%, the airline announced to Bloomberg it will resort to the option of short time work, known as “Kurzarbeit,” when the government offsets wages lost when companies are forced to temporarily halt activities. The government has loosened rules for short-term work compensation to make it easier for those companies which are heavily affected by the virus to apply. Lufthansa is expected to seek a loan from Germany’s state-run bank to weather the fallout from the virus, after it already cut forecasts and suspended its dividend.

Air France-KLM 

Air France-KLM’s (OTC:AFLYY) business already took quite a hit on Sunday when the French government said it would gradually reduce domestic air, rail and bus operations to limit non-essential travel in the nation that has already shut down everything but the ‘necessary’ stores such as food shops and pharmacies. But now it’s even worse as all is stopped as of Tuesday, there’s no way in or a way out. But Air France can at least count on the help of two governments, as  France owns 14% and the Netherlands has a stake of a bit less than 13%. On Friday, the company already announced it is  building up cash reserves and preparing an emergency plan to cut costs. It has drawn down 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) from a revolving credit facility, bringing available liquidity to 5.5 billion euros, a move it said is aimed at preserving its financial flexibility. In addition to supporting its liquidity, the government is also helping with a shorter working hour arrangement that allows firms to pay employees less in times of such Black Swan events.

UK

Until today before the PM addressed the public, the UK did not have such drastic measures such as Europe. But it was still severely hit as Bloomberg reported that British Airways owned by IAG SA (OTC:ICAGY) chief Alex Cruz called it a crisis of global proportions like no other the industry has known and even worse than the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s, 9/11 in 2001 and the financial meltdown of 2008-2009. The Financial Times reported that BA has held talks with multiple banks regarding urgent financing. The U.K. government is also making efforts to support workers, businesses and passengers,

A grim outlook

The stock is going down at an abnormal speed as IAG SA and Air France-KLM already reached a lowest point in more than the last three years, while Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA reached its 15-year bottom. And things are only to get worse as the pandemic continues. Jobs will be lost as the airlines idle planes, cut back on flights and move to protect their balance sheet. The International Air Transport Association estimated that they may lose as much as $113 billion in ticket sales this year. The virus first swept through Asia, decimating air traffic and leading to a Chinese government decision to take charge of the parent of Hainan Airlines and a similar scenario seems to be in the cards for European airlines but the whole world will be affected by this pandemic. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, measures taken by states could cost the tourism industry 50 million jobs. There’s no doubt that the survival of many airline companies is on the line and of the travel industry as a whole considering that the COVID-19 pandemic is at its initial stage and we are to fight this battle for quite a few months ahead along with fighting the fears that yet another recession is upon us. The key challenge for the coming days and weeks to come is to bring the epidemic under control as soon as possible as otherwise we risk it inflicting a lasting damage on the economy.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Working From Home Trend and Gaming Did The Trick for Microsoft

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On Tuesday, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) succeeded in beating forecasts far above expectations due to a boom in PC sales, increased demand for gaming and cloud services. The pandemic might have put a lot of constraints to its customers, but it also led to a structural change as businesses across the globe shifted to digital operations and saw it as key to increasing their resilience. Upon the results, Microsoft’s stock was up 5% in after-market trading.

Q2 2021 figures

Revenues increased 17percent as they amounted to $43.1 billion and exceeded $40.2 billion expected by Bloomberg. Earnings per share were $2.03, topping the expected $1.64.

The commercial cloud businesses which Wall Street sees as the main engine of Microsoft’s future growth is reaccelerating. These businesses that include Office 365 and Azure cloud platform, generated revenue of $16.7 billion in the latest quarter, which is 34 per cent up from a year before. At the same time, the launch of a new Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X lifted the gaming business as revenue of Xbox content and services was up a whopping 40% in the quarter. Personal Computing division was also up by 14 per cent as revenues amounted to $15.1 billion.

Meanwhile, the Productivity and Business Processes division reported revenue of $13.4 billion, which is a 13 percent increase. This growth was fueled by strong demand for Office 365 which grew 20 percent when adjusted for currency, which is line with the previous quarter.

Adding more fuel

Microsoft recently announced that it was investing $2 billion to be the preferred cloud provider of the General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Honda-backed (NYSE: HMC) autonomous vehicle firm Cruise. Under the agreement, Microsoft will provide cloud infrastructure for Cruise to better enable autonomous vehicles to navigate highways and surface streets in the future.

A sign of confidence

Microsoft also forecast revenue for the current quarter in the range between$40.35billion and $41.25bn. Themidpoint of the rangewould represent another quarter of 17 per cent growth, beating the 11 per cent that Wall Street forecasted.

Takeaway

Its strength in the cloud and personal computing enabled Microsoft to blow away Q2 expectations. As Mr. Nadella had put it, digital transformation is sweeping every company and every industry across the globe. Microsoft is powering this second wave of transformation that is even stronger than the first one as the world is now creating a new normal that will stay long after the COVID-19 pandemic becomes history.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

This Week’s IPOs

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This week has eight scheduled IPOs with three billion-dollar deals coming from bio tech, diagnostics, software and solar equipment, among others.

Biotech

The US biotechnology company that received emergency approval from the FDA for its COVID-19 antibody and antigen tests, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (NASDAQ: OCDX), plans to raise $1.5 billion at a $4.9 billion market cap. This pure-play in vitro diagnostics business provides diagnostic testing solutions. It is profitable on an EBIT basis, with a revenue retention rate of 99% in 2019.

Customer-survey software

Qualtrics International (NASDAQ: XM) seeks to raise as much as $1.46 billion. It provides a customer and employee experience management platform to over 12,000 organizations. But, despite its sticky customers, it operates in a highly competitive environment with low barriers to entry.

Solar equipment supplier

Shoals Technologies Group (NASDAQ: SHLS) designs and manufactures products used in large solar energy projects. It is a profitable and growing company that plans to raise $1.0 billion at a $3.6 billion market cap. However, its growth depends on international growth and its track record abroad is not impressive.

Asset-light container liner shipping company

Israel-based ZIM Integrated Shipping Services (NYSE: ZIM) plans to raise $306 million at a $2.1 billion market cap. This company positions itself as a global leader in niche markets with competitive advantages that allow it to maximize its profitability.

Mortgage

Residential mortgage producer Home Point Capital (NASDAQ: HMPT) plans to raise $250 million at a $3.0 billion market cap. It utilizes a wholesale mortgage origination channel to connect with nearly broker partners, which allows it to serve roughly 300,000 customers.

Asset management

Brazilian asset manager Vinci Partners Investments (NASDAQ: VINP) plans to raise $236 million at a $944 million market cap. Its portfolio includes private equity, public equities, real estate, credit, infrastructure, hedge funds, and investment products.

Supermarket portfolio

Southeastern Grocers (NYSE: SEGR) plans to raise $134 million (100% secondary) at a $725 million market cap. The company itself won’t sell any shares as part of the offering and will not receive any net proceeds from its public debut.

Agriculture

Agricultural technology company Agrify (NASDAQ: AGFY) plans to raise $25 million at a $115 million market cap. This company is highly unprofitable but fast growing. It aims to differentiate itself with a bundled solution of equipment, software, and services that is optimized for growth.

By the looks of it, the 2021 IPO market seems to be continuing 2020’s momentum.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

This Earnings Week Will Be a Busy One

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Apply (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are ready to report record sales this week, along with nearly a quarter of S&P 500 companies scheduled to release their earnings reports. It will also be a busy week, or more precisely a busy Tuesday, for the Dow with 3M (NYSE: MMM), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) joining Microsoft as fourth-quarter earnings season gets into full swing.

Tuesday

The chip saga continues with Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) whose shares rose about 5% over the past week and are now up 1.2% year to date. Expectations are high due to its strong fourth quarter results and Intel Corporation’s (NASDAQ: INTC) upside guidance that was issued last week. Wall Street expects earnings of47 cents per share on revenue of $3.02 billion as it assumes the pandemic made a minimal disruption to its business with positive trends in the datacenter business and PC sales. AMD has steadily gained market share from Intel in both of these categories.

Microsoft will also report after the close with Wall Street expecting earnings of $1.64 per share on revenue of $40.18 billion. The trends of working and learning from home continue to intensify demands for Microsoft’s offerings, as evidenced by the strong Q4 demand. But its biggest strength over the past year has been the commercial cloud business and Wall Street remains strongly positive about the company’s outlook for fiscal 2021 due to Azure’s momentum as it’s revenue was up 48% on a YoY basis in the previous quarter. But, this is a slight deceleration from the 50% growth in Q4 and investors will want some evidence that both Azure and Microsoft’s Teams that competes against Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM) can continue fueling its revenues to new heights.

Wednesday

Apple will report after the close and Wall Street expects earnings of$1.40 per share on revenue of $102.76 billion. Holiday quarter is the quarter for Apple and it needs to meet these high expectations as last year’s quarter saw earnings of $1.25 per share on revenue of $88.5 billion. This quarter will be all about sales of the iPhone 12 that has been lauded as revolutionary. The iPhone 12 came with 5G capabilities and features such as its world-facing LIDAR sensor. However, Apple is about more than the iPhone as its services business now accounts for almost 22% of total revenue. Last quarter, its revenue surged to a new record of $14.5 billion.

Facebook will also report after the close with Wall Street expecting earnings of $3.19 per share on revenue of $26.34 billion. Facebook shares had an impressive run over the past week, suggesting that the concerns over digital advertising due to the pandemic have vanished. The social media giant topped consensus earnings expectations in each of the past eleven quarters and has missed earnings estimates just once over the past half of a decade. Yet, over the past year, its shares have been under-performing due to fears of regulatory and political risk. But if it shows a strong surge in daily and monthly active users with an upbeat revenue guidance, its stock should be just fine.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) will report its first quarter since it became part of the S&P 500 after the close. Wall Street expects earnings of$1.00 per share on revenue of $10.32 billion. Tesla’s shares are up 20% year to date and 99.9% since the company last reported earnings on October 21st, confirming that it is not showing any signs of slowing down. Elon Musk’s focus has been on executing the strategy that brought top and bottom-line improvements, while delivering almost half a million vehicles in 2020. Now, the electric vehicle pioneer has to show it intends to keep pressing the gas pedal.

Takeaway

A number of Republicans don’t support President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion new round of fiscal stimulus and have even criticized the price tag. Fortunately, mega tech companies that are reporting this week don’t depend on fiscal stimulus that much, as dar revenue and earnings growth is concerned.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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