Connect with us

BenzingaEditorial

Big Tech to The Rescue Against COVID-19 – To Shine or Not to Shine?

Published

on

Tech Companies

Big Tech is facing a ‘Big Brother’ trap as coronavirus spreads over the globe. While it is under scrutiny for privacy issues for quite some time now, Silicon Valley faces the question of whether — or how — to use all the information they have on their users to help in the fight against the invisible enemy, COVID-19. And believe it or not, the Trump administration has asked them for help. Legislators came to a realization that are things that are more important than Big Tech being too powerful. Without a doubt, a pandemic is one of those as Italy reached its highest death toll on Wednesday. For these companies, this plea is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore their reputation as they are being not only asked but begged to step in and take action during a global emergency.

Facebook  Inc  (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR ) declined to comment on whether they had received government requests to share data whereas Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) initially did not respond but later emailed that it is exploring ways while follow our stringent privacy protocols and would not involve sharing data about any individual’s location, movement, or contacts.

What they did already

One thing we know for sure is that these companies hold sizeable cash reserves. Facebook Inc was the latest company to announce on Tuesday it will help to heal the economic damage from the coronavirus. The social media giant will donate US$100 million in cash grants and ad credits to up to 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries.

Last week, Alphabet Inc’s Google was the very first taking action as it developed a website to help speed up the process of finding who needs a coronavirus test.

On Monday, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) will hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States to deal with a surge in online orders due to people being in isolation to help contain the spread. The company will also increase its minimum wage with US$2 to its minimum US$15 per hour to US workers all the way through April as this will last.

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices and apps are helping people get their work done while also keeping their kids entertained. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has made working from home possible quite a while ago but sure handy now as the Europe and US’ citizens are on lockdown. So, they did a pretty good job already! But they could do more.

The Big Brother Trap

Arguably the single most powerful tool at their disposal, the data they have on its users is exactly what got them in trouble and what is keeping their customers worried. The Big Tech has been fighting the perception that they’re Big Brother for quite some time now, few years to be exact— but in case of a pandemic, that’s exactly the reason why they’re useful.

Israel is deploying a spy technology to track the virus, triggering fears of privacy invasion as until now, this was only done in the case of counterterrorism. But exceptional times call for drastic measures and this pandemics is one of those times as lives need to be saved. Even in the UK, the PM is determined that in order to beat this crisis, we need a combination of better science and technology to enhance government operations and provide better economic and social support. In other words, we all need a lot of help to win this war and Big Tech can provide us with the help we need. But this also means that Silicon Valley is being forced to return to a hole out of which it was trying to dig itself out. Do we need to remind you of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica debacle when Facebook made data available to researchers only to find it was sold for political manipulation.

On the other hand, they could do so much for public health

Only a decade ago, Google, enchanted users Flu Trends, a project using the search terms people typed into Google to map the spread of influenza. Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Amazon and Google hold data that’s a public-health researcher’s dream. They know where its users are, what they are searching for, what they are buying, and who are they spending time with. This is everything that epidemiologists need to know early on where outbreaks were likely to occur, where to deploy testing and send the vaccines the world is so eagerly waiting for. Moreover, it would enable analysts to figure out if we’re seeing a full spread or just the tip of the iceberg.

The dilemma

But the Big Tech remains worried about its Big Brother image. And they are extremely cautious for a reason because there is significant legal and societal risk of sharing anything at an individual level that is hard to ignore. Quite ironic isn’t it?

To shine or not to shine?

These companies have an immense capacity to influence lives around the globe, and now they even have a chance to save them. But only if they are willing to put aside (yet again) their promise of safeguarding data and throw out all the hard work of trying to prove this is the case in the recent years– and perhaps even risk it all as their users’ confidence could be lost for good. Big Tech indeed is facing a hard dilemma as these changes in privacy will be difficult to regain once things are back to normal as no one can guarantee their users will only see them as aftermath heroes. For Doctors, the true heroes, things are made simple by The Hippocratic Oath they all took- their priority is to save lives. But for these tech giants who are under scrutiny of engaging in immoral behavior to win market share, gain new markets and benefit their top and bottom lines by taking advantage of their users’ information, their equation is everything but black and white. And there is the economy to think of as there will be lasting damage once all this is over. Big Tech has been given the chance to improve its image and win hearts and minds along the way but will it take it considering the risk involved?

This article is not a press release and is contributed by Ivana Popovic who is a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . Ivana Popovic 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 Questions about this release can be send to ivana@iamnewswire.com

BenzingaEditorial

This Week Will Be About More Than Inauguration Day Alone

Published

on

Since 2020 March lows, the market saw a nothing short of extraordinary record-shattering rally. But how much higher can it go as COVID continues to rage across the US and Europe? That answer will become a bit clearer as traders have returned from the long holiday weekend and equity markets have reopened. This week will be defined by the first days of the Biden administration and by another batch of corporate earnings reports.

Inauguration in times of COVID-19

On Wednesday, president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony will take place as a dialed-down event, due to the ongoing pandemic. Americans have been urged to avoid the city on the day, given the risk of violence surrounding the event. Last Wednesday, Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) announced it would block and cancel reservations in the D.C. metro area this week, refunding guests and reimbursing hosts who already made bookings. Interestingly, the stock rallied nearly 6% upon the announcement. Marriott (NASDAQ: MAR) which has close to 200 hotels in the D.C. area and owns brands including The Ritz-Carlton said it would honor existing reservations, along with IntercontinentalHotelGroup (NYSE: IHG), Hilton (NYSE: HLT), Hyatt (NYSE: H) and Expedia-owned VRBO (NASDAQ: EXPE).

Biden also said he aims to roll out 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days in office, which would significantly accelerate the pace of current efforts to counteract the pandemic. On January 20th, Biden is seeking to sign about a dozen executive actions to address the pandemic, as well as a virus-stricken economy, climate change and racial equity.

Earnings

One of this week’s key earnings reports will come from Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) on Tuesday after market close. Last quarter’s results showed disappointing signs that the skyrocketing user growth that Netflix enjoyed during pandemic was slowing down. The streaming giant missed even its own conservative third-quarter new subscriber guidance for the summer, adding just 2.2 million new members as opposed the 2.5 million the company had expected. For the fourth quarter, Netflix expects 6 million net paid additions to its streaming platform, representing another YoY decline after adding 8.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Netflix, while still the leader among U.S. streaming platforms when it comes to total users, has also faced increasing competition over the past year, especially from relative newcomer Disney+ (NYSE: DIS). Disney’s streaming service had 86.8 million paying subscribers as of December 2nd, compared to the more than 195 million Netflix reported at the end of September. Disney also revealed it would be raising the monthly price of its streaming subscription starting in March, suggesting the entertainment giant believes it has the user demand and pricing power to command higher fees. Netflix needs to prove it can maintain its status as the king of streaming among this intense competition.

Wall Street expects earnings $1.38 per share on revenue of $6.61 billion, compared to the year-ago quarter when earnings were $1.30 per share on $5.47 billion in revenue.

Also, on Tuesday, Tuesday: Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) will report their earnings before market open.

Wednesday

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), US Bancorp (NYSE: USB), Citizens Financial Group (NYSE: CFG), Bank of New York Mellon Co. (NYSE: BK), Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) will report before market open whereas Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) will report after market close. Wall Street expects United Airlines to lose $6.58 per share on revenue of $3.46 billion. This compares to the year-ago quarter when earnings came to $2.67 per share on revenue of $10.89 billion. United had some $24 billion of capital expenditure commitments as of Q3 so amid the decline in travel demand, its aim is to reduce that spending as much as possible. Investors will be looking at such economic improvements to justify the argument that UAL is better positioned than other airlines to survive this downturn.

Thursday will feature IBM and Intel

Wall Street expects International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) to earn $1.79 per share on revenue of $20.63 billion but what investors are really wondering is when will the real turnaround begin? Its cloud ambitions have promised to return value to shareholders, but shares still haven’t regained even their pre-COVID levels while the rest of the market has seen record highs. Cloud leaders such as Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL) are seemingly too far ahead for IBM to catch up. The new CEO Arvind Krishna is tasked with elevating Big Blue into a leading cloud and AI position, while distancing the company from the legacy business. Investors want to hear progress on these fronts.

Truist Financial (NYSE: TFC), Baker Hughes (NYSE: BKR), Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) will also report on the same day before market open and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) will make its appearance after market close.  Wall Street expects Intel to earn $1.10 per share on revenue of $17.48 billion, whereas the same quarter last year saw earnings of $1.52 per share on revenue of $20.21 billion. Intel shares have soared more than 10% Wednesday after the company confirmed that CEO Bob Swan will step down on February 15 and be replaced by Pat Gelsinger, the current CEO of VMWare (NYSE: VMW). On several important chip development fronts, Intel has lost ground to rivals AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) and Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA). On Thursday, it must show the right things to support the confidence that Gelsinger can turn things around and quickly.

The week will be closed on Friday with earnings from Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) and Ally Invest (NYSE: ALLY) who will all report before the stock market opens.

The inauguration may signal a dramatic shift and increase in government spending, but it remains to be seen whether hopes of a transformation can survive the reality of a narrowly divided Congress.

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

Continue Reading

BenzingaEditorial

This Week’s IPOs

Published

on

This week brings us four IPOs which are aiming to raise $1.8 billion. These four companies operate in different markets and they come from different countries, but they share at least one thing, they all want to go public.

RLX Technology

RLX Technology (NYSE: RLX) is a leading e-cigarette brand in China. The company announced its terms for its IPO on Friday, and it plans to $1.0 billion through offering 116.5 million units at a price between $8 and $10. That means RLX Technology would have a market cap of $14.0 billion. This company is profitable and fast-growing. In 2019, it was holding around 63% of the e-vapor market share in China. RLX believes in the strength of the retails sales, therefore it has more than 110 authorized distributors, so their products are present in more than 250 cities in China, through 5,000 branded stores and over 100,000 other retail outlets. As of the end of September 2020, the revenues have doubled compared to 2019. This is all very promising having in mind that the company was founded in 2018.

Patria Investments

One of the leading private markets investment firms in Brazil and Latin America, Patria Investments Limited (NASDQAQ: PAX), announced that it has launched its IPO. The company offers 26,650,000 Class A common shares in total. The estimated price range of the offered units is between $14 and $16, so the plan is to raise $400 million at a $2.0 billion market cap. The net proceeds from the offering are planned to be used for general corporate purposes, expansion of the company’s operations (through new distribution channels, acquisitions of asset managers and portfolios), and to fund capital commitments to its existing and new contracts. As one of the leading PE firms in Brazil, the company’s investment portfolio includes over 55 companies and it has raised more than $8.7 billion since 2015.

MYT Netherlands

MYT Netherlands (NYSE: MYTE), a Germany-based luxury fashion site, which operates under the brand name Mytheresa, likes to say it offers the Finest Edit in Luxury Fashion. As in the company’s store with the same name (The Mytheresa store in Munich), fashion “doyens” can find some of the renowned brands like Balmain, Gucci, Prada, Saint Laurent, and Fendi, and their latest collections. As the pandemic has ravaged the luxury goods sector, the salvation might be in the online sales of luxury goods, which rose between 12% and 23%. Therefore, Mytheresa decided to go public, planning to raise $266 million at a $1.5 billion market cap and to focus on offering clothing, shoes, and accessories from many luxury brands through its e-commerce platform.

Dream Finders Homes 

After successful completion of several acquisitions and expanding nationally, the Florida-based homebuilder Dream Finders Homes (NASDAQ: DFH) decided to launch its IPO and to raise $130 million at a $1.2 billion market cap. For the first nine months of 2020, the company announced an increase of 29% of pro forma revenues (pro forma – a method of calculating financial results using certain projections or presumptions) and an increased EBITDA margin of 9%.

These companies and their IPOs are offering a lot of variety and potential. So far, 2021 looks promising.

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

Continue Reading

BenzingaEditorial

The EV Industry Is Worth More Than The Traditional Automakers

Published

on

Many things that were considered to be impossible actually happened in 2020. One of them is that electric vehicle makers became more valuable than traditional automakers and by about by about $100 billion, according to Barrons. EV makers are now worth about $1.3 trillion whereas traditional car makers combined have a market capitalization of about $1.2 trillion. This figure includes 100 auto makers around the globe with market caps ranging from $10 million all the way to Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA). Based on its fully diluted share count, Tesla is worth about $1 trillion.

This feat is even more impressive if you consider that this is a much smaller industry based on actual number of cars. The last year taught us that the connection between the stock market and the economy is imprecise at best. However, the fact that technology enabled batteries to overpass ICEs is the kind of disruption that investors look for. Even though Tesla is the main contributor to the value of the EV market, the overall image is just as impressive as three of the top five most valuable are EV makers, with Tesla being followed by NIO (NYSE: NIO) and BYD (OTC: BYDDF). As for traditional automakers, Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) and Toyota (NYSE: TM) are the most valuable ones with both undergoing serious investments into electrification.

Traditional automakers are going electric

On Friday, BMW said it aims to double its sales of fully-electric vehicles this year. Including plug-in hybrids, it aims for a 50 percent increase in sales of electrified vehicles versus 2020. It did not give sales volumes for its fully electric vehicles but in data released on Tuesday, BMW said it sold close to 193,000 electrified vehicles, including fully electric and plug-in hybris in 2020. As a reminder, Tesla delivered almost half a million all-electric models last year, which is 75% of General Motor’s (NYSE: GM) third-quarter deliveries.

The automotive industry is at an inflection point

BEVs take approximately 1% of the total market for light vehicles, but the figure rises to about 3% if we include hybrid and plug-in hybrids. Why exactly it takes a relatively small market share to disrupt an industry is a bit of a mystery, but one reason is that more investment capital tends to flow in when market share come is within the 3% to 5% range. As more capital drives more innovation and improvement, investors are lured by high growth rates, bringing in even more capital and this is how success is made. Over the past year, EV makers have raised more than $20 billion in fresh capital, which is a fraction of what traditional auto companies spend on plants and equipment. However, on a per car basis, the EV industry is investing at roughly 10 times the rate of the traditional industry. Add to this President Joe Biden’s aim of a carbon-free future by 2035 and the drive toward adoption of EVs which is already seeing impressive results in Europe, the all-electric future is around the corner.

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

Continue Reading
Advertisement

TRENDING

Advertisement

Submit an Article

Send us your details and the subject of your article and an IAM editor will be in touch with you shortly

Trending