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COVID-19 Crisis Could Make Big Tech Even Stronger!

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As the economy is plunging into recession, Big Tech is not only doing well but thriving. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is hiring aggressively to meet the surging demand. YouTube has soaring traffic. Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a world community on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is coming true as traffic for video calling and messaging has exploded. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) saw a 40% increase in demand in its online software that is used for working from home. Netflix (NASDAQ:NLFX) is also gaining a new audience. Even Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) who suffered a hit to its supply chain when China was on lockdown is already back on track with factories open and users spending more money on its service segment.

What about ads?

Now this is the part where all of the above companies should be worried as ads are the lifeblood of Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook as well. And advertising always ends up being the collateral during times of economic downturns. Microsoft and Apple have already cut their financial outlook due to lower consumer spending as this scenario will most likely be present with everyone else. When combined, stocks of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet collectively lost more than $1 trillion in market value compared to when U.S. stocks traded at record highs only a month ago.

What about small companies?

Communication tools such as Zoom are hanging in there as they have become essential. Ride hailing giants such as Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Lyft (NYSE:LYFT) have to deal with the fact their customers have vanished as people are in self-quarantine. The $3.9 trillion global technology industry will suffer but we don’t know how much just yet.

Cloud is among clouds

The three major cloud providers, namely Amazon, Microsoft and Google are swimming in cash to say the least. They have never been more popular as corporations find it cheaper to rely on their services than to change their infrastructure. Number of users using Microsoft Teams is now 44 million which is a 37 percent increase in only a week resulting in at least 900 million minutes spent in meetings and calls. When the dust settles, will the workers want to go back to their regular jobs after the comfort of doing it from home?

Streaming is exploding

Although Netflix did not report on the number of subscribers, downloads of its app increased 66 percent in Italy, 35 percent in Spain and 9 percent in the US. The explosion of popularity made Europe’s officials ask them to reduce the video quality to lighten the strain – and they agreed to do so for 30 days with YouTube also agreeing to suspend streaming of high-definition video for the same period. So well done Apple for trying to move away from its device sales to ‘services-revenue’ as app sales and subscription to TV and music content is surely now softening the blow to the company’s supply chain from only a month ago. Apple and Google also get their own cut in most app sales.

But Big Tech hasn’t officially yet joined the battle against COVID-19

Governments want them to do more as they are increasingly desperate- they need their data. And Big Tech wants to anonymise that data first but this takes time – and we don’t have time. Microsoft has joined the White House’s consortium dedicated to fight the virus as part of its AI Health program. And there are several smaller initiatives as Google and Facebook are looking for ways to tackle the issue as the location data they collect is beyond valuable at this point.

How far will they go?

So despite more than 18 months of criticism from lawmakers, regulators and competitors before the pandemic hit the United States, it’s now Big Tech’s moment to win over people’s hearts and minds. And they don’t have much to fear considering they came out stronger after the 2008 economic downturn so no reason to doubt they will do that again! On top of it all, they have money to expand after all this is over and they can surely find new ways to benefit from new consumer trends that will arise. But will they do much more and risk their “wellbeing” to save lives? We still don’t know.

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

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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BenzingaEditorial

This Week Will Be About More Than Inauguration Day Alone

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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

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