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BenzingaEditorial

Automotive Outlook – A Road to Hell?

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Ford News

The automotive industry was hit hard by COVID-19. Automakers were forced to shut down approximately  95% of plants across Europe and the US. In most cases, those measures were supposed to last only two weeks. Now it looks like factories will remain silent for much longer. Reopening dates are being postponed, while some auto producers like General Motors (NYSE: GM) decided not to give any reopening targets at all. Uncertainty is present everywhere these days.

Beating the invisible enemy

The COVID-19 is the new virus, an invisible enemy, that you cannot catch or hit back. The number of infected people is constantly increasing. The average growth rate is moving between 10% and 15% per day. According to the latest data, it can be said that the virus is not showing any signs of slowing down. It looks like COVID-19 has just started its horror show. So far, until the end of March that is, approximately 4.000 people died, but public health officials recently said that between 100.000 and 240.000 deaths can be expected until the end of this year. President Trump decided not to lift the restrictions as planned on Easter but to extend them. He warned that the US is facing “very, very painful two weeks” ahead.

Lockdowns are here to stay

Thus, it can be expected that lockdowns will continue. It is the only available option in the fight against the virus. China showed to the rest of the world that this strategy works. Yes, it is hurting everyone mentally, physically and financially, particularly the automotive industry. But it is an inevitable cost that we all must pay. For automakers, it means that there will be no production nor car sales any time soon and for much longer than they previously anticipated.

Crisis is only getting momentum

Because the crisis is getting momentum, analysts are now giving new forecasts and warning us not only about an upcoming recession but something even worse – economic depression in the automotive industry. Investors are worried, as they are starting to realize that unemployment rates could skyrocket and that factories may remain closed for the next two months or even longer. Even after the crisis is over, it is hard to avoid the upcoming economic downturn. People will probably try to postpone some bigger purchases until they are convinced that the situation is back to normal.

The question on everyone’s minds is: “Where is all this going?”. And we are all hoping that the answer is not: “ Down the road to nowhere.”

What do analysts expect?

Average expectations are that Detroit’s Big 3 automakers will all show sales declines in the first quarter of 2020. It is expected that General Motors , Ford (NYSE: F) and Fiat Chrysler (NYSE: FCAU) auto sales will drop somewhere near 6%, 16%, and 10% respectively compared to last year’s results.

And what about the whole year forecast?

Well those numbers are even worse. JP Morgan Chase & Co. analysts predict that approximately 10.3 million automobiles could be sold in 2020 and that is 40% down compared to last year. If this ends up being the case, sales would be even lower than in 2009, when only 10.4 million vehicles were sold. Just remember, it was the year when General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. But, if the crisis continues, those forecasts can be even worse. In that case, sales may go even down – and that means literally down, 6 to 7 million vehicles to be exact. Best of all is that many analysts are relying on the last quarter when they expect a bounce-back. But what if the virus strikes again, like the second wave China is so scared of? This fear is making the country have to close up again just shortly after lifting its restrictions. This all seems like a road or even highway to hell, doesn’t it?

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

Social Media Stock That Managed to Beat the Pandemic

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Facebook Earnings News

As half of the world’s population was in voluntary self-isolation, we’ve witnessed something that we thought is only possible in movies. Fortunately, we had Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Disney Plus (NYSE:DIS) to help us cope with the lockdown. But more importantly, we had social media that kept us connected during these unprecedented times of social distancing. And unlike the global economy, these companies were everything but on a virtual standstill.

Facebook

With Amazon.com Inc’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO’s wealth increasing 30% during the pandemic, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO and founder’s wealth increased 45% to 80 billion amid the pandemic. Although Jeff Bezos wealth is valued at $147.6 billion, both gains are massive. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRK-A, BRK-B) Warren Buffett saw comparatively small gains of 8.2 percent and 0.8 percent. Well Buffet had the wrong bet on airlines whereas Zuckerberg introduced key new initiatives at a critical time. New program announcements such as Shops pushed Facebook’s businesses when the economy was at a virtual standstill. By launching Shops, Facebook helped many small businesses in need and this major new push into e-commerce is also helping economic recovery as we still don’t know the end of the pandemic. Etsy Inc’s (NASDAQ:ETSY) sales have doubled from three years ago and Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) which is among those of powering Shops not only became Canada’s most valuable company during the pandemic but it will only further thrive with this launch!

Facebook has taken a series of steps to ensure its user base remains intact. Although the company warned of “unprecedented uncertainty” for the future of its ad business, it witnessed a significant spike in the number of new users with nearly 3 billion people using at least one of Facebook’s apps which are mostly Instagram and WhatsApp. It comfortably surpassed estimated for its first-quarter revenues of $17.74 billion as they rose 17.6% on a year-over-year basis. Facebook delivered.

Twitter

Anyone who wants to keep up with the most recent news and tweet is active on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). The pandemic only made this need to participate in niche communities and engage in public fora even stronger. Moreover, Twitter bravely stood up for the interest of its users against President Trump after bending to his will over and over again. This move demonstrates that Twitter has learned a few things, although critics say three years too late. On Thursday, it set the model for proper “content moderation” on its platform after Donald Trump called for violence against American citizens. Twitter has covered the tweet with a warning. Furthermore, those who were determined to read it regardless could not “like” it or reply to it, thus slowing its expansion throughout the system and somewhat limiting the madness. Shares of Twitter have risen 1.7% on a year-to-date basis. On April 30, Twitter surpassed estimates by 10% when it reported first-quarter 2020 non-GAAP earnings of 11 cents per share with revenues growing 2.6% year over year to reach $807.6 million, which also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.5%. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for next year is 43.9%. The pandemic surely helped Twitter stay relevant.

Snap

Snap (NYSE:SNAP) which also enjoyed a surge in users saw its shares jump 5% last Thursday. The company’s famous app Snapchat gained as many as 11 million daily active users during first-quarter 2020, which is a 20% rise from 2019 thus taking the total user count to 229 million. The time spent on voice and video calls grew more than 50% in late March as compared to the month-ago period. The majority of the application’s users are Generation Z which includes individuals between 13 and 24 years of age. First-quarter revenues surged 44% from the year-ago quarter to $462.5 million, beating the consensus mark by 9.1%.

Don’t dismiss Pinterest Just Yet!

Although COVID-19 has been a mixed bag for social media stock with Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) stock falling 28% since the nightmare began in February, its potential remains intact. Pinterest is a unique medium.  Unlike Amazon which gives its users what they want, Pinterest helps users discover new things in the range of their interests. This unique platform is about discovering and getting inspired so this remains a powerful appeal to advertisers.

Its ad load is still significantly below peers like Facebook and the company is still in the early stages of finding ways on monetizing the relationship between pinners and advertisers. And it has a lot of room to do so. Pinterest is growing aggressively into that opportunity with 51% revenue growth last year to $1.14 billion, while monthly active users (MAUs) grew 26% to 335 million. So, despite the setback in advertising spend, the important growth objective to expand and engage users which can be later monetized on was achieved during the crisis. And don’t forget that Pinterest is growing faster than both Facebook and Twitter.

Whether you are for or against social media, no one can deny it became an integral part of our lives. With Facebook gathering the most monthly active users, 2.6 billion, to YouTube’s 2 billion, Instagram’s 1 billion and Twitter’s 330 million, social media is here to stay, unlike COVID-19.

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

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BenzingaEditorial

The First Week of June Is All About the May’s Jobs Report

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Tech Company News

The highlight of this week will be most certainly be the May unemployment report as the Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to report another decrease of 8 million nonfarm payrolls, after April’s record 20.5 million decline. But several notable companies will also be releasing their earnings reports and discussing their strategies for the post-COVID-19 era.

Monday

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) is having a conference call today to discuss its portfolio of cancer drugs in clinical trials.

Tuesday

Earnings will be reported by CrowdStrike Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:CRWD), Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc (NYSE:DKS) and Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZOOM). Expectations could hardly be higher for the digital communication specialist for which interest has soared even before the pandemic which only further skyrocketed its key engagement figures to record levels. Much of that optimism is already reflected in its stock price that has more than doubled since the start of the year.

Another video tech specialist Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA) will report its earnings along with answering some big questions as it competes in quite attractive industry niches such as AI. Until now, its operating results haven’t yet demonstrated a defensible market position as sales declined in two of the last four quarters with falling gross profit.

Wednesday

Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) reports quarterly results. However, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG), Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) and Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) will hold their annual shareholder meetings with Autodesk Inc (NASDAQ:ADSK) hosting an investor day.

Thursday

Broadcom Inc (NASDAQ:AVGO), The Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS), The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM) and Slack Technologies (NYSE:WORK) scheduled conference calls to discuss earnings. Slack had a good run even before the pandemic struck. Therefore, its offerings most likely thrived when businesses moved to home offices. Some analysts are forecasting even a 40% sales growth this quarter, with revenue expected to reach as much as $190 million. But the market still expects for the enterprise communication software to post a net loss. That is the cost of prioritizing market share in its battle against well-capitalized rivals, one such being Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Its performance during the lockdown could offer good clues for the most likely 5-year-ahead scenario.

Booking Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:BKNG) and  T-Mobile US Inc (NASDAQ:TMUS) will hold their annual shareholder meetings. Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) and TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:AMTD) will be hosting special shareholder meetings. The purpose is to seek approval for the $26 billion acquisition that Schwab proposed in November.

Friday

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the dreaded statistics for May. The unemployment rate is expected to have risen 19.5%. in May from April’s 14.7%.

We know that the economic recovery will be slow. But, as we go through yet another week, we are getting closer to leaving COVID-19 behind us. This week will be no exception as we will learn how bad things were in May and what we can hopefully look forward to as the world slowly returns to a new normal.

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

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BenzingaEditorial

HP and Dell At Least Managed to Top Estimates

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Dell News

Computing giants Dell Technologies Inc (NYSE:DELL) and HP Inc (NYSE:HPQ) reported their earnings this week. At the very least, they hurdled Wall Street estimates. But despite more people working from home, HP stock dropped sharply upon the results as only earnings estimates were topped. On the other hand, Dell’s results drove shares more than 7%. No financial targets for the full year were given due to uncertainty regarding the length of the pandemic and the consequent slow pace of the economic recovery.

HP’s revenue was held back

In the quarter that ended on April 30, the personal computer and printer maker achieved total revenue of $12.5 billion. Sales fell 11.2% from the same quarter a year ago. Analysts expected $12.86 billion. These are the bad news. The good news is that earnings per share of 51 cents topped estimates of 45 cents.

Compared to the prior year, sales at HP’s personal systems and printing segments dropped 7% and 19%, respectively. But the big difference is in operating profits. In the personal systems segment, profit surged 43% from the prior year, but in the printing segment, it fell 35%. The Palo Alto, California based company ended the quarter with $4.1 billion in cash. On a year-over-year basis, revenue dropped 11% with earnings dipping 4%. But what made the stock plunge 5.5%, besides the sales miss, is that the company didn’t provide a revenue target for the current quarter. It only gave an earnings expectation of 42 cents per share. By the looks of it, HP’s diverse portfolio and go-to-market capabilities are what protected its earnings. Also, HP’s financial position showed the company can weather the storm.

Dell’s business blossomed from work-from-home trends

For the quarter that ended in April, the Round Rock, Texas-based company achieved revenues of $21.90 billion. Quarterly earnings amounted to $182 million. Adjusted earnings were $1.34 per share whereas Zacks Consensus Estimate was 3.09% lower at $1.01 per share. But the actual result is lower when compared to $1.45 per share earned in the same quarter last year. On a brighter note, the quarterly report delivered an earnings surprise of 32.67% whereas in the previous quarter, there was no surprise as the estimate equaled the actual result. Moreover, Dell achieved a good track record as it surpassed both consensus EPS and revenue estimates three times over the last four quarters.

Most importantly, the tech giant said the pandemic has boosted its business in certain sectors. For example, the revenue of Dell’s Client Solutions Group rose 2% year over year to $11.1 billion. The segment saw demand for commercial laptop units surge in double-digits whereas mobile workstation saw a high-single-digit revenue growth. This is due to orders from banking and financial services, government and health care providers expanding 15% to 20% as these businesses struggled to meet immediate needs of their customers, communities and patients. Overall, despite flat sales and an earnings drop on a year-over-year basis, Dell portrayed a strong financial performance that was well beyond expectations so no wonder its shares went up.

Outlook

We know by now that the entire fiscal year will be filled with uncertainty so everyone will be eagerly waiting for estimates of the current and upcoming quarters. The good news is that customers need essential technology now more than ever before so they can restart their businesses in a COVID-19 remote working environment. One thing is certain: the current conditions will act as a strong catalyst for transformation that is upon both HP and Dell.

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

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