Covid-19 has given many words an entirely new meaning. Bluechips being the first as their definition involves performing well during downturns but the modern world never had such a downturn where the entire economy is literally put on a virtual standstill.
As performing well became next to impossible with supply chain disruptions, store closures, and ultimately governments keeping half of the human population stay home to help contain the spread of this invisible enemy, we started to focus on ‘resilient’ companies. And just like in downturns, we always turn to Big Tech. And their earnings proved they are indeed resilient to COVID-19 two weeks ago, it still inflicted pain but the tech empire is striking back by expanding its infrastructure and devoting significant funds to fight back.
As this has been the week of retail earnings, social media giant Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) made its biggest push yet into e-commerce on Tuesday. With the debut of Shops, it allows small businesses to make virtual storefronts out of their business profiles both on Facebook and Instagram. Its stock got a huge boost as it partnered with Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) to bring the tech industry together to help troubled entrepreneurs succeed at a critical time.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is among the sore spots as despite being labelled as the ‘winner’ of the pandemic, its profits were less than expected due to COVID-19 costs which are expected to wipe out even the next quarter’s profit. Along with raging employees that don’t feel safe and protected with the company’s health protocols in place and the fact its competitive advantage, Prime delivery, is unknown when to be resumed, the company is not at all in an envious position. However, Amazon’s success story is nothing short of extraordinary and we shouldn’t take this is a sign the company is in trouble as AWS booked more than $10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time and we know that the company’s rulebook is to reinvest profits back into the company. Devoting the profit to fight COVID-19 could help Amazon indeed become the winner of the pandemic and emerge out of it even stronger.
One which surely thrived during the pandemic is Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) as besides reporting double the amount of forecasted subscribers that now form its base of 182.86 million, the streaming giant has growth potential ahead. But its cash balance is not as rich as that of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) that has $83 billion in disposable cash to cover quite a few years of expenses. With its latest quarter, Netflix showed quite a burden with $14.7 billion of debt and only $5.15 billion in cash. Fortunately, monthly subscriptions bring in a recurring revenue stream to pay expenses and invest in new content, but filming and voice-dubbing for foreign releases has been put on hold. Fortunately, several projects were already competed so despite not being an ideal situation, it didn’t dim its thriving success during the pandemic that even cemented its global status with further opportunities in Asia-Pacific and India.
Even Apple will face problems if its subscriptions and sales-based revenues no longer continue making up for its lost iPhone sales, the company’s last invention which you will agree is not at all recent so value-adding innovations are always the only way forward. This is how Big Tech has expanded into building the digital infrastructure by taking a bigger hold on media, shipping and retail. It gave the world what it needs to weather an unprecedented economic shut down and it is looking stronger than ever as we are more reliant on it than ever before.
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: email@example.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Questions about this release can be send to email@example.com
Three Stocks That Won Last Week’s Popularity Contest
Last week was a good week for a lot of companies which reported their earnings. But a few of them truly stood out as blockbusters. Wayfair (NYSE:W), LivePerson (NASDAQ:LPSN), and Fiverr International (NYSE:FVRR) are some of them as they stepped up the game with their quarterly results. Let’s take a closer look at why these three publicly traded companies won last week’s popularity contest.
Online furniture retailer
Wayfair had a jaw-dropping performance since the mid-March lows. Net revenue of the online furniture retailer soared 84% to $4.3 billion. It greatly exceeded the $4.06 billion that analysts were targeting. If there is such a thing as a ‘perfect storm’, the pandemic was exactly that for Wayfair which historically has been struggling to achieve profitability. This time round, this was not the case as its active customer base grew 46% over the past year. By being forced to stay at home, consumers felt more inspired to make their homes more beautiful.
Wayfair’s adjusted profit came to $3.13 a share, which more than tripled Wall Street’s estimate. Moreover, the momentum is still being maintained throughout this quarter as sales are 70% higher so far. The company is growing a lot faster than the 20% year-over-year gain it reported during the first quarter of this year.
LivePerson provides an online chat customer support when the site visitor is getting frustrated or, even worse, is about to abandon a shopping cart. Its concept clearly works as the company exhibited its strongest top-line growth in 12 years. This 29% increase is its healthiest growth since the summer of 2008.
The online solutions provided 134 deals during the quarter. Seven of those contracts are expected to bring in at least $1 million in revenue over the following year.
LivePerson’s report might not have been mind-blowing, but it was a classic example of an excellent performance. Its new 2020 outlook includes revenue growing at a range between 22 to 24 percent, whereas just three months ago, the company expected it to be in the range between 17 and 22 percent.
The gig economy to counteract these challenging times
Fiverr has been one the winners during the pandemic as it runs a marketplace with offers of one-off jobs with attractive prices. It helped many survive the new reality shaped with pay cuts and job losses.
Its latest quarter saw its revenue rise 82% as its base of active buyers of freelance services increased 28%. Moreover, average spend per buyer increased 18%.
The increased supply is easy to answer, but so is the increased demand. By not losing time in daily commutes and other outside activities, people reprioritised and suddenly found the time for passion projects or simply new opportunities.
The Fundamental Lesson From the COVID-19 Pandemic
These three companies earned their gains fair and square, and in more ways than one. They got the job done during a time of crisis. Wayfair helped people feel better inside their homes as it beautified their self-quarantines. LivePerson helped both companies retain buyers as well as consumers to make their purchases. And last but not least, Fiverr’s platform enabled many to earn extra cash on the side and feel more financially stable. These examples portray perhaps the biggest lesson of the pandemic: people learned what is important to them and what they want to devote their time and effort to. The companies who met those needs were more likely to survive the storm. Some will emerge even stronger out of it.
Can Oil Giants Play the Long Game?
Over the last few years, the performance of the energy sector has been among the worst-ones. It fell 45% over the last half of a decade whereas the S&P rose 59% over the same period. If we specifically look at oil, there is the supply and demand side to consider. Forecasts say there’s probably enough of oil to last during the next 100 years, considering current consumption trends. But demand is far less certain.
Supply and demand
We are running out of “easy” oil but forecasts on how much is left do vary wildly. The biggest problem is that the vast majority of R&D spending is focused on unconventional oil, and not on replacing oil. The industry has been focused on making shale more economical for almost a decade now. Moreover, the Trump administration has made it clear that it will not allow the sector to vanish. The economic equation behind it is rather simple. The less oil is left, the more money there will be in sucking out every drop. Scarcity is a great profit booster. Greater profits encourage companies to expand, not contract. Therefore, the fundamental concept of economics ‘advise’ sticking to these depletable sources until they are exhausted.
Even the Oil Giants Are Struggling
It would be challenging to find an integrated oil and gas company with a better balance sheet than Chevron (NYSE: CVX). But even with a strong financial position, Chevron still depends on the price of oil. Along with its U.S. competitor ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), they are the only two energy companies that hold the title of Dividend Aristocrats. This status is given to any company in the S&P 500 that has increased its base dividend for at least one quarter of a century but in an uninterrupted manner. As for Chevron, it has an impressive track record of 32 consecutive years. Moreover, it has increased its dividend by 79% over the last decade alone. But the pandemic devastated its profits.
Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS-B) has also swung to a historic and quite heavy loss with its latest quarter. The Anglo-Dutch oil titan warned that an uncertain demand outlook could curtail its third-quarter production. Most importantly, oil giants are aware that business may never return to normal.
The greener perspective
High prices are destroying the demand for oil as the world is turning to renewable sources and other energy storage mediums. Moreover, climate change concerns are creating significant regulatory pressure. The developed world is also taking action to promote electrification. The UK and France plan to ban new gasoline and diesel vehicle sales in certain regions by 2040. Moreover, electric vehicles are central to Europe’s post-pandemic recovery plan.
EVs could truly eliminate the majority of oil consumption. But they need to be accompanied by significant improvement in battery technology and an expansion of the charging infrastructure. Moreover, they have to become more accessible price-wise. EV pioneer Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) as well as startups such as electric and hydrogen-powered Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ:NKLA) disrupted the whole world as they are the ones who made this reality possible.
Oil Companies Can Still Find a Way to Exist in the New Era
As battery-electric vehicles go mainstream, it’s not hard to imagine oil companies utilizing their massive infrastructure to get into the battery-charging business. Many companies are already exploring these options. Last week, the British oil and gas giant BP (NYSE:BP) committed to cut its oil production over the coming decade with very ambitious energy targets. BP plans to invest tens of billions of dollars over that decade to become one of the world’s largest renewable power generators. It might even settle for profits lower than it gets from oil in order to achieve that goal. But, it’s not like we’ll stop needing oil overnight. If anything, air travel is still fully dependent on fossil fuels.
Takeaway- nothing happens overnight
The bottom line is that some oil companies, even the giant themselves, may not survive the transition. But no one who works in the industry today will be around to see this entirely new oil-free future. It is like the story of the telephone industry: a telephone serves the same purpose it served one hundred years ago, but smart phones are giving us a ton of stuff on the side that no one could have possibly predicted back then.
Four EV Disruptors to Keep an Eye on
Wall Street has been giving EV stocks quite a lot of attention lately and for a very good reason. The share prices of many electric vehicle manufacturers have hit all-time or at least 52-week highs. This is even more impressive considering that the pandemic created quite the turmoil for the global economy. Afterall, climate change will not wait for us to win the battle against COVID-19. We’ve gathered a list of four disruptive players who are all set to win the EV race.
The EV emperor
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is the first name that investors, as well as the whole world, relate to EVs. The EV pioneer is targeting half a million deliveries in 2020, which would mark a 35% YoY growth. In late July, Tesla reported its fourth consecutive quarterly profit. By doing so, it became eligible to be considered for inclusion in the S&P 500 Index. However, for Tesla to actually be considered, an existing member needs to be taken off the index due to no longer meeting the eligibility criteria. On the other hand, Tesla is already having its best year ever. Year to date, its stock is up an eye-popping 260%. And with its newly announced Austin factory, which will be its biggest yet, Tesla is not showing any signs of slowing down.
If you believe in the future of EVs, Fun-Utility Vehicle (FUV) could be a less expensive way to enter the game
Oregon-based Arcimoto (NASDAQ:FUV) went a long way since going public almost three years ago. Since then, it has built its production facility, completed regulatory compliance for its flagship EV- Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV), started production one year ago and is already now delivering vehicles to early customers. FUV is a tandem two-seat, three-wheeled electric vehicle. And there are two EVs which are due to start production by the end of the year. The customizable Deliverator can transport a variety of food products, whereas the specialized Rapid Responder is specifically designed to support emergency and law-enforcement services.
Low-speed EVs that serve a specific purpose
Texas-based EV manufacturer of purpose-built and automotive-grade EVs, Ayro (NASDAQ:AYRO), began trading on May 29. This newcomer creates sustainable electric solutions through light-duty vehicles for open or closed infrastructures such as golf courses and airports. LSEVs do serve a niche, but this is a growing, market with great potential in the upcoming decade.
The integration of solar technology
It’s no secret that EV require a supply of energy. This energy can derived from various type of batteries and sources. Thus the sector is also becoming quite diverse based on vehicle type, battery type, etc. Worksport (OTC:WKSP) offers a full line of innovative, high quality yet affordable tonneau covers for pickup trucks, US’ favorite vehicle. Its SC3 and TC3 are high quality basic covers that undermine competing products with a lower price. SC3 Pro and SC4 come with major product enhancements that will not only improve the user experience but even the installation process. But Worksport’s crown jewel is TerraVis which will redefine pickup beds as they integrate complex solar technology. Earlier today Worksport announced a launch date for TerraVis. By offering a disruptive product at an affordable price, Worksport has the potential to disrupt much more than the market for tonneau covers as this technology can also increase the driving range of any EV.
EVs are all set to transform the world
In 2019, EVs accounted for 2.6% of global car sales. 2019 also marked their 40% year-over-year increase. By 2027, analysts expect the market’s value to reach $802 billion. Last year, the market’s value was approximately $162 billion. Therefore, this growth implies an impressive CAGR of 22.6% . Electric vehicles have all it takes to transform nearly every aspect of transportation, including fuel, carbon emissions, costs, repairs, driving habits and consequently- our everyday footprint.
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