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BenzingaEditorial

Is big tech too big to fail?

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Microsoft News

When we speak of market capitalization, Apple (NASDAG:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Alphabet’s Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Facebook (NASDAG:FB) are the five biggest companies in the world. There is a reason why everyone turns to big tech during downturns. At the beginning of the year, these companies combined made about 11% of the value of the U.S. stock market. Their share swelled to 17% by the end of May.

This is not really a surprise as these stocks have been S&P 500’s outperformers since 2015. It all just got much more dramatic in 2020. Since the beginning of the year, Amazon is up nearly 37%.  If we look at Facebook alone, and specifically between March 23rd and June 8th, its stock grew more than 56%. Since the Great Financial Crisis, the growth of the largest companies has been nothing less than staggering. But that doesn’t mean it will continue indefinitely.

The mighty have fallen before

At the end of 2013, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) comprised2.7% of the S&P 500. With oil at its death bed, this has now shrunk to 0.87%. In 2018, the shrinking stock price of the giant General Electric (NYSE:GE) caused it to be delisted from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Its fall began during the 2008 crisis when it started cutting on dividends. It is all just a confirmation that future is promised to no one. And even big tech has an Achilles heel.

Facebook- legal issues

Not all financial problems come from harmed top lines. Regulatory pressures pose a serious threat as well. With Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook’s stock tumbled. Yet, when its CEO testified in front of Congress, shares rose nearly 5% so the market’s reaction is difficult to forecast. But the way Zuckerberg approached the latest controversy when he defended the platform’s hands-off policy towards posts that promoted violence and contained misinformation was severely judged by many. Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Snap (NYSE:SNAP) took a stand against President Trump’s aggressive posts. And some advertisers took a timeout from Facebook due to the morally unacceptable behavior. And considering that the platform generates 98% of revenues from ads, this attitude can result in painful consequences.

Amazon – poor employee management

Back in March, Amazon had to deal with an action antitrust lawsuit regarding alleging price fixing. But more importantly, the pandemic has forced the e-commerce giant to focus on its employees in the same way it centers its business around its consumers. Amazon’s market value might have skyrocketed during the pandemic, but it has also put more light on its weak spots, such as labor policies. If its workforce doesn’t feel safe, protected and appreciated, there cannot be any long-term success.

Google – regulatory pressures

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department is moving forward with an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet as early as this summer. Like Facebook, Google had its fair share of controversy.

Microsoft – forced to rethink its actions

Even the clear skies of Microsoft got some clouds with George Floyd’s tragic passing? The company is being urged to follow the footsteps of Amazon and IBM (NYSE:IBM). The tech giant has vocally supported the black community, but not with action. What it needs to do is alter what it sells to police agencies. By ‘what’, we mean ‘facial recognition’ which has caused various racial issues. Research from 2019 showed that for some algorithms, African American and Asian people were up to 100 times more likely to be misidentified than white males. OneZero also reported Microsoft’s own employees have been calling on the tech company to stop working with police and many are calling for a total ban on the tech across the US.

Apple – lack of innovation

Let’s face it: Apple didn’t bring anything new to the table Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. To diversify its risk, the company has been shifting away from hardware to a service-based business model. And it’s doing it quite well. But this also entails its ecosystem is overlapping with midcaps such as the Chinese Tencent Holdings (OTC:TCEHY) whose portfolio also contains music, gaming and video streaming. The most recent issue is a hardware fault with no other than the star itself, the iPhone. So, despite having abundant cashflow to go through more than one storm, the pressure on Apple is surely rising.

Outlook – emphasis on human values will be the judge

As COVID-19 swept the globe, it took many lives and threatened even more. A paused global economy was unthinkable just three months ago, yet it happened. But there are issues which were have long been ignored throughout human history and it is no invisible enemy but something we can influence. And even big tech will suffer with all its success if it chooses to turn its back on human values.

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

Weekly Retail Recap

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This week has brought a bunch of retail earnings reports, showing that specialty stores are on their way back to health.

Urban Outfitters shows strength ahead of holiday season

Urban Outfitters (NYSE: URBN) reported its quarterly profits rose 38 percent as strength of its brands combined with reduced operating expenses drove growth. Stock climbed as earnings reached a record despite the pandemic. The retailers managed to earn $77 million, or a record 78 cents a share, even though revenue fell 1.8% YoY to $970 million, exceeding Wall Street expectations for both EPS of 45 cents and revenue of $931.5 million.

Burlington Stores tops Q3 estimates but warns on weak start to Q4

While sales were challenged due to a weak August which saw deficient inventory levels and delayed back to school purchases, Burlington Stores (NYSE: BURL) saw comparable store sales trends improve significantly throughout the other two months of the quarter. The company did not provide any formal guidance, but revealed that the undergoing quarter has gotten off to a weak start.

Dick’s Sporting Goods came out with solid earnings and big news

Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) reported solid earnings Tuesday, with sales at stores open for at least one year growing 23.2% over last quarter. But its major news was that the CEO Ed Stack is stepping down after 36 years in which he transformed his family’s small business into a national presence, took the company public and enacted a strong stance on the US gun debate. The current president Lauren Hobart will be promoted to this role on February 1, and by doing so, she will become company’s first female chief executive.

Nordstrom’s turnaround is real

The iconic fashion retailer reported better than expected third-quarter results. Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) delivered the quarterly earnings of $0.22 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.01 per share but significantly below last year’s $0.81 per share. This has been a hard year for the retailer who saw its shares lose about 42.7% since the beginning of the year while the S&P 500 gained approximately 10.7%.  But after being crushed by the pandemic, Nordstrom now managed to crush Q3 earnings estimates, proving that it is already on the road back to health. COVID-19 gave a severe blow to the retailer due to its focus on selling dressy apparel for work and social events, resulting in sales sinking more than 40% YoY during the first six of the year. But this month, Nordstrom stock has doubled with growing hopes of upcoming COVID-19 vaccines. Also on a bright note, the company is poised to exceed its cost-cutting goals this year, including substantial and permanent reductions to its overhead costs.

American Eagle Outfitters – Sometimes a Beat Just Isn’t Enough

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) posted quarterly earnings of $0.35 per share exceeding Zacks consensus which looked for the company to post $0.33. However, revenue numbers didn’t fare quite so well as it amounted $1.03 billion for the quarter ended October 2020, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.08%. This compares to year-ago revenues of $1.07 billion. The company did not provide any fourth quarter or full year guidance. For Q4, Street analysts forecasted sales declining only 1% this current quarter but profits are expected to drop another 14%, with an overall loss for the year.

Gap fell short

The Gap Inc (NYSE: GPS) shares tumbled as earnings fell short, but the retailer remains optimistic about the holidays.It expects fourth-quarter sales to be about equal to or slightly higher than a year ago as consumers can’t spend on entertainment and travel, the expectation is that this budget will be directed to discretionary goods during the gift giving season. But fiscal third-quarter earnings fell short of estimates as Old Navy and Athleta sales gains did not manage to offset the increased marketing costs aimed at defining core brands and growing market share.

Shares fell more than 10% in after-hours trading, having risen more than 51% since the start of this year, Gap has a market cap of $10 billion. Gap earned $95 million or earnings per share of 25 cents versus the expected $140 millionand 32 cents by Refinitiv data on a revenue of $3.99 billion versus the $3.82 billion expected.

Same-store sales were up as sales were boosted in large part by the company’s digital business, which surged 61% and accounted for 40% of total sales during the quarter. Gap said it added more than 3.4 million new customers online.

Retailers are hoping for a ‘holiday miracle’

It seems that recovery from the pandemic is underway despite a spike in COVID-19 infections across the globe. Arising number of cases could still hamper both sales and traffic in physical stores. Retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) and Macy’s (NYSE: M) have cited this threat of temporary store closures. But retailers are hoping that the enthusiasm brought on by the holidays might be strong enough to conquer consumer fears of being infected by actually going shopping.  One thing is certain – in a changing apparel retail environment, the above clothing retailers now have the opportunity to fully demonstrate how vital online shopping really is.

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

A PC Tuesday

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Working and learning from home trends are still on the rise due to the pandemic. Simultaneously, these trends are boosting the revenues of the tech segment, including personal computer makers. The last reported quarter was a good one for Dell Technologies Inc. (NYSE: DELL) and HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), since both companies reported better than expected earnings on Tuesday. What is common for the two companies is that they both saw sales increase in their consumer segments, especially laptops. Having in mind that we are all spending more time at home, having a personal computer, the one which is not shared with the others, has become a must.

Dell’s quarterly earnings

Dell reported its results for the third fiscal quarter of 2021, stating that it achieved non-GAAP earnings of $2.03 per share, 46% higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate. This figure is also 16% higher when looked at year over year. Non-GAAP revenues were $23.52 billion, which is 3% higher YoY, with Zacks Consensus Estimates of revenues being 7.3% lower than the achieved ones. Revenues from products stayed stable while service revenues increased by 10%. However, there are some business segments with lower revenues compared to the previous year. Servers and networking revenues dropped by 2%, while storage revenues fell 7%. Commercial revenues grew 5% and consumer revenues increased 14%. It is important to say that the company hit an all-time high sale in client devices, by generating $12.3 million. Non-GAAP gross profit stayed flat at %7.77 billion (33% gross marking), while adjusted EBITDA increased to $3.23 billion (14% EBITDA margin). Dell increased its cash and cash equivalent position from $11.22 billion to $11.30 billion, with an undrawn capacity of $5.9 billion. The debt was reduced to $49.86 billion from $54.5 billion.

HPQ’s quarterly earnings

Like Dell, HP notebook sales jumped during the fourth fiscal quarter. The company reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings which ended on October 31st, beating the estimates and providing some optimistic forecasts. Reported revenues are $15.3 billion, while the analysts’ expectations were $14.7 billion. Revenues from the company’s biggest segment, personal systems, remained flat. However, within the segment, there was a drop in demand for desktops and workstations, while the demand for notebooks rose 18% to $7.41 billion. Adjusted earnings were 62 cents per share, exceeding the 52 cents expected by the analysts.

Outlook
Gartner rankings of PC vendors include HP and Dell in the top three positions, just after Lenovo (OTC: LNVGY). HP is at the second position, with Dell following suit. This sequence has been like this for a while, meaning that sales of PCs are growing overall and that PC sales will probably continue to benefit from higher demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, despite setbacks such as occasional component shortages.

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

December Will Be the Big IPO Finale of 2020

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Mid Cap Stocks

We are getting close to the end of 2020. It’s been a year like no other, the year where everything was in the shade of a global pandemic. How did that affect the companies’ decisions to go public? For a majority of business, it posed a serious obstacle, maybe even the one which cannot be bypassed as companies are fighting for their existence. But some lucky ones such as tech companies were only boosted by it. One market that saw extraordinary activity was the IPO market, with the number of companies going public so far in 2020 nearly double that of the same time last year.

We already talked about last week’s six new IPOs, Sotera Health Company (NASDAQ: SHC), Olema Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OLMA), Yatsen Holding Limited (NYSE: YSG), Maravai LifeSciences Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRVI), NeoGames S.A. (NASDAQ: NGMS), and Telos Corporation (NASDAQ: TLS). Last week also brought us 15 special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) which managed to raise $2.5 billion. The activity is set to continue in December, with several high-profile companies filing to make their public debut.

Roblox

Roblox (NYSE: RBLX), an online kid-focused gaming platform, which achieved some epic gains in 2020, is one of the beneficiaries of COVID-19. In-game currency, which is bought with real money, became a way for some folks to amuse their children for a while and either get some peace and quiet or manage to complete their own work. Although it is expected that the growth in 2021 will not be as sharp as in 2020, this user-generated content platform turned out to be a great business. Revenues grew from $312 million in 2018, to $488 million in 2019. The end of September saw revenues of $589 million, which is 68% higher than the same period last year.

Affirm

Affirm (NASDAQ: AFRM) is a fintech company founded by PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) co-founder Max Levchin in 2012 alongside Nathan Gettings, Jeffrey Kaditz and Alex Rampell. This e-commerce platform offers consumers to make purchases with interest-free installments, as well as to manage payments or open high-yield savings accounts. Affirm’s products are focused on both consumers and merchants. Consumers can make payments with no deferred interest, hidden fees, or penalties, as well as interest loans with a fixed installment agreed upfront that never compounds. Merchants will get an opportunity to promote their products and services, by getting more and more information to prepare more tailor-made offers. In 2019, the company recorded net revenues of $264.4 million. By the of June 2020, revenues increased to $509.5 million, or 92.7% comparing to the whole 2019. This trend continued in the period from June to September.

Wish

Affirm’s IPO was well-timed and the same could be said for Wish (NASDAQ: WISH), an e-commerce platform selling products from Asia at the lowest possible prices. Even though the company hit some problems regarding its supply chain at the beginning of the pandemic, the timing for its IPO is good. The parent company ContextLogic thinks that way, as it filed a preliminary S-1 to be listed in December. The business model that brings an affordable and entertaining mobile shopping experience to billions of consumers around the world turned out to be a good idea, as the company reported revenues of $1.9 billion in 2019, which is 10% more than 2018 when the company grew 57%. First nine months of 2020 brought the same impressive growth of 32%, with revenues of $1.75 billion. The company also came out with a very strong balance sheet with $1.1 billion in cash and short investments.

The list goes on…

The list of high-profile companies does not end here. We can truly expect a very busy period for initial public offerings. The list includes Airbnb, the home-sharing platform, DoorDash, the food delivery company, as well as some other big IPOs that could be launched by the end of the year, like Churchill Capital Corp V, Far Peak Acquisition and Spartan Acquisition II planned through a SPAC.

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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