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COVID-19 Could Make Amazon Even More Innovative

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Amazon

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) shares reached new highs with its market cap exceeding $1.5 trillion. Moreover, after shares surged nearly 8% on Monday and closed at $3,196.84. This move made its CEO Jeff Bezos $13 billion richer in a single day. This is the biggest ever daily jump recorded by Bloomberg’s billionaire tracker. Bezos already led by a strong margin with his worth now being estimated at $189.3 billion. This figure does not only exceed the value of multinational corporations but is roughly the value of GDP of Iraq. And that is only $14 billion behind that of Greece. Bloomberg reported that his fortune skyrocketed $74 billion this year as the value of Amazon’s shares increased 70%.

It was clear during the very first days of the lockdown that the sales of the all-encompassing web giant are going to reach unprecedented levels. Moreover, the e-commerce giant is also pushing into new markets.

Groceries

Back in 2017, Amazon showed it is determined to make its footprint in the grocery business by acquiring Whole Foods. It gained a well-known brand and more than 400 stores which now come with a free delivery option for Amazon Prime members. Moreover, the e-commerce giant plans to open its own branded supermarket in Los Angeles which would benefit from its “Just Walk Out” technology. Though Amazon still has a small share of grocery sales, it is betting big on this segment.

Last year, grocery stores in the U.S. generated $682 billion in revenue. Therefore, the market is large enough to make a difference to Amazon’s business which is on track to bring in a revenue of $350 this year. Although grocery shopping was quite resistant to the online shift in the past, COVID-19 turned things around. Even Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) and The Kroger Company (NYSE:KR) capitalized on their e-commerce efforts.

Healthcare

If you cannot connect healthcare with Amazon, think again. Back in 2018, Amazon acquired online pharmacy Pillpack for $1 billion. That same year, it launched a healthcare joint venture Haven with Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM). Then last year, we had the debut of its healthcare service, Amazon Care. The service provides Amazon’s employees with tele-health services. The platform seems to have the potential to disrupt traditional healthcare by using high tech to do good. After COVID-19 swept through the globe, Amazon revealed in April it is working on developing its own test to help ensure the safety of its warehouses. Although this was meant to be used by its employees, this diagnostic move could contribute to establishing the company in the healthcare segment if the tests become available to the general public.

The industry has massive potential and that makes it attractive for someone like Amazon.

Logistics

Delivery is central to Amazon’s value proposition, so logistics is a natural extension to its business. Among its latest step to build out its logistics chain, Amazon acquired Zoox last month for a reported $1.2 billion. The move is focused on developing driverless taxi technology that Zoox is known for, but autonomously transporting packages could greatly enhance Amazon’s logistics. Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER) recently announced it would introduce grocery delivery as it aims to be the Amazon of transportation, so Zoox makes Amazon able to compete in the autonomous vehicle race.

Then there is Amazon’s massive $700 million investment to buy 100,000 electric vans from Rivian to support its business in a sustainable manner. But speaking of the climate pledge, critics find that Bezos should do much more than invest $2 billion in the Climate Pledge fund. But this commitment at least puts Amazon in the same basket with other big tech corporations. Last year, Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) which announced it was buying 5.5 gigawatts of renewable power. Earlier this year, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) laid out the most aggressive strategic response to climate change compared to its peers. Also, it created a $1 billion fund.

Amazon has already started taking pieces of the pie from FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) and XPO Logistics Inc (NYSE:XPO). Not only did it keep shipping in-house but it even blocked its third-party sellers from using FedEx.

By working on its logistics capacity, it is only a matter of time when it will be able to offer this service to non-Amazon shipments. After all, this is what happened with Amazon Web Services when an in-house project turned into a thriving stand-alone business.

Its most innovative decade yet

Throughout its history the company has only done right in the eyes of investors as it dominated e-commerce and cloud-computing. Despite Microsoft giving Amazon quite a headache over the Pentagon’s JEDI contract, its founder Bill Gates is very much behind Jeff Bezos on the world’s wealthiest list with a fortune of $118bn. Amazon has also established itself in video streaming and voice-activated technology. And it could push into industries that don’t even exist yet. With an ambitious mission to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, the umbrella of Amazon’s portfolio has no limits. The 2020s could easily be its most innovative decade.

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

The Media Sector Fighting for Survival Through Streaming

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Roku Streaming

Media companies produce and distribute the content we ended up consuming more than ever before when COVID-19 started its relentless march across the globe. Whether it is in the form of film, television series, music, books or radio programming, these companies provided the world with the much-needed therapy during the lockdown.

Due to intense streaming wars ran by services a la Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), much of the media industry’s power has been consolidated in just a few names such as Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA), and ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC). Some have been acquired by telecom companies such as AT&T (NYSE:T), owner of WarnerMedia, and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), owner of NBCUniversal. By joining forces, they integrated quality content with powerful distribution. The competitive pressure is intense as even radio producers have turned to podcasts to capitalize on this opportunity.

Clear winners

As more people cut the cord and more advertisers shift their ad budgets away from TV towards direct-to-consumer platforms, Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) are set to benefit from these trends. These two growing players will only get stronger as competition in the streaming space grows. As media companies need to stand out, this trend will directly support their long-term revenue growth.

Discovery – Olympics

Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) owns strong content and brands, including HGTV, the Food Network, and its namesake channel. But the main asset of the communications giant is its portfolio of sports rights that allows it to span all over the globe. Its main jewel are the Olympic Games. Over the last five years, yearly sales growth amounted to 12.20%. When it reported its latest quarter in June, earnings per share amounted to $0.77 exceeding consensus estimates by $0.07.

Netflix isn’t scared of competitors

Although Disney+ achieved a record pace of new subscribers, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) remained as the largest direct-to-consumer video service in the world. As of 2013, it even started its original production to be less reliant on others for content. Despite fears, it is doing more than fine. In the last quarter reported in July, Netlix delivered a profit of $2.5 billion on increasing revenues of $6.15 billion. It blew estimates and eased concern it could be crushed by upcoming competitors with free cash flow of $1.06 billion, EBITDA at $9.77 billion, profit margins of 11.90%, ROE of 33.30% and ROA of 7.80%.

Netflix’s massive scale provides it with a lot of data it can use to improve the user experience and optimize its content production. While it fuelled its content library expansion through increased debt, the company’s growing recurring revenue and improved operating margin should lead to improved cash flow and give the streaming giant the ability to self-fund content investments in the future.

Disney

When it acquired 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) became one of the biggest media companies in the world. The iconic House of Mouse has a portfolio of intellectual properties that goes beyond legacy Disney Brands as it now includes Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar. Moreover, it has strong television brands such as ESPN with long-term contracts to broadcast premium sporting events. Its push into direct-to-consumer streaming has gone well since it acquired operational control of Hulu and launched its streaming star, Disney+. Both are bolstered by its acquisition of BAMTech, a streaming technology provider. Although its theme-park and cruise business slumped during the pandemic, streaming was a rare bright spot. Unfortunately, it will take a while before this segment reaches profitability. Theme parks produce a much higher operating margin and therefore, play a much significant role in company’s performance which was nearly wiped out.

But, its fiscal fourth quarter is about to end and with it, this brutal fiscal year. The figures won’t be pretty but there should be an improvement over the vicious 42% decline in revenue that it posted for its fiscal third quarter. After all, the current quarter is the period when theme parks reopened, sports programming returned to ESPN, and movie theaters started opening their doors. Fiscal 2021 can’t start soon enough for Disney.

Viacom

ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC) ensures a broad distribution and large audiences as its cable networks are well diversified across audience demographics. After all, it operates one of the four broadcast networks in the U.S. which has its perks. Although the company had many  carriage disputes with distributors, adding the CBS broadcast network should strengthen its negotiating power. Meanwhile, joining CBS and Paramount should result in sufficient content to feed its own networks, including direct-to-consumer services. During its second quarter, VIAC showed it was able to absorb the blow to its advertising business by reporting a profit of $2.79 billion with revenues increasing to $6.28 billion. With free cash flow of $1.02 billion from June, EBITDA at $1.41 billion which compares well with its peers, ViacomCBS Inc has strong fundamentals that helped it deal with a 27% drop in advertising and lack of sports. With a market cap of $18.15 billion, it is increasing its credibility in this sector as its digital revenue jumped 25%, boosted by a 52% increase in streaming subscription revenue.

Outlook

The COVID-19 pandemic was double trouble for pay-TV industry because advertisers reduced their budgets and consumers started cancelling subscriptions as sport events and TV series productions were delayed or annuled. eMarketer forecasted that around 6.6 million U.S. households will cut the cord in 2020 with ad spending dropping 15%, forcing media companies to focus on direct-to-consumer content. As more consumers cut the cord and advertisers move to digital platforms, streaming players are set to thrive. Moreover, Roku is well-positioned to benefit from them all.

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

Nike Just Did It

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Nike

The sports apparel titan announced its fiscal first quarter last week. Nike (NYSE: NKE) had one big questions to answer as investors were waiting to see progress towards a return to growth. Nike delivered.

But the biggest concern is Nike’s future price-sensitive environment this holiday season. The big picture trend is not favorable for retail. But let’s see the micro trends Nike confirmed with its latest report.

Rebound

Nike’s previous quarter saw the worst impact from pandemic-induced closures. Metrics were brutal as sales plummeted 38%.  If we were to look at the recent results of its competitor Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU), its physical sales halved in July, but this drop was partially offset by booming digital sales.

Over the last 2 years, Nike has constantly beaten revenue estimates. It has even beaten EPS estimates 88% of the time. This time, it crushed both earnings and revenue estimates, causing its stock to jump 12%. Revenue easily exceeded the $9.11 billion estimate as it amounted to $10.59 billion. The boost in revenue largely came from 82% growth in online sales. Moreover, top lines made their way to bottom as earnings per share were more than twice the expectation of $0.46 as they amounted to $0.95.

Expenses

Fortunately for Nike, its efficient supply chain and premium consumers helped it avoid massive inventory writedown charges due to stale merchandise that Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX) underwent earlier this year.

Uncertain environment – sharp recession

Despite leading the way through the pandemic, Nike will have to face an uncertain macro-environment just like every other retailer. The calendar has been redefined this year with an everything-but-ordinary back-to-school season. Demand is being hampered by sharp recession, continued COVID-19 outbreak, fear of a second lockdown as well as reduced government fiscal support spending. However, unlike its peers which refrained from giving any form of outlook due to the pandemic, Nike issued fiscal 2021 guidance of high single-digit to low double-digit revenue growth from the year-ago period.

Outlook

Over the last three months, Nike’s stock went up 18%. Like all other apparel and shoe sellers, Nike has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, analysts believe Nike has what it takes to continue being a winner. After all, it took control of its own destiny by pulling its products from nine multi-branded wholesale accounts such as the almighty Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and focusing on its own direct-to-consumer offerings. With its latest earnings report, analysts expect to see progress ahead of plan, ongoing digital transformation, and business evolution to a higher margin, higher return model. Thanks to its hyper-digital strategy, Nike is one of the few firms uniquely positioned to weather retail turbulence. The bottom line is that despite a short-term disruption,  Nike is poised for long-term dominance because it is strong in the places that matter most.

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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Four Shining Solar Stars

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Alternative Solar Stocks

According to Solar Industry Magazine, solar accounted for 37% all new electric generating capacity added in the U.S. in the first half of the year, led by Texas and Florida. Wood Mackenzie forecasts 37% annual growth this year. This is a 6% decrease from pre-pandemic forecasts. From 2021-2025, the U.S. solar market is expected to see a 42% increase in installations compared to the prior five years.

The demand is expected to accelerate as the global economy recovers. These four shinning stars are well positioned to benefit from that momentum.

JinkoSolar delivered a solid quarter

On September 23, JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd (NYSE:JKS) has reported solid second quarter results from April to June. Shanghai-based solar manufacturer delivered a profit of $47 million as it shipped 4.46 GW of modules covering 91 countries and resulting in a turnover of $1.2 billion. It expects to move 20 GW of panels this year as supply and demand have restabilized to keep sales going until the fourth quarter. Gross margin expanded from 16.5% in the same quarter last year to 17.9%. The year-over-year increase was a direct result from increase in self-produced production volume and an integrated high-efficiency-products capacity and optimisation of cost structure.

At the beginning of this unprecedented year,  the pandemic caused a shortage of supply in the Chinese market, increasing supply chain prices. Fortunately, prices have stabilized and JinkoSolar expected for strong market demand to continue until the end of the year.

SPI Energy is entering the EV playfield

SPI Energy CO Ltd (NASDAQ:SPI) soared 54% in premarket trading, but that is nothing compared to the prior session’s 1,200% rocket ride. The company that offers photovoltaic solutions for business, residential, government and utility customers, said it was starting an electric-vehicle subsidiary that will compete with Nikola (NASDAQ: NKLA) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

Sunworks also had a crazy ride

Meanwhile, shares of Sunworks Inc. (NASDAQ:SUNW) which is in the same photovoltaic model, skyrocketed 353% during Thursday’s premarket hours. They already climbed 50.4% on Wednesday, but ended up rallying more than 500 percent on Thursday, setting a new yearly high. Although it has nothing to do with electric vehicles, SPI Energy was an energy company very similar to Sunworks,  so this is what could have excited investors and short-term traders.

Daqo – impressive earnings growth

Daqo New Energy Corp (NYSE: DQ) has an average Strong Buy rating from Wall Street with good reason. Over the past 12 months, the stock has risen 164%. Also pleasing for shareholders is that the stock is up over 70% over the last three months. If we look at ROE to assess how efficiently a company’s management is utilizing the company’s capital, given that Daqo New Energy doesn’t pay any dividend, it is to be assumed that the company has been reinvesting all of its profits to grow its business. But despite the low rate of return, this enabled the company to post impressive earnings growth. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company’s earnings are expected to accelerate.

As for the savvy investors who held on to Daqo shares for the last five years, they ended up gaining 642% which certainly justified their investment.

Outlook

Overall, the combined shipment volumes of the top five solar module manufacturers are expected to account for 65% to 70% of the industry for the year as major players have been consolidating. Experts project that the whole Solar Energy Storage market is to grow at a CAGR of 43.92% between 2020 and 2023. Pandemic or no pandemic, the future of solar is bright.

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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