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BenzingaEditorial

4 Gaming Stocks That Could Entertain Any Investor

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Gaming

It’s no secret that the lockdown led to skyrocketing demand in gaming. But the pandemic could have only accelerated an already growing trend. If we look at its long-term perspective, it’s not at all less appealing than this short-term boost. Over the next five years, analysts estimate the gaming industry to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 9.2%.

More than gaming- a discussion for sportsmen

One of the biggest and best names among gaming stocks is surely Electronic Arts Inc (NASDAQ:EA) which will report its earnings today after markets close. EA is a quality investment with plenty of growth on the horizon not only because it engages its players  themselves but because it lures sportsmen to discuss their game ratings on social media. It’s such a popular discussion that even Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) owned ESPN includes it in its prime-time segment. If we look at its stock performance, it managed to beat EPS estimates 50% of the time and revenue estimates 63% of the time over the last two years.

Gaming, cloud, streaming and more!

It might be a midcap, but Tencent Holdings (OTC:TCEHY) has such a diverse portfolio that besides gaming, it also covers mobile messaging, cloud, payments, and streaming. Its ecosystem even started overlapping with that of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). In China, it is directly competing with Apple with its mobile messaging app WeChat which is is providing 300 million integrated Mini Programs to 1.16 billion monthly active users. But the bigger problem for Apple is on the services front as it is expanding its ecosystem of subscription-based services, which is directly threatened by Tencent’s gaming, music, and streaming video businesses. Tensent is better diversified and stronger when it comes to revenue and earnings growth. And it has offered to buy out and take private search engine Sogou Inc. in a $2.1 billion deal so it is showing no signs of stopping.

Mobile gaming

As people became inseparable from their smart phones, mobile gaming became another segment that also experienced stellar lockdown during the pandemic. Moreover, it is expected to grow even faster than video games. Over the next few years, it is expected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate of 13.3%. Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU)’s existing games like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Design Home were behind its stellar first quarter results. There is no reason to doubt that this trend will continue in the second quarter. Also, the firm has been hoarding cash recently so it could be easily planning strategic acquisitions in the near future.

Casino gaming

Penn National (NASDAQ:PENN) is a largely a casino and racetrack operator. But its online gambling presences qualifies it for the gaming list. Roughly half of the states that Penn national operates in have legalized sports betting and considering that the economy needs to recover as soon as possible from the most severe crisis of modern age, it is reasonable to believe that more will follow suit. Obviously, for Penn to benefit, sports betting needs sports events to resume and the world to go back to normal. Penn might not be the biggest player, but it has what it takes to play the long game. We will learn know more when it reports its earnings on August 6.

Short-term / Long-term Outlook

The world fears the threat of a second wave of the pandemic and a slow return to normalcy. Yet, both of these trends can only benefit gamin. But pandemic or no pandemic, its popularity isn’t going anywhere.

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

The Dow Jones – The Dark Side of COVID-19

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Stock Market

Throughout their history, the Dow and S&P 500 have been used inter-changeably to describe the overall stock market. For a long time, the Dow was the market to nearly all investors. It is easier to analyze 30 as opposed to 500 stocks. But these days, the S&P 500 is more quoted, largely because the financial services industry has endorsed it.

What can and can’t Dow Jones track?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average highlights the good and bad of today’s markets. On the other hand, you cannot track some large stock giants that don’t pay a dividend. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), along with a few other NASDAQ giants, skyrocketed during the past decade. But they are not in the Dow. Moreover, they are practically an asset class by themselves. As for everyone else, the Dow should do the job.

This article will analyze the dark side of the COVID-19 storyline.

The latest earnings report of 3M (NYSE: MMM) was disappointing to say the least. Its organic sales declined 13.1% in the second quarter. 3M’s disappointing sales performance is a consequence of it being exposed to badly hit markets. Safety and industrial were hit by the slowdown in the automotive and aerospace markets. Transportation and electronic boarded that same train. Even healthcare dropped as COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in elective procedures and closed dental offices all over the world.

Weakened consumer purchasing power

Severely weakened consumer purchasing power has been shown by American Express Company’s (NYSE: AXP) earnings that plunged as consumers were forced to stay home. But the company is doing what it can to get back in the saddle by launching a financial wellness tool to help users improve their credit score. By setting a desired target, they will receive personalized recommendations on how to reach it. On the other hand, Visa (NYSE: V) recently provided an earnings beat despite the still ‘frozen’ travel category, showing a glimpse of economic recovery thanks to e-commerce.

Non-existant travel

Speaking of travel, Boeing’s (NYSE: BA) earnings were as bad as it gets. The company reported a loss of $4.79 a share on $11.8 billion in sales for the second quarter whereas analysts expected a loss of $2.57 a share on $13 billion in sales.

Oil and gas fighting for survival

Even the oil giants are existentially threatened. There is hardly an oil company with a strong balance sheet like Chevron (NYSE : CVX) yet the pandemic crushed its profits. Together with its oil peer Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), these are the only two oil giants that have the status of Dividend Aristocrats. But, maintaining that dividend comes at great cost as the second quarter was disastrous for both. Exxon raised a major new debt as it increased its long-term debt from $26.3 billion at December 31, 2019 by $20.2 billion until June 30, 2020. The cash position at June 30, 2020 was $12.6 billion which means that even with the debt, Exxon does not have sufficient cash to cover 12 months of dividend payout.

Caterpillar Inc (NYSE : CAT) saw its bottom line melt 64% compared to its prior year. Although its second-quarter revenues of $10 billion topped estimates of $9.2 billion, the top line dropped 31% due to lower sales volume. The pandemic diminished demand and consequently, dealer inventories were impacted negatively.

Failing to keep up with Big Tech

On Wednesday, Cisco (NYSE: CSCO) just reported its fourth consecutive revenue decline in its quarterly guidance. The 9% revenue decline resulted in its shares falling approximately 6% during extended trading. While much of the technology sector is seeing growth as the economy is getting an online shape and companies are turning to software to run their businesses, Cisco is struggling to keep up. The problem is that its core business has been centered around expensive hardware. Hardware has been pushed aside by cloud giants. The company’s investments in software wasn’t enough to come near Amazon, Microsoft and Google. But at least it topped estimates with 80 cents of adjusted earnings per share vs. 74 cents per share expected by Refinitiv. Revenue was $12.15 billion as opposed to the $12.08 billion expected.

Intel (NASDAQ : INTC)’s fall could get even worse. Its shares plunged followings its second quarter results that saw revenue come in 6.3% better than estimates at $19.7 billion. Earnings also came in ahead of forecasts by 10.7% at $1.23. It’s the earnings guidance for the third quarter that is causing concern. Since the report, analysts have been lowering their estimates, fearing that its shaky stock could led to big losses.

The House of Mouse came close to burning in flames

The iconic business model of Walt Disney Corporation (NYSE: DIS) that many failed to copy is what made the legendary House of Mouse perfectly exposed to the pandemic. COVID-19 has shuttered Disney to pieces during the first two quarters . And if there wasn’t for its streaming star that now exceeded 60 million subscribers, it would have been in ashes by now. The net adverse impact of the pandemic on its current quarter operating profit across all business has been about $2.9 billion. Moreover, during the second quarter, pandemic-induced theme park closures melted its operating profit by 58%.

Altered consumer behaviour

Walgreen Boots Alliance (NASDAQ: WBA) profit has declined over the last three years, even though its revenue has increased. But in July, the company announced a $1.0 billion investment into VillageMD. This investment also includes opening 500 to 700 physician-staffed clinics inside their locations across 30 markets over the next five years. This big news was announced just a few days before third quarter earnings that showed  substantial negative operating income due to the pandemic. Although it was expected that COVID-19 has temporarily altered consumer behavior, Walgreen’s report showed that some of these changes could be in for the long-haul. Although WBA deserves an applause for speaking out so early in the game which is very far from over, this raises many questions and increases the level of uncertainty.

Takeaway

These 11 Dow members are reflecting the world’s ongoing battle with COVID-19. It shows how the mightiest can fall. Fortunately, there are 19 of its members who have utilized the pandemic to become even stronger or at least have a shot to emerge out of it as winners. Now, that story has a great ending. It shows how a business can always find the opportunity to thrive. This other group will also give us a good idea how will the world look like after we put this pandemic behind us.

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

Q2 Was Pure Heaven for the Video Game Industry

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Stock Market Tumble

On Monday, NPD Group published a report that reveals that video game spending in the United States skyrocketed. Furthermore, it reached new heights during the second quarter. The pandemic and the resulting efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 helped the industry realize revenues of $11.6 billion between April and June. This marks a 30% increase on a year-over-year basis.

Although content ruled the kingdom as $10.2 billion came from physical, digital and subscription sales, hardware didn’t do so bad either. Gaming devices such as PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch all grew at least 46% each. This is even more impressive considering that PS4 and X1 are in their final years. Not to mention that manufacturers encountered significant supply chain disruptions as the pandemic put the life we know on pause. Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) have been working very hard as they stated there will be no delays and shortages despite these challenging conditions.

Gaming does not only offer a ‘pseudo-gateway’ but also an opportunity to connect with others

Moreover, this positive momentum is showing no signs of stopping. Gamers did not only gain a ‘pseudo-gateaway’ but also a way to stay connected with friends and loved ones.  Only last week, Nintendo Co. Ltd (OTC: NTDOY) announced it sold 5.7 million of Switch units between April and June. This means Nintendo had sold 61.4 million consoles sold since it 2017 launch. As for its Switch library, a PlayStation 4 exclusive about a deadly pandemic destroying the world, The Last of Us: Part II, became the second-largest launch ever in the U.S. Nintendo’s second bestselling game was Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a relaxing life simulator that was launched in March.

The second quarter’s rise came after a record spending in the first quarter. Therefore, the lock down in mid-March only accelerated an already-established trend of heightened engagement in video gaming. This is why gaming analysts don’t see any signs of this trend slowing down.

A possible setback

While video game stocks have been up year-to-date, they have a powerful enemy that caused these stocks to take a dive on Friday. The bad news was delivered by President Trump who announced an executive order that is aimed at TikTok’s ByteDance and Tencent Holdings Limited’s (OTC: TCEHY) WeChat.

Tencent is an active mid-cap that is also the largest video game company in the world. Its portfolio includes some of the most prominent companies and games in the industry. Fortunately, WeChat’s transactions are merely a small part of Tencent’s massive empire. Tencent’s ecosystem is so large that it is even overlapping with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), who is now turning to a service-based business model. Tencent might be a mid-cap but it has what it takes to compete with the big fish.

Outlook- the popularity of gaming is here to stay

Sony and Microsoft will both be launching their new consoles this holiday season. Sony even reportedly ramped up production by 50% to meet the increased demand for gaming. After all, people are still being greatly encouraged to stay inside their homes. Gaming already had a positive trend before the pandemic which only further amplified it. Pandemic or no pandemic, the outlook for gaming is positive.

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

Apple Is Now Playing a Whole New Game

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Google Stock News

Besides delivering a record June quarter, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) gave us a puzzle to solve by recently releasing its second “budget” phone. iPhone SE is significantly less expensive than its first iPhone. So why is the most premium tech product maker all of a sudden selling itself short? Many would perceive this as an alarm as lowering prices is often a desperate move to deal with intense competition. But in Apple’s case, its investors have nothing to worry about. Apple is entering a new era where its iPhone profits won’t matter anymore.  Its main cash cow will no longer be under the spotlight, but don’t worry – the iPhone is still crucial to its new strategy.

The iPhone opened many new doors

The iPhone is perhaps the most successful product in history. Since Steve Jobs’ enchanting reveal, this device alone used to generate more than half of Apple’s total sales. But the iPhone is so much more than Apple’s biggest cash cow. It enabled Apple to get in the hands of more than a billion people. Just like a chess expert who is planning several moves ahead, Apple is using cheaper phones to seize what its CEO, Tim Cook, calls the “mother of all opportunities.”

The growth of Apple’s active devices all across the world has been nothing short of extraordinary. Largely thanks to the iPhone, Apple now has 1.5 billion active devices. Over half a billion devices, that also include its MacBooks and Apple Watches, were added in the last few years. This means that, today, one in seven people around the globe have an Apple device that accompanies them in their everyday life.

Those 1.5 billion active devices and their owners are the most important driver of Apple’s revenue. They are much more important than iPhone sales because Apple is earning money from them. Moreover, as the company is switching from a hardware-based to a service-based business model, the potential for profit is increasing with every passing day. Apple has gone a long way since its products made most of its profits with services only contributing just 15% three years ago. Today, services bring in more than half of Apple’s total gross profits. Most importantly, Apple has barely even dipped its toes in this industry.

A transition to a service-based model

Believe it or not, Apple makes a ton of money outside the Apple store through a myriad of services connected to its devices.

Apple Pay and Apple Store

Every time we make a purchase using an iPhone, Apple gets its cut. Whether we use Apple Pay or buy an app from the App Store, Apple wins its share. Then, there’s the waterfall of subscription services that Apple ‘offers’ to iPhone holders. Long-story short, the story is never-ending.

Apple Care

Apple sells a rather expensive warranty and insurance service which amounts to about one-fifth of the selling price of the device. Then there’s the iCloud cloud service and the magazine subscription service, Apple News, etc.

Apple Music

Since Apple launched its music streaming service in 2015, its subscriber base grew to 68 million subscribers. In 2019, it was the world’s second biggest music streamer, right after Spotify (NYSE: SPOT).

Streaming

Last year, Apple joined the streaming wars by launching Apple TV+. Although it hasn’t revealed the number of subscriptions, sources estimate that it is between 10-30 million.

Licensing

Licensing is the least visible, yet very lucrative, side of Apple’s services business. For example, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) pays Apple a massive amount of $7 billion a year just to be the default search engine on iPhones.

There are many more smaller services that might seem to be behind the scenes. But, each and every one of them is bringing in significant revenue. That is how Apple now earns more from its services than it does from iPhone sales.

Enterprise services are ‘the mother of all opportunities’

Apple has now set its sights much higher as it gets businesses to use its devices and consequently, its services. It has already headed to take a bite of enterprise services. Last month, it bought Fleetsmith, a software company that helps businesses deploy and track Apple devices across workplaces. Only a few weeks ago, Apple also bought Mobeewave which will allow Apple to enter the point-of-sale terminal industry. Mobeewave’s technology can transform iPhones into mobile payment terminals and enable Apple to grab a piece of a $69 billion pie.

The end of Apple as we know it – the beginning of a new growth story

iPhone is no longer Apple’s biggest money maker. Its services are and they come with seemingly endless opportunities. iPhone prices are now irrelevant. The goal is to put as many iPhones as possible in people’s hands. By doing so at all cost, there will be a greater number of service users . It is the end of Apple as we know it—but in a good way. The fact that Apple’s revenues and earnings rose 11 and 18 percent, respectively, during not only unprecedented times, but the worst period of the pandemic, shows Apple has the ability to innovate and execute. Apple’s sales from services skyrocketed to an all-time record during its latest quarter. But with its push into enterprise services, it seems its new growth story has just started.

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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