In many ways the coronavirus just became real for stock markets. Up to this point, fears about how the virus might impact the economy and stocks seemed esoteric and intangible. Then this happened: Apple warned that it would miss its quarterly revenue target because of coronavirus. It is having trouble producing phones because of unstaffed Chinese factories. Accordingly, the company announced “iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide”.
FINSUM: This is when the rubber meets the road and it becomes much easier to see how this virus could cause a global recession. The engine of the world (China) is sputtering.
Many are currently having trouble choosing between growth and value stocks. On the one hand, growth stocks look outrageously expensive, yet have momentum on their side, while value stocks look like a great buy because of their discount compared to the market. However, there are a handful of stocks where you get the best of both. These stocks have both growth and value characteristics. Here are some of the diverse names to look at: General Motors, State Street, Marathon Petroleum, H&R Block, and Qualcomm.
FINSUM: If you can get good earnings growth and strong value in the same package, what is not to like?
Yields have fallen precipitously of late. Ten-years have been touching around the 1.5% mark, and now another big threshold has been crossed—30-years have fallen below 2%. The latest moved downward was propelled by Apple’s announcement about coronavirus being likely to make it miss revenue estimates. The bigger question is about how investors should react. Bond prices are again enormously rich, and worse, there is little dependable yield.
FINSUM: This seems like a post-crisis repeat all over again. With yields so low, it feels like the market has returned to “TINA” (there is no alternative to stocks).
The market seems to be ignoring it, but Facebook is facing a major challenge to its business model. One so big in fact, that it is an esoteric threat to its whole way of making money (not to mention the rest of social media). That challenge is the collective ditching of third party cookies, which are little tools used to track users across sites. Third party cookies are used to assemble profiles of user behavior that then allow Facebook to deliver targeted ads. Since third party cookies are now being phased out by major browsers, Facebook (and other social media companies) are going to have a much tougher time assembling behavioral profiles, and this could ultimately have a cataclysmic effect on revenue and profitability. According to a research analyst, and explained by Barron’s, the big worry is that the decline of cookies—which is being called the “cookiepocalypse—will “will lead to ‘signal loss’ for advertisers, leading to reduced returns on advertising, and then an ‘implosion’ in ad spend by direct-to-consumer advertisers”.
FINSUM: As a publication, we understand this better than most. If Facebook ads are no longer as targeted, then their click-through rates will be worse. When that happens, advertisers will get worse overall results. This will mean they spend less dollars and pricing power will plummet. Facebook is definitely working on a work around, but until there is a concrete solution, this is a big threat.
An adviser to the World Health Organization has put out a very worrying forecast. He thinks that coronavirus may end up infecting two-thirds of the globe. The forecast is based on studies of the virus’ transmissibility, which has been on display in China. The prognostication also comes after rising evidence mounts that Beijing is falsifying, or at least underrepresenting, the number of cases reported. Scientists have found very odd and near-impossible correlations within the data China is releasing on this virus.
FINSUM: We don’t think China is being fully honest about the extent of cases, which then amplifies the transmissibility of the virus.