Eq: Tech

(San Francisco)

Apple’s stock has suffered significantly last week since it announced that it would likely miss its revenue targets because of the virus outbreak in China. The stock is down 7% since the announcement and there is increasing speculation the damage may not be transient. The whole incident calls into question whether the country is too reliant on China for production (and also for sales). Many Wall Street analysts have pushed lost revenue for this quarter into other quarters, but it is not at all inconceivable to think that some of the sales may be lost permanently as consumers could have bought rival products, or just won’t switch at all (especially those in China).

FINSUM: Apple should probably work to adjust its supply chain as a reaction to this, but that seems unlikely. Hard to tell how this plays out; it depends on the news cycle.

(San Francisco)

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.

(San Francisco)

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.

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