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.
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.
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.
One prominent short seller has come out warning investors about Tesla, 2020’s rocket ship stock. Citron Research, a legendary short-seller, says that investors should dump Tesla’s stock, as the gains have all been “computer-generated”. The stock closed up 14% again yesterday. Citron says “This is obviously a computer-generated rally, it’s not a reflection on the company, or on valuation. It’s just a trade … Yes, I'm shorting it…whoever bought it at these prices has to flush it out, and when it flushes, it’s going to flush hard.” The firm also referred to Tesla’s stock as a casino.
FINSUM: Tesla is up 112% in 2020. This is a case study in irrational exuberance, or what might now be called “momentum”.
Tesla’s stock has been rising almost as fast as Elon Musk’s rocket ship ambitions. Not only is the stock up almost 100% this year already (!), but shares rose by a shocking 20% on Monday alone. Why? The lack of a concrete reason is what makes the move alarming. There was some relatively minor news from a supplier about battery prices, but otherwise nothing. That is making many traders expect that a short squeeze has hold of the market, making gains artificial and moving the stock dangerously away from its moving averages.
FINSUM: Tesla shares seem to be showing a high degree of irrational exuberance right now. Any bad news could cause a huge drop.
Morgan Stanley has just made two interesting picks in the tech world. While these are not specifically tech companies, these chipmakers are so closely related that it is fair to lump them in. In particular, Morgan Stanley is bullish on rising memory demand in chips and therefore likes two names to do well. The first is Micron (ticker: MU), and the second is Western Digital (WDC), both of which specialize in DRAM and NAND. The former is used in mobile phones and servers, while the latter is used in smartphones and solid state hard drives. According to Morgan Stanley, “channel checks make it clearer that customers are building real conviction that memory will tighten [more demand versus supply] over the course of 2020, which is leading them to put more inventory into place”.
FINSUM: This matches exactly what we see on the consumer demand front, so we do not have any argument with these picks.