Just before the launch of the new suite of iPhones and other Apple products last week, things were looking bleak for the company. There was remarkably little pre-launch excitement and it seemed like this was going to be a rather boring round of updates for the iPhone. However, initial sales momentum is looking strong and could bode well for the company. There are also some one-off factors that could make Apple’s stock pop. According to Evercore, “We think there is inherent upside to Sept-qtr EPS given AAPL isn’t staggering their launches but announcing all the three products simultaneously … This we think will have a positive impact to revenues and EPS in the sept-qtr, though depending on the reception of these products it may be more of a pulling in of revenues from Dec-qtr”.
FINSUM: The iPhone 11 is a little more differentiated than everyone thought, and it seems to have sparked more interest than expected. This may be a less gloomy replacement cycle than expected.
The headline looks a little bearish, granted, but it honestly may be true. The stars seem to be aligning for some big price losses in Apple’ stock. The company is set to unveil the iPhone 11 today, and it is hard to remember a time when there has been less excitement. For many reasons, including this being Apple’s last 4G phone, this model year looks to be a dud, and customer demand for it looks commensurately weak. Accordingly, the replacement cycle is likely to be poor. However, market expectations don’t seem to reflect all this, which means the stock is set up for big disappointment. Even Wall Street equity research divisions are now significantly lowering price targets for the stock.
FINSUM: The smartphone market is growing increasingly commoditized and dull and it is affecting Apple too. The company has done an admirable job diversifying, but 2020 is looking bleak for Apple.
Amazon’s move towards one-day shipping is likely to be a big win for UPS and FedEx, but not in the way you think. A superficial glance might lead one to assume Amazon is going to increase one-day shipping contracts with the logistics providers, but that is not so. Amazon is building out its own network to do so. So how will it help FedEx and UPS’ beat-up stocks? The answer is that other ecommerce companies will need to increase their shipping speeds in order to better compete with Amazon, and in order to do so, they will be paying for a lot more one-day shipping through UPS and FedEx.
FINSUM: This is quite an interesting angle and one that makes a lot of sense. Walmart, Target, and many other big retailers will need to rely on UPS and FedEx to meet the one-day shipping challenge that will be required to stay competitive with Amazon.
Tech stocks are going to hold up to the next recession in very different ways. Some will prove quite defensible, while others will be wounded badly. On the defensible side, analysts contend that Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Expedia should do well. The core tenet of this argument is that digital ad spend will likely remain robust, keeping their revenues from dropping off too much. However, smaller companies like Cardlytics, Revolve Group, and Quotient Technology seem as though they may be wounded badly. Netflix might be the biggest overall risk, however.
FINSUM: Netflix is the most interesting name to discuss here. So is that ~$12 per month for Netflix a discretionary spend that consumers will cut back on in a recession, or is it now a staple? The answer to that question will decide its performance in the next downturn.
A few weeks ago there was a great deal of press, and some investor anxiety, about simultaneous anti-trust probes being launched from the FTC and DOJ into America’s biggest tech companies. Before those efforts seem to have even gotten off the ground, the investigation seems to be backtracking. The head of the FTC said this week that the integration of Facebook and Instagram and WhatsApp will likely stymie any effort to break up the social media giant. The TFC chief also acknowledged it would be hard to get the courts to reverse a merger that the FTC itself had already approved, which is the case with Facebook and its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.
FINSUM: This seems like a pretty notable surrender after only a few weeks of work. We wonder why the FTC is changing its tone so strongly?
Anyone who has even glanced at WeWork’s disclosures prior to its forthcoming IPO should be worried. The company’s obfuscation and highly suspect share and governance structure look worrying. But here is an even more tangible reason to stay away—the company is overvalued by about 20x. Unlike other big tech IPOs recently, WeWork has existing publicly traded competitors, so there are comparables. Check out IWG (formerly known as Regus which is likely a more familiar name). It has $1.6 bn of revenue and $64m of profit. Its market cap is $4.45 bn. The company went public in 2000 and was called a disruptor back then. The company struggled during the recession and its US unit filed for bankruptcy.
FINSUM: There is not much new about WeWork other than branding and hype. The prospects for this IPO and WeWork’s future returns are dimming.