The risks of regulation on Silicon Valley are rising. Fake news and data leaks have raised the suspicion of media, consumers, and government, and just yesterday Apple’s shareholders called for an investigation into iPhone addiction and mental damage in children. Now, without even a day’s rest, there is a another major probe into Apple. This one is coming out of France and surrounds the allegation that Apple deliberately worsens performance in older phones. The company faces criminal charges for the behavior.
FINSUM: So this could go both ways. If France finds something, it could turn into a global PR nightmare that could really hurt the company. However, we are not sure how much information France will actually have access to, so it may turn out to be nothing.
Call it euphoria, irrational exuberance, or a melt-up, everyone is looking for signs that market valuations are out of control and approaching a downfall. Some signs have finally started to show up in the last few months as stocks have steadily gained. One such sign can be seen across the market—the elimination of hedges. Consistently low volatility has reduced fear in investors’ hearts to the point that many are abandoning puts and other downside protections. They are trying to chase the performance of passives and don’t want to “waste” money on hedging. The chief market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald comments on the trend that “I haven’t seen hedging activity this light since the end of the financial crisis … It started in late 2016 and accelerated in the second half of the year”.
FINSUM: This is typical late cycle imprudent behavior, but chasing benchmark performance is a good explanation of the trend.
There is no doubt about it, the FAANG stocks—Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google—were a huge force is delivering 2017’s great return. But it might be time to remove them from your portfolio, at least as Barron’s argues it. And if not removing them, then at least reducing exposure. The stocks count for a huge portion of many funds, so investors may have more exposure than they realize. The stocks have seen a massive run-up in valuation, but that makes them look increasingly vulnerable. Barron’s also cites the increasing risk of regulation of the sector, which could prove a weight on values.
FINSUM: The tech industry has grown very large and dominant, and seems to have its own cycle versus the rest of the economy, all of which makes it very hard to call a top. There are some dark clouds gathering on the horizon, but nothing looks like it is imminently going to bring the FAANGs down.
The comment heard round the world seems to have been eating JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Several months ago Dimon made the much publicized comment that Bitcoin was “fraud”. The CEO is one of the most respected on Wall Street and the comments have been the bane of the cryptocurrency for some time. However, speaking at a conference yesterday, Dimon said about his statements that “I regret making them”.
FINSUM: The funny part of about this new statement is that it was accompanied by several more veiled expressions of dislike for bitcoin, such as saying he is “not interested in the subject at all”.
While logistics companies have understandably done well alongside the rise of ecommerce, FedEx might be poised to deliver something particularly special in the medium term. There are two big reasons why. The first is that the US postal service looks likely to raise its rates, which would make the margin between USPS and UPS/FedEx smaller, giving an edge to the latter. Additionally, FedEx has been investing heavily into upgraded distribution hubs which will give it a speed advantage over UPS. UPS, on the other hand, is just at the beginning of that process, so the recent status quo of UPS having higher margins looks set to end.
FINSUM: We think we might be entering a few golden years for FedEx, as their upgraded speed of delivery, combined with more competitive pricing, will be an “x” factor given the ever growing demand for quick delivery.