Facebook Shares Soars as Company Focuses both on Security and Business

Facebook Inc. shares have surged by roughly 12 percent at the pre-market trading today as the company shows that it can boost its security and business at the same time.

Facebook’s performance affects Twitter, Snap

The shares of Facebook rallied by 12 percent earlier today. This comes a day after the company recorded revenues that exceeded analysts’ expectations. The rise in their shares has lifted other social media stocks, with Twitter Inc. rising by 3.4 percent, and Snap also going up by 2.9 percent.

The impressive results achieved by Facebook showed that the company is moving past its numerous privacy scandals and focusing on business.

Market analysts have applauded the growth and believe that Facebook has switched from playing defense to offense. The recent impressive data has seen over ten firms raise price targets on Facebook. The average price target is now $190, up from $184 recorded on Tuesday.

The company is now on track to record its highest level since September 2018. It is also expected to post its biggest gain since January 2016.

Doug Anmuth at JPMorgan raises the price target of Facebook to $210 from $195 as he believes Facebook is the best at the moment. Ross Sandler at Barclays also raised Facebook’s price target to $210 from $180, pointing out that the results achieved will restore confidence in Facebook’s business and usher in investors that abandoned the ship last year.

Puma to Rival Nike by Launching Self-Lacing Smart Shoes

German shoe giant, Puma is set to rival US-based rival Nike by launching its self-lacing training shoes, with the shoe expected to be available by next year.

Puma to rival Nike in smart shoe sector

Nike has dominated the smart shoe sector over the past few years but is now set to face tough competition from German rival Puma. The German shoemaker revealed that it had concluded plans to launch its self-lacing training shoes that will compete with Nike’s high-tech sneakers.

Smart shoes manufactured by Puma called Fi are usually connected to their app. This enables them to tighten or loosen the laces with just the swipe of a finger. The app works on Apple iPhone or Apple Watch at the moment, but it is expected to be made available to Android users.

Puma revealed that the smart training shoe would come with a battery under its sole. The batter can be charged via a wireless charging dock or by changing out the batteries. The company added that the battery would last for roughly a week with normal use.

However, Fi will be made available in the spring of 2020 and will have a retail price of $330. This is a bit lower than Nike’s Adapt BB, a self-lacing smart basketball shoe which is sold for $350.

Puma’s Global Director of Innovation, Charles Johnson stated that “We really wanted to tackle digital technology to bring something into the physical world. It’s definitely where I see things going, and we already have ideas about how it will evolve. Not just ideas. We’ve prototyped some things that will use this technology beyond where it’s at.”

Johnson further revealed that they are open to the idea of making the technology available to developers to enable third parties to develop various apps based on the smart shoe.

Boeing Sales Surpasses $100 Billion for the First Time

The annual sales recorded by Boeing Co. has surpassed the $100 billion mark for the first time in the company’s 102-year history,

Boeing expects new gains in 2019

US-based plane manufacturer Boeing has seen its annual sales surpass the $100 billion mark for the first time in history. This latest development comes after the company experienced production snarls with its 737 jetliners.

The shares of Boeing has surged by 5 percent today following this new. NYSE: BA is up 18 points today and now trades at $383. This meant that Boeing is now in front of other blue-chip stocks this year.

The adjusted earnings for 2019 will be $19.90 to $20.10 per share after they experienced an increase in sales in all their businesses. Analysts had previously expected earnings of $18.44 per share. Boeing is now expecting operating cash flow to reach $17.5 billion.

The company experienced an increase in sales towards the end of the year. This saw their annual revenue reach $101.1 billion. The company’s defense sector recorded 16 percent sales gain during the fourth quarter. This countered the effect of factory stumbles that slowed down deliveries of the workhorse 737 jetliners, the company’s biggest source of profit.

Analysts are now expected to focus their attention on the strength of the company’s supply chain as jetliner production will help boost their cash flow.

Apple Shares Surge as Company Explains Life Beyond the iPhone

The shares of Apple Inc. has surged earlier today after the company convinced invested that they will still thrive beyond iPhone.

AAPL rises 5.5 percent following investor meeting

AAPL, Apple’s stock surged by 5.5 percent at the pre-market trading earlier today after the company convinced investors that they would thrive beyond iPhone. The company recorded its first holiday-quarter sales decline since 2001, with their revenue dropping by roughly 15 percent. The slight rally in the company’s stock could impact the tech sector, with other giants also struggling recently.

Apple suppliers saw their shares also surge higher early this morning following this revelation. Dialog Semiconductor Plc surged by 2.2 percent earlier today, while STMicroelectronics NV added 3.2 percent in Paris. In Switzerland, AMS AG surged by 6.4 percent while Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., Pegatron Corp., and Wistron Corp. all recorded gains in Asia.

However, CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri were focused on service business that was growing and the rise in sales of other devices. Apple saw an increase of 9 percent in the sales of Mac while iPad sales surged by 17 percent. Apple’s wearable products like Apple Watch and AirPods also witnessed an increase of 50 percent or more during the last quarter

The company also recorded an increase in usage of their Apple Pay and Apple Music. Apple is now expecting the number of subscriptions to reach 500 million by 2020. Cook also revealed that Apple is looking to venture further into the original content business. This would see it compete with other giant companies such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in that sector.

Pfizer’s 2019 Revenue and Profit Forecast below Wall Street Targets

US pharmaceutical firm, Pfizer Inc. has released this year’s revenue and profit expectations, with the figures dropping below the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

Healthcare could experience a slow year

Pfizer is expecting a drop in revenue and profit this year as the company revealed earlier today that it suffered from the loss of patent on its blockbuster pain treatment Lyrica. This led to the shares tumbling by 2 percent earlier today.

The healthcare sector could experience a torrid year, with Johnson & Johnson revealing last week that it is expecting slow growth this year.

Pfizer is expected to counter the threat of generic competition to Lyrica by focusing its attention on its portfolio of cancer treatments. The pharmaceutical company also expects to gain approval for a new heart drug before the end of the year.

The company forecasts revenue of $52 billion to $54 billion this year. This is lower than the $54.25 expected by Wall Street analysts. Lyrica accounted for $1.32 billion in sales during the last quarter. This is higher than the $1.21 billion expected by analysts at brokerage Credit Suisse.

Pfizer is expected to earn around $2.82 to $2.92 per share this year which is lower than the $3.04 per share estimated by analysts. During the last quarter, the stock earned 64 cents per share excluding items, and this was higher than the 63 cents per share expected by analysts.

The Revenue for the company rose by roughly 2 percent to reach $13.98 billion.

PG&E Files for Bankruptcy with over $50 Billion in Debt

Utility company PG&E Corp. and its Pacific Gas & Electric Co. utility have filed for bankruptcy despite the company having over $50 billion in debt.

PG&E to keep operating as competitors gain ground

PG&E has filed for bankruptcy following a series of a devastating wildfire that took the life of over 100 people. The wildfires affected thousands of acres in California over the two years and have seen one of the country’s largest utility companies brought down to its knees.

The company filing for bankruptcy Chapter 11 filing will enable it to keep operating as it looks for ways to pay off its creditors. The company filing for bankruptcy will also allow its competitors such as Edison, American Electric Power, FirstEnergy, and others to gain solid grounds.

The PG&E stock was up by 3 percent at the pre-market trading earlier today despite the news of the company’s bankruptcy. The wildfire that took place in November last year saw the company lose over three-quarter of its market value. The company’s CEO left his role, and its bonds dipped to junk, with the fire costing them roughly $30 billion.

PG&E’s interim chief executive officer, John R. Simon addressing their customers, stated that the decision didn’t come easily. He added that they understood that millions of customers rely on their services and have questions for them.

He assured them that power and gas will stay on as they will continue to provide sustainable electric and natural gas service. He pointed out that nothing will change with their service delivery despite the ongoing issues.

Nvidia Shares Plummets After Cutting Revenue Forecast Amidst China Slowdown

Nvidia Inc. has slashed its fourth-quarter revenue as it expects a slowdown in sales, especially in China. This has led the shares of the company to plummet by roughly 14 percent today.

Chinese economic slowdown continues to affect US companies

Nvidia, the chip-making giant, has slashed its Q4 revenue as it expects weaker sales of its gaming and data center platforms. This is due to the slowing global economy. The slowdown in the global economy, especially in China, has affected the growth of US companies over the past few months. A few hours ago, machine manufacturer Caterpillar reported that it experienced slow sales in the last quarter due to a drop in demand in China and Asia.

Nvidia, which is the largest manufacturer of chips for computer graphic cards stated that it is expected $2.2 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter which was previously set at $2.7 billion. This led to the shares plunging by 18 percent earlier today to trade at $131.01.

The company in its report stated that “Deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly in China, impacted consumer demand for NVIDIA gaming GPUs.” Nvidia also expects the sales of its high-end graphics processing units to slip in the current quarter.

US giants such as Apple and others have been affected negatively by the economic slowdown in China. The IMF recently warned that the slowdown in the Chinese economy has also seen the global economy experience slower growth over the past few months.

Caterpillar Shares Down Following Disappointing Quarterly Earnings

The shares of Caterpillar has plunged earlier today after the company reported earnings that were below expectations.

Low demand in Asia/Pacific region causes a slump

The shares of Caterpillar, NYSE: CAT has plunged by 8.5 percent today after the company reported earnings that were lower than expected. The manufacturer of heavy equipment revealed that a slump in demand from the Asia/Pacific region is the main cause of the abysmal result posted.

The company has subsequently told its dealers across the globe to an expected price increase by 1 percent to 4 percent on machines and engines. This is in a bid to balance higher material costs.

The company posted earnings per share of $2.55 which is lower than $2.99 expected by analysts. The revenue meanwhile was $14.43 billion, which is higher than the $14.33 billion expected. Despite these results, Caterpillar is optimistic that 2019 profit will increase to roughly $11.75 to $12.75 per share. Meanwhile, Wall Street analysts are expected $12.73 per share

Chairman and CEO Jim Umpleby commenting on this stated that “Our outlook assumes a modest sales increase based on the fundamentals of our diverse end markets as well as the macroeconomic and geopolitical environment. We will continue to focus on operational excellence, including cost discipline while investing in expanded offerings and services to drive long-term profitable growth.”

The company added that unfavorable currency rates are another reason why sales dropped in the last quarter.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, NYSE: CAT dropped by 7.5 percent to reach its lowest level since 2011. The company noted that the cost of production is arising due to tariffs and increase in prices of steel. According to Caterpillar, tariffs have increased material cost by $40 million in the third quarter of 2018.

Ford’s Pickup Revenue Tops Pepsi and Disney

The total revenue generated by Ford in the sale of its pickups and vans rivals those of giant companies such as IBM and Boeing, and it is higher than those recorded by Pepsi and Disney.

Ford’s van business rakes in $72 billion in 2017

The US-based automaker was able to rake in $72 billion from the sale of its trucks and vans according to information released by the company over the past two weeks. The revenue generated from this area is higher than those recorded by some giant US companies including Intel Corp., Walt Disney Co., and PepsiCo Inc.,

The pickup and van business of Ford is now regarded as a crucial part of its recovery effort. The company is undergoing massive restructuring, and the recent data from the pickup business indicates that it will play a role in the recovery efforts.

Market experts believe that the rise of online shopping has increased the demand for pickup vehicles as they help deliver packages to doorsteps with ease. The impressive result achieved by Ford in this area has seen the world’s largest automaker, Volkswagen AG partner with them recently. The partnership will see them develop new models including the Transit vans.

Michelle Krebs, an analyst at Autotrader, stated that Ford has always been strong in the pickup segment. They are not particularly sexy or lucrative cars, but they bring in a lot of revenue. Ford has always believed in the business of pickup vans and emphasized it again during its earnings report on Wednesday.

The company recorded 2.4 million truck and van sales in 2017 and that led to $10 billion earnings before interest and taxes. The operating profit margin for the pickup van business was 14 percent, which is higher than the 4.4 percent Ford recorded for its entire auto operations last year.

Intel’s Growth Weakness in Data Center a Surprise: Wall Street Analysts

Intel experienced growth weakness in data centers during the last quarter and predicted slow growth in the sector. This has come as a surprise to Wall Street analysts who now believe that data centers which have experienced massive growth over the years is beginning to dry up.

Intel data could affect rivals

Intel released its revenue and profit projection for the first quarter of 2019, and it fell below analysts’ average estimates. This subsequently saw Intel shares drop by 5.9 percent at the pre-market trading earlier today.

Intel cited issues such as reduced spending at large cloud-computing customers, softness in China, and other geopolitical concerns as reasons behind the weak forecast. The drop in revenue for Intel in that area comes as big tech companies offering cloud computing like Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Microsoft Corp. all reduce their orders.  

Analysts had earlier predicted sales of $19 billion in the last quarter, with Intel recording $18.7 billion instead. The net income meanwhile stood at $5.2 billion, or $1.12 a share, which is lower than the $1.17 predicted by analysts.

Intel now predicts that revenue in this quarter will be around $16 billion with profit set at 81 cents per share. This is below the $17.3 billion and earnings of 96 cents per share estimated by analysts.

This year, the company expects revenue of around $71.5 billion, which is below the $73 billion projected by analysts. The project would be the slowest annual growth recorded by the company since 2015.

Chipmakers such as Texas Instruments Inc., Xilinx Inc., and Lam Research Corp. have all recorded better-than-expected results, but analysts expected a drop in the market this quarter following recent earnings projection by Intel.