• 3 Top Small-Cap Stocks to Buy in July
    Motley Fool

    3 Top Small-Cap Stocks to Buy in July

    Big things can come from small cap stocks. Check out these three promising stocks with market caps of $2 billion or less.

  • Why Datadog Stock Surged 22% in June
    Motley Fool

    Why Datadog Stock Surged 22% in June

    Shares of IT monitoring software company Datadog (NASDAQ: DDOG) surged 22% in June, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Momentum continued for Datadog, as its positive May earnings report was followed by several customer wins announced in June. In mid-June, Datadog announced a support for the Elastic File System run on the AWS Lambda platform.

  • Why ESG Stocks Are Perfect for Retirement Portfolios
    Motley Fool

    Why ESG Stocks Are Perfect for Retirement Portfolios

    Many retirement portfolios are based on long-term strategies, and many ESG stocks are based on long-term issues with high growth potential.

  • 5 Top Stocks to Secure Your Financial Independence
    Motley Fool

    5 Top Stocks to Secure Your Financial Independence

    On this day, 244 years ago, all but one of the 13 United Colonies officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, thus declaring their collective right to govern without England calling the shots. If you have spare cash that won't be needed to pay bills or cover emergencies, then the following blend of growth and income stocks should be perfect to help you secure your financial freedom. The first top stock that'll put you on the path toward financial independence is e-commerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).

  • 2 Hot Stocks to Buy in July
    Motley Fool

    2 Hot Stocks to Buy in July

    Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ: PYPL) have been crushing the market all year long, and both look like fantastic buys today -- with or without another game-changing health crisis. The smiling Amazon logo is virtually synonymous with "online retail," and the industry as a whole has been crushing traditional big-box stores and strip malls for a couple of decades. At the same time, Amazon's revenues rushed 26% higher.

  • Don't Expect Explosive Growth From the Amazon of Today
    Motley Fool

    Don't Expect Explosive Growth From the Amazon of Today

    Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos continues to run the company with the mindset that it is always Day 1. In his 2016 letter to shareholders, Bezos gave investors a glimpse into what Day 2 is -- stasis, followed by irrelevance, decline, and, ultimately, death.

  • 5 Cloud Stocks Set to Rally in the Second Half of 2020
    Zacks

    5 Cloud Stocks Set to Rally in the Second Half of 2020

    The coronavirus outbreak drove the remote-working trend, forcing businesses to reset priorities and in turn boosting cloud stocks.

  • Bloomberg

    Balkanization Is Bad for Facebook’s Business

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The internet, once a freewheeling global network, is becoming balkanized into national spheres of influence. This could be bad for both cross-cultural communication and U.S. tech companies.China has long protected its local internet, censoring speech behind what has become known as the Great Firewall. The government blocks U.S.-based services such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, and closely monitors the local Chinese versions. Other authoritarian and quasi-authoritarian countries -- Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Ethiopia – do the same. And Russia recently passed a so-called sovereign internet law that makes it much easier for the government to monitor and control online content.Now democracies may be joining in. India just banned 59 of China’s largest internet apps, including social video sharing service TikTok, reflecting rising tensions between the two giant Asian countries. It has also shut off internet to regions experiencing government crackdowns or unrest, such as Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. In Europe, major rules such as the General Data Protection Regulation are forcing internet companies to operate differently in different regions. Though this doesn’t officially ban or censor U.S.-based sites like Facebook, it does present an obstacle that could end up inhibiting the flow of information.This was probably inevitable. Different cultures perceive concepts such as privacy differently. And as U.S. global hegemony gives way to a more multipolar world, countries are going to assert their sovereignty by refusing to play by U.S. rules. Further unrest, like the protests that rocked the world in 2019 or tensions between countries such as China and India, are likely to accelerate the trend towards digital division.This could be tough on U.S. tech companies. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube don’t owe their profitability to superior technology, other than some techniques for managing large amounts of user data. They make money because they have a lot of eyeballs to which they can deliver advertisements.And they have those eyeballs because of network effects. It’s easy to make a Twitter clone -- Gab tried it a while ago, and a new entrant called Parler is trying it now. But it’s incredibly hard to get people to switch, because the first people who make the jump will find themselves mostly alone, with everyone they know and want to read still back on Twitter. Similarly, people use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media services because everyone else does.Captive advertising targets translate into enormous profits. Facebook, Inc., which dominates the social media landscape, has a profit margin that typically ranges between 20% and 40%. Its market cap as of early July was about $647 billion, or 2.6% of the entire S&P 500.Regional balkanization, though, slices through network effects. If services like Facebook are banned in some countries and heavily restricted in others, users will have less company. Most people’s contacts and friends will tend to be in the same country, but not all. And outright bans will cut some services off entirely from huge markets like China, while restrictions like GDPR will force them to invest in expensive localization.This is an unfortunate side effect of nationalism and unrest. But it’s also reason to worry about a technology industry whose profitability stems mostly from network effects, not know-how. Actual innovations, like Intel Corporation’s semiconductor manufacturing processes, Amazon.com, Inc.’s cloud computing systems, or Google LLC’s machine learning algorithms give these companies some clout:  if a country decides it doesn’t want to buy Intel’s chips, it will suffer a real economic penalty. But if a country decides to create its own Facebook clone, it will lose little, while Facebook’s American owners and workers will lose a lot.A free and open global internet may one day reemerge. In the meantime, U.S. companies and policy makers should think about how to invest in products whose value isn’t so subject to the whims of foreign authorities.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • China Beverage Firm Wahaha Said to Mull IPO Above $1 Billion
    Bloomberg

    China Beverage Firm Wahaha Said to Mull IPO Above $1 Billion

    (Bloomberg) -- Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co., one of China’s biggest drink makers, is weighing an initial public offering that could raise more than $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.A listing could come as soon as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. The beverage company is working with an adviser on preparations for the share sale, and has been considering Hong Kong among potential listing venues though no final decision has been made, they said.Founded in 1987 by entrepreneur Zong Qinghou, Wahaha has grown into a food and beverage giant with products ranging from bottled water, yogurt drinks and juice to instant noodles. The company has 80 production bases and employs about 30,000 workers, according to its website. Its products are available in more than 30 countries including Canada, Singapore and the U.S., the website said.Wahaha, which literally means a “laughing child” in Chinese, has signaled its intention for a listing last year as competition in China’s food and beverage market intensified. A listing would be “the right choice” and provide Wahaha with more resources, Kelly Zong, the founder’s daughter and an executive at the company, said in an interview with the 21st Century Herald in 2019. She didn’t provide details on preparations and timing.The company joins fellow Hangzhou-based beverage firm Nongfu Spring Co. in seeking a first-time share offering. The bottled water company filed for its Hong Kong IPO in late April and plans to raise about $1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News earlier.Chinese companies have become the force behind a surge in share sales in Hong Kong after a slow first quarter. JD.com Inc. and NetEase Inc. last month raised $7 billion through second listings in the financial hub. In the first half of this year, the tech companies accounted for almost two-thirds of the city’s total fundraisings via first-time share sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.READ MORE: Asia Share Sales Double in Second Quarter Amid Retreat From U.S.Preparations for Wahaha’s offering are at an early stage and details including size and timing could change, the people added. A representative for Hangzhou Wahaha Group said they hadn’t received any relevant information regarding an IPO.(Updates with IPO data in sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Barrons.com

    There Are Now 4 Trillion-Dollar Stocks. Why There Might Not Be a Fifth Anytime Soon.

    Alphabet just became the fourth U.S. company with trillion-dollar status. There’s only one other company with a market value above even $500 billion.

  • Alibaba Isn’t Just a Play on Social and Political Stability
    InvestorPlace

    Alibaba Isn’t Just a Play on Social and Political Stability

    When the novel coronavirus first rippled across China, I had extremely pessimistic thoughts about Alibaba (NYSE:BABA). Given our globalized societies, it was only a matter of time before the outbreak would spread across the world. Of course, this would place a very negative light on China, which would then impact its flagship Alibaba stock.Source: Nopparat Khokthong / Shutterstock.com Sure enough, China did come under pressure. Not surprisingly, President Trump has been the most vocal against the world's second-biggest economy, criticizing it at every opportunity. At his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump mockingly called the virus "kung flu," drawing intense uproar from minority rights advocates. As well, the President has consistently referred to the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus."To be fair, he's not the only one with harsh words. For instance, Japan's deputy prime minister and finance minister, Taro Aso, stated that some people have begun to refer to the World Health Organization as the Chinese Health Organization. With the international community doubling down on their anti-China sentiments, the situation didn't look great for Alibaba stock.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsHowever, as time went on, China's relative strength began to show. Now, what once was a disaster waiting to happen looks like the best block in the worst neighborhood.Primarily, China has none of the political or social challenges that currently plague the U.S. For example, we all know who will be in power in China. With the U.S., I believe it's a toss up given the vulnerabilities of both Trump and challenger Joe Biden.Further, according to the CIA World Factbook, China consists of 91.6% Han Chinese. When you have that kind of ethnic homogeneity, it's difficult to spark anti-bigotry demonstrations. Alibaba Stock Looks Better Economically as WellOf course, we already know that China's continuity of governance and relative social stability comes at a price. Alarmingly, it appears that whenever this Asian power encounters social strife, they take the most draconian path possible. Case in point is its concentration camps, which hold more than a million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim minorities, according to the Washington Post. * 7 Utilities Stocks to Buy With Reassuring Dividends Still, from a very cynical standpoint, you can invest in Alibaba stock knowing that China operates predictably. In contrast, you just don't know what's going to happen in the U.S. these days.But Alibaba stock doesn't just benefit from the obvious - and in some cases, nauseating - tailwinds. Rather, the e-commerce and technology giant also stands to gain from China's superior economic platform.I realize that this is a controversial statement but here's the reality - the U.S. is in a desperate crisis. While the unemployment rate is "only" 13.3%, weekly initial claims for joblessness benefits continues to number in the millions. Likely, this reflects economic pain spreading to multiple other job sectors besides restaurant and hospitality workers.For now, millions of Americans are loving life because their white-collar jobs translate well to remote platforms. Thus, many will saunter down in their pajamas rocking a piping hot cup of coffee. Maybe they'll do some work or pretend to. Either way, they're collecting a paycheck and they don't have to drive anywhere to get it.But I would be shocked if that reality lasts. You see, once companies get used to the idea of remote work, they'll soon realize they don't need to pay the inflated salaries of lazy, underperforming, and entitled Americans.As Financial Post contributor Howard Levitt notes, western companies can receive equivalent work for pennies on the dollar. China's Middle Class to Rise at Our ExpenseIn prior articles about the Chinese middle class, I've expressed my skepticism regarding what I thought were fantastical growth projections. Primarily, on a per-capita basis, China is still very much a developed country. And because it's about four times the population size of the U.S., growing a meaningfully robust middle class will take time.But the path to those extreme projections is much more credible now, thanks strangely to the coronavirus. Because let's face it - unless the federal government does something about it, American companies are more than willing to sell out American people for cheap foreign labor. And the Chinese are eager participants.I appreciate the calls for social justice. But if you want a message we can all unify under, it's American labor matters. Eventually, we will all be equal under the jackboot of Chinese communism or the substandard wages of the wrong end of globalism if we're not careful.In the meantime, you may want to hedge against this potentially frightening change by buying Alibaba stock. In short, China has almost none of the problems that we have in the new normal. And when remote work becomes very remote, it's the Chinese that will benefit, not us.We're currently too busy destroying each other to see the real challenge ahead.A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * Why Everyone Is Investing in 5G All WRONG * America's 1 Stock Picker Reveals His Next 1,000% Winner * Revolutionary Tech Behind 5G Rollout Is Being Pioneered By This 1 Company * Radical New Battery Could Dismantle Oil Markets The post Alibaba Isna€™t Just a Play on Social and Political Stability appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Casinos, Like Airlines, Are Best Avoided for Now
    InvestorPlace

    Casinos, Like Airlines, Are Best Avoided for Now

    The last time I wrote about MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) and MGM stock was in mid-June. The company's Las Vegas casinos were starting to open up and business would soon return to normal. Investors were cautiously optimistic. Source: Jason Patrick Ross / Shutterstock.com However, since then, it's become clear the novel coronavirus isn't going away any time soon. In fact, it might be stronger than ever. As a result, MGM stock has lost its momentum and is struggling to stay in the mid- to high-teens. Reopening Hasn't Been a Slam DunkIn my June 18 article, I said that given the difficulties casinos would face when reopening their locations -- reduced capacities, increased cleaning, security, and labor costs -- MGM would likely see some downside as a result. And that's precisely what's happened. InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 7 Utilities Stocks to Buy With Reassuring Dividends For this reason, I recommended investors interested in betting on MGM consider the VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF (NASDAQ:BJK) instead. By playing the field, investors will win once casinos return to normal. Until then, a bet on BJK reduces your exposure to any one company. Unlike Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which is a good proxy for consumer stocks, MGM Resorts isn't necessarily the best proxy for casinos. Who is, I couldn't say. What I do know is that none of the casino stocks stand out in terms of their ability to withstand Covid-19.As InvestorPlace's Brett Kenwell recently stated, MGM stock is a tough buy at the moment. I couldn't agree more. While I like the MGM brand, large gatherings have proven to be effective "super spreaders" during the pandemic. Nevada is reporting record daily highs for Covid-19 cases and now, casino properties, including MGM's Bellagio and Signature Condominiums, are being sued by employees for unsafe working conditions. Investors hate uncertainty. What could be more uncertain than a virus that's already killed almost 130,000 Americans? People are scared to go to work right now and that's especially true in hot spots in the South and Southwest. An Alternative to BJKA possible alternative for anyone who absolutely must make a bet on MGM, and doesn't want to buy BJK, would be to invest in the Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSEARCA:RCD). It gives you 61 S&P 500 consumer discretionary stocks, all equal-weighted, and rebalanced four times a year in March, June, September, and December. At 0.40%, it's not cheap, but it does closely track the performance of the S&P 500 Equal Weight Consumer Discretionary Index. For some investors, the biggest downside of RCD is the fact it tends to overweight mid-cap stocks as a result of the equal weighting. For me, that makes it even more attractive, because I see mid-cap stocks as the sweet spot in terms of long-term performance. Each quarterly rebalance, the 61 stocks return to a weighting of 1.64%. As of June 29, MGM's weighting was 1.49%, a sign that it's retreated since its latest rebalance. Slightly more than half the holdings are currently above 1.64% with Gap (NYSE:GPS) doing the best this quarter with the only weighting over 2%. Year to date through June 29, RCD has a total return of -20.01%, less than half MGM's total return of -49.0%. The Bottom Line on MGM StockInvestorPlace contributor Mark Hake recently suggested that investors wait and see how MGM's reopenings perform before taking a bite out of MGM stock. "The problem right now is that there is no dividend yield. Investors receive little income while waiting for the stock to recover. Therefore, I would wait to see what the upcoming reopening results will bring. Are the high-end casinos and resorts booking sufficient revenue for the company to turn around?" Hake wrote on June 25. With the July 4 weekend coming up, investors should get a better idea of how fast MGM will bounce back. I'm skeptical that people are going to want to be in casinos when Nevada, Arizona, and California are setting record numbers of Covid-19 cases.If you can't make the ETF play to get your MGM exposure, I would wait until the fall before considering buying MGM stock. That's because another significant correction could be in store for stocks over the next two months. If that happens, stocks like MGM will face further downside.I don't believe the risk/reward is in your favor at the moment. Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he's appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At the time of this writing Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * Why Everyone Is Investing in 5G All WRONG * America's 1 Stock Picker Reveals His Next 1,000% Winner * Revolutionary Tech Behind 5G Rollout Is Being Pioneered By This 1 Company * Radical New Battery Could Dismantle Oil Markets The post Casinos, Like Airlines, Are Best Avoided for Now appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Zoom’s Newest Challenger: Budding Internet Tycoon Mukesh Ambani
    Bloomberg

    Zoom’s Newest Challenger: Budding Internet Tycoon Mukesh Ambani

    (Bloomberg) -- Zoom, one of the few success stories of the Covid-19 pandemic, now faces a new competitor in an app backed by Asia’s wealthiest person Mukesh Ambani.Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd., which has scored billions of dollars of investments from Facebook Inc. to Intel Corp. for its digital businesses, has launched the JioMeet video conferencing app after beta testing. The app has already garnered more than 100,000 downloads on the Google Play Store after becoming available Thursday evening.Like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and other services, JioMeet offers unlimited high-definition calls -- but unlike Zoom, it doesn’t impose a 40-minute time limit. Calls can go on as long as 24 hours, and all meetings are encrypted and password-protected, the company said on the JioMeet website.The launch coincided with a nationwide ban on dozens of popular apps from Chinese technology giants including ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s UC Web, on grounds they threatened security and data privacy. JioMeet went viral Friday on social media alongside the hashtag MadeinIndia.The app is one facet of Ambani’s rapidly expanding digital empire, which includes India’s largest telecom operator with nearly 400 million users. On Friday, Reliance announced Intel Capital has invested $253 million into Jio Platforms Ltd., a unit of Ambani’s oil-to-retail conglomerate. The U.S. chipmaker’s arm is the 11th investor in about as many weeks to announce its backing for the digital services platform, which has now raised about 1.2 trillion rupees ($15.7 billion).“JioMeet will be a very credible disruptor in the space,” said Utkarsh Sinha, managing director of boutique consultancy Bexley Advisors. “Just the fact that it has no time limits on calls makes it a serious challenger to Zoom, despite its entrenchment.”Jio Platforms is amassing a wide range of services from music streaming to online retail and payments, fast turning into an ecommerce juggernaut that can take on Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc on its own home turf. Like elsewhere, video conferencing apps have become lifelines for millions of Indians working in cramped homes during Covid-19 lockdowns.JioMeet is also debuting at a time Zoom users have accused the service of security flaws. It’s been accused of siding with China after deactivating accounts of pro-democracy activists in the U.S and Hong Kong, which it said was intended to comply with Chinese law.(Adds total investment in Jio in fifth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Tesla's Overexcited Fans Should Cool Down a Little

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Back when Tesla Inc. delivered 95,000 cars to customers during the spring quarter of 2019, the stock price was languishing at about $235 and Elon Musk’s electric car company was valued at “only” $40 billion. Fast forward a year and the shares are now priced at more than $1,200. With a market capitalization of $224 billion, Tesla has surpassed Toyota Motor Corp. as the world’s most valuable automaker.Yet in the second quarter of 2020, Tesla delivered 91,000 vehicles — about 5% fewer than the same period last year. That’s pretty underwhelming for a company whose fans view it as a fast-growing technology company in the mold of Amazon.com Inc., rather than a sluggish metal-bashing carmaker. So how is the massive recent jump in its market value justified?In fairness, it shows resilience to sell this many cars when the company’s main California plant was shut by the pandemic for much of the spring period. Doubtless, Tesla’s new Shanghai plant picked up the production slack, which suggests the expense and effort of getting that China factory up and running was worth it. The launch of Tesla’s new Model Y crossover vehicle will have helped. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. both saw their U.S. deliveries decline by a third in the same quarter. Nevertheless, Tesla’s stock market acolytes pushed the shares up another 8% on Thursday, adding $16.5 billion to the market value. Such exuberance is hard to understand. Musk’s company sold 7,650 more vehicles than analysts expected during the second quarter, and the stock price jump equates to about $2 million of added shareholder value for each of those additional sales. This seems a little excessive given that a Tesla Model 3 sells for less than $40,000, and the profit margin on those cars is pretty slim.  The shareholder reaction makes even less sense when you consider that Tesla investors aren’t really meant to buying the stock because of the company’s current sales, which are less than 4% of Volkswagen AG’s. Rather, the investment case is a long-term one: that it will come to occupy a dominant position in clean transport and energy in the years ahead. That explains why the shares trade at 320 times its analyst-estimated earnings this year. Viewed through this lens, Tesla’s ability to shift a few thousand extra cars in recent weeks shouldn’t matter so much for the valuation.  Investors’ tendency to overreact to Tesla news made more sense when its survival was open to doubt. A year ago it was laying off workers, U.S. sales were slowing and its retail strategy was confused. Senior staff kept heading for the exit. The company was burning through cash and ran pretty low on financial fuel. It had just $2.2 billion of cash in March 2019, compared with more than $8 billion now.But subsequent evidence that Tesla can sell cars for more than it costs to produce them has transformed the mood — and with it Tesla’s stock price.Instead of “killing” off Tesla, the tepid electric offerings of established carmakers such as Audi and Mercedes have only underscored the quality of their rival’s battery and powertrain technology (the same can’t be said of Tesla’s build quality). Volkswagen’s software problems with its forthcoming ID.3 electric vehicle suggest catching Tesla won’t be straightforward, even with the Germans’ vast resources.Tesla’s stratospheric valuation appears to have become self-reinforcing. Should it require more money to fund its roughly $9 billion of capital expenditure over the next three years, it can raise it from shareholders without worrying about diluting them too much.Similarly, holders of more than $4 billion of convertible bonds that Tesla issued to fund its expansion should be happy to convert them into stock, rather than demand cash repayment, taking some of the pressure off the company and its balance sheet.  Still, Tesla’s valuation remains impossible to justify by any standard metrics. Analysts’ average price target is more than 40% below the current level. Even Musk has suggested that the share price, which has almost trebled since the start of 2020, is too high — although, as with his taunting of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and his comments about “fascist” lockdowns, it’s usually better to tune out what Musk says and focus on his actions instead.  The skeptics might have more faith in Tesla’s new position as the leader of the automaker pack when Musk stops his provocations and his shareholders stop getting giddy over modest good news.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Display Maker Royole Said to Mull China IPO as U.S. Plans Stall
    Bloomberg

    Display Maker Royole Said to Mull China IPO as U.S. Plans Stall

    (Bloomberg) -- Chinese flexible display maker Royole Corp. is weighing an initial public offering in China while its planned U.S. listing is put on hold, according to people familiar with the matter.Royole had filed confidentially for a U.S. IPO that could raise about $1 billion, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year. However, the startup is now considering a listing in China, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.Considerations are at an early stage and no final decisions have been made, the people said. A representative for Royole declined to comment on the matter.Royole, known for manufacturing the world’s first commercial foldable phone, had originally planned to raise funds via a private financing round at a valuation of about $8 billion, people familiar with that deal said last year. But the Chinese company turned to the U.S. markets after liquidity tightened during a downturn in China’s venture capital sector, the people said.Since January relations between the U.S. and China have deteriorated sharply, with tensions spanning trade, technology and Hong Kong. Many U.S.-listed Chinese companies are considering second listings closer to home in Hong Kong, while China has been actively seeking to lure innovative technology companies to list in Shanghai and Shenzhen.Royole competes with Samsung Electronics Co. and BOE Technology Group Co. to produce bendable screens using cutting-edge organic light-emitting diode technology. The company, which gave away wraparound-screen hats at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, in January unveiled a smart speaker that packs a bendable display around a cylinder.Its full line of products encompasses head-mounted displays intended for use as so-called mobile theaters and other wearable flexible displays. The company even has a smart writing pad that it sells on Amazon.com, JD.com and in stores globally.Royole’s earlier investors include Knight Capital, IDG Capital, Poly Capital Management, AMTD Group, the funds of Chinese tycoon Xie Zhikun and the venture capital arm of the Shenzhen city government.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares hit 4-month high as U.S., China recoveries gather pace

    Asian shares rallied to a four-month high on Friday on robust U.S. payrolls data and a brisk pickup in Chinese service sector activity, but a surge in coronavirus cases in the United States kept a lid on stronger gains. Mainland Chinese shares, which were among the best performers over the past month, extended gains, with the Shanghai composite index hitting a high last seen in April 2019. China's services sector expanded at the fastest pace in over a decade in June, the Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) showed, as the easing of coronavirus-related lockdown measures revived consumer demand.

  • Financial Times

    Retail tech draws lockdown dollars

    When coronavirus forced Heidi Sabelhaus Myers to shutter her high-end fashion boutique in San Francisco, she did something she had put off for years: she took her business digital. “We got our online store up a couple of weeks after we closed,” she said. Ms Myers turned to Shopify, the Canadian ecommerce group that bills itself as online retail’s “operating system”.

  • Google, Temasek Are Said to Be in Talks to Invest in Tokopedia
    Bloomberg

    Google, Temasek Are Said to Be in Talks to Invest in Tokopedia

    (Bloomberg) -- Google and Temasek Holdings Pte are in negotiations to join a funding round of between $500 million and $1 billion for Indonesian e-commerce giant PT Tokopedia, according to people familiar with the matter.Tokopedia, the online marketplace backed by SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund, has held talks with U.S. internet giants including Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc., the people said. But Google and Temasek have been more active in their negotiations and those talks may conclude in coming weeks, they said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.America’s largest internet corporations have looked increasingly toward Asia as growth in the U.S. and Europe slows, seeking to tap the region’s rapidly growing smartphone-savvy population. Facebook is buying a stake in India’s Jio Platforms, while its WhatsApp unit struck a deal last month to invest in ride-hailing and food delivery giant Gojek. Representatives for Tokopedia and Temasek declined to comment. Google didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.The backing of Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Singaporean state investment firm Temasek would mark a major boost for one of Southeast Asia’s biggest e-commerce operators. Tokopedia co-founder and Chief Executive Officer William Tanuwijaya built the country’s most valuable startup after Gojek after scoring early backing from SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder Jack Ma. It now plans to list shares at home as well as in another as-yet-undecided location, Tanuwijaya told Bloomberg News in October.Read more: SoftBank’s Bet on Sharing Economy Backfires With CoronavirusTokopedia came close to finalizing its latest financing this year before news emerged of a recent data theft attempt that may have affected 15 million of its users, one of the people said. It was also held back by the Covid-19 pandemic, which is rapidly changing the online shopping landscape in the world’s fourth most populous nation.E-commerce platforms are now moving quickly to serve the millions of people forced to make their first online purchases during widespread lockdowns. Singapore-based rival Shopee -- a unit of Sea Ltd. -- is catching up, while Alibaba last month appointed a longtime veteran to head up Lazada and “fight harder” as competition heats up.Indonesia has become a key battleground between the regional rivals: The country’s e-commerce market is projected to expand from $21 billion in 2019 to $82 billion by 2025, according to a recent study by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • In cloud clash with Alibaba, underdog Tencent adopts more aggressive tactics
    Reuters

    In cloud clash with Alibaba, underdog Tencent adopts more aggressive tactics

    For Chinese cloud services companies, the coronavirus outbreak has become a rainmaker, bringing in new business far and wide as firms shift work online and authorities develop apps and systems to help contain outbreaks and manage social restrictions. For Tencent Holdings Ltd in particular, it has also become the perfect time to flex new muscles as it seeks to catch up with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, its arch-rival and the dominant player in the country's cloud market by far. Tencent began to display a new level of aggressiveness after positioning its cloud business as a major area of growth in September 2018, and that has only amped up amid the pandemic, employees say.

  • His Wealth Surged by $25 Billion. Then Jack Ma’s Rival Quit
    Bloomberg

    His Wealth Surged by $25 Billion. Then Jack Ma’s Rival Quit

    (Bloomberg) -- Colin Huang’s ascent is one for the history books: In just six months, his fortune swelled by $25 billion -- one of the biggest gains among the world’s richest people.His Pinduoduo Inc., a Groupon-like shopping app he founded in 2015, has become China’s third-largest e-commerce platform, with a market value of more than $100 billion. In the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic caused most of the nation’s economy to grind to a halt, PDD’s active users surged 68% and revenue jumped 44%, the company said in May.Now Huang, who has overseen the firm as its American depositary receipts have more than quadrupled in less than two years, has stepped down as chief executive officer.At one point, his net worth climbed as high as $45 billion, placing him just behind China’s wealthiest people -- Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Jack Ma -- on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s even as PDD continued to post losses, primarily because it chases growth with the help of generous subsidies and has been known to spend more on marketing than it earns in sales.“Pinduoduo was perfectly positioned for people being stuck at home,” said Tom Ronk, CEO of Century Pacific Investments in Newport, California.Huang, who controlled 43.3% of PDD shares, has reduced his stake to 29.4%, according to a June 30 regulatory filing. His fortune now stands at $30 billion.That excludes a $2.4 billion charitable holding that he shares with PDD’s founding team, and $7.9 billion that went to Pinduoduo Partnership, of which Huang and newly named CEO Lei Chen are members. The partnership will help fund science research and management incentives, according to a letter following Huang’s resignation. The wealth estimate also excludes $3.9 billion that people familiar with the matter said was transferred to an angel investor.PDD declined to comment on Huang’s holdings or net worth.Facing ChallengesHe will remain chairman and work on the company’s long-term strategy and corporate structure to help drive the future of the e-commerce giant, PDD said.“PDD is still facing some high-level challenges in product supply, relationship with brand merchants, logistics and payments,” said Shawn Yang, an analyst at Blue Lotus Capital Advisors. “Colin may want to focus more on these issues.”PDD’s success hinges on deals, which have become particularly popular with customers looking for bargains as the world’s second-largest economy slows. Most of its users come from smaller Chinese cities, and the app gives them extra discounts when they recommend a product through social networks and get friends to buy the same item.Fen Liu, a homemaker in Quanzhou, a provincial city in Fujian, said she accrued enough coupons with her friends’ help to reduce the price of a suitcase to zero.“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my suitcase arrive in the mail,” she said. “It’s made me a loyal Pinduoduo user ever since.”‘Bargain Hunters’While PDD’s aggressive price-reduction strategies have helped win over people with lower incomes, they may stifle the company’s efforts to attract wealthier consumers, according to Charlie Chen and Veronica Shen, analysts at China Renaissance Securities in Hong Kong.“PDD’s users are largely bargain hunters reluctant to buy large-ticket items,” they wrote in a June 29 note, adding that the company’s image remains a key obstacle to users spending more. “We believe PDD is working to change its low-price brand image -- but this could be costly.”That may require heavy marketing and hurt margins further despite a strong user-base foundation for future growth, the analysts said. And PDD’s management has offered no clear path to profitability.Last year, the company’s “10 Billion RMB Subsidies” campaign, which is ongoing, led to a $2 billion increase in sales and marketing expenses to $3.9 billion, and those costs have been at 90% to 120% of revenue for the past two quarters, China Renaissance said.For the nation’s June 18 shopping festival, PDD provided a subsidy program with no cap across different product categories to push spending and attract more users. Other fast-growing Chinese startups -- including rival Meituan Dianping, ride-hailing app DiDi Chuxing and Starbucks Corp. competitor Luckin Coffee Inc. -- have also adopted subsidies strategies to maintain customer loyalty.Huang, 40, grew up in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where Alibaba has its headquarters. After receiving a degree at Zhejiang University, he went to the University of Wisconsin for a master’s in computer science. He began his career at Google in 2004 as a software engineer and returned to China in 2006 to help establish its operations in the country.He then became a serial entrepreneur. He started his first company in 2007, an e-commerce website called Ouku.com that he sold three years later after realizing it was too similar to thousands of others. He then launched Leqi, which helped companies market their services on websites like Alibaba’s Taobao or JD.com Inc., and a gaming firm that let users play on Tencent’s messaging app WeChat. Both took off and Huang found himself “financially free,” according to a 2017 interview.After getting an ear infection, he decided to retire in 2013 at age 33. But following a year of pondering what to do with his life -- he contemplated starting a hedge fund and moving to the U.S. -- he came up with the idea of combining e-commerce and social media. At the time, Alibaba dominated the online business, and WeChat became a must-have application on smartphones in China.The tables have turned since. In 2018, Alibaba launched a PDD-style app in an attempt to lure smaller-town users with bargains. It came months before Huang took his company public in New York, raising $1.63 billion in its July 2018 initial public offering. Since then, PDD has surged 389%, while Alibaba has gained just 13%.In 2017, Huang had said he was unlikely to spend the rest of his life at PDD. While he’s still chairman of the company, he now wants to give more responsibility to younger colleagues to keep the entrepreneurial spirit as PDD matures, he wrote in a letter to employees.“We envision Pinduoduo to be an organization that creates value for the public rather than being a showoff trophy for a few or carry too much personal color,” Huang said. “This will allow Pinduoduo to continually evolve with or without us one day.”(Updates PDD, Alibaba moves in 22nd paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected Fen Liu’s location.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Barrons.com

    What a Democratic Sweep Could Mean for the Market

    The elections will probably arrive before a Covid-19 vaccine does. What Wall Street should expect in a Biden administration.

  • Reuters

    GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks set to follow U.S. jobs rally, China in focus

    Asian stocks were likely to track a firmer Wall Street session on Friday after strong U.S. jobs data although growing Sino-U.S. tensions and a worrying surge in coronavirus cases is likely to cap gains. E-mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.14%. "While June data reflected a big improvement in the U.S. labor market, the recent sharp acceleration in new virus cases plus the prospect of an end to unemployment benefits by the end of July are two big layers of uncertainty," said NAB Markets analyst Rodrigo Catril, adding that the uptick in U.S. cases could mean extended headwinds for the labor market.

  • TheStreet.com

    Amazon Prime Day Reportedly Delayed Until October

    Amazon's annual Prime Day sales bonanza may be further delayed because of COVID-19 concerns, says a new report. The sales event usually takes place in July, but concerns about supply chain disruptions and managing excess inventory of Amazon devices delayed the event, according to reports from earlier this spring. Now, the Prime Day might be pushed off until October amid a new wave of COVID-19 cases.

  • Google Probe Has States Split on Strategy With U.S. Antitrust Case Looming
    Bloomberg

    Google Probe Has States Split on Strategy With U.S. Antitrust Case Looming

    (Bloomberg) -- With the U.S. Justice Department nearing a lawsuit against Alphabet Inc.’s Google for antitrust violations, a coalition of states that are conducting a parallel investigation are divided over the best strategy for taking on the internet giant, according to people familiar with the matter.While the multistate investigation into Google’s dominance of the digital advertising market is in its final stages, some state attorneys general are advocating to take more time to investigate Google’s conduct in other markets and potentially bring a broader case against the company, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing a confidential matter.The disagreement could affect whether states join a Justice Department complaint about Google. Like the states, federal antitrust enforcers have been investigating whether Google is thwarting competition in the digital advertising market, where it holds a commanding position.The Justice Department, which is coordinating with the states, wants to move quickly, two of the people said, and is on track to file a complaint this summer, another person said, though it wasn’t clear what conduct the complaint will ultimately target. The department declined to comment.“While we continue to engage with ongoing investigations, our focus is on creating free products that lower costs for small businesses and help Americans every day,” Google said in a statement.State attorneys general can play a pivotal role in enforcement cases against companies when they band together in group investigations. They joined the Justice Department in suing Microsoft Corp. in 1998 for antitrust violations. The case nearly led to the break-up of the company when a judge sided with the government. After an appeals court reversed the ruling, the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration settled the case.Two people familiar with the states’ investigation said the split among the states reflects normal tension about the best litigation strategy. A broad complaint would cover more conduct but would take more time to complete.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the investigation into Google’s conduct in the digital advertising market, which was announced in September on the steps of the Supreme Court. Other states, including Utah and Iowa, are focusing on internet search. Google dominates web search in the U.S., and rivals have complained that the company has prioritized its own services, such as travel and restaurant reviews, in results.Texas declined to comment. Representatives from Utah and Iowa didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.The digital advertising part of the probe focuses on Google’s control of the tools that deliver display ads across the web. Google owns much of the technology used by publishers and advertisers to buy and sell advertising space. Google has been accused of using its dominance to siphon advertising dollars from publishers.Earlier: Google Antitrust Road Map Goes to DOJ With U.S. Suit LoomingTexas is in the later stages of its probe in advertising and could join the Justice Department’s case with some states, said two of the people. States are still waiting to get a full look into the federal complaint, one of the people said.The investigations are so complex that few among the enforcers have a sense of what the Justice Department and all the states are doing, two of the people said.The investigation into online search is not advanced as far as Texas’s probe into the digital ad market, and some states are pushing for more time to investigate, said the people. At one point, states were also looking the company’s mobile operating system, Bloomberg reported last year, though it wasn’t clear whether that is an active part of the investigation.The chief executive officer of Google search rival DuckDuckGo Inc. said last month that state and federal enforcers have asked detailed questions about how to limit Google’s power in the search market as recently as the spring.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Barrons.com

    Amazon Stock Rose for a Ninth Straight Week. Yes, That’s a Record.

    The company has been a clear winner as the pandemic shakes up retailing, encouraging people to shop online.