Alphabet could soon become the most valuable company in the world.
The Google powerhouse traded on Friday morning with an equity value above $500 billion, less than 10 percent shy of Apple’s value. Investors value the search firm’s earnings from rapidly growing digital advertising more than twice as highly as Apple’s in a saturating smartphone market. Wall Street, however, may be overlooking Alphabet’s risks.
Global smartphone sales growth slowed to 10 percent last year, according to the consulting firm IDC. Reports of cutbacks at Apple suppliers suggest tepid demand for its latest phones. Analysts fear that the company may struggle this year to match the 230 million or so iPhones sold in the last fiscal year to September.
An oversupplied market could bring price wars, which could hurt margins — and the iPhone accounts for about 60 percent of Apple’s revenue and a bigger chunk of its profit. As a result, investors expect little growth in the company’s top line this year and are paying only about 10 times estimated 2016 earnings for the stock.
The mobile digital advertising market, meanwhile, should almost triple to nearly $200 billion globally by 2019, consultants at eMarketer reckon. Alphabet’s sales are forecast to grow about 15 percent this year. This wind at Alphabet’s back and the possibility that its self-driving cars, robots or medical endeavors will pay off help explain why it commands a price-to-earnings multiple above 20.
A subpar earnings report from Apple next week, or a strong one from Alphabet the week after, could bring a new name to the top of the world’s most valuable companies list.
Investors are, however, prone to overconfidence in technology trends. Facebook is snagging more and more ad dollars. European antitrust authorities are circling. Moreover, some of Alphabet’s revenue comes courtesy of iPhone users: it cost Google $1 billion in 2014 to keep its search bar on the Apple device, Bloomberg reports based on transcripts of a court case.
Alphabet is far more reliant on Internet advertising than Apple is on the iPhone. Ads bring in about 90 percent of the company’s revenue. Any hint of investor skepticism about that market could keep Apple at the top of the list.
Via New York Times
The Apple logo is seen from inside the company’s Boylston Street store in Boston on Sept. 16, 2015. Credit: Blair Hanley Frank
Sales growth in the last quarter was the slowest in the iPhone’s history
Apple sold roughly as many iPhones during the last quarter of 2015 as it did during the same period in 2014, signaling a possible end to continual gains for the phone and a potential shift in Apple’s business and the smartphone market at large.
That’s according to financial results from the company’s first fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 26. They showed Apple sold 74.8 million smartphones during the previous quarter, compared to 74.5 million handsets during the same period in 2014. Over the past several years, Apple could be relied upon to post massive iPhone sales that passed the preceding year’s handily. That wasn’t the case this time.
The news was preceded by weeks of dark predictions, with media reports claiming Apple had cut manufacturing orders from the companies that build the iPhone because inventory of the smartphone was backing up in retail channels.
Apple posted record quarterly revenue of $75.9 billion, compared to $74.6 billion in sales during the same period in 2014. Its profit for the quarter was $18.4 billion, up by almost $400 billion year-over-year. The company, like many others in the U.S., blamed a stronger dollar for keeping its revenue roughly flat. In a conference call with financial analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is vulnerable to significant impacts from foreign exchange rates, since two-thirds of its business comes from outside the U.S.
Looking forward, there are more clouds on the horizon. Apple expects its revenue for the current quarter to be between $50 billion and $53 billion, compared with $58 billion in revenue during the same period last year. It’s not clear yet what will drive that decline, but it seems likely that iPhone sales and currency impacts may be at least partly to blame.
Via IT News
Four dead sperm whales have washed up on beaches in eastern England, coastguard authorities said Sunday, a week after similar deaths across the North Sea in Germany and the Netherlands.
They are thought to be from the same pod as a dead whale on Hunstanton beach, 25 kilometres (15 miles) across The Wash bay, which stranded and died on Friday.
That young adult male was part of a group of six in The Wash.
“It is unknown where the rest of the pod are at this stage,” the MCA said Sunday.
The whales are around 15 metres (48 feet) long.
“We believe that the three whales at Skegness died at sea and then washed ashore,” said coastguard Richard Johnson.
“We are advising members of the public to stay away from the beach.
“We have informed the Receiver of Wreck and we are expecting an officer from the Zoological Society of London to attend the scene and carry out tests on the whales.”
Doctor Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation, said the whales probably swam south looking for food but got disorientated.
He believed they could have been part of a large pod, some of which beached in the Netherlands and Germany.
The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales, and the largest toothed predator.
It can measure up to 20 metres (67 feet) long and weigh over 50 tonnes.
It is 10 years since a northern bottlenose whale swam up the Thames in central London, bringing thousands to the riverbanks to see the extremely rare sight.
The whale died during a rescue attempt on January 21, 2006.
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The Times Of India reports that more than 300 olive ridley turtles have been found dead on Puri Beach in eastern India.
The publication notes that the turtles do on occasion wash up at this time of year, but a mass beaching of this size has people searching for answers.
While the cause of the mass death is not yet certain, initial theories suggest the animals may have been hit by fishing trawlers, the Times reporting that two ships have been seized in the area for illegal fishing.
considered the most abundant sea turtle species, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Their range includes the tropical portions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Adults can weight about 100 pounds and reach about 2.5 feet long.
When nesting, the turtles gather just off shore and then head for the beach together, in a mass event known as an “arribada” (Spanish for arrival). Females nest once per year and make two trips to deposit up to 100 eggs per visit.
The trawlers were seized because they were in violation of a fishing ban period put in place to accommodate the turtles’ nesting season.
via Discovery news