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Online Gaming World

Online Gaming World

7.77k followers14 symbols Watchlist by Motif Investing

Given its convenience and social aspects, multiplayer online gaming could continue its fast growth and transform the gaming industry away from the console model.

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    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Investors in Argentina would seem to have no peers among global losers.After voters resoundingly rejected President Mauricio Macri and his free-market policies in primary elections earlier this month, the stock market, as measured by the S&P Merval Index, lost almost half its value in the biggest crash in at least six decades. The country’s currency, the peso, suffered its biggest decline since December 2015. The government’s benchmark-equivalent bond plummeted a record 26% to trade at 56 cents on the dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Argentina, whose economy is the third largest in Latin America, was already reeling from recession and inflation as high as 57.3% in May. The fear among investors now is the return to power of the Peronist party that traditionally stiffed creditors, defaulted on the nation’s bonds and rigged economic data so much that lenders had no incentive for a rescue.Amid the financial carnage, however, are two companies based in Argentina that highlight the country’s potential and showcase possible building blocks for its recovery. They are MercadoLibre Inc., Latin America’s largest online marketplace and biggest provider of online payment and digital financial services, and Globant SA, a software developer and technology services provider. Both are listed in the U.S., but if they were listed in their home country they would be 1.5 times the value of the local stock market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. MercadoLibre and Globant increased their worldwide workforces 30% and 31%, respectively, to 7,239 and 8,384 in 2018 when most of the nation’s employers were either letting people go or not hiring during the recession.MercadoLibre is the most valuable publicly traded company based in Argentina, with a market value of $30 billion and revenue last year of $1.4 billion. Chief Executive Officer Marcos Eduardo Galperin, who is 47, started the company in his Buenos Aires garage in 1999 after studying at Stanford University. When he was a student, he successfully pitched the idea for the company to an investor while he was driving him to the airport. The company he has built now has operations in 18 countries and is referred to frequently as the Amazon.com of Latin America, with a healthy dose of PayPal thrown in because of its successful payments system.MercadoLibre, which went public in 2007, has gained 442% during the past five years and is still delivering a 109% total return this year. Its revenue is expected to increase 53% this year and 39% in 2020, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. And while its 48% gross margin is down from previous years, it has been investing heavily in its businesses.Even with that success, Galperin sees a lot more room for growth. “Latin America has 600 million people and we have roughly 50 million people using our platform, up from 4 million” when the company went public, he said during an interview earlier this month at his Buenos Aires headquarters. MercadoLibre “can grow another 10 times from 50 million to 500 million” because “the number of transactions that are done per user in Latin America is still a 10th of what is happening in China.” The company derives only 21% of its revenue inside Argentina, so there’s plenty of room for expansion there.Martin Migoya, the 51-year-old chairman, CEO and co-founder of Globant, shared Galperin’s views about growth opportunities, calling the digital space “the largest single opportunity in the planet today.” His company, which was started in 2003, develops software and services for an array of mobile, social media, cloud-computing, gaming and big-data purposes, including artificial intelligence and machine learning. Its clients, 90% of which are in the U.S., have included such prominent companies as Google, Electronic Arts and Walt Disney.During an interview earlier this month at his Buenos Aires headquarters, Migoya said Globant, which generates only 5% of its sales in Argentina, is especially prepared to benefit from “a $5 trillion market in the next five years” made up of “digital transformation and cognitive transformation, which means applying artificial intelligence to pretty much everything.”Globant, which has a market value of $3.3 billion and generated $522 million in revenue last year, has gained 621% over the past five years and is returning 60% this year. Its sales are expected to increase 24% in 2019 and 21% next year, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.The performances of MercadoLibre and Globant haven’t gone unnoticed. Toronto-based Dynamic Power Global Growth Fund, managed by Noah Blackstein, produced the largest total returns during the past 10, five and one years among more than 1,000 global mutual funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. MercadoLibre is the largest holding, accounting for more than 7% of the fund, according to the most recent filing. Globant makes up 5%.Blackstein looks for companies, not countries, when he invests. “My focus is finding the biggest opportunities for growth wherever they lie in the world, be they in technology, health care and retail,” he said in a July interview.By his measure, Argentina has some of the brightest prospects. As the country descends once again into political and economic instability, MercadoLibre and Globant can remind citizens and investors alike that a downward spiral doesn’t have to be the status quo.\--With assistance from Shin Pei.To contact the author of this story: Matthew A. Winkler at mwinkler@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at dniemi1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Matthew A. Winkler is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the editor-in-chief emeritus of Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Investors are bracing for a significant downturn in the world economy, cutting earnings estimates amid a market sell-off. While all cyclical industries face some form of risks, some companies within each sector are more vulnerable than others as the outlook deteriorates.In recent recessions, technology and finance were the triggers -- the internet bubble caused the 2000 market crash and subprime lending led to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis that spread to housing, manufacturing and consumer demand.“The financial sector was leading in 2002-2007. In this cycle, it’s the tech sector,” said Bloomberg Chief Equity Strategist Gina Martin Adams. Still, she cautioned that in spite of the warning signs, it may be too early to predict a recession, adding that “tech is the strength of the economy.”Here are five global companies that may stand to lose more than others:AmazonAmazon.com Inc. is among the most cyclical U.S. internet companies because the Seattle-based e-commerce giant relies heavily on consumer spending. It’s also been building its employee base, adding more than 600,000 jobs and hundreds of huge warehouses to store and ship products. Some of those costs are fixed, while others may be hard to reduce quickly if there’s a steep economic decline. It also faces regulatory risks.“Amazon’s near-term growth may be at risk as macroeconomic conditions worsen, regulatory scrutiny rises and spending cycles spark concern,” Jitendra Waral and April Kim, analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in a recent note. “If demand were to slow amid Amazon’s increased spending on logistics, profit would face a double whammy.”One of Amazon’s fastest-growing new businesses -- digital advertising -- is also susceptible to economic ups and downs. Still, Amazon is riding a broad e-commerce growth trend that is unlikely to reverse during a recession.SwatchMakers of luxury items tend to endure more risks in a recession than producers of mass-market consumer goods. This time around, the effects would be compounded by U.S.-China trade tensions and protests in Hong Kong, which has already hurt the city’s economic outlook.Swatch Group AG, the biggest maker of Swiss timepieces, has more exposure to Hong Kong than any other luxury company, generating more than a third of the group’s sales in the Greater China region, according to Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox. The maker of Omega watches also has a smaller presence in the steadier luxury categories of jewelry and fashion than rival Richemont, which owns brands including Chloe, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier.The high-end segment has also been far less elastic in a downturn. In 2009, Swiss watch exports slumped 22% amid the financial crisis.So far, the economic slowdown in China has done little to damp the appetite of Chinese consumers for luxury goods. But watchmakers are feeling the effects of the sometimes violent demonstrations in Hong Kong, their largest export market. Timepiece sales there could plunge as much as 40% in the second half, Cox said.Swatch also faces sluggish watch sales in Europe. If the U.S. takes a turn for the worse, the industry could be hit by a reversal of the recovery in its second-biggest market.Swatch ExportsDaimlerThe German corporate giant just doesn’t just face a slowdown in its home market -- it also has substantial exposure to a potential downturn in the U.S. The automaker produces two high-margin SUVs in Alabama and its Freightliner division is the leader in the North American heavy-truck market. Demand for transportation of goods tends to closely mirror broader economic swings and analysts say heavy-truck sales in the region have peaked following years of robust growth.Daimler AG relies on the U.S. for about a quarter of the group’s revenue last year. That’s more than Germany or China, where it operates a joint venture with BAIC.After two back-to-back profit warnings following their debut in May, Daimler’s new leadership duo has vowed to improve efficiency. Profitability at the Mercedes-Benz passenger-car division has been sub-par compared with its peers, and the car unit is up against waning demand in its two biggest markets by volume: China and the U.S.CaesarsAn economic downturn could be particularly ill-timed for Caesars Entertainment Corp. The largest owner of casinos in the U.S. is about to increase its debt load again to finance a megadeal, after struggling for years to recover from a 2008 leveraged buyout that left it saddled with debt at the height of the Great Recession. (Caesars ended up putting its largest division into bankruptcy to clean up its balance sheet.)Caesars is set to merge with Eldorado Resorts Inc. early next year in a deal that involves $8.2 billion in new financing, amid rising competition from new casinos, both online and at its properties. Unlike some of its peers that focus more on luxury, such as Wynn Resorts Ltd., Caesars operates a lot of casinos in small markets including Tunica, Mississippi, and Metropolis, Illinois. Combined with Eldorado, it will have 60 owned, operated and managed casino–resorts across 16 states.And even the Las Vegas Strip, once considered invincible as a gambling destination, has yet to see casino revenue return to its 2007 high.Toll BrothersA major economic slowdown would almost certainly hit home sales and prices for builders like Toll Brothers Inc. “If we do go into a recession, housing isn’t going to be the cause,” said Drew Reading, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’s going to be the victim.”The bigger challenge for the industry right now is affordability, especially in high-cost metros on the West Coast. Toll Brothers, the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder, has been trying to diversify geographically. But it’s still highly reliant on California, where it got nearly a third of its revenue last year.One the plus side: Single-family housing starts still haven’t returned to historical levels more than a decade after the financial crisis, which means homebuilders won’t be sitting on as much supply if the economy takes a turn for the worst.\--With assistance from Christoph Rauwald, Kevin Miller, Corinne Gretler, Noah Buhayar, Ian King, Christopher Palmeri and Alistair Barr.To contact the reporter on this story: Cécile Daurat in Wilmington at cdaurat@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at tharrison5@bloomberg.net, Linus Chua, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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