• Warren Buffett trims Wells Fargo stake, adds RH
    Yahoo Finance

    Warren Buffett trims Wells Fargo stake, adds RH

    The Oracle of Omaha's latest stock moves are out.

  • How this CBD company created a buzz by 'kind of making fun of millennial culture'
    Yahoo Finance

    How this CBD company created a buzz by 'kind of making fun of millennial culture'

    Ask Benjamin Witte about Recess, and one of the first places he’ll send you is the company’s Instagram page.

  • EnLink's 20% Yield Is Everything Wrong With America's Pipelines
    Bloomberg

    EnLink's 20% Yield Is Everything Wrong With America's Pipelines

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- When a stock goes into free fall, one hope is that some acquirer out there will catch it. Sometimes, though, suitors come with their own complications. That brings us to EnLink Midstream LLC.EnLink operates gathering and processing pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure across several onshore U.S. basins. In the summer of 2018, Devon Energy Corp., an exploration and production company, sold its stakes in various EnLink entities to Global Infrastructure Partners for just over $3.1 billion. After a subsequent simplification of EnLink, GIP owns 46% of the common units, now worth $1.2 billion.EnLink has been undone by weaker commodity prices. Earlier this month, Devon announced it had dropped the number of rigs operating in one of Oklahoma’s shale basins to precisely zero (how’s that for a coda to last year’s deal?). This confirmed a trend evident already in permitting and drilling data for the Anadarko basin, where just four companies account for the majority of activity; and, crucially, they have operations in other basins that are more competitive in terms of breakeven costs.The distribution yield on EnLink’s stock now scrapes 20% — on a par with the current yield on long-dated bonds of Chesapeake Energy Corp., which just issued a going-concern notice. There’s being paid to wait, as they say, and then there’s being paid to wait in that trash compactor from Star Wars.EnLink’s cash flow math is tight. Consensus forecasts — which have now had time to digest cost savings pledged on the latest earnings call — put Ebitda at $1.1 billion in 2020. Take off around $500-$550 million for cash interest and (much-reduced) capital expenditure, and that leaves about $550-$600 million versus current distributions of about $550 million. With Ebitda forecast to grow at just 1% a year through 2022, that tight squeeze won’t ease up. Wells Fargo & Co.’s analysts estimated in a recent report that, absent a change in distribution policy, current leverage of 4.2 times adjusted Ebitda could reach almost 6 times by 2025. By any rational measure, the distribution should be cut.The complicating issue is that EnLink’s leverage is compounded by more leverage at the GIP level in the form of a $1 billion term loan. Technically, it is separate from EnLink’s own finances. But as the company acknowledges in its own 10K filing, debt owed by an entity owning almost half the company plus its managing partner, and which is serviced by EnLink’s own distributions, is very much a risk factor. By my calculations, the loan requires roughly $80 million a year of EnLink distributions (GIP didn’t respond to requests for comment)(1). As of now, distributions amount to about $255 million. So, in theory, EnLink could slash its payout by about two-thirds and GIP could still service the loan.In practice, that would be a bitter pill to swallow. As it is, GIP’s common units in EnLink are now worth not much more than the value of the loan and way below the original investment. Cutting distributions would certainly help EnLink’s balance sheet; all else equal, a 67% cut would save enough cash to take leverage below 4 times adjusted Ebitda, in line with long-term targets. But this would almost certainly push the value of GIP’s stake even lower, at least in the near term. As Ethan Bellamy, analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., put it to me:Does GIP leverage prevent EnLink from cutting the distribution and right sizing the ship? It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen parental leverage from a private equity sponsor lead to sub-optimal outcomes for the subsidiary public entity.On the other hand, if EnLink cuts and its price falls further, then GIP might be tempted to make an offer for the rest of the company in an effort to salvage things out of the public eye. Needless to say, a takeover premium on an even lower EnLink price would do very little to make up for the losses suffered to date. We are seeing this play out with Blackstone Group Inc.’s offer for another midstream company, Tallgrass Energy LP, although the pain there is compounded by an agreement between the buyer and Tallgrass’s executives that effectively shields the latter from losses (see this).EnLink captures so much of what has gone wrong in America’s pipelines business. There’s the misalignment of interest between ordinary investors and the sponsors steering the company’s destiny. There’s the exposure to commodity markets from which, in theory, midstream companies were supposed to be insulated. Above all, there’s the overcapitalization of this sector, with obligations piled onto assets (largely to fund outsize payouts to controlling sponsors) that ultimately couldn’t generate the profits to service them (largely because too much stuff got built).Almost exactly four years ago, Kinder Morgan Inc. presaged the midstream reckoning to come by slashing its dividend. The stock has been listless for much of the period since then; even with the cut, chipping away at debts in a post-boom environment is a laborious process. As this decade of nominal success for America’s shale boom draws to a close, EnLink’s predicament shows the hangover remains very much a work in progress.(1) This assumes the full $1 billion remains outstanding. Interest is charged at Libor plus 4.25%, equating to 6.15%, or about $62 million. A debt-service covenant ratio of 1.1 times takes this to $68 million. Mandatory annual amortization of 1% of the loan plus assumed G&A costs results in an estimated minimum requirement of about $80 million to service the debt. Details derived from Moody's Corp.'s initial rating report from July 2018.To contact the author of this story: Liam Denning at ldenning1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Gongloff at mgongloff1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Liam Denning is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy, mining and commodities. He previously was editor of the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column and wrote for the Financial Times' Lex column. He was also an investment banker.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • ‘Talking Car’ Dream Gives Way for Gadgets Under FCC Proposal
    Bloomberg

    ‘Talking Car’ Dream Gives Way for Gadgets Under FCC Proposal

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has proposed taking back some of the spectrum long promised to automakers and re-allocating it to other wireless uses, according to people familiar with the matter.It’s a potentially significant development in a years-long debate that saw automakers fight to retain frequencies they’ve barely used. Carmakers say they’re poised to finally use the airwaves to connect vehicles and infrastructure to prevent collisions.The FCC sent the proposal to the Transportation Department in recent days, said two people who asked not to be identified discussing the private deliberations. If DOT agrees, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai could set a Dec. 12 vote on the proposal to modify the grant of airwaves it made 20 years ago.The Transportation Department has long resisted the idea and remains concerned and will likely oppose the FCC’s latest plan, one of the people said.Representatives for both agencies declined to comment.Cable providers who offer Wi-Fi for customers’ wireless use are hungry for spectrum as digital technology transforms everything from cars to video feeds and household appliances.More airwaves are needed to help “deliver a future of ubiquitous connectivity,” Charter Communications Inc. said in a Nov. 12 filing. Charter’s network supports more than 300 million devices, the Stamford, Connecticut-based company said.Auto industry companies including General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Denso Corp. spent more than a decade developing vehicle-to-vehicle, or “V2V,” communications systems to link cars, roadside beacons and traffic lights into a seamless wireless communication web to avoid collisions and heed speed limits. Yet deployments have been few, and no major automakers produce cars using the technology in the U.S.The auto industry has broadly shifted to favor a newer technology based on cellular systems, in part because it offers a path to transition to 5G systems in the future, proponents of the FCC’s plan say.Ford announced earlier this year that it will outfit all its new U.S. models starting in 2022 with cellular vehicle-to-everything technology. The system would enable Ford’s cars to communicate with one another about road hazards, talk to stop lights to smooth traffic flow and pay the bill automatically while picking up fast food.Automakers and their allies last year asked the FCC to let them use part of the band for cellular-based technology - rather than the Wi-Fi format the agency mandated in 1999 - while preserving all of the airwaves for transportation safety. In a petition the companies said the newer, cellular technology is more reliable, with greater range.The airwaves could be used for fast communications including machine-to-machine links, and smart city applications such as smart cameras, traffic monitoring and security sensors, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, a trade group for companies including Comcast and Charter, told the FCC in a Sept. 25 filing.(Updates with Charter filing in seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Keith Naughton.To contact the reporters on this story: Ryan Beene in Washington at rbeene@bloomberg.net;Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Revive the Middle Class by Bringing Back Unions
    Bloomberg

    Revive the Middle Class by Bringing Back Unions

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- If the U.S. is going to make a big dent in income inequality and raise living standards for the middle class, it’s going to need a multipronged approach. Higher taxes and more spending on health care will help. Minimum-wage laws can raise pay for workers at the bottom without reducing employment much, but they only benefit a relatively small slice of the workforce. But something else is needed.One big idea is to bring back unions and collective bargaining. Several teams of economists have examined the historical record and concluded that unions were important in reducing inequality. But although unions are still important in the public sector, in the private sector they’ve been almost wiped out.People argue about the cause of the decline. Some blame weak enforcement of labor laws or the rise of state right-to-work laws. Others blame global competition and technology. But Martin Manley, an entrepreneur who previously served as assistant secretary of the Labor Department under President Bill Clinton, thinks he has the answer. In a new book titled “A Better Bargain: Organizing Employers and Workers to Grow America’s Middle Class,” Manley argues that the U.S. union system was doomed from the start.Before 1935, Manley notes, there were several types of collective bargaining in the U.S. But the one that ended up being enshrined in law, in the National Labor Relations Act, was called enterprise bargaining. Under that law, workers at each workplace have to vote to unionize; if they do, all workers at that workplace are covered by the union contract. If they reject the union down, however, there’s no collective bargaining.This system has a huge downside: competition. Suppose the workers at a McDonald’s want to form a union. The managers know that if the workers unionize, wages will go up and prices for hamburgers at that McDonald’s will rise. That will put the restaurant at a competitive disadvantage versus the non-unionized Burger King down the street, eventually resulting in layoffs. The managers will make this argument to the workers, who probably will find it convincing.If both the McDonald’s and the Burger King could coordinate and unionize together, competition would be no problem; wages would rise and the profits of the two giant corporations might fall while consumers paid higher prices for burgers. But because U.S. labor law forces each workplace to act independently on unionization, they can’t effectively coordinate. The situation is even worse for companies such as General Motors that face international competition because there’s no way for GM workers to coordinate with Volkswagen workers in Europe or Toyota workers in Asia.Manley has a two-pronged solution to this problem. Both pieces would require a major rewrite of U.S. labor law. And both would involve a shift from enterprise-level bargaining to sectoral bargaining, with negotiations taking place in an entire industry, not individual workplaces or companies.The first piece is industry associations — groups of companies in the same industry and region that bargain collectively with their workers all at once. Though it might seem counterintuitive to let employers collaborate like this, it would remove the competitive threat that unions represent, because the resulting agreements would constrain all businesses equally. Manley suggests that industry associations could also collaborate to create more efficient and flexible labor markets by providing worker training, sharing knowledge about workers across company lines and so on.Second, Manley would make unions nonexclusive. Under his preferred system, an industry association would bargain simultaneously with all the organizations that workers in that industry belonged to, be they unions, worker co-ops, professional associations or advocacy groups. The various worker groups would be awarded representation at the negotiating table proportional to their membership (which could overlap). Manley envisions various worker groups competing with each other for members by offering services other than wage bargaining.These are good ideas. To really be effective, they’ll require one crucial element: that workers who don’t belong to any organization are all covered by the contracts that result from sector-level labor negotiations. A law like this is the reason that the French and German workforces are still mostly covered by collective bargaining, despite falling unionization:If combined with Manley’s idea for competing labor organizations and proportional representation in negotiations, sectoral bargaining would undo the decades-long decline in private-sector collective bargaining almost overnight. It wouldn’t require unions to rebuild their membership; all it would need is a few worker organizations to pop up and start bargaining on behalf of everyone. At first, these early movers would get almost all the seats at the negotiating table, which would induce other workers to form other organizations to get a piece of the action.Presidential candidates such as Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren have backed sectoral bargaining, showing that the idea is catching on. Innovative ideas like Manley’s could allow sectoral bargaining to take root even faster and to be carried out in a way that many employers would embrace. Ultimately, a more cooperative relationship between workers and management would result in a more sustainable system for supporting the middle class.To contact the author of this story: Noah Smith at nsmith150@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.netThis 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/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • WRAPUP 2-U.S. retail sales rebound; manufacturing output tumbles
    Reuters

    WRAPUP 2-U.S. retail sales rebound; manufacturing output tumbles

    U.S. retail sales rebounded in October, but consumers cut back on purchases of big-ticket household items and clothing, which could temper expectations for a strong holiday shopping season. The report from the Commerce Department on Friday pointed to a moderate pace of consumer spending that probably remains sufficient to offset some of the drag on the economy from a downturn in the industrial sector. "Consumers are easing off their spendthrift ways from the second quarter and are adopting more prudent attitudes, perhaps still nervous over trade tensions and the slowing of hiring -though that still remains robust," said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna, Virginia.

  • T-Mobile & Sprint Unveil Location of New Support Center
    Zacks

    T-Mobile & Sprint Unveil Location of New Support Center

    T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) will establish Customer Experience Center in Nassau County for the creation of employment opportunities and enhanced customer support.

  • Bank Stock Roundup: Ambiguity Over Trade War Remains, SunTrust & Citi in Focus
    Zacks

    Bank Stock Roundup: Ambiguity Over Trade War Remains, SunTrust & Citi in Focus

    Banking stocks depreciate on uncertainty over trade conflict along with other global concerns.

  • Navistar to Face $140M Revenue Loss From UAW's Strike at GM
    Zacks

    Navistar to Face $140M Revenue Loss From UAW's Strike at GM

    Navistar's (NAV) 2019 revenues and adjusted EBITDA are likely to be hit by $140 million and $15 million, respectively, owing to the UAW strike.

  • Kinder Morgan (KMI) Up 0.8% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?
    Zacks

    Kinder Morgan (KMI) Up 0.8% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

    Kinder Morgan (KMI) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues.

  • U.S. Factory Output Drops by Most Since April on GM Strike
    Bloomberg

    U.S. Factory Output Drops by Most Since April on GM Strike

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. manufacturing output slumped in October by the most in six months as an auto workers’ strike at General Motors Co. curtailed vehicle production and the trade war continued to weigh on other factories.The 0.6% decline in output followed a 0.5% decrease the previous month, Federal Reserve data showed Friday. Excluding the 7.1% drop in motor vehicle output, which was the largest since January, factory production decreased a more modest 0.1% for a second month.Total industrial production, which also includes output at mines and utilities, slumped 0.8% in October, the largest setback since May 2018.Key InsightsThe data are consistent with other reports showing cracks in the factory sector as producers grapple with sluggish global demand, slower business investment and the U.S.-China trade war. The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge contracted three straight months, while a separate index showed global manufacturing shrank in October for a sixth month.All major market groups, including consumer goods and business equipment, reported declines in output for at least a second month.Factory production may rebound next month as the striking United Auto Workers reached an agreement with GM late in October. Overall the strike cost the company nearly $3 billion and lasted 40 days.Aside from the slump in automaker output, production also retreated at makers of computers, electrical equipment, chemicals, apparel and fabricated metals.Get MoreThe median forecast of economists in the Bloomberg survey for manufacturing output called for a 0.7% decline.Of the three main industrial production groups, mining dropped for a second month on weakness in the oil patch, while utilities registered the sharpest drop since June.Capacity utilization, measuring the amount of a plant that is in use, fell to 76.7% from 77.5%. Capacity utilization at manufacturers decreased to 74.7%, the weakest since September 2017.The Fed’s monthly data are volatile and often get revised. Manufacturing, which makes up about three-fourths of total industrial production, accounts for about 11% of the U.S. economy.(Adds graphic)\--With assistance from Chris Middleton.To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in Washington at edmitrieva1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Scott Lanman at slanman@bloomberg.net, Vince GolleFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Walt Disney, Wells Fargo, Vale, Shopify and TELUS
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Walt Disney, Wells Fargo, Vale, Shopify and TELUS

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Walt Disney, Wells Fargo, Vale, Shopify and TELUS

  • Calculating The Fair Value Of Visa Inc. (NYSE:V)
    Simply Wall St.

    Calculating The Fair Value Of Visa Inc. (NYSE:V)

    In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) by taking the foreast future cash...

  • Bonds Aren’t Believers in a Synchronized Upswing
    Bloomberg

    Bonds Aren’t Believers in a Synchronized Upswing

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The global bond market rallied for a second consecutive day on Thursday in an awkward development for the growing chorus of voices that have cropped up the last few weeks contending that the synchronized global slowdown was over. From China to Germany, and from Cisco Systems Inc. to freight shipments, the latest data show  it’s too soon to turn optimistic.In China, industrial output rose 4.7% in October from a year earlier, below the median estimate of 5.4%. Germany did post a surprise expansion in its gross domestic product for the third quarter, but that came with plenty of caveats. For one, the increase was only 0.1%, and the contraction for the second quarter was deeper than initially reported — negative 0.2% versus negative 0.1%. In the U.S., economists were passing around the latest Cass Freight Index for October, which fell 5.9% to mark its 11th consecutive year-over-year decline. This gauge has been around since 1995 and tracks freight volumes and expenditures by hundreds of companies in North America conducting $28 billion of transactions annually. More important, the compilers of the index noted in the latest survey that the index “has gone from ‘warning of a potential slowdown’ to ‘signaling an economic contraction.’” Cisco is not in the freight business, but comments by Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins late Wednesday after the computer company released fiscal second-quarter results echoed the sentiment in the freight industry. “Just go around the world and you see what’s happening in Hong Kong, you look at China, what’s happening in D.C., you’ve got Brexit, uncertainty in Latin America,” he said on a conference call with investors and analysts. “Business confidence suffers when there’s a lack of clarity, and there’s been a lack of clarity for so long that it’s finally come into play.”Maybe the global economy isn’t worsening, but it’s too soon to say an upswing is underway. Despite the sell-off in the bond market since September, yields are still showing caution. Yields on bonds worldwide as measured by the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index stand at 1.45%, which is closer to its all-time low of 1.07% in 2016 than last year’s high of 2.27% in November.AWASH IN MORE DEBTThe Institute of International Finance came out with its quarterly look at the mountain of global debt, concluding that it rose by about $7 trillion in the first half of the year to a record of just more than $250 trillion. That increase is more double the $3.3 trillion expansion for all of last year. It pegs global debt, which it sees expanding to $255 trillion by the end of the year, at a lofty 320% of global GDP. It’s no surprise that the world is awash in debt, but yields show there seems to be a dearth of it for the public because of massive purchases by central banks. As of October, the collective balance-sheet assets of the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan and Bank of England stood at 35.7% of their countries’ total GDP, up from about 10% in 2008. Still, this is no time to be complacent. The IIF points out that much of the growth in debt has come in emerging markets, which is generally considered riskier than that of developed economies and where central banks are not doing things like quantitative easing. This could become an issue relatively quickly; the IIF pointed out that $9.4 trillion of bonds and syndicated loans from emerging markets come due by the end of 2021.CORPORATE CASH SHRINKSThe latest doubts about the strength of the economy kept the S&P 500 Index little changed for a second consecutive day. Perhaps that’s for the better because falling interest rates and bond yields are perhaps the single-biggest reason equities are up 23.4% this year in the absence of earnings growth. The second is probably share repurchases. But a new report from Societe General SA raises concern that the cash companies use to fund those buybacks is being depleted. “A boon for U.S. share buybacks” has left companies with less cash in their coffers, Societe Generale strategists Sophie Huynh and Alain Bokobza wrote in a report. Cash and money-market investments held by companies in the S&P 500 peaked in 2018’s first quarter on a per-share basis before falling 5.3% through the third quarter of this year, according to Bloomberg News’s David Wilson. S&P 500 companies have bought back the equivalent of 22% of their market value since 2010, the Societe Generale strategists noted in their report.CHILEAN CRISIS ENTERS NEW PHASEThe chaos in Chile, long known as the safest bet in Latin America, has become so bad that not even direct intervention by the nation’s central bank was able to reverse the slide in the peso. The currency fell about 1% Thursday, bringing its slide to 11.4% since mid-October. That’s the worst of the 31 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg and more than five times the next biggest loser, the Hungarian forint. What should have investors worried is that the peso depreciated even after the central bank announced a $4 billion currency swap program to ease liquidity in the market amid the worst civil unrest in a generation. “I don’t think it will help stop the sell-off in any way,” Brendan McKenna, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo, told Bloomberg News in reference to the swaps program. “There has to be some breakthrough on the political front for the currency to stabilize.” Foreign investors have been especially rattled since the government said Sunday that it backed plans to rewrite the constitution in response to four weeks of riots and protests in support of better pensions, wages, education and health care. If that were to happen, it’s possible the government would swing too far to the populist left to the detriment of the economy. FOLLOW THE CLIMATE CHANGE MONEYDespite the overwhelming evidence about climate change, there is still an alarming number of deniers. But if it was really all a big hoax or overblown, then why are the world’s biggest, most influential investment firms steering away from areas that are likely to be hit the hardest, such as the coasts? Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is considering real estate markets including Denver; Austin, Texas; and Nashville, Jeffrey Fine, a managing director at the firm’s merchant-banking division, said Thursday at a conference hosted by the NYU School of Professional Studies. Fine may not have specifically cited climate change, but according to Bloomberg News’s Gillian Tan, he did note that more companies and young people are moving away from the coasts. The Fed held its first conference on climate change last week in San Francisco, with one central bank official saying it has the potential to “displace people permanently” amid damaging wildfires in California and storms punishing the Eastern Seaboard. About 3 billion people — or some 40 percent of the world’s population — live within 200 kilometers (124 miles) of a coastline, according to Bloomberg News. It’s projected that by 2050 more than 1 billion will live directly at the water’s edge.TEA LEAVESThe idea that the U.S. consumer was strong and carrying the economy took a hit a month ago when Commerce Department data showed that retail sales in September fell unexpectedly. The 0.3% decline from August was directly opposite the 0.3% advance expected based on the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. That’s why Friday’s update from the government on October retail sales is so critical, especially heading into the holiday sales season. Economists are calling for a 0.2% rebound. Bloomberg Economics isn’t so optimistic, saying that decelerating wage growth suggests household demand will moderate. It is forecasting no change in spending. Although the headline number will get the attention, the smart money will be looking at sales among a control group that are used to calculate GDP and exclude food services, auto dealers, building-material stores and gas stations. By that measure, sales are seen rising 0.3% from no change in September.DON’T MISS Stock Investors Could Use a Refresher on the Basics: Nir Kaissar You Care About Earnings? The Stock Market Doesn’t: John Authers Too Many Young American Men Still Aren’t Working: Justin Fox Brazil’s Politics and Economics Are Growing Apart: Mac Margolis Matt Levine's Money Stuff: You Can Buy Almost All the StocksTo contact the author of this story: Robert Burgess at bburgess@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.Robert Burgess is an editor for Bloomberg Opinion. He is the former global executive editor in charge of financial markets for Bloomberg News. As managing editor, he led the company’s news coverage of credit markets during the global financial crisis.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Top Research Reports for Disney, Wells Fargo & Vale
    Zacks

    Top Research Reports for Disney, Wells Fargo & Vale

    Top Research Reports for Disney, Wells Fargo & Vale

  • Playing Offense when Volatilities are Low
    Zacks

    Playing Offense when Volatilities are Low

    Playing Offense when Volatilities are Low

  • How Disney+ Is Already Reforming The Streaming Space
    Zacks

    How Disney+ Is Already Reforming The Streaming Space

    In the first 24 hours of its release, 10 million people had already signed up for this much anticipated streaming service.

  • Tesla Regains Consumer Reports Endorsements as GM Brands Stumble
    Bloomberg

    Tesla Regains Consumer Reports Endorsements as GM Brands Stumble

    (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc.’s Model 3 and S sedans reclaimed recommendations from Consumer Reports, though the electric-car maker still ranks toward the bottom of the group’s annual reliability survey along with other U.S. automakers’ brands.The two Tesla models earned an average rating in Consumer Reports’ reliability survey, leading the organization to restore endorsements it revoked from the Model 3 in February and the Model S a year ago. Five of General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s brands placed among the 10 worst in the survey, which was again dominated by Japanese and Korean carmakers.Consumer Reports’ fluctuating views of Tesla’s sedans reflect the company’s frequent design changes and rush to ramp up production, according to Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing. The Model X still scores among the least reliable in the survey, leaving the electric-car maker’s brand ranking 23rd out of 30.“We recommend the Model 3 with a caveat,” Fisher said in an interview. “I don’t know what will happen in the next six or 12 months because the car keeps changing, so results may vary.”GM’s WoesReliability issues for established automakers including GM and Volkswagen AG frequently relate to their new vehicles offering technologically advanced features for the first time, such as touchscreen infotainment and driver-assistance systems.“GM really has consistently had problems with new model launches as they add new technology, and it was across the board for their vehicles,” Fisher said. Three of its four brands finished in the bottom 10, with Cadillac finishing dead last, thanks in part to a troublesome infotainment system. VW’s namesake fell nine spots to 27th, and its luxury brand Audi slipped seven places to 14th.Buick, the only GM brand to finish around the middle of the pack, fell five spots to 18th. Chevrolet ranked 25th, with some of its highest-volume models -- the Chevy Colorado mid-size pickup and Silverado full-size truck -- scoring poorly.Chevy’s Silverado rated 20 on a 100-point scale, matching Ford’s F-150 and narrowly beating the Ram pickup’s 18. The overall Ford brand ranking was unchanged from a year ago, at 16th.GM’s is having trouble with the drive system and in-vehicle electronics on the new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. That’s problematic especially since the new trucks underwent modest changes and have disappointed Consumer Reports’ test drivers. GM probably took a conservative approach to engineering the new trucks because the previous-generation Silverado and Sierra had reliability issues, Fisher said.For GM, improvement is a must. The Silverado and Sierra are among its most profitable vehicles, and the automaker has been fending off a challenge from Fiat Chrysler’s Ram, which has gained market share at Chevy’s expense. There’s also more competition on the way: Tesla plans to show off an electric truck on Nov. 21. The pickup, which Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has said is inspired by the sci-fi film “Blade Runner,” will try to crack Detroit’s profit center along with another electric upstart, Amazon.com Inc.-backed Rivian Automotive Inc.Asian DominationAsian brands fared best in the study. Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus luxury line again took top honors, its namesake brand finished third, and Japanese partner Mazda was sandwiched in between. The best vehicle in the study was the Lexus IS sedan, with a score of 99.The Genesis luxury brand from South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. placed fifth, and the company’s namesake line finished in sixth. Among European brands, only Porsche and Mini were in the top 10.Tesla’s Model 3 was initially recommended by Consumer Reports in 2018 because the early models fared well in terms of customer satisfaction and reliability was initially good enough. Tesla made a lot of changes to the car that year, including adding more comfortable seating and improving the suspension to soften the ride. But some tweaks brought about glitches that cost the car the group’s blessing.In the past year, Tesla has fixed many of those problems, and its two sedans have risen in the rankings. Fisher spoke with Musk after the Model 3 lost its recommendation last year and said the CEO was eager to hear what owners were complaining about.“He wanted the feedback,” Fisher said. “He wants to build the best cars in the world.”To contact the reporter on this story: David Welch in Southfield at dwelch12@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net, Kevin Miller, Keith NaughtonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Startups Like Uber and Airbnb See All. You Do Not.
    Bloomberg

    Startups Like Uber and Airbnb See All. You Do Not.

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Startups and tech companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Gojek, Bird and Compass operate in many cities and often multiple countries, and they typically have a repeatable playbook for each time they arrive in a new place.What Gojek, the food delivery and rides startup in Southeast Asia, learns about optimal pay for couriers in Jakarta can translate, at least in part, to Ho Chi Minh City. Airbnb’s experience in navigating local bureaucracies has been honed from its experience in hundreds of cities around the world.That’s not necessarily true for the people, industries and policy makers with whom these companies work. The Gojek courier in Ho Chi Minh City doesn’t necessarily know how to avoid the pitfalls his counterparts in Jakarta already encountered. A city planner in New York may not have the luxury of learning from a counterpart in Paris what taxes or guardrails were effective for Airbnb rentals in that city.The companies are armed with centralized knowledge and act consistently based on those experiences. On the other side, there is often highly fragmented knowledge and action by the contract drivers, homeowners, mom-and-pop restaurants, local real estate agents, trucking companies and governments that deal with startups trying to shake up how the real world functions.This imbalance is what I think about when I read articles like this one about hotel operators, delivery couriers and others who feel they got the short end of the stick from startups backed by SoftBank Group Corp. or its Vision Fund. Bloomberg News has also covered the continuing city-by-city or state-by-state efforts to tax or put limits on on-demand companies such as Airbnb and Uber. (Disclosure: A family member works for a labor organization that has advocated for legislation of short-term home rentals, such as those provided by Airbnb.)There are exceptions. Chain restaurants that deal with delivery startups have the advantage of identifying patterns in their dealings with the tech disruptors, as do multi-city adversaries such as hotel industry trade groups. U.S. cities that were caught off guard by on-demand ride services a few years ago learned to move more quickly when scooter-rental companies came to town. It helped that cities could force companies to comply by impounding scooters, said Brooks Rainwater, director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities.Coordinated knowledge and action isn’t easy, though. In recently published research on regulating ride-hail services, the New York University Rudin Center for Transportation found that local policy makers were so overwhelmed that it was difficult for cities to learn best practices from one another. Rainwater said that some cities were coordinating a few years ago on effective policies for on-demand ride companies. Then the companies and some lawmakers pushed to take action out of city planners’ hands in favor of statewide rules. Meera Joshi, an NYU visiting scholar and one of the authors of the Rudin Center’s report, said some cities are coordinating directly or have been inspired by others. Mexico City is taking steps that may lead to sliding, per-kilometer fees for on-demand rides similar to those of Sao Paulo, which imposed the surcharges to mitigate traffic congestion. New York and Chicago, she said, gained confidence from talking to each other about compelling ride companies to provide data that can help cities with transportation planning and other goals. The superior knowledge and power of sprawling companies isn’t unique to on-demand startups, of course. When General Motors builds a factory, Walmart opens a distribution center and Amazon pushes for a local tax break, the lawmakers, workers and business partners with whom they’re dealing probably don’t have the same experience as a company that has gone through this process many times before.The scale of the startups, however, is on a whole other level. Uber had 3.9 million contract drivers and couriers working on its system at the end of 2018, and it operates in more than 700 cities. There are more than 100,000 cities with Airbnb listings and more than 7 million listings globally. There are not 100,000 cities with a Walmart.The bigger the startups get, the more the parties they deal with will become fragmented. That is a lot of people potentially learning from scratch how to work a system the companies have mastered.A version of this column originally appeared in Bloomberg’s Fully Charged technology newsletter. You can sign up here.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at sovide@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.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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