• The Best Stocks to Buy in a Market Crash
    The Motley Fool

    The Best Stocks to Buy in a Market Crash

    BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) (NYSE:BCE) and Metro Inc. (TSX:MRU) provide shelter from a market crash, with attractive dividend yields and economically insensitive businesses.

  • 'Like a red herring': Why one CIO says earnings are irrelevant this year
    Yahoo Finance

    'Like a red herring': Why one CIO says earnings are irrelevant this year

    Earnings season for banks begins Oct. 15, when J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are scheduled to announce their Q3 results. However one CIO says earnings are not the focus in the market.

  • Bloomberg

    Beware of Funny Financials

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- However frothy valuations currently seem to be, optimists can always argue they’re justified by strong earnings. In the past four years, S&P 500 operating earnings per share have grown by nearly 40%.Those numbers, however, may be as airy as the asset prices they support. The U.S. government’s national income and product accounts -- which cover a broader number of businesses than the S&P, use tax returns and adjust for certain accounting practices -- suggest that corporate profits actually peaked in 2014 and have been stagnant since. The national accounts also show significant downward revisions to corporate profit margins over the previous five years. While one would expect some discrepancies between that data and S&P numbers, which are based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the gulf is too wide to be ignored.What’s going on? In many cases, accounting choices appear to be distorting results. In early 2019, General Electric Co. reported GAAP losses of $2.43 per share; under adjusted figures it earned $0.65 per share. Tesla Inc. reported full-year GAAP losses of $5.72 per share but “non-GAAP” losses were only $1.33 per share. Over 95% of S&P 500 companies regularly use at least one non-GAAP measure, up about 50% over the last 20 years.One question is how companies choose to recognize income. In the case of long-term, multi-year contracts, such as construction projects, reported revenue can be based on a formula: a portion of the total contract amount, calculated as costs incurred in the relevant period as a percentage of total forecast costs. Understating estimated final costs allows margins to be increased and greater revenue to be recognized up front. Following the collapse of Carillion PLC, the firm was found to be aggressive in recording income which was sensitive to small changes in assumptions. Given the trend to converting sales of products (such as software) into long-term service contracts, these risks are only going to grow. Companies can understate expenses. Many tech companies use non-GAAP accounting to strip out the cost of employee stock options, for instance, thereby showing higher earnings. WeWork sought to redefine traditional earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization as something called “community-based EBITDA.” The new measure conveniently excluded normal operating expenses such as marketing, general and administrative expenses, development and design costs.Spending may be treated as an asset, to be written off in the future rather than when expended. A recent JPMorgan Chase and Co. research report found software intangible assets (the amount spent but not yet expensed) averaged up to 15% of adjusted costs for a sample of European banks. The idea is to better match expenses to the period over which they are expected to benefit the business. But the practice may overstate current earnings.Related-party transactions can distort a company’s true financial position. Saudi Arabia slashed the tax rate on large oil companies to 50% from 85%, even though the government depends on the profits of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. for 80% of its revenues. Aramco will still pay most of its profits to the state, but as dividends rather than tax. That means reported profits will be higher, potentially increasing the company’s valuation ahead of a highly anticipated initial public offering. Complex structures can mask liabilities. Tesla, for instance, faces potential payments related to its SolarCity business. Before being bought by Tesla in 2016, SolarCity regularly sold future cash flows to outside investors in exchange for upfront cash. Tesla assumed these obligations and has continued the practice. The obligations now reportedly total over $1.3 billion.To reduce unfunded pension liabilities, some companies have borrowed at low available interest rates to inject money into the funds. That’s fine as long as fund returns -- generally assumed to be around 6% to 8% -- are higher than the cost of borrowing. If returns come in lower, however, the companies in question will have to raise their contributions, affecting future earnings.New business models often disregard potential costs. If Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. drivers are reclassified as employees as proposed in California, then hidden employment costs would need to be recognized, perhaps retrospectively. Newly listed fitness company Peloton Interactive Inc. faces a $300 million lawsuit from music publishers who claim the company used their songs in workouts without paying licensing fees.Finally, stated asset values can be misleading. Goodwill, the difference between acquisition price and the fair value of actual assets acquired, now averages above 50% of acquisition price. Goodwill values are notoriously uncertain. In 2018, GE unexpectedly wrote off $23.2 billion of goodwill arising from its acquisition of Alstom SA.The problem is compounded by private markets, where funding rounds can establish questionable valuations. Recent investments into WeWork valued the company at over $40 billion, more than three times the projected pricing of its abandoned IPO. A recent proposal to get Saudi businesses to make anchor investments in Aramco ahead of its IPO could also inflate its valuation.“Fake” financials, as some would call them, undermine markets. With a correction looking increasingly likely, investors need to start working with regulators and standard setters now to close accounting loopholes, while scrutinizing underlying data more closely. Otherwise, the more creatively companies are allowed to manage their financial position for short-term gain, the bigger the bill is going to be.(Corrects definition of goodwill in twelfth paragraph.)To contact the author of this story: Satyajit Das at sdassydney@gmail.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Nisid Hajari at nhajari@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Satyajit Das is a former banker and the author, most recently, of "A Banquet of Consequences."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • TFSA Alert: A Top Defensive Stock to Hedge Against a Recession
    The Motley Fool

    TFSA Alert: A Top Defensive Stock to Hedge Against a Recession

    Here's why stocks such as BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE)(NYSE:BCE) deserve to be on your TFSA radar right now.

  • Trade war pause, retail sales, bank earnings – What to know in the week ahead
    Yahoo Finance

    Trade war pause, retail sales, bank earnings – What to know in the week ahead

    The coming week’s docket of economic reports and earnings releases comes just following the Trump administration’s announcement of a partial trade deal with China late last week.

  • Worried About Not Having Enough Money During Retirement? Why Investing in TD Bank (TSX:TD) Can Help!
    The Motley Fool

    Worried About Not Having Enough Money During Retirement? Why Investing in TD Bank (TSX:TD) Can Help!

    Whether you're young or old, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD)(NYSE:TD) can be a great investment to make at any stage in your life.

  • Better Buy Ahead of a Market Crash: Telus (TSX:T) or BCE (TSX:BCE) Stock?
    The Motley Fool

    Better Buy Ahead of a Market Crash: Telus (TSX:T) or BCE (TSX:BCE) Stock?

    Adding a telecommunications stock such as BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE)(NYSE:BCE) to your portfolio is a great way to insulate your portfolio against a market downturn.

  • Steve Schwarzman: Here's what people get wrong about Donald Trump
    Yahoo Finance

    Steve Schwarzman: Here's what people get wrong about Donald Trump

    The president's tweets aren't worth listening to, according to Blackstone's CEO, one of the world's top investors.

  • Here’s How Much You’d Be Earning in Dividends if You’d Invested in TD Bank (TSX:TD) 5 Years Ago
    The Motley Fool

    Here’s How Much You’d Be Earning in Dividends if You’d Invested in TD Bank (TSX:TD) 5 Years Ago

    Long-term investors are the big winners when it comes to holding shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD)(NYSE:TD), as rising dividend payments make this a very good stock to own for years.

  • Facebook's Libra Loses Mastercard, Visa in Cascade of Exits
    Bloomberg

    Facebook's Libra Loses Mastercard, Visa in Cascade of Exits

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc.’s effort to create a cryptocurrency was dealt a blow on Friday after several key partners, including Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc., EBay Inc., Stripe Inc. and Mercado Pago, abandoned the project. The defections followed fierce criticism from global regulators and lawmakers, and have prompted some industry-watchers to question whether the Libra program can survive.The news comes days before the Libra Association, the group that will oversee the digital currency, prepares to convene its members and ask them to sign a charter agreement. The meeting is slated to take place on Monday in Geneva. A Libra Association spokeswoman said on Friday that the gathering will proceed as planned, and that it would announce the first list of official partners once a formal charter is signed.In a statement, the spokeswoman said the group was "focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association" as it worked to create "a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people."When Facebook launched plans for Libra in June, a critical part of its pitch was that major players in the payments and tech industry were supporting it. The cryptocurrency would be run out of Geneva by the organizations that comprised the Libra Association, not solely by Facebook. But now that that alliance appears to be eroding, the project’s future is uncertain."I don’t think Facebook can do this by itself," said Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities told Bloomberg TV. "Short of a big bank stepping in like JPMorgan, I don’t think this could ever happen."In a tweet on Friday, David Marcus, the Facebook executive spearheading the effort, said that the exit of six partners would not derail the effort. "I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update," he wrote. "Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when this much pressure builds up."Whether or not Libra implodes, the exits highlight the extreme challenges that lie ahead for the project, which if successful could have a sweeping impact on the global financial system. "It may very well fail completely," said Lisa Ellis, an analyst at MoffettNathanson. Even if it survives, progress will take much longer and "it’s likely to fall into some level of obscurity," she added.Facebook has faced fierce backlash since the company announced plans for Libra. Politicians and regulators around the world have called on Facebook to halt its progress, and some have suggested Libra could be used for illegal money laundering or trafficking schemes.Despite the scrutiny from public officials and the exodus of partners, Facebook remains committed to Libra, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Some people inside the company think the defections are partly driven by established payments providers worrying about a new entrant encroaching on their turf, the person said.In the months since its announcement, Facebook has frequently found itself in the spotlight over the cryptocurrency. Marcus went to Washington in July to testify before Congress about Facebook’s plans. Later this month, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee to answer even more questions about Libra.Earlier this week, two U.S. senators cautioned Visa, Mastercard and Stripe to reconsider their involvement in the project. Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Brian Schatz of Hawaii said that Libra poses a risk to not only the financial system, but the payments companies’ broader business. "We urge you to carefully consider how your companies will manage these risks before proceeding," they said a letter to the companies.Mastercard said in a statement that it will "remain focused on our strategy and our own significant efforts to enable financial inclusion around the world," adding, "We believe there are potential benefits in such initiatives and will continue to monitor the Libra effort." Visa said the company would also continue to evaluate whether to join in Libra in the future, and that the company’s "ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations."In a statement on Friday, EBay expressed its support for the project, but said it would focus on rolling out its own payments products. “We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association; however, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member,” an EBay spokesman wrote in the emailed statement. “At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers."Payments giant Stripe, one of the most high-profile startups to sign onto the project, signaled it remained open to working on it in the future. “Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world. Libra has this potential,” said a company spokesperson. “We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”The Libra Association is composed of about two dozen organizations, including Facebook. A Lyft Inc. spokeswoman confirmed on Friday that the ride-hailing company remains a member. Other companies that have not signaled plans to leave include Uber Technologies Inc., Spotify Technology S.A., Coinbase Inc. and telecom providers Iliad SA and Vodafone Group Plc. PayPal Holdings Inc. dropped out last week. (Updates with David Marcus comment in 6th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Candy Cheng, Lizette Chapman, Spencer Soper and Lydia Beyoud.To contact the reporters on this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.net;Julie Verhage in New York at jverhage2@bloomberg.net;Jenny Surane in New York at jsurane4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Anne VanderMey, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 3 Stocks to Consider After US Reaches Partial Trade Deal With China
    Zacks

    3 Stocks to Consider After US Reaches Partial Trade Deal With China

    Investor optimism surged today after President Trump announced that a partial trade deal was reached with China today.

  • Google’s $2.6 Billion Looker Deal Said to Get Closer DOJ Review
    Bloomberg

    Google’s $2.6 Billion Looker Deal Said to Get Closer DOJ Review

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. antitrust enforcers have started an in-depth review of Google’s $2.6 billion planned acquisition of a data analytics company, a further sign of greater scrutiny on big technology companies, according to people familiar with the situation.The antitrust division of the Justice Department is seeking more information from Google and Looker Data Sciences Inc. related to the deal to determine whether the tie-up harms competition, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing private matters.Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced June 6 it planned to buy Looker for its cloud unit, which lags far behind Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. with just 4% of the cloud-computing infrastructure market as of 2018, according to the most-recent figures from analyst Gartner Inc.The deal was expected to receive added regulatory scrutiny. The in-depth Justice Department review, known as a “second request,” comes as antitrust authorities start historic probes of Google and other large tech companies. One issue for enforcers is whether tech giants have used acquisitions of smaller firms to thwart rivals and cement their dominance. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which also enforces antitrust laws, is investigating whether Facebook Inc.’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp were anti-competitive.Representatives from Google, Looker and the Justice Department declined to comment.The Justice Department and a coalition of attorneys general made up of most U.S. states in the country have opened antitrust cases against Google. Those probes are mostly focused on the company’s dominant search and advertising businesses.Looker, closely held and based in Santa Cruz, California, provides tools that lets companies analyze their data stored in the cloud, a service that competes with offerings from Amazon and Microsoft. When Google announced the deal, its cloud chief, Thomas Kurian, said the company would continue to let Looker customers use other cloud providers. Google doesn’t share cloud sales.Google once spent lavishly on companies, dropping billions on device makers Motorola and Nest, as well as experimental tech like satellites and robots. More recently, the company’s acquisitions have mostly been relatively small deals in the cloud sector.It’s common for antitrust authorities to open in-depth investigations for sizable mergers, but more recently have faced criticism for allowing large tech companies to buy startups as a way to gain footholds in new markets. That charge has been aimed at Google after its takeovers of Waze, DoubleClick and YouTube. The Justice Department in July announced a broad antitrust review of the big internet platforms in search, social media and online retail.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at mbergen10@bloomberg.net;Sarah McBride in San Francisco at smcbride24@bloomberg.net;David McLaughlin in Washington at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, ;Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Is Apple Expediting Its 5G iPhone Launch?
    Market Realist

    Is Apple Expediting Its 5G iPhone Launch?

    Recent reports hint that Apple could release its iPhone 5G modem by 2022. Today, Apple stock hit a high of $233.81, with a market cap of $1.054 trillion.

  • Bloomberg

    Trade Deal Is ‘Game Changer’ for Tech Stocks, Wedbush Says

    (Bloomberg) -- The partial U.S.-China trade agreement is a “game changer” for technology stocks, at least according to one analyst.The deal announced by President Trump in the last hour of trading on Friday points to “brighter days” in relations between the two countries and makes it unlikely the U.S. will follow through with the more than $160 billion in tariffs slated to take effect Dec. 15, Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said. Concerns around those tariffs have resulted in a 10% to 15% discount on U.S. technology stocks by his estimation and the removal could “unleash a ‘risk on’ scenario” into year-end.Technology stocks had rallied throughout Friday’s session on speculation that some form of trade agreement was near. The shares pared some of those gains as investors realized that several of the thorniest issues, including those related to Huawei Technologies Co., remain unresolved. Huawei, which was blacklisted earlier this year, is a major buyer of U.S. electronic components.The late pullback wasn’t enough to prevent Apple Inc. from closing at a record and overtaking Microsoft Corp. as the world’s most valuable company. Greater China accounted for about 17% of Apple’s revenue in the fiscal third quarter and is home to a key portion of its supply chain. The Philadelphia semiconductor index also notched a 2.3% gain for the session, its best performance in a month.To contact the reporter on this story: Jeran Wittenstein in San Francisco at jwittenstei1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at clarkin4@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Facebook Q3 2019 Earnings Preview: Time to Buy FB Stock?
    Zacks

    Facebook Q3 2019 Earnings Preview: Time to Buy FB Stock?

    Let's take a look at what investors need to know about Facebook and some of its Q3 estimates to help us determine if FB stock might be worth buying before the social media company reports its Q3 2019 earnings results...

  • ETF Areas to Shine on 'Very Good' Trade Negotiation
    Zacks

    ETF Areas to Shine on 'Very Good' Trade Negotiation

    We highlight some ETF areas that are poised to gain from the progress in trade talks between the two largest economies.

  • Bank earnings preview: 'Chipping away' at expenses amid a tough environment
    Yahoo Finance

    Bank earnings preview: 'Chipping away' at expenses amid a tough environment

    Earnings season kicks off next week with the big banks reporting first. Analysts say the key for earnings at the large financial institutions will be expense control.

  • Netflix (NFLX) Earnings On Deck: Will Q3 Show Promise?
    Zacks

    Netflix (NFLX) Earnings On Deck: Will Q3 Show Promise?

    Netflix (NFLX) is set to report its third quarter results on Tuesday October 15th.

  • Apple’s Record High Edges Out Microsoft Amid Trade Deal Hope
    Bloomberg

    Apple’s Record High Edges Out Microsoft Amid Trade Deal Hope

    (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. shares closed at a record on Friday as investors looked past a year marked by turmoil from the U.S.-China trade war and uncertain demand for the iPhone, a product that Apple is moving away from, but which remains central to its business.The stock rose 2.7% to $236.21 in New York, exceeding the prior high set just over a year ago. The move made Apple the most-valuable U.S. company again, topping Microsoft Corp. Both have a market value of more than $1 trillion. Earlier, the U.S. and China agreed on the outlines of a partial trade accord.The record is the culmination of a pronounced rally throughout 2019, a year that started on a highly bearish note, as Apple cut its revenue outlook for the first time in nearly 20 years. That move, taken in response to a weak outlook for iPhones upgrades and China’s economy, took the stock to its lowest level since April 2017.Since then, however, shares have been on a nearly uninterrupted march higher, with the stock higher in seven of the past nine months, not including October’s month-to-date gain of about 4%. Apple has climbed more than 60% off its January low, returning its valuation back above $1 trillion.Just as Apple’s weakness in the fourth quarter of 2018 was largely driven by concern over iPhone demand, the 2019 recovery has come on an easing of those fears. CEO Tim Cook recently told the German newspaper Bild that he “couldn’t be happier” with the launch of Apple’s recently released iPhone 11, and it was reported in early October that Apple had told suppliers to increase production. Analysts, in turn, have been growing more positive on demand, while also anticipating that next year’s model -- expected to be the first 5G version -- will be a blockbuster.In other respects, Apple is a different company from when it was last trading at all-time highs a year ago. The Cupertino, California-based firm is reinventing itself as a services-based company, with such initiatives as streaming video, video games and a credit card. In another change, the historically high-end gadget-maker unveiled these new businesses and products at less-aggressive prices.Despite the new-found focus on services, the iPhone continues to be Apple’s keystone product. Nearly half of its third-quarter revenue came from the product, compared with the 21.3% that was derived from services.Apple is expected to report fourth-quarter results on Oct. 30. Analysts are looking for earnings of $2.84 a share on revenue of $62.9 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That represents a decline of 2.6% for earnings and flat sales growth.According to a Bloomberg MODL estimate, it will ship 41.9 million iPhones in the quarter, at an average selling price of $770.35. That would represent a year-over-year drop of 14.5% for shipments, and a 3.1% decline in average price.(Updates with closing shares in the second paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Vlastelica in New York at rvlastelica1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at clarkin4@bloomberg.net, Brad OlesenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Lisa Su Marks a Productive Five Years as AMD’s CEO
    Market Realist

    Lisa Su Marks a Productive Five Years as AMD’s CEO

    Today, Lisa Su completed five years as the CEO of AMD. In these five years, she's brought it back from near bankruptcy and made it into a worthy competitor.

  • Apple's China controversy is the price of doing business
    Yahoo Finance

    Apple's China controversy is the price of doing business

    Apple's recent China controversy won't be the last the company faces while doing business in the country.

  • What to Expect from Q3 Earnings Season with Big Banks Set to Report?
    Zacks

    What to Expect from Q3 Earnings Season with Big Banks Set to Report?

    What to Expect from Q3 Earnings Season with Big Banks Set to Report?

  • Trade Deal Will Send Apple's Bears Into Hibernation, Analyst Ives Says
    Bloomberg

    Trade Deal Will Send Apple's Bears Into Hibernation, Analyst Ives Says

    Oct.11 -- Dan Ives, Wedbush Securities analyst, discusses the potential impact of the U.S.-China trade deal on Apple Inc. with Bloomberg's Taylor Riggs on "Bloomberg Technology." Ives, his family and his firm do not own shares of Apple.

  • Stocks to buy on trade deal, earnings - Kramer
    Reuters Videos

    Stocks to buy on trade deal, earnings - Kramer

    JPMorgan Chase and 3M are among a list of stocks investors should consider buying ahead of the start of earnings season next week and a potential U.S.-China trade deal, Kramer Capital Research's Hilary Kramer tells Reuters' Fred Katayama