The Wall Street giant said Wednesday its total assets under management fell 5% from a year ago in the fourth quarter, dipping below $6 trillion.
Average investors and large institutional firms pulled money from some of BlackRock’s (BLK) pricier funds. But BlackRock’s massive iShares ETF business is still booming in spite of the market volatility.
BlackRock said a record $81.4 billion flowed into its iShares funds during the fourth quarter — proof that investors still love inexpensive passive funds and don’t value stock picking advice as much as they used to.
That’s how JonesTrading’s Michael O’Rourke describes recent action for equity markets, which he says have been “overtaken by mechanical trading that defies all logic.” He finds it odd to see so much optimism in the face of plenty of political disarray — a U.S. shutdown entering its 26th day and the U.K. in the grips of a seemingly never-ending Brexit nightmare.
And, and…: “After nearly a year into a trade war, it appears the only thing the U.S is set to gain is an even larger trade deficit with China. Global industrial production and global manufacturing PMIs are rolling over,” he writes in a note to clients. Cats and dogs.
But then others, like Cracked Market’s Jani Ziedins, says those gains are pretty easy to explain. “Big money returned from the holidays and is definitely more inclined to buy the discounts than sell the fear,” though he says that is nothing a few bad headlines couldn’t spoil.
And the money for sure was screaming tech on Tuesday as Netflix
and its subscription jump got everyone excited. Our call of the day from iBankCoin’s The Real Fly says if Wall Street gets rally fever again, investors can count on one big sector to keep scooping up the gains.
The self-described “Le Fly” says that 3% bump for the software sector Tuesday “represented alpha personified prior to the recent downturn.”
“The fundamental story is revenue repeatability, the same simple business model that made NFLX so successful and took Amazon from” a bookseller to Amazon Web Service “and then prime Gods,” he writes, adding that the “subscription model is precisely where you want to remain invested,” rattling off names that are seeing rapid growth like HubSpot
Does the classic 60-40 stock/bond diversification recommendation for the average investor stand the test of time? Our chart of the day from Wealth of Common Sense’s Ben Carlson leans toward the affirmative. It apes a chart that he often refers to which looks at the historical probability of positive returns from the S&P 500 over time, which shows the lengthier the period, the more positive it becomes.
His 60/40 chart also paints a pretty positive picture for the investor willing to hang in there. “I was surprised to see not a single negative return over 10 years but even 5 years out was positive 9.5 out of every 10 years,” says Carlson.
And he also did this nice scatterplot of calendar-year returns that help put a lousy 2018 for the S&P 500 in perspective. Top-heavy indeed:
It’s a big day for results from the financial realm. Goldman
What we will not let happen, deal or no deal, is that the mess in British politics is again imported into European politics. While we understand the UK could need more time, for us it is unthinkable that article 50 is prolonged beyond the European Elections. #Brexit#EPlenary
$80 million — That’s how much a bad bet on S&P 500 derivatives during the Christmas meltdown may cost French bank BNP Paribas. Bloomberg reports that the bank’s head of U.S. index trading, Antoine Lours, made that trade just before his Christmas vacation. Surprise, surprise, he isn’t back yet, says the report.
“For people who are struggling, we will make them more aware of their responsibilities, because some of them are behaving properly, while others are screwing about.” That was not-so-popular French President Emmanuel Macron in a town hall meeting Tuesday with 600 mayors as he tries to calm the “yellow jacket” protesters.
An American was among 15 killed when terrorists attacked an upscale Kenya hotel
Need to Know starts early and is updated until the opening bell, but sign up here to get it delivered once to your email box. Be sure to check the Need to Know item. The emailed version will be sent out at about 7:30 a.m. Eastern.
Evan Spiegel, co-founder and chief executive officer of Snap Inc., stands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the company’s initial public offering on Thursday, March 2, 2017.
Snap shares plummeted more than 10 percent in early trading Wednesday following the company’s announcement Tuesday that its chief financial officer is resigning after less than a year on the job.
SEC filing Tuesday, saying he “has confirmed that this transition is not related to any disagreement with us on any matter relating to our accounting, strategy, management, operations, policies, regulatory matters, or practices (financial or otherwise).”
Stone, who started as CFO in May 2018, follows a host of other executives who have fled the company. In the past year, executive departures from Snap included chief strategy officer Imran Khan and vice president of communications Mary Ritti, previous finance head Andrew Vollero and vice president of monetization engineering Stuart Bowers. Stone was expected to breathe new life into the company, with Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter saying his hire, among other factors, showed Snap’s “increased focus on shareholder value.”
But instead, the stock’s value has continued to decline almost 50 percent in the past 6 months, leaving it with a market value of about $8.5 billion. Stone’s $20 million worth of restricted stock units were set to vest over four years. When he joined Snap from Amazon, where he had most recently served as vice president of finance, he was offered an annual salary of $500,000.
Snap said Stone plans to “pursue other opportunities” and will continue in the role through the company’s full year 2018 financial results announcement, according to the filing. His last day has not yet been decided, the company said.
Snap included one upside included in Tuesday’s filing, saying its quarterly results would be “slightly favorable” to the upper end of its guidance when it reports on February 5. Snap predicted in its Q3 outlook between $355 million and $380 million for the next quarter, and adjusted losses between $100 million and $75 million, but had also warned investors that the Snapchat app would continue to lose daily active users.
While we will continue to see a lot of consolidation among smaller startups in the area of financial technology, or fintech, there are also some much bigger combinations at play to help tap into economies of scale against current and future competition. Today, Fiservannounced that it would acquire First Data — respectively giants in financial services and e-commerce payments — in a deal worth $22 billion.
It is a merger, but Fiserv will be getting the upper hand in the deal: its CEO Jeffery Yabuki will become CEO of the combined entity, while First Data’s CEO Frank Bisignano will become president and COO.
This will be an all-stock transaction. Specifically, First Data shareholders will get a fixed exchange ratio of 0.303 Fiserv shares for each share of First Data common stock, “for an equity value of $22 billion.” Fiserv said the price it’s paying is a premium of 29 percent to the five-day volume weighted average price as of yesterday’s closing. After the close of the deal, Fiserv shareholders will own 57.5 percent of the combined company, while First Data shareholders will own 42.5 percent.
The merger underscores the general trend of consolidating different parts of the financial services ecosystem, providing a one-stop-shop to clients, and building more integrated services overall.
Traditional banks and the services that they provide to users — from savings accounts to credit and loan services to remittance and money transfer services and payments — have been disrupted in the last 10-15 years with the emergence of a host of startups that are taking them on with faster, more agile solutions based on cloud architectures, apps, catchy marketing, AI and machine learning to improve responsiveness and overall user experience, as well as undercut some of the rates that banks provide.
Up and coming names include PayPal (which you might argue is no longer disruptive in this sense), Stripe, Square, TransferWise, Ant Financial (a frenemy of sorts) and more. Other tech companies like Amazon and Apple also are throwing their weight in terms of “owning” customers’ financial expenditures.
Fiserv, which is now 35 years old, has actually played a part in trying to help banks combat that bigger trend, for example it once built its own smartphone-based card reader to compete with Square’s that it intended to sell to banks to take on the smaller firm.
First Data, meanwhile, has been mainly swimming in its own lane, acting as a consolidator of interesting fintech startups like Clover, Perka, Gyft, Blue Pay, Spree and more. It went public in 2015 and says that its tech is active across 6 million physical businesses and 4,000 financial institutions in over 100 countries, and that it processes some 3,000 transactions per second and $2.4 trillion per year.
Now, they will be combining their respective work into more integrated offerings. As examples the companies give, it will merge First Data’s digital merchant account enrollment capabilities can be integrated into Fiserv’s digital banking solutions that serve thousands of financial institutions.
They said they will also be investing $500 million over the next five years on new tech in areas like merchant solutions, digital services, risk management, and payments.
“Through this transformative combination, we expect to redefine the manner in which people and institutions move money and information,” said Jeffery Yabuki, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fiserv in a statement. “We admire First Data for its excellence in merchant acquiring and global issuing services, and the tremendous progress they have made under Frank’s leadership. We expect this combination to catalyze and support an enhanced value proposition for our collective clients and their customers.”
“I have long admired what Fiserv has achieved over the years, and I look forward to working with the talented associates of both companies as we set a higher standard of innovation and service in the industry,” said First Data Chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano in a statement. “Our goal at First Data has always been to provide our clients with the most comprehensive suite of innovative, highly-differentiated solutions and services, and I am excited by the significant value that the combination with Fiserv creates for all stakeholders.”
While this is about creating products to better compete against the rest of the financial services field, it’s also about saving money at the two companies themselves. Fiserv and First Data say that they expect $900 million in run-rate cost savings and $500 million or more in revenue synergies.
The companies said they expect the deal to close in the second half of 2019.
New Netflix users are already being charged the higher prices but existing customers will see them phased in over the next few months. But as CBS News contributor and Wired editor-in-chief Nick Thompson reports, subscription services like Netflix don’t seem to have trouble keeping customers, even after price hikes, which means they could keep coming.
The streaming giant has made big bets on lots of original programming to set itself apart from its competitors. The company’s stock price soared almost $22 – to nearly $355 per share – reflecting Wall Street’s belief the higher rates won’t upset consumers.
From TV shows like “Stranger Things” and “Orange is the New Black” to movies like “Bird Box,” Netflix has been churning out hit after hit after hit. While all that original content draws in new subscribers, they also cost a lot of money to produce.
Its most expensive monthly plan now costs $16, compared to $12 for Hulu, $9 for Amazon Prime Video and $10 for CBS All Access, offered by the parent company of CBS News.
“This is the fourth price hike over the last five years and people keep paying,” said financial analyst Rick Munarriz.
Netflix is the world’s largest premium video service, with nearly 150 million subscribers. Its membership almost tripled since 2014 even though the price of its standard plan has gone up nearly 63 percent.
“It’s a monthly plan, it is something that you sort of just set it and forget it like many other monthly subscription services. It’s almost an afterthought when you’re scouring your credit card bill and that $12.99 a month comes around. You’re usually fine with it,” Munarriz said.
Munarriz believes most customers will continue paying for Netflix so long as the company keeps delivering hits.
“There will come a point where people will say – ‘no mas!’ but until they get to that point, you’re going to see Netflix nickel and dime about every year or so and adjust their prices higher,” Munarriz said.
In a statement, a Netflix spokesman said, “we change pricing from time to time as we continue investing in great entertainment.”
Netflix subscribers will get 30 days’ notice via email before they start getting higher monthly bills.
Supermac’s has 116 stores, all in Ireland. It was founded in 1978, one year after McDonald’s opened its first Irish branch. By number of outlets, it is 0.3% of the size of McDonald’s.
McDonald’s first took issue with the brand in 2017 after Supermac’s tried to get permission to open stores in Great Britain and Europe, according to legal documents reviewed by Business Insider.
McDonald’s claimed that a Supermac’s expansion would be taking “unfair advantage of the distinctive character and repute” of the McDonald’s brand, the “Big Mac” and “Mc” labels.
McDonald’s has owned a trademark for “Big Mac” in the EU since 1996, EUIPO documents reviewed by Business Insider show. But in an April 2017 counter-complaint, Supermac’s challenged the trademark, citing EU rules which say a trademark can be revoked if it “has not been put to genuine use.”
On Tuesday, the EUIPO sided with Supermac’s. Officials said McDonald’s had not “proven genuine use of the contested EUTM [“Big Mac” and “Mc” trademarks] for any of the goods and services for which it is registered.”
Therefore, the EUIPO said: “The application for revocation is wholly successful and the contested EUTM must be revoked in its entirety.”
This means Supermac’s can start to open stores in Europe under its own name.
The ruling also allows other companies as well as McDonald’s to use the “Big Mac” name inside the EU. Supermac’s does not have a burger called the “Big Mac.”
Supermac’s managing director Pat McDonagh told the Irish Examiner: “We knew when we took on this battle that it was a David versus Goliath scenario, but just because McDonald’s has deep pockets and we are relatively small in context doesn’t mean we weren’t going to fight our corner.”
“It’s been a long road, nearly four years, but it was worth it to help protect businesses that are trying to compete against faceless multinationals,” he said.
BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, reported quarterly earnings that missed analysts’ expectations on Wednesday as a market downturn late last year eroded its asset base. Revenue slightly exceeded a revised estimate by Refinitiv.
Squawk Box” on Wednesday that since the end of the quarter, the company’s assets under management had clawed back above $6 trillion.
“We had huge equity declines in the fourth quarter, we had commodity declines. We had about a 5 percent decay in our asset base, not because of outflow, but because the market fell,” Fink said. “We all know the fourth quarter was a pretty severe down graph in the equity markets, and that reflects in our net asset value, but we had organic growth unlike the majority of the industry.”
The U.S. equity markets suffered a tough end to 2018, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 falling more than 10 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31. Both indexes posted their worst December since the Great Depression as fears of slowing economic growth and rising borrowing costs kept corporate leaders on-edge.
Sales at the financial giant totaled $3.434 billion, slightly exceeding analyst expectations of $3.432 billion, according to Refinitiv’s revised estimate. The revenue figure was a 9 percent slump from the fourth quarter of 2017. Revenue from its advisory, administration and lending business fell to $2.8 billion, a decline of $118 million over the last year.
The company’s board of directors approved an increase in its quarterly cash dividend, bumping it to $3.30. The financial giant also saw record quarterly inflows of $81 billion in its iShares business as the high-growth exchange-traded fund segment continues to expand. The firm saw $50 billion of fourth quarter total net inflows and $124 billion of full-year inflows.
The New York-based asset manager returned $3.6 billion to shareholders in 2018, including $1.7 billion of full year share repurchases.
Is was one of many signs of a quieter North American International Auto Show this year.
Thousands of journalists gathered once again in the Motor City for a look at the latest technologies and designs in the auto industry. The impressive machinery was there. But the usual excitement was missing.
“You start to notice once you start to think about it, that some of the quality and some of the quantity just isn’t here because the automakers chose not to be here,” said Detroit-based Associated Press reporter Jeff Karoub, who’s covered the last 11 auto shows.
The Detroit River, glazed with sheets of ice beneath low hanging, gloomy clouds, flows right outside the tall rear windows of Cobo Center. It’s the kind of scene that’s expected during the annual Detroit auto show. It’s Michigan. It’s winter.
But inside, the massive convention center has always been vibrant in early January with an elaborate exhibition of glistening, expensive new vehicles and warmly optimistic executives.
This year’s two-day media preview seemed different, as if automakers were holding back, halfheartedly going through the motions as they await the show’s move to summer in 2020.
While the vehicles on the showroom floor are just as shiny, they seem more sparsely spaced. A large food court sits along the back wall of the showroom, where in years past there would have been no room.
Parts suppliers who crammed displays into whatever corner was available in past years were sprawled comfortably all over the showroom this time around.
In another bit of unfortunate timing, a water main break just before the start of the show led the city to issue a boil water advisory in Downtown Detroit. Cobo crews had to shut down water fountains and post warning signs.
Major automakers, like Mazda, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Audi were conspicuously absent.
“I think, when they’re looking at their budgets and they’re trying to get more bang for their buck, some of them are choosing not to do this show — and Detroit’s not alone,” Karoub said. ” … They are (instead) having those stand-alone events, they are using digital … I think they are looking to carve out they’re space, and it’s difficult to carve out space on the Cobo Center showroom floor.”
With automakers paying more attention in recent years to the Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas’ massive January technology showcase, and even to other auto shows in Chicago and Los Angeles, Detroit organizers in 2018 announced plans to move the Motor City gathering from January to June in 2020.
Karoub expects the move to a summer show could “spice things up,” and compel some absent automakers to make their return.
“I think automakers can still make their way and make a statement here if they want to, and some who left may come back — maybe next year, June 2020,” he said. ” … I don’t think it means the auto show is dead, it just means it’s different.”
There were about 30 vehicle introductions in Detroit this year — the 2020 Toyota Supra stealing the spotlight, according to Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which sponsors the event.
That’s a sharp drop from last year’s count: 69.
And the press conferences lacked the gimmicky pizzazz of the past — less smoke, lasers, celebrities and theatrics.
There was no cattle drive, like the one Dodge Ram staged outside Cobo Center with 120 longhorn steer and authentic Oklahoman cowboys in 2008.
Hyundai, whose Kona won 2019 utility vehicle of the year, simply whisked silky sheets off the vehicles parked on a plain stage. Other than a video montage displaying historic Detroit auto show images on the screen behind them, there were no frills.
“Biggest auto show of all,” read a sign spotted in one of the nostalgic photos from 1960s. Chicago’s auto show, however, claims to be larger, although organizers of that show don’t release attendance figures.
The music of live performers, the likes of ex-Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland, who performed in 2014; pop star Bebe Rexha, who performed in 2017; smaller regional acts like Detroit-based Flint Eastwood, who played in 2018, were replaced with pre-recorded videos and the murmur of chatting reporters and photographers.
Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Mercedez-Benz for a presentation in 2018. Bob Seger and Kid Rock strolled the showroom floor. Vice President Joe Biden perused the showroom 2017 and Jerry Seinfeld pit-stopped in 2015.
This year’s best-known celebrities may have been 1994 World Cup U.S. Soccer defenseman Alexi Lalas and a YouTube sensation whose name escapes this reporter.
Even Michigan state police, who hosted a recruiting booth in recent years, is sitting this year out.
“It’s just a change of plans, nothing to do with the auto show,” state police Lt. Michael Shaw said. “We didn’t really have a lot of success at the show, as far as recruiting …
Despite the changes, there’s still plenty to see at the 2019 Detroit auto show — robots, a hydraulic Supra simulator, Hyundai video racing games and test rides in a 2020 Kia Telluride through a section of showroom transformed to look like a rugged forest, complete with dirt mounds and living vegetation.
The 2018 show drew 809,000 attendees, 39,000 auto industry professionals, sold 12,714 tickets to the annual charity gala and hosted more than 5,000 media.
It’s yet to be seen if this final winter show will outperform years past, or if it will slip into hibernation, hopeful to awake refreshed and larger upon its return in the summer of 2020.
For more than two months after employees at International Business Machines Corp. moved into a Manhattan building managed by office space giant WeWork Cos., frequent elevator problems forced workers to climb the stairs of the 11-story building and prompted complaints to the company.
One of the landlords behind the building was no ordinary owner: It was Adam Neumann, WeWork’s chief executive, who leased the property to WeWork after buying it, according to people familiar with the situation.