Buy or Sell: Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Alibaba, Tencent, Visa, Walmart

Microsoft is thriving with the cloud. Apple struggles with new keyboards. Amazon adds 800 new jobs in Austin. Alphabet owns a stake worth over $1 billion on Lyft… Here are the most important events of the week.

Microsoft stock (MSFT) will rally because its cloud business is thriving

The back story. Microsoft shares have risen 31% over the past 12 months due to investor enthusiasm over the tech giant’s Azure cloud-computing business and its success in selling software subscriptions such as Office 365.

What’s new. JPMorgan analyst Mark Murphy on Thursday reiterated his Overweight rating for Microsoft, citing recent positive conversations with resellers that help sell the company’s software and cloud offerings. “Checks indicate a consistent and healthy MSFT demand environment with no degradation, especially for Azure, as we detect more long-term Azure contracts and overall extremely consistent commercial demand and execution,” he wrote. Source: Barrons

Apple fails with MacBook keyboards yet again

The failures may be uncommon, but the third time isn’t the charm for this design.
Apple has again acknowledged failures in MacBook butterfly keyboards and apologized. The apology was included in a Wall Street Journal report by prominent tech journalist Joanna Stern pointing out that, like some others, she encountered a keyboard failure in her 2018 MacBook Air. Stern published the following statement sent to her by an Apple spokesperson:

We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard and for that we are sorry. The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard. The spokesperson also advised users to contact Apple customer support if they had a problem with the keyboards, Stern wrote. Sources: Wall Street Journal, Arstechnica

Amazon Adds 800 New Tech Jobs In Austin

Amazon will reportedly add 800 jobs to its Austin, Texas, location focused on engineering, research science, and cloud computing. The expansion adds to the growing presence of Big Tech in the area, as Apple announced late last year that it will invest $1 billion into a new campus in Austin. Whole Foods Market, which is owned by Amazon, is already headquartered in Austin. Amazon will add 800 tech jobs at its Austin, Texas, location, following Apple’s expanded presence in the city, the company announced Thursday.

The new employees will join the more than 5,600 workers Amazon already has in the Austin area, which already includes more than 1,000 corporate-level workers, The Austin American-Statesman reported. Amazon told the newspaper that it plans to hire the new employees over a period of several years to fill a 145,000-square-foot space in four floors of a North Austin development called The Domain. The employees will be focused on software and hardware engineering, cloud computing and research science. Source: CNBC

Alphabet owns a stake worth over $1 billion on Lyft

Google parent company Alphabet has more than doubled its money on Lyft to $1 billion in just 17 months. Between its investments in Uber and Lyft, Alphabet owns a stake worth over $4 billion in ride-hailing.

CapitalG, Alphabet’s late-stage investing arm, put $500 million in Lyft in late 2017 and has more than doubled its money. Alphabet is an investor, technology supplier and even an adversary in the ride-hailing market. Source: CNBC

Facebook Faces Federal Lawsuit

Facebook is having a tough week. First, the breaking news. Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sued Facebook for violations of the federal Fair Housing Act, alleging that the platform allows advertisers to prevent people from seeing certain ads based on race, religion and national origin. Further, the lawsuit says the platform itself also uses its data-mining capability to determine which of its users can see specific ads. Source: Fortune

Alibaba has acquired Teambition, a China-based Trello and Asana rival

Alibaba has made an acquisition as it continues to square up to the opportunity in enterprise services in China and beyond, akin to what its U.S. counterpart Amazon has done with AWS. TechCrunch has confirmed that the e-commerce and cloud services giant has acquired Teambition, a Microsoft and Tencent-backed platform for co-workers to plan and collaborate on projects, similar to Trello and Asana. TechCrunch

China’s Tencent Might Recover With Revenue Growth

Tencent is showing signs of recovering from China’s online games suspension that dragged on for most of last year and crippled its core business. But soaring spending to bolster revenue growth will continue to weigh on its once lucrative margins.

After Beijing ended the suspension in December, the company managed to get eight games approved so far. But with the process expected to be a lot more stringent as regulators scrutinize thousands of games for potentially undesirable content, Tencent is pivoting to business-oriented services for faster growth. Its newer ventures, such as cloud computing and online payments, are gaining momentum, but intense competition means that profitability from such services is still anything but certain. Source: Forbes

Can Apple Beat Visa And Amex With Its New Apple Card?

Apple announced its move into banking with the imminent launch of Apple Card, a primarily virtual card issued by Goldman Sachs in partnership with Mastercard, that will sit on all Apple devices in the Apple Wallet but will probably be largely used via the iPhone or Apple Watch.
The tech giant’s move further into finance has been seen as a logical next step following the successful launch of Apple Pay. It will likely be popular with the youth market, those who are keen to move over to a cash-free life and fans of the comprehensive Apple experience, but there are signs that some are tiring of Apple’s joined-up all-encompassing offerings and this new launch will do nothing to reengage them. Amex and Visa will be watching take up carefully, however. Source: Forbes

Walmart is closing some of its Neighborhood Markets

We have seen a few local news about closing Neighbourhood Markets. And here is another one. Another East Tennessee Walmart location will soon close its doors. One of two Walmart Neighborhood Market locations in Morristown, the one at 1757 W. Andrew Johnson Highway, will close on April 19, taking 77 jobs with it. Sources: Silicon Valley, Wate, AzCentral Good News is here: Last year, Walmart (NYSE: WMT) started a premium subscription service called Jetblack. A recent Wall Street Journal report has shed some light on this program, whose subscription revenue could help improve sentiment towards Walmart stock. Jetblack offers customers a personal shopper-like experience and costs its subscribers $600 per year. This premium service was developed last year by Marc Lore, who joined Walmart when WMT acquired in 2016. Lore was previously able to build niche online businesses while competing against Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be misconstrued as investment advice. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy or sell securities.
Aamir Kapoor is a fintech writer specializing in cryptocurrency and blockchain. He has a background in finance and banking and was a researcher.