The athletic brand and tech giant may come together in the near future+ READ ARTICLE
For those looking for wearable tech that’s significantly less nerdy than Google Glass and the Apple Watch, you may not be looking for long.
For those looking for wearable tech that’s significantly less nerdy than Google Glass and the Apple Watch, you may not be looking for long.
It took a few days, but Apple’s blow-out quarterly earnings report — driven by strong iPhone and Mac sales and bolstered by the largest stock repurchase program in the history of capitalism — has finally made its way through Wall Street’s algorithms and into Apple’s share price.
The stock closed Thursday at $104.83, up 1.8% for the day, 7.2% for the week and 50% from April 2013, the cruelest month, when it dipped into the high 300s.
Speculators who bought a lot of calls in September 2012, when Apple was approaching an intraday high of $705.07 ($100.72 post-split), will never get their money back.
But investors who held on to their shares through the rout of 2012 and 2013 are back in the green.
Apple is now not only the world’s most valuable public company, but it has left the nearest contenders in the dust. The top four market caps:
Apple: $617.9 billion
Exxon: $401.4 billion
Microsoft $371.0 billion
Google $369.0 billion
Amazon reported a disappointing third quarter on Thursday in the period leading up to holiday season. Investors responded by pummeling the stock in after-hours trading, driving it down 10% to $280 a share. Here are the key points from the earnings report.
What you need to know: Amazon traditionally funnels much of its profits into expanding its already gargantuan business, resulting in razor-thin margins — and this quarter proved no different. The e-commerce giant reported a loss of $437 million on revenues of $20.58 billion, a 20% revenue increase year-over-year, but well below Wall Street’s estimate of $20.84 billion.
A significant chunk of that money went into content and technology — a spending area that jumped 40%. That’s unsurprising given Amazon’s announcement last quarter that it would spend over $100 million on original video content, including the well-received original TV show, “Transparent” with “Arrested Development” actor Jeffrey Tambor.
The big numbers: $27.3 billion and $30.3 billion. That’s the sales range Amazon expects for this holiday season, the company’s busiest time of the year. That represents growth of between 7% and 18% versus last year, but again, less than what analysts forecast.
What you might have missed: Amazon had an extremely busy summer. It acquired Twitch, the video-game streaming site, for $1.1 billion, unveiled a credit card reader for the smartphone called Amazon Local Register and brought its same-day grocery delivery service, Amazon Prime Fresh, to New York. Amazon also launched the Fire phone, which is widely believed to be a dud. On Thursday’s earnings call, CFO Tom Szutak suggested it was too early to call the Fire phone a failure given its launch just 90 days ago. Said Szutak: “When ever you launch something new, there’s a wide range of outcomes, but it’s also early.”
Microsoft posted a 25% sales bump in its most recent quarter, beating Wall Street predictions on the strength of improved personal-computer sales as well as added revenue from the mobile phone business that the company Microsoft acquired from Nokia for $7.5 billion earlier this year. Here are the key points from Thursday’s Microsoft earnings report.
What you need to know: Sales improved to $23.2 billion in the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year, which was also Satya Nadella‘s second full quarter as CEO of the company. But at the same time, Microsoft’s profits dipped more than 13%, to $4.5 billion, or 55 cents per share. The drop in profits was attributed to a $1.1 billion charge the company took in connection with massive layoffs, first announced over the summer, along with some ongoing costs of integrating Nokia’s handset business.
Microsoft got $2.6 billion from phone hardware sales in the most recent quarter, thanks to its new handset business, while the company’s unit that handles corporate sales grew revenue by 10% overall to $12.3 billion. The latter figure includes a 2.7% bump for commercial licensing sales, which cover server programs and corporate Windows and Office products.
The big number: Nadella has been putting a lot of focus toward selling Microsoft’s cloud-based business services, and the company said Thursday that its commercial cloud revenue, including sales from Office 365 and Azure cloud platform, grew 128% in the first quarter. Overall, the company reported a 50% jump in sales for its “Commercial Other” line, which includes the cloud products, to $2.41 billion. This is a closely-watched part of Microsoft’s business, as investors want to be sure that the tech giant is nimble and modern enough to be a big player in the cloud services market. Microsoft’s shares jumped almost 4% in after-hours trading, so it seems like investors were pleased with the company’s efforts.
What you might have missed: Microsoft also reported a 74% first-quarter revenue increase, to roughly $2.5 billion, for its computing and gaming hardware segment, reflecting sales growth for the company’s Xbox gaming console as well as the market-wide rebound in PC sales. Microsoft revealed Thursday that it sold 2.4 million Xbox consoles during the first quarter, representing a 102% bump. However, the company did not specify whether those sales came from the new Xbox One, which launched in 28 new markets during the quarter, as opposed to older iterations of the gaming system.
U.S. stocks soared in afternoon trading on Thursday, buoyed by a handful of companies releasing strong earnings reports along with some positive economic reports in the U.S. and Europe.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was recently up over 300 points, or 1.9%, enjoying its best day since October 2013. The closely-watched index received a major boost thanks to two Dow 30 companies, 3M and Caterpillar, releasing strong quarterly financial reports on Thursday morning. Both companies’ shares were up more than 5% Thursday afternoon after 3M reported a sales bump and Caterpillar posted strong earnings thanks to effective cost-cutting. General Motors and apparel company Under Armour also posted strong earnings on Thursday.
The Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 are on pace to post their third winning day of the week, despite small dips on Wednesday, as the two indices were lately up 2% and 1.7%, respectively.
The market was also propped up today by news that jobless claims filed in the U.S. over the last month fell to their lowest average in more than 14 years. Another positive note came from the Conference Board’s index climbed 0.8%, suggesting continued economic growth in the U.S. carrying over into 2015. Meanwhile, investors were also encouraged by positive Eurozone economic reports, including a rebound in German manufacturing and a drop in unemployment in Spain.
After slogging through several volatile weeks recently, the U.S. market has managed to recover some of its losses this week. The Dow is also on pace today to notch its third positive finish so far this week, including Tuesday’s 215-point jump, and has already grown by 2.3% this week. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 actually had a four-day winning streak broken on Wednesday, when the blue-chip index dipped 0.7%. The S&P 500 is now up 3.9% for the week, while the Nasdaq has improved by almost 5% so far this week.
Uber on Thursday launched a one-day pilot program to deliver free flu shots and flu prevention packs in three major U.S. cities.
The UberHEALTH service will be available only Thursday in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET, according to Uber’s blog. The service can be requested while ordering a ride on the Uber app, after which a registered nurse will administer flu shots and distribute materials for up to 10 people at no additional cost.
The free flu shot service, which is a partner project with Vaccine Finder, is only the latest of Uber’s limited time specials. Uber has previously rolled out delivery services for air conditioners and diapers, and even its own Optimus Prime.
Whether it’s the cause of business-school orthodoxy, or maybe it’s the odd directions of media attention or maybe it’s just a quirk of the popular imagination, there are so many myths that people believe about leaders and leadership.
Make sure you’re not building your own leadership on any of these commonly held myths and read on to uncover the truth:
1. The myth of entrepreneurial leadership
It’s easy to assume that all entrepreneurs are leaders, but just because someone has a great and timely idea and can organize and operate a business, the truth is they aren’t necessarily a leader. Even if you’re a world-class winner as an entrepreneur, you may find it hard to get people to see you as a leader within your organization. (This is a huge factor in the failure of so many start-ups.) You may need to work on your communication skills or expand your focus to include motivating the people on your team and helping them develop their own skills.
2. The myth of management as leadership
Another widespread myth is that leadership is equated with management. They’re actually two widely different (if interrelated) pursuits.
If you’re a manager, you’re focused on maintaining systems, processes, and best practices. But if you’re a leader, you’ll find that much of your time is spent working to influence people. They’re both important roles, but honestly they’re not the same thing.
3. The myth of trailblazer as leadership
Just because you’re standing in front of the crowd, you’re not necessarily the leader.
In fact, it may be a bad sign.
The best leaders take their place alongside their people, helping propel them forward to a shared mission and vision. They may even be behind them, watching their backs. There’s not a lot of apparent ego in the mix.
4. The myth of position as leadership
The No. 1 top myth about leadership is the idea that leadership resides in certain positions: If you’re a at the top, you’re a leader. If at the bottom, there’s no room for leadership.
In reality, the truth is, leadership has absolutely nothing to do with position, and you don’t have to look very far to find examples of leadership (good and bad) at every level. The warehouse worker organizing a holiday charity drive for her fellow employees? That’s a leader. The CEO who pockets a bonus, then heads off for a vacation so she’s not around when the salary freeze is announced? Not so much.
So the next time you see something typically labeled leadership, slow down and take a closer look.
1. True leadership is about influence, nothing more and nothing less.
2. True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed or assigned.
3. True leadership can never be mandated, only earned.
And the best proof is not the leader’s personal success but the success of those who follow.
The burgeoning social network Ello has raised $5.5 million in a new round of venture funding, it was revealed Thursday. The buzzy startup gained widespread attention in September thanks to its manifesto decrying social media companies’ habit of gathering and monetizing user data.
“Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.” the manifesto reads. “We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.”
Ello is putting some legal muscle behind its lofty rhetoric by reincorporating as a public benefit corporation in Delaware. The company will vow in its new legal charter that it will never sell user data or advertising, according to The New York Times. The company plans to make money by charging users for extra, as-yet-unspecified features.
Though Ello has been around since summer, the site exploded in popularity last month after Facebook began kicking drag queens off its site because they were not using their legal names, leading some of those users to relocate to Ello. The small social network leapt from 90 users in early August to more than 1 million today, according to the Times. Facebook has since apologized for how its real name policy affected the LGBT community and others.
The funding round was led by Foundry Group, based in Boulder, Colo.
Young workers have received the message about long-term financial security—and with increasing assistance from employers they are doing something about it, new research shows.
In the first half of 2014, the number of Millennials enrolling for the first time in a 401(k) plan jumped 55%, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 401(k) Wellness Scorecard. This twice-yearly report examines trends among 2.5 million plan participants with $129 billion of assets under the bank’s care.
The brisk initial enrollment pace is due partly to the sheer number of Millennials entering the workforce. They account for about 25% of workers today, a figure that will shoot to 50% by 2020. But it also reflects a broader trend toward 401(k) enrollment. Across all generations, the number enrolling for the first time jumped 37%, Bank of America found.
One key reason for the surge in 401(k) participation is the use of auto-enrollment by employers, as well as other enhancements. The report found that number of 401(k) plans that both automatically enroll new employees and automatically boost payroll contributions each year grew 19% in the 12 months ended June 30. And nearly all employers (94%) that added automatic enrollment in the first half also added automatic contribution increases, up from 50% the first half of last year.
Enrolling in a 401(k) plan may be the single best financial move a young worker can make. At all age levels, those who participate in a plan have far more savings than those who do not. Another important decision is making the most of the plan—by contributing enough to get the full company match and increasing contributions each year.
Other added plan features include better educational materials and mobile technology. In a sign that workers, especially Millennials, crave easy and relevant information that will help them better manage their money, the bank said participants accessing educational materials via mobile devices soared 41% in the first half of the year.
The number of companies offering advice online, via mobile device or in person rose 6% and participants accessing this advice rose 8%. A third of those are Millennials, which suggests a generation that widely distrusts banks may be coming around to the view that they need guidance—and their parents and peers may not be the best sources of financial advice.
Millennials have largely done well in terms at saving and diversifying. They are counting more on personal saving and less on Social Security than any other generation, the report found. They seem to understand that saving early and letting compound growth do the heavy lifting is a key part of the solution. Despite its flaws, 401(k) plans have become the popular choice for this strategy.
Yet this generation is saddled with debt, mostly from student loans and credit cards, and most likely to tap their 401(k) plan savings early. Millennials are also least likely take advantage of Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, which allow participants to set aside pre-tax dollars for health care costs. Health savings account usage jumped 33% in the first half, Bank of America found. But just 23% of Millennials have one, versus 39% of Gen X and 38% of Boomers.
Still, the trends are encouraging: employers are making saving easier and workers are signing up. That alone won’t solve the nation’s retirement savings crisis. Individuals need to sock away 10% to 15% of every dime they make. But 401(k)s, which typically offer employer matching contributions, can help. So any movement this direction is welcome news.
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For years, Tech Titans have been hailing the dawn of the mobile-payment revolution: every phone will double as a wallet, every merchant will be able to accept virtual cash, and as a result, lines will move faster, consumers will collect more loyalty rewards, and retailers will make more money.
The reality, however, has been far more complex. …