Alphabet, the tech giant formerly known as Google, on Thursday night became the fourth company in history to reach a trillion-dollar (£776bn) valuation. In less than 24 hours, some analysts were predicting that the company, founded in a messy Silicon Valley garage 21 years ago, could double in value again to become a $2tn firm "in the near future". The consensus among Wall Street bankers is nothing can stop the runaway share price rises of Alphabet or the other so-called "Faang" tech companies. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google have seen their combined market value increase by $1.3tn over the past year – that's the equivalent of adding half the value of all the companies in the FTSE 100, or the entire GDP of Mexico. "It's such a phenomenally large number that it's difficult for most of us even to quantify the value," said Paul Lee, the global head of technology research at Deloitte.
Cisco Systems (ticker: CSCO), IBM (IBM), Intel (INTC), Oracle (ORCL), Seagate Technology (STX), Western Digital (WDC), Xerox Holdings (XRX), HP Inc. (HPQ), and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) still employ a total of 900,000 people. They account for $363 billion in annual revenue and $840 billion in stock market value. But their sales, accounting for inflation, are mostly going in reverse. The best of the bunch, Western Digital, is forecast to grow 4.4% next year. Xerox, the worst, is likely to see a 4.7% decline. Wall Street bankers have begun to mount a rescue effort.
And to that end, the 34-year-old company already appears to have some wind in its sails. Revenues were down 17% year over year during the company's fiscal year fourth quarter, but it beat Wall Street's expectations and sent company stock up 7%. The company is hinging its future performance on 5G, and highlighted areas of momentum that it expects to fuel growth. CEO Steve Mollenkopf told analysts that the company is actively working with standards bodies to define forthcoming advancements in 5G and positioning itself to support the expansion of 5G into enterprise, industrial IoT, and automotive markets. "The complexity and expansion of cellular technologies beyond the smartphone into nearly every industry play directly to Qualcomm's strengths and are why we believe 5G will represent the single biggest opportunity in Qualcomm's history," he said during an earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.
It arrived shortly after Bill Gates' comments to college kids in 2004. No coincidence, it showed up when the web took off, on the heels of terabytes of user-generated content from so-called web 2.0 companies like Google and Facebook. "Big data" entered the lexicon as volumes of unstructured (i.e., text and image) data-powered machine learning approaches to AI. AI itself was just then experiencing another of its notorious winters after the 2001 NASDAQ crash known as the "dot-com bubble." No one trusted the web after 2001 (almost no one), because it had failed to deliver on promises, tanked on Wall Street, and was still stuck in what we now snigger and sniff at, the "web 1.0" ideas that launched web sites for companies and tried to sell advertising--we are so different now!
Artificial intelligence may replace some people on Wall Street, but the technology is simultaneously creating new jobs. The U.S. financial industry saw job postings seeking people with big data skills increase by almost 60% over the past year, reports Bloomberg. Job seekers with experience in AI, machine learning and data science are the sector's most in-demand candidates. Goldman Sachs is planning to beef up its trading unit, for example, but it's only hiring coders.
Uber has unveiled the terms of a hotly anticipated stock market float which it hopes will value the ride-hailing service at more than $91bn (£70bn). While the target is $10bn less than some bankers suggested the 10-year-old firm might be worth, the valuation is more than double the value of the 116-year-old carmaker Ford and would be the largest float by a US tech company since Facebook's in 2012. Its Wall Street debut will gauge investors' excitement about the prospects of a company that has expanded rapidly from taxi services into food delivery and is now investing billions in developing driverless cars. If it hits the mark, Uber will raise around $9bn in new funds and some early investors will make big profits. Despite the scale of ts ambition, Uber lost $1.8bn last year even while its revenues surged by more than 40% to $11.3bn.
Investment managers are increasingly looking to use technology to generate new trading ideas. Hedge funds in the U.S. and Europe now spend more than $170 million annually on so-called alternative data, according to a survey by Greenwich Associates. Though small, this deal announced Friday is the latest in a string of consolidation among new financial data providers. Advanced Publications Inc. acquired 1010data, an alternative data provider, for $500 million in 2015. Kensho Technologies, which applies artificial intelligence to stock research, announced this year that it would be bought by S&P Global Inc. for $550 million.
Over the past several years, many of Wall Street's hottest stocks came from the world of technology. Household names such as Netflix, Amazon and Facebook emerged as top performers and helped send broader markets higher. However, where these stocks once promised ludicrous growth now stands increased competition and industry maturity. The trends of yesterday -- including video streaming, e-commerce and social media -- remain promising, but they are no longer the upstart segments they once were. But investors looking for the next high-growth opportunity may look no further than a brand-new trend that has the chance to expand exponentially over the coming years.
Apple Inc's multi-hundred billion cash stockpile and stalling growth in services such as iCloud present an opportunity and a concern that some investors hope will be addressed in the company's quarterly earnings report later on Tuesday. A shopper shows his purchased iPhone X on Nov. 3, 2017, in Miami Beach, Fla. Apple's iPhone X went on sale Friday, as the company scrambles to meet demand for a marquee device that sports a lush screen, facial-recognition skills and a $1,000 price tag. More earnings reports from companies linked to Apple have resulted in further evidence that the technology giant could be winding down or stopping production of the iPhone X. Nasdaq-listed Cognex is the latest company to provide clues that Apple may be going down this path. It reported first quarter earnings on Monday that were up 22% year-on-year, a slowdown from the 40% growth seen in the first quarter of 2017. On top of that, guidance for second quarter revenue of between $200 million and $210 million was below Wall Street expectations, according to Neil Campling, co-head of the global thematic group at Mirabaud Securities.
On March 1, 2018, the Company acquired processing prepaid platform, servers, POS terminals, customer list, a processing software program from ECS Prepaid LLC. The core asset of ECS is its processing software program, which Gopher intends to marry immediately into the prior acquisition of the UGO HUB and the UGO brand of products. ECS PrePaid's core operating system currently operates over 9,000 terminals in retail locations throughout the United States. These terminals process over 14,000 transactions a day and have capacity to entertain at least three times its current volume, without further software expense. This platform generated approximately $32 million in revenue for the year ended December 31, 2017 (unaudited), approximately $4.2 million for the month of January 2018 (unaudited) and approximately $4.3 for the month of February 2018 (unaudited).