The market’s momentum remains strong. The lawsuit alleges NRA leaders paid for trips to the Bahamas, private jets and meals that contributed to a $64 million reduction in the balance sheet. Asia Pacific commercial markets including Australia, Korea and mainland China can expect investment volume to rebound in the coming quarters as overall sentiment improves but sufficient pricing discounts must be provided, CBRE says. The firm’s latest Asia Pacific Marketview report shows commercial real estate investment volume in the region fell 48 per cent year-on-year to US$17 billion in the second quarter of this year, representing the lowest quarterly turnover since the corresponding quarter of 2012.
Thursday morning brought further gains for the stock market, as market participants ignored news of troublingly high first-time unemployment claims in hopes of further stimulus measures from Washington and the Federal Reserve. Just before 11 a.m. EDT today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 24 points to 27,225. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^SPX) was up less than a point at 3,328, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^COMP) gained 2 points to 11,001.
Earnings season has gone quite well in most respects, with several big-name companies enjoying stellar results. But expectations have been high, and some companies haven’t been able to live up to their hype. Fastly (NYSE:FSLY) was a victim of its own success Thursday morning, as it wasn’t able to satisfy growth-hungry investors despite solid results. Similarly, Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) also gave up ground as investors mulled whether the growth trajectories from these cutting-edge companies are sustainable well into the future.
Image source: Getty Images.
Shares of edge-computing specialist Fastly were down more than 20% Thursday morning. The cloud platform provider continued to grow at an impressive pace during the second quarter of 2020, but after a huge run-up in the stock, shares were ready for a break.
Fastly’s numbers would make most investors turn green with envy. Revenue jumped 62% from year-ago levels, and the company signed up 114 new customers during the quarter to bring its client count to 1,951. A dollar-based net expansion rate of 137% was up 4 percentage points from three months ago, and it signaled continuing loyalty among Fastly’s users.
Some investors weren’t pleased, though, with the announcement that TikTok owner ByteDance was Fastly’s largest customer during the quarter. With plenty of controversy surrounding the Chinese short-video app provider, Fastly admitted that a ban of the service in the U.S. could have a material impact on its business.
It’s hard to feel too bad for Fastly shareholders, though, as the stock price is still six times higher than it was at the March lows. After such an impressive run, Fastly’s shares might simply be consolidating before its fundamental business strength reasserts itself.
Elsewhere, Roku saw a 7% drop in its stock price Thursday morning. The streaming video provider saw a lot of viewership in the second quarter, but some concerns about advertising weighed on sentiment.
Roku’s revenue rose 42% in the quarter compared with year-earlier figures, as the service added 3.2 million active accounts during the past three months to bring its total count to 43 million. Hours of content streamed soared to 14.6 billion, up by 2.3 billion hours from first-quarter figures. Roku squeezed more sales from its subscribers, with average revenue per user up 18% year over year to $24.92.
Roku has successfully ridden the coattails of other content providers to enhance its own prospects. The company said that its connected device was the most frequently used by subscribers to Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) Disney+ streaming service, citing its importance in the success of the video release of the blockbuster Broadway musical Hamilton. Content partners have increased their investment in Roku, benefiting both themselves and the platform provider.
Advertising has been in decline, and although Roku cited numerous examples of how it’s outpacing the broader industry, investors seemed unconvinced that the company will escape the negative impact entirely. Nevertheless, as more people move toward streaming television, Roku has put itself in position to benefit for the foreseeable future, making it a solid growth stock prospect.
Author: Dan Caplinger
New York seeks to break up National Rifle Association, alleging financial mismanagement
Aug 6 (Reuters) – New York state’s attorney general sued to dissolve the National Rifle Association on Thursday, alleging senior leaders of the non-profit group diverted millions of dollars for personal use and to buy the silence and loyalty of former employees.
The lawsuit announced by Attorney General Letitia James alleges NRA leaders paid for family trips to the Bahamas, private jets and expensive meals that contributed to a $64 million reduction in the NRA’s balance sheet in three years, turning a surplus into a deficit.
James alleged in a statement that NRA leaders “used millions upon millions from NRA reserves for personal use,” failing to comply with the NRA’s own internal policies in addition to state and federal law.
The confrontation pits James, a Democrat, against the largest and most powerful gun organization in the United States, one that is closely aligned with President Donald Trump’s Republican Party.
The action is certain to further polarize a country where the NRA is revered by conservatives as a champion of the U.S. Constitutional right to keep and bear arms and vilified by liberals as an enabler of rampant gun violence.
“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” James said in a statement. “The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.”
The NRA, which teaches gun safety in addition to advocating laws making it easier for Americans to own guns and ammunition, is subject to New York law because it is registered as a non-profit organization in New York, where it conducts most of its financial transactions.
The NRA, which has its national headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, about 20 miles (30 km) west of Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
New York state and the NRA have tangled before. The state has taken legal action against NRA-branded insurance policies sold to gun owners, and the NRA is suing the state for closing gun stores under an executive order to halt the spread of COVID-19.
The latest lawsuit names the NRA as a whole and four senior executives of the group including Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice-president who has been atop the leadership for decades.
It also names former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Wilson Phillips, former Chief of Staff and Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer.
The suit charges the NRA with “awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty,” James’s office said in a statement.
“The failure of the NRA to comply with multiple fiduciary responsibilities and state and federal laws resulted in the NRA seeing substantial losses on its balance sheet: going from a surplus of $27,802,714 in 2015 to a net deficit of $36,276,779 in 2018 – contributing to a total loss of more than $64 million in just three years,” the statement said.
In addition to attempting to close down a group that has existed since 1871, James seeks to recover millions of dollars in lost assets and to stop the four executives from serving on he board of any other not-for-profit group in the state. (Reporting by Daniel Trotta and David Shepardson; Editing by Howard Goller)
Author: AOL Staff
Asia Pacific commercial sentiment improving despite drop in investment volume – CBRE
Asia Pacific commercial markets including Australia, Korea and mainland China can expect investment volume to rebound in the coming quarters as overall sentiment improves but sufficient pricing discounts must be provided, CBRE says.
The firm’s latest Asia Pacific Marketview report shows commercial real estate investment volume in the region fell 48 per cent year-on-year to US$17 billion in the second quarter of this year, representing the lowest quarterly turnover since the corresponding quarter of 2012.
According to the report, the office sector has been among the primary drivers of the decline, with net absorption sinking to its lowest total in a decade as occupiers remained in wait-and-see mode or opted for renewals owing to the absence of budgets for capex.
Grade A rents subsequently fell by 1.8 per cent q-o-q.
At a glance:
Asia Pacific 2020 and 2021 Growth Forecast (y-o-y). Source: CBRE Research
Retail has also borne the brunt of COVID-19’s impact, with the research showing vacancy increased across the region as a “wave of store closures”, led by right-sizing and market exits by several global fashion brands, took effect.
Pre-leasing activity in new supply was weak amid subdued overall demand, while rents declined by 2.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
Asia Pacific office net absorption. Source: CBRE Research
The shining light for Asia Pacific commercial markets in the quarter was in the industrial space, which CBRE reported experienced a “mild” improvement in sentiment along with the resumption of industrial activity.
The research indicated warehouse space continued to attract robust demand in most markets- led by e-commerce related platforms- and rents were largely unchanged.
Y-O-Y retail sales growth in selected markets. Source: CEIC, Q2 2020
Going forward, CBRE expects purchasing activity to be driven by local buyers in the remainder of the year as a result of ongoing travel restrictions, adding that overall investment sentiment would improve further, albeit under different conditions.
“Several markets, including Korea, Australia and mainland China, can expect to see investment activity rebound in the coming quarters, with several sizeable deals nearing completion,” the report reads.
Logistics vacancy rate across various markets. Source: CBRE Research
“While investors are more willing to consider assets with vacancy risk, sufficient pricing discounts must be provided.
“Sellers have lowered prices in recent months, but these reductions are still not aligned with buyer expectations, meaning that the price gap will continue to hinder investment activity.”
Click here to view the full report.
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