Weekly Investment News and Analysis
Please see what we’ve been reading in technology and ESG related investing this week. Please feel free to send us what you’ve found interesting.
Latest Invesment News
Invesment News in the Past Weeks
Last week, the Dow Jones was up 3%, the S&P 500 rose 4.3%, and the Nasdaq composite rose 4.7%. Amazon, and Apple stock responded well to earnings last week, while Meta piled onto growing fears that advertising demand is plummeting, posting its first decline in revenue since going public. Shares of Roku tumbled more than 25% in after-hours trading on a miss, and following the company’s projection of only 3% top-line growth for Q3. Spotify stock jumped on strong subscriber growth, and forecasts. Instacart aims to go public before year’s end, defying a frozen IPO market. Eutelsat and OneWeb agree on merger to create European satellite juggernaut. Twitter trial over Elon Musk merger is set to begin Oct. 17, as Elon Musk countersues Twitter over the merger, but details aren’t yet public. Twitter’s ‘mounting’ ad pressures mean the stock could be in mid-teens without support from Musk deal, according to MoffettNathanson. Google has delayed a phase-out of Chrome ad trackers to 2024 as antitrust trials loom. Crypto exchange FTX US expands stock trading, plans options next. Coinbase Global Inc. is facing a US probe into whether it improperly let Americans trade digital assets that should have been registered as securities, according to three people familiar with the matter. The company’s shares dropped as much as 9.2%. The U.S. passes US$52 billion in chip subsidies to boost production, counter China. Solar stocks jump as Senator Joe Manchin reaches a deal with Democrats that includes climate spending. Shares of SunRun and SunPower both jumped as much as 13% while First Solar surged 10% and SolarEdge rallied 6%. Sophic Client UGE (UGE-TSXV, UGEIF-OTC) closed up 7%. In Canada, Converge Technology secured a $500 million loan to continue acquisition spree. Volatus Aerospace announced a prospectus offering. CGI sees ‘Perfect’ deal climate as valuations improve. Clearco, Shopify, and Coinsquare announced layoffs as markets and the economy remains turbulent.
This week, the Dow Jones rose 2%, the S&P 500 gained 2.6% and the Nasdaq was up 3.3%. As Q2 earnings season kicks off, Snap gapped down ~40% gap down on Friday. Google and Apple are pausing hiring. SoftBank has put on hold plans for a London IPO of Arm because of the political turmoil in the UK government. Instacart investor Capital Group cut its valuation to US$14.7 billion, far below the online grocery-delivery firm’s own calculation of US$24 billion. That makes it the second major investor in recent weeks to say that Instacart’s own estimate is now obsolete. FaZe Clan, the esports and gaming brand, began trading on the Nasdaq exchange Wednesday after a US$725 million SPAC, as other SPAC deals fall through and the market for IPOs stays largely shut. Shares of companies in the cryptocurrency business powered higher Monday, after bitcoin rallied toward a fourth-straight gain, and the first close above the US$22,000 in a month. Marathon Digital shot up 23.3%, Riot Blockchain 18.3% and Coinbase 13.8%. MicroStrategy jumped 11.2% and Signature Bank surged 3.9%. Amazon is buying clinic operator One Medical in a US$4 billion bet on healthcare. Netflix shares jumped after the company said it lost fewer subscribers than anticipated during the second quarter. Robinhood’s fractional trading drove a phantom surge in volume of Berkshire Hathaway’s hugely expensive Class A stock, according to a study, reportedly bewildering Warren Buffett at the time. The US voted to advance a bill, which would provide roughly US$52 billion in subsidies to encourage chip companies to boost production in the US. The window for capital raises in Canada by innovation companies is shut, but Sophic Client, Reklaim (MYID-TSXV, MYIDF-OTC) closed a final tranche of a non-brokered private placement for total proceeds of $1.6 million. Tech funding in Toronto, BC and Quebec was down in Q2, according to different pieces at Betakit.
Major indices fell during the week, only to recover most losses towards the end. The Dow Jones Industrial fell 0.2% last week, S&P 500 fell 0.9%, and the Nasdaq dropped 1.7%. Toronto’s, and Vancouver’s tech talent pools saw the highest growth in North America, according to 2022 CBRE report. Payments giant Stripe last valued by private investors at US$95 billion, cut the internal value of its shares by 28%. Digital mortgage lender Better filed paperwork Thursday to go public via SPAC, or special-purpose acquisition company. Chinese fast-fashion giant Shein hopes to do an initial public offering in the United States as soon as 2024, according to Bloomberg. Tech-focused private equity firm Francisco Partners raises fresh US$17 billion for deals. Pinterest stock pops 19% on activist investor increasing stake. ServiceNow shares dropped 12% after CEO warns of fierce macro headwinds in interview. Shares of Mullen Automotive Inc. shot up 16.2% in premarket trading Monday, after the electric vehicle maker said Amazon delivery service placed an order for up to 600 cargo vans over the next 18 months. Canoo surges 107% after the EV maker inks deal to sell up to 10,000 delivery vehicles to Walmart. Twitter sues Elon Musk for giving up on multi-billion dollar acquisition deal. Netflix is partnering with Microsoft for its new ad-supported tier. U.S. online sales during Amazon’s Prime Day shopping event jumped 8.5% from last year to nearly US$12 billion – its biggest ever globally, with members of its Prime loyalty program purchasing more than 300 million items. Intel plans price hikes on broad range of products. GM is building a ‘coast-to-coast’ EV fast-charging network — on Thursday, GM announced that it is partnering with Pilot Company and EVGo to construct a coast-to-coast national DC fast charging network.
Last week, the Nasdaq composite leapt 4.6%, the S&P 500 index advanced 1.9%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.8%. Surprising no one, Elon Musk formally told Twitter he wants out of the acquisition deal, sending shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. were rocketing 17% in after-hours trading Friday. FaZe Clan is going public—just as the creator economy shifts. A spike in listing applications from Chinese companies in June has nearly doubled China’s IPO candidates to almost 1,000, the highest in at least three years, potentially making the country a bright spot for bankers as equity offerings slow in other markets. Upstart plummets 22% after slashing quarterly guidance on inflation and recession fears. DoorDash, Uber stocks fall after Amazon inks partnership with Grubhub. France’s Deezer, rival to Spotify, sinks 35% on market debut. Apple TV+ reaches 6% market share in the US while Netflix loses subscribers. Amazon.com Inc.’s number of Prime members in the US stagnated in the first half of the year, suggesting a US$20 annual price increase that took effect in February may be turning off potential customers struggling with high gas prices and inflation. Pinterest launches new shopping features for merchants. Sam Bankman-Fried says the worst of the crypto liquidity crisis is likely over with FTX holding ‘a few billion’ to prop up failing ventures. Tesla will open up Superchargers to non-Tesla electric vehicles in the US later this year. In Canada, Electric toothbrush startup, Bruush files to go public on Nasdaq with $17.25 million IPO. VSBLTY (VSBY-CSE) announced a marketed financing for gross proceeds of $5 million led by Echelon Wealth Partners. Crypto broker Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy.
H1 2022 was a brutal start to the year — the Nasdaq was down almost 30%, for its worst first half on record, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 15%, for its worst first-half performance since 1962, and the S&P 500 closed down over 20%, for its worst first half since 1970. US markets climbed a bit on Friday, but the major indices were still down for last week, after having posted weekly losses in four out of the last five weeks. At a time when U.S. venture dollars are slowing down, CIBC Innovation Banking is announcing $1.5 billion in growth capital commitments, dubbed “Unicorn Fuel,” to focus on later-stage companies across software, life sciences, healthcare and clean tech industries. Sophic Client UGE (UGE-TSXV, UGEIF-OTC) secured $25 million to deploy six community solar projects in Maine. Sophic Client Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA) announced a $4-million non-dilutive Government of Canada financing. Draftkings was fined $100,000 in Ontario for advertising violations. EToro seems likely to abandon its deal to go public via SPAC merger. Short video app Triller confidentially filed for a U.S. IPO. Klarna will raise cash at a US$6.5 billion valuation, in dramatic 85% down round. Nio shares slid Wednesday after a short seller accused the Chinese electric vehicle maker of artificially inflating its financial figures. Chinese electric vehicle maker Li Auto will raise US$2 billion from U.S. investors in a new stock offering. Tesla lays off nearly 200 Autopilot workers, and shutters its San Mateo office. Facebook warns of engineer job cuts, and a sharp downturn ahead. The FCC Commissioner writes to Apple and Google about removing TikTok. FTX says it is not in active talks to buy Robinhood. Crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital plunges into liquidation. Crypto broker Voyager Digital (VOYG-TSX) suspends withdrawals.
Last week was a welcome relief for markets, as the Nasdaq ended the week up 7.5%, and the S&P 500 was up 6.6% for the week. BlockFi signed a term sheet with crypto exchange FTX to access a US$250 million revolving credit line. Polestar goes public amid uncertainty around EV stocks, via a SPAC. Elon Musk says Tesla’s new factories are ‘gigantic money furnaces’ that are losing billions of dollars from EV-battery shortages and supply-chain snags. Shares of Zendesk Inc. soared 29.5% in premarket trading Friday, after the customer experience platform company confirmed a deal to be acquired by an investor group in an all-cash deal valued at about US$10.2 billion. DocuSign’s CEO Dan Springer is stepping down, the virtual signature company announced Tuesday. DocuSign did not specify why Springer was leaving, but the company’s share price has fallen more than 75% over the past year. Apple’s mixed reality headset will “likely release in January 2023,” according to reliable supply chain analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo. Meta revealed VR headset prototypes designed to make VR ‘indistinguishable from reality’. A Congressional report said Robinhood understated liquidity problems during meme stock craze. Intel delays groundbreaking ceremony for Ohio plant amid uncertainty over chips legislation. Tesla and California utility PG&E launched a new program that will pay eligible Powerwall owners to send extra electricity to the grid when it’s vulnerable to blackouts. An electric Mercedes-Benz drove 747 miles without recharging, nearly twice the range of Tesla’s Model S. In Canada, Toronto-based startup, Ataccama secured $194 million in growth capital from American private investment firm Bain Capital. Twitter partnered with Shopify to bring merchants’ products to Twitter Shopping. Shopify launched around a 100 new features last week, including in social commerce, local shopping offers with Google, cryptocurrency, B2B selling. Sophic Client, Reklaim (MYID-TSXV, MYIDF-OTC) closed $1.3 million non-brokered private placement and streamlined operations to cash neutral.
Major indices reverted back to their pre COVID peaks, and the S&P posted its worst week since March 2020 despite a slight rise yesterday, according to Morning Brew. M&A is likely to pick up, and is likely to be a significant driver of value for Canadian tech firms in 2022, according to PwC. Telus Corp. (T-TSX) said Thursday it agreed to pay $2.3 billion (US$1.8 billion) plus assume $600 million in debt to buy LifeWorks Inc (LWRK-TSX), a Toronto-based human resource consulting and technology services company in the health and wellness sector. Thirty-five privately-held Canadian tech startups are on their way towards reaching $1 billion in annual revenue, according to a new data-based initiative from Kitchener-Waterloo tech hub Communitech. Voyager Digital (VOYG-TSX) signed a term sheet for US$200 million and 15,000 BTC revolving line of credit with Alameda Research. Klarna Bank AB is considering raising fresh funds at a significantly lower valuation than it achieved a year ago, according to people familiar with the situation, a sign of the punishing environment for tech companies. Roku stock jumped after unveiling Walmart e-commerce partnership. Shares of e-commerce companies Jumia and MercadoLibre plummet following Insider’s report about Amazon’s expansion plan in Africa and South America. Alibaba, NIO stocks soar after report Ant Group OK’d to set up financial holding company. The U.S.-listed shares of China-based companies were seeing big and broad gains in premarket trading Friday, after Reuters reported that China’s central bank accepted Ant Group’s application to set up a financial holding company. MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor says there’s no margin call on its bitcoin loan and it has plenty of collateral. Coinbase stock falls 15% as cryptocurrencies lose billions.
Late last week, major stock indices suffered another leg down, with the NASDAQ having an especially bearish close on Friday. Clio, a Canadian provider of cloud-based legal technology, announced it had achieved “Centaur” status, a title reserved for private SaaS companies that achieve more than US$100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). To date, approximately 150 companies globally have passed this threshold, making this designation seven times rarer than the now plentiful tech unicorn. Elon Musk said SpaceX’s Starlink will not go public for another three to four years, CNBC reported. Twitter will now give Elon Musk ‘firehose’ data access to settle bot complaints, and the Texas Attorney General opened an investigation of Twitter bots. Twitter, at the same time, is gearing up for its most ambitious quarter of user growth, leaders of the social media company’s consumer products division told staff on Tuesday. Alibaba shares dropped 8% after Jack Ma’s Ant Group and regulator squash talk of revived IPO. At the same time, DiDi Global and two other Chinese firms soared on WSJ report that probe will end. U.S.-listed shares of Chinese tech firms rose amid signs that Beijing’s crackdown on the Chinese tech sector is easing. Roku stock rebounded 20% amid reports of a possible acquisition by Netflix. Apple’s mixed reality headset is now said to be coming in Q2 2023 and the company announced a Buy Now Pay Later feature amid a services push. Meta is reportedly scaling back plans for its AR glasses, pivoting away from marketing Portal as a consumer device. Meta also halted development of Apple Watch rival with two cameras. Seventy-three percent of “affluent” investors in Asia intend to hold some form of digital assets by the end of 2022, according to a new report from consulting firm Accenture. TSMC plans to start mass production of new 3nm ‘M2 Pro’ chip later this year.
The market had another down day Friday, as the NASDAQ closed the week down about 1%, after a bit of a reprieve the previous week. Meanwhile, bearish headlines continue to pile up. Fidelity cut Stripe and Reddit valuations amid the tech stock downturn. Forbes and Seatgeek scrapped their SPAC plans. Tiger Global Management, has lost more than 50% of its value in 2022 including a 14.3% drop in May, according a report by CNBC. Microsoft cut earnings and revenue guidance, citing a stronger U.S. dollar. Venture capital investment is declining faster in China than anywhere else, according to data from Preqin. The pace of investing fell 44% in the first four months of the year to US$24.7 billion compared to a year earlier. Elon Musk has a “super bad feeling” about the economy and needs to cut about 10% of Tesla jobs. At the same time, tech blog, The Verge, had a candid take on Elon Musk’s recent news, in a take, which many non Tesla bulls are well familiar — Elon Musk says Tesla’s fake robot might be ready by September 30th. GM is slashing prices for the Chevy Bolt amid high demand for electric vehicles. Sophic Client, Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA) closed a second tranche of a unit offering, for a total of $1.64 million raised. Sophic Client, Swarmio Media Holdings Inc. (SWRM-CSE, SWMIF-OTC) announced the closing of an oversubscribed private placement of common shares for proceeds of $1.16 million. Clear Blue was also recognized as #13 on the “Future 50 Fastest-Growing Sustainable Companies in Canada”.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 6.2% in last week’s stock market trading. The S&P 500 index leapt 6.6%. The Nasdaq composite popped 6.8%. The small-cap Russell 2000 ran up 6.55% – a refreshing change after weeks of declines. Sand Hill Road’s doomsayer-in-chief—Sequoia Capital—is back with a warning to its startup founders: Don’t expect a recovery from the current market downturn to happen quickly. 15,000 startup employees were laid off in May. This week’s cuts bring this year’s total to over 28,000, per Layoffs.fyi, compared to about 10,000 total in 2021 and a staggering 80,000 in 2020. 25 companies that listed during the SPAC boom of 2020 and 2021 have already issued warnings that they could go bust within a year, according to a data analytics firm. These blank-check vehicles raised $96 billion in the first quarter of 2021 alone, according to the Harvard Business Review. A growing number of Chinese tech start-ups, , are willing to list shares publicly in China at valuations lower than during private funding rounds in so-called blood listings, according to Reuters. Snap’s warning sent shock across digital advertising as investors fled social media stocks. Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest bought almost US$44 million in shares of Nvidia on Thursday, after the tech company reported its first-quarter earnings. A Twitter shareholder sued Elon Musk for market manipulation. Apple could be in talks to buy EA gaming, Disney and Amazon also potential suitors. iPhone production plans said to be 20 million down on consensus expectations. Samsung will reportedly produce 30 million fewer smartphones this year.
Although the broader market has free fallen for weeks now, Canadian microcap stocks have been declining since March 2021. And while we won’t call a bottom, microcaps look VERY cheap for long-term investors. Take advantage of this time to do your research and find the winners that will come out of this downturn and provide outsized returns. Please feel free to reach out to SophicCapital if you would like to dig into our companies.
Some stats from Morning Brew put recent stock market volatility into perspective. The Dow posted its eighth straight weekly loss, which is its longest weekly losing streak since 1923. The S&P has lost ground for seven straight weeks, its longest losing streak since 2001. The Nasdaq has dropped more from its peak last November than when the world shut down in spring 2020. We repeat: The literal world shut down and the Nasdaq is doing worse now. Tiger Global, the hedge fund known for making big bets on technology companies, slashed its shareholdings and dumped stakes in companies such as Netflix and Rivian as it suffered heavy losses during this year’s stock market rout. ‘Big Short’ investor Michael Burry revealed a bet against Apple stock — and built stakes in Alphabet and Meta last quarter. Coinbase shares jumped Tuesday after the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US said it’s pulling back the pace of hiring to strengthen its businesses during a slump in the US$1.4 trillion crypto market. Southeast Asian ride hailing and food delivery company Grab said its business is recovering as the region reopens from Covid-19 lockdowns. Cisco Systems forecasts revenue drop, blames China lockdowns. China’s Tencent reports no revenue growth for first time. Apple execs recently presented augmented reality headset to company board, suggesting product is close to launch. Facebook parent company Meta Platforms has plans to monetize WhatsApp. Your online behavior and location are shared with advertisers 747 times a day. Square to offer Afterpay’s BNPL at brick-and-mortar stores. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chip maker, is considering building a semiconductor factory in Singapore to help address a global supply shortage, according to people familiar with the matter. As investor conferences gradually resume in person, Sophic clients Renoworks Software (RW-TSXV), Smart Employee Benefits (SEB-TSXV), Swarmio Media (SWRM-CSE), and Edge Total Intelligence (CTRL-TSXV) attended the Planet MicroCap Showcase 2022 conference in Las Vegas recently. Sophic Client Clear Blue Technologies’ (CBLU-TSXV) CEO, was on BNN Bloomberg this week to talk about Smart Off-Grid energy Voyager Digital (VOYG-TSX) announced a common share private placement of approximately US$60 million anchored by leading crypto companies.
Other than a likely short covering rally on Friday, the pain in growth stocks continued through last week. As Shopify’s (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX) stock price continued to slide, the company’s senior executives are putting on a public display and promising to personally buy chunks of the firm’s shares on the open market. This all came a few days after a filing showed Uber CEO Khosrowshahi bought US$5 million of the company’s own beaten down stock. Uber CEO also told staff, the company will cut down on costs, treat hiring as a ‘privilege’. PopReach (POPR-TSXV) closed a US$33 million in credit facilities with Bank of Montreal. Instacart, the biggest online grocery in the U.S., has confidentially filed to go public this year, the company said, confirming an earlier report by Bloomberg. Goldman Sachs is exiting work on most SPACs because of liability concerns as regulators tighten guidelines, report says. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said Friday in a series of tweets that he still expected Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter to close, “we need to be prepared for all scenarios,” explaining why he made management changes and is acting to control costs. Salesforce has sold out of the last of its shares in data-analytics software maker Snowflake, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. Salesforce, which makes investments through its Salesforce Ventures unit, still owns a stake in five public companies, including Robinhood and Monday.com, the filing shows. Tiger Global has been hit by losses of about US$17 billion during this year’s technology stock sell-off, marking one of the biggest dollar declines for a hedge fund in history. Ark Invest’s 75% decline in its flagship ETF hasn’t stopped investors from pouring US$1.3 billion in the fund in 2022. SoftBank is cutting its startup investments 50-75%. Samsung is in talks to hike chipmaking prices by up to 20%.