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 2.9%, the S&P 500 was up 3.25%, and the Nasdaq composite was up 3.1%. The Nasdaq is now up 20%+ since it’s June 16th low. SoftBank reported a record net loss of US$23.4 billion for Q2 2022, as the global stock market rout dealt a severe blow to the vast portfolio of the company’s Vision Fund. The company now expects to book a gain of more than US$34 billion by reducing its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Shares of Nvidia dropped 8% after a preliminary earnings announcement for the July quarter warned that weaker-than-expected demand for its gaming chips caused it to fall far short of the revenue target it had shared with investors last quarter. Palantir plunges 14% after scaling back its annual forecast. Trade Desk stock soars toward best day since 2018 amid ‘standout’ performance. AppLovin offers to buy video game software maker Unity in US$17.5 billion deal. Elon Musk sells nearly US$7 billion worth of Tesla stock amid Twitter uncertainty. South Korean investors pour more cash into SpaceX at US$125 billion price tag. Apple tells suppliers to make at least 90 million iPhone 14 units. BlackRock launches Bitcoin Trust for big clients. In Canada, D-Wave listed on the NYSE following the close of a SPAC deal. With a new team, Framework Venture Partners secures US$100 million first close for its second fund. Sophic Client Jasper, Commerce preannounced continued growth in Fiscal 2022 (ending July 31). Sophic Capital published a piece on client UGE International’s benefit from the largest climate package in U.S. history. We also published the first part of a CEO interview from our client Edge Total Intelligence, highlighting the company’s enterprise software platform, value proposition and end markets.
Last week, the Dow Jones closed down 0.1%, the S&P 500 rose 0.4%, and the Nasdaq was up 2.15%. Apple is again planning to issue debt to reward its shareholders by buying back its stock and paying dividends, according to a regulatory filing. Meta launched its first ever corporate bond offering on Thursday, without disclosing either the size of the deal or its pricing. SoftBank has raised as much as US$22 billion in cash from deals that would sharply reduce its stake in Alibaba over the coming years. PayPal jumped 14% after the fintech launched a massive US$15 billion stock buyback and received the backing of Elliot Management. Coinbase stock jumped after BlackRock, Instagram platform announcements. Pinterest popped 20% on earnings that weren’t as terrible as expected. Airbnb stock slumped despite record-breaking bookings. DraftKings stock shot up after a narrower-than-expected loss, and revenue that climbed above forecasts. Robinhood lays off 23% of staff, closes two offices in fresh round of cuts. Oracle layoffs have begun, according to reports. Amazon is buying iRobot for US$1.7 billion. Unity Software, the U.S. developer best known for software used to design video games, is in talks to spin off its China unit. Shipments to iPhone assembler Pegatron’s factory in China were being held for scrutiny by Chinese customs officials a day after the company’s senior executive met with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In Canada, CGI announces its intent to repurchase 939,000 shares held by CDPQ. Shopify is making a US$100 million investment in Klaviyo. Semtech confirmed buyout talks with Sierra Wireless. Canalyst is being acquired by Chicago-based Tegus in a massive BC tech exit of $400-500 million. FreshBooks has secured a US$100 million debt facility.
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.