1

2016 Year-In-Review: Best & Worst-Performing Gaming, Media & Tech Stocks

 

Overall for 2016, the global stock market saw gains of 5.3%, as measured by the MSCI World Index, and U.S. stocks were up around 9.5% as measured by the S&P 500 Index.

 

Focusing on individual stocks within gaming, media and technology, the following are the five best and worst-performing stocks for the calendar year within these segments of the global market. You’ll see that chip-maker AMD and graphics card manufacturer NVIDIA performed the best, while fledgling accessory maker Mad Catz and social media provider Twitter tumbled.

 

2016’s Best-Performing Gaming, Media & Tech Stocks

 

 

2016’s Worst-Performing Gaming, Media & Tech Stocks

Sources: Google Finance, Company Websites and iStock Photos.

-Dom

1

Earnings Calendar July & Aug 2016: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Microsoft Logo

 

Every quarter, “earnings season” comes around and gets us financial nerds excited. This is the recurring time period when public companies around the globe announce results for their latest financial period, whether it be quarterly, semi-annually or annually. The releases for this latest quarter usually happen between July and August for the months prior to the end of June i.e. half-way through the year.

 

Different companies have different fiscal periods, of course, but this is the general timetable and it makes for an interesting time since it’s the best way to get a handle on how well a company is performing and also gather reactions from investors, analysts and industry commentators.

 

Ubisoft Logo

 

In “celebration” of our latest earnings period, I’ve compiled a list of select companies in the gaming, media and technology industries and the dates on which each will reveal their latest results. See this full list as follows.

 

This list has been edited as of 8/4/2016, with updates to some that were “estimated” previously. These are NVIDIA, NetEase, Mad Catz and GameStop.

 

Still unsure on Square Enix and NCSoft, will update accordingly!

 

Working Casual Earnings Calendar July Aug 2016 Update2

 

This is also available via the following Google Docs link, in case you’d like to visit the individual links I’ve compiled:

 

Working Casual Earnings Calendar July & Aug 2016: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

 

This is sorted based on timing, and I’ve included a link to each firm’s investor relations site which is where you can go of course to read the full announcements. Public companies will also have an earnings conference call where executives and key personnel announce the results formally and take questions from analysts covering their stock.

 

This is actually my favorite part of the earnings ritual, in particular the analyst Q&A sessions, as the calls offer even much more insight into how a company is doing. Sometimes executives will provide facts or statements outside of what is in the press release or filings, and it helps provide further context for results and also it’s revealing on who is running the company. And there are even times when an executive can’t answer one of the questions, or dances around the real answer, and it’s fun to see the back-and-forth between these parties.

 

Nintendo Logo

 

A couple highlights are today both Microsoft Corporation and Ubisoft Entertainment SA will reveal their latest results, then next week the world’s largest company Apple Inc will be reporting.

 

Nintendo Co., Ltd. will also report next week, after the exceptional initial success of its Pokemon Go venture with The Pokemon Company and Niantic Labs. I wouldn’t expect to learn how much this new mobile game sensation is contributing to revenue just yet, as it’s only been out for a week and a half (hard to believe, right!). Still, Nintendo will likely address the game in some capacity.

 

Technology manufacturer Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is late next week, as is huge retailer Amazon.com Inc. These companies, in addition to Apple, are often a sort of barometer for how consumers are acting on a global scale.

 

Tencent Logo

 

Lastly, in August, we’ll hear from Tencent Holdings Ltd in its first financial release after acquiring Finnish developer Supercell for $8.6 billion. The company is now the world’s largest public gaming firm by revenue, and serves as a benchmark to seeing how well the international mobile games market is faring in particular.

 

Want to hear more about the releases as they happen? I often try to provide perspective and figures/numbers on Twitter when I’m not writing here, so visit me and shoot me a tweet! I should have a write-up on a couple of these companies soon, in particular both Activision Blizzard, Inc. and Nintendo. Until then, did I miss any companies you are following? Please let me know and I’ll add them accordingly.

 

Sources: Company Investor Relations Websites, Wall Street Journal, Newzoo.

 

-Dom

0

Bottom Line: Can Twitter Break Through Its Plateau & Grow?

Twitter Inc (TWTR)

Bottom Line: Between sluggishness in its user base and advertising dollars not able to outpace overall costs, what can TWTR do to jump-start growth and alleviate investor concern that it has hit a wall? How would you improve TWTR? Can the firm afford to change its service without alienating its dedicated users? See my opinion at the end of this post!

Twitter Inc (TWTR) is quite an interesting company in this day and age, as a rare “mature” social media company. Three years after its IPO, it has released its 2015 results and the news is mixed despite best efforts to jump-start growth. Which begs the question, has TWTR reached its plateau for users and revenue potential? Or will users respond positively to it adapting its strategies as it matures?

Quick snapshot, revenue is up more than 50% to $2.2 billion however the company is still losing money as it has for years (according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, the standard used in the States). Though, it is losing less money this past year per below. I will note that the company reports “adjusted EBITDA” which is their non-GAAP measure of profit, as it excludes certain expenses.

 

TWTR Financial Summary 2015

 

Main concern is that for the first time ever, the company’s monthly average users were flat for the last quarter of 2015. Though annual users were up 9% to 320 million, this is the first time that TWTR’s user base has stagnated on a quarterly basis. Note that the vast majority of these users are outside of the United States, and in fact its users in the States declined during this time frame.

 

TWTR Monthly Users 2015

 

The firm reassures that users have since come up for the month of January, but we won’t know for sure until next quarter’s earnings. This is an essential detail, because users have been slowing down across 2015 compared with earlier years culminating in a flat quarter indicating that the firm may be hitting the dreaded plateau that maturing tech companies sometimes see. Investors have responded with skepticism, with the firm’s stock declining around 60% since beginning of 2015.

Still, like all companies, it’s about monetization. Its business is split across two areas: Advertising and Data Licensing & Other. The former segment is the main revenue driver, and grew to $2 billion last year primarily due to an increase in advertisers. Still, the company has substantial sales and marketing costs plus research and development which combine to $1.6 billion per year. It’s an example of a firm growing sales, but costs aren’t being held in-check at the same rate. It’s also interesting to me that a company like TWTR, which seems ubiquitous in today’s society, spends so much on marketing itself but perhaps this is akin to Pepsi Inc running TV ads to maintain its brand identity.

Another couple of items I’d like to mention are its young CEO Jack Dorsey returned to the firm last year and has started to reshape the look and feel of its core services, plus expand in areas like video streaming (via Periscope) and “Moments” which displays current news items and topics but is only available in three markets so far. The firm has the lofty goal to reach across the entire globe, but for some perspective, it is still small compared to a peer like Facebook which has 5 times the amount of users.

Personally, to answer my initial questions, I think the user experience is key and making it as easy as possible to on-board new users should be a cornerstone. Additionally, continuing to present itself as the go-to source for “live” interaction across a broad sweep of people with expanding “Moments” into more markets and supporting its existing video offerings is also a key strategy. I think the firm is doing a good job at integrating non-intrusive ads into its user experience and offering self-service for advertisers, it’s just that costs of doing business in particular marketing costs are still high and without further user growth, profitability and investor confidence seems a ways off.

Sources: Twitter Inc 2015Q4 Earnings, NY Times

-Dom