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Tech stocks are on track for their best year in a decade — and set to rise higher with the rollout of 5G

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 11:23am

  • The S&P 500 information technology sector is up more than 48% year-to-date and on track for its best year since 2009.
  • The sector has seen rapid growth from soaring Apple stock and triple-digit gains from its best performing semiconductor stocks like Advanced Micro Devices.
  • The index, made up of 70 tech companies, is also poised to surge in the new year, as the rollout of 5G-capable phones will fuel gains for device makers and their supply chain providers, according to numerous analysts.
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Tech stocks are days away from posting their best year since 2009, soaring as chipmakers and device companies gear up for the implementation of 5G networks.

The S&P 500 information technology index is up more than 48% year-to-date, compared to the broader index's 29% gain. The tech sector is also the best performing subset of the major index, with the communications services sector following with a 31% year-to-date gain.

The S&P tech sector, made up of 70 companies, was led by Apple's 80% surge through 2019 and several rising semiconductor stocks. Semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices was the biggest winner of the index with its 153% year-to-date leap. Chipmaker peers Lam Research, KLA, and Qorvo were close behind, all gaining more than 90% through 2019.

Only seven of the 70 index components are down in 2019.

The year-to-date performance is the biggest leap since the subset posted a 60% gain in 2009. Part of that year's jump came from the recovery of the ailing stock market, as the financial crisis dragged on stocks and allowed traders to buy in at the lowest prices in years. Since then, tech firms have enjoyed massive windfalls from continued growth in the smartphone market, growing interconnectivity, and the introduction of new personal devices. 

Apple is the index's eighth-best stock of 2019, but its massive market cap made it the biggest driver for the tech sector's outperformance. The Cupertino, California-based company soared as it shifted focus from its slowing iPhone sales to growth in its wearables and services businesses. Its new iPhone 11 sold better than analysts first expected after its fall reveal, further supporting the tech giant's stock gains.

The proliferation of 5G in the new year could push the tech sector even higher. Apple is set to kick off an iPhone "supercycle" in 2020, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a December 22 note, adding that the addition of 5G to its next lineup will "open up the floodgates on iPhone upgrades."

Bank of America similarly lifted its Apple price objective due to positive sentiment around 5G upgrades, noting on December 11 that new technology will drive more than 200 million annual iPhone sales for at least three years. The analysts boosted their target price to $290 from $270.

Apple isn't the only company poised to benefit from the next-generation network. The companies in smartphone makers' supply chains will play a crucial role in delivering 5G-capable hardware. Sony, Qualcomm, and Taiwan Semiconductor are just some of the semiconductor companies positioned to benefit from the 5G ramp-up, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang said in a December 12 note.

Bank of America expects supply chain firms' "outperformance to continue into 2020," naming Micron, Qualcomm, and TSMC as stocks they expect to post "strong multi-year growth" alongside 5G's expansion.

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NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

Uber's CEO says the best career advice he ever received came from the founder of Allen & Co. — here's why he bets on 'people, not companies' (UBER)

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 11:08am

  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi this week was asked at a luncheon about the best advice he ever received and the best advice he has for young people.
  • The executive said his best advice came from Herbert Allen of Allen & Co., and that advice is to bet on people, not companies.
  • For young people, Khosrowshahi said, his best advice is to never overplan. Confirmation bias can cause you to miss opportunities, like a new job as CEO of Uber, if your goals are too rigid. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Dara Khosrowshahi never expected to be the CEO of Uber.

But in 2017, as headlines were swirling about the ride-hailing startup's toxic culture and public missteps, the former Expedia CEO agreed to take a meeting with Uber's leadership about a job — one that would eventually set in motion a drastic change, both for his career and for the company's trajectory.

It all comes down to being open to any and all opportunities, Khosrowshahi told Julie Sweet, the chief executive of Accenture, at a hotel luncheon hosted by the Economic Club of New York on Thursday. Not overplanning, he said, was the best advice he could offer to young people.

"I tell people: Don't overplan," he said. "I see people make wrong decisions all the time because they have this picture of where they're going to be. Usually, when you have a picture of where you want to go, or what that should be, it leads to confirmation bias."

Confirmation bias is a logical fallacy that can hijack any decision humans make because the brain often sees challenges to beliefs as threats. In other words, it's a human tendency to seek, interpret, and remember information that conforms to preexisting beliefs.

For example, there's a classic experiment from 1954 in which Princeton and Dartmouth students were shown a game between the two schools. At the end, Princeton students remembered more fouls committed by Dartmouth, and Dartmouth students remembered more fouls by Princeton.

"When we overplan in an increasingly volatile world, we stop looking for opportunities. I was not looking for this Uber opportunity, and I'm so glad I found it," Khosrowshahi said.

The CEO had another piece of advice for recent graduates too: "Work in a place where you can make a difference," he said.

People over companies

Khosrowshahi was also asked about the best piece of advice he ever received, and he pointed to a mantra oft-repeated by Herbert Allen of the boutique investment bank Allen & Co.: "I bet on people, not companies."

"As a 20-something-year-old, it was like, 'Yes sir, Mr. Allen, that sounds great,'" Khosrowshahi said. "But in a world where so much is changing — businesses change, environments change, countries change — the one constant is that good people stay good."

SEE ALSO: Uber is exploring ways to make its self-driving cars also self-cleaning

Join the conversation about this story »

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Tadashi Yanai — the richest person in Japan — is stepping down from the board of SoftBank. Here's how the founder of Uniqlo built and spends his $31 billion fortune.

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 11:07am

Tadashi Yanai is the richest person in Japan.

The Japanese businessman is worth an estimated $31.4 billion, according to Bloomberg. His fortune comes from his position as chairman and the biggest shareholder of Fast Retailing, the largest clothing retailer in Asia and the parent company of Uniqlo.

Yanai opened the first Uniqlo store in 1984 and has expanded the brand to more than 2,000 stores in at least 20 countries.

Uniqlo's clothing is "geared to all types of people: whether they are billionaires, the middle class, the lower end," Yanai told Vault Magazine in 2011. "We need to cater to all, just like Marks and Spencer or Gap or the current H&M and Zara. Unless we cater to all segments of life and segments of people, we cannot be successful."

Along with his success in the fashion industry, Yanai has also been an influential member on the board of the Japanese holding company SoftBank for 18 years. As Business Insider's Isobel Asher Hamilton previously reported, Yanai had a reputation for being one of the few people with as much influence as SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son

On December 27, SoftBank announced that Yanai will be resigning from the board on December 31 to focus on his fashion business.

The Japanese billionaire lives in a $50 million house in the woods outside of Tokyo and owns another home in a ritzy, exclusive neighborhood in the city. He also owns two golf courses in Hawaii, where he spends a few weeks each summer, according to Bloomberg.

Here's a look at the life of Japan's richest person.

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SEE ALSO: SoftBank is more than CEO Masayoshi Son. Meet the 12 managing partners behind the $100 billion Vision Fund that's backed startups like Uber and WeWork.

Meet Tadashi Yanai, the richest person in Japan. He's worth an estimated $31.4 billion.

The Japanese businessman's wealth comes from his position as president, chairman, and the largest shareholder of Fast Retailing,  the largest clothing retailer in Asia. The 70-year-old billionaire holds a 46% stake in the company.

Yanai is more than $10 billion richer than the second-richest person in Japan, Takemitsu Takizaki, according to Bloomberg.

Fast Retailing is the parent company of Uniqlo and other brands including Theory, Comptoir des Cotonniers, and J Brand.

Fast Retailing has thousands of stores worldwide and reported a yearly revenue of about $20.9 billion in August 2019.

Yanai was born in southern Japan in 1949, the son of a clothing seller.

Yanai's father owned a men's clothing shop called Men's Shop Ogori Shoji. The store was on the first floor and the family lived above it. By the 1970s, the business had several locations.

After graduating from college in 1971, Yanai started selling men's clothing and kitchenware at a Jusco supermarket, but he quit after one year and started working for his father.

Yanai graduated from Waseda University with a degree in economics and politics.

Yanai said he didn't start out being very motivated to work.

"My preference was not to work my entire life, that's how I was," he told ABS-CBN. "My father demanded that I need to find work at Jusco. So regretfully I got a job."

He said he joined his father's business because he had nowhere else to go, but he actually ended up finding it fun.

In 1984 in Hiroshima, Yanai founded Unique Clothing Warehouse, which would later be shortened to Uniqlo.

A few years later, he changed the name of his father's clothing company to Fast Retailing.

The company grew quickly over the next several years. By 1996, Yanai had more than 200 stores across Japan.

Uniqlo's $15 fleece jacket was the brand's most popular product, with an estimated one in four Japanese people having bought one by 1998.

The Japanese billionaire, who is married with two children, lives in a 16,586-square-foot house in the woodlands outside of Tokyo.

The property, which includes a guard house, a driving range, and a separate thatched-roof teahouse, was estimated to be worth about $50 million in 2017. Yanai bought the land in an auction for $78 million in 2001.

Yanai also has a home – worth an estimated $74 million — in the ritzy Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo.

Shibuya is an exclusive Tokyo neighborhood that government officials and CEOs call home, according to the Japan Times. Living there is "a symbol of status," Yukiko Takano of Sotheby's told the Times in 2014.

The billionaire is reportedly an avid golf player. He spends three weeks every summer playing in Hawaii, where he owns two golf courses that he bought for a combined $74.1 million.

Yanai bought the Plantation Golf Course in Hawaii from Maui Land & Pineapple for $50 million in 2009, according to Bloomberg. In 2010, he bought another course, Kapalua Bay, for $24.1 million.

Between 2013 and 2018, the expansion of Yanai's company meant that his net worth grew from $15.5 billion to $24 billion in just five years.

Fast Retailing is now the third-largest global clothing retailer, after H&M and Inditex, the parent company of Zara, according to MoneyWeek.

Today, Fast Retailing operates more than 2,100 Uniqlo stores in at least 24 countries — and that's not counting the group's other brands.

Uniqlo — Fast Retailing's most successful brand — has more than 2,100 stores globally, with 827 in Japan.

Only 52 of those are in the US, and the vast majority are scattered throughout Asian countries including Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and the Philippines. 

Uniqlo is known for its relatively affordable, timeless basics. "Uniqlo isn't in the business of chasing trends," Gillian B. White wrote in The Atlantic.

"[Uniqlo's] staples—versatile black pants, reliable oxfords, crisp cotton socks — are available month after month, year after year," Write wrote.

Yanai himself has said Uniqlo's clothes are "geared to all types of people," according to MoneyWeek.

Yanai has made it clear he wants Fast Retailing to be the world's largest clothing retailer.

Yanai has always named H&M and Zara as Fast Retailing's biggest rivals. He told Forbes Asia in 2017 that his goal is to have the company's revenue up to $29 billion by 2020.

"Information and digital innovation will determine the winner," Yanai said. "And that's the area we are in." 

Uniqlo added to its more than 2,100 global stores by opening its first stores in Denmark, Italy, India, and Vietnam in 2019.

Uniqlo has pioneered the use of artificial intelligence in its stores to improve customers' shopping experience.

"Select stores have AI-powered UMood kiosks that show customers a variety of products and measures their reaction to the color and style through neurotransmitters," Blake Morgan wrote in Forbes. "Based on each person's reactions, the kiosk then recommends products. Customers don't even have to push a button; their brain signals are enough for the system to know how they feel about each item."

And in 2018 Uniqlo launched GU Style Studio stores, fitting-only stores where customers can try on clothing and place orders online for later delivery, according to the Japan Times. 

Yanai's two sons are both on Fast Retailing's board of directors.

"This means that corporate governance will function even when I'm absent," Yanai said when he announced their promotions in October 2018. "It does not mean that they will take charge of the company."

Yanai's sons, Kazumi Yanai and Koji Yanai, were both senior vice presidents at Fast Retailing before being promoted to the board, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

In 2017, Yanai told the Nikkei Asian Review that he would step down as president of Fast Retailing when he turned 70, but stay on as chairman.

Yanai turned 70 in February 2019 and so far has made no official announcement about leaving his role as president or about who will take his place, although he did recently tell Bloomberg Japan that his CEO role is "more suitable for a woman" because women "are persevering, detail-oriented and have an aesthetic sense."

Despite the lingering question of his succession plan, Yanai continues to grow richer as his companies expand. Since the beginning of 2019, he's added almost $5 billion to his fortune, according to Bloomberg.

Along with his success in the fashion industry, Yanai has also been an influential member on the board of the Japanese holding company SoftBank for 18 years. As Business Insider's Isobel Asher Hamilton previously reported, Yanai had a reputation for being one of the few people with as much influence as SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son

On December 27, SoftBank announced that Yanai will be resigning from the board at the end of the year to focus on his fashion business.

A stock picker who crushed the vast majority of Wall Street this year shares the 5 investment pillars that have led to his success

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 10:59am

  • Donald Kilbride, lead manager of Vanguard's Dividend Growth Fund, doesn't let the overarching macroeconomic environment influence the construction of his portfolio.
  • He employs five primary pillars in his investment philosophy: compounding, value creation/distribution, dividends, low turnover, and facts vs. opinions.
  • Kilbride currently manages upwards of $40 billion.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Donald Kilbride, lead manager of Vanguard's Dividend Growth Fund (VDIGX), had an incredible 2019. In fact, he was one of the year's top performing fund managers.

Since Kilbride took over at the helm of the fund 15 years ago, he's employed a systematic and disciplined approach to investing. Nothing flashy. Nothing over-complicated. Nothing exotic. And he's found great success in doing so. 

Today, Kilbride manages upwards of $40 billion.

"It's the constant application of a really simple and straightforward investment philosophy," he said in an exclusive interview with Business Insider. "Think about our basic investment philosophy as having five basic pillars."

Those pillars are: (1) Compounding, (2) Value creation and value distribution, (3) Dividends, (4) Low turnover, and (5) Facts vs. opinions

Each pillar plays an important role within the approach, and Kilbride's adherence to the strategy is steadfast. 

Let's take a closer look.


"Compounding is the best way to create wealth over long periods of time," he said. "We want to take advantage of that power of compounding."

The concept is simple. Kilbride wants to find great companies that create and distribute value year after year after year, and let the reinvested earnings do the heavy lifting throughout the process.

He employs a long-term time horizon in order to take full advantage of this notion. Many of the positions that are currently in his portfolio have been there for over a decade.

Value creation and value distribution

"The best way to find those compounding vehicles is to find companies that balance those two dimensions — value creation and value distribution," he said.

In order for an investment to pique Kilbride's interest, he needs to see the company making smart investments, growing returns on capital, buying back shares, and growing dividends. If an investment doesn't check all of those boxes, he's not interested.

Moreover, Kilbride tries not to let the overarching macroeconomic backdrop influence his analysis. He focuses on the idiosyncratic features of the investment and uses a bottom-up approach. To him, the complicated macroeconomic questions aren't worth trying to figure out. He'd rather spend his time vetting a company's competitive advantage and business initiatives.


"Dividend growth is the portal through which we find those businesses," he said. "If you find a company that pays and grows its dividend over time, by definition you've found a value distributor. If you find a company that's growing its value distribution to the shareholder over time, by definition you've found a value creator."

Put briefly, when Kilbride finds a company that has meaningful history of growing its dividend, he knows he's found a value creator-distributor. After all, you can't grow something that you're not creating. What's more, the predictable income from dividend distribution can be reinvested.

He continued: "It's that virtuous circle." 

Low turnover

"We try to keep our turnover purposely low for a variety of reasons," he said. 

Two of the main reasons that Kilbride touches upon are costs and reinvestment risks. 

When a portfolio is churned and traded frequently, fees and costs add up quickly. All of which burden the shareholder. Unless the story changes around a stock in the portfolio — acquisitions, divestitures, changes in management, and so forth — Kilbride's sitting tight and not selling.

"The more decisions you make in the portfolio, the more reinvestment risk you introduce," he said.

Facts vs. opinions

"Most of investing is opinion-based," he said. "Value is an opinion; quality is an opinion."

However, Kilbride notes that two variables that are not opinions at the moment of decision are price and dividend. An investor knows with absolute certainty what the price is and what the dividend is — and Kilbride focuses incessantly on them. This notion helps to remove some of the ambiguity and discretion around decision-making and shifts the focus on to hard data.

"To the extent that you can focus your investing on facts — and in this case, price and dividend — the better off we're going to be," he said.

SEE ALSO: We interviewed Wall Street's 7 top-performing investors to get their secrets for success — and their best ideas for 2020

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

I've taught over 2,000 women how to invest, and I always give beginners the same 5 steps

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 10:41am

  • After leaving a job in investment management in San Francisco, Amanda Holden now teaches women of all income levels to invest. She wants her students to know that investing is within their capacity.
  • Successful investing always begins with identifying the goal for the money. Then, you find the appropriate investments to match that goal, she says.
  • Investing for beginners is more accessible than ever. Holden advises beginners to find low-cost banks and investing options to get started and pursue ongoing education.
  • Need help with your own investing strategy? SmartAsset's free tool can find a financial adviser near you »

From cute co-eds in a sweaty sorority basement to fancy law firm execs to virtual students (fleece house pants and all), I've taught a lot of women to invest over the last three years. Over 2,000, to be exact!

It's a journey that began not long after I quit my job working in investment management in San Francisco. After working with high-net-worth clients for six years, I quit to start my own business, called Invested Development. The purpose of this business is to get this critical information to the demographic that I care most about: young women, and anyone else who has felt left out of these conversations — because these conversations are so often reserved for men who are already wealthy.

Though I work with women at many stages of the wealth-building process, I spend lots of time with those thrusting themselves into the wacky world of investing for the first time. After years of honing my message, here's what I would tell them — and you — about what you need to know to get started.

1. Ditch feelings of shame

You would need an old scroll the size of a CVS receipt to list all of the reasons why women feel shame when it comes to money. Whether we have too much or too little, whether we spend money on lipstick or we don't, someone's got an opinion about it. I'm ready to leave all of this in the last decade. If our goal is to create more women with financial confidence and freedom, money shame needs to die a swift death.

I get this one a lot: I feel shame that I didn't learn to manage my money sooner. No need! You're learning about it now, and your future self will be so grateful that you did. Assessing your progress according to arbitrary age-related milestones will not help you to build wealth — and that's our only goal, here.

2. Believe that investing is within your capacity

Take one look around the spaces where investing is being discussed, and it's not hard to figure out why so many of us feel intimidated. I mean, spend a second visualizing the New York Stock Exchange: men, in expensive suits, screaming at each other in a large rotunda against a backdrop of flashing red numbers. I do not speak for all women, but to me this scene may as well be one of Dante's nine layers of hell.

For so long, investing has been relegated to domains that are purposefully exclusionary.

This leads many women to believe that investing is not for them, is too hard, or requires a ton of resources. All of these notions are untrue, as much as Wall Street would love you to believe it to be so. The world of investing can be decomplexified a lot quicker than you think, and there are now ways to get started with very small amounts. And no, yelling or condescending men need not be involved.

3. Start with your goal for the money, then find an investment to match

I'll often have women that will come to me and ask, "How should I invest my money?" And my response to that is always, "Well, what is your goal for that money?"

You need to look at your pool of money and ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What is my goal with this money?
  2. When do I need this money?
  3. What kind of risk am I willing to take with this money?

Next, we take a look at the investing options that exist out there. Our goal is to find the investment or mix of investments that best matches up with whatever you are trying to accomplish.

And contrary to what it may seem — the investing universe can feel so vast! — there are actually limited options. So, we study those options, including how they usually perform in the short-term and in the long-term, to determine what makes the most sense given your goals and your timeline for your money.

For example, many people prefer stocks for long-term growth — returns are too volatile for the short-term. For a goal where you'll need the money in the next few years, cash is likely more appropriate.

So, if you're feeling stuck, your first order of business is to spend some time thinking about what it is that you want to accomplish with your money. Mentally separate your money into different buckets according to goals. Do you want to grow money for retirement? Do you want to save up for a down payment for a home? Are you building up an emergency fund? You investing strategy ultimately lies in these answers.

4. Find low-cost banks and investing options

When you're just getting started, the key is to keep as much money in your own pockets as possible. We aren't investing to make the banks richer, we're investing to make you richer.

In the world of investing, there are plenty of fees to keep an eye out for. Start with a bank you know won't charge you a monthly or annual account fee, like Charles Schwab, Fidelity, or Vanguard. If you've got a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k), investigate what types of fees are being charged.

Next, seek out low-cost investing options. One popular choice is index funds. An index fund invests you into a "whole" market for cheap. So, if after completing Step 3 you've decided that stocks are most appropriate for you, you could invest in a stock index fund. If you've determined that bonds are best in your scenario, you can buy a bond index fund. This is likely to be your cheapest way to broadly invest.

5. Commit to learning about what you're invested in

If you're going to be a successful long-term investor, you need to understand what you own and why you own it. This may sound obvious, but I worked for years with grown adult men who lost their marbles every time the stock market took a dip — and volatility is an inevitable part of stock market investing!

You shouldn't own an investment that you don't understand. The good news is, this education is absolutely within your reach. (Remember! See Step 2!)

Here are some of my favorite resources:

You may also find it helpful to find community resources, classes, or groups. I'm a firm believer in the power of talking through this foreign-feeling information to make it stick. And as a bonus, the more we talk about building wealth within our communities — the more we all grow.

And for me, the ultimate goal is to create the maximum amount of women who have their own wealth.

Amanda Holden is a personal finance writer. Through her business, Invested Development, she teaches young women (and anyone who has felt left out of these important conversations) about money and investing. She writes a blog called The Dumpster Dog Blog, which is scrappy, no BS, finance education for young women. 

Join the conversation about this story »

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16 books about the biggest business scams of our time — including Enron, Bernie Madoff, and Theranos

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 10:31am


  • Greed and the desire for power often lead to unconscionable acts of fraud and deceit. This theme isn't new, but the popular book "Bad Blood," detailing the rise and fall of healthcare startup Theranos, certainly reminds us of its truth.
  • If you're interested in similarly well-written and well-researched books about business scams and scandals, these 16 fascinating books tell you everything you need to know.
  • From the financial industry to cars to sports, they paint a picture of how business scams are built, how they subsequently crash, and how all the involved players are affected.

Like scores of other readers across America, I was recently enraptured by the Silicon Valley nightmare tale of Theranos, the healthcare startup that promised to revolutionize blood testing and seduced notable investors, large pharmacy partners, and hopeful customers alike. It never delivered on its promise, blew through hundreds of millions of dollars, and harmed countless livelihoods along the way.

Instances of corporate deceit and fraud like this aren't new. When power and money are at stake, people often trade in their consciences for more immediately gratifying rewards — and face the consequences when their elaborate schemes spiral out of control.

Theranos now joins names like Bernie Madoff and Enron, cemented in history and the syllabi of business-ethics courses as lessons of questionable business practices that you don't want to believe took place. You often hear only about the devastating result of these scandals, but these books bring you back to the beginning and weave fair, thoughtful tales about how they all transpired.

For a fascinating and often horrifying look into how not to run a business, read these 16 books about some of the biggest corporate scandals and scams of our time.

Book descriptions provided by Amazon and edited for length.

"Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup" by John Carreyou

Buy it here >>

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier.

Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work. A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.

"The Wizard of Lies" by Diana B. Henriques

Buy it here >>

Who is Bernie Madoff, and how did he pull off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history? These questions have fascinated people ever since the news broke about the respected New York financier who swindled his friends, relatives, and other investors out of $65 billion through a fraud that lasted for decades. Many have speculated about what might have happened or what must have happened, but no reporter has been able to get the full story — until now.

A true-life financial thriller, "The Wizard of Lies" contrasts Madoff's remarkable rise on Wall Street, where he became one of the country's most trusted and respected traders, with dramatic scenes from his accelerating slide toward self-destruction.

"Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron" by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

Buy it here >>

Like its subject, "The Smartest Guys in the Room" is ambitious, grand in scope, and ruthless in its dealings. Unlike Enron, the Texas-based energy giant that has come to represent the post-millennium collapse of 1990s go-go corporate culture, it's also ultimately successful. Penned by Fortune scribes Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, the 400-page-plus chronicle of the scandal digs deep inside the numbers while, wisely, maintaining focus on the "smart guys" deep-frying the books.

The likes of paternal but disengaged CEO Ken Lay, cutthroat man-behind-the-curtain Jeff Skilling, and ethically blind numbers whiz Andy Fastow vividly come to life as they make a mockery of conventional accounting practices and grow increasingly arrogant and bind to their collective hubris.  

"The Spider Network" by David Enrich

Buy it here >>

The Wall Street Journal's award-winning business reporter unveils the bizarre and sinister story of how a math genius named Tom Hayes, a handful of outrageous confederates, and a deeply corrupt banking system ignited one of the greatest financial scandals in history.

In 2006, an oddball group of bankers, traders and brokers from some of the world's largest financial institutions made a startling realization: Libor — the London interbank offered rate, which determines interest rates on trillions in loans worldwide — was set daily by a small group of easily manipulated functionaries. Eventually known as the "Spider Network," Hayes's circle generated untold riches — until it all unraveled in spectacularly vicious, backstabbing fashion.


"Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World's Biggest Sports Scandal" by Ken Besinger

Buy it here >>

The definitive, shocking account of the FIFA scandal — the biggest international corruption case of recent years, spearheaded by US investigators, involving dozens of countries, and implicating nearly every aspect of the world's most popular sport, soccer, including its biggest event, the World Cup.

The FIFA case began small, boosted by an IRS agent's review of an American soccer official's tax returns. But that humble investigation eventually led to a huge worldwide corruption scandal that crossed continents and reached the highest levels of the soccer's world governing body in Switzerland.

"Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World" by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope

Buy it here >>

In 2009, a chubby, mild-mannered graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business named Jho Low set in motion a fraud of unprecedented gall and magnitude — one that would come to symbolize the next great threat to the global financial system. Over a decade, Low, with the aid of Goldman Sachs and others, siphoned billions of dollars from an investment fund — right under the nose of global financial industry watchdogs.

By early 2019, with his yacht and private jet reportedly seized by authorities and facing criminal charges in Malaysia and in the United States, Low had become an international fugitive, even as the U.S. Department of Justice continued its investigation.

"The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine" by Michael Lewis

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The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking.

Out of a handful of unlikely-really unlikely-heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our time.

"American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road" by Nick Bilton

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In 2011, a twenty-six-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine Web site hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything — drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons — free of the government's watchful eye. 

It's a story of the boy next door's ambition gone criminal, spurred on by the clash between the new world of libertarian-leaning, anonymous, decentralized Web advocates and the old world of government control, order, and the rule of law. Filled with unforgettable characters and capped by an astonishing climax, "American Kingpin" might be dismissed as too outrageous for fiction. But it's all too real. 

"Black Edge" by Sheelah Kolhatkar

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In hedge fund circles, Steven A. Cohen was revered as one of the greatest traders who ever lived. But that image was shattered when his fund, SAC Capital, became the target of a seven-year government investigation. Prosecutors labeled SAC a "magnet for market cheaters" whose culture encouraged the relentless pursuit of "edge"— and even "black edge," which is inside information — and the firm was ultimately indicted and pleaded guilty to charges related to a vast insider trading scheme.

Cohen, himself, however, was never charged. "Black Edge" is a riveting legal thriller that raises urgent questions about the power and wealth of those who sit at the pinnacle of high finance and how they have reshaped the economy.

"Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco" by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

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The fight to control RJR Nabisco during October and November of 1988 was more than just the largest takeover in Wall Street history. Marked by brazen displays of ego not seen in American business for decades, it became the high point of a new gilded age and its repercussions are still being felt. The tale remains the ultimate story of greed and glory — a story and a cast of characters that determined the course of global business and redefined how deals would be done and fortunes made in the decades to come.

Burrough and Helyar provide an unprecedentedly detailed look at how financial operations at the highest levels are conducted but also a richly textured social history of wealth at the twilight of the Reagan era.

"The Big Lie: Spying, Scandal, and Ethical Collapse at Hewlett Packard" by Anthony Bianco

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In 2003, HP began a transition from the family management style of its founders. It made a bold statement by hiring as its new CEO the most visible female business executive in America: Carly Fiorina. Less than two years later, the board fired her, amid accusations of imperiousness that had begun damagingly to leak into the business media.

Anthony Bianco gets to heart of the ethical morass at HP that ended up damning the entire board that created it. Almost every American has an interest in how the country's greatest corporations are run, and the character of the people entrusted with them. The story of Hewlett-Packard reflects power struggles that shape corporate America and is an alarming morality tale for our times.

"Too Big to Fail" by Andrew Ross Sorkin

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Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami. From inside the corner office at Lehman Brothers to secret meetings in South Korea, and the corridors of Washington, "Too Big to Fail" is the definitive story of the most powerful men and women in finance and politics grappling with success and failure, ego and greed, and, ultimately, the fate of the world's economy.

"Healthsouth: The Wagon to Disaster" by Aaron Beam and Chris Warner

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Corporate greed is the Black Plague of the modern financial world threatening America's ability to maintain free market capitalism in an increasingly distrusting, changing, and socialistic world economy. Told by former co-founder and CFO Aaron Beam, it's the untold story of HealthSouth, one of America's most successful health care companies and consequently, the perpetrator of one of its biggest frauds in history.

How big was the fraud? In 2003, just before news of the crime broke in the mainstream media, HealthSouth paid more money in taxes to the federal government than it legitimately earned the previous year. Beam takes the reader from HealthSouth's humble beginnings, through its meteoric rise and to its disastrous revelation, subsequent trial and his three-month incarceration in a federal prison. 

"Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal" by Jack Ewing

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In mid-2015, Volkswagen proudly reached its goal of surpassing Toyota as the world's largest automaker. A few months later, the EPA disclosed that Volkswagen had installed software in 11 million cars that deceived emissions-testing mechanisms. By early 2017, VW had settled with American regulators and car owners for $20 billion, with additional lawsuits still looming. 

"Faster, Higher, Farther" rips the lid off the conspiracy and reveals how the succeed-at-all-costs mentality prevalent in modern boardrooms led to one of corporate history's farthest-reaching cases of fraud — with potentially devastating consequences.

"Taking Down the Lion: The Triumphant Rise and Tragic Fall of Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski" by Catherine S. Neal

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As the widely-admired CEO of Tyco International, Dennis Kozlowski grew a little-known New Hampshire conglomerate into a global giant. In a stunning series of events, Kozlowski suddenly lost his job along with his favored public status when he was indicted by legendary Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau — it was an inglorious end to an otherwise brilliant career.

In an unfiltered view of corporate America, Catherine Neal pulls back the curtain to reveal a world of big business, ambition, money, and an epidemic of questionable ethics that infected not only business dealings but extended to attorneys, journalists, politicians, and the criminal justice system.


"Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower" by Cynthia Cooper

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Former WorldCom Chief Audit Executive Cynthia Cooper recounts for the first time her journey from her close family upbringing in a small Mississippi town, to working motherhood and corporate success, to the pressures of becoming a whistleblower, to being named one of Time's 2002 Persons of the Year. She also provides a rare insider's glimpse into the spectacular rise and fall of WorldCom, a telecom titan, the darling of Wall Street, and a Cinderella story for Mississippi.

 This book reminds us all that ethical decision-making is not forged at the crossroads of major events but starts in childhood, "decision by decision and brick by brick."

Last year, Business Insider Intelligence published payments and commerce predictions for 2019 — here's how they fared

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 10:06am

In late 2018, Business Insider Intelligence published predictions about what to expect in the payments industry in 2019. Here's a look at how our past predictions fared:

We missed the mark on one key prediction last year: Amazon hasn't yet launched a full-scale banking or payments product, though the brand continues to move into the space. Last year, we suspected Amazon was on the precipice of a banking or payments launch after rumors about early stage talks to develop a checking account-type product with banking partners, international cash top-up initiatives, aggressive merchant recruitment for Amazon Pay, and brick-and-mortar experimentation.

That suspicion didn't pan out: Rather than pivoting into payments, the brand focused on continuing to separate its e-commerce offerings from the competition's in 2019, with new offerings like expanded one-day shipping, as well as deepening its push into physical retail. But it hasn't abandoned payments entirely, instead taking a partnership-centric approach to explore point-of-sale (POS) financing in Australia and Japan and bill pay in the US and India, that could foreshadow further 2020 ambitions in the space.

While our crystal ball isn't always perfect, some of our predictions held up throughout the year — here are three other predictions we got right:

  • Developing markets are tightening regulations to give domestic players an advantage. Last year, we noted that some developing regions were showing signs of regulatory crackdowns that would benefit local players, just as Chinese policy protected the dominance of giants like UnionPay, Alipay, and WeChat Pay. As the Chinese market opened up, both markets we highlighted last year tightened: India hasn't let WhatsApp launch yet and also eliminated fees on some electronic payments, to the ire of international providers, while Venezuela is set to end acceptance for Visa and Mastercard next year to pave the way for its own system.
  • The Chase-Visa contactless deal hasn't proven enough to turn the US into a contactless-dominant market. Chase's announcement about reissuing its cards as contactless preceded a flurry of other issuers, including Bank of AmericaWells Fargo, and Amex, doing the same. While this is poised to drastically raise contactless penetration in the US — Visa expects adoption to hit 100 million this year and triple that next year — the technology isn't seeing broad-based adoption beyond major cities and transit yet.
  • Direct debit products have become more prominent thanks to regulatory shifts and increased availability of faster payments. Direct debit offerings have gained considerable steam, particularly in the UK, with the expansion of the Pay by Bank app as well as Open Banking-enabled launches from players like Natwest. In the US, the Fed's announcement of FedNow could speed up innovation in this area, particularly as Google lobbies for API-based use cases.

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Top investors from one of the earliest cannabis-focused funds share their 3 best tips for making a successful pitch

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 10:06am

Brother-and-sister-duo Morgan and Emily Paxhia know what turns a pitch into funding for a startup.

As the managing partners of Poseidon Asset Management, a cannabis-focused investment firm, the pair have seen — and sat through — tons of pitches of varying quality. The siblings started Poseidon in 2013 and their first fund attracted more than $105 million in assets, according to the firm's website.

The two shared their best pieces of advice for startup founders looking to make a successful pitch in a recent webinar moderated by Business Insider.

During the webinar, Cy Scott, the CEO of cannabis analytics startup Headset, walked through his Series A funding round pitch. The Paxhia's chimed in on where they thought Scott's pitch stood out. 

They would know: Poseidon led the $12 million funding round, which closed earlier this year.

Here are their three best tips for making a successful pitch:

Tip #1: Anticipate questions beforehand 

One of Emily Paxhia's first and most important pieces of advice was to pre-empt potential investor questions by doing your homework.

"Anticipate the areas where investors might really poke at in the presentation," said Paxhia. She advises going through the presentation beforehand with investors and mentors to address potential questions investors could ask in the pitch meeting. 

"Answer those potential questions before the investor even gets fired up," Emily Paxhia said. "It's a great way to show that you're thinking about the challenges as a founder." 

Tip #2: Think like an investor 

Oftentimes startup founders don't think like investors. If the founder is able to pre-empt questions — specifically around what would make an investment not work, that's a good sign, the Paxhias said during the webinar.

"You have to think about what could make the investment not work and answer those questions right away in your presentation," Morgan Paxhia said. 

Read more: 'It's a once in a decade opportunity': How top VC firms like Greycroft and Lerer Hippeau are cautiously opening their doors to the potentially $194 billion cannabis industry

In order to make a strong pitch, the Poseidon founders said that a company needs to reflect on their own business, as well as the state of the market and the state of the competitive landscape.

"Those are the big ideas I see missing in a lot of decks," Emily Paxhia said. 

Tip #3: Understand the competitive landscape 

While Scott said companies don't want to address their competition because it can appear to downplay their own strength, knowing the competitive landscape in the industry actually works to a startup's advantage.

"Lots of people say, 'I don't have a competitor,'" Emily Paxhia said. "To me that just shows you haven't taken the time to do the market research on the very space you're entering into to serve."

"Because guess what, I've probably been pitched by your competitor." 

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NOW WATCH: Here's how to escape a flooding vehicle

Insurtech Research Report: The trends & technologies allowing insurance startups to compete

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 6:06pm

Tech-driven disruption in the insurance industry continues at pace, and we're now entering a new phase — the adaptation of underlying business models. 

That's leading to ongoing changes in the distribution segment of the industry, but more excitingly, we are starting to see movement in the fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management. 

This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, will briefly review major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year. It will then examine how startups and legacy players across the insurance value chain are using technology to develop new business models that cut costs or boost revenue, and, in some cases, both. Additionally, we will provide our take on the future of insurance as insurtech continues to proliferate. 

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Funding is flowing into startups and helping them scale, while legacy players have moved beyond initial experiments and are starting to implement new technology throughout their businesses. 
  • Distribution, the area of the insurance value chain that was first to be disrupted, continues to evolve. 
  • The fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management — are starting to experience true disruption, while innovation in reinsurance has also continued at pace.
  • Insurtechs are using new business models that are enabled by a variety of technologies. In particular, they're using automation, data analytics, connected devices, and machine learning to build holistic policies for consumers that can be switched on and off on-demand.
  • Legacy insurers, as opposed to brokers, now have the most to lose — but those that move swiftly still have time to ensure they stay in the game.

 In full, the report:

  • Reviews major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year.
  • Examines how startups and legacy players across distribution, insurance, and reinsurance are using technology to develop new business models.
  • Provides our view on what the future of the insurance industry looks like, which Business Insider Intelligence calls Insurtech 2.0.
Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

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Newly released documents show T-Mobile considered a merger with the media giant Comcast, in addition to its merger with Sprint, in a plan to create one of the biggest companies in the world

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 5:13pm

T-Mobile has been planning a merger with Sprint for years in a bid to better compete with competitors like Verizon and AT&T. The merger was given the green light by the Federal Communications Commission in November, but it has been met with intense pressure by state and federal regulators. 

As part of the scrutiny into T-Mobile, new documents made public on Monday, and first reported by The Verge, revealed a road map for the company, including a potential merger with the telecommunications and media giant Comcast.

The documents from December 2015 show that T-Mobile had considered a two-step merger: First, merge with Sprint, then merge with a cable company, the top choice being Comcast. 

The road map, titled "Defining a Winning Business Position for the US Business Model," appeared to be presented to executives of the company and was compiled in part with the management-consulting company McKinsey & Co. T-Mobile initially tried to withhold the documents from the public, arguing that the report's authorship by a third party, McKinsey, required confidentiality. That argument was not accepted, and the documents were made public on Monday.

The logic T-Mobile provided for a subsequent merger with Comcast offers a rare candid look into how the company thinks about its US business in the long term.

The document points to T-Mobile's worth to Comcast: "Move into mobile might be only natural option for Comcast to grow," it said. "Preferred Comcast moves are unlikely to get approval."

In layman's terms, T-Mobile sees its value to Comcast as a means of skirting federal regulators' concerns with conglomerates. Rather that Comcast having to move into mobile markets itself, the cable giant could simply merge with T-Mobile as a side door in.

The document showed that the mobile carrier also considered mergers with other major names in cable, including Bright House and Charter. However, it's unclear how — or if — the company's position has changed since late 2015, when the report was issued, or how seriously the report was taken by the company at the time. T-Mobile representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

SEE ALSO: T-Mobile's renegotiation of its Sprint merger agreement suggests the deal may be becoming less valuable

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NOW WATCH: Watch Google reveal the new Nest Mini, which is an updated Home Mini

[Report] Future of Life Insurance Industry: Insurtech & Trends in 2018

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 5:05pm
  • Life insurance is fundamentally hard to sell; it’s morbid to think about, promises no immediate rewards, and often requires a lengthy paper application with minimal guidance.
  • Despite the popularity of personalized products in other areas of finance and fintech, life insurance largely remains unchanged.
  • A small, but growing pocket of insurtech startups are shaking up the status quo by finding ways to digitize life insurance and increase its appeal.

Life insurance is a fundamentally difficult product to sell; it requires people to think about their deaths without promising any immediate returns.

And, despite tech innovations and the development of personalized services in other areas of finance, life insurance remains largely unchanged.

Luckily, there is a small but growing pocket of insurtech startups looking to modernize it. These companies are finding ways to digitize life insurance to  appeal to consumers — and they’re giving incumbents the opportunity to revamp traditional offerings, either by partnering with them or using their technology.

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has forecasted the shifting landscape of life insurance in the The Future of Life Insurance report. Here are the key problems insurtechs are tackling:

  • Lack of education: Forty percent of US consumers told the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA) that they feel intimidated by the life insurance application process, often drastically overestimating its cost and facing uncertainty about how much or which type of coverage to buy.
  • Inconvenient application process: It can take weeks or months for coverage to take effect because of the sheer number of meetings and parties combing through paperwork in each round of the application process. The risk for the insurer often warrants reviews from the carrier, a team of underwriters, a broker, and even a medical examiner.
  • Low customer loyalty: Life insurance tends to be a “set it and forget it” type of purchase, with very few people revisiting it after buying. Insurers and consumers therefore have limited contact for most of the relationship — with the exception of an annual bill, of course.
  • Inefficient data management and processing: The aggregate data life insurers rely on is typically fed into algorithms that make broad assumptions about particular populations, and often incorporate outdated medical documentation — all of which can delay applications and result in unnecessary rejections.

Want to learn more?

The need for modernization in life insurance is clear: Overall sales are slowing and policy ownership is hitting record lows. And because it’s such a tightly-regulated space, innovation from incumbents has stagnated — but they’re not helpless. Consumer-focused and insurer-focused startups have emerged to offer new technologies and process improvements.

The Future of Life Insurance report from Business Insider Intelligence looks at the two main strategies life insurtechs are adopting to drive change in this market, for the benefit of both buyers and sellers. In full, the report discusses best practices incumbents and startups should adopt to steer clear of the risks attached to applying emerging technologies to such a tightly regulated product.

Insurtech startups will soon set new industry standards and consumer expectations around this complex product. That, in turn will serve as a catalyst for innovation among legacy players.

Companies included in this report: Ladder, Haven Life, Getsurance, Tomorrow, Fabric, Atidot, AllLife, Royal London, Polly,, Legal & General, Vitality, Discovery, John Hancock, Dai-ichi Life.

Get The Future of Life Insurance

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Tesla analyst boosts price target by $100 as the company's turnaround story looks more 'real' (TSLA)

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 4:23pm

  • Daniel Ives of Wedbush increased his price target for Tesla on Thursday to $370 from $270, saying that the company looks to be on an "upward trajectory."
  • Shares of the automaker rose more than 1% Thursday, continuing a week of gains for the company. 
  • "We move one step closer to believing this Tesla turnaround story is real as Musk has delivered with Tesla's back against the wall," Ives wrote in a Thursday note to clients. 
  • Watch Tesla trade live on Markets Insider.

Tesla shares rose more than 1% Thursday, marking another day of gains after Daniel Ives of Wedbush boosted his price target to $370 from $270. 

"We move one step closer to believing this Tesla turnaround story is real as Musk has delivered with Tesla's back against the wall," Ives wrote in a Thursday  note to clients. 

While Ives isn't completely sold on the turnaround story yet, he wrote that recent data points from Europe and China are positive and led him to raise his target price by $100. His target price is still roughly 13% lower than where Tesla shares closed Tuesday, and he reaffirmed his neutral rating on the stock.  

Tesla has "proven the skeptics" wrong in the near term with "strong Model 3 consumer demand and profitability that looks to be on an upward trajectory for 4Q," he wrote.  

The company could comfortably hit its vehicle delivery guidance of between 360,000 and 400,000 units for full year 2019, according to Ives. That's a year over year increase of 45% to 65%. If Tesla can sustain its current level of profitability and demand, the stock "will open up a new chapter of growth and multiple expansion," Ives wrote. 

Going forward, Tesla's future growth is heavily dependent on China, and so the Giga 3 ramp and demand in the region will be "front and center" for investors over the next 12 to 18 months, Ives wrote. 

He continued, saying that 2020 is a pivotal year for the company "as ultimately this will be the year the bulls have been waiting for with China coming on board and Musk's grand EV vision starts to take hold......or hits another stumble and the bears will come quickly out of hibernation mode heading into next year with the stock at new highs."

While there have been some solid data points from Tesla as of late, Ives wrote that investors have been "snake bitten" by the stock in the past "as every time optimism grows and it looks like bright skies over Fremont unfortunately some negative variable" comes out of left field and "creates an overhang on the story."  

And, Tesla's debt load remains "an albatross around Fremont's neck," and strong cash flow and profitability is needed to fund "Musk's myriad of initiatives" that includes robotaxis, Giga 3, and insurance initiatives, Ives wrote. 

The note comes after a Tesla rally that's sent the stock surging past $420, the price at which CEO Elon Musk tweeted he had funding secured to take the company private in 2018. As the stock soars, traders that have bet against Tesla have lost more than $8 billion.

Tesla is up roughly 28% year-to-date through Tuesday's close.

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NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

FREE SLIDE DECK: The Future of Fintech

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 4:01pm

Digital disruption is affecting every aspect of the fintech industry. Over the past five years, fintech has established itself as a fundamental part of the global financial services ecosystem.

Fintech startups have raised, and continue to raise, billions of dollars annually. At the same time, incumbent financial institutions are getting in on the act, and using fintech to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving financial services landscape. So what's next?

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has the answer in our brand new exclusive slide deck The Future of Fintech. In this deck, we explore what's next for fintech, how it will reach new heights, and the developments that will help it get there.

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The 15 worst US states for millennials, ranked

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 3:45pm

  • Information company Zippia released its ranking of the worst states for millennials in November. 
  • To determine which states were the worst, Zippia considered millennial unemployment rates, average student loan debt, millennial homeownership rates, and the percentage of millennials who were living in poverty in each area.
  • It found that the District of Columbia was the worst place to be a millennial, with a millennials unemployment rate of 6% and average student loan debt of $60,039.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

By now, everyone knows that millennials have it hard — or at least, harder than other generations. 

As Hillary Hoffower for Business Insider previously reported, millennials hold only 3% of the total wealth in the United States, while baby boomers account for nearly 60% of the country's wealth. 

"Gen X and millennials haven't even reached these wealth levels. Thus far, Gen X only comprises about 16% of US wealth," Hoffower wrote. "And perhaps most strikingly, the line for millennials is almost completely flat: They've barely seen any increase in net worth, coming in at less than 5% of total US wealth in 2019."

But there are some places where it's better to be a millennial than others, and information firm Zippia has the data to prove it.

Zippia determined the best and worst states by taking each state and the District of Columbia, then ranking them based on factors including millennial unemployment, average student loan debt, millennial homeownership rates, and the percentage of millenials who were living in poverty in that state. These factors were then averaged together.

As result, the study found that the District of Columbia was the worst place to be a millennial, with an unemployment rate of 6% for that age range — significantly steeper than the current national employment rate of 3.7%. On top of that, Zippia's researchers found that DC millennials have an average student loan debt of just over $60,000.

Keep reading to see which states rounded out the top 15, listed in order from least bad to worst.

SEE ALSO: Here's how much money you have to earn to be considered rich in 42 major US cities

DON'T MISS: The 10 colleges that have produced the most Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees this year

15. New Jersey

Millennial unemployment rate: 7.3%

Average student loan debt: $35,011

According to a 2018 study, 12.5% of millennials in New Jersey still live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

14. Oregon

Millennial unemployment rate: 7.1%

Average student loan debt: $33,419

According to a 2018 study, 7.3% of millennials in Oregon live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

13. Rhode Island

Millennial unemployment rate: 7.5%

Average student loan debt: $32,341

According to a 2018 study, 10.4% of millennials in Rhode Island live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

12. Illinois

Millennial unemployment rate: 7.3%

Average student loan debt: $37,470

According to a 2018 study, 10.8% of millennials in Illinois live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported

11. Tennessee

Millennial unemployment rate: 7.3%

Average student loan debt: $34,283

According to a 2018 study, 8.8% of millennials in Tennessee live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported

10. Mississippi

Millennial unemployment rate: 10%

Average student loan debt: $33,261

According to a 2018 study, 10.8% of millennials in Mississippi live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

9. Louisiana

Millennial unemployment rate: 8%

Average student loan debt: $33,860

According to a 2018 study, 10.6% of millennials in Louisiana live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

8. Alabama

Millennial unemployment rate: 8%

Average student loan debt: $34,861

According to a 2018 study, 9.9% of millennials in Alabama live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

7. South Carolina

Millennial unemployment rate: 7%

Average student loan debt: $37,249

According to a 2018 study, 9.2% of millennials in South Carolina live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

6. California

Millennial unemployment rate: 7%

Average student loan debt: $34,449

According to a 2018 study, 12.2% of millennials in California live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported

5. North Carolina

Millennial unemployment rate: 7%

Average student loan debt: $36,246

According to a 2018 study, 8.7% of millennials in North Carolina live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

4. Florida

Millennial unemployment rate: 7%

Average student loan debt: $35,709

According to a 2018 study, 10.2% of millennials in Florida live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported

3. New York

Millennial unemployment rate: 7%

Average student loan debt: $38,734

According to a 2018 study, 12.2% of millennials in New York live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported

2. Georgia

Millennial unemployment rate: 8%

Average student loan debt: $37,284

According to a 2018 study, 10.3% of millennials in Georgia live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

1. District of Columbia

Millennial unemployment rate: 6%

Average student loan debt: $60,039

According to a 2018 study, 6.9% of millennials in Washington D.C. live at home with their parents, Business Insider previously reported.

A Tesla analyst says he's one step closer to 'believing that the story is real' and that the stock could shoot to $600 (TSLA)

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 3:41pm

  • The Wedbush analyst Dan Ives on Thursday raised his 12-month price target on Tesla by $100 a share to $370.
  • Ives thinks the company will easily hit its target of shipping at least 360,000 vehicles this year.
  • With Tesla's new factory in China ahead of schedule, he's optimistic the company's sales and stock will jump higher next year.
  • But he remains cautious on the stock overall, given the company's numerous recent setbacks.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Dan Ives isn't yet ready to return to being a bull on Tesla. But he's nearly there.

On Thursday, Ives, a financial analyst who covers the electric-car market for Wedbush, boosted his 12-month price target on Tesla's stock by $100 a share to $370. Though he maintained his neutral rating on the stock, and his increased price target is still below the company's actual market price of about $430 a share, Ives said in a research note he could see a plausible scenario where Tesla stock jumps as high as $600 a share.

"We're one step closer to getting more bullish, to believing that the story is real," Ives told Business Insider.

Tesla's stock fell by nearly half in the first part of this year, hitting a low of less than $177 a share in early June. Since then, though, it's been on a tear, with its price more than doubling, boosted by a much-better-than-expected third-quarter report.

Ives thinks Tesla's financial turnaround is proceeding apace this quarter. Tesla has forecast that it will deliver 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles this year. Doing so would require it to deliver about 104,500 in the current quarter, which would be a record number for the company and about 7,300 more than it delivered in the third quarter.

In October, Tesla said it was "highly confident" it would exceed the lower end of its expected delivery range. And based on data out of Europe, Ives agrees with that assessment. He estimates Tesla is on track to ship 112,000 to 115,000 vehicles in the holiday period.

"European demand is much stronger than expected," Ives said. He added: "Many, including us, have been surprised by this [overall] demand the last few quarters."

China could help send Tesla's stock higher

The good news for the company and its backers will likely continue into next year, he said. Tesla has said that the build-out of its new factory in China is ahead of schedule. Once it's online, vehicle production in the country should boost the company's sales and stock, Ives said.

"If you look at European demand as well as what's happening in China, it feels like the turnaround's real," he said.

But he's not yet ready to upgrade the stock back to a buy. Much of the reason for that is Tesla's recent history, he said. Seemingly every time of late that investors have gotten bullish on the company, it has had a setback in demand or operations that's sent its stock spiraling.

Ives himself reduced his rating from outperform to neutral in April and cut his price target to as low as $220 in July as Tesla's shares floundered. And he's wary of another unforeseen stumble by the company.

"We need to make sure that the next quarter or two there's no more surprises," he said. "There's a snake-bitten investor," he added, "and I think we're in that camp."

Got a tip about Tesla or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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The Nasdaq soars past 9,000 for the first time ever, fueled by Amazon's holiday sales boom

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 3:32pm

  • The Nasdaq composite index broke through the 9,000 level for the first time ever on Thursday, driven higher by Amazon's 4% surge and broad year-end market rally.
  • The S&P 500 index also notched a record high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped as much as 1% before falling below its Tuesday highs.
  • Amazon announced a "record-breaking" holiday shopping season on Thursday, with "billions of items" purchased in the unusually short Thanksgiving to Christmas period.
  • E-commerce sales also rose 18.8% year over year in 2019, while total holiday sales grew 3.4% from last year.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

The Nasdaq composite breached the 9,000 threshold for the first time in history on Thursday, benefiting from Amazon's record-breaking holiday sales and a year-end stock-market rally.

The S&P 500 also surged to a record high, climbing as holiday-season sales figures revealed strong consumer activity and growing popularity in online shopping. Trading volumes are expected to fall under average this week because of an early market close on Tuesday and Christmas.

Here's how the three major stock indexes performed Thursday as of 3:20 p.m. ET:

S&P 500: 3,233.22, up 0.32%

Nasdaq composite: 9,009.02, up 0.62%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,564.65, up 0.17%

Amazon stock jumped as much as 4.2% on Thursday after announcing it enjoyed a "record-breaking" holiday-shopping season. The e-commerce giant said "billions of items were purchased" during the Thanksgiving to Christmas period, along with "tens of millions of Amazon devices" worldwide. More than 5 million new customers started Prime free trials or paid memberships, the company added in a statement.

Amazon traded at $1,867.46 per share as of 3:20 p.m. ET, up about 24% year to date and hitting its highest level since July 31.

E-commerce sales soared 18.8% year over year through the holiday season despite the period's shorter duration, a Mastercard report said on Thursday. Thanksgiving arrived six days later in November compared with 2018, leaving retailers with less time to drive revenue and off-load inventory. Total retail sales grew 3.4% in the holiday season, further supporting strong spending trends and economic optimism among consumers.

Equity indexes weren't the only vehicles to soar in Thursday trading. Gold, a popular hedge bet for investors expecting increased market volatility, broke through the key psychological trading barrier of $1,500 per ounce. The gain comes as traders shift positions for 2020 and mull whether the Federal Reserve will hold off from further rate cuts in the new year. The precious metal's value is up about 17% year to date, putting it on pace for its best yearly performance since 2010.

The three key indexes have all posted new highs throughout December, marking a sharp contrast to the year-end performance in 2018. Markets tanked in the year-ago period, with the S&P 500 recording its worst December since 1931 and closing the year down 6%.

The S&P 500 is now on track for a 29% gain year to date, less than 1 percentage point from notching its best performance since 1997.

The Nasdaq composite boasts an even more impressive performance, up about 36% year to date. The index is up the most since 2013.

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An Uber Eats executive explains why the suburbs are key to its fastest-growing business area

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 3:22pm

  • Uber Eats is aggressively targeting areas outside of urban cores, especially suburbs, as it expands.
  • The business is one of Uber's fastest-growing areas, and its first that's not for taxi rides. 
  • Ana Mahony, head of US cities for Uber Eats, sat down for an interview with Business Insider to talk strategy. 

Editor's note: This interview was originally published in March 2019, before Uber's IPO. Any business details in the story that have changed in the months since have been updated to accurately reflect the state of Uber's growth. 

When it comes to delivery, Chinese food and pizza are about all that many Americans are used to ordering.

Outside of New York City and other metro areas, that's often still the case, especially in the suburbs. That's the exact market Uber wants to corner with its food delivery business as the ride-hailing giant continues its quest for global domination.

"The demand that we've experienced from the suburbs over the last year and a half has been truly phenomenal," Ana Mahony, head of US cities for Uber Eats, said in an interview with Business Insider. "It shows the power and potential to expand our business everywhere."

Uber Eats first launched more than three years ago, and has expanded to more than 350 markets served by 300,000 couriers. Not only is delivery one of the fastest-growing areas of Uber's business, it showcases the "power of the Uber platform," as executives are quick to point out. In other words, a vast global network of services powered by a phone app can mean just more than digital taxi hailing. The company hopes it can soon reach everything, and has a focus on groceries next.

But while the densely-populated New York metro area is easily the most lucrative market for Uber's ride-hailing business, delivery is growing in areas with less density, where walking to grab a takeout meal might not be an option.  In France, for example, more than half of Uber Eats orders take place outside of Paris, the company said.

"We're seeing a lot of demand out there from families and people who eat differently than people do in our urban cores," Mahony said.

On its most recent quarterly financial update, Uber said revenue from Eats rose to $392 million in the third quarter, a 105% increase over the same period last year. The company hopes to keep expanding to be the top or second-place service in every market, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said. 

It's not just diners who benefit, either. Uber can leverage its massive network of data to expand local restaurants reach. Many of those small eateries might not have even had delivery options before.

"The amount of revenue that restaurants have access to is limited to the number of tables they have. 

"The amount of revenue that restaurants have access to is limited to the number of tables they have in their restaurant as well as how quickly they can provide meals to customers and how often those tables turn over," Mahony said.

"Delivery enables [restaurants] to, within the same fixed-cost structure, not just make money off of in-store sales, but also have a second avenue to sell their meals."

Then there are the massive enterprise deals Uber nailed down recently: Starbucks and McDonald's, neither of which had delivery options before, joined the platform in recent months. Not only has McDonald's seen higher checks on average on Uber Eats orders, but the hamburger chain has already sent out more than 10 million McNuggets, it said last year. 

Uber Eats' McDonald's trial started with a pilot in Miami before it expanded nationwide last year. "Once we found a playbook, if you will, that worked, we started expanding that across the rest of the country, "Mahony said, adding that it was an easy process to repeat for Starbucks. 

Mahony offered no specifics for what chains might be next on the list, but added that the company is "actively working on bringing all of our eaters favorite brands and local favorites onto our platform." 

Do you work for Uber Eats? Have a story to share? Get in touch with this reporter at 

*A previous version of this story misspelled Ana Mahony's last name. 

SEE ALSO: Uber is paying $20 million to end a six-year legal battle with drivers

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There have never been this many electric cars for sale. Here's a rundown of what you can buy now. (TSLA, GM)

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 3:18pm

We've come a long way from the years when we had just one or two all-electric vehicles in the US market. By my count, we now have 14 models, at various trim levels, offering a relatively wide choice of ranges, luxury, performance, and price.

To be sure, living with an EV isn't the same as living with a gas-powered car. You have to contend with at-times limited charging options and ranges that aren't fully comparable with internal-combustion vehicles.

But much choice is always better than not much. 

And with many more EVs coming to market in the next five years, the choices should only get better.

Here's the state of play at the moment:

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Tesla Model 3. $40,000 gets you the base Model 3, with 250 miles of range. Move up to the long-range at about $49,000 and you have 322 miles. The Performance trim is top of the line: $57,000, 310 miles, and 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds.

Tesla Model S. The long-range Model S lists for $78,000 and offers 373 miles of range, while the performance trim is $100,000, but with 348 miles and a 0-60 mph time of 2.4 seconds and yes, you read that 0-60 time right. Zowie that's fast.

Tesla Model X. $85,000 buys you the 328-mile long-range trim, while $105,000 get you the 305-mile performance trim and a staggering 2.7-second 0-60 mph time.

Chevy Bolt. The choice is between the $37,000 base trim and the $42,000 Premier model. Range is 259 miles for both.

BMW i3. The all-electric i3 is $44,000 and good for 153 miles of range. And range-extended version is available, using a small gas motor to generate additional range.

Nissan Leaf. There's a Leaf and a Leef Plus. The former starts at $30,000 and serves up 150 miles of range, while the latter is good for 226 miles, but tops out at $43,000. Overall, the Leaf is available in more trim levels than most other EVs.

Porsche Taycan. There are three Taycans on sale: the 4S ($140,000), the Turbo ($151,000), and the Turbo S ($185,000). Range is around 200 miles, but performance varies, with the 4S hitting 60mph in 3.8 seconds, the Turbo getting it done in 3 seconds, and the Turbo S in 2.6 seconds.

Audi e-tron. The $75,000 SUV can be optioned up to $80,000 and has just over 200 miles of range.

Volkswagen e-Golf. At just $32,000, the e-Golf is affordable, but range is just 125 miles.

Jaguar I-Pace. The leaping cat's SUV starts at $70,000 and offers compact SUV versatility with about 234 miles of range.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric. This modest entrant starts at $30,000 but can rise to $37,000. Range is 124 miles.

Hyundai Kona Electric. The range is 258 miles and the price is $36,000.

Kia Niro EV. The $39,000 price get you an appealing 239 miles of range.

Watch the Tesla Cybertruck's closest rival execute full 360-degree turns from a standstill

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 2:51pm

Rivian, the electric-truck maker that's setting up production for its R1T pickup and R1S SUV, would like you to know its upcoming electric haulers have some trick features to get excited about. The company on Wednesday posted a video of the R1T truck performing 360-degree turns from a standstill.

The Rivian spokeswoman Amy Mast explained how the feature works to Business Insider:

"The vehicle's four motors independently control torque at each wheel, allowing torque to be applied in opposite directions on each side of the vehicle," Mast said. The truck estimates how much friction there is between the tires and the surface beneath them and applies torque to each wheel to produce a "controlled rotation."

Quad Motor Tank Turn, as the company calls it, will be available on both the R1T and the R1S. The company expects its truck and SUV to go on sale in late 2020, starting at $69,000 and $72,500, respectively.

The Rivian R1T's nearest rival, the Tesla Cybertruck, is expected to go into production in late 2021.

Rivian is arguably one of the most anticipated electric-vehicle brands since Tesla. It has pulled down investments from Amazon, Ford, and Cox Automotive, among others — including a recent $1.3 billion infusion led by T. Rowe Price. The interest from such industry heavyweights has given Rivian a runway for what could be a successful launch.

CEO RJ Scaringe expressed his confidence in that with the Business Insider transportation reporter Mark Matousek in an April interview: "On-road, the vehicles are really exceptional — exceeding what you'd see in a performance SUV. Off-road, they're really transformational. They're really good."

Scaringe said he believed Rivian would ultimately beat Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. The German trio do not build electric passenger trucks, but they are all in various stages of development and production on their own electric SUVs for the US market.

Watch the video here:

Tank Turn. Available on the R1T and R1S :)

— Rivian (@Rivian) December 25, 2019

SEE ALSO: The startup making the Tesla Cybertruck's closest rival just raked in $1.3 billion from T. Rowe Price, Amazon, Ford, and BlackRock

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Apple gains for a third day, putting it on track for its best yearly performance since 2009 (AAPL)

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 2:48pm

  • Apple gained as much as 1.7% during the day Thursday, the third straight day of gains for the company this week.
  • The increase has solidified that Apple is on track for its best year since 2009. 
  • Apple has gained roughly 80% this year and added about $530 billion of market value. 
  • Watch Apple trade live on Markets Insider.

Shares of Apple rose as much as 1.7% during intraday trading Thursday to yet another fresh high this year for the largest publicly traded company in the US. 

If the share price increase holds, it will be the third day of gains this week for the technology company. So far this year, Apple has gained more than 80% through Tuesday's close. It's the best annual performance since the company's roughly 150% rise in 2009. 

Apple's annual performance in 2019 has handily beat performance in the S&P 500 index, which is up about 30% year-to-date. 

The rally this year also brought the company's market value above $1 trillion again. Apple in August 2018 became the first company to ever hit the milestone, but fell below the record valuation in a year-end market rout in 2018. In October, the company reached a $1 trillion valuation again after rallying on positive US-China trade war news. 

So far this year, the company has added roughly $530 billion in market value and is currently worth roughly $1.28 trillion. 

Apple has a consensus price target of $267.64, about 7% below where the stock is currently trading at roughly $288 per share. Still, the company has 28 "buy" ratings, 14 "hold" ratings, and 7 "sell" ratings from Wall Street analysts that cover the company, according to Bloomberg data. 

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