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It probably doesn't matter where you go to college if you're a well-off white man, but the stakes are much higher for everyone else

Sun, 01/06/2019 - 11:30am

  • Studies suggest that where you go to college doesn't matter that much if you're a relatively wealthy white man.
  • But graduating from an elite college can matter a lot for women, in that they wind up earning more money.
  • One study found that going to (any) college benefits women and black students regardless of their family income, but it benefits high-income white students more than low-income white students.

In 2017, I wrote an article about how it probably doesn't matter where you go to college.

I'd just interviewed the economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of "Everybody Lies," in which he cites a well-known study, by Stacy Berg Dale and Alan B. Krueger and published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, that suggests elite colleges simply accept students with higher earnings capacity. That is to say, going to Harvard or Yale won't necessarily make you successful — but Harvard or Yale might let you in because they see that you have the potential to make it big.

That logic blew my mind.

But in November 2018, a trio of researchers published another study — using the same data set — that complicated the original findings.

While going to a fancy college might not matter for relatively wealthy white men, it can matter a lot for women. From the abstract: "Attending a school with a 100-point higher average SAT score increases women's probability of advanced degree attainment by 5 percentage points and earnings by 14 percent."

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The researchers — Suqin Ge, Elliot Isaac, and Amalia Miller — did some further analysis and learned that women who graduate from elite colleges simply work more than women who graduate from less-selective schools.

That's largely because women who graduate from elite colleges tend to delay marriage and having kids — in fact, they're 4% less likely to marry in the first place. Importantly, this means that women who graduate from elite colleges don't go on to earn higher wages — but their lifetime earnings are higher because they spend more time in the workforce.

I spoke with Ge and she told me these findings didn't particularly surprise her. Attending a more selective college might not just lead to greater skills or productivity, she said. "Some women, they really change their perspective about what they want to do in the future," for example investing more in personal or career development as opposed to starting a family.

If there's a broader takeaway from this study, Ge said, it's that women's career and family decisions are much more interrelated than men's.

Going to college tends to benefit women and black students regardless of their family's income

Other recent research suggests that the effects of graduating from college (not just an elite one) vary not only based on students' gender, but also on their race and family income.

According to a 2018 paper by Timothy J. Bartik and Brad J. Hershbein at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, graduating from college tends to boost women's earnings regardless of their family background (although still not even half as much as it boosts men's earnings). Among men, however, graduating from college yields a significantly bigger income boost for those from a higher-income background than those from a lower-income background.

Read more: The top 50 colleges in the United States, ranked

That paper also found that graduating from college tends to benefit black students regardless of their family background. Among white students, however, graduating from college benefits those from a high-income background significantly more than it benefits those from a low-income background.

College isn't the solution to income inequality — but it may still be a good bet for individual students

While some people have interpreted Bartik and Hershbein's results to mean that college isn't worth it for poorer students, Bartik feels differently. "There can still be a consumer return to going to college," he told me. Specifically, a 71% return over not going to college at all. But "it turns out the return is somewhat lower for those from low-income backgrounds."

It's hard to say exactly how these general findings might apply to an individual student's decision about where to attend college, or whether to go at all. On average, it seems as though college does improve your career prospects — but it does so the most for wealthy, white men who wind up getting a graduate degree and then working on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley.

That's hardly fair, and these statistics only remind us that even the most well-educated among us can face longstanding social barriers to achieving the success they've earned.

SEE ALSO: An economist and former Googler says it probably doesn't matter where you went to college — here's why

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14 business books everyone will be reading in 2019

Sun, 01/06/2019 - 11:00am

  • Some fantastic business books are coming out in early 2019.
  • For example, you can learn about the financial crisis or learn how to become a top-notch manager.
  • Below, we've listed the books we're most eagerly anticipating.

If your New Year's resolution was to read more, we're here to help you out.

The first few months of 2019 have in store some fantastic business books, from an investigation of how incompetent men become leaders, to a guide to making your career dreams a reality, to a biography of Apple CEO Tim Cook. Each one will make you think differently about work, leadership, and success.

Get out your reading glasses — and get excited.

SEE ALSO: The best business books of 2018

'The Surprising Science of Meetings' by Steven G. Rogelberg (Jan. 2)

You know what might be more useful than sitting through an hour-long department meeting? Taking that hour to read a book about why most workplaces are doing meetings all wrong.

Rogelberg is a professor of management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as well as a consultant to organizations including IBM and Procter & Gamble. Based on extensive research and reporting, he put together this guide to more effective meetings.

That doesn't mean eliminating meetings entirely, as some disgruntled employees would have it — instead it might mean holding walking meetings, limiting meeting times to 48 minutes, or instituting periods of silent reading. The book even features an assessment that will diagnose your "meeting quality" — i.e. how much of your day you're currently wasting in conference rooms with your coworkers.

Find it here »

'Be Fearless' by Jean Case (Jan. 8)

Case's book is a welcome kick-in-the-pants for anyone who feels stuck in their career. The first female chairman of the National Geographic Society, as well as a former executive at AOL, Case has broken down success into five guiding principles: make a big bet, take bold risks, capitalize on failure, look beyond your comfort zone, and prioritize urgency over fear.

The book is packed with examples of legendary innovators, from Henry Ford, to Jeff Bezos, to Jose Andres, to Case herself, and the paths that led them to greatness. Some key lessons based on the stories are testing and validating ideas quickly and taking the long view of your life.

Melinda Gates was one of the early readers impressed by the book, saying, "If you need a dose of courage, I recommend this powerful collection of stories, evidence, and optimism."

Find it here »

'The Age of Surveillance Capitalism' by Shoshana Zuboff (Jan. 15)

The monoliths of today's business world are the big tech companies, and unlike corporate giants of the past, they know a scary amount about each of us and hold tremendous sway over our lives. And much of the power they hold takes place in spaces that are unregulated by the government.

In "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism," Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff explores the deal that makes it all possible, the agreement to sacrifice privacy for benefits like interacting with friends and shopping online.

Zuboff takes an in-depth at how this system has transformed the economy, politics, and society in general, and where we go from here.

Find it here »

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Prepaid card transactions will hit $396 billion by 2022 — and new players like Apple, Amazon, and Venmo are trying to gain share

Sun, 01/06/2019 - 10:29am

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

The US prepaid card ecosystem is huge, with 10.7 billion prepaid card transactions made in 2016 reaching $290 billion. And it’s shifting focus from low-income, un- and underbanked consumers toward millennials and higher-income adults.

But as the market evolves, legacy prepaid issuers, like Green Dot, are under threat. The market is becoming more competitive as tech companies like Apple, Square, and Venmo develop their own prepaid offerings, likely as part of a push to drive customers to engage with their core peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer or digital wallet apps. These players’ robust digital offerings and ability to offer prepaid services for lower, or no fees are undercutting legacy businesses. And on top of crowding, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is implementing regulations next year that could impact some issuers’ monetization strategies.

As a result, the US prepaid card market is becoming an increasingly complicated space for issuers to navigate, so prepaid issuers need to rethink their strategies to best attract consumers. Companies can attract a bigger user base if they target younger users from both low-income and high-income segments. They should also provide convenient offerings, that integrate digital features to make account information accessible, to cater to young consumers’ preferences.

Business Insider Intelligence has put together a detailed report that explores the evolving prepaid card industry, identifies how issuers can maintain profitability in a market that’s being challenged by new players and impending government regulations, and evaluates various paths to success.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • There were 10.7 billion prepaid card transactions worth $290 billion in 2016, according to The Federal Reserve. Business Insider Intelligence expects that to grow to $396 billion by 2022. 
  • The prepaid space has historically been filled with incumbents like Green Dot. But new players, like Apple, Amazon, and Venmo, are trying to gain share, which is pushing large prepaid firms to merge or acquire one another to grow.
  • Issuers can adapt to the change in the space, and grow their share of the market, by providing convenient, multichannel access, and doing so in a way that facilitates profitability. Targeting younger consumers, both from the underbanked and high-income segments, as well as accessing users from physical as well as digital channels, can help facilitate this growth.

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the US prepaid card market and estimates its future trajectory.
  • Identifies industry leaders and the newcomers to prepaid that are threatening their market share.
  • Evaluates growth factors and inhibitors that are increasing competition in the space.
  • Issues recommendations and strategies that issuers can implement to stay ahead in such a rapidly shifting space.
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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United has issued a last-minute deal for its Explorer Card — sign up by January 8 to collect up to 65,000 bonus miles

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 6:20pm

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

  • There's only a little bit of time left to get the highest-ever public sign-up bonus on the main United Airlines credit card.
  • The United Explorer Card offers up to 65,000 miles for new applicants: 40,000 United miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months, and another 25,000 miles after spending a total of $10,000 in the first six months.
  • Usually, the card only offers 40,000 miles unless you're specially targeted for something higher.
  • The bonus is enough for a round-trip flight to Europe, or even a ticket in United's new Polaris business class.
  • The offer is only good until January 8; after that, it drops to a lower amount. If you have a use for United miles, now is the time to apply.

The best way to get a ton of frequent flyer miles quickly — aside from booking an incredibly expensive and long flight — is signing up for a new credit card and earning its sign-up bonus. This style of "travel hacking" is basically a way get flights or hotel fees for free; you can get a massive haul of points just for opening a new card and spending money that you were going to spend anyway.

The key is to make sure that when you open a card, you're getting the best offer that you can get. Some cards offer higher bonuses seasonally or during promotions, some products have higher bonuses when they launch, and some offer special bonuses for individually targeted customers.

If you tend to fly United Airlines and you don't have the United Explorer Card, now is an excellent time to apply for it.

For a limited time, United and Chase, which issues the card, are offering the highest-ever public offer on their co-branded credit card.

When you open a new card, you can earn up to 65,000 miles when you open a new card. The offer is broken into two chunks — you'll earn 40,000 United miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months, and another 25,000 miles after spending a total of $10,000 in the first six months.

This offer is only available until January 8, 2019, so don't wait.

While that spending requirement is higher than many cards, there are plenty of ways to meet it without spending more than you would otherwise. For this card, earning the full bonus would require an average of $1,670 per month for the first six months, which is certainly doable for a lot of people.

The United Explorer card was revamped this spring, and comes with some useful perks and benefits.

One highlight that sets it apart from the other airlines' mainstream cards: You'll get two United Club passes per year. These passes get you entry to United Club lounges, where you can enjoy comfortable seating, Wi-Fi, free food and drinks, and more before your flight. Normally, one-time entry to a United Club would cost $59 if you didn't have a membership.

The United Explorer card offers a free checked bag for you and a travel companion when you use the card to pay for your tickets. A checked bag costs $30 each way, so if you and another person on your reservation both take advantage of the free benefit, you'll save $120 on a round-trip.

Additionally, the card offers an application fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck — a solid value if you don't already have one or both of the services. While it's not a published benefit, United cardholders also get access to more saver award space than other United members, which makes it easier to find good flights when it's time to use your miles.

The United Explorer earns 2x miles per dollar spent at restaurants, hotels, and on all United purchase, as well as 1x mile on everything else. It has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.

Should I apply?

This is the best public sign-up bonus we've seen on this card, so if you're eligible to earn it, now is the time to apply.

Keep in mind that you won't be able to earn the bonus if you currently have the United Explorer Card, or if you've earned a sign-up bonus for this card within the past 24 months. You also may not be able to get approved if you've opened five or more personal credit cards in the past 24 months.

Aside from that, if you tend to fly United, the Explorer card offers a solid value, and waives its annual fee for the first year, making the bonus purely profit.

Just keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that makes this card a great option, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

Click here to learn more about the United Explorer Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

SEE ALSO: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and perks of 2019

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Pfizer has a new strategy for fighting cancer that could generate $5 billion a year. We got a look inside. (PFE)

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 2:09pm

  • Developing drugs to treat cancer is a major part of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's future strategy.
  • Pfizer already has a presence in treatments for breast cancer and prostate cancer but is working to expand that. The company hopes that oncology franchises will start bringing in an additional $5 billion annually in the next several years.
  • Andy Schmeltz, Pfizer's global head of oncology, told Business Insider about the "recipe" that will help set the company apart.

Sitting in his spacious, wood-accented midtown office, Pfizer oncology chief Andy Schmeltz gestures to a diagram that charts out the drug giant's agenda for the next several years.

It shows the pharmaceutical company's ambitious "15 in 5" plan, laying out the 15 franchises that could become billion-dollar sellers for the company — far more than the five and two produced in prior five-year spans.

It's impossible not to notice how many of the drugs treat cancer. At a third of the list, oncology is a division Pfizer hopes that by 2022 will start bringing in at least $5 billion more each year, with at least a billion in sales expected in total from four new cancer drugs that were recently approved.

"We're glad you noticed," Schmeltz said, smiling.

One stereotype in the healthcare industry goes something like this: Small, adaptable biotech companies come up with innovative new drugs, and then large, slow-moving pharmaceutical companies sweep in and buy them.

The perception has held particularly strong for Pfizer, which ranks as one of the biggest US drugmakers, with a nearly $250 billion market cap and up to $55.5 billion in expected 2018 revenue. Pfizer is perhaps best known for the erectile-dysfunction medication Viagra and the high-cholesterol treatment Lipitor.

The 170-year-old drug behemoth is on a mission to change that, though, with oncology set to play a key role. As part of its focus on producing more cutting-edge medicines, Pfizer recently announced a spin-off of its consumer-health business with GlaxoSmithKline that will include popular brands like Advil, ChapStick and Emergen-C.

The company "gets the rap, historically, of being large and slow and, to be honest with you, if you go back not too many years, had a reputation for questionable R&D [research and development] productivity," Schmeltz told Business Insider last month. But "when we see the science moving in a particular direction, we can really move quickly."

A 'recipe' for cancer investments

Pfizer is currently focused on two types of cancer: breast cancer, through drugs including its flagship medication Ibrance, and prostate cancer, through its drug Xtandi.

Schmeltz, a 16-year Pfizer veteran who came up through the commercial side of the company and started as global president of Pfizer Oncology a year ago, pointed to Ibrance as an example of how quickly Pfizer can move.

The breast-cancer drug had its first major data presentation just three years before its US approval in 2015, Pfizer says. Today, it says, about 73% of people with advanced breast cancer are eligible for Ibrance or a medication like it.

The drug giant also has ambitions in treatments for renal cell carcinoma (Sutent, Inlyta, and Inlyta plus Bavencio), lung cancer (Xalkori, Lorbrena, and Vizimpro) and hematology, Schmeltz said, plus targeted immunotherapy approaches with avelumab.

Read more: From the gene therapy that spurred a $9 billion acquisition to a CBD medication for rare types of childhood epilepsy, here are the 12 promising drugs to watch in 2019

Morgan Stanley analyst David Risinger, who has called Ibrance Pfizer's top growth driver, said late last month that "its oncology pipeline includes a collective group of new cancer drugs that add up to blockbuster sales potential."

Not all Pfizer's investments have panned out. Two late-stage ovarian-cancer studies failed in recent months. Bavencio has also had failures when tried in other types of cancers.

Pfizer is also active in longer-term research, the third prong of the company's strategy, which it hopes will produce the next big medical innovations.

Other companies working in oncology — and there are a growing number — have become leaders in immuno-oncology, which uses the body's immune system to fight cancer, or focus on blood cancers.

But part of what Schmeltz calls "the right recipe" means doing the opposite, or investing in a balanced way across different anticancer approaches.

Today, that means using roughly half of Pfizer's resources to invest in categories like small-molecule, targeted, and precision therapies, or drugs that target specific cancer-linked molecules, and roughly half in immuno-oncology approaches, according to Schmeltz, "rather than disproportionately going in one direction or the other."

"We're trying to be thoughtful that, given the unmet need in oncology, you can't have deep expertise and capability in everything across oncology," he told Business Insider.

Read more: A Yale scientist who pioneered a cutting-edge approach to cancer treatment is warning that the field is going off-course — and that drug giants could be making it worse

Building from breast and prostate cancer

The pharmaceutical giant also plans to keep leading in treatments for breast and prostate cancer, Schmeltz said.

If ongoing studies testing Ibrance in early breast cancer and as an add-on therapy are successful, they "could really expand the utility of Ibrance to women with breast cancer before the cancer has metastasized, which really could make a profound difference for them," he said, referring to the process by which cancer spreads in the body.

Those results are expected around 2020 or later. Including a form of metastatic breast cancer that Ibrance is already approved for, success could mean roughly doubling the number of people eligible for the drug, according to Schmeltz.

The same strategy applies in prostate cancer as well. Pfizer acquired Xtandi, which is jointly commercialized with Japan's Astellas Pharma, as part of a $14 billion acquisition of Medivation back in 2016. It started off in the metastatic disease and recently got a US approval in a nonmetastatic form of the disease.

The drug is also being studied in metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer and nonmetastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer — all paving the way to a wider potential patient population, Schmeltz said.

Read more: Pfizer executives are changing their tune on an approach for a promising new way to treat cancer, and it could be where the field is headed

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44 enterprise startups to bet your career on in 2019

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 12:20pm

  • If your 2019 plans include looking for a new job at a hot startup, we've got you covered.
  • It's once again time for Business Insider's annual picks of enterprise startups poised to flourish in 2019 and beyond.
  • We selected a variety of startups at a variety of stages and locations.

As the New Year approaches, many of us find this is a natural time for self-reflection on our lives.

If you've come to the conclusion that you're ready for a new job and want to go to a startup that plays in the $3.8 trillion world of enterprise tech — selling wares to other businesses, not to consumers — we've got you covered.

Here's our annual list of promising enterprise startups who did so well in 2018, they are poised for future success in 2019 and beyond.

We looked at a variety of factors when selecting this list including the experience of leaders and founders, the reputations of investors and the amount of funding raised along with valuations, based on data from online finance database Pitchbook, keeper of such records. We also selected startups at a variety of stages from just starting out to well established.

Here are the 44 enterprise tech startups to bet your career on in 2019:

SEE ALSO: From Elon Musk to Satya Nadella: Here are the 29 top tech CEOs of 2018, according to employees

Zapier: The plumbing that connects the internet

Valuation: Unknown
Total raised to date: $1.2 million
Year founded: 2011
HQ: Sunnyvale, CA

What it does: Zapier helps users easily connect apps together through integrations. In other words, it will automatically connect one piece of workplace software to another

Why it's hot: This seven-year-old company has raised a total of $2.56 million, but this year, it announced that it already has a $35 million annualized run rate, a key measure of revenue. Oh, and by the way, at Zapier, you can work in pajamas from the comfort of your bedroom, if you really wanted to. This all-remote company even started a delocation package of $10,000 to move away from the pricey San Francisco Bay Area

Platform Science: a telematics bigwig is back with a new company

Valuation: Unknown
Total raised to date: $14 million
Year founded: 2015
HQ: San Diego

What it does: Platform Science does what it calls "enterprise IoT fleet management" which is a lot of buzzwords that means it puts a specialized computer into each truck (or other fleet vehicle) stuffed with all kinds of apps, communications, mapping, fuel economy, driver performance. Plus it allows other software developers to write apps for the device, too.

Why it's hot: CEO John Kennedy is a former Qualcomm bigwig, who sold his last telematics company for $800 million. Now he's back with a new telematics company that uses all the latest tech to take on the legacy players.

BigID: help for GDPR

Valuation: $26.06 million
Total raised to date: $46.16 million
Year founded: 2015
HQ: New York

What it does: BigID offers a way for companies to find and identify their most sensitive data.

Why it's hot: Data privacy software became a hot category after European GDPR data privacy rules were mandated in May. This helped the company raise $30 million this year from investors like Scale Venture Partners and the investment arms of Comcast and SAP. Founder and CEO, Dimitri Sirota, also sold his previous security startup to CA in 2013.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene said their huge merger has about $2.5 billion in 'synergies.' That should make employees nervous.

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 12:15pm

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb is buying biotech giant Celgene in a $74 billion deal.
  • The deal combines a massive pharmaceutical company with a biotech giant, both of which have a big presence in the development of cancer drugs.
  • BMS said it's expecting to realize $2.5 billion in "synergies" by 2022 — a term that should make employees of the two companies nervous.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene started 2019 off with a bang, announcing plans on Thursday to combine in a $74 billion deal.

Celgene shareholders will be paid $50 and one BMS share per Celgene share, valuing Celgene at about $102.43 a share. The deal combines a massive pharmaceutical company with a biotech giant, both of which have a big presence in the development of cancer drugs.

In a news release announcing the deal, the companies used a word that should make BMS and Celgene employee nervous: "synergies." BMS said it expected to achieve $2.5 billion in synergies by 2022.

Read more: Bristol-Myers Squibb is buying Celgene in a $74 billion deal

Essentially, synergies is a fancy word for opportunities for cost cutting. It has to do with areas in which investment bankers or the firms involved in the deal have identified redundancies or opportunities to make the combined company leaner, thus saving on costs.

"This deal is really all about the launches, the pipeline, the value of the synergies," Caforio said on the call.

While synergies can also mean cutting redundancies in things like software and machinery, a large chunk of the savings typically comes from reducing the number of employees at the combined companies.

"While we expect many new opportunities for employees as part of a larger, stronger organization, in any combination of two companies in the same industry, there will be some overlap," the companies said in a document for employees

In a presentation to investors, the company gave several clues about where it's likely to cut costs. About 55% of the savings are expected to come from selling, general and administrative expenses, a catch-all that describes many of the functions that help a company run.

Another 35% will come from the research and development budget, including cuts to "overlapping resources."

Still, BMS's chief financial officer, Charles Bancroft, said the companies want to "retain talent, protect key value drivers and leverage the enhanced scale of the new company."

Bancroft told Business Insider that the company doesn't want to disrupt employees working on approval filings the respective companies have in front of the FDA during the integration process. 

"What we get in assets become future value drivers of the company," Bancroft said. 

You can see the full slide below:

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Apple just issued a warning on iPhone sales, but Google Trends saw problems years ago (AAPL)

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 12:15pm

  • Apple just slashed its quarterly revenue guidance amid slowing iPhone sales in China and a variety of other issues.
  • Analysts had recently warned on an impending slowdown in the iPhone market, due in part to slowing economic growth in China.
  • Google Trends data shows interest began waning years ago in both China and in the US.
  • Watch Apple trade live.

Apple, in a rare move on Wednesday, issued a warning on its quarterly revenue guidance amid slowing iPhone sales in China and a litany of other issues. The announcement slammed shares, sending them down more than 8% early Thursday.

"While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China," CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter to investors. "In fact, most of our revenue shortfall to our guidance, and over 100 percent of our year-over-year worldwide revenue decline, occurred in Greater China across iPhone, Mac and iPad. 

"Lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China, accounts for all of our revenue shortfall to our guidance and for much more than our entire year-over-year revenue decline."

But while analysts have warned of an impending slowdown in the iPhone market and Apple suppliers have been cutting their own guidance for the very same reason, Google Trends shows interest has been waning for years.

An analysis from DataTrek Research shows interest in iPhones — Apple's flagship product that accounts for 63% of its revenue, according to UBS — peaked in the US in September 2012, when the iPhone 5 was released. It topped out in Hong Kong in September 2014, when the iPhone 6 was released.

Declining interest among Google users comes as the iPhone's average selling price has risen and the quality has improved, leading to consumers holding onto their phones for longer periods of time.

"The market for +$700 smartphones is a good one, to be sure," Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, told clients in a report on Thursday. "But technological disruption is all about scale and growth, not just profitability." 

Searches during the most recent iPhone launch — the iPhone XS/XR in September 2018 — were 46% below those in September 2012.

This chart shows how searches for the term "iPhone" have trended within the US over the past 15 years.

The peaks have come toward the end of each year ever since the iPhone debuted, likely due to launches each September.

Now, here's how searches for the term "iPhone" have trended in Hong Kong over the same timeframe. DataTrek Research used Hong Kong as a reliable proxy for "Greater China" results because Google is not available on the mainland. Search volumes for the most recent launch, last September, were 40% lower than the same time in 2014.

Read more: Apple just warned its holiday quarter was a huge miss, and the stock is getting crushed

Analysts responded to the warning by cutting their price targets on Apple shares. Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at UBS, lowered his sales and earnings per share estimates for 2019 and 2020. He also cut his price target from $210 to $180. Still, that target implies a 14% gain from Wednesday's closing price of $157.92. Arcuri maintained his "buy" rating.

"Slower iPhone growth ultimately presents services headwinds, but AAPL still has huge untapped services rev pool (600mn+ active iPhones pay zero) and new bundle appears very likely," he told clients on Thursday.

Read more about Apple's sales and iPhone demand warning:

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NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape

A group of Mark Zuckerberg-funded researchers is testing implantable brain devices as part of a $5 billion quest to end disease

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 12:08pm

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his pediatrician wife, Priscilla Chan, have sold 29 million Facebook shares to raise $5 billion for an ambitious biomedical-research program called the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).
  • Related to the CZI is the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub, which employs top-notch scientists from Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and UC San Francisco.
  • Researchers including a Biohub investigator are studying a wireless implantable brain device, called the "Wand" for short, in primates.
  • Published on New Year's Eve, their first study details how the Wand records, stimulates, and disrupts movement in real time.

Mark Zuckerberg has sold close to 30 million shares of Facebook to fund an ambitious biomedical-research project, called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, with a goal of curing all disease within a generation.

A less publicized initiative related to the $5 billion program includes work on brain-machine interfaces, devices that essentially translate thoughts into commands. One recent project is a wireless brain implant that can record, stimulate, and disrupt the movement of a monkey in real time.

In a paper published in the highly cited scientific journal Nature on New Year's Eve, researchers detail a wireless brain device implanted in a primate that records, stimulates, and modifies its brain activity in real time, sensing a normal movement and stopping it immediately. One of those researchers is an investigator with the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a nonprofit medical research group related to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. 

Scientists refer to the interference as "therapy" because it is designed to be used to treat diseases like epilepsy or Parkinson's by stopping a seizure or other disruptive motion as it starts.

"Our device is able to monitor the brain while it’s providing the therapy, so you know exactly what’s happening," Rikky Muller, a coauthor of the new study, told Business Insider. A professor of computer science and engineering at UC Berkeley, Muller is also a CZ Biohub investigator. 

The applications of brain-machine interfaces are far-reaching: While some researchers focus on using them to help assist people with spinal-cord injuries or other illnesses that affect movement, others aim to see them transform how everyone interacts with laptops and smartphones. Both a division at Facebook, formerly called Building 8, as well as an Elon Musk-founded company, called Neuralink, have said they are working on the latter.

Muller said her research at the Biohub is walled off from the other work on brain-computer interfaces being done at Facebook.

The company's notoriously secretive Building 8 program underwent a recent reshuffling that included killing off the Building 8 label and shifting its experimental projects to new divisions. Earlier this year, Business Insider exclusively reported that the program's director had helped create an armband that transformed words into understandable vibrations.

Read more: Facebook’s secretive hardware group made an armband that lets you ‘hear’ through your skin, a key part of the company's bigger plan to embed computers in our bodies

A brain device that changes behavior automatically

In Muller's paper, she and a team of researchers from Berkeley and a medical-device startup called Cortera detailed how they used a device they label the "Wand" to stop a monkey from doing a trained behavior. In this case, the behavior involved moving a cursor to a target on a screen using a joystick and holding the target there for a set period of time.

Placed on top of the monkey's head, the wireless, palm-sized Wand device connected directly to its brain. From there, it was able to record, stimulate, and modify the monkey's behavior in real time.

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The Wand could "sense" when the primate was about to move the joystick and stop that movement with a targeted electric signal sent to the right part of its brain, Muller said. And since the machine was wireless, the monkey didn't need to be physically confined or attached to anything for it to work.

"This device is game-changing in the sense that you could have a subject that's completely free-moving and it would autonomously, or automatically, know" when and how to disrupt its movement, said Muller.

'We want people to do the thing that's crazy, the thing that other people wouldn't try'

The Wand could one day have applications for a range of ailments that affect movement (also called motor skills), including spinal-cord injuries and epilepsy.

"Right now we can take a specific motor function, sense that it’s happening, and disrupt it," said Muller.

That's a big departure from current devices, which typically require multiple pieces of bulky equipment and can only sense movement or disrupt it at one time. Muller's device does both at once. To do so, it uses 128 electrodes, or conductors, placed directly into the primate's brain — roughly 31 times more electrodes than today’s human-grade brain-computer devices, which are limited to 4-8 electrodes.

"I believe this device opens up possibilities for new types of treatments," said Muller.

Muller is also the cofounder and chair of the board of Cortera, which has received grant funding from The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Institutes of Health. Her work on brain-machine interfaces is just one component of a broader set of projects under the CZ Biohub umbrella.

Joe DeRisi, the copresident of the Biohub and a professor of biophysics at UCSF, told Business Insider that the initiative aims to help bolster the research projects being done by local scientists, to build important medical devices that wouldn't otherwise exist, and to "push boundaries."

"We want people to do the thing that’s crazy, the thing that other people wouldn’t try," DeRisi said.

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LuLaRoe's founders have been linked to 31 LLCs set up during the last 3 years — and a lawsuit alleges they're attempting to shield assets like a Gulfstream jet, a ranch in Wyoming, and a world-record-breaking supercar named Ruthie

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 12:01pm

  • A lawsuit alleges that the LuLaRoe founder and CEO Mark Stidham and several associates are hiding money and assets in a web of LLCs.
  • Stidham and his associates have been connected to at least 33 LLCs set up since 2015, according to documents reviewed by Business Insider. Thirty-one of those LLCs are still active.
  • The majority of these LLCs also list LuLaRoe's "hub" in Corona, California, as a principal office.
  • In its lawsuit, the manufacturer Providence Industries claimed that several of these LLCs were linked to assets such as a world-record-breaking car worth over $2 million and a lush ranch in rural Wyoming.
  • "We believe the claims in this case are completely without merit and will fight vigorously against them," a LuLaRoe representative told Business Insider in a statement.

LuLaRoe's manufacturer has filed a lawsuit against the legging empire, alleging that the company and its leaders are playing a shell game to avoid paying creditors.

Providence Industries, LuLaRoe's clothing supplier, is seeking $49 million in the lawsuit, which alleges that LuLaRoe's founders, Mark and DeAnne Stidham, along with their business associates and relatives, have transferred "substantial assets" to both themselves and their family members to support "lavish lifestyles" and avoid paying creditors.

The lawsuit identifies 17 limited liability companies, which Providence Industries claims are used to hide assets like "exotic race cars, airplanes, warehouses, residences, and raw land."

"We believe the claims in this case are completely without merit and will fight vigorously against them," a LuLaRoe representative told Business Insider in a statement. "Given this is pending litigation, we cannot comment on the specifics."

Mark Stidham submitted a sworn declaration to "address some of the patently false statements" in Providence Industries' filing, saying the limited liability companies mentioned in the lawsuit were real-estate and investment holding companies with "no nefarious or improper purpose."

Business Insider has reviewed documents linking LuLaRoe and its founders to 33 LLCs established in the past three years. Two of the LLCs based in Wyoming — Varldspela LLC, established on April 10, and Bradham Investment Holdings, established on September 18, 2017 — were dissolved on June 18.

Here's a look at the web of LLCs and luxurious assets surrounding LuLaRoe, its founders, and their associates:

SEE ALSO: LuLaRoe's CEO tearfully addresses inventory problems in leaked audio

DON'T MISS: LuLaRoe is facing mounting debt, layoffs, and an exodus of top sellers, and sources say the $2.3 billion legging empire could be imploding

READ MORE: LuLaRoe supplier sues for $49 million and accuses the company's founders of hiding assets in 'shell' companies

Mark Stidham appears on the paperwork filed for some of these entities, but business associates and family members are mentioned in the majority of the LLCs.

Location is the factor that ties together this batch of companies.

Twenty-eight active LLCs — including LuLaRoe LLC, which was established five years ago — list the address of LuLaRoe's "hub" in Corona, California, as their principal address. A 2017 assessment record for the property says that its "land use" pertains to light manufacturing and that it encompasses 7.42 acres.

Two other LLCs claim to share a Wyoming address with the Bronze Buffalo Club LLC, an "exclusive club" with business ties to Mark Stidham. Another LLC, of which Stidham is CEO, lists a residential property in Corona as its principal office. And one LLC's principal address is listed as that of a corporate-services company in Delaware.

Several of the LLCs attached to LuLaRoe and the Stidhams are linked to the business itself, according to documents reviewed by Business Insider.

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James Vogt, a San Diego State University lecturer and certified fraud examiner, told Business Insider that LLCs frequently serve a "very legitimate purpose" for businesses and people.

And Kate Andresen, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property at Nilan Johnson Lewis, told Business Insider that businesses with a franchise-based model or corporations dealing with different levels of risk across functions also tend to rely on LLCs to create a "complex business structure."

And several of the earlier LLCs linked to LuLaRoe and the Stidhams appear to serve a clear business-related purpose.

LuLaRoe was set up as an LLC in California in 2013. The organization was then incorporated as LLR in Wyoming in 2015, under the names of the Stidhams and LuLaRoe's chief financial officer, Noall Knighton.

As far as the company's intellectual property, Lennon Leasing LLC — a Wyoming limited liability company formed on September 23, 2015, under Mark Stidham's name — holds the trademark on LuLaRoe's logos.

And 2000 Carolina Pines Dr. LLC reflects the address of the company's 470,000-square-foot distribution center in Blythewood, South Carolina. The State reported that the company bought the property for $16 million in April 2017.

LuLaRoe, the Stidhams, and their associates are linked to 19 LLCs set up in December 2017 alone, according to a review of documents by Business Insider.

Providence Industries alleged in its lawsuit that 17 LLCs linked to LuLaRoe and its founders were established in December 2017 alone. According to documents reviewed by Business Insider, a total of 19 active LLCs with links to LuLaRoe were established in that month.

Providence Industries claims in its lawsuit that many of these limited liability companies were established to help LuLaRoe and the Stidhams hide money and assets from creditors. The lawsuit also says Providence Industries learned that its client was in "a precarious financial situation" toward the end of 2017.

And those LLCs appeared to have been established at a particularly rapid-fire pace. Four were established on December 8, 2017, while three were established three days later, on December 11, according to documents reviewed by Business Insider. Six were established on December 14.

Among that December crop of limited liability companies, two entities were set up in Wyoming, while the rest were created in California.

Experts told Business Insider that establishing numerous LLCs in one month could be a time-consuming process and might be a red flag.

"When you start forming even a single limited liability company, it takes time to put all the materials together," Andresen told Business Insider. "It takes the effort of actually getting the filings put in place, and it costs money because there are filing fees associated with that."

Vogt said he'd also seen people use LLCs to hide or move around assets in situations like bankruptcy cases or contentious divorces. He said he couldn't weigh in on the specific allegations Providence Industries made against LuLaRoe, the Stidhams, and their associates. But he did say that the number of LLCs in this case, as well as the timing of the filings, could come across as "suspect" and could serve as a "red flag."

"It's certainly not an indictment," he said. "But if I was involved, I would definitely want to investigate further."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

There is one ultimate measure of a successful life, according to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and it has nothing to do with money

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 9:44am

  • Bill Gates said he measures success differently today from when he was in his early 20s.
  • Gates said he learned from Warren Buffett to measure success by the strength of his personal relationships, as opposed to professional or financial milestones.
  • "His measure of success is, 'Do the people you care about love you back?'" Gates said. "I think that is about as good a metric as you will find."

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are two of the richest people in the world, with a combined net worth of more than $170 billion.

But when it comes to defining their success, money has nothing to do with it.

Gates said on Saturday that Buffett has helped him to define success by the strength of one's personal relationships.

"His measure of success is, 'Do the people you care about love you back?'" Gates wrote in a blog post. "I think that is about as good a metric as you will find."

That contrasts with how Gates measured success when he was in his early 20s, after he dropped out of Harvard to launch Microsoft with Paul Allen.

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Back then, Gates wrote, "an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?"

"Today of course I still assess the quality of my work," the 63-year-old Gates said. "But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones?"

He continued: "These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful."

Read Gates' full post »

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AMD and Nvidia performed wildly different during the 2018 crypto crash — here's why (AMD, NVDA)

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 8:31am

  • When the 2018 crypto crash rocked the cryptocurrency-mining industry, shares of the chipmakers Nvidia and AMD performed wildly different. 
  • Nvidia got hit hard in 2018 while AMD managed to post big gains.
  • One reason is that Nvidia is a pure graphics processing unit player, whereas AMD sells both GPUs and central processing units, an analyst said.
  • There's a lot of optimism that AMD will gain market shares from Intel, he added.
  • Watch AMD and Nvidia trade live.

When the 2018 crypto crash rocked the cryptocurrency-mining industry, shares of the chipmakers Nvidia and AMD performed wildly different.

Nvidia lost 32% last year, but AMD gained a whopping 71%. And that's no surprise in the eyes of Christopher Rolland, a semiconductor analyst at Susquehanna International Group.

"Some of the differences between the two stocks are simply because Nvidia is a pure GPU player, whereas AMD has GPUs as well, they also sell a lot of CPUs," Rolland told Markets Insider.

Simply put, a graphics processing unit (GPU) can only do a fraction of the many operations a central processing unit (CPU) does, but it does so with incredible speed. Therefore, GPUs are more cost-effective for crypto mining, but CPUs have a broader consumer base. 

According to Rolland, the crypto boom in 2017 led both Nvidia and AMD to overproduce GPUs for crypto mining, causing an inventory problem when digital currencies crashed in 2018.

For AMD, thanks to its CPU business, the market has a lot more hope and optimism. "The prospects for their CPU business versus Intel are the best that have been in decades," he said. 

Last year, AMD shares surged by more than 230% through the middle of September as rival Intel was contending with a production delay for its 10-nanometer chips. And while a research report later said Intel may have cured its production problem sooner than expected, analysts noted that the delay "opened the door for AMD to gain share in both servers and PCs - near and long term."

Also at stake is that AMD is widely expected to roll out its 7 nm chips in the first quarter of 2019, which in theory provide better performance than 10nm ones. "There's hope that they are going to gain market share from Intel," Rolland added.

Another reason for the two stocks' different performance, Rolland says, could be the timing of their financial reporting. Usually, Nvidia reports a month later than AMD, which means Nvidia has disclosed more information about its inventory issues.

"Nvidia has already confessed fully to the amount of inventory that's out there," said Rolland. "AMD has only half confessed."

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The price of a typical Manhattan apartment just fell below $1 million

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 8:31am

  • Real estate in Manhattan has been moving toward a buyers' market.
  • The median sales price of units sold in Manhattan fell 6% in the final three months of 2018.
  • The fourth quarter marked the first time in three years that the figure was below $1 million.

In the latest sign that Manhattan is heading toward a softer real-estate market, the typical cost of housing sold fell below $1 million during the final stretch of 2018 for the first time in three years.

The median sales price of units sold in the borough fell nearly 6% from the same period last year to $999,000 from October to December, according to a report from listing broker Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the lowest since 2015. Though the rate of decline is steadying, the number of total sales fell for a fifth straight quarter.

With bidding wars occurring at the lowest rate within the market in six years, according to the report, Douglas Elliman's New York City office president Steven James said market dynamics had offered "an excellent opportunity for buyers."

Co-ops performed better than condos, the report out Thursday said. Most inventory gains were seen in the studio and one-bedroom market, while home prices skewed the overall average higher through larger-sized sales.

"All-in-all, this was a weaker market than a year ago, but there was nothing dramatic to change from prior quarters in 2018," added report author Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc. "It looks like 2019 market sales and prices might show us 'more of the same' as the federal tax law and higher rates play a crucial role in the housing marketplace."

Real-estate activity in Manhattan has contrasted with trends across the country, where housing shortages are expected to persist in the months ahead. Compounded by falling residential-construction activity and rising interest rates, that could price some Americans out of the market.

The new tax law could be one possible reason for the disconnect. Lower mortgage-interest deductions and new caps on state and local tax deductions have reduced incentives for Americans to own homes. This means the next buyer might adjust how much they are willing to pay, according to Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American.

"This is particularly relevant in New York," Fleming said. "It's now more expensive than before to own a higher-priced home."

Meanwhile, the rate at which national home costs are rising appears to be slowing. A CoreLogic report out Wednesday showed annual price gains slowed to 5.1% in November from 6.2% a year earlier.

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Wall Street bonus season is upon us — here's when the big banks will tell employees how much they'll be paid

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 7:52pm

  • It's that time again: Wall Street bonus season.
  • Wall Street bankers make healthy base salaries, but the annual bonus is where the industry's best earn their fortunes.
  • Business Insider has provided an outline of when each bank is expected to announce bonuses.

The most exciting, and potentially nerve-wracking, time of year on Wall Street is upon us again: Bonus season.

While most employees at the big US banks command healthy six-figure base salaries, the annual bonus is where the best on Wall Street really earn the fortunes that fund their lavish vacation homes in the Hamptons and Nantucket.

Compensation can vary significantly across teams and business lines, but a closely watched industry report anticipated healthy bonus increases for most of Wall Street.

But that was before the markets went haywire in December.

Volatility, which laid dormant in 2017 but resumed with a vengeance late last year, is usually good news for traders, especially those in equity derivatives, as it tends to generate more client activity.

But that's not true across the board, and December's stock market wipeout — the worst December since the Great Depression — may have taken a hatchet to some bonus pools. 

Business Insider spoke with people familiar with bonus schedules at the big banks. Bonus dates have been known to change at the last moment, but as of right now, here's when Wall Street's top banks are expected to announce bonuses:

  • Citigroup is expected to kick off bonus season, disclosing compensation after earnings are announced on January 14. They tend to pay out right at the end of the month.
  • JPMorgan Chase is set to announce in the middle of that week, starting January 16 and continuing the next couple of days. The bonuses get paid out at the end of January, depending on where the employee is located in the world. 
  • Goldman Sachs will announce on January 16th — the same day it reports earnings — to partners, and a day later to non-partners.
  • Morgan Stanley Morgan Stanley hasn't yet set a formal date yet, but is expected to announce the week of earnings. It reports on January 17.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the last to go of the big US banks. It is planning to announce the following week, on January 22.

The bonuses are typically paid out a week or two after they are announced, unless otherwise noted.

Representatives from each of the banks declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

Europe's largest banks report earnings after the US banks and start announcing bonuses afterward as well, usually in early February.

If you have any insights into bonus season (comp numbers, expected dates, tips, advice, tales of success, excess, or horror stories), feel free to send an email to or

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I've driven every Tesla model you can buy. Here are my favorite features. (TSLA)

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 6:59pm

  • Over the years, I've driven every car Tesla has ever produced.
  • They've all been good, but features of individual models have stood out.
  • Here's a rundown of what I love about the Tesla original Roadster, the Model S, and the Model X, and the Model 3.

I wrote my first words about Tesla in January 2008. In the ten years since, the company has gone from selling one car to selling three, and from delivering a few thousand vehicles the early 2010s to 250,000 in 2018.

As it turns out, I've driven every model the company has ever sold, starting with the now-discontinued original Roadster to the highest-spec version of the new Model 3 sedan.

Read more: Tesla's $2,000 price cut doesn't mean it has a demand problem.

Each of the vehicles has its particular charms, quirks, and appealing features. I found myself reflecting on them at the beginning of 2019 as we look forward to some new machines from Elon Musk's plucky automaker: the Model Y SUV, a new Roadster, and perhaps even a pickup truck.

Here are all my favorite features on all the Teslas I've driven:

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1. Original Roadster. The first Tesla to hit the road, this straightforward electric sports car captured hearts and changed minds — an EV didn't have to be a glorified golf cart! Now discontinued, the original Roadster can still be picked up used.

Read the review »

It's still my favorite Tesla, although the Model 3 has me rethinking that position. I love its open-air style.

But what I truly adore is the simple joy of driving it. The speed is electric lightning: 0-to-60 mph in under 4 seconds. And the feedback-heavy steering is point-and-shoot. Driving this car of the future is surprisingly old-school.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amazon has finally revealed how many Alexa devices have been sold (AMZN)

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 5:42pm

  • Ahead of CES 2019, Amazon revealed how many Alexa devices it's sold. 
  • The 100 million figure includes devices that Amazon makes as well as third-party gadgets with Alexa built-in.
  • The announcement comes as Amazon and Google are expected to put their AI voice assistants front and center at CES. 

After years of dodging the question, Amazon has finally said exactly how many devices have been sold that have its voice assistant, Alexa, built in — and it's a lot. 

In a new interview with The Verge that published late Friday afternoon, Amazon’s SVP of devices and services, Dave Limp, revealed that more than 100 million devices with Alexa built into them have been sold so far. 

Limp didn't break out specifics on how much of each device has been sold — for instance, we don't know how many Echo Dots have been sold, although Limp told The Verge that the number has exceeded the company's expectations and the Dot is now sold out for the rest of the month. 

The 100 million figure also includes devices that are not made by Amazon, but are partner devices that have Alexa built into them. That could include everything from the Sonos One speaker to the LG v35 smartphone. In fact, there 150 products with Alexa built in, according to The Verge. 

Still, it's an impressive figure, and particularly interesting given the timing: the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show kicks off on Monday, where AI voice assistants from both Amazon and Google are expected to be front and center. 

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GE shares jump after report says Apollo is considering a bid for its huge jet-leasing business (GE)

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 5:11pm

Shares of General Electric jumped 4% in after-hours trading on Friday after a report said Apollo was considering making a bid for GE's jet-leasing business, GE Capital Aviation Services.

The asset manager is reportedly talking to bankers about lining up debt to buy all or part of the unit, Bloomberg News reported. The deal could be worth up to $40 billion, according to Bloomberg citing people familiar with the matter.

After plummeting in 2018, GE shares rose 7% on the first day of trading in 2019. The industrial conglomerate's stock price is down 54% in one year.

Read more:

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The biggest healthcare investor conference starts on Monday — here are the top 5 areas we're keeping an eye on

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 4:21pm

Starting Monday, thousands of pharmaceutical industry executives, investors, bankers, and analysts will swarm into San Francisco for the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Now in its 37th year, the conference has ballooned from a small event with 150 attendees that was essentially the "birth of biotech," to an event attended by everyone from the biggest pharma company to the smallest biotech. JPMorgan said more than 485 companies are scheduled to present this year.

It's a spot for these companies to meet with investors and each other, and can be the starting point for takeovers or other deals. 

It's also a place where more deals — maybe even on the scale of Thursday's $74 billion merger between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene — could get announced. 

From confronting the threat of technology giants' healthcare advances to covering the cost of one-time treatments, here are some of the key topics we'll be asking about this week. 

We'll be sending out our best stories from the week in Dispensed, our weekly dispatch of pharma, biotech, and healthcare news. Sign up here.

Who’s next to merge?

2018 saw a number of mega-deals, including the $77 billion Takeda-Shire merger. Now with the BMS-Celgene deal in place, the healthcare industry is wondering who might be next to pair up.

"With large caps, generally, falling under pressure the last few years, one has to acknowledge the potential for additional consolidation of profitable companies," Baird Equity Research biotech analyst Brian Skorney wrote in a note Thursday. 

Alternatively, Celgene could find another dance partner in a counter-bid.

Alethia Young, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald remarked in a note Thursday that it's possible others go in to big on Celgene — specifically Amgen and Johnson & Johnson. That's in large part because of the two companies focus on hematology. Joining up with either of those two companies could create more synergies than the company has with BMS. 

How will we pay for seven-figure drugs? What about other costly treatments?

The issue of paying for medications is now a constant conversation for the drug industry, with prices continuing to go up even after political pressure in 2018. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on pharma's 2019 plans.

But a new wrinkle that's quickly coming into focus: How are we going to pay for one-time treatments?

Already, treatments like cell therapy for cancer treatments and a gene therapy for a hereditary form of blindness have tested the waters.

But more are in the works. That includes Novartis' gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy, a rare genetic condition that affects muscle movement in children and is the leading genetic cause of mortality in infants that could be approved in the US by as early as May 2019. When that happens, Novartis said it would be cost-effective at a price of between $4-5 million

It might take some new payment arrangements to get health insurers on board to cover the cost of treatment, such as paying in installments over a set amount of time. What that looks like and who takes the lead on that will be a big question that should get answered in 2019. 

How has the pharma-payer power dynamic shifted?

In 2018, two massive healthcare deals closed, redrawing the lines around what defines a healthcare company: 

The health insurer Cigna combined with Express Scripts, which manages pharmacy benefits. And CVS Health, a big pharmacy chain that also owns a drug benefits business, acquired the health insurer Aetna.

We'll find out a lot more this year about the strategies of the combined companies. Both new firms will be looking for places to cut costs, as well as seeking to gain more control over how patients access healthcare. It's happening at a time when new medications are getting approved that challenge the way we pay for treatments.

It remains to be seen how the two newly formed healthcare companies wield their new negotiating power, and how drugmakers will respond to that increased pressure. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Stocks soar after a trifecta of good news about jobs, the Fed, and Trump's trade war

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 4:02pm

  • Stocks soared Friday after the release of a strong US jobs report.
  • US equities extended their gains after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated the central bank would pay attention to the market's concerns.
  • Earlier Friday, the US and China announced they would meet Monday in Beijing to work toward a trade deal.
  • Apple shares bounced back a bit after Thursday's steep slide.
  • Watch stocks trade live.

Stocks soared Friday after a blockbuster jobs report and comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sent traders scrambling back into US equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 744 points, or 3.3%, as shares bounced back following Thursday's steep slide. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were higher by 3.4% and 4.3%.

US equities got an overnight boost after the US and China agreed to meet Monday and Tuesday in Beijing to work toward a trade deal. Those gains carried over into Friday morning's December US jobs report. The Labor Department said the US economy added 312,000 nonfarm jobs and the unemployment rate jumped to 3.9%. Average hourly earnings climbed 0.4% last month and at a 3.2% annual rate for their best gains since 2009.

"We expect the December employment report to remind markets that the US growth outlook remains stable despite financial market volatility," said Lewis Alexander, an analyst at Nomura.

Stocks continued to build momentum early in the US session after Powell indicated the central bank would take into account the market's concerns.

All 30 Dow components were trading higher, with Intel (+5.9%) leading the way. Apple (+3.9%) bounced back after a sales warning out late Wednesday sent shares cratering by 10% on Thursday.

Elsewhere, the industrial giants Caterpillar (+5%) and Boeing (+4.9%) rebounded on signs the US economy may not be slowing down as feared. Aside from the strong jobs report, the December reading of Markit US Services PMI printed 54.4, topping the 53.4 that was expected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Treasury yields soared on the positive news, with the benchmark 10-year yield up 11 basis points at 2.66%. Earlier, it had touched a near one-year low of 2.54%.

The US dollar index rallied to a high of 96.60 following the strong jobs number but plunged back to the flat line near 96.30 after Powell began to speak.

On the commodities front, West Texas Intermediate crude oil spiked 2.8% to near $48.20 a barrel.

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NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape

Trump says Apple is 'going to be fine' despite bombshell earnings miss, incorrectly claims Apple stock has gone up 'hundreds of percent' since his election

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 3:40pm

  • President Donald Trump downplayed Apple's recent announcement that revenue was weaker than expected for the holiday quarter.
  • Trump also seemed to blame Apple's revenue shortfall on the iPhone makers decision to manufacture their products in China.
  • But according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the real reason was a slowdown in Chinese retails sales that he blamed in part by Trump's trade war with Beijing.
  • Trump also claimed Apple's stock is up "hundreds of percent since I'm president." It's actually only up around 30% since the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump on Friday downplayed Apple's recent revenue woes during a press conference at the White House.

When asked about the tech giant's shock announcement that revenue for the holiday quarter came in lower than expected, Trump pointed to Apple's stock price increase since the 2016 election as evidence that the company is doing just fine.

"They've gone up a lot, they've gone up hundreds of percent since I'm president," Trump said. "Apple was at a number that was incredible and they're going to be fine. Apple is a great company."

Trump also seemed to suggest that the reason for Apple's recent misstep was the location of their manufacturing plants.

"Don't forget this Apple makes their product in China," Trump said. "I told Tim Cook, who is a friend of mine, who I like a lot: 'Make your product in the United States, build those big, beautiful plants that go on for miles it seems, build those plants in the United States.'"

But Apple said its revenue miss in China was not due to the production side, but rather the sales side, since Chinese consumers are not buying enough iPhones.

According to a letter from Cook to shareholders on Wednesday, the company expects to report revenue of $84 billion for their first fiscal quarter, which ended in December. The original projection for the quarter was between $89 billion and $93 billion.

Read more: Apple's shock warning bolsters one of Trump's biggest arguments for the US-China trade war»

In the letter, Cook blamed a variety of factors for the revenue shortfall, but placed a significant amount of the responsibility on the recent economic slowdown in China. According to the Apple CEO, the slowdown was exacerbated by Trump's trade war with Beijing.

"And what I believe to be the case is the trade tensions between the United States and China put additional pressure on their economy," Cook said in an interview with CNBC. "So we saw as the quarter went on things like traffic in our retail stores, traffic in our channel partner stores, the reports of the smartphone industry contracting, particularly bad in November. I haven't seen a December number yet, but I'd bet it would not be good either."

The weakness also made Trump's claim false that Apple has gained "hundreds of percent" since the election.

Apple's share price did increase by roughly 110% from the day after the 2016 election to its all-time high on October 3. But the stock has tumbled since then and the company has now gained only 28% between November 8, 2016 and Thursday's closing price.

SEE ALSO: Trump says the Treasury is taking in 'MANY billions of dollars' from the tariffs on China. The only problem is that US companies are paying the price.

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