Posts Categorized: Tech/Media/Comms

Global Earnings Synthesis: On Track for Modest Gains in 2016

Building on the recent analysis in our Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update, we continue to embrace an outlook for just a single-digit increase in profits in 2016, which is in contrast to consensus estimates that imply a 21% gain in earnings.

Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update

We remain Overweight Information Technology (largest weighting in Overweight North America region) and Consumer Discretionary (largest weighting in Japan, our other Overweight). We continue to avoid regions with heavy exposure to commodities, most notably Latin America (Underweight), South Africa and Russia (both ranked Neutral).

Global Earnings Synthesis

As a complement to our Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update we introduce a new publication that will examine in detail the outlook for global earnings on a regular basis.

A Shifting ESG Materiality Matrix: What Has Mattered, What May Matter

As we continue our research on sustainability factors that play a role in market outcomes, we embrace a more nuanced view. ESG factors that impact different sectors are not static, and are determined by a wide range of lifecycles.

Alibaba: Uniquely Conflicted

With Alibaba’s first annual meeting scheduled for October 8, we conducted an examination of its corporate governance structure. We are not aware of another corporation that lists its corporate governance structure as a risk to shareholders. In fact, numerous concerns about the company’s corporate governance have been widely cited.

Four Questions for Alphabet

Google’s impending restructuring into a holding company called Alphabet doesn’t change the underlying business so much as make explicit the company’s dual-track nature. On one track, Google has a mature search/advertising business; on the other, an investment company with a focus on speculative technology investments and basic research. The new structure, intended to provide transparency to investors about the relative performance of each side of the business, will be welcomed by investors.

Dissecting the “Sharing Economy:” Business model opportunities and risks

Between Uber’s $50 billion valuation, Etsy’s IPO and the large venture capital infusions into Airbnb, the “sharing economy” is transitioning from a social movement to a large-scale commercial business model.

Regional and Sector Strategy: May Update

We are now underweight the most cyclically sensitive sectors: Industrials, Materials, Energy. While we upgrade the CEEMEA region to Neutral from Underweight — in large part because of an improved earnings outlook — this likely reflects a modest rebound in oil prices, which remain 40% below year-ago levels.

Updating the Global Equity Strategy Investment Clock

An Increasingly Cautious Near-Term Equity Outlook — Plotting our sector and regional equity recommendations on the face of an “investment clock” suggests an increasingly cautious near-term outlook for global equities. A Tilt Away from Cyclical Sectors and Regions — Last month, we tilted further from cyclical sectors and regions. As for sectors, we are underweight Energy and Materials, neutral Industrials. In terms of regions, we are underweight CEEMEA and Latin America.

Regional and Sector Strategy: April Update

We continue to have a defensive tilt in our regional recommendations, and are Underweight the commodity-rich regions of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) and Latin America …

Judges Announced for “Sustainable Games” Competition

Harvard Business School, Intel Education among Business and Entrepreneurial Leaders to Select Winner of $25,000 Prize Five global leaders from across business, the capital markets and academia have been selected as judges for “Sustainable Games:  The Business Model Challenge.”  The competition, which offers a $25,000 prize, is sponsored by Cornerstone Capital Inc., together with the Clinton… Read more »

Regional and Sector Strategy: March Update

Our regional strategy is unchanged. We continue to have a defensive tilt in our regional recommendations, and are Underweight the commodity-rich regions of CEEMEA and Latin America. Japan continues to be the top-ranked country. Over the past twelve months, share buybacks in Japan have been the largest of any country / region, the first time that country has been the global buyback leader since we launched the regional model in April 2014. We highlight changes in the Energy suggesting, perhaps, that stock prices in the sector have not fallen as fast as earnings estimates . . .

A Closer Look at Alibaba’s Corporate Governance

The recent, apparently resolved conflict between Alibaba and the Chinese government agency SAIC over counterfeit goods raises questions about whether shareholders should have confidence in the future growth of the company. With a valuation of over 30 times earnings, the market is pricing in a high degree of conviction about the company’s future growth. In… Read more »

Regional and Sector Strategy: February Update

Our regional strategy is unchanged, even with a heightened focus on monetary policies and exchange rates in the past month driven, in part, by fears of deflation. We continue to have a defensive tilt in our regional recommendations, and are Underweight the commodity-rich regions of CEEMEA and Latin America. Our sector strategy is also unchanged and remains “less cyclical, more defensive.” We maintain our relatively defensive posture given pockets of economic weakness globally. We are Overweight Health Care in North America, the U.K. and Europe ex U.K. We are Underweight or Neutral Energy in the majority of regions….

Introducing the Global Equity Strategy Investment Clock

Developing a multi-class asset allocation model — that also incorporates Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors — is a lofty undertaking. In this report, we take a first step by introducing our global equity strategy “investment clock”, which helps flesh out the equity outlook implied by our sector and regional recommendations….

Market Summary: Overview

In a year of surprisingly muted market volatility, this month we saw risk assets tumble as investor concerns reached a decisive tipping point. Anxiety over a less accommodative Fed, the pace and sustainability of global economic growth, continued conflict in Ukraine, escalating violence in the Middle East, and even the Ebola crisis have investors fleeing… Read more »

SustainableGames.com

In an effort to ignite and support the efforts of the next generation of business leaders, and a form of capitalism that is based upon greater collaboration and transparency, we launch this initiative among the world’s students who will be essential drivers of sustainable innovation…This is a call to action for social entrepreneurship: “Sustainable Games:… Read more »

Not Just a ‘Flash,’ But a Call to Arms

I was still at the Securities and Exchange Commission, overseeing the Division of Trading and Markets, when I first heard about a small band of traders and technology experts at the Royal Bank of Canada who were using technology to tilt the playing field back in favor of ordinary investors. I could hardly have imagined… Read more »

The Cornerstone Capital Strategy Update: Less Cyclical, More Defensive

We have updated the inputs to the Cornerstone Capital Sector Strategy Model in which we rank the ten GICs in the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI). Figure 1 summarizes the most recent rankings. Figure 1:  Cornerstone Capital Global Markets Equity Strategy Model Sector Overview Relative to the previous rankings (published in the June edition… Read more »

Cornerstone Summary of “Earnings Guidance A White Paper from KKS Advisors & the Generation Foundation”

The fact of the matter is that capital markets have moved away from a long-term mindset and more towards a focus on short-term results. This trend has been well observed by market participants and academics alike, yet the question as to what will serve as a catalyst to reverse the trend remains. To this end, it’s worth highlighting a recently released white paper by The Generation Foundation and KKS Advisors focusing on the impact of regular Earnings Guidance. Thorough examination of the topic leads to the following conclusions….

Confirmation Bias in the Investment Process

The ancient Greek historian, Thucydides, wrote, “It is a habit of mankind . . . to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do not fancy.” The phenomenon to which he speaks manifests itself in all walks of life, from politics to religion and investing. Today, this concept is termed “confirmation bias” and refers to the tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses….

Top Sports, Media & Entertainment Brands: A Focus on ESG Metrics

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION Since 2009, Bloomberg has been uploading key corporate ESG metrics to its database from companies’ own financial and sustainability reports. They have over 800 data points – 10 to 12 are considered key ESG metrics for all companies to disclose to the capital markets.  Sustainability… Read more »

The Last Ship

I am a producer of Broadway musicals who has been nurturing my obsession with the form since appearing in my first musical, a temple Purim play, in the fourth grade. Instead of repeating the Old Testament story of Queen Esther, our ingenious director juxtaposed our Jewish heroine’s quest to save the Jews from the evil… Read more »

Embracing the New Market Opportunity: LGBT+A

The traditional courting of the “gay market” ignores a much larger market opportunity. LGBT friends and family i.e. Allies, are showing their support not only as citizens, but also as consumers — making purchasing decisions that align with their views on LGBT equality. The latest estimates (2012) put the total buying power of the adult LGBT population at nearly $800B. When you add Allies, that number is far greater. This is the “LGBT+A” market.

Jazz Inspired Finance

Imagine if capitalism could harness the power of communication, collaboration and culture. Imagine if capitalism could serve its best and highest purpose of driving global economic prosperity. Imagine if capitalism were in the hands of leaders who strive for both long-term corporate profitability and to meet the needs of society for better nutrition, healthcare, education,… Read more »

The Last Ship

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION The Last Ship is about finding pride in our work. Work that gives purpose to our lives. Work that helps forge our identity and contributes something tangible to society. It’s about community and being responsible to each other. It is our contribution to the… Read more »

The Cornerstone Capital Sector Strategy: Incorporating ESG Factors into Media Sector Valuations

Cornerstone Capital’s sector strategy model is overweight on the MSCI ACWI Consumer Discretionary Index, which contains a number of global media industries including Cable & Satellite (9% of the index’s market cap, the second largest weight after Auto Manufacturers), Movies and Entertainment (7% weight, fourth-largest in the index), and Casinos & Gaming (4% weight, tenth… Read more »

Principles of Responsible Gaming

A Chinese proverb says, “If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.” Unfortunately, in not heeding this advice, some casual gamblers find themselves grappling with gambling addiction. Partly because of the well-documented adverse effects of compulsive gambling, a subset of ethics-based investors exclude gaming companies, along with other “sin stocks,” from their investment universe…

Fantasy Sports – Business Versus Social Implications

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  Fantasy sports is big business. A fanatic fan base and highly desirable demographic has turned it into a $3 billion industry in just the U.S. and Canada, growing over 12% annually.  The fantasy sports phenomenon caught fire with the advent… Read more »

Sports Analytics for the Masses

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  Professional tennis players now sparring on Centre Court at Wimbledon have likely scrutinized every part of their game – from stance, to serving strength to baseline maneuvers — with a team of coaches at the ready. But what of the… Read more »

Governance & the NFL

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION. In sports, fixing the game is the ultimate sin, and all sports leagues work hard to prevent contests from being decided by anything other than the skill and the effort of the players and coaches. No sport survives for long if it does not make the delight of its fans its central purpose…

Feeding Fans Sustainably

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  When we think about sustainability in the context of the fan experience we take a holistic view of our opportunity and responsibility – from the restaurants supporting the sports events to the ingredients provided by our supply chain.  In doing… Read more »

The Power of Sports: From the Field to the Business World

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  As you bring your daughter to her sports clinics this weekend, to Tae Kwon Do or swimming or soccer, or wherever else her passion lies, celebrate. She’s not just playing. She’s not just exercising. She’s actually building critical life skills, such… Read more »

The Spin on Spin-Offs

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  Time Warner Inc. completed the spin-off of Time Inc. earlier this month. Likewise, CBS Corp. announced that it would split off its remaining shares in CBS Outdoor Americas Inc. It’s clear that tax-free spin-offs continue to be popular transactions for… Read more »

A Focus on India

The outlook for Indian equities likely remains supportive. GDP is a key driver of corporate profits in India and, as noted, GDP estimates have started to trend up. Moreover, given current low capacity utilization rates and margins near historic lows, a modest improvement in profit margins could result in a meaningful boost to earnings. In terms of valuation, the Indian market is currently trading at around 15x one year forward earnings, which is in line with historical averages.

More Than a Game: Football Fans & Nationalism

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  It is conclusively clear from this discussion that football is an example of the interaction between the local and the global in regards to both to the globalization of the sport and to the impact that the game’s globalizing has… Read more »

The Role of Media in India’s Election Outcome

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  The failings of India’s media during this election are symptoms of deeper ailments.  Most media companies are family owned.  Their decisions are driven more by personal and historical animosities, or agendas, than by long-term business strategies.  Those few that are… Read more »

Let’s Dance: The Virtuous Cycle of Creativity

Mom and Dad would be proud. It only took 24 years from when I received my Bachelor of Music degree to locate the convergence between fine arts and sustainable finance. Sustainable practices in entertainment and media are perhaps not as obviously critical as they might be in extractive industries, food services, or manufacturing. What is… Read more »

Business of CSR and Sustainability in India

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  Four years ago, a good friend and a very senior government colleague here in India, Pravir Kumar, asked me to weigh the prospects of getting into the area of CSR. Given that his thoughts and ideas were way ahead of… Read more »

A Perspective on GoDaddy’s IPO

This commentary is co-authored by John Wilson and Janet Pegg. Some recent comments in the media raise concerns about how GoDaddy Inc.’s upcoming initial public offering will be impacted by the original shareholder’s retention of future tax benefits from GoDaddy’s prior tax losses.  However, care should be taken before drawing conclusions about the company’s tax… Read more »

Introducing Cornerstone Capital Global Sector Strategy

In this note, we introduce the Cornerstone Capital Global Sector Strategy Model.  The model ranks the 10 GICS in the MSCI All Country World Index.  As discussed in detail below, the model employs a quantitative multi-factor methodology to generate sector recommendations based on proprietary measures of valuation and earnings.  The Cornerstone Capital model also takes… Read more »

The Cornerstone Capital Regional Strategy Update

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION In the April edition of The Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking we introduced the Cornerstone Capital Regional Strategy Model. This month there is no change in our regional weightings. We provide a quick update by region. Michael Geraghty is the… Read more »

Going Deep: Measurement Systems at the Product Level

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION. In a world of big data, radical transparency for corporations and sustainability reporting on the rise, we should see a major shift in how businesses are tackling the most intractable environmental and social issues, as well as a rapid pace of progress… Read more »

MingJian (消费明鉴), Testing for Safe Quality Products in China

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION The life of a consumer in China is akin to walking blind through a minefield; always fearful that your next purchase may contain hidden dangers. If you enter the words “product safety China” into Google, it will return more than 150 million… Read more »

Introducing Cornerstone Capital Global Sector Strategy

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION We introduce the Cornerstone Capital Global Sector Strategy Model which ranks the 10 GICS in the MSCI All Country World Index. The model employs a quantitative multi-factor methodology to generate sector recommendations based on proprietary measures of valuation and earnings and incorporates… Read more »

Alibaba’s Hybrid Corporate Governance Structure

The upcoming IPO has attracted media and market attention as one of the first efforts by a Chinese company to list on a U.S. Exchange. Founded 15 years ago, Alibaba is a giant in China’s e-commerce business, with online shopping sites combining the power of an Amazon and eBay with the ubiquity of a PayPal…. Read more »

Introducing Cornerstone Capital Global Markets Regional Equity Strategy Model

In this note, we introduce the Cornerstone Capital Global Markets Regional Equity Strategy Model.  As discussed in detail below, the model employs a quantitative multi-factor methodology to generate regional recommendations based on proprietary measures of valuation and earnings.  The Cornerstone Capital model also takes into account corporate governance metrics by region.  We will be updating… Read more »

Smart Grid Infrastructure – Status, Opportunities and Risks

As we strive towards a system change, replacing linear business models with circular, impact-integrating strategies, network infrastructures are at the core of a major shift. From low-risk, low-return physical assets, they are being transformed into smart grids….

Building Sustainable Cities with New Design Processes and Open Data

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE APRIL 2014 EDITION. New data and technology advancements in the infrastructure design industry have the potential to revolutionize how finance and banking professionals screen opportunities for impact investments. The design industry is rapidly moving from the practice of drawing lines and circles to an intelligent,… Read more »

CBA-BIM Using Established Tools to Achieve Standard for Infrastructure Project Valuation and Risk Assessment

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE APRIL 2014 EDITION. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is changing the planning, design, building, and operation of infrastructure. When Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) is added to BIM investors get both transparency of value and understanding of risks in complex infrastructure projects. CBA-BIM has the potential to… Read more »

E-Cigarettes. A Positive Disruption to the Market and Health or a Distraction?

The introduction of e-cigarettes (e-cigs) has acutely disrupted the tobacco product/nicotine marketplace.  As of 2013, Citi estimates that just under half of the 42 million smokers in the US have tried an e-cig.  And, while e-cigs currently account for only 1% of overall US cigarette industry volumes, global e-cig sales have rapidly increased to $1… Read more »

Big Data in the Social Sector

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, January 2014 written by Sonal Shah, a Senior Fellow at the Case Foundation and a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University and Hollie Russon Gilman, a Democracy Fellow at Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School. Subscribers can view the… Read more »

Principles of Responsible Data

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, January 2014 written by Michael Shavel, CFA, a Research & Business Analyst at Cornerstone Capital Inc. and a former Research Analyst on AllianceBernstein’s Global Growth & Thematic team. Subscribers can view the full article in the January edition. While technology has evolved, there still remains the… Read more »

Sustainability and the Digital Dilemma

Growing reliance on data and hyper-connected IT systems by individuals, businesses and governments makes information security an increasingly important tenet of sustainability. Those reporting institutions that prudently sort through these challenges and take actions to tie the information security-sustainability thread will assume leadership on a formidable global issue that can wreak environmental, social and economic havoc in a keystroke, not a decade.

Efficiency Meets Big Data

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, January 2014 written by Ben Dear, Partner at Osmosis Investment Management in the United Kingdom. Subscribers can view the full article in the January edition. Any firm that is therefore able to standardize and use the data to provide objective, comparable efficiency rankings, will be highly… Read more »

China: The Elusive Market for US Technology Companies

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, November 2013, written by Nikos Theodosopoulos, Founder of NT Advisors LLC, a consulting and advisory firm for the Technology Industry. While China represents a large and rapidly growing market for US Technology companies, the path to success in this market has proven difficult and sometimes… Read more »

A New Value Driver Framework

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, October 2013, written by David Lubin, Managing Director of S3, and retired as Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Renaissance Worldwide. He served as lead contributor to the UNGC in development of the report entitled, The Value Driver Model – A Tool for Communicating the Business… Read more »

Is Activism Orthogonal or Complementary to Good Corporate Governance?

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, October 2013, written by Nikos Theodosopoulos, Founder of NT Advisors LLC, a consulting and advisory firm for the Technology Industry. The boards of large and “legacy” technology companies have to be cognizant of increasing shareholder activism in the technology industry and that more shareholder friendly… Read more »