Can the Google bull run keep up the pace? Alphabet was created last year as a holding company as the hugely profitable search and advertising business was separated from the riskier, so-far loss-making, ‘moonshot’ projects. It means more transparency but also means we can see the huge costs of the latter - $3.6bn last year alone by some counts. Nevertheless, net margins have inched up again over the last two years after sliding from a high of 29% in 2010. One analyst at Pivotal Research has increased the year-end price target to $970, which is about 20% above where the stock is trading currently.


It’s been quite a turnaround so far for IBM, with shares up significantly year-to-date amid signs that the company is entering the 21st century. Less the no-growth zombie, more a cloud-focused tech giant with plans the future, there seems to be a lot more optimism around Big Blue than at any time for the last three years. In a world of Apple and Alphabet, IBM is having to work very hard to turn the ship around, but investors are hopeful. 4Q2015 results were, after a string of pretty grim quarters, ahead of forecasts, albeit earnings before nasties were down 17% from the year before.

Arm Holdings

Booming smartphone demand continues to boost Arm, the Cambridge-based chip maker whose products are found in just about every mobile device you can think of. It’s had some pretty impressive growth over the last five years but a bit like Apple (whose phones use Arm chips), it’s all about future demand expectations. Diversification means it’s not just about chips, although this remains its core market. Its stock is up by about 20% from the mid-February troughs, but remains roughly 10% its December 2015 peak.


PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi may be hitting the headlines for comments about terms of endearment in the workplace, investors are focused on Monday’s earnings report. For PepsiCo and rival Coca Cola (also posting earnings this week), read currency headwinds. The strength of the dollar has been a major headache for PepsiCo, which has posted a decline in revenues for each of the last 5 quarters. A softening in the buck in the first quarter could offer some relief. Pepsi is pinning sales growth on innovation and has recently announced a bevy of new products.

Morgan Stanley

Financials are in action again this week, with Morgan Stanley among the banks posting results. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America all managed to defy very weak forecasts with earnings ahead of EPS. Last time out, Morgan Stanley delivered a stellar set of figures for investors, beating forecasts as costs plunged. Like the rest of the sector, Morgan Stanley has recovered well from its February low but a long way off last July’s highs.