Category Archives: Digital Infrastructure

Ep. 9: How the Tapestry of Earnings is Coming Together

Ep. 9: How the Tapestry of Earnings is Coming Together

A look at the thematic outlook we can piece together from the flow of earnings reports we’ve received thus far.

On this episode of the Thematic Signals podcast, we find ourselves in the thick of earnings season and Tematica’s Chris Versace not only provides an overview for how all of these reports are coming together to form a larger picture, he shares a thematic look at what’s moving several stocks, including Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), International Airlines Group (ICAGY), IBM (IBM), Netflix (NFLX), Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) and the impact of spending on cybersecurity. In thematic speak, it’s the Digital Lifestyle, Digital Infrastructure, Disruptive Innovators, and the Safety & Security themes, with an added dash of privacy. Of particular note, Chris is really excited about one of the latest signals for Tematica’s Cleaner Living investing theme as Nestle SA has found a way to dramatically reduce the sugar content of its KitKat bar. Why? Because it and other food and beverage companies are under pressure from consumers and governments alike to make healthier products amid rising obesity and diabetes rates. If Nestle keeps this up maybe one day it could land in the Tematica Research Cleaner Living Index.

Have a topic or a conversation you think we should tackle on the podcast, email me at cversace@tematicaresearch.com

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Europe gets in the game with 5G deployments

Europe gets in the game with 5G deployments

To date the majority of conversation around 5G mobile network deployments has been in the U.S., as once again Verizon and AT&T battle over whose network will be the best. In the past, the eurozone has blazed the next generation of mobile technology due in part to both Ericsson and Nokia being housed there.

But that is about to change as several mobile operators in the eurozone fire their own 5G cannons with initial network deployments and data plans. While the 5G networks will be a work in progress for some time, the data plans will be something to watch as the carriers balance winning 5G subscribers vs. recouping the spectrum acquisition as well as network buildout costs.

Given the growing pervasiveness of unlimited data plans, we’ll be looking to see how network operators price their 5G offerings, and which solutions stick. As this aspect of our Digital Infrastructure investing theme gets built out, our suspicion is the near unquenchable thirst for data consumption that is part of our Digital Lifestyle investing theme will go swallow up 5G data speeds without missing a beat.

Europe may have lagged behind the United States and South Korea in early 5G network launches due to regulatory hurdles, but top carriers are now making up for lost time with aggressive moves across the continent. In Germany, Deutsche Telekom unexpectedly commenced commercial 5G service in two cities today, while rival Vodafone announced unlimited 4G/5G service plans for the United Kingdom, including 5G roaming across the U.K., Germany, Italy, and Spain.

In Deutsche Telekom’s case, the carrier has opted to open 5G test networks in Berlin and Bonn to consumers today, with a promise to add four more cities in 2019, and cover 20 by the end of 2020.

The move comes only weeks after the carrier spent $2.45 billion in a German 5G spectrum auction and a year after it first began to publicly complain about the high costs of 5G deployment — the reason its unlimited 5G plan will cost €85 ($96) per month with voice service, or €75 ($85) monthly for hotspot-only data service. Initial service is being focused on dense metropolitan areas, but the carrier plans to “eliminate white spots in rural areas” and build 5G networks for campuses, amongst other expansions of its coverage.

Meanwhile, Vodafone has built upon its earlier promise to launch 5G on July 3, becoming the first U.K. operator to promise unlimited 4G and 5G data plans. For the first week of service, Vodafone is offering 5G along with data-capped plans, but starting July 10 the carrier will offer three unlimited data plans at prices from £23 to £30, differentiated by speed. The lowest-end plan, Vodafone Unlimited Lite, will be capped at a meager 2Mbps, while a £26 Unlimited plan will offer 10Mbps speeds, and the high-end Unlimited Max plan will hit “speeds as fast as the device and the network will allow,” peaking at 100 times faster than its current LTE network.

“[W]ith 5G, the demand for data is only set to increase,” explained Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery. “That is why we want to remove the limits on data, so that customers can unlock the full potential of 5G and we can really propel the U.K. into the digital age. By offering unlimited plans to our consumer and business customers, we will revolutionize the market.”

Source: Deutsche Telekom debuts 5G in Germany as Vodafone UK offers unlimited plans

Shopify expands footprint into fulfillment services

Shopify expands footprint into fulfillment services

As consumers continue to shift to digital shopping, a key stool in our Digital Lifestyle investing theme, we are not only seeing more companies embrace the direct to consumer (D2C) business model, but we are also seeing more digital shopping solutions for those companies come to market. Internet shopping platform company Shopify is doing just that as it expands its reach into our Digital Infrastructure investing theme by moving into distribution and fulfillment services. Interesting indeed, but what caught our eye is how they are using machine learning, an aspect of our Disruptive Innovators theme, to do so.

E-commerce technology company Shopify Inc. is extending into physical distribution, offering customers access to a network of dedicated U.S. fulfillment centers to store and ship consumer goods for online orders.

The aim is to speed up delivery for retailers racing to keep up with Amazon.com Inc. while keeping a lid on transport costs by placing inventory across a distributed network within easy reach of major population centers.

Ottawa-based Shopify provides internet shopping platforms and other services that help companies sell items online. It has also branched into payment technology and hardware for use at retail stores and pop-up locations as more online businesses open bricks-and-mortar locations. Its customers include Unilever PLC, Kylie Cosmetics and footwear maker Allbirds Inc.

Shopify said Wednesday that its new service uses machine learning to forecast demand, allocate inventory and route orders to the closest fulfillment centers. The company is working with logistics providers and software companies in Nevada, California, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“Our aim is to make fast and inexpensive shipping the new standard on the internet,” said Shopify Chief Product Officer Craig Miller.

Shopify’s move into warehousing services puts it in competition with companies such as Belgian Post Group-owned Radial, which provides technology and e-commerce services for retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. at 21 fulfillment centers.

The services are part of a growing array of operations that startups and traditional shipping companies have launched to compete with Amazon’s expanding distribution system, including a Fulfillment by Amazon business that ties its online marketplace for third-party sellers to its burgeoning network of distribution centers and transportation options.

Source: Online Retail Provider Shopify Adds Fulfillment Service – WSJ

Latin American Broadband Penetration to Cross Over 50% by 2020

Latin American Broadband Penetration to Cross Over 50% by 2020

In the United States over 80% of households enjoy broadband internet access, a fact that many of us take for granted and as we stream media to our TV’s and other devices and install IoT devices in an attempt to achieve the perfectly “connected home”.  Of course, no country has reached the heights of South Korea when it comes to broadband penetration — crossing over 100% as of the end of 2017.

When it comes to Latin America, the penetration of broadband has lagged the rest of the world; however that is changing:

Latin America’s broadband penetration reached 45 per cent of households in 2018 from a previous 43 per cent in 2017. Going forward, 10 million new accesses are expected within two years and internet household penetration will reach 50 per cent of households in 2020, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.Ivan Maldonado, Technology Analyst at GlobalData commented, “The total number of fixed broadband household penetration will rise 2 per cent or 5 million broadband connections in 2019, driven by telecommunication operators, reaching a household penetration of 47 per cent for the same period.”

Source: Analyst: LatAm broadband penetration at 50% by 2020 |

The expansion of broadband access across Latin America is a strong tailwind not only for our Digital Infrastructure theme, for also for our New Global Middle Class investment theme, which focuses on areas around the world where rising disposable incomes are driving demand for a host of products and services. And of course, with more disposable income and an improved digital infrastructure, this development also provides a tailwind for companies such as Netflix (NFLX), Disney (DIS) and Amazon (AMZN) that are riding the Digital Lifestyle tailwinds.

Ep. 101: Why Apple Will Be the Only Smartphone Survivor

Ep. 101: Why Apple Will Be the Only Smartphone Survivor



We’re halfway through the March quarter earnings season and so far, aggregate earnings for the S&P 500 is running ahead of expectations, and that has helped drive the market to new highs. Yet, as evidenced by results from 3M, Tesla, Sherwin Williams, Gorman Rupp and others that are feeling the impact of the slowing global economy there are pockets of weakness investors should avoid. We discuss that as well as several new thematic data points, including Apple’s Service business and what it means for how investors should compare it to other smartphone companies to the new IPO that is plant-based protein company Beyond Meat, that add credence to Tematica’s Digital Lifestyle, Disruptive Innovators, Cleaner Living and Safety & Security investing themes. 

Have a topic we should tackle on the podcast, email me at cversace@tematicaresearch.com

And don’t forget to subscribe to the Cocktail Investing Podcast on iTunes!

Ep 100: A Thematic Look at This Weeks’ Earnings Reports

Ep 100: A Thematic Look at This Weeks’ Earnings Reports


As we get ready for more than 685 companies to report their March quarter results this week, there are apt to be a number of key data points for our Digital Infrastructure, Digital Lifestyle, Rise of the New Middle Class, Guilty Pleasures and Cleaner Living investing themes. On this episode of the Cocktail Investing Podcast,  we walk through which ones we’ll be digging into with respect to those themes and the other 5 investing themes. You may think smokes and beer, but when Altria (MO), Boston Beer (SAM), Starbucks (SBUX), Nokia and Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) report, our thematic lens sees data, data, data and more data.

Coming into the week, roughly 15% of the S&P 500 companies have reported, which means the vast majority will be doing so on the coming weeks. As we close this week, 45% of the S&P 500 will have shared their March quarter results and updated their guidance, which will set the stage for what’s to come at us in the following weeks. We also get our first look at March quarter GDP this week, and based on the data had during the quarter, there is no question it will show a slowing US economy compared to the second half of 2018. Even so, it’s going to look better on a relative basis to the other three global economic horsemen that are China, Japan and the eurozone. 

Have a topic we should tackle on the podcast, email me at cversace@tematicaresearch.com

And don’t forget to subscribe to the Cocktail Investing Podcast on iTunes!

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