Alphabet, Citigroup, Target: Stocks That Defined the Week
By Francesca Fontana
Google pledges no longer to track everything you do online. Its
parent company Alphabet said Wednesday that it plans to stop
selling ads based on individuals' browsing across multiple
websites. The decision, coming from the world's biggest
digital-advertising company, could help push the industry away from
the use of such individualized tracking, which has come under
increasing criticism from privacy advocates and faces scrutiny from
regulators. Alphabet shares fell 2.4% Wednesday.
The first woman to run a major U.S. bank took the helm Monday.
The task facing Citigroup Chief Executive Jane Fraser is to
reinvigorate the $2.3 trillion megabank as it struggles to keep up
with rivals and deal with new questions about the bank's
complexity. Ms. Fraser has launched a "refresh" she hopes can
simplify the bank inside and out while responding to regulatory
issues. The banking industry, long dominated by men, made strides
in recent years in elevating women, giving them jobs that place
them on the executive track. Citigroup shares rose 5.6% Monday.
Kohl's is not backing down from a battle with activists who want
to take over its board. The retailer's chief executive, Michelle
Gass, said Kohl's is "way ahead" of shareholders that want Kohl's
to add directors with retail experience, to consider a
sale-leaseback of some of its real-estate holdings and to reduce
inventories, among other changes. Ms. Gass said on Tuesday that the
company was already pursuing several of those initiatives and had
concluded that others wouldn't add value. The retailer also said it
would start paying a dividend and buying back shares again. Kohl's
shares added 0.6% Tuesday.
Target hit the bull's-eye last quarter. The company said Tuesday
that holiday sales rose solidly, with strong demand for online
services boosting sales. Over the past fiscal year around 95% of
sales came from store fulfillment, which includes products bought
in stores as well as online orders fulfilled from stores, and
digital comparable sales more than doubled in the most recent
quarter. That model, as well as selling high-demand products during
the pandemic, helped Target grab market share over the past year.
Target estimates it gained around $9 billion in sales from
competitors. Target shares lost 6.8% Tuesday.
Reddit's new meme stock has blasted off. Rocket, the parent
company of Quicken Loans, became a new target of individual
investors on WallStreetBets, the Reddit community that gave birth
to GameStop's rise. Users in the community have been encouraging
each other to buy the stock in recent days and sharing evidence of
their own massive gains as the stock surged. Nearly 377 million
shares traded hands on Tuesday alone, more than a 10-fold increase
from the previous day, and trading of Rocket shares was halted
several times during the week because of its volatility. Rocket
shares surged 71% Tuesday.
Square is getting into the music business. The digital-payments
company said Thursday it would pay $297 million in cash and stock
for a majority stake in Tidal, Jay-Z's streaming service. Jay-Z,
born Shawn Carter, will join the company's board as part of the
deal. Square -- best known for its signature white card reader that
plugs into phones and tablets -- aims to bring its digital payments
and other services to the artists who use Mr. Carter's streaming
platform. Tidal's current shareholders will remain co-owners. The
platform was an early entrant into high-fidelity audio streaming
but faces new competition from rivals like Amazon Music and Spotify
on that front. Square shares lost 7.1% Thursday.
Zoom Video Communications Inc.
Zoom promises not to slow down when the pandemic eases. The
videoconferencing company said Monday that revenue this year would
rise more than 41%, after more than quadrupling to $2.65 billion in
the fiscal year ended in January. Zoom has been one of the biggest
corporate beneficiaries from the shift to remote work and distance
schooling during the pandemic, pitting it against larger rivals
like Microsoft Corp. Meanwhile, the company has been adapting its
tools to prepare for businesses having some employees returning to
the office and others continuing to work remotely. Zoom shares fell
Write to Francesca Fontana at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 05, 2021 20:34 ET (01:34 GMT)
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