almost 3 years ago • 3 mins
ASML – which has an effective monopoly over certain chipmaking equipment – is hard to miss right now: the firm posted better-than-expected results on Wednesday, and its shares climbed 4%.
What does this mean?
The global chip shortage is spreading like wildfire, and it’s having a serious impact on everything from car manufacturers to electronics makers. But one industry’s crisis is another industry’s opportunity, and chipmakers – which can now charge a lot more for their in-demand products – are sitting squarely in the latter camp. And given that those chipmakers need the right gear to meet demand, ASML’s pitching a tent too: not only did the supplier to Intel and Samsung see its quarterly results come in well ahead of analysts’ expectations, it even lifted its sales forecast for the rest of the year.
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: Your country needs… ASML.
The shortage is also making governments around the world rethink their dependence on overseas chipmakers. So crucial are semiconductors to major industries that Europe, the US, and others are keen to rely less on technology provided mostly by Asian firms. Holland’s ASML couldn’t agree more, and it’ll be happy to supply the equipment they need – for the right price, of course.
Zooming out: Apple knows a little chip goes a long way.
A similar idea occurred to Apple last year: the tech giant signaled that while it would keep outsourcing the manufacture of its MacBook chips, it’d start designing them in house. The latest iMac – launched earlier this week – was its first foray into the space, and it’ll be hoping the improvement in the machine’s performance will give it the edge over its rivals.
Keep reading for our next story...
With the world’s drinkers finally losing their taste for the finer things, Heineken – the world’s second-biggest brewer – reported better-than-expected results on Wednesday.
What does this mean?
Everybody’s been rifling through the cupboards for a fancy tipple over the last twelve months, but Heineken wasn’t anyone’s first choice: beer consumption flopped 10% last year, the most of any alcoholic drink. But those dark days might finally be over, with Heineken reporting that it sold as much beer last quarter as it did the same time a year ago. And this is one of the rare times thirsty investors wanted a flat Heineken: it’s far better than both the 5% drop analysts were expecting and the 8% drop of the previous quarter. So with those investors pushing the company’s shares up 5%, it could finally be time to party…
Why should I care?
For markets: Invest in the Roaring Twenties.
Rival Carlsberg predicted at the start of the year that brewers could be in for a decade of excess after pandemic restrictions are lifted. And a few major investors seem to agree, piling into everything from liquor brands to theme parks, restaurant chains to shopping centres. And if you think they’re onto something, you might not be too late to get in: “consumer discretionary” stocks have been lagging energy and financial stocks – that is, other sectors that’ll benefit from a reopened economy – by 30% and 20% respectively since last November.
The bigger picture: Drinkers are ditching the booze.
Heineken’s also trying to expand its appeal among Gen Z and women by doubling down on its low and no-alcohol beers. Those sales only made up 6% of last year’s total, but it’ll be devoting a quarter of its marketing budget to push that figure up. And it might be a smart move: a recent study has predicted that the consumption of low-booze drinks will climb 31% across the segment’s biggest markets by 2024.
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