It’s a New Year, and there was certainly a lot to talk about as the stage is set for the rest of 2019. The United States government shut down for a record 35 days; Theresa May’s Brexit deal fell flat; and international leaders discussed some of the biggest global issues at the World Economic Forum. Earnings season also came in swinging, with some big news from one of the most influential tech companies in the world.
Tracking the latest trends is one way to ensure you never miss out on insights that may shape the market now, or in months to come. We used AlphaSense’s AI-powered search technology to take a closer look at the biggest topics of January 2019. Here’s what we found:
The Government Shutdown
On December 22, 2018, the United States entered what would become the longest U.S. government shutdown in national history. The 35-day suspension placed hundreds of thousands of workers on furlough and severely limited government-run organizations. The government reopened on Jan. 25 with the passage of a three-week spending bill that would allow government agencies to operate until Feb 15.
Limited government operations took a toll across the board. IPOs stalled due to a lack of feedback from the Securities Exchange Commission. Major airlines like Southwest, Jet Blue, and Alaska Air warned of worsening conditions due to lack of staff (the FAA even started delaying flights at New York’s LaGuardia Airport). And the IRS left thousands of pieces of tax paperwork unopened and unprocessed — pushing back the already busy tax season rush.
What to watch
Potential setbacks were top-of-mind for companies and investors. AlphaSense data shows a clear uptick in close proximity mentions of government shutdown and forecast (see below) primarily across research and analysis as investors and companies speculated both short and long-term economic impact. Also, note the growing emergence of transcripts here — signaling a growth in mentions among earnings call conversations.
According to a report from the Congressional Budget Office, the shutdown has already cost the economy $11 billion, with $3 billion permanently lost. And if a deal isn’t established by Feb. 15, government entities may be shutting their doors once again. This may be one topic to keep top-of-mind as the full effects of economic impact become more clear.
Tech innovation under the spotlight at CES 2019
The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas kicked off on Jan. 8. CES is one of the largest tech expos in the U.S., and there was no shortage of impressive innovation on display. According to AlphaSense data, more than 230 companies released announcements during the weeks leading up to, during, and after the conference. Notable trends included innovations in 5G, voice assistants, televisions, and artificial intelligence.
What to watch
Trade shows are typically ripe with product announcements, which makes them an excellent opportunity for corporate strategy and market intelligence professionals to dive deep on competitor research and get ahead of emerging trends. For some expert tips on cutting through the noise, check out our guide here.
Brexit vote rejected by British Parliament
Brexit has been a hot topic for a while now. On Jan. 15, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was rejected in a 432-202 British Parliament vote. This forced May to go back to the re-negotiation table to try and hammer out a deal before the U.K. is tentatively slated to leave the European Union on March 29.
What to watch
With around two months before the deadline, there’s no doubt Brexit — and its inevitable aftermath — will continue to dominate the conversation for months to come. Volatility has sparked a flurry of speculation among businesses and investors who are trying to chart a clear course despite uncertainty. In this case, understanding how different industries are approaching the issue — and preparing for it — is paramount.
Apple’s revised guidance sparks Earnings Season shakeup
As tech innovation was celebrated at CES, Apple rattled the market with some earnings news of their own. On Jan. 2, the company released Q1 guidance outlining shortfalls in projected revenue ahead of their earnings announcement on Jan. 29.
In an investor letter, CEO Tim Cook mentioned “challenges in key emerging markets,” partly impacted by the ongoing trade war with China.
What to watch
Apple’s revised guidance was a rare move for the company (the last time Apple issued a warning was in 2002 ). The move was a departure from more standard earnings season announcements, and that only added to the initial market response. The direct mention of China also shines some light on a tangible example of trade war impact — another long-standing trend.
Dissecting past earnings call scripts and analyst research may help add some context here, as the company comes into Q2. For some more tips on how to use search to better understand earnings season trends, check out our guide here.
The World Economic Forum
International leaders gathered in Davos in late January to discuss some of the biggest threats to the global economy. Major issues discussed at the event revolved around trade war concerns, fears of economic slowdown, and climate change.
What to watch
According to the WEF 2019 Global Risk Report, environmental concerns were top-of-mind for global leaders. This falls in line with increased interest in ESG/Sustainability initiatives, which are becoming increasingly prevalent opportunities for investors.