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India slowed down last quarter | Zoom sped ahead |

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Today's big stories

  1. Zoom gave a picture-perfect update, with better-than-expected quarterly results
  2. Here’s why you might want to rethink your ETF investments – Read Now
  3. India took its foot off the gas last quarter

Zooming Ahead

Zooming Ahead

What’s Going On Here?

Zoom charmed investors this week with expectation-beating quarterly results.

What Does This Mean?

The Covid era was a nightmare for most of us, but for Zoom it was the goose that laid the golden egg. And while the firm’s had to navigate some choppy waters since then, it's adapting well, slimming both its staff and its spending. The company's also been adding non-video services to its lineup – like contact center features and so-called “internet phone” – in a bid to keep big clients happy. Looks like it's working: Zoom’s business customer count was up 12% last quarter and the number of firms paying over $100,000 grew by 27%, which helped push revenue and profit past expectations. What’s more, Zoom’s bright profit outlook and talk of upcoming artificial intelligence (AI) products – like transcription, translation, and sales intelligence tools – had investors beaming, and they sent shares up 8%.

Why Should I Care?

Zooming in: Playing catch up.
Hitching a ride on the AI express isn't really a forward-looking move these days: it's almost an essential one. Analysts predict that AI will be the biggest driver of near-term growth in the tech industry – a bet that makes sense with the economy looking so pale-faced. And given that Microsoft's already jumped on board, working ChatGPT into its Teams Premium package, Zoom needs to act fast – or risk eating competitors’ dust.

The bigger picture: Home free.
It seemed like the end was nigh for Zoom when the world stepped out of quarantine – but these results are another reminder that the firm’s got life in it yet. After all, cost-cutting companies and workers alike favor hybrid workplaces, meaning commercial property owners are the real losers: US office vacancies are predicted to hit a record 1.1 billion square feet by 2030.

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Analyst Take

That ETF You’re Using Might Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be

That ETF You’re Using Might Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be

By Russell Burns, Analyst

ETFs may be popular, but they’re far from perfect

In fact, buying government or corporate bonds directly can often give you advantages that ETFs just can’t provide

With so many people looking to diversify their portfolios by adding a splash of bonds, it seems like a good time to take a look at the best ways to do that.

That’s today’s Insight: how to invest in bonds – and why you might want to avoid certain bond ETFs.

Read or listen to the Insight here

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India’s Speed Wobble

India’s Speed Wobble

What’s Going On Here?

Data out on Tuesday showed India’s economic growth slowed down last quarter.

What Does This Mean?

It seems two major culprits were to blame for India's tepid growth. Suspect A: interest rate hikes, which dented demand and pushed consumer spending – which makes up over half of the economy – down to 2.1% growth, a sharp dropoff from 8.8% the quarter before. And Suspect B: the flagging manufacturing sector, which shrank for the second time in a row as profit margins took a hit and weakening global demand shook exports. The end result was that overall growth came in at 4.4% – slower than expected, and down from 6.3% the quarter before. That hasn’t got the Indian government worried, mind you: it thinks a 7% uptick is in the cards for the fiscal year ending in April, despite upcoming hikes and the unsteady global economy.

Why Should I Care?

The bigger picture: India in the driver’s seat.
That said, India might be right to bet on itself: by some estimates, the country’s more populous than China, with a younger median age to boot – meaning there’s plenty of firepower to fuel growth. And it helps that businesses like Apple are increasingly diversifying into India too, given China’s lengthy Covid disruptions and ongoing tensions with the US. That could be why Morgan Stanley sees the nation becoming the world’s third-biggest economy by 2027.

For markets: Promise aplenty.
Investors and funds alike have been salivating over India, and the country's stock market performance has made the US’s seem pretty inadequate over the past year. And with all this talk of the country's shining future – plus forecasts of 11% annual growth – Indian stocks might just be a savvy buy for your portfolio too.

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💬 Quote of the day

“When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.”

– William Hazlitt (an English essayist, painter, and philosopher)
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Give your portfolio an edge

With some of the world’s biggest stock markets on the up this year, it might seem like an all-too-tempting opportunity to follow the crowd and pile into stocks along with the rest of them.

But without a sound strategy, you could wind up with a serious case of financial whiplash – losing out when stocks begin to see-saw.

Devising a sensible game plan is a tricky business, though, and golden investment opportunities are hard to come by.

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🌍 Finimize Live

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All events in UK time.

💸 How To Pick Winning Exchange-Traded Funds: 5pm, March 7th
🌥 Do Recessions Have A Silver Lining?: 5pm, March 8th
🌎 Three Ways Long-Term Investors Can Act On Climate Change: 12pm, March 21st
🚀 What Will Be The Next Big Thing In Artificial Intelligence?: 1pm, March 22nd

🎯 On Our Radar

  1. Battling ballers. Here’s why NBA stars are turning on each other.
  2. Time’s up, TikTok. The White House is making all government employees delete the app this month.
  3. I am IMDb. Meet the super-users powering your favorite film-rating website.
  4. Centenarians’ ten cents. These long-lived folk shared some tips on creating a fulfilling life.
  5. Creepy corporate concerts. Check out the weird and shady world of VIP private gigs.
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