E Corporate Bad Behavior

Did you know that Apple (AAPL) has sourced over 20 million face masks for healthcare workers and is manufacturing more than one million every week? Also, that MGM Resorts donated 480,000 pounds of food to food banks? I doubt it. News of good corporate behavior is seldom reported. Bad news sells so I’m piling on with more examples of bad corporate behavior. 

Zoom Video Communications (ZM) became the post-coronavirus darling of Wall Street. Their easy-to-use video conferencing software was perfectly suited for social distancing. Schools, businesses, and individuals use their video-conferencing application. But new users rarely know Zoom’s checkered past. For example, last year hackers could access users Mac webcams at any time as long as they had the Zoom software installed. Then it was discovered that Zoom was sending user data to outside companies including Facebook whenever a user logged in for a conference call. Finally, there’s “Zoombombing,” where hijackers access teleconferences and project hateful or offensive imagery. Zoom apparently didn’t anticipate that people might behave badly. Clearly, Zoom has a pattern of security issues.  

Luckin Coffee (LK) was (notice, past tense) an amazing growth story. In less than three years they opened 4,500 stores in China, surpassing even Starbucks. You can order Luckin coffee via an app and then either pick it up or have it delivered. It was a very hot stock, but then it plunged 80 percent. Coronavirus fears? Nope. An internal investigation found that its CEO fabricated 2019 sales by $310 million. About half of its reported sales never happened! The company has since told investors to ignore all of its 2019 financial data and its stock has been halted from trading on the Nasdaq. Once the stock starts trading, it might be priced less than a cup of coffee.

Many companies have been hurt by the coronavirus and some industries are threatened. That’s why the airline industry received a bailout and smaller companies have lined up to receive forgivable loans through the CARES Act. Not everyone received aid, though. The cruise lines including Carnival (CCL) were left out. Why? Although their headquarters are in Miami, they chose to incorporate outside the United States to lessen the tax burden. To be fair, Carnival’s CEO said he isn’t looking for a bailout but he is asking for a guaranteed loan. He didn’t get that either. Good for Congress for not giving money to companies that choose to skirt our tax laws. 

Disclaimer: David Vomund is an independent investment advisor. Information is found at vomundinvestments.com or by calling 775-832-8555. Clients hold ...

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Adam Reynolds 6 months ago Member's comment

That's very troubling about #Zoom. I had no idea they were a company with such bad ethics and a such a shocking disregard for security! $ZM