Apple, Google see reputation of corporate brands tumble in survey

Google and Apple's brand reputations have dropped. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Apple, Google see reputation of corporate brands tumble in survey

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc’s Google corporate brands dropped in an annual survey while Amazon.com Inc. maintained the top spot for the third consecutive year, and electric carmaker Telsa Inc. rocketed higher after sending a red Roadster into space.
IPhone maker Apple dropped to 29th from its previous position of No. 5, and Google dropped from 8th to No. 28. Apple had ranked No. 2 as recently as 2016, according to the annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient poll released on Tuesday.
The poll, conducted since 1999, surveyed 25,800 US adults from Dec. 11 to Jan. 12 on the reputations the “most visible” corporate brands.
John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, told Reuters in an interview that the likely reason Apple and Google fell was that they have not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out free offerings like its Google Docs word processor or Google Maps and Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
“Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys,” Gerzema said. “We’re not quite to self-driving cars yet. We’re not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they’re going to do.”
Meanwhile, Amazon.com held on to the No. 1 spot, which it has held for five years with the exception of 2015, when it slipped to No. 2. Gerzema attributed Amazon’s ranking to its expanding footprint in consumers’ lives into areas like groceries via its Whole Foods acquisition.
Elon Musk’s Tesla climbed from No. 9 to No. 3 on the strength of sending Tesla Roadster into space aboard a SpaceX rocket — despite fleeting success delivering cars on time on earth, Gerzema said.
“He’s a modern-day carnival barker — it’s incredible,” Gerzema said of Musk. “This ‘The Right Stuff’ attitude is able to capture the public’s imagination when every news headline is incredibly negative. They’re filling a void of optimism.”
For its part, Facebook Inc’s reputation improved in the 2018 study, despite being the target of questions from US lawmakers about the role of social media in Russia’s efforts to influence the US presidential election in 2016. Facebook ranked 51st, its best showing since 2014 when it ranked 38th, the highest the firm ever ranked in the poll.
This year, film production company The Weinstein Co. made its debut at 99th out of 100 on the list after more than 70 women accused co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
Last place went to Japanese auto parts supplier Takata Corp. , whose air bags can explode with too much force and have been linked to at least 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries, prompting the largest recall in automotive history and forcing Takata and its US unit, TK Holdings Inc, into bankruptcy.
1. Amazon.com 2. Wegmans Food Markets Inc. 3. Tesla Motors 4. Chick-fil-A 5. The Walt Disney Co. 6. HEB Grocery Company LP 7. United Parcel Service Inc. 8. Publix Super Markets 9. Patagonia Inc. 10. Aldi Inc


Oil near 4-year high as producers resist output rise to offset Iran sanctions

Updated 21 min 58 sec ago
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Oil near 4-year high as producers resist output rise to offset Iran sanctions

  • The United States from November 4 will target Iran’s oil exports with sanctions
  • US President Donald Trump has demanded that OPEC and Russia increase their supplies to make up for the expected fall in Iranian exports

SINGAPORE: Oil prices on Tuesday were within reach of four-year highs hit in the previous session, as looming US sanctions against Iran and unwillingness by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to raise output supported the market.
Brent crude futures were at $81.45 per barrel at 0421 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, and close to the intraday peak touched the previous day at $81.48, the highest level since November 2014.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $72.27 a barrel, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last settlement.
The United States from Nov. 4 will target Iran’s oil exports with sanctions, and Washington is putting pressure on governments and companies around the world to fall in line and cut purchases from Tehran.
“Iran will lose sizeable export volumes, and given OPEC+ reluctance to raise output, the market is ill-equipped to fill the supply gap,” Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at French bank BNP Paribas, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum on Tuesday.
OPEC+ is the name given to the group of oil producers, including non-OPEC supplier Russia, that agreed to curtail output starting in 2017.
While Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran on Tuesday said they were determined to develop payment mechanisms to continue trading despite the sanctions by the United States, most analysts expect Washington’s actions to knock between 1 million and 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil supplies out of markets.
“We view Brent’s rally above $80 per barrel as fundamentally justified,” said Fitch Solutions in a note.
US President Donald Trump has demanded that OPEC and Russia increase their supplies to make up for the expected fall in Iranian exports. Iran is the third-largest producer in OPEC.
OPEC and Russia, however, have so far rebuffed such calls.
“Any formal decision on oil output by the producer group, barring an extraordinary meeting, will only take place at the December meeting. Thus, the window period for oil prices to potentially extend gains is quite wide as Iran loses exports and OPEC+ remains on standby,” Tchilinguirian said.
Ashley Kelty, oil analyst at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald said crude could soon hit $90 per barrel.
“We don’t believe OPEC can actually raise output significantly in the near term, as the physical spare capacity in the system is not that high,” Kelty said.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has lifted its average Brent price forecast for 2019 from $75 per barrel to $80, while it increased its WTI crude oil forecast by $2 to $71 per barrel.
The bank said “the Iran factor may dominate the market near-term and cause a (crude price) spike,” although it added that emerging market “demand concerns could reappear thereafter.”
Indian refiners — struggling from high crude feedstock prices and a sliding rupee — are planning to reduce oil imports in what could be a first sign that high prices are starting to hurt demand.
Despite the bullish sentiment, some traders said current prices already reflected the tighter market, and that more oil would be coming in 2019.
Commodity trading giant Vitol said on Tuesday that non-OPEC producers, especially the United States, may insert up to 2 million bpd of new crude into the market in 2019.
To reflect rising US oil exports, CME Group Inc. said on Monday it will launch a WTI Houston crude futures contract in the fourth quarter.
CME’s announcement comes after rival Intercontinental Exchange said in July it would offer a Houston crude futures contract.