A report from Reuters suggesting that the first phase of a trade deal between the U.S. and China may not be completed this year sent the stock market tumbling on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) was down 0.53% as of 2:55 p.m. EST.
Shares of International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) were both slumping, but there was some positive news for each company. IBM launched a new software solution aimed at hybrid cloud environments, and Target (NYSE: TGT) showed that big-box retail can still thrive following its impressive third-quarter results.
IBM launches hybrid cloud security product
When IBM agreed to acquire open-source software company Red Hat for $34 billion, the century-old tech company was making a gigantic bet on hybrid cloud computing, where public cloud infrastructure is paired with on-premise hardware. The move made sense: 76% of organizations surveyed by the company are already using between two and 15 hybrid clouds. This complexity is an opportunity for IBM to help its customers navigate their transition to the cloud.
Image source: Getty Images.
On Wednesday, IBM announced another step in its hybrid cloud strategy. Cloud Pak for Security, a containerized software solution that runs anywhere Red Hat OpenShift is found, is now generally available worldwide. The solution aims to simplify cybersecurity across hybrid cloud environments, connecting to third-party tools without the need to move data.
IBM sees a big opportunity selling Red Hat's products to its existing customers. For every 5% of its largest clients with little to no Red Hat spend that adopt Red Hat software, IBM could generate $1 billion in additional revenue annually. And the company can sell more of its own software via its Cloud Pak strategy, making its products available on Red Hat's OpenShift platform.
IBM's product launch wasn't enough to move the stock, with shares down about 1%. But in the long run, IBM's strategy should lead to revenue growth and perhaps an eventual stock recovery.
Walmart slumps despite strong Target results
Shares of Walmart were down 0.6% despite strong quarterly results from fellow discount retailer Target. Both companies have embraced an omnichannel approach in recent years, leveraging their stores in different ways to compete against Amazon. And both have been successful.
Walmart reported its own solid results earlier this month, with comparable-sales growth and a 41% increase in e-commerce sales. Online grocery is the crown jewel of Walmart's e-commerce business, with pickup and delivery available at thousands of locations.
Target's results were equally impressive. The company reported a 4.5% rise in comparable sales in the third quarter, along with 31% growth in digital sales. Most of that growth was driven by Target's same-day services, which include order pickup, curbside pickup, and its Shipt delivery service. Target isn't as focused on grocery as Walmart, but customers are still flocking to its convenient array of online options.
Both Walmart and Target have something Amazon doesn't: thousands of stores located within a few miles of much of the population. This makes shipping online orders from stores, which Target has embraced, an efficient way to get products to customers quickly.
As long as Walmart and Target continue to provide convenience for their shoppers, the retailers should have little problem holding their own against Amazon.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Timothy Green owns shares of IBM. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool is short shares of IBM and recommends the following options: long January 2020 $200 calls on IBM, short January 2020 $200 puts on IBM, and short January 2020 $155 calls on IBM. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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