AI-Focused Names Lead CE 100 Index 2.3% Higher 

The CE 100 Index gained 2.3% as artificial intelligence (AI) sparked investor enthusiasm and the earnings season continued to wind down for the March quarter.

This past week’s performance brought the Index to a positive 14.2% return as measured year to date. shares soared 30%, leading the Enablers segment up 4.4%.

The company released preliminary results that showed expectations that the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in April, would see revenues of a bit more than $72 million, exceeding company guidance.  

The company noted in the release that the “overall business environment for enterprise AI is more active than we have seen since the company’s inception and seems to be accelerating.” During the quarter, the company said, it closed 43 deals, including 19 pilots that were initiated during the quarter that just ended.

Communications Names Lead the Pack 

The Communications pillar soared 7.8%, led by Snap, which gained 13%. Snap, of course, also has been riding a wave of positive sentiment over AI. Last month, the company said that it opened up Snapchat’s AI chatbot to users for free. My AI had initially been launched in February as a premium offering.

Also within that segment, Zoom shares were up 8.9%. Zoom is on tap to report earnings on Monday, and per financial media sites such as Yahoo Finance, consensus estimates expect revenue growth in constant currency to be around 3%. According to reports, top-line growth is expected to be buoyed by demand for Zoom Video Webinars, Zoom Rooms and Zoom Phones.

Affirm gained 14%, leading the Pay and Be Paid segment up 3.4%. 

Affirm’s shares rebounded in the wake of earnings earlier this month that showed a pullback in discretionary spending. The company’s results showed overall double-digit gains in gross merchandise value (GMV) but a decline in some areas like home/lifestyle, where the GMV in that vertical declined 10% year over year. In contrast, it had grown 2% year over year in the fiscal second quarter.

Active merchant count grew 19% year over year to 246,000 merchants overall, and merchants with greater than $1,000 in trailing 12-month GMV grew 29% year over year to 92,000.

In the Banking segment, which gathered a 4.4% positive return, shares of Ally Bank were 5.4% higher, followed by J.P. Morgan, which gained 3.8%. 

J.P. Morgan shares were up on the heels of reports that that it is “unlikely” — in the words of CEO Jamie Dimon — the financial services giant would acquire another struggling bank. That commentary, of course, comes after the company began May with its acquisition of First Republic Bank, which had, in turn, been taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Shares of WeWork plunged 44.7%, taking the Work pillar down 0.4% for the week. The company said last week that Sandeep Mathrani is stepping down as CEO effective May 26 — and is taking a role as director with Sycamore Partners to head its real estate activity. Board member David Tolley has been named to serve as interim CEO. The company’s earnings results announced earlier in May noted revenue growth of 13% in constant currency to $976 million in the first quarter. The company’s real estate portfolio had 73% physical occupancy and an increase in physical memberships of 6% year over year.

 Vodafone shares dipped 7%; alongside earnings results, the telecommunications firm said that it would cut 11,000 jobs — roughly 10% of its global headcount — through the next three years in a bid to, as CEO Margherita Della Valle said, “simplify” operations. The company, as noted in presentation materials in its latest earnings report, “must change” amid an environment where service revenue growth was 1.9% in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023, where that metric had been up 2.5% at the beginning of the year.