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The 3 Favored Machinery Stocks To Buy In August 2023-08-10 - Key Points As the United States pivots into a new monetary policy, more expensive dollars are beginning to chase a more stable set of stocks, creating an opportunity for investors to get into this industry ahead of time. These three companies have been deemed market favorites, especially after investors realized the sentiment gauge from analysts and other broader sets of participants. Fundamental factors are all aligned to give way for new rallies in these names; further economic data may support the thesis for new highs that investors should take advantage of. 5 stocks we like better than Snap-on Money is becoming more expensive, as the United States federal reserve has been acting on its mission to lower the nation's rampant inflation rates seen during 2022. With rising interest rates as the primary weapon of inflation neutralization, investing in companies that over-promise and under-deliver has become a thing of the past; meme stocks are no more. What this means for investors is simple, those quiet and boring stocks that nobody wanted to touch because names like GameStop NYSE: GME and AMC Entertainment NYSE: AMC were flying are now becoming the law of the land. Expensive money means every decision - and investment - counts ten times as much, so money is rotating into safer and more stable industries, which also happen to be performing quite well during these economically transitory times. The machinery industry has been a standout recently, following its trends in the ISM manufacturing PMI index. Still, investors can handle the details. The job has been done to arrive at the three market favorites within this space, allowing investors to focus on deciding which - if not all - to buy. Kulicke and Soffa Presented with an uptrend trading channel and a recent beat on second-quarter 2023 earnings, investors can start their early Christmas list with Kulicke and Soffa Industries NASDAQ: KLIC. While some of the company's significant KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) missed out on some of the expected growth, other markers in the quarterly results pointed to a bright future ahead. The latest investor presentation will showcase a magnificent development in the company's financials, with a 10.3% revenue growth rate to start, earnings per share grew by an astonishing 44.7% over the past twelve months as a result of cost management, and a total share repurchase program of 2.5 million shares. Before continuing, investors can find these buybacks as a subtle hint from insiders believing two critical trends. First, buying stock may imply that it is undervalued, and who else would know better than management? Secondly, it can be taken as a sign that the future outlook for the business is nothing but bullish; otherwise, management could pay a dividend or keep these funds in the balance sheet as cash. It would seem that markets got sick of the bullish bug, as they, too, are expecting some above-average growth from this name. The forward price-to-earnings ratio, which places a quality value on future expected earnings, will clarify that Kulicke is a favorite today. Carrying a 22.7x forward P/E will place Kulicke above other semiconductor machinery providers like Axcelis Technologies NASDAQ: ACLS, who trade for 21.6x. This willingness to overpay for each dollar of future earnings in Kulicke speaks for itself, as markets want to expose themselves to the future growth perceived in the name. MKS Instruments Spillover effects from this heating industry have found their place in MKS Instruments NASDAQ: MKSI, as the company reported a net double-digit growth in revenue from the previous quarter to the most recent. While annual sales declined by 11%, investors should remember that these businesses oversee a turnaround in their respective industries, so the highlight remains on the quarter-to-quarter stats. Investors can lean on the fact that the company's acquisition of Atotech last year is beginning to pay dividends, as cost synergies have amounted to a total of $30 million saved so far, boosting margins as a result and enabling the 10% operating margin expansion to a current 46.9% level. These trends and the industry recovery as a whole may be enough factors to push the current price target in the stock set by analyst ratings. A net 6.4% upside is missing the spice brought on by a 175% increase in earnings per share over the past year, where the stock ended up declining by as much as 11.5%. As a wide gap relative to the stock's performance, the financial performance may be closed down after markets take a more profound interest in the sector. In any case, the global battle for semiconductor machinery equipment will surely be one heck of a tailwind pushing demand for MKS products, boosting margins further. Stanley Black & Decker While not the clearest in the sense of where the growth may be coming from, Stanley Black & Decker NYSE: SWK is the story that markets love and reward in preparation for an explosive quarter. This stock has found its bottom recently, as it has been breaking out to the upside since May 2023 after a severe 66% decline from its $225 per share all-time high. Markets are placing a premium value on this stock; investors can follow the same forward P/E logic as before and arrive at a 20.4x valuation, which will put Stanley as the highest-perceived quality company in the peer group. Other large-cap names competing with Stanley include Snap-On Incorporated NYSE: SNA, which trades at an inferior 14.4x multiple. This market willingness to pay a premium price for each dollar of future earnings in Stanley can indicate confidence around a brighter future ahead. Management has also reported some positive initiatives despite a challenging period; $ 460 million in cost savings have aided in operational margin expansion, a trend that - if continued - can deliver some pleasant EPS surprises. Before you consider Snap-on, you'll want to hear this. MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street's top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on... and Snap-on wasn't on the list. While Snap-on currently has a "Hold" rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys. View The Five Stocks Here
These 2 Clean Energy Stocks Are About To Attempt a Breakout 2023-08-10 - Key Points Traditional energy commodities like oil and natural gas are undergoing a cyclical volatility swing, leaving most investors with a shaken-up portfolio. Luckily for them, these names in the renewable space are attracting enough market attention. Diversifying into these alternative energy sources can help investors wait out the volatility wave. Favorable financial results and promise of outperformance become the law of the land for these industry leaders. The only thing standing in the way of investors are recent highs acting as resistance to the stock prices. 5 stocks we like better than First Solar There is a certain feeling that is taking over the energy markets, that one resembling being seasick. Wild swings have been brought on the profit and loss statements of energy investors and widening charts alike to the screens of short-term traders in the space. Today, those looking at the volatility may decide to step into other less crowded areas that make much more sense. The alternative solution to a wild traditional energy market has been - and continues to be - the renewable 'clean energy' names, operators that display a fraction of the volatility with similar upside potential. Investors may be willing to stick their noses into this niche to create a more stable stream of cash flows and then look to return to the good old fossil energy names once the frenzy is over. There are many pretenders in the space, so investors will save a lot of the headache that comes with scoping out the severe players today, as the following two companies are committed to providing an increasing base of renewable energy services. There is some market favoritism and analyst realizations of this pivot from traditional energy volatility. Constellation Energy Some energy players have refused to get down with the current wind changes in the marketplace, as their tried and tested methods have yet to be fully challenged. One name choosing to frown at the phrase "If it is not broke, then don't fix it" is Constellation Energy NASDAQ: CEG, once a purely natural gas electricity provider, now looking to make a splash in the renewables space. This stock has not only outperformed the S&P 500 by as much as 31% over the past twelve months, it is now flirting with its recent all-time high price of $109.97 per share. Some bears believe that this will mark the pullback for the stock as it rejects to break a new high; analyst ratings are on the same page by assigning a consensus 6.8% net downside from today's prices. Some of these downers may need to remember that, according to the latest investor presentation, Constellation is the number one provider of 24/7 clean energy in the United States. Furthermore, it has gotten ahead of other competitors as it is now the industry leader in providing nuclear energy. It is the next breakthrough needed to combat rising emissions worldwide. Understanding that this stock carries the highest forward price-to-earnings ratio in the large-cap renewable utilities sector, compared to other names, will help investors understand how bullish the outlook is for this company. Traders often follow a forward P/E to gauge the market's future expectations as it values the next twelve months of expected earnings. A forward P/E of 18.2x will place Constellation above competitors like Brookfield Renewable Partners NYSE: BEP, who are trying to make the same breakthroughs now the norm for the former. A superior valuation multiple reflects the market's willingness to pay a higher price today for exposure to each dollar of future earnings in the company, a vote of confidence like no other. First Solar According to analyst ratings, a consensus upside of 12% is on hold for the future of First Solar NASDAQ: FSLR stock. This is one company that is breaking through the walls of negativity posed by bears, who doubt that this 'growth stage' company will ever see a day of stable profitability, which is not the case at all today. The stock has been trying to break past its resistance levels of $229 per share. As the recent pullback allows investors to catch their breath, the latest quarterly results in the firm may have opened up a new way for buyers to start piling in orders. According to the second quarter 2023 earnings results, this company is becoming more undervalued by the day. Gross margins at the firm grew from a negative 3.7% in 2022 to a massive improvement of 38.3%, impressive by any industry's standards. This is a direct result of the increased demand the company has experienced, as it can now spread its production and selling costs across a more significant number of units to achieve net profits. Speaking of net profits, earnings per share at the company grew at a stratospheric annual rate of 206%, yet the stock only rose by 85% during the period. This discrepancy between financial growth and stock performance opens up the way for the stock to clear its previous highs acting as resistance. Now that oil prices are rising and natural gas becoming unstable, solar will become more of an adaptable alternative for American homes. Before you consider First Solar, you'll want to hear this. MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street's top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on... and First Solar wasn't on the list. While First Solar currently has a "Moderate Buy" rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys. View The Five Stocks Here
Nvidia Is Down, But AI Chip Juggernaut Not Down For The Count 2023-08-10 - Key Points Nvidia, the best S&P 500 year-to-date gainer, is down 11% since its July 14 peak. The company reports Q2 results on August 23, with Wall Street expecting strong year-over-year gains. Analysts expect earnings to rise by 112% this year, which is fiscal 2024, and by 41% in fiscal 2025. Nvidia may be forming a new base below its 50-day average, which is likely to offer a buy opportunity relatively soon. 5 stocks we like better than NVIDIA Nvidia Corp. NASDAQ: NVDA skidded 4.72% in heavy turnover on August 9, ending the session below its 50-day moving average for the first time since early January. Shares were essentially flat in after-hours trading. Nvidia, as just about every stock-market follower knows by now, has been on fire, with a year-to-date return of 205.68%. Nvidia is widely viewed as being one of the biggest beneficiaries of the current AI craze. That uptrend has stopped recently, with the stock down 11% since retreating from its July 14 high of $480. So what’s going on? Is AI mania over? AI Will Continue Driving Stock Performance It’s almost certainly the case that AI’s potential will continue driving stocks’ share prices, but well into the second half of the year, investors may be looking to good old-fashioned fundamentals, rather than hype. For example, C3.ai Inc. NYSE: AI, which offers AI and machine learning applications for business customers through its C3 AI Suite, is down 18.89% in the past week and 8.31% in the past month. Despite being the subject of a great deal of hype, C3.ai has never been profitable, and analysts have no profit forecasts in sight. Year-over-year revenue has been declining. The company has been even more of a juggernaut than Nvidia, advancing 221.63% year-to-date. But Nvidia, as a large-cap, S&P 500 component, is the most prominent example of a stock rallying because of AI’s potential. It’s the biggest year-to-date gainer in its index. Earnings & Revenue Declining Recently However, the growth case recently has been non-existent. For example, while the company has been profitable for years, earnings and revenue have been declining in recent quarters. As you can see using MarketBeat’s Nvidia earnings data, the company topped analysts’ views in the past two quarters, which contributes to the uptrend. Nvidia reports fiscal second-quarter results on August 23, with Wall Street eyeing earnings of $2.06 a share on revenue of $10.89 billion. Both would be significant gains over the year-ago quarter. The company is quickly ramping up its production capabilities for AI chips, which is what’s expected to drive sales and earnings going forward. A company’s earnings potential is a draw for capital, so the fast run-up isn’t all that surprising. Analysts expect Nvidia to earn $7.09 per share in its current year, which is fiscal 2024. That would be an increase of 112%. In fiscal 2025, that’s seen rising by 41% to $9.99 per share. Tech Sector Declines In Past Month But red-hot rallies eventually cool off, and sector rotation is real. While the tech sector was on fire in the first half of 2023, it’s now the second-best performing sector year-to-date, after consumer discretionary. In the past month, the tech sector, tracked by the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund NYSEARCA: XLK, is down 0.52%. It’s lagging nine other sectors, with energy being the leader with the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund NYSEARCA: XLE returning 9.61% in the past month. Even good news for Nvidia isn’t giving the stock a boost. On August 8, the company announced updates to its GH200 Grace Hopper Superchip platform. “Graphics and artificial intelligence are inseparable, graphics needs AI, and AI needs graphics,” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said in a speech at a graphics industry conference. Could Be Forming a New Base So where does this leave Nvidia investors? Because the stock skidded below the 50-day line, there’s a risk that it’s in the process of forming a new base rather than simply bouncing higher after tagging its 50-day line, which is no longer a possibility. Not to say Nvidia won’t rally again, but right now, with the stock on a downtrend, it’s not actionable. Could the pullback eventually offer a buying opportunity? Of course. With those double- and triple-digit earnings estimates and with the very real potential for AI, it’s not much of a stretch to predict that Nvidia has room to run in the medium-to-long term. MarketBeat’s Nvidia analyst ratings show a consensus view of “moderate buy,” yet the price target is $428.68, an upside of only 0.74%. Keep in mind: Several analysts have higher price targets; that number includes those who haven’t updated their targets in months or even a year. Institutional Support To Remain Strong By virtue of its size, potential, and 2023 performance, Nvidia will continue to have plenty of institutional support over the coming months and years, so a total meltdown doesn’t seem to be the issue here. However, investors interested in snapping up some shares at a lower valuation should keep an eye on the stock. When it gets some decisive upside momentum, perhaps after the upcoming earnings report, it may be actionable again. Before you consider NVIDIA, you'll want to hear this. MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street's top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on... and NVIDIA wasn't on the list. While NVIDIA currently has a "Moderate Buy" rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys. View The Five Stocks Here
Private jets are awful for the climate. It’s time to tax the rich who fly in them | Edward J Markey 2023-08-10 - The climate crisis is not in transit, it’s arrived at the gate. It’s in our skies, our water, and our land – with record-shattering heat waves, increasingly severe wildfires and flooding from superstorms and rising seas. We have no time for delays. Tackling this crisis and protecting frontline environmental justice communities will take all of us. And the tax-dodging ultra-wealthy need to stop fueling the problem and start supporting first-class solutions. That’s why, this July, I introduced the Fueling Alternative Transportation with a Carbon Aviation Tax (Fatcat) Act with Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. Private air travel is the most energy-intensive form of transportation. For each passenger, private jets pollute as much as 14 times more than commercial flights and 50 times more than trains. Despite their sky-high emissions, private air travel is taxed considerably less than commercial air travel. My legislation changes that. Because the 1% should not get a free ride while destroying our environment. At the moment, billionaires and the ultra-wealthy are getting a bargain, paying less in taxes each year to fly private and contribute more pollution than millions of drivers combined on the roads below. Just one hour of flying private negates the climate benefits of driving an electric car for an entire year. That is unfair and it is unacceptable. For the sake of our environment, it is time to ground these fat cats and make them pay their fair share, so that we can invest in building the energy-efficient and clean public transportation that our economy and communities across the country desperately need. We cannot continue to ask frontline communities – disproportionately low-income, rural, immigrant, Black and brown Americans who are bearing the weight of the climate crisis – to subsidize billionaires jet-setting the globe. Our legislation would increase fuel taxes for private jet travel from the current $0.22 to nearly $2 a gallon – the equivalent of an estimated $200 a metric ton of a private jet’s CO2 emissions – and remove existing fuel tax exemptions for private flight activities that worsen the climate crisis, like oil or gas exploration. The revenue generated by the Fatcat Act would be transferred to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and a newly created federal Clean Communities Trust Fund to support air monitoring for environmental justice communities and long-term investments in clean, affordable public transportation across the country – including passenger rail and bus routes near commercial airports. To fully tackle the climate crisis at the scale that is required, we need to ensure that those who are fueling this problem are held accountable for contributing to the solution. It is, of course, the same logic that should, but sadly does not, apply to our tax code. If Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and countless Wall Street hedge fund managers want to fly private jets, the least they can do is pay their fair share in taxes to compensate for the damage to our environment and the wear on our infrastructure. It’s unconscionable that they be allowed to continue to pay pennies on the dollar to pollute our environment as Americans suffer through the hottest days in an estimated 125,000 years. Everyday Americans should not have to pay for their excess. And let’s be clear: this is an issue of economic and environmental justice. The wealthiest 1% globally are responsible for more than twice as much carbon dioxide pollution as the bottom 50%. But the burden of that pollution gets passed along to people already struggling. A billionaire who takes to the skies in a private jet isn’t going to feel the hardship of paying a sky-high air conditioning or electric bill. The ultra-wealthy who own their own airplanes aren’t going to feel the hardship of breathing dirty air. We are approaching a dangerous tipping point in our battle against the climate crisis. This summer’s brutal weather is just a preview of what is to come. We all need to step up to do our part to address this crisis. Especially jet-setting billionaires.
I was a champion of fake meat: but I’m not surprised people are losing their taste for it | Aine Carlin 2023-08-10 - Faux meat is failing. Once championed as a way to fight the climate emergency, protein alternatives are now struggling, with plant-based pioneers Beyond Meat reporting net revenue losses of nearly 31% in the second quarter of this year. I could say I’m surprised, but the truth is I’m only amazed that our collective love affair with fake meat lasted as long as it did. I was once a fan, but standing in front of a towering wall of hyper-processed meat alternatives in my local supermarket last year, I couldn’t help but think: are vegan burgers that bleed really the answer to our meat consumption woes? Climate scientists have been sounding the alarm over how food production systems are contributing to global heating for decades. Eating less beef, pork and chicken is a vital element of the fightback, creating a gap in the market for meat alternatives. But, according to US charity the Center for Food Safety, “replacing conventional animal products with ultra-processed, poorly studied and under-regulated genetically engineered products is not the solution to our factory farm and climate crisis”. And I’m inclined to agree. Not long ago we were enamoured of everything that vegan alternatives promised, as a way to “do our bit” without sacrificing our carnivorous instincts. But the nutritional and environmental pitfalls of processed protein have slowly made themselves apparent. Swapping meat with Beyond Meat resulted in some impressive health findings, according to one study, including reduced LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol and body weight. But while these plant-based products don’t appear to be inherently damaging to our health, they are undeniably ultra-processed. In the long term, the implications of consuming industrially produced vegan products on a mass scale are unclear. It’s not just Beyond Meat that has seen sales plummet; in June, UK vegan producer Meatless Farm ceased trading before it was rescued from administration, while sausage company Heck reduced its vegan range, citing a lack of consumer demand. In the US, vegan chicken nugget startup Nowadays recently folded “due to an inability to raise venture funds in this market”, an ominous forecast for the industry. The cost of living crisis has been cited as one significant reason for tanking sales of vegan meat products. And it’s true these alternatives can be expensive. A pack of two Beyond Meat burgers costs £4 at Tesco, while a pack of four Finest beef steak burgers is also priced at £4 – the same price for double the quantity. Beyond Meat is now reducing its price points and cutting jobs in a bid to save what some are calling a “sinking ship”. But I wonder if waning sales aren’t more likely to be linked to a shift in our collective feeling towards these products. The reality is that many of these foods don’t taste terribly good. As a chef who has spent my career designing vegan recipes, I’ve become something of an expert in the flavour profiles of meat alternatives. Beyond Meat remains the fiercest competitor to real meat when it comes to taste and texture but most other brands are seriously lacking. At this stage, nobody can convince me meatless protein crumbles are tastier or more appealing than beluga lentils. And if they aren’t tastier, then why are we bothering? Perhaps another reason for the decline in sales of these products is that the general public are arriving at a more nuanced position on our current meat production processes, and indeed their plant-based alternatives. In 2022, a summit on the societal role of meat was held in Dublin, with 1,000 scientists coming together to sign the Dublin Declaration, which states that “livestock systems … are too precious to society to become the victim of simplification, reductionism or zealotry. These systems must continue to be embedded in and have broad approval of society.” Vegan media was quick to dismiss the declaration, claiming it was “riddled with animal industry bias”. But the fact that the summit even took place speaks volumes. Professor Michael Lee, a leading expert in sustainable livestock and one of the signatories of the declaration, insists it isn’t “anti-vegan” or “anti-ecology” but instead about “being pro sustainable agriculture to feed a global population and protect our planet and all its inhabitants”. Personally, my own rules for eating healthily are inspired by the American author and journalist Michael Pollan’s motto: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”, which remains the simplest strategy we can apply to our food consumption habits that is good for our bodies and the planet alike. Whether you view fake meat companies as innovative or otherwise, for those wanting to eliminate meat from their diets, these products can be a stepping stone towards a more plant-dominated lifestyle. I believe we are unquestionably drawn to items that replicate the taste and texture of conventional animal foods. Just look at the burgeoning cultivated meat industry, where animal meat cells are grown in a lab to replicate the real deal. The future for fake meat looks uncertain but that’s not to say with advances in food technology it will be gone for ever. But my faux-nugget-shunning five-year-old would rather see the back of it.
Linda Yaccarino says Twitter will reinstate ‘client council’ for ad execs 2023-08-10 - The chief executive of X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, has moved to repair the company’s relationship with advertisers by reinstating a “client council” for marketing and ad agency executives. Linda Yaccarino wrote on the platform on Thursday that it was “officially bringing back the client council in the fall”, as the business seeks to reverse an advertiser boycott that has hit revenues since it was bought by Elon Musk for $44bn last year. Musk admitted last month that cashflow was still negative amid a 50% slump in advertising revenues. Yaccarino, who was a highly rated TV advertising executive before joining Twitter this year, told the news channel CNBC she had been focused on talking to brands such as Coca-Cola and Visa. “I’ve lived on a lot of planes lately, direct conversations with CMOs and CEOs [chief marketing officers and chief executive officers], and we cover a lot of ground and I focus on those that have either maybe paused or reduced spending to remind them about the power of the platform and the power of the user base and the economic potential of them partnering with us again,” she said. Yaccarino said X had become a safer platform since the takeover. “By all objective metrics, X is a much healthier and safer platform than it was a year ago,” she said. However, multiple reports have flagged the platform’s struggle to eliminate child sexual abuse material after the takeover, while Musk has been criticised for reinstating previously banned users such as the misogynist influencer Andrew Tate. Yaccarino suggested part of the difficulty was that some big advertisers might not have known who to talk to because the company had reduced its staff total from about 8,000 workers to 1,500 since Musk’s takeover. She added that her role as chief executive was clearly defined and the differentiation with Musk, who still has a hands-on presence at the business, was “very clear”. Musk has said he wants X to become an “everything app”, like China’s WeChat, including the ability to send payments. “Elon focuses on product design. He leads a team of extraordinary engineers and focuses on new technology,” she said. “So think about it as Elon is working on accelerating the rebrand and working on the future. And I’m responsible for the rest. Running the company from partnerships to legal to sales to finance.” Yaccarino described the rebranding of Twitter as a “liberation that allowed us to evolve past a legacy mindset”. Musk announced in a tweet on 23 July that Twitter would become X. Asked about the proposed cage fight between Musk and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Yaccarino said she was focused on the “seriousness of the potential of X” and added that the bout talk “may be a humorous back and forth between Zuck and Musk”. She also jokingly described the fight as a “great brand sponsorship opportunity”.
Tax rises and subsidy cuts behind drop in UK household incomes, says OECD 2023-08-10 - A sharp rise in tax payments and cuts to energy subsidies in the UK were to blame for a steep fall in household incomes during the first three months of the year, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In a review of its 38 member states, the OECD said the UK was in the bottom half of the income table after households faced a steeper rise in tax payments than their counterparts in the US, France and Germany. Data revealed that “real” household incomes per capita (adjusted for inflation) had grown by 0.9% in the OECD in the first quarter of 2023, exceeding growth of 0.3% in real GDP per capita. The Paris-based rich nations club said it was the third quarter in a row that real household income per capita had grown among its members and the fastest rise “since incomes were boosted by pandemic-related assistance programmes” in 2021. Of the 21 countries for which data was available, 11 recorded an increase, while 10 recorded a fall, including the UK. Incomes improved or deteriorated as much in line with government tax and spending programmes, many of them related to the pandemic or inflation crisis, as they did from wage rises. The UK and Germany were among countries that spent most resources protecting household incomes with subsidy payments, while France and Italy supplemented income subsidies with caps on energy prices. It meant household incomes grew in Italy and the US, but declined in Canada, France, Germany and the UK. Canada recorded the largest drop (-2.2%) in real household income per capita, driven in part by cuts to social benefits introduced last year to offset rising prices. In Germany, real GDP per capita and real household income per capita both fell for the second consecutive quarter, the OECD said. German households were hit hard by the rise in gas and electricity prices last winter, and despite reducing consumption, suffered a 1% loss of income in real terms in the first quarter. France reduced most of its energy-related subsidies in the first quarter, hitting household incomes by 0.5%. Italy kept many of its subsidies in place, protecting household incomes, which rose by 3.3%. Real incomes fell 0.8% in the UK, mostly due to a steep rise in personal taxes paid in response to rising wages, spending on VATable goods, and wealth taxes, including inheritance tax. The UK and French economies were flat during the first quarter, unlike the German economy, which contracted by 0.4% per capita. Italy, which saw the largest increase in GDP per capita (up 0.7%) and fastest increase in real household incomes in the first quarter (up 3.3%) benefited from steep cuts in energy prices. In the US, the OECD said a gain in real household income per capita of 1.7% was mainly due to a decrease in taxes payable after a rise in 2022 “due to increases in wages and salaries, deferred payment of 2020 taxes and strong capital gains”. Among other OECD countries, Poland experienced strong growth in both real GDP per capita (3.9%) and real household income per capita (3.5%). Large increases in real household income per capita were also recorded in Denmark (4.3%), Belgium (4.1%) and the Netherlands (2.6%).
NatWest and Virgin Money cut rates as mortgage ‘price war’ spreads 2023-08-10 - NatWest and Virgin Money have become the latest big lenders to slash rates on their fixed mortgage deals, prompting claims that a full-scale home loans “price war” has broken out. The moves came after it emerged on Wednesday that four of Britain’s largest home loan providers were cutting the cost of their new fixed-rate deals, with Halifax reducing rates by up to 0.71 percentage points from Friday, and HSBC, Nationwide and TSB making similar moves. Twenty-four hours later, NatWest announced it was cutting rates on its house purchase and remortgage fixed home loans by up to 0.65 percentage points, also with effect from Friday. That means a five-year fixed rate aimed at homebuyers with a 10% deposit that is currently priced at 6.64% will be offered at a rate of 5.99%. Other NatWest deals, including buy-to-let and shared equity mortgages, will also have their rates cut. Virgin Money announced it would be launching a range of cheaper remortgage deals for those wanting to fix their monthly payments. The lender indicated these would be available for only seven days, until closing time on 17 August. That prompted brokers to call it a “flash sale” and claim that banks and other lenders were battling for market share. Kylie-Ann Gatecliffe, director at North Yorkshire-based KAG Financial, said: “The competition is on. It is great to see high street lenders reducing rates, and a rate war is welcomed by us brokers wanting to offer borrowers more appealing products. I suspect others will follow suit and we will hopefully see the lenders yet to reduce also start to reprice.” Other commentators said that a fall in housing transaction volumes had clearly rattled lenders. Lewis Shaw, founder of broker Shaw Financial Services, said that after months of mortgage rate rises, “this is the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve all been waiting for”. He added: “If we see positive inflation data next Wednesday, expect more of this.” With Virgin Money making a move with its seven-day sale, the indications were that “we’re now fully in a mortgage market price war”, said Riz Malik, founder and director at broker R3 Mortgages. “This is not only great news for residential borrowers but also a silver lining for buy-to-let landlords who have felt sidelined,” he added. Mortgage rates have risen rapidly as the Bank of England has pushed up interest rates in an attempt to tame inflation. Last week the Bank raised interest rates for the 14th consecutive time, bringing the base rate to 5.25%.
Bittrex to pay $24 million to settle with US securities regulator 2023-08-10 - The seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seen at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo Companies Bittrex Inc Follow Aug 10 (Reuters) - Bittrex has agreed to pay $24 million to settle claims by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the cryptocurrency exchange failed to register with the agency, according to a filing in Seattle federal court on Thursday. The SEC sued Bittrex Inc and its former CEO, William Shihara, in April, saying they operated an unregistered national securities exchange, broker and clearing agency. The SEC also claimed the exchange's foreign affiliate, Bittrex Global GmbH, failed to register as a national securities exchange in connection with its operation of a single shared order book along with Bittrex. Bittrex Inc filed for bankruptcy in May. The deal requires the company and Bittrex Global to pay the $5.6 million fine and hand over $18.4 million in allegedly illicit profit 60 days after a liquidation plan is filed in the bankrupctcy case. The companies and Shihara agreed to an order barring them from violating U.S. securities laws. They did not admit to the SEC's allegations. Seattle-based Bittrex Inc had previously denied that securities were traded on its platform. Bittrex Global has said it has no U.S. customers. The SEC claimed in its lawsuit that Shihara coordinated with crypto asset issuers seeking to make their tokens available for trading on Bittrex's platform to delete public statements that Shihara believed would lead regulators to investigate those token offerings as securities. SEC Enforcement Director Gurbir Grewal said the settlement "makes clear that you cannot escape liability by simply changing labels or altering descriptions because what matters is the economic realities of those offerings." Shihara called the settlement "a good outcome." "It's vital that our country strikes a balance between fostering innovation, encouraging entrepreneurs and the need to protect consumers, and I hope today’s proposed settlement helps move that forward," he said. A spokesperson for Bittrex did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Reporting by Jody Godoy in New York Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Exclusive: Fear of tech 'brain drain' prevents Russia from seizing Yandex for now -sources 2023-08-10 - [1/2] The logo of Russian technology giant Yandex is on display at the company's headquarters in Moscow, Russia December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - The Kremlin's fear of a serious tech brain drain is the main factor preventing Moscow from nationalising Nasdaq-listed Yandex (YNDX.O), often dubbed "Russia's Google", four people with knowledge of the company's divestment plans told Reuters. Yandex's fate has been the subject of much speculation since it announced plans to pursue a corporate restructuring last November, a move that should ultimately see its main revenue-generating businesses inside Russia spun off from its Dutch-registered parent company. As Russia's leading tech company, boasting some of the country's top developers among more than 20,000 staff, Yandex was one of the few Russian firms with genuine global ambitions before Moscow unleashed its war in Ukraine in February 2022. Many of its staff have moved abroad, some relocating to Serbia, where its new offices are filling up quickly. Maksut Shadaev, the head of Russia's ministry of digital affairs, told parliament in December that around 100,000 IT specialists had left Russia in 2022. And at a company where staff know-how is crucial to maintaining a leading position in search technology, advertising and ride-hailing, a hostile takeover by the state that sparks a talent exodus could do serious damage, according to the sources. "It's obvious that if (nationalisation) happens, the company will gradually come to nothing," said one of the people with knowledge of the talks. "And this is probably what is stopping tough action from being taken." The Kremlin did not respond to a request for comment. Yandex declined to comment. In a results filing late last month the company said its plans for the potential corporate restructuring were "progressing". Moscow has previous form. It seized assets in the Sakhalin oil and gas projects last year by presidential decree and has taken the Russian assets of four Western firms under "temporary control" in 2023, including handing the running of French food group Danone's (DANO.PA) Russian subsidiary to the nephew of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Yandex co-founder Arkady Volozh, in a statement on Thursday criticising what he described as Russia's "barbaric" invasion, said he had been focused on extricating "talented Russian engineers" from the country since the war started. "These people are now out, and in a position to start something new, continuing to drive technological innovation," he said. "They will be a tremendous asset to the countries in which they land." It is not yet clear whether Volozh's comments may have any bearing on how Russia decides to proceed with the company. TALKS AT STANDSTILL Sources told Reuters in May that shareholders in Yandex's Dutch holding company, Yandex NV, could be in line to make $7 billion from a full divestment of its Russian businesses and that Yandex had received bids from several Russian billionaires. The likelihood of Yandex successfully divesting, however, is diminishing, three of the sources said. Talks are currently at a standstill. The fourth source said Yandex's people were the key asset and that no one wanted to be seen to be "killing the company". One of the sources said "hawks" in state companies believed nothing at all should be paid to foreigners. There was a risk that the "brains" at Yandex would leave en masse if the company were nationalised or sold to a state firm, the source added. Andrei Kostin, CEO of state-owned Russian lender VTB (VTBR.MM), in June proposed that Moscow should take temporary control of Yandex's assets, decrying the fact that Western investors were set to gain. VTB was the only party to publicly state that it had bid for Yandex, before later announcing a withdrawal from the process. Two sources said VTB had never been a serious option as a buyer, given sanctions on the state lender. VTB did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Extracting funds from Russia is getting harder. Obtaining approval for deals, with Moscow now demanding a 50% discount among other requirements, is a lengthy and difficult process, Western company executives have told Reuters. For Yandex, last month's U.S. sanctions on Alexei Kudrin, the former finance minister acting as a mediator between the Kremlin and the company, are another headache, two of the sources said. Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Polina Devitt; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Susan Fenton Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Tesla's 'Master of Coin' bids the EV-maker farewell after racking up a $590 million fortune 2023-08-09 - Tesla's CFO is leaving. YouTube A Tesla exec's departure will see him leave with a $590 million fortune, according to Bloomberg. Zachary Kirkhorn, worked at Tesla for 13 years, including four as its chief financial officer. Kirkhorn's wealth has surged in 2023, linked to the sharp rise in Tesla's share price. Tesla's chief financial officer is leaving the company with a bulky fortune. Nicknamed the "Master of Coin," Zachary Kirkhorn ended his 13-year stretch at Elon Musk's carmaker on Tuesday, having spent four of those years as CFO. Kirkhorn departs with a net worth of $590 million, largely due to the value of his Tesla shares and options, according to Bloomberg data. Despite owning less than 1% of Tesla's common stock, Kirkhorn has still gone home with deep pockets, according to the company's latest proxy filing. In 2022 alone, Kirkhorn earned about $16.3 million in stock awards, while being awarded almost $1.3 million in options. That's on top of a $300,000 base salary in 2022. Tesla shares have skyrocketed this year thanks to a string of aggressive price cuts and an AI-fueled tech boom. The company's stock has surged more than 100% year-to-date, boosting its market cap to roughly $800 billion, per Markets Insider data. Driving the automaker's stock higher in recent months was a pair of standout deals with GM and Ford that will allow the rival companies to use Tesla's charging network. Kirkhorn is by no means the only Tesla executive to benefit from the company's surging stock price. CEO Musk himself has seen his wealth climb to $229 billion, making him the richest man in the world. The tech guru owns about 13% of all Tesla stock, so his personal wealth is directly tied to the value of the company. It's unclear what Kirkhorn's next career step will be. Held in high-esteem at Tesla, it was rumoured he would succeed Musk as CEO. Vaibhav Taneja, Tesla's chief accounting officer will step in Kirkhorn's role following his exit. Read the original article on Business Insider
Disney+ subscribers decline as company's streaming loss narrows 2023-08-09 - Disney (DIS) reported fiscal third quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday that beat expectations after the company revealed its flagship sports network ESPN struck a $2 billion deal with Penn Entertainment (PENN) to launch ESPN Bet, a branded sportsbook. Still, Disney+ subscribers missed estimates in the quarter, causing shares to initially slide in after-hours trading. The stock bounced back during the earnings call, however, after the company said full-year 2023 capital expenditures will total $5 billion, lower than the prior $6 billion forecast. Disney also said it would resume paying a dividend by the end of 2023. Shares climbed by as much as 5%. The company reported 146.1 million total Disney+ subscribers, a 7.4% decline from the previous quarter. Analysts polled by Bloomberg had expected a narrower loss of 154.8 million paying users. The majority of the losses came from its Indian brand Disney+ Hotstar, which saw users drop by 24% on a sequential basis. Disney said Hotstar is not financially material to the company due to its lower average revenue per user, or ARPU. Domestic users, which include those in the US and Canada, dropped by 1%. Amid Disney's continued efforts to slash $5.5 billion in costs this year, streaming losses came in at $512 million compared to a loss of $1.1 billion in the prior-year period and significantly ahead of estimates of a loss of $777 million. The company reported a streaming loss of $659 million in Q2 and a $1.1 billion loss in Q1. Bob Iger, who stepped back into the CEO position in November and recently accepted a contract extension through the end of 2026, has remained hyper-focused on profitability. The executive has consistently reaffirmed the company's outlook of reaching streaming profitability by the end of fiscal 2024, aided by new revenue streams like Disney's recently launched ad-supported tier, in addition to new price increases to help pare losses and lift metrics like ARPU. Story continues Mixed quarterly results Revenue in the quarter came in at $22.33 billion, slightly below expectations of $22.51 billion. Adjusted earnings were $1.03 compared to the $0.99 expected. Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products revenue beat expectations of $8.25 billion to hit $8.33 billion in the quarter. Operating income came in at $2.43 billion, ahead of estimates of $2.39 billion and above Q3 2022's $2.19 billion total. Analysts have remained cautious about the future of the parks segment, however, as demand appears to have slowed, coupled with heightened risks to margins amid inflation. Earlier this year, Disney announced long-awaited updates to its parks reservation system and annual passholder program following intense backlash from consumers over lengthy wait times and sky-high ticket prices. Advertising continued to be bumpy, echoing the results of competitors. Linear network revenue fell 7% in the quarter compared to the year-ago period, missing estimates of a 6% drop. Meanwhile, the company's media and entertainment division missed revenue estimates of $14.36 billion to hit $14 billion in the quarter. The segment was dragged by dismal studio results following the disappointing theatrical releases of films like "The Little Mermaid" and Pixar's "Elemental." Questions still loom about the ongoing double strike in Hollywood, ESPN's direct-to-consumer push, and the future of Disney's TV assets. Iger reaffirmed he would take an "expansive" look at the entertainment giant's traditional TV assets, signaling the potential for strategic options that could include a sale. He also reiterated the company is open to strategic partners for ESPN, either through a joint venture or part ownership, to enable it to make the transition to streaming. The future of ESPN Disney CEO Robert Iger arrives at the Save the Children "Centennial Celebration: Once in a Lifetime" event on Oct. 2, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) As ESPN officially enters the sports betting arena, investors will likely have even more questions when it comes to the future of the network. Late Tuesday, ESPN and Penn Entertainment announced they will be launching ESPN Bet, a branded sportsbook. This marks the network's first foray into the world of sports betting. ESPN is licensing its brand to Penn versus launching its own sportsbook. As part of the deal, Penn will pay ESPN $1.5 billion over the next 10 years, with ESPN holding warrants to purchase roughly 32 million shares of PENN worth $500 million, which will vest over the same period. Penn sold Barstool Sports back to founder Dave Portnoy after fully purchasing Barstool earlier this year. "We've been in discussions with a number of entities over a fairly long period of time," Iger said on the call. "It's something that we've wanted to accomplish, obviously, because we believe there's an opportunity here to significantly grow engagement with ESPN consumers, particularly young consumers." Iger also said it's "not a matter of if but when" ESPN makes the full move to direct-to-consumer. "The team is hard at work looking at all components of this decision, including pricing and timing," he explained. Disney has held exploratory talks with major sports leagues including the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB regarding strategic partnerships, according to a source with knowledge of Disney's plans. Variety reported last week that former Disney executives Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer have been tapped as advisers to help Iger with ESPN's streaming transition. Still, analysts and media watchers cautioned that the full transition to streaming will be a difficult journey, particularly when it comes to consumers footing the bill for an additional streaming service versus watching sports as part of the cable bundle. Disney will begin to report results with ESPN as its own standalone unit later this year. Alexandra Canal is a Senior Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @allie_canal, LinkedIn, and email her at email@example.com. Click here for the latest stock market news and in-depth analysis, including events that move stocks Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance
Stocks skid for second day, Nasdaq leads way down: Stock market news today 2023-08-09 - Stocks sputtered on Wednesday, as worries lingered on the US banking sector and attention shifted to a key US inflation report in the wake of disappointing Chinese price data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 0.54%, or 190 points. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) slipped 0.7%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) led the way down, 1.17%. With the crucial July US inflation report looming on Thursday, data released Wednesday showed China's consumer sector fell into deflation in July. It's another sign that Beijing is struggling to revive demand in the world's second-biggest economy, spurring fears about a prolonged slowdown with global repercussions. Meanwhile, investors continued to digest Moody's downgrade of midsize US banks, a reminder that the problems that roiled the financial world in the spring are not yet in the past. The health of the banking sector, as well as inflationary pressures, has played a part in the Federal Reserve's decision making during its rate-hiking campaign. Disney (DIS) is the highlight on the earnings docket, with its after-hours results closely watched for how it will tackle advertising headwinds and escalating streaming losses. Its shares ticked higher in premarket trading after its ESPN network signed a landmark sports betting deal with PENN Entertainment (PENN).
Biden touts economic agenda on first anniversary of CHIPs and Science Act 2023-08-09 - President Joe Biden highlighted his administration's economic policies in a speech Wednesday one year after the enactment of the CHIPs and Science Act. The legislation, signed into law Aug. 9, 2022, aimed to bolster semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. and counter China's economic influence. It made nearly $53 billion in investments in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and development, according to the White House. "We made them more sophisticated," Biden said of America's impact on semiconductors. "But over time, we went from producing nearly 40% of those chips — the world's chips — down to 10%. That's why I designated and I signed, and I insisted that it be written and passed, the CHIPs and Science Act." Taiwan makes 60% of the world's semiconductors, according to a 2021 report from the Boston Consulting Group, but it faces threats from China, which claims the self-ruling island as its own. Joe Biden speaks before signing the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 9, 2022. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images The president's speech echoed similar themes from previous "Bidenomics" speeches. He reiterated praise for unions — saying that "unions built the middle class" — and emphasized his administration's role in working to bolster domestic manufacturing and investments. "Instead of exporting American jobs, we're creating American jobs and we're exporting American products," Biden said to applause. The president's remarks took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during a three-state swing in the Southwest. He arrived in New Mexico from Arizona on Tuesday, and he plans to depart for Utah after Wednesday's speech. The trip is part of a lead-up to the anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law on Aug. 16, 2022. Senior administration officials blitzed across the country this week to tout aspects of the president's signature pieces of legislation. On Tuesday in Arizona, Biden announced a new national monument near the Grand Canyon. The monument encompasses nearly 1 million acres of land, according to the White House. Biden said that beyond conserving and protecting ancestral places significant to Indigenous people, the monument would also help grow the area's tourism economy. After he arrived in New Mexico, the president attended a fundraiser, where he said he would soon travel to Vietnam. The White House had not previously announced the trip. Biden won New Mexico in 2020 with 54.3% of the vote. His margin in Arizona was far slimmer, just over 10,000 votes. Utah went to Donald Trump, with 58.1% of the vote.