Walmart raises its sales and profit goals as it rides e-commerce gains and a strong U.S. economy


Walmart Inc. posted higher quarterly sales, continuing a string of solid growth as the world’s largest retailer taps into online shopping and a robust U.S. economy ahead of the busy holiday selling season.

Sales at U.S. stores open a year rose 3.4% in the quarter ended Oct. 26, including a 43% jump in e-commerce revenue. Walmart executives said same-store sales, which exclude volatile gasoline sales, will grow at least 3% for the full fiscal year.

Walmart’s results followed a strong earnings report from Macy’s Inc. on Wednesday, signs that retailers are heading for a healthy holiday shopping season. American consumers picked up their spending in October after two consecutive months of declining retail sales, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

But not everyone is benefiting from the rebound in consumer spending. Sears Holdings Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection last month, capping years of shrinking sales and hundreds of store closures.

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J.C. Penney Co. on Thursday reported lower sales and a wider net loss in its latest quarter. It also lowered its full-year sales guidance. Penney’s chief executive, Jill Soltau, who joined the company last month, said the department store needs to do a better job clearing excess inventory and understanding what its customers want.

At Walmart, total quarterly revenue was $124.9 billion, an increase of 1.4% as lower international sales and currency translations slowed the overall gains. Walmart shed control of its operations in Brazil and is merging its U.K. operations with a rival to focus on its domestic business and e-commerce operations.

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Profit attributable to Walmart was down 2.2% from a year ago to $1.71 billion, or 58 cents a share.Walmart’s stock was flat in early Thursday trading, after closing at $101.53 on Wednesday. The shares are trading near all time high of $109.98 but are little changed from where they started the year.

In the U.S., Walmart said sales growth was driven by market share gains in groceries, household goods and other categories. Executives highlighted demand for fresh food and apparel, including Walmart’s house brands, as well as toys as the company expanded its selection after the collapse of Toys R Us Inc. It’ is selling 40% more toys online this fall versus last year.

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In the most recent quarter, Walmart’s gross margins fell slightly as the company lowered prices, absorbed higher transportation costs and e-commerce made up a larger percentage of sales, said Walmart’s finance chief Brett Biggs.

Walmart aims to get closer to profitability in its online segment by selling more items that are infrequent, but higher-margin purchases, in addition to common household goods, said Mr. McMillon. “The process takes time, and we’re making progress,” he said.

While most of its U.S. sales come from groceries, Walmart has added trendy fashion to its online assortment. In the past year, it has struck a deal to sell apparel from Lord & Taylor through and acquired online lingerie seller Bare Necessities and plus-size clothing brand Eloquii.

Walmart previously acquired men’s fashion site Bonobos and women’s clothing seller ModCloth.

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Walmart is reviewing every item expected to be subject to tariff-related increases in the coming months, discussing with suppliers ways to reduce costs, said executives. “The teams are hard at it,” and merchandising executives are traveling overseas to study the issue, said Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran on a call with reporters.

Thus far retailers that have made strategic shifts to shrink store footprints and grow sales online appear in position to benefit from a robust holiday shopping season, riding a wave of solid economic growth. Wages grew in October at the fastest rate in nearly a decade and the unemployment rate remained at a 49-year low.

Facebook employee morale is down after a turbulent year for the company, according to the reported findings of an internal survey.



Amid a plunge in the stock price, ongoing leadership turmoil and critical media coverage, just over half of employees said they were optimistic about Facebook’s future, down 32 percentage points from the year earlier, according to the survey, which was taken by nearly 29,000 employees. Fifty-three percent said Facebook was making the world better, down 19 percentage points from a year ago.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg directly addressed the survey results at a question-and-answer session in early November, some of the people said, saying he and other senior officials were taking steps to address the underlying issues.

The darkening mood within the social-media giant is notable in part because its workforce has been resilient through other difficult patches in the past. That includes the period after the 2016 presidential election, when many critics were blaming Facebook for allowing fabricated news articles to pervade the platform.

But many people inside Facebook say this period feels different, in part because of the unusual turbulence at the top of the company, which has struggled to respond to its various internal and external controversies. The declining stock price has also hurt morale among employees for whom stock options are a large part of their compensation, current and former employees say.

“It has been a difficult period, but every day we see people pulling together to learn the lessons of the past year and build a stronger company,” a Facebook spokeswoman said. “Everyone at Facebook has a stake in our future and we are heads down shipping great products and protecting the people who use them.”

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The biannual “pulse” survey asks employees to assess how strongly they believe in Facebook’s overall mission and whether they believe the company has a positive effect on the world, people familiar with the surveys say. It also asks them to measure their satisfaction with their individual managers and work-life balance.


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These types of polls are increasingly common as companies try to gauge employee sentiment and identify any problems before they fester. There are some 30 questions on the Facebook survey, which is conducted in April and October every year.

Employees on average said they intended to stay another 3.9 years at Facebook, down from 4.3 years a year earlier. About 12% said they planned to stay less than a year. Former employees said these figures typically rose.

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In survey responses, some employees indicated they were worried about Facebook’s sharpened focus on growth and frustrated over a “lack of innovation” within the company. Employees also questioned the company’s higher emphasis on the main Facebook platform over Instagram, WhatsApp and other growing services that Facebook owns.

Snap Inc. said the U.S. Justice Department and SEC are looking into allegations it misled investors ahead of its initial public offering last year.


Snap Inc. said the U.S. Justice Department and SEC are looking into allegations it misled investors ahead of its initial public offering last year.

“Snap has been responding to subpoenas and requests for information made by staff from the DOJ and the SEC,” the company said Tuesday in a statement. “It is our understanding that these regulators are investigating issues related to the previously disclosed allegations asserted in the class action about our IPO disclosures. While we do not have complete visibility into these investigations, our understanding is that the DOJ is likely focused on IPO disclosures relating to competition from Instagram.”

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Snap investors allege in a securities lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles that prior to its IPO, Snap didn’t reveal how much competition from Instagram, the photo-sharing app, was hurting its growth in the second half of 2016. They also say Snap failed to disclose a sealed whistle-blower lawsuit by a former employee who claimed inaccuracies in the company’s calculation and reporting of daily active users.

“We continue to believe the class action’s claims are meritless and our IPO disclosures were accurate and complete,” Snap said in the statement. A federal judge in June denied Snap’s request to dismiss the shareholders’ allegations.

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More News On Snap Inc: Snap reveals U.S. subpoenas on IPO disclosures – The U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have subpoenaed Snap Inc (SNAP.N) for information about its March 2017 initial public offering, the social media app maker told Reuters on Tuesday.

The previously unreported federal inquiries follow an ongoing shareholder lawsuit in which investors allege that Snap misled the public about how competition from Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) Instagram service had affected the company’s growth. Snap said it believes that the federal regulators “are investigating issues related to the previously disclosed allegations asserted in the class action about our IPO disclosures.” —— “While we do not have complete visibility into these investigations, our understanding is that the DOJ is likely focused on IPO disclosures relating to competition from Instagram,” the company said.

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Snap’s Snapchat messaging app has posted disappointing user growth since the company’s $3.4 billion IPO, and despite above-expectations sales growth and narrowing losses, its shares have tumbled. They closed at $6.71 on Tuesday, down from their initial offering price of $17. The company described the lawsuit as “meritless” and said its pre-IPO disclosures were “accurate and complete.” It said it would continue to cooperate with the SEC and Justice Department.

Subpoenas can compel parties to provide materials that authorities want to review. Snap acknowledged the probes after the U.S. government made a sealed filing in the shareholder lawsuit last Wednesday. The complaint, filed in May 2017 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, also alleges that Snap did not disclose a sealed lawsuit brought before the IPO in which a former employee alleged the company had misrepresented some user metrics.

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A federal court ordered that whistleblower case to arbitration in April. The shareholder lawsuit further alleges that Snap misrepresented its use of smartphone notifications and other “growth hacking” tactics to spur Snapchat usage. Judge Stephen V. Wilson in June denied Snap’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Plaintiffs later filed to certify it as a class action.

Boeing didn’t inform pilots about a control issue with some new 737 Max jets before a deadly Lion Air crash



Boeing didn’t inform pilots about a control issue with some new 737 Max jets before a deadly Lion Air crash. The automated stall-prevention system on the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 models could push the nose down unexpectedly and then can’t be pulled back up. But pilots weren’t alerted to the new system on the Boeing 737 Max variants or issues with it, according to a Wall Street Journal report late Monday.

A Federal Aviation Administration manager told the Journal that the new system wasn’t highlighted in the training manuals. The aerospace giant only released the warning on the stall-prevention system after the Lion Air crash earlier this month in which 189 people were killed.

Boeing shares fell 2.1% to 349.52 on the stock market today, just above the the 200-day line after tumbling as low as 342.04. Boeing was a drag on the price-weighted Dow Jones industrial average. Boeing stock retreated 3.3% on Monday, undercutting its 50-day moving average. Airbus’ (EADSY) U.S.-listed shares advanced 2% to 27.03.

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Boeing 737 Max Sales: The company has an over 4,000 jet backlog for the narrow-body Boeing 737 Max series. Boeing marketed the Max 8 model to airlines saying pilots wouldn’t need extra simulator training, government officials told the Journal.

A Boeing official told the Journal that the company didn’t want to overload pilots with too much technical information about the system. Boeing is now reportedly working on a software fix for the flight control system.

Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said the issue seems relatively easy to fix and isn’t a major hardware problem. Boeing could take a “bit of a reputation hit,” he said. “But in terms of commercial impact you won’t see much.”

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Boeing October Deliveries: Boeing delivered 43 737s last month, up from 37 a year ago. But that was down from 61 in September. Boeing delivered 12 787 Dreamliners for a delivery total of 57 commercial aircraft in October. That’s up from a 56 in 2017.

Boeing CFO Greg Smith said at the Baird Global Industrial Conference on Nov. 7 that October deliveries would be lower than normal with deliveries jumping in November and December. The aerospace giant has had issues with fuselage supplier Spirit AeroSystems (SPR) and engine supplier General Electric (GE).

“We’ve had challenges that have improved and we continued improvement certainly on the fuselage side, especially with Spirit,” Smith said. “GE is on a path to recovery, but not fully recovered and we don’t expect them to until the end of the year. A lot of the focus today is on GE and their supply chain,” he continued.

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Boeing 737 production is on track to rise to 57 a month next year, from a planned 52-a-month rate in Q4. The Dow Jones aerospace giant is considering an even-faster pace in 2020.

Today’s Stock Market News – Amazon Inc said on Friday it would carry more Apple Inc products globally in time for the holiday shopping season

StockMarketNews.Today Inc said on Friday it would carry more Apple Inc products globally in time for the holiday shopping season. Inc on Friday said it would carry more Apple Inc (AAPL.O) products globally in time for the holiday shopping season, as the technology rivals put aside past differences to boost sales.

In coming weeks, the world’s biggest online retailer will sell the latest editions of Apple’s iPhone, iPad and other devices in the United States, Europe, Japan and India. Amazon sold a limited assortment from Apple previously that included Mac computers and Beats headphones.

The deal underscores how top brands such as Apple and Nike Inc (NKE.N), which long resisted distributing products via Amazon, are increasingly turning to the e-commerce site because it has become a critical channel for reaching customers. Amazon has taken a harder line on counterfeit goods as well. As of Jan. 4, Amazon will rid its site of Apple products from third-party merchants not authorized by the Cupertino, California-based technology company. Still, shoppers will be able to find non-branded accessories – like headphones – that are compatible with Apple devices.

Third-party merchants will be allowed to sell as they have been through the holiday season, while Amazon will add Apple products to its official Apple at Amazon page.

The lineup will include the Apple Watch but not the Apple HomePod, a high-end alternative to Amazon’s voice-controlled Echo device. Such competition in Silicon Valley has often come at the expense of customers.

Alphabet Inc’s Google pulled its video streaming app YouTube from two Amazon devices last year because of several complaints against the online retailer, including its decision not to sell some of Google’s products. Amazon now carries the Apple TV, but only after it became compatible with Amazon’s Prime Video.

“We’re working with Amazon to improve the experience for Apple customers on their site and we look forward to those customers having another great way to buy iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac and more,” Apple said in a statement.

About 71 percent of Apple’s sales in fiscal 2018, ended in September, were through indirect distribution channels like Amazon.

Xiaomi launches in Britain with flagship device


Xiaomi, the world’s fourth ranked smartphone maker, entered Britain on Thursday with the international debut of its flagship Mi 8 Pro, which it hopes will win fans in a market dominated by Samsung and Apple. Senior vice president Xiang Wang said Britain had a “cool” factor that aligned with the company’s appeal to its customers.

“The UK is one of the important global centres for technology,” he said in an interview ahead of the company’s London launch. “It is a young energetic place, so pretty much fits to our culture – we want to be the coolest company in our fans’ minds.”

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Xiaomi, which listed in July and has a market value of about $44 billion, initially targeted other Asian markets for overseas expansion, notably India, where it toppled Samsung as the top smartphone seller earlier this year.

The company, founded in 2010, made its European debut in Spain a year ago – where according to research firm Canalys it already ranks third – followed by France and Italy this year. It said in August that overseas revenue for the quarter ending June 30 had more than doubled year-on-year.

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Xiaomi’s UK product line-up is led by the Mi 8 Pro, which has a dual camera powered by artificial intelligence, a 6.21 inch high-definition AMOLED display, a pressure-sensitive in-display fingerprint sensor and a transparent glass back cover.

It is also bringing its entry-level Redmi 6A device, priced from 99 pounds ($130), Wang said, and some of the other products in the “Mi” range, including its Xiaomi Band 3 fitness band and an electric scooter.

The company’s products will be sold both online and in store, including at an authorised Mi outlet due to open in London’s Westfield mall on November 18.

“Online we will do and we will work with every online channel including Amazon and others,” Wang said.”Offline partners will include Carphone Warehouse and the exclusive launch carrier channel will be 3.”

Stock Market News – Walt Disney Co reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street Estimates




Walt Disney Co reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street estimates, driven by summer crowds at the company’s theme parks and big audiences for Marvel movie “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Shares of the company, which have gained nearly 8 percent this year, rose 1.7 percent in after-hours trading to $118.

The family entertainment company reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.48 for the quarter ended Sept. 30, while analysts had expected $1.34, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. A year ago, earnings came in at $1.07 per share. Disney is trying to transform itself into a broad-based digital entertainment company as ESPN and its networks lose viewers to Netflix Inc, Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and other streaming options. It is on the verge of gaining new film and television properties in a $71.3 billion purchase of assets from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

The media networks unit, Disney’s largest, reported a 4 percent year-over-year rise in operating income of $1.5 billion as broadcaster ABC saw higher program sales and fees from channel distributors. The ESPN cable network continued to shed subscribers, the company said, as viewing moves to digital platforms. To counter that ongoing shift, Disney this year released a streaming service called ESPN+ with live college sports, documentaries and other programming that does not run on television. The company will unveil a family entertainment service with movies and TV shows that will launch in 2019.

In the just-ended quarter, the theme parks division reported operating income of $829 million, an 11 percent increase from a year earlier, as guest attendance and spending at Disney’s U.S. locations rose during the busy summer months. Profit at Disney’s movie studio more than doubled to $596 million thanks to hits such as “Ant-Man and The Wasp” and “Incredibles 2.”

Overall revenue rose 12 percent to $14.3 billion, above analysts’ average estimate of $13.73 billion. Net income climbed 33 percent to $2.3 billion. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Lisa Shumaker)

More News On Walt Disney Co

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) is one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world, operating a vast international industry of television networks, film studios, and theme parks. Disney reported Q3 2018 earnings on November 8, 2018. The global media giant reported $14.31 billion in revenues this quarter, compared to $12.78 billion over the same period last year. At the time of writing, Disney has a market capitalization of approximately $172.52 billion.

Disney’s three largest business segments are its TV business, its theme park business, and its feature film business. These segments include some of the best-known companies in the United States and around the world, including ABC, ESPN, Disneyland, Lucasfilm, and Marvel. On December 14, 2017, Disney announced that it would acquire multiple assets from 21st Century Fox (FOX) for a landmark $52.4 billion. Following news of the acquisition, Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) entered the fray with a $65 billion offer. On June 20, Disney raised their Fox bid to $71.3 billion and acquired a large portion of 21st Century Fox’s assets on July 27, 2018.

Shortly after the 21st Century Fox acquisition in March 2018, Disney began a strategic reorganization that consolidated its consumer products and interactive media business under the parks and resorts umbrella and carved out a separate business segment for direct-to-consumer operations. Here are just a few of the mouse house’s biggest companies.

1. Disney/ABC Television Group
Disney/ABC Television Group operates Disney’s broadcast television, cable television, and radio businesses. The company’s broadcast television businesses include ABC Studios, ABC News, and the ABC Television Network, which deliver programming to more than 200 local television affiliates across the country. Disney/ABC Television Group also operates eight local television stations in some of the country’s biggest media markets. On the cable side, Disney/ABC Television Group operates the ABC Family channel and Disney Channels Worldwide, a unit that includes more than 100 Disney-branded cable networks reaching 164 countries and territories around the world.

Disney/ABC Television Group also has equity stakes in three independently operated media businesses: A&E Television Networks, Hulu, and Fusion Media Network. A&E Television Networks is an equally held joint venture with the Hearst Corporation that operates a variety of cable channels including A&E, History and Lifetime. Disney/ABC Television Group formerly had a 30% stake in Hulu, an online streaming video service featuring ABC Studios content, but their control of the company increased to 60% after acquiring 21st Century Fox. Fusion is another of Disney’s joint ventures, equally held with Univision Communications. The multi-platform media company is targeted at Hispanic Americans.

2. ESPN, Inc.
ESPN is a sports media and entertainment company with eight cable networks in the U.S. and another 16 television networks internationally. Disney holds a controlling 80% stake in ESPN, with the remaining 20% of the company held by Hearst Corporation. In addition to its television properties, ESPN operates, ESPN Radio, and WatchESPN. ESPN also holds a 30% stake in CTV Specialty Television, a multi-channel Canadian sports broadcaster.

3. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. operates Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and Aulani, a spa and resort in Hawaii. These operations include numerous company-owned hotels, retail and entertainment complexes, conference centers, and indoor and outdoor recreation facilities. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts also operates Disney theme parks overseas through a handful of international subsidiaries.

Euro Disney S.A.S., the French subsidiary of Disney Parks & Resorts, owns 51% of Disneyland Paris. In China, Shanghai International Theme Park Co. controls 43% of Shanghai Disneyland Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Management controls 47% of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. While Walt Disney Parks & Resorts does not have an ownership stake in Japan’s Tokyo Disney Resort, it does earn licensing royalties from the Japanese operating company, Oriental Land Co.

In early February of 2018, Disney announced it would be increasing the ticket prices for its American-based theme parks by around 9%, with a regular adult one day pass at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando running at $129, instead of its former price of $124.

4. Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC
Lucasfilm is a film production company best known for producing Star Wars and Indiana Jones, two of the highest-grossing film franchises in history. Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.06 billion, along with the production company’s subsidiary businesses including Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound, and Lucas Licensing. Under Disney’s watchful eye, the company is releasing another trio of Star Wars films and has plans to create a fifth Indiana Jones film starring Harrison Ford in 2019. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the company made back its purchase of Lucasfilm in late 2017 when The Last Jedi brought the total gross of these new Star Wars movies to $4.08 billion.

5. Marvel Entertainment, LLC
Marvel Entertainment is a media and entertainment company with operations in publishing, television, and film. Marvel is best known for its catalog of fictional characters, including Spider-Man, Captain America, and the X-Men. Disney acquired Marvel and the rights to its more than 5,000 characters in August 2009 for $4 billion. Marvel’s blockbuster superhero films have gone on to be huge earners for Disney, giving the company high spots on the top 10 highest grossing movies of the year for several years in a row. Marvel Entertainment’s subsidiaries include Marvel Studios, Marvel Animation, and Marvel Comics.

Today’s Stock Market News – Shares of Apple fell more than 5% in after-hours trading. Apple’s market cap dips below $1tn in after-hours trade.

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Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell more than 5% in after-hours trading following its release of quarterly numbers, with revenue and margin guidance a concern for investors. The company beat expectations on profit and revenue for the most recent quarter. But its forecast for fiscal first-quarter revenue was shy of forecasts, as was its guidance for gross margins.



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An adverse investor reaction to its Apple’s outlook for the holiday season and concerns about less transparency in future financial reports sent the iPhone maker’s market capitalisation below $1tn and shares into correction territory during after-hours trade. The company’s stock price fell as much as 7.7 per cent to $205.16 following the release of its fourth-quarter results after the market close. That took it below the $207.05 mark at which, on August 2, it became the first company to achieve a $1tn market capitalisation.

It would mean about $130bn in market cap has been erased since the stock’s record high close of $232.07 on October 3, or slightly more than the value of industrial conglomerate DowDuPont, semiconductor manufacturer Nvidia or cigarette maker Altria. It would be a little bit less than the market value of Netflix.


Pinpointing Apple’s market cap is a task complicated by its massive stock buyback programme. The stock price of $207.05 that yielded the trillion-dollar threshold three months ago was based on the company’s 10-Q regulatory filing on July 20, which showed it had 4.830bn shares on issue. That share count will probably change when its next 10-Q is released on November 2.

At the after-hours low, it would also mean Apple is now down 11.6 per cent from its October 3 peak, putting it in technical correction territory.



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Apple was the only one of the so-called Faang stocks that did not end up in correction territory or worse by the end of October, which was a particularly bruising month for tech stocks.

As of the New York closing bell on November 1, seven of the 10 big and popular tech stocks that make up the NYSE Fang+ index — including Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Alibaba — are in bear markets even after Wall Street’s fizzy three-day rally this week. That means they are still down more than 20 per cent from their record highs this year.

On Tuesday, the Cupertino, California-based technology giant will take the stage in Brooklyn, New York, to unveil new Mac computers and iPad tablets.

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On Tuesday, the Cupertino, California-based technology giant will take the stage in Brooklyn, New York, to unveil new Mac computers and iPad tablets. The theme of the event is “making,” and it will take place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music — both clues to how Apple plans to reignite sales of the products.

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The main news on Tuesday will be revamped iPad Pros with Face ID and a new charging port, a new laptop destined to replace the aging MacBook Air, and a new Mac mini geared toward professional users, according to people familiar with the plans. They asked not to be identified discussing unannounced products. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

The update to the iPad Pro will be the most significant in the product’s history. The device was originally launched in 2015 in part as a counter-measure to Microsoft Corp.’s Surface Pro, which gained a following with business users seeking large tablets with support for attachable keyboards and styluses. The iPad Pro models, which have larger screens, better cameras, and faster processors, are more expensive, which has sustained revenue growth.

Here’s what Apple is planning for the new iPad Pro, according to people familiar with the plans:

Nearly edge-to-edge screens with slimmer, symmetrical bezels like the latest iPhones.
A USB-C connector for charging and syncing data, the first time Apple is bringing this charging standard to its iOS devices. This will leave the iPhone as Apple’s only major product to use the Lightning connector.

It will also be the first time Apple has changed the charging port on iOS devices since 2012. Face ID will be used for unlocking the new iPad, and the Home button and fingerprint scanner will be removed. Unlike with iPhones, Face ID will work in both portrait and landscape orientations.

Face ID will enable Animojis (and the personalized variety known as Memojis) on iPads for the first time.The screens will be less expensive LCD panels, rather than the OLED screens on the iPhone XS. The iPad’s external look will be redesigned as well. It will include more squared-off sides like the iPhone 5, 5S, and SE from a few years ago.
A faster processor that’s a variant of the A12 Bionic chip recently added to the iPhone XS and iPhone XR.

A custom Apple graphics chip, the first time this would be included in an iPad.
An updated Apple Pencil, succeeding the original version launched in 2015.
The iPad Pro update comes at an important time for the device, which hasn’t been refreshed since mid-2017. While the tablet market is contracting overall, the iPad has been slowly regaining momentum thanks to new software and lower-priced models, but also because competitors like Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. haven’t wowed the market lately.

For the Mac, Apple is planning its first wide-ranging upgrades since June 2017. The MacBook Air and Mac mini, a small desktop machine without a screen, have gone several years without notable changes. This, combined with interest in larger smartphones and competing PCs, led Apple to report the fewest Mac sales since 2010 in its fiscal third quarter.

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Here’s what the company is preparing for the Mac line, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. Some or all of these products could debut at Tuesday’s event. A new entry-level laptop to replace the aging MacBook Air — the company’s entry level laptop that Steve Jobs originally pulled out of a manila envelope a decade ago.

It will have a higher-resolution 13-inch screen, as well as slimmer bezels around the display. The first update to the Mac mini since 2014, adding new processors and features for professional users. Apple’s also working on refreshed iMacs, iMac Pros, and 12-inch MacBooks with faster processors, and at least some of these updates could be ready for the October launch.

Yes Bank Ltd.’s profit missed estimates in the July-September quarter on higher provisions.


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The second-quarter earnings were reported amid uncertainty over the bank’s top management. Rana Kapoor, co-founder and chief executive officer, has been asked to step down by the end of January 2019 after the RBI denied him another three-year term. The process of finding a new CEO is underway. Gross non performing assets rose 37 percent in absolute terms on a quarter-on-quarter basis. As a percentage of total assets, the gross NPA ratio stood at 1.6 percent compared with 1.31 percent in the previous quarter. The net NPA ratio was at 0.84 percent compared with 0.59 percent.

Slippages during the quarter jumped to Rs 1,631.6 crore, which included a single account of Rs 631 crore. Rajat Monga, senior group president at Yes Bank, said that the jump in slippages was because of a one-off and the bank expects an “imminent” upgrade.

The bank disclosed an exposure of Rs 2,600 crore to the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. group. The account is currently standard, said Monga, adding that no additional provisions have been made against this exposure. Monga said the exposure is to special purpose vehicles of the group and not to the parent firm.

Provisions rose 50 percent from the previous quarter to Rs 940 crore because of mark-to-market losses on its bond portfolio. Despite that, the bank’s provision coverage ratio fell 700 basis points to 48 percent. Explaining the low provision coverage ratio, Monga said the bank had chosen not to provide against the one large corporate account that slipped since they expect it to recover soon. If that happens, the provision coverage ratio will improve in the next quarter.

The bank also reiterated its credit cost guidance. For the quarter, credit costs were at 18 basis points for the quarter and 34 basis points for the half year ended Sept. 30, 2018. Advances growth during the quarter was at 61.2 percent. This is the third consecutive quarter that the bank has seen more than 50 percent year-on-year growth. Monga said the bank sees strong growth opportunities, including those emerging from the recent turmoil in the NBFC sector. While the bank did not purchase any NBFC portfolios this quarter, Monga said that the bank intends to do so in the third quarter.

Total deposits grew 41 percent. The bank’s current account and savings account ratio stood at 33.8 percent. The bank, which was planned to raise capital via a qualified institutional placement, will restart the process once there is greater clarity about the management transition.

Shares of Yes Bank closed 2.77 percent lower ahead of the earnings announcement. The stock has dropped more than 34 percent in 2018 so far compared with a 2.5 percent decline in the NSE Nifty Bank Index.

More News: Back in 2013, Rana Kapoor, co-founder, managing director and chief executive officer of Yes Bank, was on a high. The bank was about to finish a decade in existence. By all means, it had proved to be a successful entrant into the private banking space, which has seen enough new licencees crash and burn. Against that backdrop, when a brewing dispute between the bank’s two promoter families came out in the open, Kapoor acted from a position of strength.

At its core, the dispute was about the joint rights assigned to the ‘Indian Partners’ in the bank’s Articles of Association. Of the Indian Partners, Kapoor was the MD and CEO of the bank. The other partner, Ashok Kapur, had been tragically killed in the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. Kapur’s family argued that those rights, including the right to nominate three directors jointly, passed on to them. But Kapoor was not willing to yield any ground. This, despite the fact that the two families had not only been partners in Yes Bank but were also closely related. The dispute eventually went to the Bombay High Court, which upheld the joint rights of the Indian Partners in a 2015 order.

“It is equally incorrect to suggest that the Plaintiffs have, only on account of Ashok Kapur’s demise, transmogrified into some sort of non-promoter capacity,” said one part of the order. Kapoor appealed. That appeal is still pending but there is no stay on the ability of the late Ashok Kapur’s family to exercise their joint nomination rights. Five Years Later…
In 2018, it is Kapoor who now has little choice but to try and find middle-ground with the late Ashok Kapur’s family.

A failure to do so, will mean uncertainty not just for the bank he built, but his own rights as a promoter of the bank.
Kapoor’s position has weakened substantially over the past one month. On Sept 19, the bank informed stock exchanges that the Reserve Bank of India had refused to give Kapoor another three-year term at the helm of the bank. A subsequent request by the bank’s board to extend his term till September 2019 was also turned down. Kapoor must now step down as MD and CEO by end of January.

A search process for the new CEO has begun. But the appointment can only be concluded with the agreement of both Indian Partners. The bank’s board has also recommended two executive director appointments – Rajat Monga and Pralay Mondal. These will also need the consent of both partners.

Some uncertainty may emerge on Kapoor’s own directorship on the board of the bank as well. According to the Articles of Association, Kapoor has a non-retiring seat on the board of the bank. Section 110 of the Articles says: So long as the Indian Partners hold along with any of their affiliates directly or indirectly, atleast 10 percent of the issued and paid up capital of the Company, the Indian Partners shall have the right to recommend the appointment of three directors collectively referred to as the “IP Representative Directors.”

Section 111 says that Ashok Kapur and Rana Kapoor are deemed as IP representative directors. Further in Section 121 pertaining to ‘Rotation of Directors’, the Articles say: Two of the IP representative directors as well as the Rabo representative director shall not be liable to retire by rotation.

But since the nomination rights are joint, Kapur’s family can choose to withdraw their support of Kapoor’s seat on the board as an IP representative, said a person familiar with the matter. It is not clear why the family has not used this leverage in their dispute so far. If they choose to use it now, not only would Kapoor have to step down from the board, he will also not be able to appoint a nominee of his own. Incidentally, Ashok Kapur’s family has not been able to appoint their nominee until now.


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To be sure, the bank has not disclosed any regulatory reservations regarding Kapoor’s position on the bank’s board. After years of estrangement, the two sides have met at least three times in recent weeks. Early discussions have revolved around acknowledging the Kapur family’s joint nomination rights. Concerns raised by the Kapur family about inadequate information provided to them have also been noted and senior members of the management team have briefed the family about the bank’s operations.

But a formal agreement between the two sides is yet to be arrived at. To secure that decision, Kapoor who would have to climb down from the position he had taken back in 2013 and acknowledge the joint nomination rights of the Ashok Kapur family. Once that in-principle agreement is reached, the two sides would also need to agree on a nominee for the MD and CEO post and, subsequently, on the appointment of IP nominee directors on the board.

Amazon is luring the next generation of consumers. To teenage shoppers, there is nothing quite like Amazon (AMZN).

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More teenagers are using Prime membership, too, according to the survey. Prime adoption is at 74%, up from 66% last year. This is in line with the rise of Prime membership penetration across American households. Piper Jaffray estimates that a little over 80 million households are Prime users, up from a high of 70 million in the spring. Another research firm, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, has estimated that Amazon Prime reached 97 million U.S. members in September.


Piper Jaffray’s report also broke down the popularity of Amazon based on household income. It found that the Seattle retail giant is the favorite among teens from upper-income families (with an average income of $101,900), it also saw strong growth in the $41,000-$68,000 household income bracket. Piper Jaffray says this may be a sign that Amazon’s efforts to convert lower-income consumers is working.

Amazon has good incentives to lure the young Gen Z group, who are native digital shoppers and will make up the majority of the consumer market by 2030. Savvy about its users’ life cycles, Amazon offers Prime programs dedicated to teens, college students and new parents. Amazon has made significant efforts to attract future consumers. The Prime Student program, launched in 2010, offers free shipping and access to streaming video at a discounted rate.

To facilitate shopping on its site, Amazon Prime allows teens to set up their own logins independent of their parents’ accounts and parents can choose to review their items before allowing the purchase. Teens can send purchase requests to parents, including messages like “Everyone in my school has this.”


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It has also partnered with popular brands among teens. Nike, for example, became a partner seller on Amazon last summer. Snapchat users can shop on Amazon easily, too. As of last month, some Snapchat users are able to point its camera at an item or barcode and buy it from Amazon. Snapchat is the second-most used social media among teens after Instagram, according to the Piper Jaffray survey.

Amazon is scheduled to report its third-quarter earnings aftermarket on Oct. 25.

Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Eddie Lampert is in discussions with at least one potential partner to contribute to a $300 million bankruptcy loan.

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Sears’ survival will depend on the willingness of creditors and suppliers to keep the company afloat. Strong sales in the end-of-year holiday season will be key in determining that, putting pressure on the department store operator to secure enough financing to remain operational until then. Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc, has held discussions with Cyrus Capital Partners LP, an investment firm that holds some of Sears’ existing debt, about sharing the burden of funding portions of the $300 million loan, which would be separate from another $300 million bankruptcy loan that Sears’ banks have offered to provide, the sources said.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. A Sears spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday. Through his hedge fund, Lampert has invested billions of dollars in Sears since he created it in its current form in 2005 through a merger with peer Kmart. As a result, he is the department store operator’s largest shareholder and creditor.

The bankruptcy loan from the banks, including Bank of America Corp, Wells Fargo & Co and Citigroup Inc, falls first in line for repayment in the Sears bankruptcy case, while the $300 million loan that Sears is seeking from lenders including ESL would be repaid afterwards.

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Some people representing Sears while it navigates bankruptcy have also privately suggested to Lampert that he should seek to replace the $300 million loan from the banks with his own financing, some of the sources said. This would mean that Lampert would potentially be contributing to bankruptcy loans totaling $600 million, the sources said.

Such a move would potentially consolidate Sears’ obligations during bankruptcy proceedings, and give Lampert more control over the company’s court case since he would essentially be the main so-called debtor-in-possession lender, the sources said. As it stands now, Sears is contemplating having two such loans. However, it isn’t clear whether Lampert can or is willing to provide financing to repay the banks lending Sears money in bankruptcy, the sources said. Lampert could demur on the idea and remain focused on contributing to the $300 million loan Sears wants that would be subordinated in repayment to the banks, the sources said.

The sources cautioned that negotiations between Sears, Lampert and other potential sources of bankruptcy financing remained fluid and might not result in a deal. Sears filed for bankruptcy protection in White Plains, New York on Oct. 15 with a plan to close about 142 of its 700 stores by year-end and sell up to 400 of its best-performing stores in an auction in January to a buyer that will keep them operational.

Lampert stepped down as Sears CEO following the bankruptcy filing, and is planning to bid for the stores that go up for sale. Sears, which has close to 70,000 employees, has not turned a profit since 2011. It struggled with competition from e-commerce firms such as Inc, as well as brick-and-mortar retailers such as Walmart Inc. The company listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities in documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York. A court hearing finalizing bankruptcy financing for Sears is expected during the week of Oct. 29.

Disney nears the close of its deal to buy key assets from 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) and gears up to release its own direct-to-consumer streaming platform


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Walt Disney Co. (DIS) can maintain its leadership position in the face of rapid disruption in the media space, according to one team of bulls on the Street. As Disney nears the close of its deal to buy key assets from 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) and gears up to release its own direct-to-consumer streaming platform to take on deep-pocketed tech titans like Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Inc. (AMZN), Barclays expects the company to come out stronger than before.

Disney Investor Day to Ease Worry Over Big Spending on New Business
Shares of Disney have outperformed the broader market this year, up 10.2% year-to-date (YTD) compared to the S&P 500’s 4.2% return. Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar forecasts the stock to jump another 9.7% over 12 months from Friday morning at $118.50, lifting his price target on Disney shares from $105 to $130 in a note to clients on Friday.

Venkateshwar upgraded Disney stock to overweight from equal weight, attributing his more upbeat forecast to the company’s new over-the-top media service, slated for release in 2019. In August 2017, Disney announced that it was cutting ties with streaming industry leader Netflix to launch its own rival service, as well as a platform for ESPN.

“We believe the company has the key mix of assets to be successful and the opportunity from this pivot could be substantial,” wrote the Barclays analyst.


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Venkateshwar expects Disney’s investor day, slated for sometime in early 2019, to offer investors a sense of the scale of the firm’s ambitions, as well as work to relieve some fear regarding the magnitude of earnings downside expected from investments in the new business segment. As competition in the media space ramps up, key players are shelling out billions to ramp up their streaming businesses, with Netflix expected to spend as much as $13 billion on original content in 2018.

While Disney is paying a hefty sum of Fox assets, thanks in part to a drawn-out bidding war with Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), Barclays noted that the firm is actually the least indebted of all in the big media space.

“We believe Disney’s Investor Day could prove to be a catalyst to frame the scale of the opportunity and help the company build a credible terminal value ‘story’ around the stock,” wrote the Disney bull.

Snapchat is a popular source for news among college students. A survey showed that it was right behind Facebook as a news source.

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A number of studies have shown that people turn to social media for news, and of all of the social networks out there, Facebook consistently leads the pack in this regard. But a new study from the Knight Foundation has turned up a surprising finding — that among college students, Snapchat is the second most popular social media pathway to news behind Facebook.

In a survey of 5,844 college students from 11 US institutions, 89 percent said they got at least some of their news from social media over the previous week. And Facebook was the most popular outlet, with 71 percent of respondents saying they got news from the platform during that time period. Interestingly, Snapchat came in second place, with 55 percent of the students saying they had gotten news from the app during the past week. And YouTube, Instagram and Twitter followed, pulling 54 percent, 51 percent and 42 percent of respondents, respectively.

In August, Snapchat reported that it lost three million users in the previous quarter. And while it was the first time the company’s user count had dropped, it had been struggling with slow growth for some time. That and the fact that the app’s redesign was widely panned by its users makes it all the more surprising that such a large percentage of college students are turning to the platform for news. The numbers stand in contrast to those of adult usage overall. The Pew Research Center has found through surveys that around five percent of US adults get their news from Snapchat — a number that has remained consistent over the last two years but is up from two percent measured in 2016.

Looking at it another way, in 2016, 17 percent of Snapchat’s users were getting news from the platform, whereas in 2017, Pew’s survey noted that 29 percent of users were now sourcing news from Snapchat.

One student who participated in a side study of 205 high school seniors noted the ease of finding news on Snapchat. “Finding news is very easy on Snapchat — I don’t really read newspaper articles anymore,” they said. Others reported that they turned to Discover content from outlets like the Daily Mail and NBC’s Stay Tuned daily show for news. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said recently that Snapchat’s shows continue to bring in more viewers with more than a dozen of them drawing up to 10 million unique viewers per month.

The Knight Foundation’s surveys do show a difference between younger and older students, however. While 27 percent of the surveyed college students reported using Snapchat for news daily, 46 percent of surveyed high school students did. So it will be interesting to see how Snapchat stands as a news source going forward and whether students continue to turn to it at the same rates as they age.

Sears Holdings Corp in recent days reached an 11th-hour deal with lenders that will allow the troubled retailer to keep hundreds of its stores open through the holidays.


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Sears Holdings Corp in recent days reached an 11th-hour deal with lenders that will allow the troubled retailer to keep hundreds of its stores open through the holidays. The deal followed days of marathon negotiations at the New York offices of Sears’ law firm, the pioneering American retailer and its bank lenders, Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., and Citigroup Inc. The banks are set to provide a so-called debtor-in-possession loan of about $500 million, which will be used to keep some of its stores open and lights on for the foreseeable future, according to people familiar with the situation.

Edward Lampert, chief executive officer of Sears, who has controlled the company through his hedge fund ESL Investments, believes the company can reorganize around roughly 300 of the most profitable stores, according to a person familiar with the situation. As part of the deal, slated to wrap up over the weekend, Sears will close at least 150 stores immediately after seeking bankruptcy protection, another person said. Meanwhile, another 250 stores will be under evaluation.

The plan that Sears and its lenders reached over the past week isn’t unfamiliar. Dozens of retailers have sought chapter 11 protection in recent years, namely because of the consumer shift to online shopping, expensive store leases and heavy debt burdens.

Retailers such as Claire’s Stores Inc., Bon-Ton Stores Inc., Payless ShoeSource Inc., and Gymboree Corp. have all sought chapter 11 protection with early plans to close stores. For some, including Gymboree, Payless and rue21 Inc., having a so-called prepackaged reorganization plan in place allowed the companies to emerge from bankruptcy protection still operating with a smaller footprint.

Others haven’t been as fortunate. Toys “R” Us Inc. and Bon-Ton Stores each sought chapter 11 protection with the hope of surviving. Bon-Ton, which operated more than 250 stores under banners including Carson’s, Bergner’s and Elder-Beerman, looked for an owner or investor that would keep the chain alive, but fell short and was sold to a small group of bondholders and pair of liquidators that closed the entire chain.


When a company seeks bankruptcy protection, it must receive a judge’s approval to cut any checks or make most decisions regarding its path forward, including paying its employees, its utilities bills and other standard operations procedures. In addition, the company will likely seek immediate approval to begin using its bankruptcy loan, which will be used to make these payments and keep some stores operating.

Since the beginning of the year, Snap has nearly tripled the time viewers spend engaging with its Shows.


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Snap Inc. News

Snap Originals will be available on the Discover page to Snapchat users globally, or by searching for the title using Snapchat’s Search feature. Snap is also introducing new product features that will make it easier for viewers to discover, watch and interact with Originals and all Shows on Snapchat. Every Show will have a dedicated profile page where Snapchatters can easily find all available episodes and seasons to watch at once. Each episode averages five minutes in length and brands can purchase ‘Commercials’ within Shows, Snap’s recently launched six-second, non-skippable ad format.


Snap has created portal Lenses for several of its shows, enabling users to swipe up from an episode of the Show and literally walk into a scene and interact with the objects and characters to deepen their experience. It has also developed custom interactive Lenses, including reaction Lenses for some of the shows’ most riveting scenes that will enable and encourage Snapchatters to share the show experience with their friends.

In addition, Snap also announced NBCUniversal extended its content production commitments through 2019, and Viacom has committed to creating 10 new Snap Originals. Viacom also committed to syndicating at least 500 episodes of its network’s shows to the Snapchat audience.


About Snap Inc.

Wall Street analyst on Thursday slashed his price target on shares but reiterated a buy rating on hopes of a turnaround similar to what Twitter (TWTR) achieved.

Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry cut his price target on Snap (SNAP) to 11, from 17. But Snap stock has hit a succession of record lows since dropping below its 50-day moving average two months ago. A price target of 11 is still a 63% premium from where the stock currently trades.

Snap stock has been in gradual decline ever since the company held its initial public offering in March 2017. “While we clearly have been wrong on Snap’s ability to execute, we continue to believe that a Twitter-like turnaround is possible, particularly as its new Android app comes out later this quarter,” Terry wrote in a research note to clients.

Snap Inc. News: Can Amazon Help Make Snapchat Relevant Again?


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Snap Inc. News

Snap unveiled a new feature that allows users to point their Snapchat camera at a product or barcode, and when recognized, an Amazon card about the item will pop up on the screen. Tapping it will take users to Amazon’s site where they’ll be able to purchase it. Snapchat‘s move into visual commerce could be a powerful means by allowing users to stay within the app when they see a product they’re interested in, Snapchat encourages greater engagement.

That could also help Snap with advertisers, which have been flocking to the app because its programmatic ad buying has lowered costs. Snap’s quarterly revenue rose 44% in the last period due to the changes it made to its advertising platform, and now nearly 75% of its ad revenue comes from programmatic ad buys, up from 18% last year. That has helped revenue per user rise 34% year over year and 16% sequentially. Keeping users around longer may drive even more advertisers to the platform.


For Amazon, it gets itself in front of younger consumers. Customers on its site are typically college educated, between 45 and 54 years old, and well off, with incomes over $100,000 annually and net worth exceeding $500,000. Teaming with Snap gives it the chance to target a whole new consumer demographic, which it can then aim to keep for life.  Like many of Amazon’s other retail experiments, it will give the e-commerce giant new insights into the way consumers think and interact. Like its cashier-less Amazon Go stores or the just opened Amazon 4-star, which only sells highly rated items that have proved popular with customers where the store is located, it gives Amazon greater ability to tailor the shopping experience based on what it learns.

A successful partnership with Snap opens up new possibilities as well. Amazon still has to worry about Facebook leveraging its position as the premier social networking platform to enter into e-commerce in a much larger fashion. It could make Snap look a lot more attractive as a takeover candidate for Amazon to absorb the 188 million active daily users and target advertising to them more directly.

It’s a much more exciting development for Snap than its Spectacles 2.0 as it gives it the potential to considerably boost revenue and relevance at the same time. It provides Amazon with new motivations as well, and though we don’t know the extent of how far this partnership will go or its worth to either party, it indicates that social media and e-commerce will become more entwined as we go forward.

J.P. Morgan: third-quarter profit jumped 24% as the bank’s consumer business helped it overcome weaker trading.

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The bank reported a profit of $8.38 billion, or $2.34 a share. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected earnings of $2.25 a share. JPMorgan’s trading revenues decreased 2% to $4.4 billion from $4.5 billion a year earlier. Fixed-income trading revenue fell 10%, while equities trading revenue rose 17%. The boost from still low – but rising — interest rates is likely to be a major focus for investors. Though an increase in rates can help the profitability of big consumer lenders like JPMorgan, they can also drag down mortgage banking revenue and force banks to pay more to depositors.

JPMorgan extended $22.5 billion in mortgages in the quarter, a decrease of 16% from the $26.9 billion the bank extended in the third quarter a year ago. Revenue in the bank’s home lending division, one of the largest in the U.S. by volume, was $1.31 billion, down 16% from the $1.56 billion it reported in the year-earlier period.

The “Wall Street Journal “ reported earlier this month that JPMorgan is laying off around 400 mortgage employees to help cope with a slowdown in the market.

In the consumer bank, profits rose 60% to $4.09 billion, compared with $2.55 billion in the third quarter a year ago. Overall profit at the corporate and investment bank was $2.62 billion, a 3% increase from $2.55 billion in the same period last year. JPMorgan’s commercial bank earned $1.09 billion, a 24% increase from the $881 million it earned in the year-ago quarter, and the bank’s asset and wealth management unit reported profits of $724 million, compared with $674 million in the third quarter of 2017.

JPMorgan set aside $948 million in the third quarter to cover loans that could potentially turn bad in the future. That compares with $1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2018 and $1.45 billion in the third quarter of 2017. The bank lost $1 billion to loan defaults, or 0.45% of its overall portfolio, compared with a 0.58% charge-off rate in the third quarter of 2017.

Costs increased 7% to $15.62 billion from $14.57 billion a year earlier. At a September conference, Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said the bank’s 2018 expenses likely will be closer to $63.5 billion, up from $63 billion that was shared at its annual investor day presentation in February.

The rise is largely revenue related, tied to matters such as transaction costs and brokerage clearing in addition to performance incentives, she said in September.

Big U.S. banks are set to report their most profitable third quarter since the financial crisis. But underneath the blockbuster numbers are reasons for caution.

Bank profits have been strong this year, thanks in large part to a December law that slashed the tax bill for banks and other corporations. But as the tax cuts become business as usual, investors and analysts have turned their attention to worrying signs about the banks’ future growth. Despite a solid economy with rising interest rates—normally a boon for banking—lending activity hasn’t grown as quickly as hoped, and trading is expected to be lackluster.

Bank stocks jumped early in the year as market volatility fueled revenue on their equities-trading desks, but they have have flatlined since then. The KBW Nasdaq bank index is roughly flat so far this year, compared with an 8% increase in the S&P 500.

Banks generally benefit as interest rates rise because they can charge more on loans—but that impact is muted if fewer borrowers take out new loans. Mortgage growth, for one, is slowing. Overall growth in loans to companies and consumers remains stubbornly slow, with an early-year pickup fading over the summer. Some analysts believe banks are backing off some lending because they are worried the U.S. economy is at the top of its cycle. Some indicators, like credit-card charge-off rates, have been rising, though that rate leveled off over the summer.

Banks are likely to report that their business from advising companies has slowed. Volumes of completed mergers and acquisitions, bond offerings and stock offerings all tailed off in the third quarter from a year ago. A possible trade war and uncertainty over other macro trends roiled stock markets this year, which gave the lift to banks’ equities-trading operations.

Xiaomi Corp. News: Concerns about its longer-term prospects have scared off investors, shaving off more than a third of the company’s value from a peak shortly after its listing.

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Shares of smartphone-maker Xiaomi Corp. bounced back slightly from an all-time low after the company’s CEO released figures that showed its latest high-end model has posted strong sales.

Xiaomi’s shares initially rallied after its $4.7 billion Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) in July, but have moved steadily downward since then on concerns about its ability to compete in the market’s more lucrative higher end with the likes of Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics. The market’s lower end — which is its specialty and accounted for 70% of its smartphone revenue in its IPO prospectus — is notoriously competitive and commands far less customer loyalty than the higher end.

Concerns about its longer-term prospects have scared off investors, shaving off more than a third of the company’s value from a peak shortly after its listing. At its current levels the stock now trades nearly 20% below its IPO price, valuing it at $44 billion, roughly the level it attained nearly four years ago during an early rapid rise.

In a bid to bring some investor enthusiasm to the company, co-founder and CEO Lei Jun revealed on Tuesday that Xiaomi has shipped more than 6 million of its higher-end Mi 8 series that launched in June, according to a post (link in Chinese) on his microblog. Mi 8 models sell from 2,499 yuan ($361) to 3,099 yuan, or well above the company’s average selling price of 952.3 yuan per unit for all of its smartphones in this year’s second quarter.

The 6 million sales figure is relatively strong for Xiaomi’s higher-end models, said IDC analyst Bryan Ma. “For high end models like that, it usually takes Xiaomi at least a year or so to reach those volumes,” Ma said.

By comparison, Xiaomi shipped a total of nearly 32 million smartphones of all types in this year’s second quarter, according to IDC. Besides revealing the 6 million Mi 8 shipment figure, Lei encouraged people to forward his message and said that anyone who did so would be entered into a drawing for eight Mi 8 phones, while thanking everyone for their support.

Xiaomi’s stock rose 1.3% after Lei’s post, up slightly from an all-time closing low the two previous days. The company was the world’s fourth largest smartphone seller in the second quarter with 9.3% of the market, behind leaders Samsung, Huawei and Apple, according to IDC.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures Invests in Accion Systems to Propel Satellite Capabilities.

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Boeing HorizonX Ventures Invests in Accion Systems to Propel Satellite Capabilities. Investment accelerates development of new satellite propulsion capabilities for low and medium Earth orbit and deep space

Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced its investment in Accion Systems Inc., a Boston, Mass.,-based startup pioneering scalable electric propulsion technology to transform satellite capabilities in and beyond Earth’s orbit.

Accion’s new Tiled Ionic Liquid Electrospray (TILE) in-space propulsion system aims to increase the lifespan and maneuverability of satellites and other vehicles in space. Leveraging a non-toxic, ionic liquid propellant and postage stamp-size thrusters, the TILE system is smaller, lighter and more cost-effective than traditional ion engines.

“Accion’s scalable technology can help bring game-changing capabilities to satellites, space vehicles and customers,” said Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Investing in startups with next-generation concepts accelerates satellite innovation, unlocking new possibilities and economics in Earth orbit and deep space.”

Founded in 2014 by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineers, Accion is redefining in-space propulsion. Accion has received annual contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense for the past three years. In June 2018, Accion Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Natalya Bailey was named to MIT Technology Review’s annual list of Innovators Under 35 for her visionary leadership.

“Our TILE product family gives satellites greater capabilities, and at the size of a postage stamp, it fundamentally rewrites the relationship between mass and propulsion,” Bailey said. “Boeing’s aerospace leadership will help us deliver safer, higher performance next-generation propulsion systems to market for satellite and deep space exploration applications.”

Boeing HorizonX Ventures led the investment round with participation from GETTYLAB. The investment and partnership will help Accion grow its manufacturing and connect with Boeing experts, resources and state-of-the-art facilities.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures targets investments that help scale startup innovation in aerospace. Its portfolio is made up of companies specializing in autonomous systems, additive manufacturing, energy and data storage, advanced materials, augmented reality systems and software, machine learning, hybrid-electric and hypersonic propulsion and Internet of Things connectivity.

The investment continues Boeing’s legacy of adopting next-generation technologies to advance satellite capabilities. In 2011, Boeing introduced the first-ever all-electric satellite propulsion system, the 702SP, and has continued to bolster its satellite capabilities with recent investments in Millennium Space Systems and Bridge Sat. Inc.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in more than 150 countries.

Boeing Completes Acquisition of Leading Aerospace Parts Distributor KLX Inc. to Enhance Growing Services Business.

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Boeing Completes Acquisition of Leading Aerospace Parts Distributor KLX Inc. to Enhance Growing Services Business. Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today that it has completed its acquisition of KLX Aerospace Solutions to enhance its growing services business and deliver greater value to its customers. The acquisition positions Boeing to compete and win in the $2.8 trillion, 10-year aerospace services market.

KLX, a major global provider of aviation parts and services in the aerospace industry, provides a clear path for Boeing’s services business to accelerate growth. Its capabilities include distribution and supply chain services. KLX currently markets and distributes products for approximately 2,400 manufacturers and offers approximately 1 million catalog items.

KLX is also a leading supplier of chemicals and composites, which complements Aviall’s portfolio, allowing Boeing to offer commercial, defense, business and general aviation customers a broader range of offerings.

“This acquisition brings together the talent and product offerings of Boeing and KLX to provide a one-stop shop that will allow us to create significant value for our customers. There are also extensive opportunities for services growth and innovation for Boeing and our supply chain that is unique to the industry,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “The resulting boost in supply chain capability will allow us to better serve our customers while profitably and purposefully growing our business.”

With approximately 2,000 employees, KLX Aerospace Solutions will continue to operate from Miami with customer service centers located in more than 15 countries. The acquisition is aligned with Boeing’s organic growth strategy, with no change to Boeing’s capital deployment strategy or commitment to returning approximately 100 percent of free cash flow to shareholders.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial airplanes and defense, space and security systems. Boeing is also the world leader in combined commercial airlines and government services with customers in more than 150 countries.

The company’s products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training. Boeing employs approximately 140,000 people across the United States and in more than 65 countries.

Snap today announced a slate of self-produced programming. The dozen shows, which will be part of a new program called Snap Originals.

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Snap today announced a slate of self-produced programming. The dozen shows, which will be part of a new program called Snap Originals, include a mix of scripted series and reality shows that will premiere over the next several months on the Snapchat Discover tab. The shows are all shot vertically, and episodes average five minutes in length, said Sean Mills, head of original content at Snap. New episodes will premiere daily, and you can tell the app to notify you when a fresh installment is available.

In an interview at the company’s offices in Santa Monica, California, Mills said Snap’s original shows are engineered to succeed in the difficult environment of mobile video where viewers are never more than a thumb-tap away from abandoning a show. Snap Originals are designed to hook viewers within seconds and keep them stimulated with flashy visuals, he said.

“I feel like I’m watching the beginning of a fundamentally new medium, where people are just waking up to how you have to take a very different creative approach,” Mills said.

The Snapchat Originals will appear in Discover, which will soon have a dedicated section for Shows, as well as new permanent Show Profile pages available through Snapchat search where users can sign up for push notifications when each episode is released. Reaction lenses make it easy to post about a Show’s biggest moments. And with new Show Portal lenses, users can stick an augmented reality doorway in their Snaps that they can walk through to explore a scene from the Show and then tap to watch that Show, allowing them to spread virally.

“Time spent watching shows on Snapchat has tripled this year alone” Snap’s VP of Original Content Sean Mills tells me. The stats on Snap’s previous 60 shows from CBS, Viacom, the NFL and others since the project launched two years ago made it clear there was an opportunity to double down, especially as original mobile programming efforts like Facebook Watch and Instagram’s IGTV have stumbled. NBC News’ twice daily show Stay Tuned has doubled viewership in the past year to 5 million unique viewers per day, over half of which watch at least 3 days per week, while SportsCenter’s show reaches 17 million monthly viewers.

Portal lenses use augmented reality to let viewers step inside a scene of an Original show and send the experience to friends. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel telegraphed today’s announcement in a leaked memo, noting that the app sees “over 18 Shows reaching monthly audiences of over 10M unique viewers. 12 of which are Original productions” and that “We are also working to identify content that is performing well outside of Snapchat so that we can bring it into Discover.”

With Snap Originals, Snapchat will also have to compete with other players like Netflix and Hulu, which also develop original content in addition to traditional TV and other digital platforms. But users can also flip the camera to augment the world around them and see digital objects on top of the real world.
The company’s biggest challenge is capturing consumers’ attention.
“People have a finite amount of time for watching programming and there are so many places to watch scripted shows now,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at research firm eMarketer.

“Snapchat is one of the most creative and unique communications mediums, and there’s a lot of benefit to that,” said Williamson. “If it keeps executing and making smart moves, then things will turn around for the company.”

JPMorgan Chase is planning layoffs in its mortgage division weeks after Wells Fargo announced its own mortgage cuts.



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JPMorgan Chase JPM +0.12% & Co. is laying off about 400 employees in its consumer mortgage banking division as parts of the market slow down, people familiar with the matter said. The bank, one of the largest mortgage lenders with about 34,000 mortgage-banking employees, is in the midst of laying off employees in cities including Jacksonville, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix and Cleveland particularly as mortgage servicing has fallen, the people said.

Home sales have slowed as the rise in mortgage rates has been compounded by a lack of homes for sale, increasing prices and a tax bill that reduced some incentives for homeownership. Rising interest rates have also discouraged homeowners from either refinancing their current mortgage or moving and having to get a new mortgage. JPMorgan has also found that customers’ delinquencies have fallen, dropping about 22% in August from the year prior, according to spokeswoman Trish Wexler. Current mortgages require fewer servicing resources than delinquent mortgages.


Ms. Wexler added that JPMorgan’s consumer home purchase application volume rose year-over-year in August and September. JPMorgan isn’t the only bank to lay off mortgage employees. Wells Fargo & Co., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, said in August it is laying off about 650 mortgage employees who mainly work in retail fulfillment and mortgage servicing “to better align with current volumes.”


In a bid to expand the offline presence, Xiaomi has opened up another Mi Home store in Wuhan China.


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Xiaomi opens world’s largest Mi Home store in Wuhan, China In a bid to expand the offline presence, Xiaomi has opened up another Mi Home store in Wuhan China. It is the largest Mi Home store that is present in China. It features smart home demo zone of its wide range technology products. Xiaomi’s senior vice president Wang Xiang made a formal announcement about it via his official twitter handle. He even shared some pictures of the newly opened largest Mi Home store in Wuhan.

A couple of months ago, Xiaomi has accomplished its plan to open 100 Mi Home stores across China. Now, they have initiated a new program to bring 1000 Mi stores in China by the year 2020. As per Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun, the company is slated to open over 200 Mi retail stores by the end of this year. At present, there are stores all over in major cities of China like Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Zhuzhai, Zhengzhou, Changsha, Wuxi, Dongguan, Jinan, Dalian, Xiamen, Qingdao, Shenyang, and others.

The Mi stores allow customers to experience the Xioami products in the native environments.

It gives you an overall high-end experience of the Xiaomi products such as Speakers, Home Cleaning products, mobile devices, etc. They offer a rich portfolio and allow customers to experience products in stores. Along with the experience zone, there’s also a sales counter which will enable users to buy the Xiaomi devices on the go. In some stores, there is a dedicated wall allowing customers to get the information about the product instantly.

Xiaomi shop assistants also help users to know about the devices and help them to process payments without any waiting in line. It’s a good practice by Xiaomi that they are opening Offline stores to tackle the competition from other brands such as Vivo and Oppo.

Boeing should move forward with its planned new mid-sized aircraft (NMA) soon, argues Morgan Stanley, even if it elevates near-term risk.


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Plenty of industrials have gotten clobbered by worries about a trade war, but Boeing has been serenely flying above it all, and sports a 26% year-to-date gain despite being knocked around a bit on the tariff headlines. This follows 2017’s surge when Boeing’s was the best-performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Averagelast year.

However the stock’s long-running success—and the consequent high investor expectations—along with concerns about trade and the industrial cycle, are part of what keeps Morgan Stanley’s Rajeev Lalwani Equal-Weight rated on the stock. He looks at the company’s planned new mid-sized aircraft (NMA), and writes that while it adds execution risk to Boeing shares, building the new planes is likely a good move for the long run.

Boeing first introduced the concept of the NMA three years ago, and Lalwani believes that a decision to move forward with the design is likely to come within a year (although other analysts have debated this timeline). Because it is a “clean-sheet” design, i.e. one that the company is starting from scratch, it could raise the near-term risk profile for the company, he writes, but does set “the stage for Boeing’s long-term vision.”


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The NMA progam’s net present value, inclusive of services, could be about $15 billion (or $25 a share), Lalwani estimates, a relative drop in the bucket given Boeing’s market capitalization of $211 billion, but it could be “pivotal” in terms of Boeing’s competitive position, expansion of services and “smoothing” aircraft-development cycles, even if it comes with interim risk.

He calls the need for the NMA “compelling” for three main reasons. First, it would provide a “proper” response to Airbus’s(EADSY) A321, a leader among larger narrow-body aircraft, that’s outselling Boeing’s recent 737 Max models by around three times. Secondly, it would help with Boeing’s goal of bringing services revenue to $50 billion from $15 billion over a decade, a target that might be difficult with existing aircraft, due to various advantages suppliers have.

Finally, Lalwani writes that the NMA could mean less risk for transition to the 737 redesign. At the moment, the 737 is the “Boeing cash cow,” is due for a “natural refresh” by the end of the next decade. “To minimize the transition risk, we believe lessons from an NMA, that is on a much smaller scale, would be a low-risk way to further experiment with key advances like digital manufacturing,” he writes.

Boeing is up 1% to $370.90 in recent trading. The Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF(XLI) is 0.1% higher to $78.56.

China Renaissance another first-day flop for the city alongside Xiaomi Corp.’s debut.



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China Renaissance another first-day flop for the city alongside Xiaomi Corp.’s debut. Only one company had a poorer showing in Hong Kong this year, reflecting the fact that China Renaissance’s close ties with the tech industry — clients include Meituan Dianping and Didi Chuxing Inc. — wasn’t enough to lure buyers. China Renaissance raised $345 million in its IPO, at the bottom of a marketed range, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It saw weak demand from retail investors, drawing orders for just 0.82 times the amount of stock initially available to them. The portion of the sale reserved for institutional investors was “moderately oversubscribed,” the company said in an exchange filing Wednesday.

“We can’t predict what will happen near term,” Chief Executive Officer Bao Fan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Thursday, citing market volatility. “We’re very confident about our business performance in the future, so in the end, I’m pretty sure our business fundamentals will prevail.” Revenue at the firm doubled to $108.5 million in the first half, due to a rise in transaction and advisory fees, management fees and interest income across all segments, it said in a filing. The company swung to an operating profit of $20.3 million from a $3.1 million operating loss in the same period last year.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and ICBC International Holdings Ltd. were joint sponsors of the listing, while China Renaissance acted as sole financial adviser. ABC International Holdings Ltd. was also among banks that arranged the offering. China Renaissance isn’t alone in trading below its offer price: among companies that have raised at least $100 million in Hong Kong listings in 2018, roughly three-fourths are currently below their IPO levels, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

China Tower Corp., which raised $7.5 billion in the year’s biggest IPO, has fallen 7.1 percent since it began trading in August, while smartphone giant Xiaomi has dropped 6.8 percent from its offer price. Ping An Healthcare & Technology Co., known as Good Doctor, attracted a frenzy of orders from retail investors but has fallen nearly 12 percent since its May debut.

Facebook News: Facebook disclosed a widespread security flaw that could have allowed hackers or other malicious third parties to access an affected user’s account by gleaning their security token.

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Facebook disclosed a widespread security flaw that could have allowed hackers or other malicious third parties to access an affected user’s account by gleaning their security token. It also says it’s fixed the issue and alerted law enforcement, indicating that this is not an accidental engineering mistake, but a purposeful exploit discovered and used by some third-party organization or hacker. The company says its engineering team was made aware of the issue on September 25th, but Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of product management, says it’s not clear whether accounts were compromised, when the issue was exploited, or who might have been behind the attack.

“On Tuesday, we discovered that an attacker exploited a technical vulnerability to steal access tokens that would allow them to log into about 50 million people’s accounts on Facebook,” wrote CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post to his personal Facebook page. “We do not yet know whether these accounts were misused but we are continuing to look into this and will update when we learn more.”

The flaw could have let someone exploit the “View As” feature, which lets you view your own profile as it appears to another user or to the public, as a way of evaluating your specific sharing settings. However, it appears that the feature inadvertently exposed Facebook security tokens when someone selected a profile as the desired View As target. That would let someone gain access to the person’s account. Facebook access tokens are the digital keys that allow mobile users to log in to their accounts without having to retype their passwords.

This attack exploited the complex interaction of multiple issues in our code. It stemmed from a change we made to our video uploading feature in July 2017, which impacted “View As.” The attackers not only needed to find this vulnerability and use it to get an access token, they then had to pivot from that account to others to steal more tokens.

On a call with reporters following the announcement, Facebook said that the video uploading feature in July of last year related to a tool that allowed users to upload birthday videos in a way that would allow the View As feature to expose secure information, but only when interacting with two other bugs. The company also confirmed that no credit card info was exposed.

Xiaomi’s sales keep growing lately and that’s despite the limited availability around the globe. The company is working hard on addressing that though and after arrivals in the Philippines, Hungary, and Austria, a Mi Store has just opened in Istanbul.

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Xiaomi’s sales keep growing lately and that’s despite the limited availability around the globe. The company is working hard on addressing that though and after arrivals in the Philippines, Hungary, and Austria, a Mi Store has just opened in Istanbul.

The store is located at Vadistanbul Shopping Center and the opening of the brick-and-mortar shop gathered huge crowds who lined for gift cards, power banks, Mi Band 2 fitness trackers and 800 more surprises. It also offers all the latest mobile devices like the Mi Band 3, Xiaomi Mi 8, and the Android One-based Xiaomi Mi A2 smartphone.

Since Xiaomi is big on home appliances as well, the newly opened store offers the famous vacuum cleaner, rice cooker, Mi TVs and plenty of home security solutions. Sadly, there are no Mi Notebooks on sight, but hopefully, they’ll be added soon.

Xiaomi Corp Company Profile: XIAOMI CORPORATION is a China-based investment holding company principally engaged in the research, development and sales of smartphones, Internet of things (IoTs) and lifestyle products, the provision of Internet services, and investment business. The Company mainly conducts its businesses through four segments.

The Smartphone segment is engaged in the sales of smartphones. The IoT and Lifestyle product segment is engaged in the sales of other in-house products, including smart televisions (TVs), laptops, artificial intelligence (AI) speakers and smart routers; ecosystem products, including IoT and other smart hardware products, as well as certain lifestyle products.

The Internet service segment is engaged in the provision of advertising services and Internet value-added services. The Others segment is engaged in the provision of repair services for its hardware products. The Company distributes its products in domestic market and to overseas markets. Web:

Next financial crisis in the US could occur in 2020: JPMorgan While the duration of the next recession is unknown, the financial services firm has said it could see a US stock slide by about 20 percent.

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Next financial crisis in the US could occur in 2020: JPMorgan
While the duration of the next recession is unknown, the financial services firm has said it could see a US stock slide by about 20 percent. The next financial crisis in the US might happen in 2020, JPMorgan Chase & Co has said, according to a report by BloombergQuint.

While the next crisis might be less severe than the previous crisis, lower liquidity in the financial market could worsen the situation, the report cites JPMorgan as saying. The last financial crisis took place ten years ago after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2008.

While the duration of the next recession is unknown, the financial services firm has said the recession could see a US stock slide by about 20 percent.

Emerging-markets stocks might slide 48 percent, and emerging-markets currencies could take a 14.4 percent hit, JPMorgan said.

“Across assets, these projections look tame relative to what the GFC delivered and probably unalarming relative to the recession/crisis averages” of the past, JPMorgan strategists John Normand and Federico Manicardi wrote in the note, according to the report. JPMorgan’s model has made these predictions based on several factors — the length of the economic expansion, the potential duration of the next recession, the degree of leverage, asset-price valuations and the level of deregulation and financial innovation before the crisis.

A separate note from JPMorgan says there has been a movement from active asset management to passive asset management, the report adds.

This change has “eliminated a large pool of assets that would be standing ready to buy cheap public securities and backstop a market disruption,” Joyce Chang and Jan Loeys said in the note. A positive mentioned by Normand and Manicardi is that since assets in emerging markets have become cheaper, it could cushion declines from stock market peaks

Google might be uniquely qualified to make the struggling Snap profitable – if it’s willing to take on all the risks involved.

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(SNAP) sports a market cap of about $11.7 billion, and an enterprise value (market cap plus debt minus cash) of $10.2 billion. That’s quite a fall for a company that was valued at around $20 billion in pre-IPO funding rounds, and saw shares change hands at $30 billion-plus valuations on its first day of trading in March 2017.

The runaway success of Instagram Stories, and to some degree other Facebook attempts to launch rival/copycat services, have contributed to flattening daily active user DAU growth for Snap. So have a much-criticized redesign that Snap has been backtracking from, and ongoing struggles when it comes to winning over older consumers in its core North American and European markets. Meanwhile, Snap’s lack of scale relative to Facebook and Alphabet/Google has weighed on its ad sales, as has a relative dearth of user data that can be leveraged for ad targeting. And the company’s giant cloud hosting payments to Google and, partly the result of Snap’s need to support massive amounts of consumer and publisher video, have led cash burn to remain substantial in spite of Snap’s recent cost-cutting efforts.

This is a daunting set of challenges, and they collectively make investing in Snap a risky proposition even at current levels. On the other hand, should Google, which reportedly offered $30 billion or more for Snap back in early 2016 and invested in the company when it was privately owned, decide that Snap’s plunge presents a good opportunity to get the company at a discount, it has the resources to partly or fully address many of these challenges. If Google bought Snap, it could improve the company’s margin and cash-flow profile overnight by hosting all of Snap’s services on its highly efficient data center infrastructure at cost today, it helps host them while collecting a margin. It could also use its ad resources, from its user data to its targeting and measurement tools to its relationships with legions of YouTube video advertisers, to improve Snapchat monetization.

Moreover, Google could potentially improve user growth by bundling the Snapchat app with Google’s version of Android, much as it bundles various Google apps today. In addition, just as it does for YouTube today, Google could boost user growth by promoting Snapchat’s services in overseas markets where Snapchat has been reluctant to promote itself due to the fact that consumers in these markets are often tougher to monetize.

There might also be some potential for Google to cross-promote Snapchat Stories to both YouTube users and creators. By and large, YouTube is still a platform for viewing horizontal rather than vertical videos, and thanks largely to the explosive growth of various “Stories” products the vertical video consumption on smartphones has blown up in recent years. Certainly, Snap’s current user growth and bottom-line pressures could still act as deterrents for Google. If Google isn’t confident that Snap’s user won’t wither as Facebook’s attacks continue, it might not be interested in buying the company regardless of how much it was willing to pay in early 2016, before Instagram Stories launched.

Still, it’s worth noting that Snap’s core base of younger U.S. and European consumers — a demographic coveted by many advertisers — has remained fairly loyal to the platform even as many of those users have embraced Instagram Stories. While Snap’s DAUs fell by three million sequentially in Q2 to 188 million Snap blamed the redesign, they were up by 15 million annually. And CEO Evan Spiegel asserted that time spent per DAU remained above 30 minutes. For Google, which has long coveted a stronger social media presence anyone remember Google+?, all of that could make Snap a tempting target. In addition, though its infrastructure and digital advertising resources aren’t as formidable as Google’s, perhaps Snap’s attractive user base and engagement levels are enough to get a media giant such as Disney (DIS – Get Report) , which cares quite a lot about its reach with younger consumers, to kick the tires some.

It’s definitely hard to justify investing in Snap, whose long-term outlook as an independent company remains pretty cloudy, on buyout hopes alone. On the flip side, the potential for Google, or maybe another tech or media giant, to explore a bid for Snap shouldn’t be overlooked by those who have shorted the stock and now have large paper profits on their hands.

Xiaomi creates new management jobs aimed at CEO succession planning.

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Xiaomi would introduce two new departments to advise Lei on strategy and oversee hiring, promotion and pay, Lei said in a memo to staff dated Sept. 13 and shared with the press on Friday. It also would reshuffle its four main business units into 10 to promote younger managers, Lei said, adding that a majority of the newly-appointed leadership belonged to the post-1980s generation.

“Our senior management team has implemented several changes that will… provide opportunities for young talent to rise up the ranks,” said Lei, 48.

The changes come less than a week after Jack Ma, one of China’s best-known businessmen, said he would step down as chairman of Alibaba (BABA.N) in a year and hand the reins to CEO Daniel Zheng, and underlined the need for sustainable succession planning.

Another Chinese tech giant, Inc (JD.O), has come under scrutiny recently after CEO Richard Liu – who controls 80 percent of the company’s voting rights – was arrested in the United States on suspicion of rape before being released. JD’s board is essentially unable to make decisions without Liu present, according to company rules.

Liu, through his lawyers has denied any wrongdoing, as the investigation is ongoing.

Xiaomi listed its shares in Hong Kong in June in an initial public offering that valued the company at around $52 billion.

The company underwent a strategic shift in 2016 after sales fell sharply, forcing it to pull out of several overseas markets. It has since focused on offline sales and reversed its fortunes, and currently draws roughly a third of its revenue from outside China.

Boeing focused on China as ‘key customer’ amid trade war. U.S. aerospace and defense giant Boeing is less concerned about tariffs the Trump administration implemented earlier this year.

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Boeing focused on China as ‘key customer’ amid trade war. U.S. aerospace and defense giant Boeing is less concerned about tariffs the Trump administration implemented earlier this year. Despite the fact that the aerospace industry relies heavily on aluminum, CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the company’s heavy reliance on U.S. sources has helped it continue operations relatively unscathed.

“We haven’t seen a material impact, but it’s certainly an area we’re keeping a very close eye on,” Muilenburg said during an event on Wednesday. On the other hand, Muilenburg noted the U.S. trade relationship with China was “exceptionally important” to the company, where much of its growth predictions are concentrated.

The company is currently building a 737 finishing center in the country, since one-third of all 737 exports are currently going to China, the CEO said, adding that Boeing has to make all of its plans in “the context of the trade discussions.”

Still, Muilenburg sought to assuage concerns that near-term policy decisions would change Boeing’s financial situation too dramatically.

“Nothing here is going to create a sudden change… more of a long-term issue that we need to [work out],” he said. Boeing is counting on China as a major export market moving forward, with Muilenburg citing them as a “key customer.” Last year, the company said it expects demand in the country to be valued at about $1.1 trillion, equal to 7,240 new aircraft, over the next two decades. That represents almost 20 percent of the company’s global projections. Boeing signed a $37 billion deal to sell 300 aircraft to China late last year. If trade relations do materially deteriorate, China has indicated it could start buying jetliners from European rival Airbus, according to Reuters.

Boeing is the largest U.S. exporter to China, exposing it to any escalation of tariff tension. The company has said that more than 50 percent of all commercial jetliners operating in China were built by Boeing.

The Trump administration has already imposed sanctions on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, and is considering implementing levies on another $200 billion worth of imports from the country – which, Beijing has said would be met with countermeasures.Muilenburg maintained that Boeing has a “strong voice at the table” and has spoken with leadership from both countries, who are “motivated” to have healthy aerospace industries.

Facebook Inc. shares continued to lag behind FANG counterparts on Thursday after a pair of analysts took opposing sides on the stock.

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Facebook Inc. shares continued to lag behind FANG counterparts on Thursday after a pair of analysts took opposing sides on the stock. Vertical Group says fears that the company’s revenue growth will be hurt by a shift to newer products and data privacy changes are over-exaggerated, while Cleveland Research cut sales estimates for the current quarter, citing lower spending from advertisers. Facebook fell 0.3 percent as of 12:19 p.m. in New York, while Inc., Netflix Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. traded higher.

Facebook is the only member of the group that’s lost value in 2018, as data privacy scandals and scrutiny over its role in election meddling have weighed on user growth and spurred greater spending on things like security. Facebook has lost about 8 percent so far this month and is on track to close at its lowest since April.

The social media behemoth is expanding photo and video fact-checking capabilities to all of its 27 third-party fact-checking partners, the company said in a blogpost on Thursday. Facebook is much “better protected” against political sabotage today than two years ago, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in a separate post published on Wednesday, where he detailed the steps the company has made to remove fake accounts and boost security on its popular properties.

Facebook (FB) closed at $161.36 in the latest trading session, marking a -0.42% move from the prior day. This move lagged the S&P 500’s daily gain of 0.53%. At the same time, the Dow added 0.57%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.75%. Coming into today, shares of the social media company had lost 9.76% in the past month. In that same time, the Computer and Technology sector gained 0.86%, while the S&P 500 gained 2.16%.

Wall Street will be looking for positivity from FB as it approaches its next earnings report date. This is expected to be November 7, 2018. In that report, analysts expect FB to post earnings of $1.48 per share. This would mark a year-over-year decline of 6.92%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $13.83 billion, up 33.94% from the year-ago period. Digging into valuation, FB currently has a Forward P/E ratio of 22.89. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 32.9, so we one might conclude that FB is trading at a discount comparatively.

Investors should also note that FB has a PEG ratio of 1.04 right now. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock’s expected earnings growth rate. The Internet – Services industry currently had an average PEG ratio of 2.45 as of yesterday’s close.

Apple unveiled a suite of new iPhones on Wednesday from the Steve Jobs Auditorium in Cupertino.

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Apple unveiled a suite of new iPhones on Wednesday from the Steve Jobs Auditorium in Cupertino, Calif., a long-awaited moment for consumers and investors alike.

The flagship model, the iPhone Xs, will cost $999. Another, larger model, the Xs Max, will cost $1,099. Apple will also unveil a “budget” phone for $749. They will be available in stores on September 21.

Faster FaceID, better speakers, water-resistance, and improved display. The iPhone Xs — which is 5.8 inches long, the same size as the iPhone X — is similar to the current iPhone X model in other ways, too. However, it boasts upgrades like a faster processor, upgraded camera, and a more dynamic display. The phone will come in a new color, gold, to accompany silver and space gray. A larger version, the iPhone Xs Max, was also introduced, the biggest iPhone ever with a massive 6.5-inch screen.

Apple VP Phil Schiller, who presented at the event, said the new flagship iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are more splash and water-resistant and can withstand up to six and a half feet of water for 30 minutes.

The new phones feature faster FaceID, better speakers, and an improved display. The iPhone Xs-series camera has an improved camera with a new, larger sensor and bigger pixels with a faster processor to enable users to change the depth-of-field of a photo after you take it. Schiller also said that Apple’s improvements enhance the camera just as much as the sensors, enabling it to add new features like Smart HDR, which stitches together one superior image from a slew of photos.

The phones feature a new processor, the “A12 Bionic,” which Apple executives said boosts speed considerably, to 5 trillion operations per second. Accompanying the hardware changes will be a new iOS, 12, which Apple says will be nine times faster with a tenth of the energy. This, executives said, will enable new types of innovations from developers in augmented reality and other fields.

The iPhone Xs battery life adds 30 minutes to the X and the Xs Max adds 90 minutes. A Chinese model will have dual SIM card slots, a win for globe-trotting consumers and anyone who wants a second line, but most phones will have something call eSim, which is a virtual SIM card that functions the same way. Apple has been working with all the big carriers and to roll out the functionality this fall.

Apple also unveiled a “budget” offering with a new phone, the iPhone Xr, which will cost $749. (The iPhone 7 is still available for $449.) The phone uses aluminum instead of steel, and has a 6.1-inch LCD screen instead of the more expensive OLED displays featured in the higher end iPhones. OLED screens don’t require any backlights like LCDs do and are higher quality, but the LCD is cheaper.

Xiaomi reported a rise in profit and revenue for the second quarter. Xiaomi’s revenue surges nearly 70 percent in the second quarter as smartphone growth remains strong.

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Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi reported second-quarter earnings on Wednesday that beat expectations amid pressure on its share price and questions over its long-term business model.

Revenue hit 45.24 billion yuan ($6.60 billion) compared to expectations of of 39.18 billion yuan, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. That represented 68.3 percent year-on-year rise.
Operating profit loss of of 7.5 billion yuan.
Net profit of 14.63 billion yuan, from a loss of 7.03 billion yuan in the first quarter of 2018.

Smartphone revenues raked in 30.5 billion yuan in revenue for the second quarter, a 58.7 percent year-on-year rise, despite the overall handset market declining. Xiaomi said that the average selling price of devices rose too. In its earning statement, the technology firm said that the Chinese smartphone market is in a “period of recalibration” but its focus is on expanding into the high-end segment.

Xiaomi has grown by creating mid-to-low-priced devices with high specs. But it needs to expand into higher priced devices in order to boost revenues.


Analysts are concerned that Xiaomi could struggle to diversify its business away from hardware. Smartphones account for around 70 percent of Xiaomi’s revenues, while other products such as TVs are another 20 percent. Under 10 percent of revenues come from its internet services business which include its music streaming product.

Xiaomi is one of the world’s biggest smartphone makers but it is facing intense competition from other Chinese players like Oppo, Vivo and Huawei who are offering high quality devices at low prices. In the high-end it could face pressure from Apple as well.

Xiaomi continued growing emerging areas of its business with internet of things and lifestyle product segment grew 104.3 percent year-on-year, bringing in 10.4 billion yuan in revenues in the second quarter. This unit includes TVs and the company’s virtual reality headsets.

Internet services revenues were up 63.6 percent year-on-year to 4 billion yuan in the three months to June. This includes revenues from areas such as advertising and Xiaomi’s music streaming product. Still, internet services only contributed 9 percent of revenue, which could worry investors who are concerned that Xiaomi relies too heavily on smartphones.


Xiaomi has typically been reliant on China for making money, but it said that international revenue grew 151.7 percent year-on-year to 16.4 billion yuan, accounting for 36.3 percent of total revenue. A large part of this was thanks to strong growth in India, where it is one of the biggest players, and continued expansion into Europe.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG clinched an agreement with England’s state-funded health service to make a cutting-edge cancer therapy available to children with a devastating form of leukemia in the first arrangement of its kind in Europe.

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Novartis AG >>> Kymriah became the first in a new type of treatments known as CAR-T to win approval in the U.S. a year ago. The therapies involve extracting immune cells from the body and genetically engineering them to hunt and kill cancer cells after they’re put back into the patient.

CAR-T treatments are considered an important new option for leukemia and lymphoma that doesn’t respond to standard drugs, although they’ve been less successful when used against solid tumors. NHS England, which serves about 54 million people, said the recommendation of Kymriah was one of the fastest funding decisions in its 70-year history and quickly followed the approval of the therapy in Europe late last month.

The NHS, which negotiates drug prices, will get Kymriah for less than the $475,000 Novartis charges in the U.S. The first three NHS hospitals to start the process of providing the therapy for children are in London, Manchester and Newcastle, according to the statement.

Gilead’s Yescarta costs $373,000 per treatment, and treats a form of lymphoma. The U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended against the use of the Gilead therapy last week, concluding that its effects were comparable to those of standard treatment in some patients and needed more study. The agency invited additional commentary and data regarding the drug.

Based on its experience in the U.S., Novartis said it decided to take a gradual approach to its European launch, and the price for Kymriah will vary by country.

The drugmaker said it’s working “across Europe to set a fair price that is sustainable for national health-care systems, while recognizing the value Kymriah provides.”

Novartis receives European Commission approval of its CAR-T cell therapy,
The EC approval is based on the first global CAR-T registration trials, which included patients from eight European countries and demonstrated durable responses and a consistent safety profile in r/r pediatric B-cell ALL and r/r DLBCL

Novartis is the only company with an approved CAR-T cell therapy for pediatric r/r B-cell ALL and the first to receive approval in two distinct indications, both in the EU and the US. Novartis continues its strategy to expand manufacturing facilities with agreements with external collaborators, such as CELLforCURE in France.

This approval was based on the review of the only two global registration CAR-T clinical trials, JULIET and ELIANA, which included patients from eight European countries. In these trials, Kymriah demonstrated strong and durable response rates and a consistent safety profile in two difficult-to-treat patient populations. In 2012, Novartis and Penn entered into a global collaboration to further research, develop and commercialize CAR-T cell therapies, including Kymriah, for the investigational treatment of cancers. This collaboration between industry and academia was the first-of-its-kind in CAR-T research and development.

“When the University of Pennsylvania and Novartis agreed to work together to develop CAR-T therapy, our main goal was clear and ambitious to address unmet needs for patients and to extend, improve and save lives,” said Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Penn and Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center. “We are proud that our efforts in CAR-T now offer the European blood cancer community a breakthrough that brings new hope.”



Kymriah was designated as an orphan medicinal product and is one of the first PRIME-designated therapies to receive EU approval. PRIME (PRIority MEdicines) is a program launched by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to enhance support for the development of medicines that target an unmet medical need and help patients benefit as early as possible from therapies that may significantly improve their quality of life. Inc said on Friday it plans to open its checkout-free grocery store in New York, expanding beyond Seattle.

Stock Market News Today


Amazon to open checkout-free store in New York – Inc said on Friday it plans to open its checkout-free ‘Amazon Go’ grocery store in New York, expanding beyond Seattle where it is headquartered.

The Amazon Go store, which has no cashiers and allows shoppers to buy things with the help of a smartphone app, is widely seen as a concept that can alter brick-and-mortar retail. Customers have to scan a smartphone app to enter the store. Once inside, cameras and sensors track what they pick up from the shelves and what they put back. Amazon then bills shoppers’ credit cards on file after they leave.

In January, the company opened its first concept store in Seattle and now has three in the city. It said in May there are plans to expand to Chicago and San Francisco as well. Amazon Go stores offer ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Go carries groceries like bread, milk, artisan cheeses and chocolate, as well as Amazon meal kits. Although there are no checkouts or lines at Go stores, employees still need to stock the shelves, make food in the kitchen, and answer customers’ questions.

The stores rely on cameras and sensors to constantly track customers and inventory as they move around. Shoppers need to open the Amazon Go app to enter, and any products they take are automatically charged to their account when they leave. The technology in stores automatically detects when customers take or return products to shelves and keeps track of items in a virtual shopping cart.



At least four job listings for a new Amazon Go location were posted on Thursday evening, The Information today reported, seeking candidates for a store manager, an assistant manager, a learning and development manager, and a training lead associate. Details on the location were scant otherwise, but an Amazon spokesperson confirmed the news to VentureBeat via email.

The Amazon Go experience has remained relatively consistent store-to-store so far, offering groceries; fresh foods like salads, sandwiches, wraps, and meal kits; and Amazon Go-branded water bottles, mugs, and t-shirts to shoppers willing to download the requisite app.

Amazon confirmed earlier this year that additional Amazon Go stores are in the works.

Amazon Go is but one cog in Amazon’s brick-and-mortar wheel, of course.
The retailer acquired grocery chain Whole Foods in June for $13.7 billion, which it’s integrated tightly with its Amazon Prime membership program and same-day Prime Now delivery service. (Amazon Prime members get discounts on select Whole Foods items.) It operates bookstores in Washington, California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Massachusetts. And it’s reportedly mulling the purchase of movie theater chain Landmark.

Amazon Go competitor opens a cashierless store in San Francisco.
Standard Cognition’s proof-of-concept grocery outlet is open to the public.

A startup called Standard Cognition hopes to steal some of Amazon’s thunder by opening a cashierless store in San Francisco. Standard Cognition’s store is open to the public now, and it’s the first real-world test for the company’s retail ambitions.

Located in the Mid-Market neighborhood, Standard Market lets you purchase goods without scanning items at a checkout or passing through a turnstile. Once you’ve arrived and checked in using an app, Standard Market tracks the items you pick up using a camera system, and it can tell when you return products (even in the wrong spot) or place them in a bag or your pockets. Once you leave, the company will process your payment, and send your receipt via email.

The San Francisco store will let Standard Cognition test how its tech scales, and trial some new features. The startup plans to expand opening times (it’s currently only open for a couple of hours per day) and the number of products over the next few weeks. It will also let more people shop in the store simultaneously.

Standard Cognition says it doesn’t collect customer’s biometric data or use facial recognition. It is providing its tech to other companies, and it will outfit thousands of stores in Japan ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

Snap Inc is back at it with another line of new Spectacles eyewear to pair with messaging app Snapchat. This time, the tech brand is directly eyeing the fashion industry, dropping the new frames in time for New York Fashion Week.

Stock Market News Today

Snap Inc is back at it with another line of new Spectacles eyewear to pair with messaging app Snapchat.

With human names, Snap’s new “Nico” and “Veronica” lenses both come in black with polarized lenses, sporting hands-free cameras that can capture up to 70 videos or hundreds of photos on a single charge. Photos are transferred to the Snapchat app on smartphones wirelessly. And similar to the Spectacles edition that debuted ahead of summer earlier this year, both sets of frames are water-resistant.

Snap (SNAP, +1.73%) clearly wants the fashion set to pick up on Spectacles this week, and it’s highly likely the frames will pop up on the social media feeds of fashion editors, models, front row celebrities, and influencers over the next week.

But beyond that, it’s questionable if “high-fashion” Spectacles will be anything more than a spectacle themselves. After all, Google famously brought its first set of connected eyewear — Google Glass — to a Diane Von Furstenberg show at New York Fashion Week in 2013 with high hopes of making the frames popular.

Regardless, Snap seems determined to make Spectacles happen. Since the wearables debuted ahead of the company’s IPO in 2017, Spectacles have always focused more on the cool factor than the tech hardware, subscribing more to a Warby Parker-aesthetic than anything we’ve seen out of Silicon Valley thus far.

Spectacles have also always been more reasonably priced for a wider market, starting at $149.99. Finally, a new feature could make Spectacles usage all the more worthwhile. Snap plans to add a new Snapchat feature later this fall, which will automatically curate Spectacles Snaps into a single Snapchat Story. Suffice to say, that could save users – and yes, influencers and other brands who base their businesses on social media – a lot of time and grunt work. It would also be something that Instagram couldn’t replicate – at least not right away unless Instagram releases some sort of wearable tech or headwear of its own.

Nico and Veronica Spectacles are now available, retailing for $199.99, in select countries worldwide.

Snap taking another stab at camera glasses with the release of two new stylish designs for its Spectacles line on Wednesday — but investors still aren’t buying it.

Shares of the social media company fell to all-time lows on the news, reflecting larger concerns on the Street that Snap has little hope in regaining ground against Facebook Inc.’s (FB) Instagram and monetizing its photo and video sharing platform. SNAP reflects a 30.5% decline year-to-date (YTD), sharply underperforming its high-flying tech peers and the broader S&P 500, up 8% over the same period.

Snap’s Spectacles reflect the company’s larger goal of boosting engagement on its mobile application. The company indicates that users on average post 40% more photos and videos captured with the glasses. Snapchat has also made an effort to facilitate sharing on other platforms by adding automatic camera roll sales and allowing video exports to the conventional square and horizontal formats. This fall, a new feature will automatically curate the Spectacle highlights of the day and create a 24-hour story.

The Venice, California-based company has attempted to diversify its business as digital ad dollars continue to flow towards Instagram and other competitors. Instagram’s rival Stories platform now boasts twice the number of users and is growing six times faster than Snapchat. Meanwhile, a report from Cowen earlier this year showed Snap’s daily engagement down 7% over last year, while the platform ranked the lowest in a survey of ad buyers.

In July, rumors surfaced that Snap was working with Inc. (AMZN) to add a feature which would allow users to identify products, songs, and item barcodes and link them to product listings. The social media company is also reportedly mapping its expansion into the red-hot gaming industry and has doubled down on its internal Lens Studio to develop software for specialized augmented reality (AR) filters.

Xiaomi is trying to position itself as an internet company, asserting that it’s more than just a hardware maker because of the services it offers with its devices, such as music and video streaming apps.


Xiaomi Corp. >>> The company went public in Hong Kong in July after raising $4.7 billion in the world’s biggest tech IPO since Alibaba’s (BABA) New York listing in 2014.

The upbeat earnings come despite doubts over the company’s long-term business model. Xiaomi is trying to position itself as an internet company, asserting that it’s more than just a hardware maker because of the services it offers with its devices, such as music and video streaming apps.

But internet services revenue grew at a slower pace than overall revenue in the quarter, and at 4 billion yuan ($584 million) accounted for about 9% of the total. Apple (AAPL), by comparison, reported $9.55 billion in software and services revenue last quarter, about 20% of its total revenue.

It now rivals Samsung (SSNLF) as the number one smartphone seller in India. Sales are healthy elsewhere in Asia, and it’s competing strongly in European countries like Spain and Greece. But luring customers into using internet services outside China has been a challenge.

“We don’t see many people getting a Xiaomi phone because they want to use Xiaomi’s internet services,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, an analyst with research firm IDC. “Outside of China, there are a lot of options.”

The struggle underlines analysts’ concerns that Xiaomi can successfully diversify away from smartphones, which is a very low margin business for the company. Although Xiaomi sells a lot of phones in places like India and Southeast Asia, most of them are cheap models that cost under $100.

Xiaomi also announced last year that it would cap smartphone profit margins at 5%.

Xiaomi launches new phones, wearables in Taiwan.

Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi Corp and its fitness-focused wearables maker Huami Corp unveiled a range of new products for the Taiwan market.

The offerings include Xiaomi’s (NT$865) fitness tracker Mi Band 3, the (NT$7,999) midrange Android smartphone Mi Max 3, as well as Huami’s (NT$1,999) Amazefit Bip and the advanced (NT$4,995) Amazefit Smartwatch 2.

“We aim to establish a strong presence at all price points and cater to the needs of all consumers, ranging from those who are new to wearables to athletes seeking performance gains by analyzing and tracking their cardiorespiratory fitness via VO2 max readings,” Huami chairman and chief executive officer Wang Huang told a news conference.

Following the launch of the first Mi Band, the fitness tracker has become a bigger part of users’ everyday lives, with the device helping consumers make mobile payments and unlock doors in China, Huang said. However, the company is still working with local partners to enable near-field communication (NFC) applications for the Taiwanese market, such as paying MRT fares, he said.

Another major leap for wearables is expected in the next three years as the company continues to develop medical-grade applications, including tracking blood pressure, blood sugar and blood oxygen levels, Huang said, adding that a pilot program between Huami, health technology developer Pai Health and insurance companies has yielded promising results.

The escalating US-China trade war would not affect Huami’s business, Huang said, adding: “Our cost control capability is unrivaled.”

Since the launch of the first generation Mi Band in Taiwan three years and seven months ago, more than 1.66 million units have been sold in Taiwan, Xiaomi Taiwan general manager Henman Lee said.Considering the popularity of the wearable, the company has stocked about 100,000 units, Lee said.

The Taiwanese fitness tracker market is estimated at about 30,000 units a month, he said.

Amazon and Apple have helped propel Wall Street higher, European equities have languished. Dominated by sluggish bank stocks.


Stock Market News Today

The region’s stock markets face multiple challenges, from the economic risks around Brexit to rising anti-EU sentiment to the winding down of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme. But, for now, it is hard for investors to look beyond Italy. The anti-EU stance of the country’s coalition government, made up of the populist Five Star Movement and the League, has helped drive bond yields sharply higher and weighed on the country’s stock market since May.

In a sign of how sensitive investors are towards the eurozone’s third-largest economy, soothing words this week from deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini over the government’s budget plans have been enough to trigger a sharp rally in Italian bonds and send shares of the country’s banks higher over the past few days. Investors’ anxiety in recent weeks has been driven by the prospect that the coalition’s debut budget extends Italy’s fiscal deficit, setting up a clash with both Brussels and the country’s finance minister Giovanni Tria, who is widely seen as a moderating force within the government.

Camille De Courcel, an interest rate strategist at BNP Paribas, said Italy’s budget plan would leave its deficit closer to 2 per cent of gross domestic product than 3 per cent. The spread between Italian bond yields over German, the benchmark for the eurozone, remains near the highest level since 2014.

“If we do see that 2 per cent number, we would expect some compression in Italian spreads,” said Ms de Courcel.

Whether Rome can craft a budget that keeps spending under control matters to Italy’s banks, given their close links and exposure to Italian government debt. The fall in Italian bank shares since late April is closely connected to its stressed government debt, said Paola Toschi, global market strategist at JPMorgan, because about 18 per cent of the country’s sovereign bonds are held by its lenders.

“This creates a direct relationship between how the government bonds move and how the Italian banks perform in the equity markets,” said Ms Toschi.

Italian government bonds have suffered a sharp sell-off this year and last week the government paid the most in four years to raise debt in a €7.75bn bond sale. Salvatore Rossi, the Bank of Italy’s deputy governor, warned last week that the “vicious link” between sovereigns and banks had not been cut. At the same time, a lacklustre Italian economy lacking fiscal stimulus will do little to help Italy’s banks reduce their large burden of non-performing loans.

The fate of bank shares helps shape that of the wider Italian stock market as financials account for a fifth of the weighting of Milan’s FTSE MIB index, according to Bloomberg data. Of the FTSE MIB’s 10 worst-performing stocks since the start of May, five are banks. In turn, the MIB is 4.4 per cent lower over the same period.

“Italian banks look most vulnerable,” said Ms Vohora, “and by comparison with Brexit and UK domestic banks, they look to suffer a similar fate.”

The weakness in emerging markets is also a headwind for some lenders. Italy’s biggest bank, UniCredit, has been caught up in Ankara’s economic firestorm thanks to its 40.9 per cent ownership of Turkish bank Yapi Kredi. Shares in the Italian lender are down 26 per cent since the start of May.

Sovereign debt sell-off leaves lenders with paper losses that have hurt stock.

UniCredit held €54.5bn worth of Italian sovereign bonds at the end of last year.
The Italian banking system has been cleaning house for some time — lenders have consolidated, bad loans are being sold and bond markets are still providing fresh funding.

According to the Bank of Italy, Italian government bonds accounted for about a 10th of the assets at Italian banks at the end of 2017. Intesa Sanpaolo held €76bn worth of Italian sovereign bonds at the end of last year while UniCredit had €54.5bn. Shares in the former are down 21 per cent on the year; the latter are off 19 per cent.

Following this year’s sell-off of government paper, banks have been left with paper losses, denting investor confidence and hurting their stock value. The first major move in May was triggered by politics. The Eurosceptic leanings of a new coalition, comprising the League and Five Star Movement, unnerved investors.

However, some analysts think the doom and gloom is overdone. Collectively, the FTSE Italia All-Shares banks are trading on a price-to-book value of 0.65. In the US, the S&P 500 banks index trades at 1.34. Brave investors might see this as a buying opportunity for cheap Italian lenders. Italy’s story may not be la dolce vita but there are signs that could encourage banks. Its debt-to-GDP ratio had been trending downwards and fiscal expansion could help kick-start the economy.

But like many of the eurozone’s financiers, Italian banks are struggling to achieve top-line growth. With low negative central bank interest rates, any real rebound for banks is hard to see. Some things are cheap for a reason.

EU-wide deposit insurance is the best antidote to populism. Monetary hawks need to overcome their obsession with Italian ‘freeriding’.

Donald Trump’s feud with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is making the case for EU monetary moderation and integration compelling.

The US president’s reckless threats to double the tariffs on steel from Turkey have sent the Turkish lira crashing on the foreign exchanges. They are also putting French, Spanish and Italian banks with substantial investments in Turkey in serious jeopardy.

Given the possibilities for contagion, another European banking crisis could be around the corner. But this is not all Mr Trump’s fault. If you live in an earthquake zone and do not take out earthquake insurance, that is your fault. There would be no cause for concern had the European authorities put an EU-level deposit insurance programme in place to assure depositors that their money would be safe. Then there definitely would be no run on European banks.

But popular sentiment in Germany and the Netherlands that it would be the Germans and Dutch who would wind up paying for the deposit guarantee scheme won the day. This plays right into the hands of Mr Trump, who is adopting a divide-and-conquer strategy against the EU. Although the Germans and Dutch are unwittingly acting as Mr Trump’s allies in Europe, his real friend is Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister and leader of the far-right League party, whose not-so-secret agenda is to take Italy out of the euro and the EU. He is also an admirer of Russian president Vladimir Putin — and is not shy about saying so.

What might be termed “populist hazard” has become more of a threat to German and Dutch interests than moral hazard, though the monetary hawks in both countries do not seem to have caught on yet.

Mr Trump, who is a big fan of Brexit, would be an even bigger fan of “Italexit”. But the EU should not make things easy for Mr Salvini. Brussels must re-build trust in the EU and support for the euro in Italy. It should make the case that membership of the bloc does not only mean pain for ordinary Italians, but also safety, support and reassurance. If Italian households felt more secure about their bank deposits because of EU-level insurance, they would be less susceptible to the siren song of populism.

Besides, EU-level deposit insurance is sound economic policy. A monetary union without unified deposit insurance is not sustainable. The US understood that during the Great Depression, when, in 1933, Congress established federal deposit insurance to stop bank failures. Both policies are very much in the German and Dutch interests because they work to keep Italy in the euro and the EU at a time when its populist leaders are looking for an excuse to take it out.

Today’s top stock market news. Tech sector dominated the news overnight. The next wave of US tariffs is set to kick in as soon as today, with the possible imposition of duties on another $16bn of Chinese imports.


The tech sector dominated the news overnight. First up, Apple’s stellar results. Shares in the iPhone maker rose after it beat Wall Street estimates, thanks to the expensive iPhone X driving forecast-busting revenues. Now for the bad news. For the first time in seven years, Apple is not among the world’s top two smartphone makers. For the first time ever, a Chinese company is.

Apple’s result aside, the share price tumbles of some other major tech companies are testing some of the world’s best-known hedge funds. Are the Faangs (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google/Alphabet), one of 2018’s “ conviction trades”, losing their shine? It’s not just the star stockpickers. The stakes are similarly high for passive funds after the Faang sell-off, writes our columnist.



Finally, staying with Facebook, the company said it discovered the first co-ordinated disinformation campaign designed to influence the US midterm elections. But the company stopped short of identifying Russia as being behind the interference.

Brexit News. The EU is willing to “fudge” crucial Brexit negotiations — and offer Britain a vague blueprint for future ties with the bloc. And the sweetened approach from Brussels may be thanks to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. But can Theresa May now butter up Emmanuel Macron? The UK prime minister is meeting the French president at his summer retreat this week to attempt exactly that. He may be feeling generous after surviving two votes of no confidence.


Growth complex. Concerns over a slowdown in the eurozone are rising after official figures showed that growth in the region hit its weakest rate in two years in the second quarter. Separately, if you’re interested in charts that tell a story, here’s the UK economy since the Brexit vote in 5 charts. The data can be summarised as “soggy, but not disastrous”.

A trade war truce?. The next wave of US tariffs is set to kick in as soon as today, with the possible imposition of duties on another $16bn of Chinese imports. But negotiators from the US and China are reportedly having private talks aimed at re-starting negotiations and averting a full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Federal Reserve News. The US Federal Reserve is expected to keep interest rates unchanged today, but solid economic growth combined with rising inflation are likely to leave it on track for another two increases this year. The meeting comes after Donald Trump, in a departure from usual practice in US presidents not commenting on Fed policy, said he was worried that growth would be hit by higher rates. It also follows Japan’s two-day policy meeting, where the Bank of Japan failed to join the global tightening train.

Stocks News In Brief: Cenkos Securities rated new “buy” at Whitman Howard; Acacia Mining raised to “buy” at Panmure Gordon; Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust cut to “neutral” at Stifel; Vivendi upgraded to “hold” at Kepler Cheuvreux; Heineken downgraded to “hold” at Jefferies; Valora downgraded to “neutral” at Credit Suisse; Klingelnberg rated new “outperform” at Credit Suisse; MBB rated new “buy” at Commerzbank.

Equities. Equities were mixed in Asia Pacific as benchmarks in Tokyo and Hong Kong bounced back following a rough Tuesday session, although strong revenue from Apple announced overnight boosted the iPhone maker’s suppliers.

Hong Kong‘s Hang Seng index was flat after giving up early gains as an early rally by Tencent pulled back to leave the company up just 0.5 per cent.

In Tokyo the Topix was up 0.8 per cent as the industrials segment gained 0.5 per cent and financials rose 1.2 per cent in the first session following a change to the Bank of Japan’s exchange traded fund purchasing policy which shifted the central bank further away from the jumpy Nikkei 225 index.

Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 was flat as a drop for financials offset gains by mining stocks while Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.4 per cent.

On Wall Street overnight, technology stocks snapped a three-day run of losses — helped by reports that Washington and Beijing were making efforts to restart trade talks — with the S&P 500 closing up 0.5 per cent.

Apple reported after the closing bell. In pre-market trade, Apple’s shares rose 4.1 per cent.

Forex and fixed income. Foreign exchange markets were calm as the dollar index tracking the greenback against a basket of peers climbed 0.1 per cent to 94.605. The Australian dollar was 0.2 per cent lower at $0.7414.

Yields on 10-year US Treasuries rose 1bp to 2.971 per cent while those on the equivalent Australian notes were up 6bp at 2.702 per cent.

Commodities. Oil prices continued to drop on speculation that US sanctions on Iranian oil exports could be avoided following remarks by President Donald Trump. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down 0.4 per cent at $73.91 a barrel, while US marker West Texas Intermediate fell 0.5 per cent to $68.39.

Gold was off 0.2 per cent at $1,221.09 per ounce.

Shares in Facebook tumbled as much as 24 per cent after the bell on Wednesday in one of the largest ever drops in market value.


What you need to know:

> Facebook shares down 18%, Nasdaq retreats from record high.
> European stocks climb as trade war worries recede.
> US dollar index strengthens, euro slides below $1.17.
> ECB leaves rates on hold and confirms bond buying will end in December.

Stock Market News Today:


Facebook shares plummet after poor results.
Shares in Facebook tumbled as much as 24 per cent after the bell on Wednesday in one of the largest ever drops in market value, as the company forecast slowing revenue and lower margins, missed revenue expectations and saw about a million European users leave the platform in the last quarter.

Qualcomm to ditch NXP deal in favour of buybacks.
Qualcomm has admitted defeat in its $44bn bid for Dutch chipmaker NXP after failing to win approval from Chinese regulators for what would have been the semiconductor industry’s largest ever takeover.

House Republicans seek to impeach Rod Rosenstein.
Conservative lawmakers have filed articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein, the justice department official overseeing the Russia investigation. The move by House Republicans escalated their long-running feud with the number two at the DoJ over the probe into alleged Russian 2016 presidential election interference.

Brics summit.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is expected to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Johannesburg meeting of emerging economies on Thursday. Meanwhile, in Africa, both India’s Narendra Modi and China’s Xi Jinping are on a mission to woo resource-rich countries. (Nikkei Asian Review)

ECB meeting.
Mario Draghi is set for a grilling on a core element of the European Central Bank’s new strategy.


Hot topic:

Wall Street is off to a soft start as a steep fall for Facebook shares — after the social-networking site lowered its revenue expectations — weighs on the wider technology sector.The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index is down 0.8 per cent down from Wednesday’s record close, while the S&P 500 is 0.2 per cent lower.

The euro is on the back foot as markets digest comments from Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, at its latest policy meeting. The ECB, as expected, held interest rates and confirmed it would halt its bond purchases in December.

European equities climbed after the EU and the US agreed to launch new negotiations to defuse rising transatlantic trade tensions.

The Stoxx Europe 600, a benchmark for the region, is up 0.6 per cent. Germany’s Dax led the way higher among European bourses with a 1.7 per cent gain.

US president Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said on Wednesday they had agreed to work together to remove all tariffs, trade barriers and subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.


The dollar index, measuring the US currency against a basket of peers, is 0.3 per cent firmer as the euro falls 0.6 per cent to $1.1658 against the dollar, while the pound is off 0.4 per cent, at $1.3132. The dollar is 0.1 per cent softer versus the yen at ¥111.10.

Fixed income:

Yields on 10-year Japanese government bonds inched toward 0.1 per cent, marking a fresh six-month high amid speculation the country’s central bank could scale back its stimulus programme at its meeting next week.

Rob Carnell, chief economist and head of Asia-Pacific research for ING, said that the BoJ’s removal of any mention of reaching its inflation targets in 2019 at its April meeting had prompted some to suggest the bank might downgrade its forecast and adopt a lower target at its meeting next week.

However, he is sceptical. “For all that it may tinker with other aspects of its policy, the BoJ, in our view, does not seem to have any intention of changing its inflation target, and any changes may amount to no more than tweaking their ETF buying,” he said.

The 10-year US Treasury yield is up 1 basis point at 2.95 per cent while that on the two-year note is 1bp higher at 2.67 per cent.


Oil prices rose slightly with Brent crude up 0.1 per cent at $74.08 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate is fractionally higher at $69.33 as markets digest the news that Saudi Arabia suspended oil shipments through the Red Sea following an attack from Yemeni Houthi rebels on two of its giant crude carriers.

On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration said US stockpiles fell more than expected in the week ended July 20.

Gold is down $4 at $1,226 an ounce.

Inflows into technology-focused funds have surpassed the $20bn mark for the year so far, despite rising concerns among some fund managers that the “ tech trade” is overextended.


Global equity funds dedicated to technology stocks took in another $673m in the week ending July 18 — the 12th straight week of inflows, bringing the total for 2018 to $20.3bn, according to EPFR.

That eclipses the $18.3bn raised in 2017 as a whole, which was a record for a calendar year.


The strong appetite for technology funds reflects the fact that it has been the best performing sector worldwide both this year and last.

The S&P 500’s technology index has gained 15.3 per cent so far in 2018, compared with the broader market’s 4.9 per cent gain. Without the inclusion of technology stocks and Amazon, which is classified as a retailer, the US stock market would be down for the year.

The market gains come as fears rise over a trade war and the US government’s tariffs on goods from some of its biggest trade partners. Tech company growth rates are considered relatively resilient to escalating tensions.

“Technology continues to grow in popularity, partly because it is seen as somewhat invulnerable to trade tensions,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco. “It is also one of the few areas were people are still seeing strong growth in the middle of what has been a pretty mediocre year.”

The so-called Faang stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google’s parent company Alphabet — have dominated the rally.

Asian technology stocks have also enjoyed strong gains in recent years.

China’s Tencent has dropped more than 7 per cent this year, but Baidu and Alibaba — the three are often grouped together as the “Bats” — are up 12 per cent and 8.7 per cent respectively in 2018.

The New York Stock Exchange’s Fang+ index, which includes a mix of US and Chinese tech companies, has climbed more than 32 per cent this year.

However, some investors think the rally in “Big Tech” shares is overdone. Betting on the Faangs in the US and China’s Bats has been identified as the most crowded trade for sixth months running in an investors survey conducted by Bank of America.

It was judged the most overextended trade since the long-dollar trade of late 2015.

“There’s always a concern that investors are getting sucked in at the wrong time, but today’s technology sector is very different from that of the technology bubble 20 years ago,” Ms Hooper said.


Strikes by Amazon workers in Europe threaten Prime Day sales. Annual event hit as German and Spanish staff down tools and US site is hit by outages

StockMarketNews.Today — Tuesday — 2018/07/17/

Between 2,500 and 3,000 of the company’s 16,000 workers in its largest market outside the US refused to work on Tuesday, according to German services union Verdi, although Amazon itself put the number in the hundreds.

The European strikes are the latest blow to Prime Day, Amazon’s 36-hour global discount event. Technical problems hit the company’s US website soon after the sale’s launch on Monday, with website-tracker Downdetector reporting as unavailable across swaths of the key US east and west coast regions.

Amazon’s warehouses have been the subject of long-running protests and concern about insecure work and poor conditions across Europe, particularly Germany where labour laws are tougher than in many other markets.

“[The German strike] is about the wages and wage levels, it’s about health and safety,” Verdi said. “The work is physically and psychologically demanding.”

Workers at distribution centres across the eurozone’s largest economy walked out several times in 2013 and in 2014 over pay and conditions. Verdi, the country’s second-largest union, had wanted Amazon to agree to collective bargaining arrangements and a reclassification of workers in distribution centres as retail workers — a move that would have entitled them to higher pay.


The company also came under fire in the German press, which is often much more sympathetic to workers than media in other big economies, after a documentary showed security workers mistreating foreign temporary staff. The security company was later fired by Amazon.

Amazon has 11 distribution centres in Germany. Unemployment in the country is at its lowest level since reunification between the east and west in 1990, which has led to bumper pay rises for German workers this year.

Amazon insisted it was a “fair and responsible” employer. “We believe in continuous improvement across our network and maintain an open and direct dialogue with associates… provide safe and positive working conditions.”

It added that Prime Day would be “an epic day of our best deals”.

The German strike comes a day after Amazon staff in Spain also downed tools.

The Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras union said most of Amazon’s workers at its flagship Spanish warehouse near Madrid had refused to work to protest against changes to collective bargaining agreements, leaving only about 80 in their posts on the first day of the promotions.

“In 2016 the company’s [collective bargaining] agreement came to an end,” the union said. “After nonsense negotiations, the company decided unilaterally to apply a sectoral [collective bargaining] agreement and this changed the working conditions of many workers.”

Amazon also contested the Spanish union’s figures, saying the “majority” of its 1,400 workers at the site had gone to work on Monday. The company has about 2,000 fulfilment workers across Spain. Inc Company Profile:, Inc. offers a range of products and services through its Websites. The Company operates through three segments: North America, International and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Company’s products include merchandise and content that it purchases for resale from vendors and those offered by third-party sellers. It also manufactures and sells electronic devices. The Company, through its subsidiary, Whole Foods Market, Inc., offers healthy and organic food and staples across its stores. The Company also offers a range of products like whole trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, organic responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, creamy and crunchy almond butter, organic gala and fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken.

Contact Information:

Address: Seattle, WA 98109-5210
United States
Phone: +1-206-2661000
Fax: 302-6365454

Boeing is working actively behind the scenes to avert an escalation of the bitter US-China trade war, amid concerns about the risks for a company that is the top US exporter.

StockMarketNews.Today – Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman and chief executive, said he was hopeful that the trade war would be resolved despite US proposals last week for tariffs on a further $200bn worth of Chinese imports.

Speaking ahead of the Farnborough air show in the UK, which opens on Monday, he told the Financial Times: “Our voice is being heard. We are engaged with the US government and with the Chinese government … I’m hopeful we’ll come to a good resolution.”

Although Mr Muilenburg said Boeing had not felt any impact from the US-China tariffs, nor from the new US duties on aluminium and steel imports, a person with knowledge of the situation said that its executives are meeting regularly with high-ranking administration officials.

Analysts estimate that roughly 20-25 per cent of the orders in Boeing’s backlog are for Chinese customers, supporting thousands of US jobs. “The president is well aware of Boeing’s position,” the person said.

Concerns are growing that the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies, along with a separate US offensive against aluminium and steel imports from the EU, Mexico and Canada, will hit global growth.

Mr Muilenburg noted the “tough challenges to be resolved” in global trade. These included the framework for the UK’s departure from the EU. Referring to the UK government’s Brexit proposals, published last week, Mr Muilenburg said: “Being able to move goods around the world is fundamental to success in the aerospace sector.” However he said Boeing’s investments into the UK “are going to happen, regardless of where we end up on Brexit and discussions around trade deals.”

Earlier this month, Washington imposed duties on $34bn worth of Chinese imports, while Beijing responded with equivalent tariffs on imported US soyabeans, pork and other products. The Federal Reserve noted in June that US businesses were already putting investment on hold as a result of the tit-for-tat tariff war.

Beijing has so far refrained from targeting new Boeing aircraft. Nevertheless, if the dispute continues and the wider global economy is affected, this could “impact airline passenger and freight traffic, ultimately restraining demand for aircraft”, according to Cai von Rumohr of Cowen investment bank.

Mr Muilenburg dismissed suggestions that Boeing’s European rival Airbus could steal an advantage in China as a result of the trade row with the US. “You are not going to see sudden shifts in orders or delivery profiles,” he said. “That all said, we need to find productive trade solutions. That’s why we’re engaged with both governments. I’m confident that [they] understand the high value of the aerospace sector and what it means to their economic prosperity.”

Nevertheless, Boeing has had no orders from Chinese airlines yet this year, while China Aircraft Leasing Corporation has ordered 15 narrow bodies from Airbus on top of the bumper order for 50 passenger jets in December. Boeing said that the dearth of Chinese deals so far this year was because of the fact that its customers had already placed sizeable orders over the past two years.


Boeing Co Company Profile:

The Boeing Company is an aerospace company. The Company’s segments include Commercial Airplanes; Defense, Space & Security (BDS), such as Boeing Military Aircraft (BMA), Network & Space Systems (N&SS) and Global Services & Support (GS&S), and Boeing Capital (BCC).

The Commercial Airplanes segment develops, produces and markets commercial jet aircraft and provides related support services, to the commercial airline industry. The Commercial Airplanes segment also produces commercial aircraft and offers a family of commercial jetliners.

The BDS segment’s operations involve research, development, production, modification and support of the products and related systems. The BMA segment is engaged in the research, development, production and modification of manned and unmanned military aircraft and weapons systems.

The BCC segment’s portfolio consists of equipment under operating leases, finance leases, notes and other receivables, assets held for sale or re-lease and investments.

Contact Information:

Address: Chicago, IL 60606-1596
United States
Phone: +1-312-5442000
Fax: 302-6365454

Boeing has for several years been mulling the launch of a new aircraft that would replace the discontinued 757 jet, the group has now settled on a date.

StockMarketNews.Today – “We don’t feel rushed to make a decision,” he said in an interview ahead of the Farnborough air show this week. “I would anticipate to make a launch decision next year.” A decision in 2019 would “be consistent with a 2025 entry into service,” he added.

Boeing has for several years been mulling the launch of a new aircraft that would replace the discontinued 757 jet, seating between 220-270 passengers and with a range of about 5,000 nautical miles. The company has identified a market for up to 5,000 aircraft in this segment and, after initially targeting an entry into service range of between 2024 and 2025, the group has now settled on a date of 2025.

However, the delay in establishing the business case for the aircraft is prompting some to question whether Boeing will in the end launch the aircraft. “The problem is the longer they delay [the decision] the more tenuous the business case becomes,” said Scott Hamilton of the Leeham aviation consultancy.

Mr Muilenburg insisted that Boeing had established that there was demand for a new, clean sheet aircraft. “It’s a market that cannot be directly addressed with derivatives of existing airplanes,” he said.

This would not be an aircraft that pushes the limits of technology, he said, perhaps in reference to the difficulties experienced in building the 787 Dreamliner which was the world’s first jet to be more than 50 per cent composite materials.

“It is going to be more about the production system of the future trying to push the technology on the aeroplane,” he said.

As part of the group’s work on the business case, Boeing would examine where to build the new aircraft, he added. Producing it in Boeing’s original factory in Washington state was not a given, he suggested. The final location would depend on cost-competitiveness, access to talent and the supply chain. “We haven’t made a decision yet on geography so we are keeping our options open,” he said.

Boeing is reported to be considering South Carolina — where it builds the 787 — as well as Washington for its next aircraft programme. Mr Muilenburg suggested that certain elements of a new aircraft programme could also be done in Brazil after Boeing’s recent deal to acquire the commercial jet business of Embraer is finalised.


Boeing Co Company Profile:

The Boeing Company is an aerospace company. The Company’s segments include Commercial Airplanes; Defense, Space & Security (BDS), such as Boeing Military Aircraft (BMA), Network & Space Systems (N&SS) and Global Services & Support (GS&S), and Boeing Capital (BCC).

The Commercial Airplanes segment develops, produces and markets commercial jet aircraft and provides related support services, to the commercial airline industry. The Commercial Airplanes segment also produces commercial aircraft and offers a family of commercial jetliners.

The BDS segment’s operations involve research, development, production, modification and support of the products and related systems. The BMA segment is engaged in the research, development, production and modification of manned and unmanned military aircraft and weapons systems.

The BCC segment’s portfolio consists of equipment under operating leases, finance leases, notes and other receivables, assets held for sale or re-lease and investments.

Contact Information:

Address: Chicago, IL 60606-1596
United States
Phone: +1-312-5442000
Fax: 302-6365454

Citigroup has continued a solid second-quarter earnings season for the big US banks, posting a 15 per cent rise in net income despite more sluggish activity on Wall Street.

StockMarketNews.Today – The New York-based bank’s fees from debt trading slipped 6 per cent from a year ago, to $3.1bn, while revenues from advising companies on mergers and capital raising were 7 per cent lower at $1.4bn. The custody-banking business made up much of the shortfall, seeing an 11 per cent rise in revenues to $2.3bn. Net income in the institutional clients group was 17 per cent higher at $3.2bn.

The global consumer-banking side of Citi’s business was solid across the board, seeing modest rises in revenues across all regions and a 14 per cent rise in net income to $1.3bn.

Much of the overall rise in net income came from the big tax-reform package at the end of last year, which cut Citi’s effective tax rate from 32 per cent during the second quarter last year to 24 per cent this time.

Overall, revenues were 2 per cent higher than a year ago, at $18.5bn. Earnings per share came to $1.63, up 27 per cent on a year earlier, and better than consensus forecasts of $1.56. Net profit for the period was $4.5bn, from $3.9bn last year.

“These results demonstrate good momentum across our franchise, and that we are firmly on track to achieve the financial targets we introduced last year at Investor Day,” said Mike Corbat, the bank’s chief executive, now in his sixth year at the top.

Citi was one of a trio of big banks kicking off the second-quarter earnings season on Friday, along with JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Shares in all three have been weak over the past couple of months, weighed down by falling long-term interest rates and fears over the effects of president Trump’s bellicose talk on global trade.

Still, the KBW banks index has risen about 44 per cent since Mr Trump was elected president in November 2016, better than the one-third rise in the broader market, thanks largely to prospects of improved profits from lower taxes, higher interest rates and lighter regulation.

Earlier, JPMorgan reported quarterly revenue of $27.7bn and EPS of $2.29, up 6 per cent and 26 per cent from a year ago, respectively.


On the analyst call later on Friday morning, executives at Citi may be grilled on signs of deterioration in credit quality, which had been on a steadily improving trend for most of the post-crisis period. During the quarter Citi’s net credit losses were flat from a year earlier, at $1.7bn, but the bank added $87m to its reserves for loan losses.

Total credit costs for the first half of the year came to $3.7bn, 9 per cent higher than a year ago.

Citigroup Inc Company Profile:

Citigroup Inc. (Citi) is a financial services holding company.
The Company’s whose businesses provide consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, trade and securities services and wealth management.

The Company operates through two segments: Citicorp and Citi Holdings. Citicorp is the Company’s global bank for consumers and businesses and represents its core franchises. Citicorp is focused on providing products and services to customers and leveraging the Company’s global network, including various economies.

As of December 31, 2016, Citicorp was present in 97 countries and jurisdictions, and offered services in over 160 countries and jurisdictions. Global Consumer Banking (GCB) provides traditional banking services to retail customers through retail banking, including Citi-branded cards and Citi retail services.

Contact Information:

Address: New York, NY 10013-2375
United States
Phone: +1-212-5591000
Fax: 302-6555049

Amazon is driving brands to increase their advertising on its website for next week’s Prime Day, its annual sales event — potentially giving another boost to a revenue stream that has brought the ecommerce group into competition with Google and Facebook, the dominant forces in digital advertising.

StockMarketNews.Today – With millions of Amazon’s Prime members expected to flock to the site next Monday for discounts on products from Bluetooth speakers to paper towels, analysts say its growing advertising business will be a winner alongside the core retail business.

Amazon is becoming a pay-to-play platform,” said Roshan Varma, director in the retail practice at consultancy AlixPartners. “It’s not enough for brands and vendors to sell on Amazon. If you want to sell, you need to show up on top of the sort order [in product search results] and the only way to do that is beat the algorithm or pay for a sponsored product ad.”

“They position it as you have to maintain your share of voice regardless of the cost,” said Mike Ziegler, a former Amazon advertising manager who now runs Marketplace Clicks, an agency that helps sellers advertise on the ecommerce site.

Amazon stock news n2

Prime Day, which Amazon created in 2015, has quickly become one of the company’s biggest drivers of sales and of growth in Prime members. More than 100m people around the world now pay monthly or annual subscriptions for free shipping, streaming video and music and other services.

Last year’s Prime Day saw the most subscription sign-ups since the Prime service launched in 2005 and was the company’s biggest sales day up to that point, Amazon said. With this year’s event expanding to 36 hours on July 16 and 17 and extending offline to discounts at Whole Foods, the grocery chain Amazon bought last year, sales are expected to rise 40 per cent to $3.4bn from $2.4bn in 2017, according to Coresight Research.

The need to advertise to cut through the crowd on Prime Day underscores the growing contribution of advertising to Amazon’s business. While its Amazon’s core retail operations generate the majority of its revenue, executives and analysts see advertising as a promising growth area. Its “other” revenue segment, mostly derived from advertising, more than doubled to $2bn in the first quarter and the company flagged the high-margin business as “a strong contributor to profitability”.

Amazon’s slice of the $100bn US digital ad market is still very small: 2.7 per cent, or fifth place, this year compared with Google’s 37.2 per cent and Facebook’s 19.6 per cent, according to eMarketer. Its share is expected to reach 4.5 per cent by 2020, passing Microsoft and Verizon’s Oath to climb to third place, while Google and Facebook are predicted to lose ground.

Analysts expect growth to come both within the search, sponsored product and display ads Amazon sells on its own site as well as an expansion of the ads it has begun selling across other websites, using its shopping data to target consumers.

“Shopping behaviour is so much more powerful to a marketer than someone asking a question to Google,” said Jordache Perozzo of BuyBox Experts, an Amazon consultancy. “Facebook and Google know what people like or are interested in, but money talks.”

Mark Mahaney, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, estimates that by 2022 Amazon’s ad revenues will top $25bn and generate more than $8bn in incremental operating profit, making the business “as impactful” to the company as Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing business, is today.

As sellers weigh the cost of advertising their products at the top of search results against the boost in sales that Prime Day promises, they also find themselves increasingly competing against Amazon itself. In recent years Amazon has used Prime Day to promote its own in-house labels and products such as voice-controlled speakers.

“The number of branded items and preferred placements [Amazon] is giving themselves on the site, whether in search or headline search or sponsored products, it’s a thorn in a lot of people’s sides,” Mr Ziegler said.

Prime Day is getting more expensive for sellers in other ways, too. Amazon has raised the fee it charges merchants to offer limited-time “Lightning Deals” to $750 from $500 last year. Inc Company Profile:, Inc. offers a range of products and services through its Websites. The Company operates through three segments: North America, International and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Company’s products include merchandise and content that it purchases for resale from vendors and those offered by third-party sellers. It also manufactures and sells electronic devices. The Company, through its subsidiary, Whole Foods Market, Inc., offers healthy and organic food and staples across its stores. The Company also offers a range of products like whole trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, organic responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, creamy and crunchy almond butter, organic gala and fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken.

Contact Information:

Address: Seattle, WA 98109-5210
United States
Phone: +1-206-2661000
Fax: 302-6365454

JPMorgan and Citi fail to impress investors despite strong earnings. Investors fret that the Fed’s rate rises will force them to pay more to depositors.

StockMarketNews.Today – The two banks both unveiled double-digit percentage rises in net income from a year ago, helped by corporate tax cuts and solid performances from investment-banking divisions. Their figures stood in contrast to Wells Fargo, whose revenues and profits declined as it grapples with a series of compliance problems.

Shareholders were underwhelmed by the figures, however, extending a sell-off in bank stocks that began after a historic rally propelled them to a post-crisis high in January.

Investors had anticipated that rising rates should be a boon for banks, allowing them to push up interest charges for borrowers, increase rates for depositors more slowly, and pocket the difference.

Yet the second-quarter earnings painted a muddier picture, as some parts of the businesses showed pressure from higher interest rates.

There are signs higher borrowing costs are hurting demand for some loans. Fees from mortgage banking at Wells fell a third from a year ago to $770m.

Analysts also highlighted that Wells, JPMorgan and Citi were all paying more for their funds. JPMorgan’s interest expenses jumped 56 per cent from a year ago to $5.4bn as its interest-bearing deposit rates doubled to 0.5 per cent. Wells’ deposit expenses leapt 87 per cent to $1.27bn.

“They weren’t paying anything a few years ago — it’s extremely competitive now,” said Christopher Whalen, a bank analyst. “The cost of that money is going up a lot. Where you’re really seeing the pressure is market funding — bonds, interbank funding. All of that reflects higher rates.”

JPMorgan’s total net interest income nevertheless rose a tenth to $13.5bn, helped by yields on loans and higher lending volumes.

Jamie Dimon, chief executive, cautioned that global trade concerns could dent the confidence of corporate America in the months ahead. “There are unpredictable outcomes if you start skirmishes like this with multiple countries,” he said. “It’s a worry. Hopefully it gets resolved.”

Mr Dimon added, however, that so far “it’s kind of affecting psyche more than it is economics”.

While corporate and institutional depositors and wealthy customers with large savings pools are demanding higher rates, the largest US retail banks have largely managed to avoid passing on rate rises to regular consumers, a phenomenon known in the industry as a low deposit “betas”.

Michael Corbat, Citi’s chief executive, said consumers may soon “clamour” for higher rates on their deposits, as the gaps between rate rises from the Fed begins to narrow. “As you get to the point where [the Fed] increases rates in a much more rapid fashion, you’ll see those betas continue to increase,” he said.

John Shrewsberry, Wells chief financial officer, said: “You can pretty easily imagine that the Fed goes a couple more times this year.” He added that would probably increase calls from depositors “to say, ‘Hey, I’d like to get paid a little bit more’”.

JPMorgan’s forecast-beating results were supported by its capital markets and investment banking businesses. Fees from investment banking leapt 17 per cent to $2.2bn. Fixed income markets trading revenue climbed 12 per cent, excluding certain items, while equities trading revenue jumped 24 per cent.

Citi’s investment bank performance lagged behind its rival’s. Its fees from debt trading slipped 6 per cent from a year ago, to $3.1bn, while revenues from advising companies on mergers and capital raising were 7 per cent lower at $1.4bn.

JPMorgan issues bleak warning on Brexit damage – The UK economy could suffer such a significant downturn after it leaves the EU that it will have an impact on global growth.

Coming a day after two senior cabinet ministers resigned in protest at Mrs May’s Brexit negotiating plan, Mr Dimon’s comments underline how business leaders are losing patience with the lack of progress in deciding the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU.

“We still do not fully understand what Brexit is, its economic effects and how its effects will play out: these are huge question marks that will stay for a long time,” Mr Dimon told the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

“I do think that, because of Brexit, some businesses across the financial and manufacturing sectors will be relocating from the UK to other parts of Europe, including Italy,” he said.

JPMorgan last week became the latest big bank to begin moving staff out of London ahead of Brexit, telling its UK employees that “several dozen” of them had been “asked to consider relocation from the UK” around the end of this year.

Mr Dimon had a message for the new populist Italian government, warning of the dire consequences of attempting to withdraw the country from the eurozone.

“Because of the way it has been designed, the European Monetary Union would be hard to reverse without causing catastrophic events,” he said. “This does not mean that Europe should not fix itself. There are many regulatory issues that remain to be solved, and the fact that Brexit happened should make the dialogue between European countries easier.”

Boris Johnson raises the EU colony question
The JPMorgan boss also had stern words about the potential “bad outcome” of US president Donald Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on imports.

“President Trump has been warned about this by the business community in the US,” he said. “The impact of tariffs on trade can offset the benefits that US growth is having from tax reform, but we do not yet know to what extent.”

Mr Dimon has previously warned that JPMorgan’s 16,000-strong UK workforce could be reduced by 4,000 after the UK quits the EU.

JPMorgan had banking licences in Frankfurt, Dublin and Luxembourg and was adding staff in other locations including Paris, Madrid and Milan, it said in a memo to UK staff last week.

Most big financial groups are trying to limit the disruption of Brexit and plan to move at most a few hundred jobs each from London to other European cities in the first phase. However, executives warn that they may later be forced into more radical shifts in a hard Brexit scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without any agreement on trade.

Apple slices into Spotify’s lead in US music market. Iphone maker expected to have more US subscribers by end of the year


The rising relevance of Apple Music in the streaming market has been underscored in the past two weeks with the release of Scorpion by Drake, which is expected to be the biggest album of the year. In the first 24 hours of its release, it was streamed on Apple Music 170m times, while Spotify recorded just 130m streams, despite having three times as many total users.

Spotify, Apple and other streaming services do not publicly break down their subscriber counts by country, but they do report the figures to music distributors and record companies.

As of last week, Apple had between 21m and 21.5m US subscribers, while Spotify had 22m to 22.5m, according to industry executives. A year ago, Spotify had about 17m US subscribers to Apple’s 13m, these people say.

Music executives expect Apple to match Spotify in the US by next month. Apple should end the year with about 27m US subscribers to Spotify’s 24m, according to internal forecasts viewed by the FT. Apple’s music service has also been growing faster than Spotify in the UK and Canada, countries that were heavy adopters of the iTunes store, these executives said.

“Spotify has always targeted music lovers, who tend to be a bit younger and were early adopters of streaming,” said Mark Mulligan, analyst at Midia Research. “A lot of that base has been soaked up now, whereas Apple has a much wider customer base. They can get those more mainstream people very easily because [Apple Music] is already in their phone, and they already have their credit card info.”

Globally, Spotify remains the leader in digital music by a wide margin. The company, which also offers a free service, said it had signed up 75m paying customers to the end of March, and expected that to increase to nearly 100m by the end of the year.

Apple most recently reported it had 50m subscribers as of May, although this includes people who signed up for a free trial, inflating the number. Amazon has become a third competitor in the race: the company said in April it had “tens of millions” of subscribers for its music streaming service, but declined to give an exact figure.

Spotify faces greater scrutiny of its subscriber numbers as a public company — investors care about user growth because the $30bn company is still lossmaking.

Daniel Ek, Spotify’s cofounder and chief executive, has brushed off concerns about Apple’s threat. “We don’t see any meaningful impact of competition,” he said on a call with investors in May. “We don’t think that this is a winner takes all market.”

Apple and Spotify declined to comment.

Many banks plan to boost dividends after passing the Federal Reserve’s latest stringent round of stress tests.

Many banks plan to boost dividends after passing the Federal Reserve’s latest stringent round of stress tests, and that could fuel a nice boost to share prices of a select number of U.S. financial firms. The Fed now is allowing many banks to return a greater portion of their earnings to shareholders, which is exactly what they are doing. Banks plan to increase dividends by 25% on average, says JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Vivek Juneja. This could push dividend yields to levels that greatly exceed the rest of the financial sector and the broader market, according to MarketWatch.

Nine banks whose planned dividend increases will bring their dividend yields to around 3.00% or higher include Huntington Bancshares Inc. (HBAN)
Huntington Bancshares Inc. – KeyCorp (KEY) – Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) – BB&T Corp. (BBT) – Regions Financial Corp. (RF) – Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) – JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) – SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) and US Bancorp (USB)

Dividend Boost
Although banks have received a stamp of approval following the Fed’s stress tests, the increasing dividends, coming from both big and small banks alike, are a reflection of tax reform benefits and stronger capital ratios due to tepid loan growth, according to Juneja. With greater capital ratios, banks have more room to boost shareholder returns without hitting regulatory lending constraints.

As equity returns depend on both capital gains from stock price returns and on dividend income, a higher dividend yield increases the amount of return that doesn’t depend on stock price performance. Stocks with higher dividend yields represent a relatively cheap way to invest in a stable source of income.

With worries of being in the later stages of the economic cycle, not to mention the threat of trade wars, weighing on the overall market, dividends represent a more stable source of return as most companies try to maintain their payouts even in a recession. As investors turn to more defensive, dividend-paying stocks, this could also help to give these shares an added boost even in the case of a downturn. (To read more, see: US Stocks Face Grim Decade of Low Returns: Morningstar.)

Good Value
The bank stocks underperformance might suggest they are relatively undervalued compared to the rest of the market.

According to a mathematical model built by Bespoke Investment Group macro strategist George Pearkes, which predicts bank stock prices by utilizing two-year Treasury yields and investment-grade bond spreads as model inputs, bank stocks are currently priced 9% below their fair values.

The earnings picture is also looking positive for the financial sector. Next to the energy sector, financials have the best near-term earnings outlook with 21% earnings per share (EPS) growth expected in the second quarter, 40% growth expected for the third quarter, and 28% growth expected for all of 2018, according to a report from Goldman Sachs.

On a more bearish note, Piper Jaffray chief market technician Craig Johnson says the technical outlook for the financial sector is “cloudy,” with the number of financial stocks advancing being outpaced by the number of those declining. As most financials are trading below their 200-day moving averages, it will take a really sustained boost to fuel more positive momentum.

Xiaomi’s weak debut – Xiaomi Corp’s shares fell as much as 6 percent in their Hong Kong debut on concerns over the Chinese smartphone maker’s valuation, in an ominous sign for its technology sector.

Xiaomi priced its IPO at HK$17 per share, the bottom of the range it offered, raising $4.72 billion in the world’s biggest technology float in four years.

Its shares touched a low of HK$16 in early trade and later rallied to briefly touch its IPO price. The stock was at HK$16.88 after the midday break, while the main Hong Kong stock market index was 1.7 percent higher.

Xiaomi’s listing comes as investors fret over escalating trade tensions between the United States and China that have shaken markets over the past several weeks..

Asked if the low pricing of Xiaomi and some other technology firms will weigh on upcoming IPOs, Hong Kong stock exchange CEO Charles Li said at the Xiaomi listing ceremony: “We cannot put a brake. The market is always open. It’s open to everybody…If you don’t like the price, you can stay away.”

Xiaomi’s IPO valued the firm, which also makes internet-connected home appliances and gadgets, at about $54 billion, almost half the $100 billion it had initially hoped for and below its more recent target of at least $70 billion.

Xiaomi had been expected to raise up to $10 billion, split between its Hong Kong and a mainland offering. But in a surprise move last month, it postponed its mainland share offering.

The HK$17 price valued the company at 39.6 times 2018 earnings, while iPhone maker Apple is trading at 16 times and Chinese social media and gaming giant Tencent Holdings at 36.

“Trading below the issue price suggested that investors still felt the valuation of the stock was relatively high as compared with Tencent and Apple,” said Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities.

Potential investors also struggled to view the company as the internet play it considers itself to be, rather than as a smartphone maker – the lower-margin business that currently generates most of its profits, sources said.

“We are an internet firm. From day one, we’ve set up a dual-class share structure. Without the innovation of Hong Kong’s capital markets, we wouldn’t get a chance to go public in Hong Kong,” Xiaomi’s founder and chief executive Lei Jun told the listing ceremony at the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Xiaomi sold 2.18 billion shares, making the IPO the largest in the technology sector since Alibaba Group raised $25 billion in New York in 2014.

The float adds to Hong Kong’s $7 billion worth of new listings this year. It is also the first under the city’s new rules permitting dual-class shares, common among U.S. tech firms, in an attempt to attract tech sector floats.

Xiaomi focuses on low-priced, high-performance smartphones and touts an innovative business model that features online services, a range of consumer electronics products built by partner firms, and a retail strategy that includes a network of physical stores.

It is now the biggest smartphone vendor in India and is pushing into European markets including Spain and Russia, though it has lost share in China recently to lower-cost rivals.

Pfizer Inc. (PFE). Shares have underperformed during the past three years, rising 9.4% compared to the S&P 500’s rise of nearly 31%. The pharmaceutical company now appears to be poised to rise 10% in the coming weeks, based on technical analysis.


The relative strength index (RSI) suggests shares of the stock be poised to rise as well. The RSI has been trending higher, and like the stock price, a bullish symmetrical triangle pattern has developed as well.The options are also suggesting the stock may rise by the middle of September, increasing by about 5% to $38.40. The open interest has been steadily growing for the $38 calls set to expire on Sept. 21 to nearly 27,000 open contracts.

PFE PE Ratio (Forward 1y)

Pfizer‘s stock trades at about 11.9 times 2019 earnings estimates of $3.08 per share, making it cheaper than the S&P 500 one-year forward P/E of about 16.6. Additionally, it trades at the lowest price to earnings (P/E) multiple when compared to its peers. Pfizer’s valuation has been the weakest among its peers over the past year.

Part of the reason for the low earnings multiple is a lack of longer-term earnings growth. Although Pfizer is expected to post robust earnings growth in 2018 of 11.3%, that growth is likely to slow to roughly 4% over the next two years.

At this point, Pfizer’s cheap valuation maybe enough to lift shares over the short term, but a sustainable rally will need a shot of solid longer-term earnings and revenue growth.

Pfizer Inc Company Profile:

Industry: Biotechnology & Drugs
Sector: Healthcare

Pfizer Inc. (Pfizer) is a research-based global biopharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in the discovery, development and manufacture of healthcare products. Its global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines, as well as consumer healthcare products. The Company manages its commercial operations through two business segments: Pfizer Innovative Health (IH) and Pfizer Essential Health (EH). IH focuses on developing and commercializing medicines and vaccines, as well as products for consumer healthcare. IH therapeutic areas include internal medicine, vaccines, oncology, inflammation and immunology, rare diseases and consumer healthcare. EH includes legacy brands, branded generics, generic sterile injectable products, biosimilars and infusion systems. EH also includes a research and development (R&D) organization, as well as its contract manufacturing business. Its brands include Prevnar 13, Xeljanz, Eliquis, Lipitor, Celebrex, Pristiq and Viagra.

Contact Information:

Address: New York, NY 10017-5703, United States
Phone: +1-212-5732323
Fax: 302-6555049

Snap Inc. to Launch Gaming Platform This Fall. The social media company’s new gaming platform, slated for launch later this year, would make the firm more similar to WeChat


The social media company’s new gaming platform, slated for launch later this year, would make the firm more similar to WeChat, owned by Chinese internet behemoth Tencent Holdings. If Snap succeeds in implementing the offering to mirror WeChat, which has seen sales skyrocket thanks to in-game purchases, it could hedge against fears of weakening ad revenues. Snap Inc. Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel has publicly expressed his admiration for Tencent, which now generates about 40% of its total sales from in-game purchases on WeChat.

The initiative would also help boost user engagement for the struggling social platform as Instagram rolls out features strikingly similar to its own, like Instagram Stories and in-app photo and video filters. Giving users more things to do and play around with on the app typically equates to more time spent on the platform.

New Realities at Snap:
In the recent period, Snap has been ramping up its investment in its internal Lens Studio to develop software for specialized augmented reality (AR) filters. In April, the tech firm launched short selfie AR games that integrated into Snapchat’s Lens selection user interface. The new gaming titles could focus on AR, giving Snap an unique advantage over competitors. Per that information, Snap will allow third-party developers to make games for Snapchat, and one publisher is already signed up. Facebook’s Messenger app has already experimented with short, shareable mini-games.

Snap stock tanked earlier in June on a report from one team of bears citing survey results indicating that daily user engagement on the platform has fallen 7% over last year, and that in a survey of ad buyers, Snap ranked lowest among all social media platforms on multiple levels.

Trading up 1.3% on Thursday morning at $12.99, SNAP reflects an 11.1% decline year-to-date (YTD) and a 26.8% fall over 12 months, sharply underperforming the SP 500’s 1.3% return and 11% growth over the same respective periods.

Snap is looking to take advantage of rival Facebook’s recent privacy scandals by introducing a new way for its users to log in to other apps using their Snapchat profiles, without sharing a long list of personal details.

The new “Snap Kit” developer platform hopes to replace the “log in with Facebook” buttons that have become a common fixture of thousands of apps and websites.

Harnessing an existing system that hundreds of millions of people are already logged in to makes it easier for apps to recruit new users. However, critics say that it sometimes comes at a high cost to users’ privacy.

Facebook has reined in the amount of data it shares with third-party apps after it emerged this year that millions of users’ intimate details were siphoned off to Cambridge Analytica via a survey app, where the data may have been used to influence political campaigns in the US and UK.

However, Facebook’s recent changes to bolster its platform’s privacy protections have caused disruption for some developers, creating an opportunity for Snap to offer a similar service, albeit with a much more limited set of data.

Snap Inc. will only share a Snapchat user’s name and, if they wish, their personalised Bitmoji avatar with other apps. Facebook previously allowed developers access to lists of friends, birthdays and other personal information.

Apps including Tinder, Postmates and Giphy are among the early adopters of Snap Kit. Snap said a team of moderators would review every app that plugged into Snap Kit, which can also be used to pull highlights from other apps — such as a game’s high score or the distance of a run — into the Snapchat camera.

“The main value proposition both for Snapchat users and third-party apps in this exchange is the creative experience, not the exchange of data in the way it might be in other developer platforms,” Katherine Tassi, deputy general counsel at Snap, told the Financial Times. “A privacy lawyer and privacy engineer has been working with the product team all the way through the development process, reviewing the specs and the features, making sure we build privacy into the design.”

Novartis chairman says Alcon worth $20 billion-$30 billion. The Basel-based company will also repurchase up to $5 billion in shares through the end of next year.

Novartis chairman says Alcon worth $20 billion-$30 billion: Finanz und Wirtschaft

ZURICH (Reuters) – The chairman of Swiss drugmaker Novartis (NOVN.S) expects Alcon to be valued at between $20 billion and $30 billion when the opthalmic devices unit is spun off to shareholders next year, he said in an interview with Finanz und Wirtschaft.

“Just how much it’s ultimately going to be will be determined when we know how debt and other things will be quantified,” Joerg Reinhardt told the Swiss financial newspaper.

Novartis announced on Friday it is spinning off the eye care surgical equipment and contact lens unit, with $7 billion in annual revenue. The business no longer fits the drugmaker’s strategy of focusing on prescription medicines, Novartis concluded.

The Basel-based company will also repurchase up to $5 billion in shares through the end of next year.

Reinhardt said it was hard to determine whether Alcon, bought over time for $52 billion from Nestle in a deal concluded in 2011, ever really earned money for Novartis.

“Tough to say, since Alcon had to be revamped multiple times,” he said. “But I would say, all things considered, we didn’t lose money on Alcon.”

Reinhardt also said there were no changes to Novartis’s roughly $13 billion stake in Roche (ROG.S). His company has, for now, abandoned active plans to unload the package, and Reinhardt has returned to calling it “a financial investment with a certain strategic component.”

Company Profile:

Novartis AG (NVS)

Lichtstrasse 35
Basel 4056
41 61 324 1111

Sector: Healthcare
Industry: Drug Manufacturers – Major
Full Time Employees: 124,000

Novartis AG researches, develops, manufactures, and markets a range of healthcare products worldwide. The company’s Innovative Medicines segment offers patented prescription medicines to enhance health outcomes for patients and health-care providers. This segment also commercializes products in the areas of oncology and rare diseases, ophthalmology, immunology and dermatology, neuroscience, respiratory, cardio-metabolic, and established medicines. The Sandoz segment provides active ingredients and finished dosage forms of pharmaceuticals in the areas of cardiovascular, central nervous system, dermatology, gastrointestinal and hormonal therapies, metabolism, oncology, ophthalmic, pain, and respiratory; active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates primarily antibiotics; protein or other biotechnology-based products, including biosimilars; and biotechnology manufacturing services. The Alcon segment offers eye care products, such as eye care devices for cataract, retinal, glaucoma, and refractive surgery, as well as intraocular lenses to treat cataracts and refractive errors; viscoelastics, surgical solutions, surgical packs, and other disposable products for cataract and vitreoretinal surgery; and contact lenses, as well as contact lens care products, including multi-purpose and hydrogen-peroxide based solutions, rewetting drops, and daily protein removers. Novartis AG has collaboration agreements with Xencor; Surface Oncology; Intellia Therapeutics; Caribou Biosciences; Bristol-Myers Squibb; IBM Watson Health; Amgen; Allergan plc; Science 37, Inc.; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and PEAR Therapeutics. Novartis AG was founded in 1895 and is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland.