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Sunday, October 2, 2022 - 9:16am
Tim Cook

Major tech companies are eyeing the metaverse's potential, which has become a hot buzzword in the market. But Apple CEO Tim Cook has a different opinion about it. 

In a recent interview with a Dutch media outlet, Cook said that most people are unclear about the term "metaverse."  

"I always think it's important that people understand what something is. And I'm not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is," Cook told the outlet.

Talking about virtual reality, he said it is good, but it's not a way to "live your whole life."

Also Read: Apple's Tim Cook On His Biggest Dispute With Steve Jobs: 'His Way Was More Creative And More Different'

"It's something you can really immerse yourself in. And that can be used in a good way. But I don't think you want to live your whole life that way. VR is for set periods, but not a way to communicate well. So I'm not against it, but that's how I look at it," the Apple CEO explained. 

About augmented reality, Cook said there are already several different AR apps on the App Store, and there's room for the technology to "go much, much further." 

"I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything. Imagine suddenly being able to teach with AR and demonstrate things that way. Or medically, and so on. As I said, we are going to look back and think about how we once lived without AR," Cook added. 

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been advocating for the metaverse for quite a long time. Recently, he said the metaverse is a "massive opportunity" for several reasons, and he feels strongly that developing metaverse platforms will "unlock hundreds of billions of dollars."

However, a recent Bank of England report suggested that the growth of an open and decentralized metaverse may scale up the existing risks from crypto assets and could cause financial instability. 

Photo: Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org


Sunday, October 2, 2022 - 8:47am
Trader looking at charts

On CNBC’s “Halftime Report Final Trades,” Stephen Weiss of Short Hills Capital Partners said he had sold all his shares of Volkswagen AG (OTCMKTS: VWAGY) after looking at CarMax, Inc (NYSE: KMX). The sales of autos are declining “just as they’re building up inventory,” he mentioned.

Karen Firestone of Aureus Asset Management said Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE: BAH) is “not a particularly recessionary type of company” and is “not so cyclical.” “We have a sense that in November at the midterms, the Republicans will take back the house. That’s positive for the defense department,” she added.

Check out other stocks making moves in the premarket.

Brenda Vingiello of Sand Hill Global Advisors said Salesforce Inc. (NYSE: CRM) has “a lot of recurring revenue.” “The stock price has backed down to where it was in 2019,” Vingiello mentioned. “Management just reiterated full-year revenue guidance for this year, looking for 17% growth,” she added.

Also See: Here Are The 10 Wealthiest Cities In The World, 5 Of Them Are In The US

Josh Brown of Ritholtz Wealth Management chose iShares U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (BATS: IEO) saying, “The overall market took out the June and July lows this last downturn, but oil and gas stocks did not.” “The buyers came in exactly as they should have,” he added.


Sunday, October 2, 2022 - 8:39am
Apple

On CNBC's "Options Action," Michael Khouw of Optimize Advisors said that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded 1.5 times its average daily put volume on Thursday. “There were a lot of big bearish bets made,” he mentioned.

Check out other stocks making moves in the premarket.

There was a buyer of 23,000 of the November 120 puts at $2.43 per contract, Khouw said. The trader bet $5.6 million on the stock declining by at least 17.5% by November expiration, he added.

Also Read: Bulls and Bears Of The Week: Tesla, Apple, Meta And Why Michael Burry Says This Could Be Worse Than 2008

 


Sunday, October 2, 2022 - 8:12am
Indonesia Soccer

At least 170 people were killed and many injured at a soccer match in Malang, Indonesia. The incident happened after a football match in East Java province between Arema FC, and Persebaya Surabaya ended on Saturday night.  

According to the police report, the supporters of the losing team invaded the pitch to express their frustration. Following this, Police fired tear gas to control the situation, which triggered a stampede in the stadium. 

The Arema FC supporters stormed the pitch after their team lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya, the first loss to their rival in more than two decades. 

According to police information, 34 people died inside the stadium, while others died in a hospital. In addition, many people were crushed and suffocated when they ran to the exit gates. 

Also Read: Russian Soldiers Call Putin 'A Fool' On Intercepted Calls: 'The Stupidest Decision Our Government Ever Made'

One stampede video on Twitter showed massive amounts of tear gas and people clambering over fences.

According to a local television channel, President Joko Widodo said he had asked the national police chief to thoroughly investigate what happened. 

“I regret that this tragedy occurred,” Widodo said. “And I hope this is the last football tragedy in the country.”

The Indonesian government has apologized for the incident and promised to investigate the circumstances surrounding the stampede, said the report. 

Meanwhile, the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) has suspended all football matches for one week. 

PSSI has banned the Arema FC team from hosting home games for the rest of the season and said it would send an investigation team to Malang to establish the cause of the crush.


Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 5:29pm
oil and gas

Investors who bought stocks during the COVID-19 market crash in 2020 have generally experienced some big gains in the last two years. But there is no question some big-name stocks performed better than others since the pandemic bottom.

Occidental's Bumpy Road: One company that has been a great investment in the past two years is oil and gas company Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: OXY).

Like many other companies, the COVID-19 pandemic crushed Occidental’s business in 2020. In fact, WTI crude oil futures briefly dropped below zero during the worst of the pandemic sell-off as demand plummeted and oil buyers ran out of storage space.

At the beginning of 2020, Occidental shares were trading at $41.63. By the beginning of March, the stock was down to $33.55 as news of the coronavirus spreading in China prompted concerns about a U.S. pandemic.

When the S&P 500 hit its pandemic bottom in March 2020, Occidental shares traded down to $9. Unfortunately, while the S&P 500 bounced from there, the worst was yet to come for Occidental.

On April 20, 2020, WTI crude oil futures contracts fell below zero per barrel for the first time in history, settling at an unprecedented price of negative $37.63. The May WTO contracts expired the next day, and prices quickly bounced back into positive territory.

By early June 2020, Occidental shares were back above $20 before the rebound rally ran out of steam. On October 29, 2020, Occidental hit its 2020 pandemic low of $8.52.

Occidental bounced off those October 2020 lows and the stock quickly became red-hot.

Related Link: If You Invested $1,000 In Exxon Mobil Stock At Its COVID-19 Pandemic Low, Here's How Much You'd Have Now

Occidental In 2022, Beyond: WTI crude oil prices rallied to new post-pandemic highs above $65/bbl in March 2021, and Occidental shares topped $25 in February 2021. Inflation, global energy shortages and the war in Ukraine pushed crude oil prices as high as $130 in March 2022.

Inflation has weighed on many stocks, but it is good news for stocks in the energy sector like Occidental. In the most recent quarter, Occidental reported 79.1% revenue growth and $3.7 billion in net income.

Wall Street legend and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) CEO Warren Buffett has been aggressively buying shares of Occidental throughout 2022, helping make it one of the best-performing stocks in the entire S&P 500 through the first nine months of the year. Occidental shares soared as high as $77.13 in August 2022 before softening oil prices at least temporarily halted the rally.

Related Link: If You Invested $1,000 In Marathon Oil (MRO) Stock At Its COVID-19 Pandemic Low, Here's How Much You'd Have Now

Occidental shares have pulled back to around $61.73 and WTI prices have retreated to $79.98, but inflation and energy supply shortages drag on.

Investors, who bought Occidental stock the day it hit its 2020 pandemic low and held on, have generated some impressive returns at this point. In fact, $1,000 in Occidental stock bought on Oct. 29, 2020, would be worth about $6,859 today, assuming reinvested dividends.

Looking ahead, analysts are expecting Occidental stock to continue to march higher in the next 12 months. The average price target among the 23 analysts covering the stock is $74, suggesting a 20% upside from current levels.


Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 5:21pm
Elon Musk

During AI Day 2022, one Twitter user seemed less interested in the new robotics that Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLAdisplayed on Friday, and more curious about how CEO Elon Musk looked so “awesome, fit, ripped and healthy.”

Eva McMillin Twitter’s handle is @EvasTeslaSPlaid and is an apparent fan of Tesla and Musk. Her full tweet read: “Hey, @elonmusk what’s your secret? You look awesome, fit, ripped & healthy. Lifting weights? Eating healthy?”

Musk replied to Eva’s question with a simple one-word answer: “Fasting.” 

For people that closely follow Musk news, and for better or worse I am in that category, this is not the first time Musk has spoken about his affinity for fasting, or “intermittent fasting” a system in which followers go extended periods of time without eating.

Also Read: Elon Musk's Advice To His Younger Self: There's 'Some Merit' To Not Being 'Too Intense' 

Late in August, Musk tweeted “On advice of a good friend, I’ve been fasting periodically & feel healthier.” Fortune Magazine highlights. Proponents of intermittent fasting argue that the diet plan can help people lose weight, without serious downsides. 

However, there are some critics of intermittent fasting that argue that it can lead to unnecessary stress. A Johns Hopkins Medicine article on the subject encourages readers to “Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.”

There are many different variations of intermittent fasting. Some people eat only during an eight-hour window each day. Others might have two days a week where they eat only one meal.  

Musk claims to have lost about 20 pounds using the intermittent fasting technique. For readers interested in trying it, be sure to research the benefits and drawbacks of the plan. 

Photo: Courtesy of Tesla Owners Club Belgium on flickr


Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 5:13pm
Bull and Bears

Benzinga has examined the prospects for many investors' favorite stocks over the past week, here's a look at some of our top stories. 

Stocks ended the Friday session with not only a losing week, but also a losing month and quarter, as the mass selling of equities continued. The S&P 500 was down 2.64% for the week, the Dow Industrials gave up 2.75% and the Nasdaq Composite fell by 2.38% this week. September has historically been a difficult month for the markets, this year was no exception.

The three indices are now at their lowest levels since 2020, and are all trading in confirmed bear markets.

Benzinga continues to examine the prospects for many of the stocks most popular with investors. Here are a few of this past week's most bullish and bearish posts that are worth another look.

The Bulls

"Rivian R1S 'Feels A Lot Bigger' Than Tesla's Model Y: Munster Weighs In After First Ride," by Shanthi Rexaline, looks at what Loup Funds’ Gene Munster had to say after riding Rivian Automotive Inc's (NASDAQ: RIVN) Launch Edition R1S.

In "Cathie Wood's Confidence In Tesla 'Couldn't Be Higher,' Says Elon Musk-Led Automaker Sits In 'Driver's Seat' Of EV Boom," Adam Eckert explains why Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood remains as bullish as ever on Elon Musk's Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA).

"Is Apple Stock A 'Safe Haven' For Tech Investors? Here's What iPhone Demand Trends Show," by Adam Eckert, details an analyst's viewpoint that Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) is becoming a "safe haven" for tech investors.

For additional bullish calls of the past week, check out the following:

Meta, Snap, TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter All Saw Engagement Improve In Q3 — But Analyst Says 1 Platform Stands Out

Cathie Wood Loads Up $12M In Shares Of Software Company Day After It Announced Collaboration With Microsoft

AMC Entertainment Consolidates APE Equity Distribution Agreement: Here's What To Watch

The Bears

"Mark Zuckerberg's Meta No Longer Among Top 10 Most-Valuable Companies: Who Overtook The Tech Giant?" by Bhavik Nair, notes that Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ: META) is no longer among the top 10 most valuable companies in the world as its market cap fell to $366.61 billion.

"Apple Pulls Back iPhone 14 Production Ramp-Up As Demand Underwhelms: Report," by Shivdeep Dhaliwal, looks at Apple's decision to step back from raising production of its new iPhone 14 lineup in 2022.

In "'Big Short' Investor Michael Burry Reminisces Dow's Largest Single-Day Fall In 2008: Wonders 'If This Could Be Worse,'" Bhavik Nair, explores why ‘Big Short’ investor Michael Burry thinks the current global economic environment could be worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

For more bearish takes, be sure to see these posts:

Senior Apple Executive Exits After Crude Remarks On Women Go Viral On TikTok: 'I have rich cars, play golf and…'

Cathie Wood Says Powell's 'Sledgehammer' To 'Slay' Inflation Way More Powerful Than Volcker's In 1980s: 'Fed Could Undermine Its Legacy'

Prominent Apple, Tesla Analyst Warns Of More Pain For US Stocks In Coming Months

Keep up with all the latest breaking news and trading ideas by following Benzinga on Twitter.


Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 4:27pm
Solana

The Solana network (CRYPTO: SOL) stopped processing transactions and went offline on Friday due to a misconfigured node, marking the blockchain's fourth significant outage since January, when it had a succession of partial outages for most of that month.

One year has passed since a roughly 18-hour outage in September of last year.

Meanwhile, SOL, the ninth-ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has dropped 81% in 2022 due to the bearish phase the crypto market is facing.

The Solana Foundation's Solana Status website said on Friday night at 7:01 p.m. EST, the network was "experiencing degraded performance" and that Solana engineers were attempting to identify the problem.

The network is "experiencing an outage and not processing transactions," Solana stated shortly after.

Also Read: DOGE Co-founder Says He Sees Fewer Spambots, Thinks Twitter Has Done Something

What led to the disruption?

The Solana validator behind Stakewiz.com tweeted about the outage, saying, "It appears a misconfigured node caused an unrecoverable partition in the network. Validators, please participate in finding consensus on the relevant data."

According to Stakewiz, the Solana codebase was intended to address the problem, but for some reason, it resulted in an irreversible split or fork.

According to them, the incorrect setting was unintentional and was probably a faulty node failover setup.

The Solana mainnet network was resumed by developers at the last confirmed slot, 153139220.

Solana had been down for 2 hours and 45 minutes and the reboot was 49% complete.

What is Solana’s stand on its blackouts?

A request for comment on this outage from Benzinga was not immediately met with a response from Solana Labs.

While Solana executives have argued over different estimates of the total number of outages in the past, founder Anatoly Yakovenko said earlier this month that outages have been "our curse" and pointed out that the Bitcoin blockchain has occasionally in the past had hours pass between two blocks.

Solana is a well-known blockchain for creating non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, and decentralized apps.

It is one of a number of smart-contract blockchains touted as "Ethereum killers."

Solana has become the third-largest proof-of-stake blockchain - after Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH) and Cardano (CRYPTO: ADA) - by market size since Ethereum switched to proof-of-stake on Sept. 15.


Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 4:07pm
This Tech Firm CEO Says He Is ‘Praying For Inflation,’ Here’s Why

The CEO of Iron Mountain Inc (NYSE: IRM) recently said that he had been “doing my inflation dance” and “praying for inflation” because it would benefit the company’s business and bottom line.

According to The Intercept, Iron Mountain’s CEO William Meaney told his investors last month that Iron Mountain had benefited from the current economic scenario. 

“If you go back in terms of what we’ve been doing in terms of pricing and revenue management, we’ve been getting north of 200 basis points of a price increase during the zero inflationary period,” he told investors. “And, of course, now we’ve been able to take that up quite significantly.”

However, Meaney said that the company wasn’t taking advantage of its customers, and it had been asking consumers to “pay more of their fair share in terms of the value that we present.”

Also Read: Binance Says Worldwide Inflation Is Driving Crypto User Growth

“People are seeing what FedEx, UPS, and others are having to do to manage their business and pass on that inflation,” The Intercept quoted him saying.

Earlier, Iron Mountain’s CFO Barry A. Hytinen said that “we do have very strong pricing power,” and for the company, inflation is “actually a net positive.”

Hytinen added, “We feel for folks” regarding inflation, but “we have a high gross margin business, so it naturally expands the margins of the business.”

Boston-based tech firm Iron Mountain is a data storage and management company with a current market capitalization of $12 billion. 

As per its website, over 95 percent of the Fortune 1,000 are Iron Mountain customers. 

Photo: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 


Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 3:56pm
Elon Musk, Donald Trump

Elon Musk tried to get Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) to use the search term “Trump,” reasoning that the name is associated with spam accounts and bots, an email exchange between the billionaire’s lawyer Silpa Maruri and the social media company showed.

The email along with a slew of other documents were made public earlier this week in relation to the lawsuit filed by Twitter to enforce Musk’s $44 billion deal to take the company private.

Twitter’s lawyer Bradley Wilson reportedly said his client was unpersuaded by the need to look for “Trump” as the former U.S. president’s name was among many irrelevant subjects that would lead to too many searches.

See also: Elon Musk's Advice To His Younger Self: There's 'Some Merit' To Not Being 'Too Intense'

The email communication also showed that Musk’s legal team wanted “Bangalore” and “New Delhi” also to be included in the search term, Bloomberg said. The request follows the revelation that Twitter had sued the Indian government in a Bangalore court, challenging the former’s order to block certain accounts, the report added.

Meanwhile, Musk’s lawyer contended that Twitter breached the terms of the merger deal by not disclosing the investigations in India.

A preliminary search with the terms Musk’s team suggested returned about 250,000 documents, Twitter reportedly said. It, therefore, requested a narrowing down of the search terms.

Twitter closed Friday's session 2.57% higher at $43.84, according to Benzinga Pro data.

Photo: Created with images from Tesla Owners Club Belgium and Gage Skidmore on Flickr