Sony Scales Back PlayStation VR2 Output, Sam Bankman-Fried Attempted To Regain Control Of FTX, White House Plans To End COVID-19 Emergency: Today's Top Stories


Sony Scales Back PlayStation VR2 Output After Disappointing Pre-Order Numbers

  • Sony Group Corp SONY has reportedly slashed its forecast for shipments of the PlayStation VR2 scheduled to go on sale on Feb. 22. 
  • Sony has reduced the production of its much-hyped PlayStation VR2, given its pre-orders were much lower than anticipated.
  • Sony was previously aiming to have two million headsets ready for the launch, but now it has halved its forecast for this quarter, said people familiar with the deliberations. 


Wall Street Journal

FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried Attempted To Regain Control Of Bankrupt Crypto Exchange

  • Beleaguered crypto exchange FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried tried to stop bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S. in November to transfer assets from his crypto exchange to foreign regulators.
  • According to federal prosecutors, Bankman-Fried expected lenient treatment from foreign regulators, eventually allowing him to regain control of FTX.


Financial Times

Elon Musk's Twitter Files For Licenses To Add In-App Payment Services Amid Pressure To Meet Debt Obligations

  • Twitter's fundamentals deteriorated after it was taken private by Elon Musk as advertisers fled amid apprehensions about the direction the social media platform would take under the new owner. It now appears that Musk is exploring other monetization avenues for Twitter.
  • Musk is looking to add payments to Twitter and has begun applying for licenses across the U.S. Esther Crawford, one of Musk's trusted lieutenants at Twitter, is reportedly working with a small team on the architecture needed to allow payments on the platform. She has been appointed as chief executive of Twitter Payments by Musk, it added.



Biden Administration Plans To End COVID-19 Public Health Emergency In May

  • The Biden administration will allow the ongoing Covid-19 emergency declarations to end on May 11, the White House announced on Monday, as the U.S. shifts away from responding to the pandemic as a national crisis and instead manage the virus more like a seasonal respiratory disease.
  • The Health and Human Services Department has promised to give states 60 days' notice before ending the emergency so the healthcare system can prepare to return to normal.

US Court Rejects Johnson & Johnson's Controversial Ploy To Evade Talc Cancer Lawsuits

  • A federal appeals court in Philadelphia rejected Johnson & Johnson's JNJ use of chapter 11 bankruptcy to offload several lawsuits over its talc products, alleging its talc products caused cancer.
  • In 2021, J&J transferred the lawsuits and jury verdicts to a shell company known as LTL Management. 
  • J&J's two-step sought to halt more than 38,000 lawsuits, and the ruling now revives those lawsuits.

Biden Administration Proposes Bolstering Access To Contraceptives Mandate Under Obamacare

  • The Biden administration proposed eliminating employers' ability to object to the contraceptive mandate on moral grounds under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
  • The proposed rule, unveiled Monday, would remove an exemption to the mandate that allows employers to opt out of moral convictions. 
  • It would also create an independent pathway for individuals enrolled in plans offered by employers with religious exemptions to access contraceptive services through a willing provider without charge.

Pfizer Beats Q4 Earnings, Issues Underwhelming 2023 Guidance

  • Pfizer Inc PFE has reported a Q4 adjusted EPS of $1.14, up 45% Y/Y, well ahead of the consensus of $1.05. 
  • The company achieved revenues of $24.29 billion, up 2% and 13% on an operational basis, missing the Wall Street estimate of $24.32 billion.
  • Pfizer expects sales of $13.5 billion from the COVID-19 vaccine for 2023 and projected $8 billion in sales of its antiviral pill, Paxlovid.

Oil Earnings Surge Decelerates: Exxon Posts Record Q4 Profits, But Lower Than Previous Quarter

  • Exxon Mobil Corp XOM has posted a Q4 profit of $3.40 per share, up from $2.05 a year ago and beating the consensus of $3.29, but lower than the $4.45 reported last quarter.
  • Even though Exxon recorded bumper profits in the fourth quarter of $12.75 billion, it was down sharply from the record-breaking $19.7 billion earned in the third quarter, a sign that Big Oil's earnings surge has decelerated in recent months as oil and gas prices have fallen from near record levels last summer. 

US Transport Safety Watchdog Penalizes Volvo Group North America By Record $130M For Violations

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) penalized Volvo AB VLVLY North America by $130 million under a three-year consent order.
  • The action followed an investigation that found the company failed to recall vehicles promptly and to comply with other recall requirements.
  • Volvo Group North America has agreed to oversight by an independent third-party auditor and to develop and implement a safety data analytics infrastructure.

AIG Terminates Interim Finance Chief Mark Lyons After Violating Obligations

  • American International Group AIG terminated Mark Lyons from his position as AIG's Interim Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Global Chief Actuary, and Head of Portfolio Management.
  • The move followed after the company became aware that he violated his confidentiality/non-disclosure obligations to the company.
  • These violations were unrelated to AIG's financial statements, financial reporting generally, related disclosure controls and procedures, or reserves. 

Google Fi User Data May Have Been Compromised In T-Mobile Breach

  • Alphabet Inc.'s GOOG GOOGL Google Fi shared information with customers about their data being exposed. It appears that T-Mobile US Inc.'s TMUS latest data breach is the reason behind it. 
  • Google Fi customers are being notified that its "primary network provider" witnessed some "suspicious activity" relating to a third-party system containing the customer data of this mobile virtual network operator.

Samsung Clocks 8% Revenue Decline In Q4 Due To Softness In Semiconductor & Smartphone Businesses; Expects Recovery In Second Half

  • Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd SSNLF reported a fourth-quarter FY22 revenue decline of 8% year-on-year to KRW 70.46 trillion.
  • Semiconductor businesses revenue was KRW 20.07 trillion, down 24% Y/Y due to falling memory prices amid soft customer sentiment.
  • Samsung expects a market demand recovery in the second half of 2023.
  • The semiconductor business will expand the proportion of advanced nodes and products.



Volkswagen Eyes Battery Cell Plant In Ontario

  • Volkswagen AG (OTC: VWAGY) is reportedly planning to build a battery cell facility in Ontario, Canada.
  • The province of Ontario has also chipped in with investments and incentives.
  • Ontario's lobby register has recorded five entries in January for Volkswagen, including one for the CEO, Oliver Blume.
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