Weekly Jobless Claims Higher Than Expected, US Big Techs Face Difficulty Downsizing In Europe, Biden Admin Finalizes Rule To Crack Down Deceptive Medicare Advantage Advertising: Today's Top Stories


Weekly Jobless Claims Fall 18K To 228K, Still Higher Than Expected

  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims were 228,000, a decrease of 18,000 from the previous week's revised level, according to data the Labor Department released on Thursday.
  • The number is above the average economist estimates of 201,000 but lower than the previous week's revised level.
  • The 4-week moving average was 237,750, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week's revised average.

Biden Admin Finalizes Rule To Crack Down Deceptive Medicare Advantage Advertising

  • On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, finalized the rule to strengthen Medicare, expand access to behavioral health care, and crack down on "misleading" advertisements.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services rule targets private insurers that offer the so-called Medicare Advantage plans, which have been soaring in popularity.
  • According to CMS, the "proliferation of certain television advertisements" promoting enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans – offered by Medicare-approved private companies – has been concerning.

Amazon's iRobot Deal Draws Attention From UK Competition Watchdog

  • The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating the anticipated acquisition of Roomba maker iRobot Corp IRBT by Amazon.com Inc AMZN.
  • The CMA is considering whether the transaction will substantially lower competition within any market or markets in the U.K. for goods or services. 

Leonardo Taps Siemens To Protect Industrial Infrastructures From Cyber Threat

  • Leonardo S.P.A. FINMY FINMF collaborated with Siemens AG SIEGY SMAWF Siemens Digital Industries to offer advanced cybersecurity solutions for IT and OT technologies (Information Technology and Operational Technology) for digital, secure, connected, and integrated industrial infrastructures.
  • The partnership will concern resilience against accidents and cyber attacks to automation and connectivity systems that monitor and supervise critical infrastructure assets, equipment, and processes.
  • "Thanks to this agreement, Leonardo and Siemens can create new synergies based on complementary technologies and skills, with the aim of jointly developing solutions capable of responding more effectively to the growing cybernetic challenges in the industrial and energy sector," said Alessandro ProfumoLeonardo's CEO.

Former Hulu Chief Joe Earley Takes Charge Of Disney's Streaming Business, A Critical Growth Pillar

  • On April 5, Walt Disney Co DIS named Joe Earley as president of its direct-to-consumer business, effective immediately.
  • Earley, who most recently served as president of Hulu, will lead Disney Entertainment's streaming efforts, including Disney+ and Hulu, reporting to Alan Bergman and Dana Walden, co-chairs of Disney Entertainment.
  • Earley succeeds Michael Paull, who is leaving the company after six years.

Pfizer's RSV Candidate Shines with 82% Efficacy, Despite Competition in Crowded Field

  • On Wednesday, Pfizer Inc PFE detailed late-stage study results for its RSV vaccine in the New England Journal of Medicine detailing late-stage study results for its RSV vaccine. 
  • Pfizer's vaccine, RSVpreF, was 81.8% effective in preventing severe lower respiratory tract illness in infants in the first 90 days of life.
  • FDA approval could make Pfizer's shot the first maternal vaccine available to prevent the disease in infants.



US Big Tech Like Google, Amazon Face Difficulty Downsizing Employees In Europe Amid Strict Labor Laws

  • After declaring the most significant layoffs in their history, U.S. big tech companies have difficulty reducing their European headcount.
  • In the U.S., companies made widespread job cuts. Meanwhile, Europe's labor protections shield employees from mass layoffs among tech companies without prior consultations with employee interest groups.
  • In France and Germany, labor laws are among the strongest in the E.U. Google is currently negotiating with works councils to negotiate with management about workforce issues.


Financial Times

KKR Eyes Stake In Communications Firm FGS Global For $1.4B

  • KKR & Co KKR is reportedly in talks to acquire a significant stake in FGS Global, a WPP PLC WPP backed financial communications firm, for ~$1.4 billion.
  • KKR is expected to acquire over 30% of FGS from a combination of senior employees at FGS and advertising company WPP.
  • WPP, which currently owns approximately 57.4% of FGS Global, is expected to retain a majority stake in the company, allowing it to consolidate the group's accounts.

Google's War on Loan Apps: Enhancing Privacy and Security for All Users

  • On Wednesday, Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL Google shared plans to update policies for financial services apps listed on the Google Play store at the end of May to prevent the "so-called" loan apps from accessing user contacts or photos.
  • Google will bar lending apps from requesting access to users' precise locations, phone numbers, and videos.
  • The new policy covers apps offering personal, payday, and peer-to-peer loans but not mortgages, car loans, or credit cards.


Wall Street Journal

Linking Signature Bank Collapse To Crypto Exposure' Ludicrous,' Says NY Finance Regulator

  • Adrienne Harris, superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, said that the closure of Signature Bank in March was not due to its exposure to cryptocurrency. 
  • Harris made the statement at the Chainalysis Links conference in New York City. 
  • According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, she described the bank's failure as a "new-fashioned bank run" and dismissed the notion that it had any relation to its crypto exposure as being "ludicrous."

Chipotle, Sweetgreen Spar Over New Burrito Bowl

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc CMG is taking Sweetgreen Inc SG to court, accusing the salad chain's item, Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl, infringes the former's trademark.
  • In its lawsuit filed in the U.S. district court, Chipotle claimed that Sweetgreen had used the Chipotle name in capital letters, a copy of its trademarked logo.
  • The burrito chain further said it had spoken to Sweetgreen to use lowercase and had even offered other alternatives.



Boeing Restarts Delivering 767 Freighters After Hiatus Of Three Months

  • Boeing Co BA has reportedly restarted deliveries of its widebody 767 after a three-month pause caused by supplier quality issues.
  • Boeing had postponed its 767 freighter and KC-46 tanker deliveries earlier this year after it discovered center fuel tanks made by a supplier was not correctly sealed.
  • Boeing declined to comment on when 767 deliveries restarted, but flight data shows it handed over a 767F freighter to FedEx Corp FDX on March 24.

Amazon Sharpens Knives On Executive Compensation: Here's How

  • Amazon.Com plans to reduce employee stock awards as part of its compensation plan as economic uncertainties weigh on its business.
  • Amazon decided to reduce RSU (restricted stock units) awards in the final outlook year by a small amount (other years are not impacted).
  • A separate report suggested Amazon.Com would reevaluate 2025 compensation in the first quarter of next year to "plan for stock variation."

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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