Morning Brief: Top Stories Dominating Financial Media on Thursday, March 17


Investors Adjust After Tightened Monetary Policy, Some Expect Steeper Path Ahead

  • The United States Federal Reserve approved its first interest rate hike, 0.25% or 25 basis points since 2018, aiming to address increasing inflation without affecting economic growth.
  • But hiking rates could crimp growth and tip the economy into recession, Reuters analyst notes. Still, Fed Chair Jerome Powell expressed confidence that the economy could flourish despite the less accommodative policy.

Toyota Cuts April Production Target As Supply Chain Woes Continue

  • Toyota Motor Corp TM -0.04% said it plans to slash its vehicle production target in April by 150,000 units. The company’s global production plan for April, including overseas production, is approximately 750,000 units.
  • Toyota’s decision follows a semiconductor shortage amid disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The global production plan average from April through June is around 800,000 units.

Toshiba Director Looks To Support Buyout, Against Board Opposition

  • Toshiba Corp TOSYY director American Raymond Zage locked horns with the board as he agreed to back a resolution that could lead to a potential buyout.
  • Zage, a former Goldman Sachs banker and hedge fund manager, looked to back the resolution at next week’s extraordinary shareholder meeting.
  • Zage believed he was one of the top 100 shareholders in the company.


Tesla Said To Delay $1B Bond Sale Backed By EV Leases: Market Jitters Behind The Move?

  • Tesla Inc TSLA has delayed bond offerings of more than $1 billion backed by its electric vehicle leases, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
  • The Elon Musk-led EV maker is the third company in a week to have pulled asset-backed bond deals in the past week, following similar moves from buy now, pay later firm Affirm Holdings Inc AFRM and auto-finance company World Omni, according to the report.

Robinhood Working On Stock-Lending Feature, Competes With Fidelity, Morgan Stanley

  • Robinhood Markets Inc HOOD is working within its app to allow users to loan out their stocks to other financial institutions to compete with more conventional brokerages.
  • The program, known as fully paid securities lending, could be available in the coming months, said Robinhood. Work on the feature appeared in a beta version of its iPhone app.

Binance Strengthens Mideast Presence With Dubai License

  • Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has received the license for its Dubai operations.
  • The approval comes days after Bahrain approved Binance’s operations, thus boosting its middle-east presence.
  • Binance will be permitted to extend limited exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional financial service providers.

Financial Times

More Isolation For Russia as IMF Board Suspends Russian Representative Role

  • Amid Russia’s ongoing military operations in Ukraine, International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board has temporarily suspended the ceremonial role of dean held by Russian representative Aleksei Mozhin.
  • The role of dean, held by Aleksei Mozhin since 2015, is the longest-serving Director.

Spotify Looks To Jump NFT Bandwagon After Failed Collaboration With Facebook

  • Spotify Technology SA SPOT looked to add blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens to its streaming service.
  • Spotify hired people to work on early-stage projects related to “Web3,” a tech buzzword for a blockchain-powered network.
  • Meta Platforms Inc FB Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently confirmed that Instagram would soon start to support NFTs.


Dogecoin Transaction Fees Surged By A Whopping 4,230% In 2021

  • Dogecoin (DOGE) was the cryptocurrency with the highest increase in transaction fees in 2021.
  • According to a study by Forex Suggest, Dogecoin fees surged 4,230% to $0.433 from $0.01 between Dec. 1 and Jan. 1, 2021.
  • Ripple XRP recorded the second-largest increase in transfer fees which rose 3,810% to $0.00649 in 2021, while Ethereum ETH saw a 1,459% increase.

Meta Rolls Out Parental Locks On Virtual Reality Apps, Instagram To Keep A Tab on Teens

  • Meta Platforms Inc FB is rolling out parental supervision on its Quest virtual reality (VR) headsets.
  • What Happened: Beginning April, parents will be able to create an “unlock pattern” as an extra security layer to prevent access to Quest headsets. Meta will introduce this feature for specific apps directly from the VR.

War In Ukraine A Litmus Test For Cryptos, ‘Credibility’ At Line For Those That Fail It, Says Prominent Economist

  • The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is a “litmus test” for cryptocurrencies, according to Spanish economist Juan Ramón Rallo.
  • Ramón Rallo, in an exclusive interview with Benzinga España, said that cryptocurrencies would have to “demonstrate the extent to which they can provide real utility to citizens most directly affected by the war — both Ukrainian and Russian — when it comes to protecting their assets.

Alibaba Up 9%, Nio Up 4.6% — What’s Driving Hong Kong Markets Higher Today?

  • Shares of U.S.-listed Chinese tech companies extended strong gains in Hong Kong on Thursday after Beijing vowed to ensure stability in the stock market and support overseas listings of domestic companies.
  • The benchmark Hang Seng Index was up 6.2% at the time of writing, extending a strong recovery from the previous session after sharp losses earlier in the week.

Tesla Hikes Prices For Entry-Level Model Y SUV In China

  • Tesla Inc TSLA on Thursday hiked the prices for its entry-level Model Y sports utility vehicle in China, CnEVpost reported on Thursday, citing the company’s website.
  • Austin, Texas-based Tesla has raised the Model Y rear-wheel-drive version price by $2,373 to $50,704.
  • It is the third such price hike from Tesla in the past week.

Xpeng Rumored To Hike Prices From Monday As Material Costs Pinch

  • U.S. listed Chinese Xpeng Inc XPEV is expected to raise prices of its entire portfolio of vehicles beginning Monday, CnEVpost reported, citing local tech outlet Mydrivers.
  • The Guangzhou-based Xpeng is expected to hike prices by $1,560 to $3,152 for its different models, including the flagship P7 sedan, P5 sedan, and G3i SUV.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

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