Morning Brief: Top Financial Stories Dominating on Thursday, April 21

CNBC

Ford Unveils Lincoln Star Electric SUV Concept

  • Ford Motor Co F plans to launch four new electric vehicles in its Lincoln lineup by 2026, CNBC reports.
  • The company unveiled its first concept for an electric vehicle, the Lincoln Star Concept, in an attempt to catch up with its rivals.
  • Lincoln expects electric vehicles to make up more than half of its global volume by mid-decade and 90% of its North American sales by 2030.

Reuters

Tourism Industry Growth Rate To Surpass Global GDP Growth

  • According to World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the global travel and tourism sectors are projected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023, and the growth rate will outpace global gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
  • The industry is expected to grow at around 5.8% annually from 2022 to 2032 versus the 2.7% increase in global GDP and create 126 million new jobs, WTTC said in a report released during the industry group’s conference in Manila.

Boeing 787 Deliveries To Resume In 2H22

  • Boeing Co BA has informed key airlines and parts suppliers that 787 Dreamliner deliveries will begin in the second half of 2022, Reuters reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.
  • Boeing’s large 787 inventory, accumulated since deliveries were halted nearly a year ago due to structural issues, has locked up desperately needed cash and reduced airline capacity.

WSJ

This Digital Freight Operator Raises Funds At $3.8B Valuation, Positioning It For Potential IPO

  • Digital freight operator Convoy Inc raised $160 million in new funding that values the load-matching business at $3.8 billion positioning it for a potential IPO.
  • Convoy also bagged a $150 million line of credit from JPMorgan Chase & Co and a $100 million loan from a specialty finance company Hercules Capital Inc.
  • It will also help to bolster a “drop and hook” service as it looks to expand its fleet of trailers for the service, called Convoy Go, by 35% to 40% by the end of 2022.

Bloomberg

Cathay Pacific Plans To Lure Pilots With Special Allowances

  • Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd CPCAY CPCAF has come up with a slew of allowances for pilots to curb mass resignations, Bloomberg reported.
  • The pilots operating in Hong Kong are seemingly upset about the effect of the country’s stringent COVID-19 policies on travel.
  • The report noted that starting in 2023, senior captains will get a monthly allowance of HK$36,000 ($4,590), amounting to HK$432,000 annually.

Obamas Look To Move Beyond Spotify To Amazon, iHeartMedia

  • Barack and Michelle Obama look to end their association with Swedish streaming giant Spotify Technology SA SPOT.
  • Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground, discussed a deal worth tens of millions of dollars with other distributors, including Amazon.com Inc’s AMZN Audible and iHeartMedia Inc IHRT.
  • Higher Ground saw that being tied to one service limited the audience for its shows.
  • Spotify wanted more shows featuring two of the most famous people globally, while Higher Ground aimed to provide a platform for a range of voices.

Crypto Miner BitRiver Sanctioned By US Over Russian Operations: Bloomberg

  • The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned crypto mining firm BitRiver, targeting one of the industry’s top data-center service providers over its operations in Russia, Bloomberg reported.
  • The Swiss-based company BitRiver provides Bitcoin miners worldwide with energy sources, mining facilities, and large-scale management solutions, including those in Eastern Europe and Russia.
  • Treasury announced restrictions on BitRiver, including 10 of its Russia-based subsidiaries, as the war in Ukraine enters the third month.

Financial Times

Goldman Sachs Reported Morgan Stanley Bulk Share Sales To Hong Kong Regulator

  • Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS reported bank Morgan Stanley MS to Hong Kong’s financial regulator over a series of block trades, Financial Times reported citing people familiar with the matter.
  • As part of an “informal” discussion, Goldman alerted the territory’s Securities and Futures Commission three years ago about share price drops in a few Hong Kong-listed companies.
  • According to Bloomberg data, Morgan Stanley executed nine block trade transactions for WuXi between 2020 and 2021.
  • There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by WuXi.

Benzinga

Amazon Fires Up Rivalry With FedEx, UPS With Latest Launch

  • Amazon.com Inc AMZN launched Buy with Prime, allowing third-party merchants to use Amazon’s vast shipping and logistics network to fulfill orders on their sites while appealing to Amazon’s Prime customers.
  • Buy with Prime pricing will depend on payment processing, fulfillment, storage, and other fees.
  • Experts see the move firing up rivalry with United Parcel Service Inc UPS, FedEx Corp FDX, and the U.S. Postal Service to be the fastest in the online delivery race.

Largest US State Pension Fund To Vote For Removing Warren Buffett As Berkshire Chairman

  • The largest state public pension fund in the U.S. has sided with a minority shareholder, which has sponsored a proposal to remove Warren Buffett from the post of chairman of the board of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B).
  • The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, aka CalPERS, would vote in favor of a proposal brought by the National Legal and Policy Center that calls for amending the bylaws to make an independent member the chair of the board.
  • NLPC, which owns Berkshire shares with a value in excess of $2,000, argues that the roles of CEO and chairman are separate and come with different responsibilities that are critical to the success of a company. When held by a single person, these roles are greatly diminished, it said.

Elon Musk Will Not Face ‘Gag Order’ Over 2018 Tweet, Judge Rules

  • A federal judge has ruled that Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk will not be subjected to a “gag order” that stops him from discussing a lawsuit claiming he defrauded shareholders with his 2018 tweet about taking the electric vehicle firm private, Reuters reported on Thursday.
  • U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco called the proposed temporary restraining order overbroad as it prevented Musk from speaking to “anyone” about the case.
  • Tesla shareholders sued Musk and the company in 2018 over a controversial tweet that led to a massive share sell-off.

Elon Musk Says Come Work At Boring Company As It Fetches $5.7B Valuation In Fresh Funding Round

  • Fresh off his earnings call exploits, Tesla, Inc. TSLA CEO Elon Musk canvassed for jobs at the Boring Company.
  • Musk sent out a plea for people to join his boring company, substantiating his recommendation by suggesting the company’s business has huge potential.
  • “Our goal is to solve traffic, which plagues every major city on earth,” Musk tweeted, quoting an earlier tweet by Boring Company that said it has raised $675 million at a $5.67 billion valuation from A-list investors, led by Vy Capital and Sequoia Capital.
  • The company said the proceeds would go toward recruiting people, scaling up boring machine production and building thousands of miles of tunnels.

Apple Toppled As Smartphone Market Leader In Q1: Here’s What Hurt Cupertino’s Performance

  • Apple Inc’s AAPL short stint as the market’s smartphone leader ended in the first quarter, reflecting seasonal softness and the sluggish performance of the overall market amid inclement economic conditions.
  • Apple held 18% of the overall global smartphone market in the first quarter, according to data released by market research firm Canalys. That represented a decline from a 22% share in the fourth quarter but an improvement from 15% a year earlier.
  • Apple’s loss was Samsung’s gain, with the South Korean electronics giant reclaiming the top spot that the former held in the fourth quarter.

Bill Ackman Exits Netflix Stock After $400M Loss

  • Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management exited its position in Netflix NFLX on Wednesday, the billionaire hedge fund manager told shareholders in a letter.
  • The Loss: Pershing Square built the Netflix stake three months ago, buying 3.1 million shares at an average price of about $354 per share.
  • Netflix shares plunged by over 35% on Wednesday to $226.19 as the streaming video on demand platform clocked a subscriber loss after a decade and gave downbeat guidance for the current quarter.

EXCLUSIVE: Irwin Simon, CEO, ‘Tilray Will Own Canada, And It Will Get Bigger’

  • “Almost 4:20 on 4/20, pretty exciting,” said CNBC reporter Frank Holland as he welcomed the crowd at Benzinga’s Cannabis Capital Conference before interviewing Irwin Simon, CEO of Tilray inc. TLRY, the leading global cannabis-lifestyle and consumer packaged goods company with operations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia and Latin America.
  • “This industry reminds me so much of the natural organic food industry, the natural organic food industry in the U.S. today is well over $100 billion dollars in size and this industry will actually surpass that,” Simon said and then advanced his vision for Tilray.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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