Morning Brief: Top Financial Stories Dominating on Tuesday, April 26


Biden Administration Reverses Trump’s Effort To Open More Land For Oil Drilling In Arctic

  • The Biden administration reversed a Trump administration plan that allowed the government to lease more than two-thirds of the country’s largest swath of public land to oil and gas drilling.
  • The Bureau of Land Management’s decision will shrink the amount of land available for lease in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, a roughly 23 million-acre region.
  • The decision returns to an Obama administration plan that allows fossil fuel extraction in up to 52% of the reserve, compared to the Trump administration’s effort to open up 82% of the land to drilling.


Semiconductor Chip Startups Using Photons Are Bagging Significant Funding

  • Computers using light rather than electric currents for processing are gaining traction, and startups using photons in chips are getting significant funding. The startups included Ayar Labs, PsiQuantum, Lightmatter, and Luminous Computing.
  • Experts saw AI is growing and taking over large parts of the data center, with silicon photonics becoming standard hardware in data centers.
  • GlobalFoundries Inc GFS disclosed that collaboration with PsiQuantum, Ayar, and Lightmatter has helped build up a silicon photonics manufacturing platform for others to use.

Global Airline Capacity Hits New Peak In 2022 As China Demand Recovers

  • Despite lengthy lockdowns in Asia’s largest aviation market, global airline capacity has risen to its highest level in 2022 this week owing to a rebound in Chinese domestic demand, Reuters reported, citing travel data firm OAG.
  • According to OAG data, global airlines added 2.5 million seats in the week ending Monday, over half of which were in China.
  • “This reverses the reductions in capacity that have occurred over recent weeks as a consequence of the travel restrictions in the Shanghai area in particular,” the data firm said.

EV Battery Startup Soelect Collaborates with Lotte Chemical: Reuters

  • Battery startup Soelect and Korean supplier Lotte Chemical looked to invest over $200 million in a joint venture to make advanced battery components for electric vehicles in the U.S.
  • The companies collaborated to scale up the production of Soelect’s LiX lithium metal anodes for next-generation batteries with higher energy density and fast-charging capability.
  • General Motors Company GM saw Soelect’s lithium metal technology as an enabler for future lithium-metal and solid-state EV battery anode designs.

Russia Punishes Meta For Alleged LGBT Propaganda

  • A Russian court penalized Meta Platforms Inc FB 4 million roubles ($0.05 million) for allegedly failing to delete posts that contain “LGBT propaganda,”
  • A 2013 Russian law bans the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors.”

Australian Watchdog Proposes $19M Penalty On Uber For Misleading Riders

  • Uber Technologies, Inc UBER could face penalties of up to $19 million (AUD26 million) as the Australian competition regulator finds it guilty of misleading riders.
  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Uber admitted that between December 2017 and September 2021, it warned consumers they would be charged fees for canceling rides during its “free cancellation period.”
  • Uber admitted misleading Australian users for several years, possibly influencing some of them not to cancel their ride after receiving the cancellation warning, despite being entitled to cancel free of charge under Uber’s policy.


Fidelity To Allow Investors To Put Bitcoin In 401(k) Accounts

  • Fidelity Investments Inc. has moved to allow investors to put a Bitcoin BTC/USD account in their 401(k) retirement savings.
  • Fidelity will be the first major retirement plan provider to offer the option of adding Bitcoin to retirement savings, according to a Tuesday report from The Wall Street Journal.
  • The option is expected to come into effect later this year when the 23,000 companies that use Fidelity for their retirement plans will be able to offer Bitcoin savings. The plan will let investors allocate up to 20% of their 401(k) savings to Bitcoin.

Biden Administration Working On Wider Availability Of COVID-19 Pills

  • The Biden administration is expected to outline plans for easier access to COVID-19 treatments. According to some health leaders and patient advocates, oral therapies are too difficult to obtain despite a federal program to help make them more widely available.
  • The administration has heavily touted vaccines to reduce the risk of serious illness from the infection.
  • Officials also have been urging greater use of two pills - Pfizer Inc’s PFE Paxlovid and Merck & Co Inc’s MRK and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP’s Lagevrio (molnupiravir).


Essilor Sues JPMorgan Bank On Ignored Suspicious Transaction Red Flags

  • Bloomberg reported that the maker of Ray-Ban glasses sued J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A. JPM, claiming the bank ignored red flags as cybercriminals drained $272 million from its New York bank account.
  • Essilor Manufacturing (Thailand) Co. said J.P. Morgan was aware, beginning in September 2019, of a “highly suspicious pattern of fraudulent transactions” but didn’t notify the company.
  • Red flags included a jump in monthly dollar volume from $15 million to more than $100 million and money being moved to shell companies at regional banks, often in high-risk jurisdictions, EMTC said in the complaint filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan.

Financial Times

Investors Push Food Manufacturers Like Kellog, Kraft Heinz To Set New Health Targets

  • Investors are pushing food manufacturing multinationals, including Nestle S.A. NSRGY., Danone DANOY, Kraft Heinz Co KHC, and Kellogg Co K, to set out new disclosures and targets on wellbeing.
  • The move comes after Unilever Plc UL mentioned it would publish diet scores for its meals portfolio towards exterior metrics.
  • The report noted that traders, along with the Authorized & Common Funding Administration and BMO International Asset Administration, have written to the boards of the businesses forward of their annual conferences, voicing shareholder concern about diet and weight problems.

SEC To Investigate Conflicts Of Interest Arising From Payments To Intermediaries

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division has launched an investigation into ETF revenue-sharing practices, questioning fund groups about payments made to brokers and other financial intermediaries.
  • According to terms of a letter shared with BoardIQ, a sister publication of the Financial Times, the SEC wants data related to “any compensation paid by an adviser or an ETF to a financial intermediary based on assets held by the financial intermediary.”
  • The report noted the regulator wants detailed information about revenue-sharing payments for each ETF and intermediary.


Jeff Bezos Raises The China Question As Elon Musk Inks Twitter Deal

  • After all the drama that was enacted, Tesla, Inc. TSLA CEO Elon Musk finally wrapped up the Twitter, Inc. TWTR deal on Monday. Amazon, Inc. AMZN founder Jeff Bezos is raising concerns about Tesla’s reliance on China as a market and its implication for Twitter with the new owner.
  • Tesla is heavily invested in China and its operation in the country is seen as key for maintaining its EV leadership.

Jack Dorsey In For $978M Payday Once Elon Musk Completes Twitter Takeover

  • Former Twitter Inc TWTR CEO Jack Dorsey stands to earn close to $1 billion once Elon Musk completes his takeover of the social media platform.
  • According to Twitter’s latest filing, Dorsey holds a little over 18 million shares in the company.
  • Musk’s buyout offer of $54.20 per share would put Dorsey’s total earnings at $978 million. Dogecoin And Shiba Inu See 400% Surge In Large Transactions.

White House Declines Comment On Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout But Says Wider Social Media Concerns Remain

  • U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday declined to comment on Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter Inc TWTR, Reuters reported on Monday, citing a White House spokesperson.
  • What Happened: Biden has long been concerned about the power of social media platforms and had last month in his State of the Union address warned of the “harms of social media”, especially on children.
  • “Our concerns are not new,” the report said, citing White House spokesperson Jen Psaki.

Fisker CEO Disappears From Twitter As Elon Musk Seals Takeover

  • Fisker Inc FSR CEO Henrik Fisker’s social media account disappeared from Twitter Inc TWTR on Monday after Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk announced a $44 billion takeover of the microblogging site.
  • Fisker’s account went dark from Twitter shortly after the deal announcement.
  • The 58-year-old Fisker had earlier tweeted to his 86,000 followers to look for him on Meta Platforms Inc’s FB Instagram for future updates.

Nio Rolls Out 200,000th EV In Record Time, Says On Track With 2022 Plans

  • Chinese EV startup Nio, Inc. NIO has achieved a major production milestone even as it is grappling with lockdown restrictions in place due to a COVID-19 resurgence in China.
  • Nio’s advanced manufacturing center in Hefei successfully rolled off the 200,000th mass-produced vehicle on Tuesday, the company said in a statement.
  • The company achieved the feat in less than four years, with the second 100,000 vehicles manufactured in around a year — a record pace of production for this kind of vehicle, according to the company.

ApeCoin Surges 200% In A Month: Key Metrics Suggest This Is Coming Next

  • ApeCoin APE/USD, the native token of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) ecosystem, rallied to an all-time high of $19.46 on Monday.
  • APE rallied 200% from its all-time low of $6.21 on March 17. The coin rose by 20% over the last 24 hours, extending a week-long rally where it gained more than 57%.
  • APE’s impressive rally comes despite a series of thefts over the last month involving the official BAYC Discord channel and Instagram account being compromised.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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