Morning Brief: Top Financial Stories Dominating on Monday, May 2


Fourth COVID-19 Shot? See Why Medical Professionals Are Skeptical

  • Medical professionals are undecided on whether a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine would benefit the wider population, as countries are beginning to offer the fourth dose to vulnerable groups.
  • The decisions follow an Israel study that found that a fourth dose of the Pfizer Inc PFE - BioNTech SE BNTX vaccine offers short-lived protection against serious illness.
  • The medical consensus so far is that there hasn’t been enough research on how much protection a fourth dose can offer.


Audi, Porsche Plan To Enter Formula One: Reuters

  • Volkswagen AG VWAGY owned luxury car brands Audi and Porsche are planning to join Formula One.
  • Speaking on YouTube, Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess, while announcing the decision, did not disclose the details of the brand’s entry.
  • ·The German carmaker has previously worked with Red Bull in the world rally championship.

What Is Leading To Lower Natural Gas Production Despite Higher Demand?

  • Although many countries are looking for new suppliers to help break their dependence on Russian gas after the Ukraine-Russia conflict, U.S. natural gas production growth is decreasing.
  • The U.S. is already the world’s largest producer of natural gas. But the two mainstays of production - the Appalachian region and West Texas - are seeing growth slow. The companies blame the lack of adequate pipeline infrastructure, despite prices near 14-year highs.
  • In Appalachia, growth has slowed, which supplied about 37% of U.S. gas in 2021. It has become increasingly difficult for energy firms to build new pipes.

Indian Auto Giant Relied Out ‘DIY’ To Whip Out First EVs — Now It Commands A 90% Market Share Of A Burgeoning Market

  • Back in 2020, when people were least interested in EVs, the nascent industry was tough to crack. Yet — with its automobile household name — Tata Motors Limited TTM was able to woo the customers. And no, the first-ever Tata Nexon was not made in Tata’s fancy setup or took a huge amount of money, but rather it was made in an unused shop with limited investment.
  • According to a Reuters report, Tata Group repurposed an unused shop floor to produce the first EV for the consumer market with no fancy assembly line. Here at the frugal DIY innovation studio, they fitted the Nexon SUV gasoline model bodies with battery packs by hand to make Tata Nexon EV.

Wall Street Journal

Activision Blizzard CEO Could Depart With Over $500M After Microsoft Deal

  • Activision Blizzard, Inc ATVI CEO Bobby Kotick could depart with up to $520 million after Microsoft Corp’s MSFT.
  • Kotick was entitled to $14.4 million in severance benefits. Kotick owned 4.3 million shares and has the right to acquire another 2.2 million, potentially worth just over $500 million combined at the $95-a-share deal price.
  • Kotick was roiled in controversy as regulators accused Activision of abusing employee sexual-harassment cases and gender-pay disparity.


Japanese Investors Fuel US Bond Selloff, Find Good Debt Opportunities In Europe

  • Japanese institutional managers are fueling the bond selloff just as the Federal Reserve pares its $9 trillion balance sheet, writes Bloomberg.
  • The latest data from BMO Capital Markets show that the largest overseas holder of Treasuries has offloaded almost $60 billion over the past three months.
  • Bloomberg says that though it may be a small change relative to Japan’s $1.3 trillion stockpile, the divestment threatens to grow.

Qantas Orders Twelve A350-1000s From Airbus To Revive Longest Direct Flight

  • Qantas Airways Limited QUBSF said it plans to start direct flights connecting Australia’s east coast with New York and London. It has ordered Airbus SE EADSY jets for the ultra-long services, reported Bloomberg.
  • The airline announced Monday that it is buying 12 A350-1000s that can fly nonstop from Australia to any city in the world. Commercial services will begin from Sydney in late 2025, mentioned Qantas.
  • “We’re finally seeing a sustained recovery in travel demand,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said.

Financial Times

Shortfall In Truck Drivers Has Spilled Over To Trucks

  • Rising wages on both sides of the Atlantic have helped get workers back behind the wheel after a driver shortage pushed the industry to breaking point, leaving cargo containers delayed at ports on the U.S. west coast and petrol pumps running dry on British forecourts.
  • However, a long-standing shortage of equipment — initially caused by coronavirus restrictions and chip shortages — is getting more severe as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupts the supply of vital components and Chinese lockdowns threaten more disruption in global supply chains, writes Financial Times.
  • “The driver has been the biggest constraint of the last two years. The bigger supply constraint now is the truck, and to some extent, the trailer,” stated Tim Denoyer, the analyst at Indiana-based ACT Research.


MGM Resorts Offers To Acquire Online Gaming Company LeoVegas For $607M

  • MGM Resorts International MGM has commenced a recommended public tender offer to acquire LeoVegas AB, a Swedish mobile gaming company, for SEK 61.00 in cash per share, totaling $607 million.
  • The acceptance period of the offer is expected to commence in June 2022 and expire in August 2022.
  • Founded in 2011 by Gustaf Hagman and Robin Ramm-Ericson, LeoVegas is a global online gaming company with licenses in eight jurisdictions, primarily in the Nordics and the rest of Europe.

Innoviz Secures LiDAR Supplier Spot for Top Vehicle Maker, Expects Future Order Book to Rise $4-6.6B

  • A leading global vehicle manufacturer has chosen Innoviz Technologies Ltd INVZ to become its direct LiDAR supplier across multiple brands. The name and detailed deal terms were not disclosed.
  • Innoviz is a provider of high-performance LiDAR sensors and perception software.
  • What Happened? The selection marking Innoviz’s third major design win follows more than two years of extensive diligence and qualification and will increase Innoviz’s forward-looking order book by $4 billion to $6.6 billion.

Apple Breaks Silence On Why It Is Removing Some Old Apps But Keeping Others

  • Apple Inc AAPL has detailed the process behind the removal of some old apps from its online application marketplace.
  • The Tim Cook-led company issued a press release on Friday saying “User trust in quality apps is the basis for all we have done in building and running the App Store.”
  • Apple pointed out that it had launched its App Store Improvements process back in 2016 to remove “apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines or are outdated.”

Qualcomm Inks $1.04B Automated Driving Chip Supply Deal With Volkswagen

  • U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm, Inc. QCOM has reportedly landed a long-term supply deal with German automaker Volkswagen AG VWAGY.
  • German automaker Volkswagen has negotiated a long-term commitment with Qualcomm to source the latter’s system-on-chip, specifically developed for automated driving, according to a Handelsblatt report.
  • Volkswagen will reportedly use the chips across its brands, starting in 2026. The contract, valued at around one billion euros ($1.05 billion), will run through 2031, the report noted.

Apple’s Supply Chain Problems’ Blown Out Of Proportion,’ Says Munster

  • Apple, Inc. AAPL reported strong March quarter results last week, but the conversation that followed was centered on the $4 billion-$8 billion revenue impact stemming from supply chain problems sounded out by the company on the earnings call.
  • Famed Apple analyst and Loup Funds co-founder Gene Munster, however, does not attach too much significance to it.
  • A “Distraction Vortex:” Apple’s supply chain issues have been blown out of proportion and are now somewhat of an “investor distraction vertex,” Munster said in a note.

Tesla Giga Shanghai Production Rises To 80% On Easing COVID-19 Curbs

  • Tesla Inc TSLA has ramped up production at its Giga Shanghai factory by over 80%, China’s state media Global Times reported on Saturday, citing an official.
  • What Happened: Tesla was part of the first whitelist of companies put together by Shanghai that were flagged to resume production in a staggered manner.
  • Besides Tesla, the first list included China’s SAIC Motor and semiconductor firms as well, the report said, citing Zhang Hongtao, chief engineer of the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Commission.

Samsung Gears Up To List Asia’s First ETF That Tracks Crypto, Blockchain Companies

  • Samsung Group’s investment arm is slated to list a blockchain exchange-traded fund on the Hong Kong Exchange (HKEX) in the first half of this year, according to The Korea Economic Daily.
  • The Samsung Asset Management Co said the ETF would be the first of its kind that tracks cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech companies to list in Asia and the sixth ETF for the company to list on HKEX.
  • Samsung Group is planning to brand the new ETF under its company name.

Ford To Steeply Hike Mustang Mach-E Prices In China This Week: Report

  • Ford Motor Co F is reportedly set to steeply hike prices for its Mustang Mach-E crossovers later this week in China.
  • The automaker is expected to increase Mach-E prices in the range of $1,120 to $3,530 on May 5, CnEVpost reported on Sunday, citing Ford China’s electric vehicle division’s social media post on Weibo.
  • The legacy automaker launched the Mach-E in China in April last year at a ticket price of $42,400 to $59,184.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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