Benzinga Before The Bell: Tesla's Cybertruck Update, Twitter's New Feature, Netflix's Ad-Tier And Other Top Financial Stories Thursday, June 23


Pilot Shortage Pushes American Airlines To Quit Services In 4 Cities

  • American Airlines Group Inc AAL plans to discontinue service to four U.S. cities from September. The cities will lose scheduled commercial air service entirely, reported CNBC.
  • AAL blamed the service restrictions on a regional pilot shortage. The report further noted American Airlines, United Airlines Holdings Inc UAL, and Delta Air Lines, Inc DAL have reduced service between several smaller cities and major hubs, citing a scarcity of aviators as the reason.


Bidders Offers Value Toshiba Up To $22B

  • Potential buyers for Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp TOSYY are mulling offering up to 7,000 yen ($51.41) per share, Reuters reported.
  • The offer price, if realized, will value the company at about $22 billion, representing a 27% premium to Toshiba’s share price of 5,501 yen as of Wednesday’s close.

Court Penalizes Samsung Australia For Misleading Smartphone Ads

  • A court penalized Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd’s SSNLF Australian unit A$14 million ($9.65 million) for nine misleading advertisements regarding a water-resistance feature in some of its smartphones, Reuters reports citing Australia’s competition regulator.
  • Between March 2016 and October 2018, Samsung Australia ran advertisements showcasing the water-resistant feature, making them ideal for pools or sea water.
  • The regulator, however, received multiple complaints regarding malfunctioning smartphones from water exposure.

Wall Street Journal

Netflix Flirts With NBCUniversal, Google To Beat Subscriber Slowdown

  • Comcast Corp’s CMCSA NBCUniversal and Alphabet Inc’s GOOG GOOGL Google emerged as top contenders to help Netflix, Inc NFLX create an advertising-supported tier of its service.
  • Netflix weighed multiple tie-ups in recent weeks to boost revenue by selling ads around its programming. A partnership with NBCUniversal would likely be exclusive and likely involve revenue-sharing.
  • Comcast’s video ad unit, FreeWheel, would supply technology to help serve up ads, while NBCUniversal’s ad-sales team would help sell ads in the U.S. and Europe.

Meta Abruptly Ends Sponsorship Of US Event Struck With Controversy

  • Meta Platforms, Inc META terminated its sponsorship agreement with the organization planning the federal government’s commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the U.S.
  • Meta did not disclose the reasons for the pullout.
  • Internal battle and a discrimination lawsuit filed by ex-female executives plagued the project, WSJ wrote.

The FDA Is Set To Ban Juul Products In U.S.: What Companies Could Benefit?

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to announce it will ban Juul brand e-cigarettes in the country, wiping away a significant chunk of the $21.63 billion industry of which Juul owns 41%, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • Shares of Altria Group Inc MO, which owns a 35% stake in Juul, fell more than 9% after the news was delivered.
  • This ends a protracted legal dispute between the FDA and Juul. Juul had already removed its flavor range, including Creme Brulee and Mango, from the market because the FDA claimed flavored tobacco products were targeted at minors.


Uber Had Weighed Strategic Options For Indian Business At One Point

  • Uber Technologies, Inc UBER had weighed strategic options for its Indian ride-hailing business, including a sale, but suspended discussions following the meltdown in tech startup valuations.
  • Uber began weighing alternatives, including a stock swap with local companies or a pullout, before a global equity market selloff spoilt the plans.
  • Uber preferred a stock deal helping it retain a foothold in India for the future.

BlackRock To Expand Its Singapore Footprint

  • BlackRock, Inc. BLK is planning a significant expansion in Singapore, following in the footsteps of other international firms hoping to capitalize on capital flows into Southeast Asia.
  • According to people familiar with the matter, BLK is in talks to double its floor space at an office building in the city-state’s central business district.
  • According to people familiar with the matter, BlackRock expects to add dozens of employees through local hiring and some relocations from Hong Kong. The plans are still in the early stages.

FDA Probes Another Infant Death Given Abbott Formula, Less Than Month After Troubled Plant Reopens

  • Problems for Abbott Laboratories’ ABT Sturgis plant in Michigan for baby formula powder refuse to subside. The FDA was recently notified of another infant’s death who was given formula made at Abbott’s Sturgis facility.
  • According to a statement, the infant died in January, and the FDA was notified on June 10.
  • “The investigation of this most recent consumer complaint is in its preliminary stages, and the agency will provide an update as it learns more,” the FDA said.
  • Cronobacter bacteria were found in the infant at the time of death, Bloomberg reported citing an FDA email.

US Expands Monkeypox Testing Capacity To Five Commercial Lab Companies

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), started shipping monkeypox tests to five commercial laboratory companies to increase monkeypox testing capacity and access.
  • The companies include Aegis Science, Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings LH, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics Inc DGX, and Sonic Healthcare.
  • Health care providers will be able to use these laboratories by early July, and testing capacity through these companies will be ramped up throughout the month.


Tesla Bull Cuts Price Target On EV Maker: Here’s Why

  • Tesla, Inc. TSLA CEO Elon Musk sounded out a tough June quarter and this does not come as a surprise, given the economic uncertainty and the COVID lockdowns in China.
  • An analyst at Morgan Stanley tempered his expectation for the electric vehicle maker’s stock.
  • The Tesla Analyst: Adam Jonas maintained an “overweight” rating on Tesla shares, but lowered the price target from $1,300 to $1,200.

EPolygon (MATIC) Surges 20%, Outperforming Bitcoin, Ethereum: Here’s Why

  • Polygon MATIC/USD, previously known as Matic Network, has surged by 19.89% in the past 24 hours. As Bitcoin BTC/USD and Ethereum ETH/USD stagnate in their current ranges, moving sideways, the altcoin jumped off its trend and added over $300 million to its market cap after an announcement.
  • Crypto analysis firm Sentiment shared comments on the current surge saying, Matic “sharks and whales” have been in a “big accumulation trend for about six weeks.” It pointed out how the tiers of holders “ranging from 10,000 to 10 million coins held have collectively” added 8.7% more to their bags in this timeline.

Twitter Launching This New Feature Is ‘Most Significant Update’ In 5 Years, Says Analyst

  • Twitter, Inc. TWTR is testing a new feature called Notes to allow lengthier tweets.
  • Commenting on the development, Loup Funds Managing Partner Gene Munster, a noted Apple, Inc. AAPL analyst, said this would be the “most significant update” since the social media platform increased the number of allowed characters from 140 to 280 in 2017.
  • Twitter could be losing its unique selling proposition, the analyst suggested.

Coinbase Phasing Out ‘Pro’ Exchange: What You Need To Know

  • Major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc COIN plans to phase out Coinbase Pro, its trading platform targeted at more advanced traders.
  • Coinbase said it plans to wind down its Pro service by the end of the year.
  • It is a standalone platform that is separate from where a majority of retail traders buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin BTC/USD, Ethereum ETH/USD, and Dogecoin DOGE/USD.

Elon Musk Says 2 Tesla Giga Factories Are Losing Billions With ‘Hardly Any Output’

  • Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk said two of its recently opened manufacturing plants in Austin and Berlin are losing “billions of dollars” with “tonnes of expenses and hardly any output.”
  • The billionaire entrepreneur revealed that Tesla’s immediate priority is to get Giga Berlin and Giga Texas functional, and Giga Shanghai fully back up after a month-long shutdown in China.
  • “Both Berlin and Austin factories are gigantic money furnaces ... losing billions of dollars right now,” Musk said in a talk with Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley.

Elon Musk’s 2024 Presidential Pick Beats Donald Trump In New Hampshire Popularity Poll

  • Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk’s favorite pick to be U.S. president runs better against the incumbent Joe Biden in the Granite State than the former President Donald Trump, according to a new poll by the University of New Hampshire.
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is statistically tied with Trump in the New Hampshire Republican Primary. Support for DeSantis has doubled since October, according to the poll.
  • “DeSantis runs better against Biden than does Trump, a further sign of Trump’s weakening support among NH Republicans,” said

Short Not Sweet Anymore? Twitter Tests New Feature To Let You ‘Write Longer’

  • Twitter Inc TWTR says it is testing a way for people to “write longer” on its social media platform.
  • The Jack Dorsey-founded company tweeted that a “small group of writers” are helping it test Notes.
  • Twitter shared notes from the writers in a thread to showcase the feature it is testing. The company said the notes can be “read on and off Twitter, by people in most countries.”

Elon Musk Gives New Update On Tesla Cybertruck: Here’s When The Vehicle Is Now Expected

  • A recent interview between Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk and the Tesla Owners Silicon Valley Club highlighted a look at the highly anticipated electric pickup truck from the company.
  • When asked about an update on the Tesla Cybertruck, Musk shared, “Design is finally locked.”
  • Musk added that the company got too carried away with features, which led to delays in finalizing the design of the vehicle and production.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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