Benzinga Before The Bell: Donald Trump's Presidential Bid, Facebook Testing Multiple Profiles, UnitedHealth Q2 Earnings Growth And Other Top Financial Stories Friday, July 15


Augmented Supply Best Way To Balance Rising Oil Prices, Says OECD Chief

  • The secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mathias Corman, said that boosting supply is the best to stabilize the rising oil prices.
  • He also said that alternatives to Russian oil are available to the world.
  • Cormann said Russia’s war on Ukraine has imposed “a heavy burden on the world. It’s leading to slower growth, higher inflation, higher energy prices, higher food prices, food security challenges, so the world would clearly be better off if Vladimir Putin stopped this war.”


Amazon Plans To Recruit 4,000 Workers In Britain

  • Inc AMZN is planning to hire 4,000 workers in Britain in 2022, including fulfillment centers in Wakefield and Knowsley, Reuters reported.
  • The move will increase the company’s permanent workforce in Britain to 75,000.
  • The recruitment plan will make the company one of the country’s top 10 private-sector employers.

Wall Street Journal

Why Your Favorite Amazon Brand Items Could Disappear In The Near Future

  •, Inc AMZN is reportedly slashing its selection of private-label items and has discussed the possibility of exiting the segment altogether to reduce regulatory pressure.
  • The Jeff Bezos-founded e-commerce giant’s leadership told its private-label team to reduce the list of items and not to reorder many, reported the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • Amazon executives discussed reducing the private-label products by more than half in the United States, a source told the Journal.

Payments Processor Stripe Lowers Internal Valuation By 28%

  • Payments firm Stripe, which was last valued by private investors at $95 billion, has cut the internal value of its shares by 28%, reported Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.
  • Stripe informed staff that the internal share price was $29, compared to $40 in the most recent internal valuation, known as a 409A valuation. According to the source, the move reduced the implied valuation of those shares to $74 billion.
  • Stripe approved the lower share price effective June 30; however, the source said it didn’t explain the decision to lower its internal valuation.


Volkswagen’s Battery Business Faces Supply-Chain Jolt With IPO Plans On Horizon: Report

  • German automaker Volkswagen AG’s VWAGY PowerCo global battery manufacturing business, which it plans to plan to spin-off in an initial public offering in 2023, is facing the impact of supply chain challenges.
  • PowerCo is scouting sources for securing raw materials for the plant amid rising input prices and logistical challenges, the report said, citing Kai Alexander Mueller, CFO of the unit.
  • The report noted that the company plans to tie up with Belgium-based miner Umicore SA UMICY for sourcing cathode materials, Robert Bosch for machinery, and Vulcan Energy Resources Limited VULNF for battery-grade lithium hydroxide.


UnitedHealth Q2 Earnings Surpass Street View Led By Growth In Both Segments, Lifts FY22 Earnings Outlook

  • UnitedHealth Group Inc UNH has reported Q2 FY22 sales of $80.3 billion, up 13% Y/Y, beating the consensus of $79.68 billion, with double-digit growth at both Optum and UnitedHealthcare.
  • Adjusted EPS of $5.57 surpassed the consensus of $5.20 and was better than $4.70 a year ago.
  • The company generated an operating cash flow of $6.9 billion or 1.3x net income.

Toyota Revamps Crown Range, Launches New Models

  • Toyota Motor Corp TM has unveiled four new models of its Crown range to reimagine the 67-year-old brand.
  • The four new models are a sedan, an SUV, a station wagon, and a crossover, which combines a sedan with an SUV.
  • Two types of powertrains, 2.4-liter Turbo Hybrid System and Parallel Hybrid System, are available.

Coinbase Price Target Cut By Mizhuo: Analysts See ‘Problematic Trend’

  • Analysts at Mizuho Securities see more trouble ahead for Coinbase Global Inc COIN as it continues to lose market share among crypto exchanges.
  • The Coinbase Analyst: Mizuho analyst Dan Dolev lowered the price target on Coinbase stock from $45 to $42 and kept a “Neutral” rating.
  • The Coinbase Thesis: In a July 14 note to clients seen by Benzinga, Mizuho analysts led by Dolev drew attention to Coinbase’s declining trading volume over the last two quarters.

Federal Regulators Penalizes Bank of America Over Botched Disbursement Unemployment Benefits

  • Regulators for unfair and deceptive practices slapped a fine of $225 million on Bank of America Corp BAC related to a prepaid card program to distribute unemployment insurance and other public-benefit payments at the height of the pandemic.
  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ordered BAC to pay $125 million and provide remediation to consumers harmed by the practices.
  • The card program served 12 states.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also fined $100 million, accusing the bank of “botching the disbursement of state unemployment benefits at the height of the pandemic.” The order would require consumers to be reimbursed, the Bureau noted.

Burberry Clocks 1% Comp Sales Growth In Q1 Hit By China Lockdowns

  • British luxury brand Burberry Group BURBY reported a Q1 comparable store sales increase of 1%, impacted by the lockdowns in China. Excluding Mainland China, comparable store sales grew by 16%.
  • Sales in the Asia Pacific fell 16%, with Mainland China down 35%. Comparable store sales in the Americas decreased by 4%.
  • In contrast, sales in EMEIA grew 47% as the business annualized the lockdowns in Q1 FY22.

Bitcoin Holds Above $20,000, Here’s The Top Crypto Movers For Friday

  • Bitcoin BTC/USD, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, breached the important $20,000 resistance level and surged past $20,600 on Friday.
  • However, traders remained cautious, with the US Federal Reserve expected to boost interest rates by as much as 100 basis points in a bid to curb spiking inflation, which would make riskier assets, including cryptos, less attractive as investments.
  • Popular altcoins, including Ethereum ETH/USD, Dogecoin DOGE/USD, and Solana SOL/USD, recorded gains over the past 24 hours.

Ericsson’s $6.2B Vonage Buyout Receives US Panel’s Clearance

  • Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson ERIC received clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investments in the U.S. to complete its acquisition of Vonage Holdings Corp VG.
  • This represents the final requisite approval to complete the deal.
  • The parties now expect the Merger to close by July 21.
  • Ericsson agreed to acquire Vonage for $6.2 billion to expand its presence in the wireless enterprise and broaden its global offerings.

Donald Trump Could Announce Bid To Become President As Early As September

  • Former President Donald Trump could announce his candidature for the next presidential elections as early as this fall.
  • Trump is looking to make an announcement that he’s running for the presidency as early as September, reported The Washington Post, citing two people familiar with the matter.
  • One of the persons put the odds that Trump would make the announcement before the November midterms at “70-30.” Some others told the Post that the former U.S. leader could make the announcement earlier than September.

Facebook Said To Be Testing Multiple Profiles For Some Users: Is The Social Network Getting Soft On Its Real-Name Policy?

  • Meta Platform Inc’s META Facebook will allow some users to have more than one profile.
  • Facebook users will be able to create up to four additional profiles, which will be linked to a user’s original profile, reported the Verge.
  • Users will reportedly be able to switch between the profiles, and additional profiles will not require a real identity for display names.

Crypto CoinFLEX Allows Limited Withdrawals

  • Cryptocurrency exchange CoinFLEX said it has enabled limited withdrawals for all users this week and continues to work with a laser focus on recovery plans.
  • Users will be able to withdraw their funds to the tune of 10%, except for flexUSD, which cannot be withdrawn until further notice.

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