Benzinga Before The Bell: Apple's iPhone Discount, Tesla's Bitcoin Loss, US Investor Fear And Other Top Financial Stories Monday, July 25


China Denies Researching Any ‘Delisting Survival Plan’ For US-Listed Companies Like Alibaba, Nio

  • China’s securities regulator refuted media reports that said the regulator is planning for a three-tiered system to help Chinese companies avoid potential U.S. delisting in a statement to CNBC.
  • China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) denied the Financial Times report that said Xi Jinping’s government is preparing a system to separate U.S.-listed Chinese companies into three groups based on their data sensitivity level.
  • The Chinese regulator said it had not researched any such plans and that the companies should comply with data security and listing rules, regardless of whether they were going public in China or abroad.


Uber Continues To Court Controversies - Accepts Accountability For Concealing 2016 Data Breach

  • Uber Technologies, Inc UBER accepted responsibility for covering a 2016 data breach compromising 57 million passengers and drivers, Reuters reports.
  • Uber admitted that its personnel failed to report the November 2016 hacking to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission despite probing into the ride-sharing company’s data security.
  • U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds in San Francisco said Uber waited about a year to report the breach after installing new executive leadership.

Yet Another Airline’s Staff Go On Strike Over Pay Claims

  • Reuters reported that there would be an additional travel disruption on Wednesday as ground staff at Deutsche Lufthansa AG DLAKY go on a one-day strike in pursuit of a 9.5 percent pay claim.
  • According to the labor union Verdi, this Wednesday’s walkout by employees at Lufthansa’s ground operations may cause more cancellations and delays because it involves workers responsible for crucial tasks, including aircraft maintenance and moving planes away from boarding gates so they can take off.

Toyota Halts Harrier SUV Orders Due To Production Delay: Reuters

  • Toyota Motor Corp TM has called off a few orders of its later mid-size crossover Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), Harrier, due to production hurdles.
  • The production disruption was the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai.
  • Instead, the automaker has requested its customers to shift their orders for Harrier’s improved version, expected to be released in September.

Wall Street Journal

Tesla Opens Up Its EV Charging Walled Garden To Non-Tesla EVs

  • Tesla, Inc TSLA aimed to tap into public funding to build electric-vehicle chargers by making some of its U.S. Supercharger networks accessible to non-Tesla EVs.
  • Tesla bid for a portion of billions in federal and state dollars pledged by the U.S. government, automakers, and many states to accelerate a fast-charger build-out along highways.
  • Tesla applied for public funding requiring access by other EV makers to the network.


Apple Rare Move: Braces For iPhone Discount for China Buyers With An Alibaba Connect

  • Apple Inc AAPL launched a rare retail promotion in China, Bloomberg reports.
  • Apple’s move involved four days of discounts on its top-tier iPhones and related accessories in advance of the launch of its next-generation devices.
  • Apple has traditionally kept iPhone prices intact between generations.
  • Apple braced to strike up to 600 yuan ($89) off the price of its top-line iPhone 13 Pro series between July 29 and August 1.

Morgan Stanley Views Differ From JPMorgan On Federal Reserve’s Policy Outlook

  • According to Bloomberg, top Wall Street strategists disagree over the impact of weaker economic data on the Federal Reserve’s policy outlook and what it’ll mean for stocks.
  • Morgan Stanley MS strategists argue that even as recession fears rise, it is too soon to expect the Fed to stop tightening monetary policy, implying that stocks still have further to fall before reaching a bottom.
  • Conversely, JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM strategists contend that bets that inflation has peaked will cause the Fed to change course and improve the outlook for equities in the second half.

Challenges For Volkswagen’s New CEO, Tesla’s biggest EV Competitor

  • A diverse set of pressing issues awaits Volkswagen AG’s VWAGY newly christened CEO, Oliver Blume.
  • The issues included listing Porsche AG VW’s blockbuster asset amid the worst volatile market for initial public offerings and fixing problems at the software division postponing new electric Porsches and Audis.
  • The IPO, touted as Europe’s most significant ever, has the potential to boost VW’s valuations. However, governance concerns, potential recession risks, surging energy costs, and geopolitical tension could take a toll.

Financial Times

KKR Invests In DNA Writing Tech Replay As Private Equity Pushes Into Healthcare

  • Replay, a genome writing company, reprogramming biology by writing and delivering big DNA, announced its launch with $55 million in seed financing.
  • The round was led by KKR & Co Inc KKR and OMX Ventures, with additional participation from ARTIS Ventures and Lansdowne Partners, SALT, DeciBio Ventures, and Axial.
  • Private equity interest in early-stage biotech companies comes despite what is often a decade-long wait for revenue as technologies are developed, noted the Financial Times.


Why Fear Among US Investors Is Increasing

  • The CNN Money Fear and Greed index showed that the U.S. equity markets remained in the “fear” zone on Monday, with the overall fear level increasing due to a decline on Wall Street on Friday.
  • U.S. stocks settled lower on Friday after S&P Global said its preliminary U.S. composite PMI Output Index had dropped higher-than-expected to 47.5 in July, compared to a final reading of 52.3 in June, recording the first contraction in around two years.
  • The recently released data has shown signs that the U.S. economy is showing signs of a slowdown, but the Federal Reserve is still projected to increase interest rates by 75 basis points at its upcoming policy meeting in a bid to combat the rising inflation level.

KPMG Fined £14M For Misconducts In Regenersis, Carillion Audits

  • The U.K.’s Financial Reporting Council sanctioned KPMG and four former employees after misconduct in its audits of Regenersis and Carillion in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
  • KPMG admitted its liability for the acts of all the individuals and that those acts amounted to misconduct.

Vodafone Clocks ~2% Revenue Growth In Q1 Driven By Europe, Africa; Reiterates FY23 Guidance

  • Vodafone Group Plc VOD reported first-quarter FY23 revenue growth of 1.6% year-on-year to €11.28 billion, mainly driven by service revenue growth in Europe and Africa. The organic revenue growth was 2.7% Y/Y.
  • The service revenue grew 1.3% Y/Y to €9.51 billion. The organic service revenue growth was 2.5% Y/Y.
  • Europe Consumer contract mobile ARPU grew by 0.7% Y/Y.
  • Vodafone Business service revenue grew by 1.7% Y/Y, driven by higher roaming and digital services revenue.

Tesla Suffered ‘Small Loss’ On Bitcoin Sale, Analysis Shows

  • Tesla Inc’s TSLA recent Bitcoin BTC/USD sale was made at a small loss, a new report from Arcane Research finds.
  • Arcane’s analysts estimated that Tesla sold 75% of its BTC stack, or 29,060 BTC, at an average price of $32,209 per Bitcoin.
  • “This estimation is based on previous VWAP estimates from their initial BTC purchase (average price of $34,841) and the sale of 10% of their BTC to “test liquidity” in Q1, 2021,” stated the analysts.

Here’s Why Philips Shares Are Trading Lower Premarket

  • Koninklijke Philips N.V. PHG reported a second-quarter FY22 comparable sales decline of 7% year-on-year to €4.2 billion.
  • Continued supply shortages and prolonged lockdowns in China led to the decline.
  • The order book remained strong. The comparable order intake increased by 1%.

Why Alibaba, Uber-Backed Zomato’s Stock Is Nosediving Today

  • Shares of Indian food-delivery firm Zomato plunged 14% in intra-day trade on Monday, touching as low as INR 46 per share, thereby, wiping out over $125 million in investor wealth.
  • The Fall: The plunge in the stock price commenced as the mandatory one-year lock-in period for promoters, employees and certain shareholders ended on Saturday, with over 6.1 billion shares coming out of the lock-in period.
  • Since these shares amounted to almost 78% of the paid-up capital of the firm, analysts had been expecting a drop in the stock price.
  • Uber Technologies Inc UBER currently owns a 7.78% stake in Zomato.

‘Low-Ball Bid’: Bankrupt Voyager Rejects Sam Bankman-Fried Firms’ Buyout Offer

  • Voyager Digital Ltd VYGVQ has rejected an offer from Sam Bankman-Fried-owned firms FTX and Alameda Research to jointly buy out the bankrupt firm.
  • In a rejection letter filed on behalf of Voyager on July 24, the firm’s lawyers said that Alameda and FTX’s proposal is “highly misleading” and actually harms customers.
  • “The AlamedaFTX proposal is nothing more than a liquidation of cryptocurrency on a basis that advantages AlamedaFTX. It’s a low-ball bid dressed up as a white knight rescue,” stated the lawyers.

Elon Musk Denies Reports of Affair With Google Co-Founder’s Wife: ‘Haven’t Even Had Sex In Ages’

  • Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk has dismissed a report about his alleged liaison with the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, which led to the couple filing for divorce, calling it “total bs.”
  • Musk had a brief affair with Sergey Brin’s wife Nicole Shanahan in December, the Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported citing people familiar with the matter. This reportedly prompted Brin to file for divorce from his wife earlier this year and ended a long-standing friendship between him and Musk.
  • “This is total bs. Sergey and I are friends and were at a party together last night!” Musk tweeted late on Sunday, in response to an account that tagged him with the article.

Oil Hits 1-Week Low As EU Eases Russian Sanctions, US Demand Concerns Grow

  • Oil fell in Asia trading on Monday morning, dragged by the European Union (EU) easing sanctions on Russian oil and growing demand concerns in the United States ahead of a possible rate hike later this week.
  • Price Movement: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures fell 0.8% and were trading below the $94/barrel mark to hit a one-week low. Brent Futures, too, slipped 0.83% to $97.56/barrel.

Dollar Pares Losses Against Major Peers As Potential 75 Bps Fed Rate Hike Looms

  • The U.S. dollar traded strongly on Monday morning, gaining against most peers ahead of a potential 75 basis points rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve later this week. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of currencies, traded close to 106.64, below its two-decade high of 109.29 recorded in early July.
  • Price Movements: The EUR/USD pair was trading slightly lower at 1.02 compared to Friday’s high of 1.013 as an energy crisis still hangs heavy over the Euro despite the outsized 50 basis points rate hike by the European Central Bank.
  • The greenback also gained ground against the British Pound, with the GBP/USD pair trading at 1.197 against Friday’s high of 1.206.

Ethereum Sees $102M Liquidations, Bitcoin And Dogecoin Trade Sideways

  • Ethereum ETH/USD led cryptocurrency liquidations by a large margin, with $102 million liquidated over the last 24 hours.
  • According to data from CoinGlass, ETH saw $59.96 million shorts and $42.47 million longs liquidated over the last day. The asset’s price hit an intra-day high of $1,654 late on Sunday, only to see a sharp decline to $1,557 over the next two hours.

Photo by howard bouchevereau via Unsplash

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