Benzinga Before The Bell: Twitter Shareholder Proposal Date Set, T-Mobile's Strong FY22 Outlook, Shopify's Job Cuts And Other Top Financial Stories Wednesday, July 27



Monkeypox Emergency Could Last Months, According To Experts

  • Reuters reported that World Health Organization’s (WHO) scientist advisors on monkeypox say the window is closing to stop its spread.
  • The cases are currently doubling every two weeks, raising concerns that the outbreak will take several months to the peak.
  • “The alarm bell was going off (in Africa), but we kept hitting the snooze button. Now it’s time to wake up and do something about it,” said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at the University of California. “An infection anywhere is potentially an infection everywhere.”

UBS Plans To Set Up China Mutual Fund Arm

  • Swiss investment banking and financial services provider UBS Group AG UBS is planning to establish a wholly owned mutual fund business in China, Reuters reported.
  • The bank aims to reach and expand its presence in China’s retail fund market, valued at $3.9 trillion.
  • Recruitment for key personnel has already begun, and the unit is expected to be launched in about two years.

Cassava Sciences Shares Plunge After Criminal Investigation Report

  • The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into Cassava Sciences Inc SAVA on whether it manipulated research results for its investigational Alzheimer’s drug, Reuters reported citing two people familiar with the inquiry.
  • “To be clear: Cassava Sciences vehemently denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing,” said Kate Watson Moss, a lawyer representing Cassava.
  • The company “has never been charged with a crime, and for a good reason - Cassava Sciences has never engaged in criminal conduct,” Watson added.

Wall Street Journal

Shopify Gears Up For 10% Job Cuts, Founder Admits He Overestimated Pandemic Induced E-Commerce Growth

  • Shopify Inc SHOP braces to slash 1,000 workers, or 10% of its global workforce, marking a retreat from its pandemic bet on e-commerce growth, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Founder and CEO Tobi Lütke justified the layoffs citing the resumption of old shopping habits and pull back on the online orders that fueled the company’s recent growth.
  • Shopify, which helps businesses set up e-commerce websites, saw a slowdown in FY22 revenue growth.

PayPal Stock Takes Off Following Report Of Elliott’s Stake Build: What Investors Need to Know

  • PayPal Holdings, Inc. PYPL, which has seen its fundamentals deteriorate, could be caught in the vortex of shareholder activism.
  • Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. has taken a stake in PayPal, although the size of the stake and the intention are not apparent yet, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • Shares of PayPal peaked at $310.16 a year ago and have lost about one-fourth of their value since then. The stock was deemed a COVID-19 play and made strong gains in 2020 and until the first half of 2021, as online shoppers took to its payment processing solutions.


South Korea Investigates $3.4B In Forex Transactions With Possible Link To Crypto Assets

  • The Financial Supervisory Service of South Korea is looking into $3.4 billion in “abnormal” foreign exchange transactions at two of the biggest commercial banks in the nation for potential connections to illegal crypto-related activities, reported Bloomberg.
  • Five Woori Bank branches saw unusual activity worth 1.6 trillion won ($1.3 billion) between May 3, 2021, and June 9, 2022, the regulator stated.
  • 11 Shinhan Bank locations were found to have similar transactions worth 2.5 trillion won between February 23, 2021, and July 4, 2022.

New York Times

Crypto Exchange Kraken Violated Sanctions, Alleges US Treasury

  • Kraken, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges based in the United States, is reportedly under investigation for allegedly violating sanctions.
  • According to a report from the New York Times on Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury is looking into whether Kraken allowed Iranian users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on its platform — an act that would constitute a violation of federal sanctions.
  • People familiar with the matter told the New York Times that the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has been investigating the Kraken since 2019. The exchange will likely end up paying a fine, they said, as per the Times report.


Meta’s Quest 2 Headset Price Hike Leaves Analyst Worried About The Gear Losing’ Critical Competitive Advantage

  • Meta Platforms, Inc. META announced Tuesday that it increasing the price of its Quest 2 headset by $100, beginning August.
  • The price hike may hurt Quest 2’s demand and its hardware supply chain shipments, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, best known for accurately predicting Apple, Inc’s AAPL products-related updates, said in a tweet.
  • Meta’s VR ecosystem is still insufficient to attract users, the TFI International Securities analyst said.

Microsoft Got Battered By Strong Dollar, China Shutdowns In Q4, Says CFO

  • Microsoft Corporation MSFT Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said the tech giant was hammered in its last quarter by a strong dollar and production shutdowns in China linked to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • What Happened: Hood said that the dollar strengthened throughout the quarter and created “an additional headwind.”
  • “As a result, for the full quarter, revenue and [earnings per share] were negatively impacted by $595 million and $0.04 per share, beyond our expectations shared in April.”

New GSK Q2 Highlights: Shingles Vaccine Back In Demand, Antibiotics Recover, Forecast Boost

  • GSK Plc’s GSK Q2 turnover reached £6.9 billion, up 19% Y/Y on the actual exchange rate (AER) and 13% on a constant exchange rate (CER) basis.
  • Specialty Medicines turnover was £2.7 billion, up 44% AER, and 35% CER, driven by consistent growth in all therapy areas, including sales of Xevudy.
  • Sales of Xevudy (sotrovimab) for COVID-19 treatment stood at £466 billion.

Amid Legal Spat With Elon Musk, Twitter Sets Date For Shareholder Vote On Buyout Deal

  • Twitter Inc TWTR has scheduled a shareholder vote on Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk’s proposed $44 billion takeover bid, from which the latter has walked away.
  • Shareholders will be asked to vote on the proposal at a special meeting to be held on September 13 at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET), according to a filing made by Twitter with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Twitter told its shareholders it is “committed to closing the merger on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk.”

Reckitt Lifts Annual Forecast On Higher Prices, Baby Formula Shortage

  • Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC RBGLY said Q2 like-for-like revenue rose 11.9% on a constant currency basis, beating the 6.8% growth analysts had expected in a company-supplied poll.
  • Reckitt hiked prices 9.7% in the quarter, while sales volumes were up 2.2%.
  • Q2 sales increased 5.9% on constant currency to £3.46 billion, including a 3.3% boost from sales of its Enfamil baby formula amid a shortage of supplies in the U.S. after Abbott Laboratories ABT recalled dozens of brands in February.

T-Mobile US Registers 2.1% Revenue Decline In Q2; Boosts 2022 Outlook

  • T-Mobile US, Inc TMUS reported a second-quarter FY22 revenue decline of 2.1% year-on-year to $19.70 billion, missing the consensus of $20.11 billion. EPS loss of $(0.09) may not be comparable to the consensus of $0.28.
  • Service revenues of $15.3 billion grew 6% Y/Y, including Postpaid service revenue growth of 9%.
  • T-Mobile added 380 thousand postpaid net accounts and 1.7 million postpaid net customer additions, more than AT&T T and Verizon VZ combined and the highest Q2 ever. T-Mobile added 723 thousand postpaid phone net customer additions.

Credit Suisse Battles CEO Departure After Reporting Its Third Successive Quarterly Loss

  • Credit Suisse Group CS reported a second-quarter FY22 revenue decline of 29% Y/Y to CHF3.65 billion.
  • Investment Bank revenue declined 40% Y/Y to CHF1.11 billion. Wealth Management revenue declined 34% Y/Y to CHF1.27 billion, while the Swiss Bank revenue grew 3% Y/Y to CHF1.05 billion.
  • Gottstein, CEO since 2020, declared he is stepping down after 23 years in the bank. Ulrich Koerner, previously CEO of the bank’s asset management division, will become the next CEO.

Texas Jury Slaps Additional $7B In Punitive Damages On Charter Communications For Murder

  • Charter Communications, Inc CHTR is liable for $7 billion in punitive damages after a Texas jury found it responsible for one of its employees who robbed and killed a customer three years ago.
  • “This was a shocking breach of faith by a company that sends workers inside millions of homes every year,” said trial lawyer Chris Hamilton of Dallas-based Hamilton Wingo.
  • In 2019, Roy Holden Jr., one of Charter’s cable technicians, murdered 83-year-old Betty Thomas.

Mercedes-Benz Group Raises Annual Guidance On Strong Demand

  • Luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz Group DMLRY has raised its fiscal year 2022 guidance, citing higher demand.
  • For the Group, revenue is now seen significantly above the 2021 level, up from a previously expected slightly above level. EBIT is now seen slightly above the prior-year level rather than at the prior-year level.
  • In Mercedes-Benz Cars, the company continues to expect a slight sales increase and top-end vehicle sales growth of more than 10% year on year.

Why Teva Pharmaceuticals Stock Is Soaring After Hours

  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries TEVA shares are surging in Tuesday’s after-hours session after the company reported better-than-expected financial results.
  • Teva said second-quarter revenue decreased 3% year-over-year to $3.8 billion, which beat the estimate of $3.78 billion, according to data from Benzinga Pro. The company reported quarterly earnings of 68 cents per share, which beat the estimate of 57 cents per share.
  • Teva also provided an update on its Opioids settlement with the working group of States’ Attorneys General, counsel for Native American Tribes. The company said it reached an agreement to pay up to $4.25 billion-plus approximately $100 million for the Tribes, spread over 13 years.

Why Meta Platforms Stock Is Rising After Hours

  • Meta Platforms Inc META shares are trading higher in Tuesday’s after-hours session after Alphabet Inc GOOG reported second-quarter financial results that were better than feared.
  • Alphabet said second-quarter revenue jumped 13% year-over-year to $69.98 billion, which missed the estimate of $70.35 billion, according to data from Benzinga Pro. The company reported quarterly earnings of $1.21 per share, which missed the estimate of $1.31 per share.
  • “In the second quarter our performance was driven by Search and Cloud. The investments we’ve made over the years in AI and computing are helping to make our services particularly valuable for consumers, and highly effective for businesses of all sizes,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet.

Photo by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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