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(Bloomberg) -- A House hearing scheduled for Wednesday with Mark Zuckerberg as the sole witness will kick off the “next phase” in the battle between big tech companies and the U.S. government, according to Wedbush.“The drum-roll has started” for the Financial Services committee hearing, with Zuckerberg set to defend the Libra cryptocurrency effort, which still faces a “massive regulatory spotlight,” analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note. The hearing is titled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.”“We fully expect politicians to use this forum as another major shot across the bow on broader antitrust concerns for FAANG names,” Ives said. He sees a regulatory and legal focus on Facebook’s WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions, with “the convergence of Facebook’s messaging platforms likely a hot button issue.”Ives described Facebook’s Libra as a bid to “further penetrate its customer base with a financial currency that enables the company to become more entrenched in the purchasing cycle of its 2 billion-plus users.”Other tech companies are making similar efforts, he said, flagging Apple Inc.’s Apple Card with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and an “enhanced” Apple Pay tool. On Tuesday, Goldman CEO David Solomon said the Apple credit card was the most successful card launch ever.Several payments companies left Facebook’s cryptocurrency project earlier this month. Analysts said the departures would likely delay the coin’s launch and shift Congress’s attention to other matters. That might give Zuckerberg some breathing room, they said.On Thursday, David Marcus, the Facebook executive leading Libra, said China’s progress toward a digital payments system with global reach could pose a threat to U.S. influence. Marcus had earlier this month said that payments companies exiting Libra was in a way “liberating.”Facebook’s shares declined as much as 1.4% on Friday.To contact the reporter on this story: Felice Maranz in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at email@example.com, Debarati RoyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Amphenol's (APH) third-quarter 2019 results are likely to reflect lower demand across communications equipment and automotive end markets.
(Bloomberg) -- Thousands of protesters cut off roads and started fires around Lebanon as anger over plans to impose a levy on WhatsApp calls escalated into demands for the government to resign.Demonstrators carrying Lebanese flags thronged outside government headquarters in downtown Beirut on Friday, as some of the largest protests in years entered a second day.Chants of “the people want the fall of the regime” and “revolution” rang out and scuffles erupted with riot police as the crowds demanded the politicians currently debating a proposed austerity budget step down and hold early elections.The economic stakes have rarely been higher for Lebanon, a tiny country that straddles the geopolitical fault-lines of the Middle East, since the end of the 15-year civil war in 1990. One of the most indebted countries in the world, it is struggling to find fresh sources of funding as the foreign inflows on which it has traditionally relied have dried up.The protests have increased pressure on Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who heads a fractious coalition government that has struggled to overcome sectarian and political differences to push through much-needed reforms.Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, has been traditionally backed by Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom has withheld support in recent years as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia’s political influence over the government has grown.The crisis has catapulted Lebanon into a new and unpredictable phase. If Hariri and his allies resign, Lebanon could end up with a government dominated by Hezbollah, making it even harder to attract investment. Hezbollah’s ministers and parliamentarians have oppose higher taxes to spare their supporters further financial pressure as the U.S. seeks to choke off its funding through sanctions on its members and its patron, Iran.If the government survives, few observers expect it to overcome the divisions that have frustrated public demands for change.Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the son-in-law of the president and an opponent of Hariri, called for urgent measures to fight corruption and warned in a televised address that the collapse of the government would result in “chaos” and undermine the currency peg.Hariri, who canceled a cabinet session planned for Friday, is expected to deliver an address to the nation at 6 p.m. local time.Persistent instability in Lebanon has shaken investor confidence and made it harder to revive an economy already struggling to absorb more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled the crisis in neighboring Syria.The yield on Lebanon’s dollar bonds due in 2021 jumped more than two percentage points to 20.38% as of 10:44 a.m. in London, snapping six days of declines. The cost of insuring Lebanese debt against default climbed, with the nation’s five-year credit-default swaps rising 87 basis points to 1,262 -- the highest level on a closing basis since the start of the month.‘Revolution’Sporadic demonstrations have erupted for months in Lebanon as the economic crisis has led to shortages of dollars and threatened the pensions of retired soldiers.The government is under pressure to cut spending, raise taxes and fight corruption -- conditions required by international donors to unlock some $11 billion in pledges made at a Paris conference in early 2018. But the measures are proving deeply unpopular with the public, which widely blames institutional corruption, nepotism and profiteering by politicians for bankrupting the government.The latest unrest was sparked by plans to impose a fee of 20 U.S. cents on the first WhatsApp call that users make every day, causing outrage in a country where communications costs are among the least competitive in the region and people widely use internet voice applications to save money. WhatsApp, a free messaging and voice platform owned by Facebook Inc., has some 1.5 billion users worldwide.On Thursday, the government also discussed a proposal for a gradual increase to the value-added tax, currently at 11%, and new levies on gasoline. But Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil insisted there were no additional taxes planned for next year’s budget.As protests spread to the suburbs and provinces, Telecom Minister Mohamed Choucair called LBCI television on Thursday to say Hariri had ordered him to cancel the levy on Internet calls. But the reversal came too late to appease public opinion.Walls of burning tires and debris effectively severed the main thoroughfares at the northern and southern entrances of Beirut and crowds also headed toward the presidential palace in Baabda, footage aired on Lebanese television stations showed. In downtown Beirut, protesters threw bottles, petrol bombs, metal barriers and other projectiles at riot police and occasional scuffles broke out as they tried to break through the security cordon around the government headquarters.The International Monetary Fund projects Lebanon’s current-account deficit will reach almost 30% of gross domestic product by the end of this year. Amid the violence on Thursday, it issued a new report predicting that economic growth, stagnant at 0.3% in 2018, would continue to be weak amid political and economic uncertainty and a severe contraction in the real estate sector. Public debt is projected to increase to 155% of Gross Domestic Product by the end of 2019, it said.(Updates throughout, adds quotes from Basil.)\--With assistance from Alex Nicholson.To contact the reporters on this story: Lin Noueihed in Beirut at firstname.lastname@example.org;Dana Khraiche in Beirut at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark WilliamsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
A snapshot of the IBD 50 shows that return on equity, a key earnings gauge, has risen sharply in recent years. But ROE alone should not be used in choosing stocks to buy.
Whenever there are unexpected problems in the financial markets, banks are quick to create the illusion of financial regulation as the culprit. In doing so, they divert attention from the real cause, which is all-too-often misbehavior on the part of the banks they represent.
The acquisition will facilitate Xandr to introduce personalized TV ads and augment its linear TV ad space to Xandr Community, leveraging the technological prowess of its parent firm AT&T (T).
Credit card hacker group FIN7 has returned after a year of laying low. In the past the group stole card info from Chipotle, Chili's Arby's red Robin, Sonic, Trump Hotels, Whole Foods, and Hudson Bay stores.
Investors will focus on regular top and bottom-line numbers along with pipeline updates, when Novartis (NVS) reports third-quarter 2019 results.
Old Mutual selects Amazon's (AMZN) AWS as the preferred cloud provider, which highlights the reliability of the company's cloud computing services.
(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc. plans to offload the cost of a retirement plan for employees of its British subsidiary Asda, incurring a pretax charge to earnings of about $2.2 billion.Under terms of the deal, Rothesay Life Plc will take over managing pension liabilities for about 12,000 members going forward. The transaction will simplify “the business at a cost which is significantly below the expected future cost of funding internally,” the companies said in a statement.Offloading the pension costs at Asda could be a step in preparation for a sale or an initial public offering. The charge will be incurred at the completion of the buyout in late 2020 or early 2021.For Walmart, having a large employee retirement plan sitting on its balance sheet is a problem if it plans to divest the unit, according to James Biggs, a partner at Employee Benefits Collective LLP, a U.K. pension consulting firm.“Rothesay takes responsibility for paying benefits to employees. In essence, it shifts the liability,” Biggs said. “Letting these liabilities rumble on into the future brings risk and potential cost creep, and can be a millstone around the neck of an employer.”Buyer CertaintyAntony Barker, a managing director at the Pension Superfund, a consolidator of British pension plans, said that transferring the pensions will tidy up the company’s balance sheet and give any buyer certainty.“Anyone looking to acquire them knows they are not buying a black hole,” Barker said.Large pension liabilities have weighed on other British retailers, most notably department-store chain BHS. In 2017, retail magnate Philip Green agreed to pay as much as $450 million to compensate 19,000 former BHS workers after months of haggling with the country’s Pensions Regulator. BHS had a massive pension deficit when it failed in 2016, a year after Green sold the chain for a pound to a former race-car driver with no retail experience.Judith McKenna, Walmart’s international CEO and a former Asda executive, said in May that Walmart is “seriously considering” an eventual IPO for Asda. A month earlier, U.K. antitrust regulators blocked J Sainsbury Plc’s bid to buy Asda, saying it would bring higher prices and less choice to shoppers. British supermarket chains have been whipsawed by economic concerns related to Brexit and pressure from German discounters Aldi and Lidl, which continue to grab market share.Walmart shares were little changed, up 0.3% to $120.17 at 10:14 a.m. in New York on Friday. The stock had gained 29% this year through Thursday’s close, outpacing the S&P 500 Index.(Adds context and comment from pension consultants beginning in fourth paragraph)\--With assistance from Benjamin Robertson.To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Boyle in New York at email@example.com;Anne Riley Moffat in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at email@example.com, Jonathan Roeder, Lisa WolfsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Solid Q3 results have encouraged firms to jack up their price targets for Netflix (NFLX), making it pricey. For small investors, we have picked media stocks that are low-priced and have growth potential.
Alphabet’s Waymo One plans to start using driverless cars for its autonomous taxis. The service is available to a small group of customers in Phoenix.
Investor sentiment upbeat on banks' Q3 earnings, with the major players displaying top-line strength on the back of higher fee income and loan growth.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Twitter revolution,” “Facebook revolution” — these terms became widespread during the Arab Spring rebellions at the beginning of this decade. They’re outdated now: For today's protesters in Hong Kong and Barcelona, or for Extinction Rebellion activists in capitals around the world, the social networks and even messenger applications run by big U.S. corporations are becoming a secondary tool, and one not used for organizational purposes.After protesters in Egypt forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign in February 2011, one of the revolution’s public faces, Google executive Wael Ghonim, went on CNN to be interviewed by anchors Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer. When Blitzer asked him what was going to happen next, the following exchange ensued:Ghonim: Ask Facebook.Blitzer: Ask what?Ghonim: Facebook.Cooper: Facebook.Blitzer: Facebook. You’re giving Facebook a lot of credit for this?Ghonim: Yes, for sure. I want to meet Mark Zuckerberg one day and thank him, actually. This revolution started online. This revolution started on Facebook.That was so 2011. If there’s any one app today’s protesters would want to credit, it’s Telegram. But not even this itinerant messenger, whose team was based in St. Petersburg, Berlin, London and Singapore before ending up in Dubai, plays the same kind of outsize role that Facebook and Twitter took on in previous protests, up to and including Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement” of 2014. With its powerful group messaging functionality and “channel” feature which allows users to broadcast information, Telegram is the central media platform for the Hong Kong protesters of today, who are now pushing for greater democracy for the former British colony. It’s also the go-to tool for pro-independence Catalans who have taken to the streets to protest the long prison sentences for leaders of the Spanish region’s doomed 2017 secession bid. There, the secretive Democratic Tsunami group uses Telegram to communicate with its 150,000 followers. It also uses a Telegram bot to collect data for an app it created to map protest activities and street clashes. For its part, Extinction Rebellion has been moving from Facebook-owned WhatsApp to Telegram because it allows bigger group chats, and because it has a voting tool that allows independent-minded rebels to decide what they want to do. (This tool is also used in Hong Kong).Signal, the encrypted messenger, and Mattermost, an open-source alternative to the enterprise messenger Slack, also are popular among activists.Direct file transfers, encrypted messengers and specially created apps have become essential for spreading all kinds of material that might land its distributors in trouble — such as the fake boarding passes Democratic Tsunami sent out so protesters could get into the Barcelona airport on Oct. 14, causing more than 100 flights to be canceled.Of course, today’s activists still use social media platforms run by big U.S. corporations. But when they do it’s mainly for outward communication such as with the media, not with people actively involved in the protests. Since the Arab Spring, governments have mastered use of the big commercial social media networks themselves. Since the Hong Kong protests began, both Facebook and Twitter have complained about China’s attempts to use them for disinformation and counterpropaganda. Besides, many protesters believe their anonymity isn’t well protected on the social networks, Malek Dudakov of the Moscow-based think tank Center for the Study of New Communications wrote in a recent report about the use of the technology by the Hong Kong protest movement. Telegram, run by a nonprofit founded by Russian libertarian Pavel Durov, has a reputation for resisting government attempts at censorship and infiltration. Russia has attempted to block the messenger for refusing to hand over encryption keys to domestic intelligence, but Telegram has fought back and is still accessible in most of Russia. Mainland China has had more success in cutting off access to it. But even on Telegram, the risk of losing one’s anonymity is a potential problem. One protest group moderator in Hong Kong was arrested in June. Durov has accused China of trying to take his service down in Hong Kong with distributed denial of service attacks. Those efforts contrast with concerns that big U.S. companies are more likely to cooperate with the authorities.Earlier this month, Apple Inc. approved a smartphone map app that Hong Kong protesters have been using for distribution in its App Store after an initial ban. But then it swiftly took HKmap.live down again. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook explained that the Hong Kong cybersecurity authority had told the company that the app was being used by criminals to “target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present.” This episode prompted the Democratic Tsunami in Catalonia to release its own app for Android only — and not through the Google Play Store, in which most Android users get their apps.Even though its services are blocked in mainland China, Google has also behaved in a way some protesters, and even some of its employees, find suspicious. Citing an internal rule against the monetization of current events, the Play Store banned a game called “The Revolution of Our Times” that allowed players to act out the role of Hong Kong protesters. The game’s developers had promised to give 80% of their proceeds to charity.Big Tech’s role, even if unwitting, in unrest has always looked like an aberration. Where the profit motive is involved, cooperating with governments makes more sense than facilitating those who fight them. Now, the dust is settling on the tech revolution, and real-world revolutions need non-commercial tech tools. So protesters either design their own or fall back on open-source apps or those developed by nonprofits. Facebook and Twitter are where propaganda battles rage and insults fly, not where action is coordinated — and that’s a natural consequence of their evolution as big businesses that attract way too much government attention.So, if you’re wondering what comes next for all the modern-day protest movements, don’t ask Facebook.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Oct.18 -- Chris Hughes, co-founder at Facebook, and Thomas Perriello, executive director at Open Society-US, discuss efforts to break up and regulate Facebook and other big tech firms. They speak on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas."
Oct.18 -- Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg discusses the social-media company's stance against the censored version of the internet found in China, and role of U.S.-based online companies in promoting free expression. Zuckerberg spoke to students at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall in Washington.