1. Asian Stocks Rally as Tech Earnings Power Gains: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Equities in Asia opened higher Thursday after Wall Street resumed a rally as robust earnings helped overcome worries about persistent inflation. Shares in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea all advanced. Taiwan stocks reached an intraday record high in their first trading day since Feb. 5, boosted by a 9.8% gain by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

  2. Hedge Funds Add Amazon, Intel, Cut Nike, Pfizer: 13F Wrap.

    (Bloomberg) — Hedge funds bought into some of the biggest technology names in the fourth quarter to chase a scorching rally in the sector fuelled by the growth in artificial intelligence, according to the latest quarterly reports investment managers filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. These institutional investors added 14.8 million shares of at $21.6 billion, the biggest increase by market value for a single stock in the three months through December.

  3. Michael Burry Adds to China Big Tech Wager as Stock Rout Deepens

    (Bloomberg) — Michael Burry, the money manager made famous in the Big Short, added to wagers on Chinese tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Inc. in recent months even as a rout in Chinese shares deepened. Alibaba is now Scion Asset Management’s top holding after Burry’s investment company boosted its stake in the e-commerce giant by 50% in the period ended Dec. 31, according to the firm’s most recent 13F filing.

  4. Top Miner BHP Takes $2.5 Billion Nickel Hit After Price Fall

    (Bloomberg) — BHP Group Ltd., the world’s largest miner, has taken a $2.5 billion impairment on the value of its Australian nickel assets, after a surge in supply of the battery metal dragged down prices. The miner, which is due to release half-year earnings next week, also said it would nearly double the provision set aside to cover damages from the 2015 Samarco dam Failure in Brazil.

  5. Trump Eyes NATO Makeover, Hurried Peace in Ukraine If Elected

    (Bloomberg) — Donald Trump is considering scaled-back commitments to some NATO members and a push for Ukraine to negotiate an end to the war with Russia if he returns to power next year, according to people familiar with the matter. Among possible moves in a second term, Trump allies have discussed essentially a two-tiered NATO alliance, where Article 5 which requires common defense of any member under attack would apply only to nations that hit defense-spending goals, according to the people, who asked not to be identified and cautioned no policy decisions have been finalized.

  6. Bank Bond Investors Say Opportunity Outweighs NYCB-Tied Risk

    (Bloomberg) — Insatiable demand for blue-chip bonds in the US is pushing investors to shrug off any jitters tied to New York Community Bancorp’s risky exposure to real estate. Financial institution debt has outperformed the broader market since late last month, when NYCB said it would slash its dividend and build a loan-loss provision that was much bigger than analysts expected.

  7. Japan unexpectedly slips into recession, Germany now world’s third-biggest economy.

    (Reuters) – Japan unexpectedly slipped into a recession at the end of last year, losing its title as the world’s third-biggest economy to Germany and raising doubts about when the central bank would begin to exit its decade-long ultra-loose monetary policy. Some analysts are warning of another contraction in the current quarter as weak demand in China, sluggish consumption and production halts at a unit of Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), opens new tab all point to a challenging path to an economic recovery and policymaking.

  8. Lyft Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Risher’s response to a clerical error that unintentionally inflated the company’s earnings outlook on Tuesday and sent shares soaring: “My bad.”

    “First of all, it’s on me,” Risher said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday, taking the blame for a typo in a company press release Tuesday that erroneously projected a particular measure of earnings margin to expand by an eye-watering 500 basis points. (In reality, Lyft expects margins to grow by 50 basis points.) “This was a bad error,” he said, “but it was one zero in a press release.” Lyft CEO David Risher addresses the “clerical error” in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings that triggered a 67% jump in after-hours trading. Risher says it was “one zero in a press release” and the company is working to insure it doesn’t happen again. The company reported that gross bookings had jumped 17% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to $3.72 billion, surpassing estimates for $3.67 billion.

  9. Sony Group Corp. fell its most in two years after slashing projections for sales of the aging PlayStation 5 gaming console, underscoring a global electronics slump.

    The shares fell as much as 7.6% in early Tokyo trading, the biggest intraday fall since February 2022. On Wednesday, Sony trimmed its revenue forecast after sales of its flagship PS5 in the December quarter came in roughly a million units lower than analysts’ estimates, at 8.2 million consoles. The company now expects to sell 21 million units for the fiscal year, down from the previous forecast for 25 million units. Sony now plans to partially spin off its financial services unit in October 2025 as part of a plan to focus on the growth of businesses such as entertainment and image sensors. The move will reverse a $3.7 billion take-private deal concluded in 2020. It plans to distribute just over 80% of its shares in the financial unit known as SFGI to Sony shareholders through dividends in kind, and to hold slightly less than 20% after the spinoff.

  10. Peltz Blasts Disney’s New Sports Service, Epic Games Deal

    (Bloomberg) — Nelson Peltz has launched a fresh attack against the management of Walt Disney Co., saying plans to launch a new sports streaming service and invest in Epic Games Inc. are like throwing spaghetti against a wall. In a letter to Disney investors on Wednesday, Peltz’s Trian Fund Management described the moves, announced last week, as “frenetic” and “confused “and said they were no “substitute for a well -considered corporate strategy.

  11. Uber Technologies Inc. will buy back as much as $7 billion in shares to return capital to shareholders after reporting its first full year of operating profit and consistent positive free cash flow in 2023.

    The repurchase plan “is a vote of confidence in the company’s strong financial momentum,” Chief Financial Officer Prashanth Mahendra-Rajah said in a statement on Wednesday. “We will be thoughtful as it relates to the pace of our buyback, beginning with actions that partially offset stock-based compensation, and working toward a consistent reduction in share count.” The stock jumped as much as 11% in New York, its biggest gain since last May. It had more than doubled over the past 12 months through the close of trading Tuesday. Uber is the latest of a handful of tech companies announcing plans to boost returns to shareholders. Earlier this month Meta Platforms Inc. announced plans to buy back an additional $50 billion in shares and issue its first-ever quarterly dividend, while Airbnb Inc. expanded its buyback program by $6 billion on Tuesday.

  12. Sales slipped during the fourth quarter for Kraft Heinz as some customers, pinched by a bout of inflation, traded down to cheaper brands or did not buy as much.

    A number of food makers, citing inflation, have raised product prices and that has helped preserve profits. But that can come at a cost to sales as some customers look for bargains elsewhere. At Kraft Heinz, prices increased 3.7% and volumes slid 4.4%. Last week PepsiCo, which makes snacks and drinks, experienced a similar trade-off after multiple price hikes and it posted a rare decline in revenue. The Kraft Heinz Company on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter earnings of $757 million, or 61 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs and non-recurring costs, came to 78 cents per share, edging past the 77 cents Wall Street was projecting, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

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