Uber To Completely Acquire Grocery Delivery Start-Up Cornershop

American tech company Uber Technologies has announced that it would be purchasing the remaining 47% interest in grocery delivery start-up Cornershop. The acquisition would make Uber the sole owner of the delivery company.

Uber To Acquire Cornershop

Uber announced earlier today that it would be purchasing the remaining 47% interest in grocery delivery start-up Cornershop. The acquisition is a further indication that Uber is expanding its business beyond its traditional ride-hailing venture.

This latest development comes roughly two years after Uber acquired a majority stake in Cornershop for an undisclosed fee. Oskar Hjertonsson, founder and CEO of Cornershop, revealed that Uber already controls more than 50% of Cornershop, and the two companies have been working together to deliver excellent results.

The grocery delivery company already operates in the U.S., Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Canada. According to Hjertonsson, Uber completely owning Cornershop would make it easier to truly unlock the full potential of the company. The acquisition deal is expected to be completed by next month.

Uber Expands Its Eats Segment

The tech company has focused most of its attention on the Uber Eats segment in recent months. The Coronavirus pandemic saw Uber Eats perform excellently as people ordered foods and groceries while at home.

Uber went on to acquire Postmates in July last year after failing to purchase food delivery service GrubHub. The expansion continued with the acquisition of alcohol-delivery service Drizly earlier this year.

The company’s ride-hailing business hasn’t been profitable since it was established. This led Uber to part ways with some of its electric bike and scooter business, Jump. The company also sold its self-driving segment, Advanced Technologies Group, to its start-up competitor Aurora Innovation. Furthermore, Uber also offloaded its flying taxi business, Uber Elevate.

UBER stock chart. Source: FXEMPIRE

Despite the acquisition of Cornershop, Uber’s stock price is down by 2.6% so far today. The stock price could perform excellently in the coming hours as the US market just opened not long ago.

Big U.S. Retailers Line Up Deals to Take on Amazon Prime Day Frenzy

By Siddharth Cavale

Target Corp, Walmart Inc, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Macy’s Inc and Kohl’s Inc are some top American retail chains offering big discounts and promotions to coincide with Prime day, which takes place on Monday and Tuesday this year.

The two-day sales event, which generated https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/amazon-prime-day-data $10.4 billion in gross merchandise sales for Amazon last year, is taking place earlier than its traditional July run date, as the e-commerce giant looks https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/30/heres-why-amazon-is-moving-its-prime-day-event-earlier-in-the-summer.html to boost spending in what are historically slow sales days in the quarter.

And retailers are not missing the opportunity to get a slice of that pie.

Department store chain Macy’s is teasing customers with an “Epic Specials” event for two days starting Monday, while rival Kohl’s is promoting cashbacks and discounts on beauty, apparel and household goods through its Prime-day coinciding event called “Wow Deals.”

Target has taken it up a notch this year, increasing the number of products and discounts on its website during Prime Days, according to StyleSage data. This is in contrast to most U.S. mall stores, which have been cutting down on assortment and promotions this year, the data showed.

Home furnishing retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond is offering an “even bigger and better” challenger event to Prime Day this year, with same-day delivery on orders $39 or more and rewards that give customers up to $100 for future purchases.

Some of its top deals include 60% off on Crux appliances and 25% off on Graco Pack ‘n Play baby cribs.

Walmart’s competing sales event will start one day ahead of Prime Day and end on June 22. The world’s biggest retail chain, which launched its own subscription program called Walmart Plus last year, is offering deals on built-in Roku TVs and Roomba vacuum cleaners, among other electronic items.

Amazon Prime Day , which has grown into a two-day shopping bonanza rivaling the U.S. holiday shopping season, will see 20 countries participate this year. The event in India and Canada, however, has been postponed due to COVID-19.

Adobe expects Prime Day to top $11 billion in total online spend for U.S. retailers this year, surpassing sales generated on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year.

(Additional reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Bitcoin Tumbles 10% in Wake of Deepening China Crackdown

By Tom Wilson and Kevin Buckland

Bitcoin fell as low as $32,094 to its lowest in 12 days, dragging smaller coins down. It was last down 8.3%, on course for its biggest daily drop in a month.

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency, long plagued by volatility, has lost over 20% in the last six days alone and is down by half from its April peak of almost $65,000. Still, it has still gained over 10% this year.

The drop comes amid a growing crackdown on cryptocurrencies in China, where authorities in the southwest province of Sichuan on Friday ordered bitcoin mining projects to close.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, last month vowed to clamp down on mining and trading as part of a series of measures to control financial risks.

Data on mining is scarce. Yet production of bitcoin in China accounted last year for about 65% of global production, according to data from the University of Cambridge, with Sichuan its second-biggest producer.

Companies that mine bitcoin – an energy-intensive process – typically hold large inventories of the cryptocurrency, with any moves to sell large amounts depressing prices.

“(The) crackdown on Chinese miners might mean that they are offloading coin into a thin market and taking us lower,” said Ben Sebley of London-based crypto firm BCB Group.

China’s central bank said on Monday it had summoned some banks and payment institutions recently, urging them to crack down harder on cryptocurrency trading.

Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank), China’s third-largest lender by assets, said separately it was following the People’s Bank of China’s guidance and would conduct due diligence on clients to root out illegal activities involving crypto mining and transactions.

Smaller rival ether, which tends to move in tandem with bitcoin, dropped as much as 12%, falling below $2,000 for the first time in almost a month.

(Reporting by Tom Wilson in London and Kevin Buckland in Tokyo; Editing by Toby Chopra, Giles Elgood and Alison Williams)

Norwegian Air Fires Ceo in ‘Surprise’ Move After Restructuring

By Nora Buli and Victoria Klesty

The board voted on June 20 to end Schram’s 18-month tenure but the airline said he would support the carrier on a full-time basis during his notice period up to March 31.

“The board’s decision to fire me came as a big surprise,” Schram told Reuters.

His replacement, Karlsen, has been chief financial officer since 2018. For six months in 2019, he was acting CEO for the carrier, which is recovering from bankruptcy protection after the COVID-19 pandemic plunged the heavily indebted airline into a financial crisis.

“It’ll be very exciting to see whether we can make this company profitable,” Karlsen told Reuters. “We have a unique opportunity now with Norwegian to create the company I have wanted for a long time.”

The survival plan ended Norwegian’s long-haul business, leaving a slimmed-down carrier with Nordic and European routes.

The company declined to elaborate on Schram’s departure but said his replacement was the right person for the job.

“Karlsen has successfully led the financial reconstruction of Norwegian and has the competencies, focus, trust and dedication that makes him the best choice as CEO of Norwegian,” said Svein Harald Oeygard, the chair of Norwegian’s board.

Karlsen’s annual base salary will be 4.5 million Norwegian crowns ($521,000), unchanged from his CFO’s wage, but he will also receive a performance based bonus and share options. The fixed salary was less than Schram’s pay of 7.0 million crowns.

The board tussled with Schram over his severance package, which gives him the right to 15 months pay on top of the nine-month notice period, or 14 million crowns over 24 months.

“An effort has been made by the board to bring the severance payments to a level reflecting the challenges of the industry, but no agreement could be reached,” Norwegian said.

Schram said he had been willing to make concessions to adjust his pay, but also said no agreement had been reached.

Bankruptcy courts in Oslo and Dublin last month gave their approval for Norwegian to sharply cut its debt by converting it to stock and to raise new capital.

The chair, Oeygard, was appointed in early June after those proceedings were completed and new equity capital was secured.

The search for a new CFO commences immediately.

($1 = 8.6455 Norwegian crowns)

(Editing by Terje Solsvik and Edmund Blair)

Let the Vaccinated Travel, Uk Air Industry Demands

Airlines UK said in a letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that fully vaccinated travellers from “amber” destinations should be exempt from the 10-day isolation requirement, while those coming from both “amber” and “green” countries should not need to have expensive PCR tests.

“Given the incredible efficacy of vaccines and their critical role in easing domestic restrictions, we believe that the framework can safely be adjusted to provide a pathway for vaccinated people to travel without restriction, alongside steps to reduce restrictions for green and amber categories, making them more proportionate for travellers,” the group said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that travellers would face hassle and delays this year if they sought to go abroad because the priority would be keeping the country safe from the coronavirus.

Data confirming that vaccines are more than 90% effective against hospitalisation from the fast-growing Delta variation should be considered when measures that apply to each tier of Britain’s traffic light system for travel are reviewed on June 28, it said.

“This effectiveness has been recognised by Europe, which is now opening its travel and leisure markets by introducing waivers from testing and isolation requirements for fully vaccinated persons, including arrivals from major markets such as the United States,” it said.

“Today 32 countries exempt travellers from quarantine and 27 from testing if fully vaccinated. The failure to adopt a similar approach risks the UK falling further behind the EU’s reopening of international travel, including the critical trans-Atlantic market.”

Popular European holiday destinations for Britons, including Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Greece, are currently rated “amber”, which require returning passengers to take three COVID-19 tests and isolate for 10 days on return.

The 11 countries and territories rated “green” require two tests for passengers, including those who are fully vaccinated.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle)

German Competition Watchdog Launches Apple Investigation

The Bonn-based watchdog said it will examine whether Apple has “paramount significance across markets” that thwarts competition.

“A key focus of the investigation will be the operation of the App Store, as in many cases it empowers Apple to influence the operations of third parties,” said Andreas Mundt, president of the Federal Cartel Office (FCO).

The watchdog has made use of enhanced powers gained under recent reforms to Germany’s competition laws to open investigations into Alphabet’s Google, Facebook and Amazon over their data practices.

Further proceedings against Apple are also being considered with regard to complaints received about potentially anti-competitive practices, the watchdog said.

These include a complaint that Apple gives itself preferential treatment by pre-installing its own applications, the watchdog said.

An Apple spokesperson said the company’s App Store has given German developers of all sizes the same opportunity.

“We look forward to discussing our approach with the FCO and having an open dialogue about any of their concerns,” the spokesperson added.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Supantha MukherjeeWriting by Caroline CopleyEditing by Edmund Blair and David Goodman)

EU Measures to ‘Tighten Thumbscrews’ on Belarus

By Robin Emmott

Outraged at the forced landing of a Ryanair passenger plane in Minsk on May 23 to arrest a dissident journalist, EU foreign ministers will blacklist transport, defence and air traffic officials, EU diplomats and officials said.

“Today we will approve the package of new sanctions, which is a wider package, about 86 people and entities,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters as he detailed a fourth round of measures before a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

With Lukashenko so far impervious to foreign pressure, EU states are also soon set to impose economic sanctions on Belarus’ financial, oil, tobacco and potash sectors, after a provisional deal was agreed on Friday.

Belarus sovereign dollar bonds tumbled on Monday in response.

The benchmark 2030 bond slumped more than 3 cents – its biggest fall since the global market COVID rout in March last year – and the 2031 bond issued in June last year hit a record low, Tradeweb data showed.

The EU imported 1.2 billion euros’ ($1.5 billion) worth of chemicals including potash from Belarus last year, as well as more than 1 billion euros’ worth of crude oil and related products such as fuel and lubricants. Belarus also relies on loans from European commercial and development banks.

“We have to tighten the thumbscrews after this callous action of state air piracy,” Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told reporters. “We want to hit the state-affiliated economic sector, those responsible, not the people in Belarus, who are suffering anyway.”

After 27 years in power, Lukashenko is accused of rigging the presidential election last August and then imprisoning pro-democracy protesters.

The forced landing of the Ryanair flight last month to arrest Roman Protasevich and his student girlfriend Sofia Sapega, who were on board, has galvanized an often divided EU into action.

Lukashenko says he won the election fairly and accuses Protasevich of organising a rebellion.

‘STATE TERROR’

While the economic sanctions still need to be finalised to withstand any court challenge, Borrell said EU leaders would discuss giving political approval at a summit on Thursday.

Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said it was up to the EU to show that “state terror has no place in the 21st century”.

Restrictions on the Belarusian financial sector are set to include: a ban on new loans, a ban on EU investors from buying bonds on the primary market and a ban on EU banks from providing investment services. EU export credits will also end, although private savings will not be targeted. Securities in circulation and traded between fund managers are not expected to be hit, but sanctions on the secondary market could come at a later stage.

The bloc will ban exports to Belarus of any communications equipment that could be used for spying, and tighten an arms embargo to include rifles used by biathletes, officials said.

Monday’s individual sanctions will hit 76 Belarusians, including the transport and defence ministers, as well as eight state entities, diplomats said. The names will be released later on Monday in the EU’s Official Journal.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold; Editing by Catherine Evans and Andrew Heavens)

Ikea, Rockefeller Foundations to Pledge $1 Billion in Clean Energy Push

(Reuters) – IKEA Foundation, the charitable arm of the world’s biggest furniture retailer, and the Rockefeller Foundation said on Monday they plan to set up a $1-billion fund to support renewable energy programs in developing nations.

The fund, which will be launched this year, aims to reduce one billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and empower one billion people with distributed renewable energy, the foundations said in a joint statement.

Each foundation will provide $500 million of risk capital, the Financial Times reported https://www.ft.com/content/7107cbd3-0837-46fe-8cc0-8d2cb7b5f40d, adding that they hope to attract additional funds of $10 billion this year from international development agencies, before opening up to institutional investors in their bid to expand renewables investment in countries such as India, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.

“This can be commercially viable. There’s $1 billion taking risk upfront, and that can unlock tens of billions of dollars,” the report quoted Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. “We’re not gambling here. We’ve seen it work in India. We know what it takes to become successful.”

The foundations have already signed agreements with the International Finance Corp, an organisation affiliated to the World Bank, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corp, according to the report.

IKEA aims to be climate positive by 2030, and Ingka Group — the owner of most IKEA stores — said in April it had earmarked 4 billion euros ($4.75 billion) to invest in green energy projects.

($1 = 0.8423 euros)

(Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

EU Antitrust Regulators to Decide on AerCap’s $30 Billion Ge Deal by July 26

The world’s two largest aircraft leasing companies are seeking to create a new financing giant which would be the largest buyer of jetliners built by planemakers Airbus and Boeing.

The deal will reshape a global air finance industry that has attracted a flood of capital in recent years as investors look for higher returns.

AerCap requested EU approval on Friday.

The EU competition enforcer can approve the deal with or without concessions or it can open a four-month investigation if it has serious concerns.

Analysts said the scale of the combined entity, controlling about three times the number of aircraft as its nearest competitor, Dublin-based Avolon, could force AerCap to offload aircraft to meet antitrust demands.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Edmund Blair)

China Urges Banks, Alipay to Crack Down Harder on Cryptocurrencies

The People’s Bank of China’s meeting came after China’s State Council, or cabinet, last month said it would tighten restrictions on bitcoin trading and mining. Beijing has sharply ratcheted up its campaign in the last few weeks.

The PBOC urged institutions at the meeting to launch thorough checks on clients’ accounts to identify those involved in cryptocurrency transactions, and promptly cut their payment channels. It did not mention when the meeting was held.

“Speculative trading in virtual currencies roils economic and financial order, spawns the risks of criminal activities such as illegal asset transfers and money laundering, and endangers people’s wealth,” the PBOC said in a statement.

Other participants in the PBOC’s meeting included state-owned lenders Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank) and Postal Savings Bank of China.

Bitcoin’s bull run globally had revived speculative trading in China, where people buy cryptocurrencies using yuan via bank accounts or payment platforms.

Last month, three industry associations issued a ban on crypto-related financial services, but the bodies are much less powerful than the PBOC.

The PBOC said its recent meeting with financial institutions was aimed at fully implementing State Council’s crypto ban.

Bitcoin tumbled almost 10% on Monday, with market players citing jitters over China’s expanding crackdown on bitcoin mining in thin liquidity for the losses. It was last down 8.3%, on course for its biggest daily drop in a month.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

The PBOC asked banks and payment companies to invest more in technologies used to better identify crypto-related transactions, and know their customers better, the central bank statement said.

After the central bank’s notice, AgBank, ICBC, CCB and Alipay vowed to execute what they were told to do.

AgBank said that it would conduct due diligence on clients to root out illegal crypto-related activities and shut down suspicious accounts.

Alipay, the ubiquitous payment platform owned by fintech giant Ant Group, said in a separate statement that it would set up a regulator monitoring system targeting key websites and accounts to detect illegal crypto-related transactions.

Alipay added it would blacklist any merchants involved in virtual currency transactions.

Alipay and Tencent-owned Wechat Pay had been listed as means of payment on the websites of some over-the-counter markets, where Chinese individuals buy cryptocurrencies with the Chinese yuan

ICBC, China’s biggest lender, cautioned the public in a statement against the risks of cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

As China ramped up its campaign against cryptocurrencies in recent weeks, bans on cryptomining have been issued in major bitcoin mining hubs, including Sichuan, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia.

Cryptomining is a big business in China, which accounts for over half of global bitcoin production.

China has also blocked a slew of cryptocurrency-related social media accounts, and barred the search for major cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance and Huobi on baidu.com and Twitter-like platform Weibo.

(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Alex Richardson)

Stocks Rebound At The Start Of The Week

Traders Buy Stocks After Sell-Off

S&P 500 futures are gaining ground in premarket trading as traders rush to buy stocks after the recent sell-off.

The yield of 10-year Treasuries has recently made an attempt to settle below 1.36% but lost momentum and rebounded towards 1.44%. It looks that traders rushed to buy U.S. government bonds to increase exposure to safe-haven assets, but optimism prevailed, and yields moved higher.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar is losing ground against a broad basket of currencies after the recent rally. Weaker dollar provided some support to precious metals so gold and silver are moving higher at the start of the week.

Cryptocurrencies Dive Amid Crackdown In China

China continued to put pressure on crypto mining and banned mining in Sichuan province. This move triggered a major sell-off in crypto markets. Bitcoin declined towards the support at $32,000 while Ethereum fell below the $2,000 level. Dogecoin was the biggest loser among major cryptocurrencies. Currently, it is trying to settle below the support at $0.2250.

It looks that the recent flight to safety in global markets served as an important catalyst for the current downside move, and traders preferred “safer” alternatives to cryptocurrencies.

It remains to be seen whether the current sell-off in crypto markets will have any notable impact on the stock market, but crypto-related stocks like MicroStrategy are under significant pressure in premarket trading.

WTI Oil Moves Higher After Hardline Candidate Wins Iran Election

WTI oil made an attempt to settle back above the $72 level after judge Ebrahim Raisi, who is under U.S. sanctions, won presidential election in Iran.

Traders bet that Iran nuclear deal negotiations may get more challenging after Raisi’s victory.  However, traders may be using political developments in Iran as an excuse to buy oil at higher levels, while the strongest drivers behind the recent rally are the robust rebound of oil demand and the successful implementation of OPEC+ deal.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

GameStop Names CEO Matt Furlong to Board

Furlong was named GameStop‘s CEO earlier this month, succeeding George Sherman who, the company said, also retired from the board.

Furlong oversaw a small but growing part of Amazon’s business as the country head for Australia, a role his LinkedIn profile said he assumed in May 2019.

GameStop has become one of the hottest and most visible “meme stocks” followed on social media after its meteoric rise in a Reddit-driven retail short squeeze that caught Wall Street off guard in January.

Top shareholder Ryan Cohen, who was made Gamestop’s chief technology office earlier in March, is driving the company’s transition into e-commerce and has been responsible for the shakeup in its top management.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

UK Rules Out Ditching ‘Triple Lock’ Pledge on State Pension Increases

British newspapers have reported that the government was looking at suspending the promise to increase pensions by whichever is higher of consumer price inflation, average earnings growth, or 2.5%. They said it could help pay for the cost of the government’s COVID-19 response.

“We are committed to the triple lock,” the spokesman said, when asked about the reports.

Due partly to distortions from the coronavirus pandemic, annual wages in the three months to April grew by an annual 5.6% – creating an extra 4 billion pound ($5.5 billion) annual cost for future pensions.

The promise to maintain the system for increasing pensions was in the Conservative government’s manifesto of pledges ahead of the 2019 election.

The spokesman also ruled out income tax rises. “There was a promise made at the election that we would not raise rates of income tax and when we stand by that,” he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; writing by Michael Holden and William James; editing by Alistair Smout)

Europe’s Wizz Air Expects to Fully Recover From Pandemic Next Year

(Fixes typo in headline, no other changes)

Speaking at the virtual Paris Air Forum, Jozsef Varadi repeated recent comments that the Hungary-based airline would fly more seats this summer than it was flying two years ago before the pandemic struck.

“From my perspective, 2022 should be a fairly robust year in terms of delivering not just the volume of traffic but also the financial performance attached to it,” he said.

“I’m looking at 2022 as a year of full recovery for Wizz Air.”

Speaking alongside Varadi, Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith said he had been pleasantly surprised at the demand among travelers visiting friends and family.

“We are hoping to run about 60-65% of capacity this summer.”

(Reporting by Laurence Frost and Alexander Cornwell, editing by Louise Heavens)

Octafx Ups the Leverage in Its Cryptocurrency Pairs Despite Stark Market Fluctuations

Two vivid and steep bitcoin corrections recently made the whole altcoin market plummet right down with it. Nevertheless, at the beginning of May, the hopes were still high after bitcoin had reached its new all-time high of over 60,000 USD in mid-April 2021.

All parties involved consider the first collapse from mid-May onwards as the harshest market crash since the infamous March 2020 fallout. Although the second correction also claimed many trading casualties, it was the first one that caught almost everybody off-guard. At the time of this writing, bitcoin is hovering around 36,000 USD.

Allegedly, insiders floated around Reddit and several other internet forums days before the crash began, in which they sought to make a credible case for an orchestrated market manipulation soon to shake retail investors and traders out of their positions, active orders, or spot bags. As a result of this disruption, many lost tremendous amounts of money, and the market’s fear index had reached record highs.

Tech-millionaire Elon Musk garners some love and much hate as he tweets along, making the public impression of having complete control over the crypto sphere, as well as bitcoin as its prime currency. Time will tell if this simple explanation amounts to anything. Perhaps, it is instead a collective effort of anonymous whales and institutional players, trying to salvage the best market conditions to position themselves long-term in the new infrastructure of future finance to come.

OctaFX decides to accommodate customer demand

Amid these historical fluctuations in the Bitcoin and altcoin markets, OctaFX decided to accommodate its clients with a leverage update:

The fintech company raised the leverage for all its cryptocurrency pairs from 1:10 to 1:25.

As a friendly reminder, the most-traded cryptocurrencies at OctaFX, ranked by popularity, are:

  • BTCUSD (Bitcoin/U.S. dollar)
  • XRPUSD (Ripple/U.S. dollar)
  • ETHUSD (Ethereum/U.S. dollar)
  • LTCUSD (Litecoin/U.S. dollar)
  • BCHUSD (Bitcoin Cash/U.S. dollar)

OctaFX decided upon meeting this customer demand after carefully analysing the client sentiment and attentively reviewing client communications.


OctaFX is a global Forex broker that provides online trading services worldwide since 2011. It offers a state-of-the-art trading experience to over 7 million trading accounts worldwide. The company is well-known for its prodigious IB program. Regularly engaged in charity activity, the broker takes its social responsibility very seriously. OctaFX has won more than 40 awards since its foundation, including the ‘Best ECN Broker 2020’ award from World Finance and, more recently, the 2021 ‘Decade of Excellence in Forex Asia’ award and the 2020 ‘Most Transparent Broker’ award from Global Banking & Finance Review and Forex Awards, respectively.

Stocks clamber up from 4-week lows, dollar eases from 10-week high

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON (Reuters) – Global stocks recovered some losses after hitting a four-week low on Monday as investors continued to digest last week’s surprise hawkish shift by the U.S. Federal Reserve, while the dollar stood just below a 10-week high.

Shares of banks, energy firms and other companies that tend to be sensitive to the economy’s fluctuations have fallen sharply since the Fed’s meeting on Wednesday, when the central bank caught investors off guard by anticipating two quarter-percentage-point rate increases in 2023.

Stocks in Asia took their cue from Wall Street’s falls on Friday but European shares bucked the trend, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index up 0.2% by afternoon trade in London. [.EU]

U.S. stock futures also moved firmly into positive territory, suggesting gains at the open on Wall Street later in the day. S&P 500 E-mini futures were up [.N]

“The interesting part about this correction is that it was lagged, so it took a while for the market to sort through the news,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management.

“The situation in reality is actually pretty good – the Fed is stabilizing inflation…Cyclical sectors may have overshot the market in the short term and so you may have a bit of pressure on the sector.”

Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.1%, France’s CAC 40 index gained 0.3% and Spain’s IBEX 35 fell 0.3%. Germany’s DAX was up nearly half a percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB index rose 0.2%.

MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks shares across 49 countries, was down 0.2%, trimming some losses after hitting its lowest since May 24.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields recovered to 1.4414% after falling to their lowest since Feb. 24 at 1.3540%.

The yield curve – measured by the spread between two- and 30-year yields – earlier hit its flattest since late January, and as investors brought forward rate hike expectations while lowering the longer-term outlook for growth and inflation.

The U.S. dollar index hovered just below the 10-week high of 92.408 touched on Friday, following its biggest weekly advance in more than a year.

“Last week’s dollar rally is a combination of expectations and positioning (sold dollars), a concern that the Fed is ‘behind the curve’ (and therefore must do more and earlier than expected), and that stock markets have started to lose ground which makes the dollar strengthen as the most defensive currency,” Filip Carlsson, junior quantitative strategist at SEB, said in a morning note.

“We still see this as a correction and not the beginning of a new trend.”

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard further fuelled the sell-off on Friday by saying the shift toward faster policy tightening was a “natural” response to economic growth and particularly inflation moving quicker than anticipated as the country reopens from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Fed’s pivot to begin the tightening discussion caught most by surprise, but markets began discounting this inevitable process months ago in our view,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a report.

“It’s exactly what the mid-cycle transition is all about, and fits nicely with our narrative for choppier equity markets and a 10-20% correction for the broader indices this year.”

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei led declines with a 3.6% drop and dipped below 28,000 for the first time in a month, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.4%. Chinese blue chips lost 0.7%.

Several Fed officials have speaking duties this week, including Chair Jerome Powell, who testifies before Congress on Tuesday. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde speaks before the European Parliament on Monday.

The euro traded above its lowest against the dollar since April 6 at $1.1896 on Monday, dropping from as high as $1.21457 last Tuesday.

Sterling recovered some ground, to trade 0.6% higher at $1.3880 after sliding to its lowest since April 16 on Friday. [GBP/]

Commodity-linked currencies have also suffered, with the Australian dollar hovering above a six-month low at $0.7495.

A stronger greenback has pressured cryptocurrencies too, with bitcoin falling 10% to around $31,930, while smaller rival ether lost 15% to around $1,903.

In commodities, gold rebounded 1.1% to $1,783 an ounce on Monday, looking to snap a six-day losing streak, but remained near the lowest since early May.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell to its lowest since April 15, following an 8.6% drop last week, the biggest weekly fall since March 2020.

Crude oil rose for a second day, underpinned by strong demand during the summer driving season and a pause in talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal that could indicate a delay in resumption of supplies from the OPEC producer.

Brent crude futures rose 0.1% to $73.56 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 0.1% to $71.74 a barrel.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Additional reporting by Kevin Buckland in Tokyo; Editing by Catherine Evans and Peter Graff)

Sterling Shoots Up One Cent After Falling Overnight Below $1.38

By Joice Alves

At 1120 GMT, the pound rose 0.6% versus a weakening dollar to $1.3880, after falling to $1.3786, its lowest of since April 16.

Last week the Fed signalled it would raise interest rates and end emergency bond-buying sooner than expected.

“I think what we’re seeing today is a minor retracement in high beta currencies across the board. The moves look tentative, however, as I don’t think the dust has fully settled in FX markets post-Fed,” said Simon Harvey, Senior FX Market Analyst at Monex Europe.

A more optimistic economic assessment from the Bank of England, which next meets on Thursday, could push sterling towards $1.40 quicker, he added.

Britain’s top central bank officials look set to remain divided over whether to pull the plug on their 875 billion-pound ($1.2 trillion) government bond purchase programme, after inflation hit its highest in nearly two years.

In the meantime, investors brought forward bets that the BoE would raise interest rates sooner than they thought previously, flattening the yield curve for British government bonds and mirroring a recent move in U.S. Treasuries.

Currency markets are fully pricing in a 30 basis point hike in rates by the BoE by December 2022.

Investors are also watching a dispute between Britain and the European Union over post-Brexit trade in the British province of Northern Ireland.

Versus the euro, sterling rose 0.3% to 85.68 pence, after closing on Friday its worst week against the single currency since April.

Data showed that asking prices for British homes between mid May and early June rose by 0.8% compared with a month before, the biggest rise for the time of year since 2015, property website Rightmove said.

(Reporting by Joice Alves; Editing by Giles Elgood and Alex Richardson)

Morrisons Leaps After $7.6 Billion Private Equity Offer Rejected

By James Davey

Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest grocer by sales behind market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, said on Saturday that it had rejected a proposed 5.52 billion pounds ($7.62 billion) cash offer from CD&R.

The approach underlines private equity’s growing appetite for supermarkets in Britain, attracted by their steady cash generation and freehold real estate assets.

Morrisons said CD&R’s offer of 230 pence per share, a 29% premium to Friday’s closing price, “significantly undervalued” the group and its prospects. Including net debt of 3.17 billion pounds, CD&R’s offer price gives Morrisons an enterprise value of 8.7 billion pounds.

Shares in Morrisons were up 56.7 pence to 235.2 pence at 1059 GMT, as some analysts said they expected CD&R to assess investor reaction before deciding on its next move.

Under British takeover rules CD&R, which has former Tesco boss Terry Leahy as a senior adviser, has until July 17 to announce a firm intention to make an offer or walk away.

Shares in rivals Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer rose as much as 3.2%, 5.7% and 4.1% respectively on hopes that the whole sector could be in play, analysts said, adding that some short sellers were also closing out positions.

Silchester and Columbia Threadneedle, Morrisons’ two largest investors, which Refinitiv data showed having stakes of 15% and 7.4% respectively, both declined to comment.

In addition to the possibility of other private equity players entering the fray there has long been speculation that online shopping giant Amazon, which has a partnership agreement with Morrisons, could emerge as a possible bidder.

Morrisons, unique among British supermarket groups in making over half of the fresh food it sells, trades from about 500 stores and has 118,000 staff, making it one of the country’s biggest private sector employers.

Britain’s opposition Labour Party warned on Sunday that a private equity acquisition of Morrisons could put jobs at risk.

Shopworkers union Usdaw, which represents Morrisons staff, had no immediate comment.

SECTOR IN FOCUS

Industry executives and some sector analysts believe the stock market has failed to recognise the inherent value in Britain’s listed supermarket groups.

They argue that if equity markets do not value them appropriately, acquirers will.

“Investors want a very binary story about knuckling down, keeping capex to a minimum and just becoming a cash machine,” one senior supermarket executive told Reuters.

Zuber and Mohsin Issa in February joined forces with private equity firm TDR Capital to buy a majority stake in Asda from Walmart in a deal valuing the group at 6.8 billion pounds.

And in April, Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky raised his stake in Sainsbury’s to almost 10%, fuelling bid speculation.

Shares in both Morrisons and Tesco closed below their pre-coronavirus pandemic levels on Friday.

While sales have soared at all British supermarket groups during the coronavirus crisis, their profits have fallen sharply because of the huge extra costs incurred.

($1 = 0.7243 pounds)

(Reporting by James DaveyAdditional reporting by Simon Jessop and Thyagaraju Adinarayan; Editing by David Goodman and Alexander Smith)

GSK to Boost Spending Power of Pharma Business Post Break-up

By Ludwig Burger

New GSK, the pharma business to be separated from its consumer product operations next year, will cut dividend payouts and shift some debt to the consumer unit, leaving scope for investments to revive its sluggish stock market performance.

GSK’s share price has fallen 14% over the past 12 months versus a 5% rise in the STOXX Europe 600 Health Care index, hit by a lack of fast-growing products and as patients deferred treatments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company is the world’s largest vaccine maker by sales, but has fallen behind rivals such as AstraZeneca in the race to develop a shot against the coronavirus.

Luke Miels, chief commercial officer at GSK, told Reuters that the market was underestimating the company’s value “both in terms of our growth prospects with the products that we have in the market now, and also our (drug development) pipeline”.

The company said in April it was looking at partnerships and deals with drug and vaccine developers, particularly in immunology and genetics.

Miels said key trial read-outs are due over the next two years, though it will take longer to see results from a more fundamental upgrade of research and development (R&D), gunning for therapy breakthroughs rather than incremental improvement.

“I think what we need to do is to give (investors) more confidence on commercial execution and give them more confidence on the quality of the assets in the pipeline,” said Miels.

GSK’s track record this year has been sobering. In oncology, compounds bintrafusp alfa and feladilimab, previously touted as potential billion-sellers, fell through in trials.

The loss of patent exclusivity on HIV drug dolutegravir looms at the end of 2027, with about 3 billion pounds in annual sales expected to vanish.

“Given the recent failures in the mid-stage pipeline… supplementing the internal R&D pipeline via additional collaborations or acquisitions makes strategic sense,” Berenberg analysts wrote in a note.

ONE BECOMES TWO

Expectation around the investor day has grown since a report in April that activist investor Elliott Management has taken a large stake in GSK. There has also been speculation about the future of Emma Walmsley, chief executive since 2017 and former head of the consumer products division.

GSK, whose consumer products include brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste, Advil pain killers and Nicorette gum, has a market valuation of more than 70 billion pounds ($97 billion), and a separately listed pharma business would be expected to be one of Britain’s bigger companies in its own right.

Analysts say the separation of the consumer products division, a joint venture with U.S. pharmaceuticals group Pfizer, could take the form of an initial public offering, with proceeds going to the innovative pharma business.

GSK has said the consumer products business will take on net debt worth 3.5 to 4 times its annual adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). That is up from 2 times for all of GSK currently.

The pharma business in turn will have lower debt.

“Post-separation, the balance sheet will be in a stronger position to execute on larger transactions should the opportunity or need arise,” said Louise Pearson, an analyst at brokerage Redburn.

To give itself even more financial wiggle room, GSK has flagged dividends will be cut from next year, with analysts projecting a reduction to about 40% of earnings, down from more than 80% this year.

“Continued investment in the pipeline ahead of (the 2022 split) is anticipated as management must convince the market that the Pharmaceuticals business can live without Consumer Healthcare,” Berenberg said.

Much will ride on trial results expected this year and next, including for a combination therapy with cancer drug Blenrep, for experimental anaemia treatment daprodustat to ease chronic kidney disease, and for novel antibiotic gepotidacin against urinary tract infections.

“Hopefully over the next couple of years the changes in R&D will be more visible and reflected in the share price,” said Miels.

($1 = 0.7231 pounds)

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Keith Weir and Jan Harvey)

FBS Won Best Mobile Trading Platform Europe 2021 Award

Operating under the CySEC license, FBS provides services recognized as very client-oriented and highly protected in the industry. Its state-of-the-art app named FBS Trader allows traders of any level to access the financial market at any time and place. The European Magazine, the Global Banking & Finance Awards organizer, rewarded FBS Trader’s excellence in the global business community by giving an honourable trophy of the Best Mobile Trading Platform Europe 2021.

The company is grateful to its clients for their trust and loyalty. Such support is the best driver to new heights, and it empowers FBS to keep developing.

Recently FBS Trader has been updated several times to make the user experience even more convenient. Such technical analysis indicators as the Moving Average and Bollinger Bands were added and new interface languages, including Polish, Romanian, and Dutch. Furthermore, the order overview became more detailed – additional information on instruments and conditions was placed.

FBS Trader app’s solutions suggested to its clients are innovative and accessible for everyday usage, making it popular all across Europe.

FBS is an acknowledged, CySEC-licensed international online Forex broker and the official trading partner of FC Barcelona. FBS is a company with a global outlook that serves clients in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the MENA region. The company’s primary focus lies in offering financial products for currencies, stocks, metals, and indices trading for clients with varied goals and backgrounds. With over 12 years in the field, the broker won over 60 international awards, including Best International Forex Broker, Best Forex Brand, and Most Progressive Forex Broker Europe.