Investor Relations Week: Apple’s valuation of $ 3 billion, China Mobile listing in Shanghai and investor pressure on vaccine distribution

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– Apple briefly turned into a $ 3 billion company this week – the first company to cross the threshold – before the valuation fell back a little to $ 2.99 billion, reported CNBC (and just about everyone ). Apple broke the barrier when its stock price rose 2.5% on Monday to $ 182.86, although it closed at $ 182.01. Apple has tripled its valuation in less than four years. Although “the milestone is mostly symbolic,” the news site said it showed “investors remain bullish on Apple stock and its ability to grow.” Later in the week, CNBC said that Warren Buffett’s “out-of-character bet” on Apple – Berkshire Hathaway began buying Apple shares in 2016 and by mid-2018 had accumulated a 5% stake in the maker. ‘iPhone – had made him over $ 120 billion on paper.

– China Mobile began trading in Shanghai this week, after raising $ 7.7 billion in what the BBC said was China’s largest public offering in a decade. Shares of the company opened 9.4% higher before ending the first day of trading flat at just 0.5% higher. China Mobile – along with its smaller rivals China Telecom and China Unicom – was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in January 2021 after “a Trump-era decision to restrict investment in Chinese technology companies.” The other two mobile telephone operators had already opted for domestic exchanges.

– A group of leading international investors said pharmaceutical companies should prioritize global access to Covid-19 vaccines and tie executive compensation to fair distribution, Financial Ttime (paywall) reported. Sixty-five institutional investors representing more than $ 3.5 billion in assets under management have written to major pharmaceutical companies urging them “to integrate the global availability of vaccines into the compensation policy for officers and directors.”

Investors said in the letter: “It is clear that today a large part of the world’s population still does not have sufficient and equitable access to vaccines. A pandemic [that] remains unchecked in many parts of the world is and should be high on our agenda as global investors, as well as for governments and companies in which we invest. ‘

– Investors have gutted shares of many tech companies that had surged during the pandemic, reported the FT Wednesday, because what he described as “the imminent specter of an interest rate hike has prompted them to buy into companies more closely linked to the economic recovery.” The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index closed 3.3% lower on Wednesday, its worst day since February 2021, as the sell-off in the $ 22 billion U.S. Treasury bond market intensified.

The ‘fierce rotation’ of tech stocks since the start of the year, which has favored stocks from banks and large industrial groups, has also been propelled by expectations that the Omicron Covid-19 variant will be less disruptive than the strains previous virus. “Spec-tech is wrecking”, the FT quoted Hani Redha, portfolio manager at PineBridge Investments, referring to unprofitable “speculative” technology companies with high valuations that are hit the hardest.

– Nikkei Asia said China is preparing to implement new rules to increase its oversight of Chinese platform companies seeking to list on foreign stock markets. The move is the latest by China in its plan to increase control over its “sprawling tech sector.” China’s Cyberspace Administration (CAC) said the new rules take effect on February 15 and require platform companies with data on more than one million users to undergo a security review before listing their shares. abroad. “With stock quotes, there is a risk that key information infrastructure, master data, important data or a large amount of personal information will be affected, controlled or used maliciously by foreign governments,” Nikkei Asia said quoting CAC in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal (paying) said the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is considering proposing new rules on how companies disclose their expenses. He also plans to come up with some significant changes to his long-term program this year. Over the past few months, the FASB has received more than 500 letters in which companies, investors, academics and other stakeholders have shared their views on what it should focus on. Many financial executives and investors want him to write rules on how to account for cryptocurrency assets and on financial instruments related to ESG issues. In either case, there are no specific rules that companies can follow.

– The EU has proposed to treat investments in nuclear power and natural gas as similar to renewables in the coming years as part of efforts to achieve a carbon neutral economy, but the approach is criticized by some governments of the Member States, according to the WSJ. The European Commission proposal sets out changes to what counts as an investment in environmentally sustainable energy. Known as the “green taxonomy,” it is closely watched by investors and industries, including power generation, transportation, and manufacturing.

– Financial News (paywall) reported that major Wall Street banks took their largest share of overall transaction costs from European competitors in 2021, as revenues “hit a record $ 128 billion” Last year. “US investment banks have strengthened their lead over their European competitors in a year when [M&A] and activity in the equity markets spurred the hottest streak on record for traders, ”he said.

– The WSJ reported that since the emergence of the Omicron variant, Wall Street banks have held back workers’ return to the office. Banks hope the hiatus will be short-lived but, even after Omicron’s cut, they could find themselves facing a deeper problem. Many of their employees have become accustomed to more flexible working arrangements and are unwilling to return to the office full time. The unfolding of their return-to-work experience could pave the way for other white-collar industries.

– Elsewhere, CNN reported that New York City Mayor Eric Adams was unhappy with the return to remote work by Wall Street banks and other large employers. “We have to open up,” he said. “I need my city to open up. And we need to be safe, we need to double the vaccinations and the boosters. We need to double the tests. But we need to rethink our thinking about how we live with Covid. Adams is concerned that empty offices will harm the larger ecosystem of businesses that depend on office workers and business travelers, including dry cleaners, restaurants and hotels.

– The Philippine Stock Exchange canceled trading on Tuesday due to a technical issue early in the session, Nikkei Asia reported. The stock operator said that 43 of the 125 brokerage firms registered with it could not connect to the exchange’s trading engine and the news agency said that under the rules of the exchange operator , it can suspend trading if a third of the brokerage firms cannot access the system. The halt came after the larger Philippine index fell 1.4% on Monday, marking the worst stock market opening since 2016, “weighed down by the rise in Covid-19 infections that prompted the government to tighten the restrictions.

– In Japan, the FT reported that Toshiba’s plan to split into three companies “risked an early derailment” after one of its biggest investors called for a special meeting to vote on the split and “restart talks with potential buyers so that the whole of the conglomerate is private “. The request for EGM came from Singapore-based fund 3D Investment Partners, which, with a 7.6% stake, is Toshiba’s second-largest investor. The move puts the Japanese conglomerate “on the path to yet another potentially deadly clash with activist shareholders,” the newspaper said.


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