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Thu. 18 Aug 2022, 8:25am ET Benzinga News, Small Cap, Top Stories

CNBC

Former Meta Employee And Mark Zuckerberg’s Sister Emphasizes On Evolution Of Web3, Metaverse For Higher Adoption

  • Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META) CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi Zuckerberg did not see a smooth and “complete decentralization” of Web3 while speaking at the Global Supertrends Conference 2022, CNBC reports.
  • Web3 refers to a system where users rather than companies own services and data. The former Meta executive saw Web3 as a hypothetical, future version of the internet based on blockchain technology, terming it as an “ideal utopia.” However, she did not see that happening, but chaos instead.
  • The founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media saw that various metaverses are now acting as their “walled garden,” in which users cannot use their assets across platforms.

Reuters

Following ‘WhatsApp’ Crackdown On Banks, Asset Managers Are On High Alert

  • In an effort to guarantee that staff members follow the rules when conducting business with clients remotely, asset managers are joining banks in tightening controls on personal communication apps like WhatsApp, owned by Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META), reported Reuters.
  • Regulators had previously started to crack down on using unauthorized messaging services to discuss potentially market-moving issues, but the issue gathered urgency during the pandemic.
  • Banks have constituted the majority of the companies investigated by the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for communications and record-keeping violations.

Tesla Model Y Delivery Wait Time Shortened In China: Here’s How Soon It Could Get Delivered

  • Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has reduced the delivery wait time for its Model Y in China to four-to-eight weeks, Reuters reported citing the Tesla China website. Prior to this, Tesla had indicated a wait time of eight to 12 weeks for Model Y post placing the order, the report said.
  • The electric vehicle maker had recently announced the deliveries of Model Y in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Production Line Upgrade: Tesla has finished a major upgrade of its production lines at the Shanghai plant. The firm is ramping up weekly output to achieve 22,000 units of Model 3 and Model Y, according to Reuters.

China Voices Displeasure Over US Chips Act; Warns Against Aggressive Standoff

  • China has opposed the U.S. Chips Act and assured aggressive measures to safeguard its legitimate rights when necessary.
  • Some provisions in the U.S. act restricted normal economic, trade, and investment activities of relevant firms in China, the country alleged.
  • The U.S. Chips Act barred companies vying for funding from materially expanding production of chips more advanced than 28-nm in China for ten years.

CVS Health, Walmart & Walgreens Ordered To Pay $650.6M In Opioid Case: Reuters

  • Pharmacy operators CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS), Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT), and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ: WBA) will be required to pay $650.6 million to two Ohio counties, Reuters reported.
  • A federal judge ruled on Wednesday gave the ruling regarding the damage done by the opioid epidemic.
  • The pharmacy chains have been found to have created a public nuisance in Lake and Trumbull counties by over-supplying addictive pain pills.

Wall Street Journal

Elliott Management Started Buying Swedish Match Stock After Philip Morris $16B Bid - What’s Next

  • Philip Morris International Inc (NYSE: PM) may have to increase its Swedish Match AB’s (OTC: SWMAY) $16 billion bid to gain full ownership of the smokeless-tobacco maker, writes Wall Street Journal.
  • Philip Morris wants to gain an edge over its competitors, including Altria Group Inc (NYSE: MO) and British American Tobacco PLC (NYSE: BTI), to dominate smoke-free tobacco products.
  • According to the WSJ report, since the companies announced their deal in May, hedge fund Elliott Management Corp has acquired an undisclosed stake in Swedish Match.

Amazon Prime Eyes To Poach Rival Film Executives To Boost Presence

  • Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) is amid a senior movie-studio executive hunt to helm its growing entertainment division, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • In March, Amazon closed the $6.5 billion acquisition of the MGM movie and television studio. Earlier this year, Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, MGM executives, quit Amazon to join Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc (NASDAQ: WBD).
  • Amazon Studios had conversations with several Hollywood leaders, including Netflix Inc’s (NASDAQ: NFLX) film head, Scott Stuber. Stuber has been instrumental in cementing Netflix’s status as the numero uno streaming company.

Amazon Succumbs To TikTok Fever After Meta, YouTube

  • Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) tested a feature in its app showing users a TikTok-style photo and video feed of products for shoppers to share with other users, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Amazon joins other major technology firms like Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META), and Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) that gave in to the TikTok popularized short video frenzy.
  • Amazon tested the portal under the internal name “Inspire,” appearing as a diamond widget on the home page of Amazon’s app as per Israeli-based artificial intelligence firm Watchful Technologies Ltd.

Bloomberg

PetroChina Mulls Separate Listing For Its Energy Marketing Business: Report

  • PetroChina Company Limited (NYSE: PTR) is reportedly considering its marketing and trading business and seeking a separate listing.
  • According to the annual report, the marketing division comprises refined products, including overseas, as well as crude oil, natural gas, and chemical products. It also includes some non-oil sales in PetroChina’s gas stations throughout the country, the report said. The business employed more than 37,000 people.
  • Bloomberg reported that China National Petroleum Corp, the state-owned parent of PetroChina, has asked external consultants to provide proposals on the feasibility of such a plan, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Benzinga

Cathie Wood Trims Tesla Stake Ahead Of Next Week’s Stock Split — Loads Up $11M In This Telehealth Stock

  • Cathie Wood-led Ark Investment Management bought 311,073 Teladoc Health Inc (NYSE: TDOC) shares valued at over $11 million, through four of its exchange-traded funds, according to the firm’s trading disclosure.
  • Teladoc is the fifth largest holding in Ark’s flagship fund Ark Innovation ETF ARKK, with a weight of 4.51%. ARKK holds more than 11 million shares in the company, valued at over $415 million.
  • Analyst Rating: Guggenheim recently downgraded Teladoc shares from Neutral to Sell with a price target of $25, according to Benzinga Pro.

Facebook, Twitter, Google Ordered By Vietnam To Store User Data Onshore And Set Up Physical Offices

  • As Vietnam tightens its cybersecurity rules, the government has asked tech companies to set up local offices and store users’ data locally.
  • What Happened: The new rules, issued in a decree on Wednesday, will take effect from Oct. 1 and require tech giants like Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) Google, Meta Platforms Inc’s (NASDAQ: META) Facebook, and Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) to set up physical offices in Vietnam and store data onshore.
  • An email sent to Google, Meta, and Twitter by Benzinga seeking comments didn’t elicit any response as of press time.

Vitalik Buterin Takes Aim At Ripple (XRP): ‘They Tried To Throw Us Under The Bus’

  • Ethereum ETH/USD co-creator Vitalik Buterin says he is glad that people are pushing against regulations that give privilege to ETH over other “legitimate cryptocurrencies” — but he singled out Ripple Labs associated XRP token saying they’ve “lost right to protection.”
  • Buterin’s comments were made in response to a tweet by Bankless DAO founder David Hoffman, who shared a help page from Canadian crypto trading platform Newton.
  • Buterin, a Canadian citizen, said while he had not dug into the details of what was going on and whether it was a platform’s “compliance decision” or a governmental mandate.

US Dept of Defense Ends Vaccine Supply Pact With Valneva For Viral Brain Infection

  • The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has decided not to exercise the second option year of the contract to supply Valneva SE’s (NASDAQ: VALN) Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccine IXIARO.
  • Due to the past and ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations, the DoD considers its current IXIARO supply levels sufficient to meet current needs.
  • The DoD has expressed interest in negotiating a new supply contract in 2023.

JPMorgan Sees Ethereum Merge Spelling $650M Revenue Opportunity For This Crypto Exchange

  • Research from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) finds that crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ: COIN) stands to gain significantly from the upcoming Ethereum ETH/USD Merge.
  • An increase in staking revenue after the Merge will have a positive impact on Coinbase, explained JPMorgan analyst Kenneth Worthington in a note seen by CoinDesk.
  • The bank estimates that Coinbase has a 15% stake in ETH assets, which exceeds its 7% share of the overall crypto ecosystem. This market share of ETH is likely geared towards institutional clients that are more likely to own Bitcoin BTC/USD and ETH.

UN Concludes Forced Labor Taking Place Among Uyghur, Kazakh, Other Minorities In China’s Xinjiang Region

  • The United Nations concluded that forced labor of members of minority groups had taken place in the controversial Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, despite China refuting claims.
  • U.N. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, in a Twitter post, shared his findings “based on an independent assessment of available information.”
  • “The Special Rapporteur regards it as reasonable to conclude that forced labor among Uighur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing has been occurring in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China,” the report shared by Obokata noted.

Volatility In Markets Increases Following Release Of Fed Minutes

  • U.S. stocks closed lower on Wednesday, amid a volatile session following the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting in July.
  • Major indices cut their losses after minutes from the Fed meeting were released, but they returned to previous lower levels later in the session.
  • Downbeat earnings results from Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) also weighed on overall market sentiment, with megacap growth stocks, including Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) also closing lower by around 1.9% on Wednesday.

Sidelining Xi Jinping’s Warnings, US And Taiwan To Formally Begin Trade Talks This Fall

  • The U.S. on late Wednesday announced that it began formal negotiation talks with Taiwan on a bilateral trade agreement to deepen economic ties, amid frequent warnings from China.
  • What Happened: The first round of trade talks with the island nation is set to take place “early this fall,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement.
  • U.S. deputy trade representative Sarah Bianchi said the talks would focus on “developing an ambitious road map for negotiations under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade.”

Bluebird’s Gene Therapy Scores US Approval For Genetic Blood Disorder, Probably The Most Expensive

  • The FDA has approved Bluebird bio Inc’s (NASDAQ: BLUE) Zynteglo (betibeglogene autotemcel), also known as beti-cel, a one-time gene therapy custom-designed for beta‑thalassemia.
  • The approval covers adult and pediatric patients who require regular red blood cell (RBC) transfusions.
  • The company said that Due to the complex nature of gene therapy, the treatment would be available exclusively at Qualified Treatment Centers (QTCs) and receive specialized training to administer Zynteglo.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons