(Reuters) -Coca-Cola Co thumped estimates for quarterly results on Monday as sales in Asia picked up following the reopening of stores and restaurants, but the beverage maker warned of a rocky road ahead due to growing COVID-19 cases in some markets. "Whilst we've got back above the line of flotation in March, there's no guarantee there won't be some extra degree of lockdowns in May or September or December that then puts pressure back on the business," Chief Executive Officer James Quincey told analysts. In the past few weeks, Latin America and Africa have slowed down vaccine distribution and India, one of the best performing regions in the first quarter, is seeing a surge in cases and has put in place localized lockdowns.
Taiwan has never sought to use foreign exchange rates to gain an unfair trade advantage, the central bank said on Sunday, after the U.S. Treasury said Taiwan tripped thresholds for possible currency manipulation under a 2015 U.S. trade law. Taiwan's tech-focused exports have soared during theCOVID-19 pandemic because of global demand for laptops, tablets and other equipment to support the work-from-home boom, driving its trade surplus with the United States and jacking up the value of the Taiwan dollar.
Bank chief Noel Quinn says the "new reality of life" is people will not be in the office five days a week.
SYDNEY (Reuters) -Oaktree Capital Group has proposed funding a A$3 billion ($2.3 billion) buyback by Australia's Crown Resorts Ltd of its founder's stake, setting up a clash with rival Blackstone Group for the troubled casino firm's future. Private equity giant Oaktree's offer of a "structured instrument" to help Crown buy back James Packer's 37% stake comes just a month after Blackstone lobbed an A$8 billion full takeover offer. Crown did not specify what Oaktree would receive under its proposal, which it said it was considering, along with Blackstone's offer.
(Bloomberg) -- Chinese delivery giant Meituan is seeking about $10 billion from the sale of new stock and convertible bonds as it doubles down on efforts to fight the likes of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in newer areas such as online groceries.The nation’s third-largest internet company is selling about 187 million shares at HK$265 to HK$274 in a top-up placement, as well as raising $400 million from shareholder Tencent Holdings Ltd., according to terms of the deal obtained by Bloomberg News. It’s the largest-ever sale of new shares by a Hong Kong-listed company, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Meituan is also selling about $3 billion in zero-coupon convertible bonds.The price range for the placement represents a discount of 5.3% to 8.4% to Monday’s closing price of HK$289.20. The convertible bonds are divided in two tranches, with Meituan selling as much as $1.48 billion in six-year notes and as much as $1.5 billion in seven-year paper, the terms show.The stock and bond sales come as Meituan grapples with the cost of competing against the likes of Alibaba and Pinduoduo Inc. in newer spheres such as community e-commerce and online groceries. The company has warned it will remain in the red for several more quarters despite record revenues as it spends heavily on new initiatives.“They are going into new areas including group purchases and those need a lot of capital and they need a war chest to compete,” said Kerry Goh, chief investment officer at Kamet Capital Partners Pte. “Valuations are still pretty decent compared to a year ago.”Meituan intends to use the proceeds from the offerings for technology innovations, including the research and development of autonomous delivery vehicles, drones delivery, and other cutting-edge technology, and general corporate purposes, the terms showed.READ: Meituan Flags More Losses After Delving Into Hot Commerce Arenas‘Well Received’Community buying is one of Meituan’s chief expansion areas, where buyers in the same neighborhood enjoy bulk discounts on fresh produce. But the firm faces entrenched competition from other Internet giants.“During the announcement of their results, the company mentioned that they need to invest a lot for future development,” said Steven Leung, an executive director at Uob Kay Hian in Hong Kong. “The market remains very cautious, but with an 8% discount to the last closing price, and also with very detailed plans, this will be very well received by the market.”That said, all three main ratings agencies lowered their outlook on Meituan after it reported earnings last month, with S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service saying that its large investments in community e-commerce would come at a heavy cost, generate negative free cash flow and dampen earnings.Fair RangeMeituan’s focus on developing fast-growing new businesses comes as China’s economic recovery has helped the world’s largest meal-delivery service increase orders, while its hotels and travel businesses have benefited from a rebound in domestic travel when the country reined in the pandemic.The company has begun using self-driving vehicles for grocery delivery in the Chinese capital since the Covid-19 outbreak last year, with at least 15,000 orders being completed so far, Wang Xing, the company’s chief executive officer, told analysts during a conference call in March. Wang said Meituan is also experimenting with how to deliver food using drones in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.Tencent is delving deeper into Meituan at a time global investors are souring on the Chinese tech sector due to heightened regulatory scrutiny. Meituan has lost some $123 billion of its value since a Feb. 17 high, pummeled by fears that Beijing’s crackdown on Jack Ma’s Internet empire will expand beyond Alibaba and Ant Group Co. to engulf other sector leaders like Tencent and Meituan.“Meituan’s placement price range is fair,” said Paul Pong, managing director at Pegasus Fund Managers Ltd. “After this placement, some short-term investors could sell the stock and shares could trade in a range of HK$250-HK$300 for a while. In the medium to longer term, online platform operators like Meituan and Tencent still have solid growth outlook.”Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners for both the bond and equity offerings. CLSA Ltd. and UBS Group AG are also joint bookrunners for the top-up placement.(Adds more details throughout.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Dogecoin briefly replaced XRP as the fourth-largest coin early Monday.
Dogecoin (CRYPTO: DOGE) has been hard to ignore lately, as the meme-based cryptocurrency rose to become the sixth-largest with over $46 billion in market cap. What Happened: With 7,000% year-to-date returns and considerable outperformance against several top cryptocurrencies, DOGE’s appeal to retail investors has steadily been on the rise. However, several crypto influencers and traders have cautioned against going “all-in” on DOGE, citing concerns of a few large holders controlling the majority of its supply. See also: How to Buy DOGE Over 65% of Dogecoins are distributed among just 98 wallets across the world, while the single largest wallet holds 28% of all Dogecoins. In fact, just five wallets control 40% of the coin’s supply. Essentially, around 100 people control the entire $46 billion DOGE market. “The scam is simple - Hold on to Dogecoin till there is enough traction after it multiplies, dump all coins and cash out - Become instant billionaires,” said Akand Sitra of cryptocurrency risk management platform TRM Labs. Why It Matters: Sitra’s analysis of DOGE’s supply distribution was possible due to the nature of blockchain transactions, which are available for anyone to see on the open distributed ledger. Some on-chain analytics of the top DOGE holders led experts to believe that the cryptocurrency’s supply is concentrated among just a few holders. “The Dogecoin bubble will burst by the end of this year, easily,” said Sitra. Other traders in the space echoed this sentiment, calling it the reason why they will never be in DOGE “no matter the gains.” Why I'm not in $DOGE and will never be no matter the gains. https://t.co/jFVU2yQf03 — QuartzHands (@NFTiepie) April 19, 2021 At press time, DOGE was trading at $0.3976, up 32% overnight and 394% in the past seven days. DOGE holders were preparing for April 20, where a large group of retail traders has predicted the coin will touch $0.69. See Also: Dogecoin Creator Defends Meme Crypto's Supply: Doesn't 'Matter For Price' Image: Ivan Radic via Flickr See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaDeFi Blue Chip Season? Here's What Cryptos Coinbase Employees Are Buying Right NowInvestors In Disbelief As DOGE Becomes Top 5 Crypto With B Market Cap© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
(Bloomberg) -- ESR Cayman Ltd. has agreed to buy a portfolio of warehouse and logistics assets in Australia from Blackstone Group for about A$3.8 billion ($2.9 billion) in the country’s biggest real estate transaction in five years.The Hong Kong-listed property manager partnered with GIC Pte. for a newly-formed vehicle in the acquisition of the assets, according to a press release on Sunday. The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund will contribute 80% of equity, while ESR will account for the rest. The portfolio consists of 45 assets held by Blackstone’s Milestone Logistics.The announcement capped a weeks-long process started in January, in which Blackstone received more than 10 first-round bids for Milestone Logistics. The private equity firm had also considered an initial public offering for the portfolio, which could have been among the largest first-time share sales in Australia.At $3 billion, the sale would mark the largest real estate transaction in Australia in five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It underscores the growth in warehousing, which has become one of the most sought-after property classes, partly because of the surge in online shopping during the pandemic.The logistics portfolio was assembled by Blackstone over dozens of individual transactions that began with a deal with Australian developer Goodman Group in 2016. The assets, which count Woolworths Group Ltd. and Australian Postal Corp. among clients, are expected to provide an initial yield of 4.5% with a 6.9-year weighted average lease expiry.“We think the e-commerce trend in Australia is still lagging the rest of the developed world,” Chris Tynan, Blackstone’s head of real estate for Australia, said in a phone interview. He expects online shopping’s penetration rate in Australia, which accounts for about 13% of total consumer spending, will catch up with most other regions including the U.S., the U.K., Korea and China over time.The sale of the Australian portfolio comes as Blackstone has switched its focus to the so-called “last mile” element in the logistics sector, Tynan said. The U.S. investment firm in 2019 started a pan-European logistics real estate unit Mileway that invests in and operates warehouses in and around cities, which are favored for their proximity to consumers’ homes and seen as more resilient to fluctuations in demand given a shortage of supply. In December, the unit agreed to buy some Swedish warehouse assets for 18.1 billion kronor ($2.1 billion), taking its portfolio across Europe to more than 14 billion euros ($16.7 billion).ESR raised about $1.8 billion in a Hong Kong initial public offering in 2019. The Australian deal will take ESR’s assets under management in the country to A$7.9 billion. Shares in ESR have risen about 36% in the past year, giving it a market value of about $9.8 billion.(Updates with more details and Blackstone’s interview from third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Stocks were down Monday morning even after encouraging comments on Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine from Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The Bank and the Treasury set up a taskforce to examine how a central bank digital currency would work.
There's speculation about forgiving $10,000 or $50,000 per person, but no real plan yet.
The IRS commissioner now says the monthly payments to families will indeed start in July.
GameStop shares were on a tear early Monday, as Kieth "RoaringKitty" Gill announced he was doubling his stake in the firm and CEO George Sherman said he is stepping down.
The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company said retail sales, a measure of demand at its dealerships, surged 30% to 32,800 motorcycles in North America in the first quarter, its first increase in six years. Since the middle of last year, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company has recalibrated its strategy by focusing on big bikes, traditional markets such as the United States and Europe, as well as older and wealthier customers. In February, the motorcycle maker unveiled a new turnaround plan, targeting low double-digit earnings growth through 2025.
(Bloomberg) -- A planned $3.1 billion merger of two Australian miners is set to create one of the world’s biggest producers of lithium products key to meeting fast-growing global demand for electric vehicle batteries.The deal between Orocobre Ltd. and Galaxy Resources Ltd. is the biggest mining sector deal of the year so far, according to Bloomberg data, with shares of both companies closing at the highest in three years in Sydney. The merger would create the world’s fifth-biggest producer of lithium chemicals, the refined form of the raw materials that are used to make electric vehicle batteries.Miners to battery makers have rushed to secure lithium supply amid expectations the EV frenzy will create a structural deficit as soon as this year, and prices are already roaring back after a three-year slump. Battery demand is expected to surge tenfold by 2030, according to BloombergNEF, as the global clean-energy transition accelerates.The new company “is going to be a globally relevant player in terms of lithium chemical production,” said Reg Spencer, head of mining research at Canaccord Genuity Australia Ltd. He said that it could grow to be number three producer by 2025 if all growth projects go ahead.The A$4 billion deal values Galaxy at about A$3.53 a share, a 2.2% discount to Friday’s close, and has the backing of both company boards. Orocobre’s Chief Executive Officer Martin Perez de Solay will head the new group.Orocobre will offer 0.569 of its shares for every Galaxy share and will own 54.2% of the merged company, with Galaxy holding 45.8%. Orocobre was advised on the deal by UBS AG, while Galaxy’s adviser was Standard Chartered Plc. The deal is targeted for completion in mid August 2021.Diverse AssetsThe merged group, which has yet to be formally named, will have its headquarters in Buenos Aires, but its primary share listing will remain in Australia.The deal gives the companies a geographically diversified set of assets. Orocobre sells lithium carbonate from its Olaroz operation in Argentina, while Galaxy has a mine in Australia and growth projects in Canada and South America.Lithium raw materials are most commonly extracted at brine operations which pump liquid from underground reservoirs into vast evaporation ponds, or in traditional hard rock mines. China is the biggest player in electric vehicle batteries, with the majority of the world’s production capacity, and has a stranglehold over processing of the required commodities.The growth profile of the combined group’s existing assets put it on track to grab a 10% share of the lithium market over the next five to seven years, Perez de Solay said in an interview, backed by “a strong balance sheet that will enable us not only to deliver those projects but to continue to grow.” Top global lithium producers currently include Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA and Albemarle Corp.Argentina RiskCanaccord’s Spencer said there were risks in having the largest part of an operation in Argentina, given its history of geo-political and financial volatility, although Orocobre’s local management team had so far proven adept at navigating those risks.“From Galaxy’s perspective, we were looking for a partner which had deep in-country Argentinian experience and we’ve got that in Orocobre,” said Simon Hay, Galaxy’s CEO, who will take on the role of president of international business in the new organization. The merger will help to de-risk Galaxy’s Sal de Vida growth project in the South American country, he said.(Updates to add lithium chemicals and processing information in second, ninth paragraphs.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
The price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies was climbing on Monday, after a rough weekend that resulted in the biggest drop since February.
(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to respond to the latest round of U.S. sanctions threats as he has to past ones: by speeding his drive to make Russia’s economy more self-sufficient.In the seven years since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Putin’s government and central bank have stripped back the country’s exposure to dollars, shifted assets out of the U.S. and sold a smaller share of its debt to foreigners.“The Americans are saying: be careful or we could do more, but Russia is just going to continue down the path toward economic autarky,” said Elina Ribakova, deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance in Washington.The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is keeping the threat of sanctions hanging over Russia even after a sweeping round of penalties imposed last week. On Sunday, the U.S. warned of “consequences” if jailed opposition activist Alexey Navalny dies in prison.These four charts show how Putin has responded to past rounds of sanctions by increasing Russia’s economic isolation.The share of gold in Russia’s $581 billion international reserves jumped above dollars for the first time on record last year following a multi-year drive to reduce exposure to U.S. assets. The precious metal made up 24% of the central bank’s stockpile as of the end of September 2020, the latest date for which the breakdown is available. The share of dollar assets was 22%, down from more than 40% in 2018.That trend also shows up in the share of Russia’s international reserves held in the U.S., which plummeted to just under 7% by the end of September, down from about 30% before the Crimea annexation. Most of the shift happened in the second quarter of 2018 just after sanctions on aluminum giant United Co. Rusal revealed how vulnerable Russia was to sanctions.What Our Economists Say...Russia’s resilience to successive waves of sanctions provides a false sense of security. With the U.S. running out of options, the next round could be more disruptive, and the measures already in place are holding back trade and investment.-- Scott Johnson, Bloomberg EconomicsOf course, there’s only so much that Russia can do without cutting itself off entirely from the global economy. But officials in Washington are also restrained by the fact that if they go too far (as they did with the Rusal sanctions that were later revoked), they risk sending tremors through global markets.Acting on a pledge by Putin to “de-dollarize” trade, Russia has been slowly cutting back on use of the greenback in its exports with the European Union, China and India. The euro has almost overtaken the dollar in Russia’s trade with the EU and has already surpassed it in exports to China. About two-thirds of Russia’s exports to India, meanwhile, are paid for in rubles.How Virus-Panicked Markets Showed Dollar’s Still King: QuickTakeLast week’s penalties included a ban on purchases of bonds on the primary market, so the next big targets could be secondary-market debt and Russian banks’ access to the financial messaging system used for most international money transfers. Russia is already looking for alternatives to the system, known as SWIFT, to make itself less vulnerable, though attempts so far haven’t led to much.One reason the Finance Ministry wasn’t too concerned about the latest sanctions measure on government debt is that Russia has mostly been selling to local banks at its weekly auctions anyway. Borrowing was ramped up during the pandemic even though foreign demand was weak, which increased the overall size of the market and pushed down the share of foreigners.U.S. banks can still buy new debt on the secondary market after the penalties come into force in mid-June. Russia is “well positioned” for a near term market disruption because it has a high cash buffer and demand from local banks is “robust,” Fitch Ratings said in a research note published late on Friday.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Global oil markets are stressed, not only due to OPEC+ or Iran JCPOA issues but also because international financials are predicting gloomy pictures for oil demand.
More employers are actively recruiting job candidates, even for low- and middle-level white collar jobs as fewer answer ads during COVID crisis.
When Robinhood suddenly set buying restrictions at the height of the GameStop trading frenzy in the early months of 2021, users reacted with fury. April19 is the initial court date following a judicial panel’s decision to bunch together nearly 40 lawsuits — and possibly more — in front of one Miami federal judge who will handle the “multi-district litigation.”