• Bloomberg

    PG&E Has No Intention of Paying People for Blackout Right Now

    (Bloomberg) -- The millions of Californians who were plunged into darkness during an unprecedented blackout last week shouldn’t expect a check in the mail from bankrupt utility giant PG&E Corp. anytime soon. When asked by a state regulator on Friday whether the utility plans to pay back customers for the costs of the outage, PG&E utility chief Andrew Vesey said the company hasn’t “committed to making those reimbursements.” It’s not “our intention to undertake a reimbursement,” he said at a meeting in San Francisco.California Governor Gavin Newsom had called on PG&E to refund residential customers affected $100 each and businesses $250 for the shutoff. Vesey said the company would be open to talking with regulators about the idea at a later date.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    California utility sees decade of power cuts to avoid wildfires

    Northern Californians can expect widespread power cuts aimed at preventing wildfires for a decade while Pacific Gas & Electric upgrades wires systems, cuts back trees and takes other safety measures, the utility's chief executive said on Friday. Bill Johnson, who became CEO of bankrupt PG&E Corp earlier this year, told an emergency meeting with the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that recent power outages included lack of information and hardships that cannot be repeated.

  • Bloomberg

    PG&E to California: How About You Try Calling the Next Blackout?

    (Bloomberg) -- The chief of California utility giant PG&E Corp. has a suggestion for those state officials attacking the company over an unprecedented blackout it orchestrated last week to prevent wildfires: Why don’t you try making the call next time?Bill Johnson, chief executive officer of the embattled power company, posed the idea in a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday -- just before attending a meeting in San Francisco where he was blasted by state regulators. In his letter, Johnson said perhaps the state’s utility commission or its fire agency should make future decisions on whether to turn off the lights. Currently, that responsibility lies with three PG&E vice presidents.Johnson noted that PG&E’s analysis of the event went unchallenged at an inter-agency meeting ahead of the blackout, which plunged more than 2 million people into darkness. “There was consensus,” he said. And the company said it doesn’t intend to reimburse affected customers as Newsom had proposed that it do earlier this week.At the meeting on Friday, California’s utility regulator wasn’t buying Johnson’s idea. The company’s shutoff has drawn outrage from residents and state officials who say the blackout was more extensive than necessary and wasn’t properly communicated. Banks, offices, restaurants, pharmacies, grocery stores and others were forced shut. Traffic lights went down. Government agencies hauled out costly backup generators to keep critical operations running. In all, the economic impact may have topped $2.6 billion.“I can tell you, you guys failed on so many levels on pretty simple stuff,” California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer said at the meeting. “This isn’t hard.”‘Digging Deep’Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma described Johnson’s idea of leaving future decisions in the state’s hands as “looking to give somebody else the responsibility versus digging down deep and looking at what meaningful changes need to be made.”Johnson insisted that he wasn’t trying to evade responsibility but to bolster the public’s confidence in decisions made. “There is commentary out there that we can’t be trusted,” he said. “If the decision authority goes somewhere else, we would still do all the analysis.”Others have raised the idea since the blackout. When asked about a state-level decision last week, Newsom himself would only call it an “interesting question” and “one we’ve asked ourselves on multiple occasions.”Two consecutive years of deadly wildfires sparked by PG&E’s power lines during high winds drove the company into bankruptcy in January, facing $30 billion in liabilities. Johnson told the commission on Friday that cutting power last week may have helped prevent another disastrous blaze. After the winds subsided, PG&E found more than 100 instances of damaged equipment.Poor Execution“We didn’t have any catastrophic fires in northern and central California, and that was the sole purpose of the shutoff,” Johnson told the commission Friday.He conceded however that the blackout wasn’t executed as well as it could’ve been. Local governments said they received conflicting information from PG&E representatives. A group of county and city officials compared the experience in a filing to “battling the Hydra” and said their liaisons were forced to sit “alone in a conference room” separated from the company’s emergency operations center by three security gates.PG&E executives including Johnson acknowledged that they need to improve their communication and coordination with agencies -- because last week’s blackout won’t be the last. Johnson told commissioners that it will probably take ten years for PG&E to shore up its grid enough so that shutoffs can be “ratcheted down significantly.”To contact the reporters on this story: David R. Baker in San Francisco at dbaker116@bloomberg.net;Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Barrons.com

    Philip Morris and 9 More Stock Picks Using Bernstein’s Quant-Aided Analysis

    Bernstein Research published its latest Quant+Fundamental stock picks. Three names are holdovers from April: Philip Morris, CVS Health, and Southwest Airlines.

  • Barrons.com

    Argo Group, Gamestop, and Verso

    Voce Capital Management disclosed on Oct. 15 that it held 1,863,557 shares of the property and casualty insurer, equal to 5.4% of Argo’s outstanding stock. Its recommendations include the removal of the five longest-serving directors, the election of independent directors to at least partially fill the vacated seats, and the creation of a special committee that “will respond to the SEC subpoena” and conduct a “comprehensive investigation, with the assistance of an outside law firm, into any misappropriation of corporate assets,” along with any other misconduct.

  • PG&E CEO: Power shutdowns could be part of Bay Area life for next decade
    American City Business Journals

    PG&E CEO: Power shutdowns could be part of Bay Area life for next decade

    The utility's CEO apologized for this month's power shutdown to avoid wildfires, but said it could take up to 10 years before such actions are significantly reduced.

  • Zynga (ZNGA) Stock Moves -0.16%: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Zynga (ZNGA) Stock Moves -0.16%: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, Zynga (ZNGA) closed at $6.23, marking a -0.16% move from the previous day.

  • Will Twitter (TWTR) Stock Continue Its 2019 Success After Q3 Earnings?
    Zacks

    Will Twitter (TWTR) Stock Continue Its 2019 Success After Q3 Earnings?

    Twitter (TWTR) is set to report its third quarter results on Thursday, October 24 before the opening bell.

  • 'Money for Nothin': Have We Met Dire Straits?
    GuruFocus.com

    'Money for Nothin': Have We Met Dire Straits?

    There is a song being played in the US economy, and those same baby boomers are rocking out on the lowest interest rates of the last 80 years Continue reading...

  • Snap Stock Upgraded by Bank of America—What’s Next?
    Market Realist

    Snap Stock Upgraded by Bank of America—What’s Next?

    On October 17, Snap stock closed at $13.78, or 0.85% higher. At that closing price, Snap had a market capitalization of $19.2 billion.

  • Benzinga

    Why MKM Is Neutral On These 3 Social Media Stocks

    Social media users have plenty to type about these days, but not every platform is buzzing. Snap demonstrated strong execution over the last year, and it’s poised to profit near-term from the Android app, the launch of a gaming platform, a sales reorganization and premium content partnerships.

  • Centene, WellCare merger gets approval from five more states, bringing the total to 24
    American City Business Journals

    Centene, WellCare merger gets approval from five more states, bringing the total to 24

    Centene Corp. and Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans Inc.’s planned $17.3 merger has gained the approval of five more states.  Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Ohio and Texas join 17 other states that approved of St. Louis-based Centene Corp’s (NYSE: CNC) acquisition of WellCare (NYSE: WCG). This latest round of approvals brings the total count of insurance departments that have signed off on the merger to 24. "We are making important progress in our merger process and are pleased that state insurance regulators continue to see the benefits that our combination will bring to recipients and communities," Michael F. Neidorff, Centene's chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

  • Snap's (SNAP) New Dynamic Ads Target E-commerce Advertisers
    Zacks

    Snap's (SNAP) New Dynamic Ads Target E-commerce Advertisers

    Snap announces new advertising product, Dynamic Ads to boost advertisement revenues from retail, e-commerce and other direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands.

  • Facebook's (FB) Watch to Get Exclusive Shows From FOX Sports
    Zacks

    Facebook's (FB) Watch to Get Exclusive Shows From FOX Sports

    Facebook's (FB) Watch to receive sports-related digital shows and content from recent partnership with Fox Sports amid the intensifying sports streaming battle.

  • What's in Store for Las Vegas Sands (LVS) in Q3 Earnings?
    Zacks

    What's in Store for Las Vegas Sands (LVS) in Q3 Earnings?

    Las Vegas Sands' (LVS) third-quarter 2019 top line is anticipated to reflect decline in revenues at Sand Cotai Central.

  • Barrons.com

    Snap Stock Turns Down Ahead of Earnings Even After an Upgrade

    Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Tim Post writes that a recent selloff in the shares provides a buying opportunity ahead of third-quarter earnings.

  • Snap (SNAP) to Report Q3 Earnings: What's in the Cards?
    Zacks

    Snap (SNAP) to Report Q3 Earnings: What's in the Cards?

    Snap's (SNAP) third-quarter results are expected to reflect benefits from initiatives related to original shows and innovative features in Snapchat amid stiff competition.

  • American City Business Journals

    These 24 Bay Area drug and diagnostics companies quietly raised nearly $3B this year

    While initial public offerings get most of the splash, public companies also are raking in cash with follow-on offerings. How long will the Wall Street spigot stay open?

  • MarketWatch

    Snap stock rises after Bank of America turns bullish

    Shares of Snap Inc. are up 1.3% in Friday morning trading after Bank of America Merrill Lunch analyst Justin Post upgraded the stock to buy from neutral. He said that Wall Street "appears to be concerned on high 3Q [daily-active-user] growth expectations" but that he's less concerned given his projection for strong international Android downloads and better engagement with Discover content on the platform. With the launch of eight new Snap shows this fall, Post has increased conviction that Snap will be able to boost its average revenue per user as it benefits from the secular shift of TV ad dollars to online platforms. Post has an $18 price objective on the stock, which has climbed 154% so far this year as the S&P 500 has increased 20%.

  • Benzinga

    Analysts Remain Bullish On WWE, Cheer Early Ratings For 'Smackdown' On Fox

    World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) shares are down 26.95% in the past six months as the stock’s TV renewal catalysts have faded and new competition has emerged. On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne reiterated his Overweight rating and $85 price target for WWE. Swinburne said WWE has simply been struggling to meet high expectations in the past two quarters, but he said little has changed about the company’s fundamental outlook.

  • Benzinga

    Bank Of America Cites Ad Prospects, Content Growth In Snap Upgrade

    Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) has seen steady gains year to date. This is one factor informing Bank of America’s upgrade. “The Street appears to be concerned on high 3Q DAU [daily active user] growth expectations and 4Q DAU weakness given recent Ad Manager checks that suggest declines in Sept/Oct ad user reach,” the analysts wrote in a note.

  • Snap earnings: Riding the Android redesign to grow its user base
    MarketWatch

    Snap earnings: Riding the Android redesign to grow its user base

    The buzz over “baby-face” filters has faded, so Snap Inc. will be looking to prove that it’s grown up.

  • Is Boston Scientific's (NYSE:BSX) Share Price Gain Of 200% Well Earned?
    Simply Wall St.

    Is Boston Scientific's (NYSE:BSX) Share Price Gain Of 200% Well Earned?

    The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put...

  • After Years of Fiery Hell, California Gets Less of a Scorching in 2019
    Bloomberg

    After Years of Fiery Hell, California Gets Less of a Scorching in 2019

    (Bloomberg) -- Mother Nature has given a bit of a break to California during the 2019 wildfire season, but firefighters say the threat remains in force.Only about 163,000 acres have burned this year, a fraction of the 632,000 or so scorched in the same period last year. A wet, snowy winter led to a widespread greening in the spring, signaling there would be plenty of tinder around after a hot, dry summer. But the landscape stayed relatively moist after clouds moored above the Sierra Nevadas in May slowed the snow melt.With weather as an ally, firefighters were able to spend more time finding and containing hot spots before they spread. Meanwhile, PG&E Corp. has suggested its blackout of 2 million people this month may also have helped. After the cutoffs, the company said it found more than 100 instances of wind-driven equipment damage that could have caused fires.“How we warm up and how we dry out are pretty important on how we set up the fire regime for the rest of the year,” said Mike Anderson, a state climatologist in Sacramento. “This year our heat didn’t show up until August. We actually caught a break.”Two years of wildfires helped push PG&E, the state’s biggest utility owner, into bankruptcy after its equipment was identified as the cause of raging blazes that included the Camp Fire in November 2018 that killed 86 people and destroyed an entire town. This month, the company responded by cutting power to residents across northern and central California to make sure its equipment didn’t cause harm once again.While that move has faced fierce criticism, PG&E crews inspecting more than 27,500 miles (44,257 kilometers) of power lines after the blackout found wind damage that included trees tangled with power lines and utility poles knocked to the ground, according to spokesman Jeff Smith.“Had we not shut off power, this type of damage could have sparked a fire,” PG&E Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in an opinion story in Thursday’s San Francisco Chronicle. “In fact, vegetation contacting lines was the very cause of a number of fires in the North Bay two years ago.”Still, the consensus among forecasters and firefighters is that neither the state nor its utilities are out of the danger zone yet.The wildfire season runs into winter, when about 90% of the state’s rain and snow descends. In the meantime, while the state’s bone-dry season was delayed, it wasn’t eliminated. Very low humidity levels combined with high winds rolling down mountain sides -- the “Santa Ana” winds in Southern California, and the “Diablos” in the north -- remain a threat for wildfires ahead.Late season blazes can be very dangerous. In December 2017, for instance, the Thomas fire covered 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, destroying more than 1,000 structures.“Everyone who is commenting on this year is doing so with their fingers crossed,” said Keith Gilless, dean emeritus of the U.C. Berkeley College of Natural Resources, in a telephone interview.The concern now is focused on as many as 147 million dead trees still standing in California’s forests that were killed by a six-year drought earlier in the decade and a subsequent infestation of bark beetles, said Scott McLean, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection, commonly called Cal Fire.California this year had 400 extra seasonal firefighters to help tamp down spot fires and implement prescribed burns to limit the amount of tinder in key areas, according to McLean. “It’s hard to say what the rest of this year is going to bring,” he added. “We probably should see more fire activity into November at some point.”To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net;David R. Baker in San Francisco at dbaker116@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net, Reg Gale, Steven FrankFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • TheStreet.com

    Snap Gets Upgrade to Buy at Bank Of America

    B of A's Justin Post has a 'higher conviction' on expansion of average revenue per user.