Market News Update November 10th (DIS) (WEED:CA) (META) (BLK) (WMT)

Canopy Growth’s Resilience Shows as Second-Quarter Core Loss Narrows

Leading pot producer Canopy Growth has reported a smaller adjusted core loss for the second quarter, showcasing the positive impact of cost-cutting measures. The company’s strategic focus on reducing costs has resulted in a reduction of an additional C$54 million during the reported quarter, contributing to a significant 80% decrease in operating expenses to C$30.43 million. Despite a 21% decline in net revenue to C$69.6 million due to the company’s exit from the retail Canadian business, Canopy Growth’s adjusted core loss narrowed to C$11.9 million for the quarter, compared to a loss of C$56.4 million in the same period last year. The company’s financial discipline and adaptability to market conditions position it well for continued success.

Meta Platforms Expands Presence in China Through Tencent Deal

In a strategic move, Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, has entered into a deal with Tencent to sell a new, low-cost virtual reality (VR) headset in China. This marks Meta’s return to a market where its flagship platforms, Facebook and Instagram, are currently blocked. The deal designates Tencent as the exclusive seller of Meta’s headsets in China, providing Meta with an opportunity to compete in a market where it faces significant regulatory challenges. The move aligns with Meta’s broader vision for expanding its presence in the VR space, with the company unveiling its next-generation mixed reality headset, Quest 3, earlier this year.

Hologic Inc. Beats Estimates with Strong Fourth-Quarter Sales

Hologic Inc., a medical technology company, has reported fourth-quarter sales that surpassed Wall Street estimates, driven by robust demand in its breast health segment. The company anticipates first-quarter adjusted earnings per share between $0.92 and $0.97, slightly above the estimated $0.94. Hologic’s breast health segment achieved sales of $352.8 million in the fourth quarter, surpassing estimates of $345.08 million. The company’s total revenue of $945.3 million exceeded the expected $940.04 million. Hologic’s strong financial performance underscores the significance of its diagnostic tests, medical imaging systems, and surgical products in meeting healthcare needs.

Illumina Inc. Adjusts Annual Profit Forecast Amidst Market Challenges

U.S. genetic testing company Illumina Inc. has revised its annual profit forecast for the second consecutive quarter due to weakened demand for its sequencing instruments, consumables, and services. Sales for its core business in genetic analysis were $941 million in the third quarter, falling short of LSEG estimates. The company now expects full-year adjusted profit per share to be between $0.60 and $0.70, compared to its previous forecast range of $0.75 to $0.90. Despite these challenges, Illumina’s commitment to advancing genetic analysis remains evident, and the company continues to explore opportunities for growth and adaptation in the evolving market.

BlackRock Explores Ethereum Trust as It Eyes Ether ETF Approval

Asset management giant BlackRock has taken a step toward potentially launching an exchange-traded fund (ETF) tied to Ethereum by registering the iShares Ethereum Trust as a Delaware statutory trust. This follows BlackRock’s earlier registration of a bitcoin trust and subsequent application for a spot bitcoin ETF. The move aligns with the industry trend, as several other ETF providers, including Ark Investment Management, Invesco, and VanEck, have sought approval for spot ether ETFs. The evolving landscape of cryptocurrency investments and the interest from institutional investors signal a growing acceptance and integration of digital assets within traditional financial markets.

Booking.com Expands Offerings to Include Cruise Travel

Booking.com, a prominent online travel platform, is set to launch a cruise travel section on its website in partnership with private cruise travel agency World Travel Holdings. This move is aimed at capitalizing on the increasing popularity of cruises, especially among consumers in the United States. With cruise operators anticipating record bookings in 2024, driven by rising demand and cost-effective travel options, Booking.com’s strategic expansion reflects the ongoing trend of online travel platforms evolving into comprehensive resources for individuals planning vacations.

Brookfield’s Bid for Origin Energy Gains Support from Proxy Advisor

Australian proxy advisor Ownership Matters has recommended that Origin Energy shareholders support a $10.5 billion bid by a consortium led by Canada’s Brookfield. This recommendation adds to the growing support for the bid, with CGI Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) also endorsing the deal. The bid, described as “best and final” by Brookfield and EIG Partners, faces opposition from Australia’s largest pension fund, AustralianSuper. The recommendation from Ownership Matters indicates a favorable view of the bid’s terms and potential benefits for Origin Energy shareholders.

Walgreens Continues to Reduce Stake in Cencora

Walgreens Boots Alliance has further lowered its stake in Cencora (formerly AmerisourceBergen) by selling shares worth approximately $674 million. Following the share repurchase, Walgreens now owns approximately 15% of drug distributor Cencora. While the drugstore chain continues to reduce its stake over time, it remains Cencora’s largest shareholder. The proceeds from the share sale will be used to pay down debt, highlighting Walgreens’ strategic financial management amid changing market conditions.

Federal Judge Upholds Approvals for ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project

A federal judge in Alaska has upheld U.S. approvals for ConocoPhillips’ multibillion-dollar Willow oil and gas drilling project in the state’s Arctic. This decision dismisses a lawsuit filed by environmental and tribal groups challenging the project’s approvals, asserting that it poses a significant climate threat. While opponents argue that the project would release substantial carbon pollution, the judge’s ruling clears the way for ConocoPhillips to proceed with its $8 billion Willow project. The decision highlights the ongoing debates and legal challenges surrounding oil and gas development in ecologically sensitive areas.

Diageo Faces Challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean

Diageo Plc, the renowned alcoholic beverage maker, anticipates a decline in organic operating profit growth in the first half of its current financial year due to a “materially weaker” performance in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Macroeconomic pressures in the region, resulting in lower consumption and consumer downtrading, are cited as contributing factors. Diageo now expects sales in the LAC market to decline by more than 20% in the six months ending December. The company’s acknowledgment of these challenges reflects the impact of broader economic conditions on consumer behavior and regional market dynamics.

General Motors’ Chinese Joint Venture Recalls Over 1 Million Cars

General Motors’ Chinese joint venture with SAIC Motor, SAIC-GM, is set to recall over 1.13 million Buick, Chevrolet, and Cadillac cars. The recall is due to concerns related to the weak humidity resistance of fuel pump control units, which could result in abnormal functioning and, under extreme circumstances, power loss during driving. This move underscores the commitment of automotive companies to ensuring the safety and reliability of their products, addressing potential issues promptly to maintain consumer trust.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Contributes to Fund for Wildfire Victims

Hawaiian Electric Industries, a utility firm, has announced its inability to submit its quarterly filing on time due to its expected contribution toward a fund to compensate victims of deadly wildfires in Maui. The governor of Hawaii has established a $150 million fund, offering substantial payments to families who have lost loved ones and those severely injured due to the wildfires. Hawaiian Electric Industries will contribute $75 million to this fund. The announcement highlights the company’s commitment to supporting communities affected by natural disasters and addressing the societal impact of its operations.

Janus Henderson Launches ETF for Structured Finance Securities

Janus Henderson Group Plc has introduced a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) focused on structured finance securities. The Janus Henderson Securitized Income ETF (JSI) covers virtually the entire U.S. investable securitized market, with a specific focus on mortgage-backed securities (MBS), asset-backed securities (ABS), and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). This launch responds to investor demand for yield in products with minimal interest rate risk in a high-rate environment. Janus Henderson’s move reflects the ongoing evolution of investment products to meet changing investor preferences and market conditions.

Meta Platforms Settles $25 Million DOJ Claim on Hiring Practices

Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, will pay $25 million to settle claims by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that the company favored immigrant workers over U.S. citizens and green card holders for certain jobs. The settlement is the largest ever for the DOJ involving claims of discrimination based on citizenship. Meta Platforms did not recruit U.S. citizens or permanent residents for jobs eligible for a federal program allowing employers to sponsor immigrant workers for green cards, violating a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on citizenship. The settlement underscores the importance of fair employment practices and compliance with federal regulations.

Walt Disney Adapts Release Schedule Post-Actors’ Strike

Walt Disney Co. has adjusted its release schedule in response to the conclusion of the four-month actors’ strike, delaying the release of several Marvel movies. The next “Deadpool” installment, initially scheduled for May, will now debut in late July. This change led Disney to move its planned July release, “Captain America: Brave New World,” to February 2025. Another Marvel superhero film, “Thunderbolts,” has been pushed to July 2025, and “Blade” has been postponed until November 2025. These adjustments reflect the industry’s efforts to navigate disruptions caused by labor strikes and to reschedule productions affected by the temporary shutdown.

Novo Nordisk Invests $6 Billion to Boost Production in Denmark

Novo Nordisk A/S, the obesity drug maker, has announced a $6 billion investment to expand production in Denmark. This strategic move comes as the company grapples with the success and shortages of its anti-obesity drug, Wegovy. The investment aims to increase capacity for manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and enhance other parts of the supply chain, such as packaging. The demand for obesity drugs is expected to surge in the coming years, making such investments crucial to meet global needs and sustain Novo Nordisk’s growth.

Walmart Settles Trademark Lawsuit with Vans

Walmart has settled a trademark lawsuit with Vans, agreeing to a court order permanently blocking the retail giant from selling alleged knockoffs of Vans’ best-selling shoes. Vans had accused Walmart of ripping off its designs, leading to the resolution of the dispute. Walmart, while denying the allegations, has agreed to the court order, signaling the importance of protecting intellectual property rights. The case highlights the ongoing challenges and legal battles in the retail industry related to brand integrity and the protection of trademarks.

NatWest Group Cancels Bonuses for Former CEO Alison Rose

NatWest Group Plc plans to cancel approximately £7.6 million in bonuses and awards for its former CEO, Alison Rose. This decision follows a law firm review into the “debanking” of former Brexit party leader Nigel Farage. The review outlined “serious failings” in the bank’s treatment of Farage, leading to Rose’s departure. The cancellation of bonuses underscores the accountability of corporate leadership and the financial repercussions for executives in cases of alleged misconduct.

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