Current Affairs

Marlboro Maker CEO Says The Company Plans To Stop Selling Smokes In The U.K.

The top executive for tobacco giant Philip Morris International told The Daily Mail Sunday that the company will stop selling cigarettes in the United Kingdom in the next 10 years.

The company’s CEO Jacek Olczak said the company’s iconic Marlboro brand of cigarettes will be taken off the shelves in the U.K. within the next decade.

“It will disappear. The first choice for consumers is they should quit smoking,” he told the outlet. “But if they don’t, the second best choice is to let them switch to the better alternatives.”

The development is just part of Philip Morris International’s reinvention as it abandons traditional tobacco products.

Olczak became the company’s CEO in May and plans to lead the company’s “smoke-free” transformation. He said the company’s new mission is to find and provide “less harmful alternatives to cigarettes” to the millions of people who would otherwise still smoke.

In May he said, “Our ambition is that more than half of our net revenues will come from smoke-free products in 2025.”…read more.

Global Property Bubble To Correct, Canada Is The Second Riskiest: Oxford Economics

The whole world might be in a property bubble, but Canada is the second riskiest. That’s the take from Oxford Economics in their latest housing report this morning. Adam Slater, the firm’s lead economist, broke down fundamentals for global markets. He found double-digit overvaluations are widely seen these days. The firm believes a correction is likely to take place, but the longer it’s put off, the worse it will be. Canada is the second riskiest property bubble, only beaten by the Netherlands.

Global Home Prices Are 10% Overvalued
The whole world is overvalued — at least the parts where people eat and sleep. Global property prices are 10% above the long-term trend, says Slater. Using price-to-rent, they estimate the overvaluation rises to 11% for the global index.

Not quite at the pre-Great Recession high in 2006, but getting pretty close. They estimate the price-to-rent ratio reached 13 to 15% back then. However, a different set of economies appear to be at greater risk this time around, such as Canada.

Canada didn’t experience much of a real estate price correction during the Great Recession. The legend is this was due to the prudential lending of their banks, and rock-solid valuations. That’s not entirely true.

Markets like Toronto hadn’t recovered from the previous housing correction by then. On an inflation-adjusted basis, it was cheaper to buy in 2006 than it was to buy in 1990. It didn’t crash because it hadn’t recovered yet. Toronto is about a fifth of the country’s economy, so the legend became that Canada is bulletproof. Even though that wasn’t the take of the current central bank governor back then…read more.

Snap soars 23% after a stunning Q2 earnings beat, while Twitter jumps 2%

Snap and Twitter’s shares rose in regular trading on Friday after the social media sites reported second-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations.

Snapchat’s parent popped as much as 23% after posting a jump in daily active users to 293 million in the quarter, which is about 23% higher than the 238 million daily users reported a year earlier. That beat the 290.3 million expectation of analysts polled by StreetAccount.

Revenue for the quarter more than doubled to $982 million, compared to the $846 million expectation of analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Snap’s net loss shrank 53% to $152 million, compared to its $326 million loss a year ago.

Twitter also had a solid quarter, reporting a 74% jump in revenue to $1.19 billion, which is its fastest rate of topline growth since 2014. Analysts polled by Refinitiv expected quarterly revenue of $1.07 billion.

The company’s stock rose 5% in pre-market trading, before falling to around 2% at the market open.

Twitter is in a strong position, and according to its forecasts, market conditions seem to have improved to the point where it can thrive, Pearse Carson, an analyst at multi-asset investment platform eToro, said.

Its number of monetizable daily active users, or those able to view ads on the platform, rose by 11% to 206 million, Twitter said. Analysts polled by StreetAccount expected 206.2 million.

Advertising revenue rose 87% year-on-year to $1.05 billion…read more.

Consumer behavior in e-Commerce moving towards “shoppertainment”

Despite the challenges many businesses faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, e-Commerce was able to ensure that many of them could still carry on with their business. While consumers could not shop physically, online shopping proved to be the next best option for them.

The beauty of e-Commerce is that it is not just for selling physical products, but also for services. Aside from listing on a services marketplace, companies could also sell promotional e-vouchers, or include a shopping cart system on their own websites. Naturally, the next important step for them was to understand consumer behavior.

Realizing the potential of e-Commerce, banks, large enterprises, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and even government agencies begin adopting e-Commerce. Fintech became an enabler of e-Commerce with more startups developing digital payment solutions, and businesses turned to artificial intelligence to help improve their operations and customer experience.

Consumer demand for real-time payments, too, is on the rise in Malaysia as the pandemic accelerated demand for rapid, contactless payments, according to research by ACI Worldwide and YouGov.

With increased internet penetration and smartphone use, especially within emerging economies in the Asia Pacific (APAC), consumers now expect convenience and speed with mobile apps and instantaneous payments, an area in which the traditional financial industry has struggled to keep up…read more.

Elon Musk says SpaceX owns Bitcoin and he owns Ethereum in Jack Dorsey talk

Elon Musk confirmed both Tesla and SpaceX own Bitcoin during his discussion with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood today.

In his opening remarks at The B Word panel, Musk said he is ultimately a supporter of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies despite his skepticism towards proof of work concepts. He said the only public stock he owns is Tesla, but the only “three meaningful assets” he owns outside of company stock is bitcoin, ether and dogecoin, and that he owns “much more bitcoin than ether or doge.”

In addition to his private holdings, he confirmed SpaceX also owns bitcoin. Musk made headlines earlier this year when he added $1.5 billion in BTC to electric vehicle firm Tesla’s balance sheet. Because SpaceX is private, it was previously unknown that the space exploration tech firm also had a portion of its holdings in the crypto.

Musk did not disclose how much SpaceX holds. The firm could wade further into crypto, though, according to Musk’s comments.

“Bitcoin by itself cannot be the monetary system of the world at the base layer, but at the second layer it’s possible depending on how it’s implemented,” said Musk.

He said SpaceX is “playing a role in this” vision for Bitcoin’s future, although he did not further clarify how the firm is furthering that mission…read more.

Robinhood To Trade On Nasdaq Targeting $32B Valuation

By now it’s clear to all that Robinhood will take from the rich … what happens after that remains unclear, but retail investors will now have a chance to decide on their own as the disruptive zero-fee trading app prepares to go public.

Robinhood, the most popular trading app, especially among novice and young traders, said it will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol HOOD.

With an initial offering price ranging between $38 and $42 per share, Robinhood is expected to reach up to a $32 billion valuation, which would make it worth more than two-thirds of companies on the S&P 500.

According to its amended prospectus, the company plans to sell 52.4 million shares in the IPO, with founders Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt selling another 2.6 million shares in the deal. After the IPO closes, they will still own 7.9% each.

Robinhood has been targeting an IPO since at least last year, but it’s been a bumpy road pot-holed with regulatory inquiries, including a hearing convened by the House Financial Services Committee.

Robinhood was last valued at $11.7 billion in its private fundraising round in September. In February, the company announced that it had raised a further $3.4 billion in a funding round… Read more.