Biden latches onto S&P 500
US President Joe Biden touted the S&P 500 index’s record high as a sign of US economic strength, making a rare comment on the stock market after a tough week in his re-election bid that focused attention on his age and mental acuity. The S&P 500 topped 5,000 for the first time on Friday, spurred by big-tech stocks and speculation that the US Federal Reserve will cut interest rates soon. By contrast, Biden’s week included gaffes in which he mixed up the names of world leaders — and a special counsel’s report said the 81-year-old president showed “diminished faculties and faulty memory.”
Tax savings help ONGC
Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), India’s largest oil and gas explorer, posted better-than-expected quarterly profit as lower windfall tax helped offset impact of the decline in oil and gas prices. Still, net income fell 14 percent to 95.4 billion rupees (US$1.1 billion) for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with 110.4 billion rupees a year-ago, according to an exchange filing on Saturday. Revenue fell 9.8 percent to 347.9 billion rupees, according to the state-owned explorer, which accounts for 67 percent of India’s oil and 54 percent its gas production.
Bonds pitched in TV show
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s plan to shift the burden of Italy’s debt to her voters reached a new milestone when a pitch for government bond sales ran during the nation’s most iconic song contest. The advertisement, which appeared during a public TV broadcast from the annual Sanremo Music Festival on Friday night, promoted an issuance of the BTP Valore bond later this month as offering an “advantageous return exclusively dedicated to small savers.” Getting ordinary savers to buy debt, along with taking measures to avoid any worsening of public finances, are now key pillars of Rome’s strategy to stay sustainably afloat.
Ford working on cheap EVs
Ford Motor Co is working on inexpensive, small electric vehicles (EVs) to stem its electric vehicle losses and take on Tesla Inc and Chinese automakers. Chief executive officer Jim Farley revealed the plans to analysts on Tuesday after the automaker announced adjusted earnings per share of US$0.29 for the fourth quarter of last year, more than double the US$0.13 analysts expected on average. Fourth-quarter revenue of US$46 billion surpassed the US$40.3 billion analysts expected. The small team is being led by Alan Clarke, executive director of advanced EV development, who came to Ford two years ago after more than 12 years developing models for Tesla.
Barclays to tamp fossil fuels
British bank Barclays PLC said on Friday it would stop directly financing its energy clients’ new oil and gas projects. As part of its updated climate strategy, the bank added it would scale back lending for existing fossil fuel projects as the sector faces intense pressure from activist investors to help tackle climate change. Additional curbs will be introduced on unconventional oil and gas, including extra heavy oil, Barclays said. The bank also expects “energy clients to produce transition plans or decarbonization strategies” by next year, it said, adding that it would require energy clients to commit to other targets, including the reduction of methane and carbon emissions from operations.
Intel Corp has landed Microsoft Corp as a customer for its made-to-order chip business, marking a key win for an ambitious turnaround effort under chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger. Microsoft plans to use Intel’s 18A manufacturing technology to make a forthcoming chip that the software maker designed in-house, the two companies said at an event on Wednesday. They did not identify the product, but Microsoft recently announced plans for two homegrown chips — a computer processor and an artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator. Intel has been seeking to prove it can compete in the foundry market, where companies produce custom chips for clients. It
The arrival of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture marks the regaining of the area’s pivotal position established during the Meiji Restoration in the 19th century, a local business leader said in an interview with CNA. The first fab of Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Inc (JASM), TSMC’s majority-owned manufacturing subsidiary in Kumamoto, is set to open today. After the 1868 Meiji Restoration, Kumamoto was of key importance as it was home to a major garrison national defense. However, that position was ceded to Fukuoka after World War II as Japan turned to foreign trade for post-war economic development,
AI EFFECT: Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang moved up to 21st on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index on Thursday after his wealth skyrocketed by US$9.6 billion to US$69.2 billion The artificial intelligence (AI) mania sparked by Nvidia Corp’s sterling results has given a lift to Asia’s major chipmakers, but it has not closed the valuation gap with their US peers. A Bloomberg gauge tracking Asia’s top semiconductor firms, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and Samsung Electronics Co, widened its under-performance against the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index this week. While the Asian index trades at 17 times forward earnings, the US measure is at 27 times, pushing the gap close to a record after Nvidia’s blowout revenue outlook reinforced investor conviction in the boom in generative AI use. Nvidia’s 8 percent
The sound of gentle tapping filled a jewelry workshop in southern China as a craftsman hammered pine-leaf patterns onto a soft slab of gold in the style of old ink paintings. Elaborate traditional pieces created by master goldsmiths have always been popular in China, bought as gifts for special occasions such as the Lunar New Year or simply as investments. But jewelers are now having to consider a new and fast-growing consumer base — younger people, who are increasingly keen to buy gold, seeing it as a safe investment in uncertain economic times. Key to gold’s popularity is China’s lackluster post-COVID-19 recovery, which