1.HSBC : HSBC Holdings beat forecasts on Monday with first-half pretax profit that more than doubled from last year when it set aside a huge amount of cash to cover pandemic-related bad loans.
Encouraged by an economic rebound in its two biggest markets of Hong Kong and Britain, HSBC reinstated dividend payments and released $700 million that had been set aside as provisions. That compares with $6.9 billion in loan-loss charges made in the same period a year ago.
Pretax profit for Europe’s biggest bank by assets came in at $10.8 billion, higher than the $4.32 billion logged in the same period a year earlier and a consensus estimate of $9.45 billion compiled by the bank.
Revenue, however, fell 4% due to a low interest rate environment for the bank, which makes bulk of its sales in Asia, and a weaker performance from its markets trading business compared to a strong first-half last year.
Growth is set to come from boosting assets under management in its wealth business and shifting more of its investment banking resources from Europe and the United States to Asia, Chief Executive Noel Quinn told Reuters.
“We’re still in the early days of the economic rebound, we need to see all those numbers become the trend for the future, we are encouraged but there is still more to go,” he said.
Quinn said he did not expect any decline in investment appetite for China after regulatory crackdowns have upended norms for the country’s tech, property and private tutoring sectors, leaving some international investors bruised and uncertain.
“We see strong liquidity seeking investment opportunities in Hong Kong and Asia,” he said.
HSBC’s Hong Kong listed shares were last up 1.7% having trimmed gains in the morning when they rose as much as 4.9%.
2.GOLDMAN SACHS:- Goldman Sachs Group Inc is raising salaries for its junior employees in the investment bank division, Business Insider reported on Sunday.
The bank’s second-year analysts will now make $125,000 in base compensation, while first-year associates will earn $150,000, Business Insider reported No formal announcement about the pay raise has been made and it was unclear which other levels of employees at the investment banking division have also been given salary increases, the report from the financial and business news website said.
Investment banks have raised pay for first- and second-year associates this summer in an attempt to ease the strain on these workers and compensate them more for their work supporting more senior staff in a year of unprecedented deal making.
Citi Group, Morgan Stanley , UBS Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG have already increased pay for their first-year analysts to around $100,000, a raise of about $15,000.
In February, a group of junior bankers in Goldman’s investment bank told senior management they were working nearly 100 hours a week and sleeping 5 hours a night to keep up with an over-the-top workload and “unrealistic deadlines.” Half of the group, which consisted of 13 first-year employees, said they were likely to quit by summer unless conditions improved.
3.RENAULT:-German-Australian start-up Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd said on Monday it has signed a deal to supply lithium to Renault SA , the latest move by an electric vehicle maker to lock down supply of the battery metal ahead of a projected surge in demand.
Vulcan will supply 6,000 to 17,000 tonnes of lithium annually to the French automaker from its geothermal brine deposits in Germany starting in 2026, the companies said. The five-year deal is renewable if both parties agree.
Renault , with brands including Alpine and Dacia, has said it would like 90% of Renault models to be fully electric by 2030. The company said Vulcan’s geothermal lithium production process, which has no carbon emissions, was the main appeal.
Vulcan plans to invest 1.7 billion euros ($2 billion) to build geothermal power stations and facilities to extract lithium, with a goal to start production of the white metal in 2024.
Geothermal projects typically involve extracting super-hot lithium-rich brine from underground reservoirs and using the heat to produce electricity, after which lithium is extracted from the brine.
The brine is then reinjected into the earth, making the process more sustainable than open-pit mines and brine evaporation ponds, the two most-common existing methods to produce the white metal.
Vulcan is backed in part by Hancock Prospecting, led by Executive Chairman Gina Rinehart, one of Australia’s leading investors.
Vulcan last month signed a long-term deal to sell lithium hydroxide from its German project to the battery unit of South Korea’s LG Chem.
Vulcan has also signed a memorandum of understanding for lithium supply with Stellantis NV, the world’s fourth-largest automaker.
4.PFIZER:– Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have raised the prices of their COVID-19 vaccines in their latest European Union supply contracts, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.
The new price for the Pfizer shot was 19.50 euros ($23.15)against 15.50 euros previously, the newspaper said, citing portions of the contracts seen.
The price of a Moderna vaccine was $25.50 a dose, the contracts show, up from about 19 euros in the first procurement deal but lower than the previously agreed $28.50 because the order had grown, the report said, citing one official close to the matter.
Pfizer declined to comment on the contract with the European Commission, citing confidentiality. “Beyond the redacted contract(s) published by the EC, the content remains confidential and so we won’t be commenting,” the company said.
Moderna was not immediately available for comment to Reuters.
The European Commission said on Tuesday that the EU is on course to hit a target of fully vaccinating at least 70% of the adult population by the end of the summer.
In May, the EU said it expects to have received more than a billion doses of vaccines by the end of September from four drugmakers.
.5.ZOOM –Zoom Video Communications Inc agreed to pay $85 million and bolster its security practices to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated users’ privacy rights by sharing personal data with Facebook , Google and LinkedIn, and letting hackers disrupt Zoom meetings in a practice called Zoombombing.
A preliminary settlement filed on Saturday afternoon requires approval by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.
Subscribers in the proposed class action would be eligible for 15% refunds on their core subscriptions or $25, whichever is larger, while others could receive up to $15.
Zoom agreed to security measures including alerting users when meeting hosts or other participants use third-party apps in meetings, and to provide specialized training to employees on privacy and data handling.
The San Jose-based company denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.
In a statement on Sunday, Zoom said: “The privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us.”
Saturday’s settlement came after Koh on March 11 let the plaintiffs pursue some contract-based claims.
Though Zoom collected about $1.3 billion in Zoom Meetings subscriptions from class members, the plaintiffs’ lawyers called the $85 million settlement reasonable given the litigation risks. They intend to seek up to $21.25 million for legal fees.
Zoombombing is where outsiders hijack Zoom meetings and display pornography, use racist language or post other disturbing content.
Koh said Zoom was “mostly” immune for Zoombombing under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which shields online platforms from liability over user content.
Zoom’s customer base has grown sixfold since the COVID-19 pandemic forced more people to work from home.
The company had 497,000 customers with more than 10 employees in April 2021, up from 81,900 in January 2020. It has said user growth could slow or decline as more people get vaccines and return to work or school in-person.