TOP 5 STOCKS TO WATCHOUT:-
1.HSBC: -HSBC said on Monday it had agreed to acquire Axa’s insurance assets in Singapore for $575 million, part of its broader strategy of scaling up its wealth management business in Asia and boosting fee income.
The bank said in February it would invest $3.5 billion in its wealth and personal banking business in Asia, while shifting assets away from some less-profitable business lines in Europe and North America.
It is also trying to generate a greater revenue from fees it earns from selling products to customers, as it struggles with lending in a low interest rate environment.
“This is an important acquisition that demonstrates our ambition to grow our wealth business across Asia. Wealth is one of our highest growth and highest return opportunities, and plays to our strengths as an Asia-centred bank with global reach,” Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive of HSBC Holdings , said in a statement.
Axa said in a statement that the deal was subject to regulatory approvals and would probably close by the fourth quarter of this year.
Axa Singapore had net assets of $474 million, annualized new premiums of $85 million and gross written premiums of $739 million.
HSBC said the combined business would be the seventh-largest life insurer and the fourth-largest retail health insurer, with over 600,000 policies in-force covering life, health and property and casualty insurance.
The sale is part of Axa’s moves to streamline its business in a restructuring launched by Chief Executive Thomas Buberl, a process that includes selling assets in some countries and markets to boost returns.
2.Ford:Ford Motor Co said late on Friday it will ask the U.S. Patent Office to rescind trademarks obtained by rival General Motors Co for the terms “Cruise” and “Super Cruise,” escalating a brawl GM began by suing Ford over its use of “Blue Cruise” for an automated driving system.
The legal fight between the two Detroit automakers turns on whether “cruise” is a generic term for technology that allows the car to take over some share of driving tasks from a human motorist.
The clash underscores the intensity of competition among established automakers to be seen as leaders in automated driving technology, competitive with Silicon Valley rivals Tesla Inc, Alphabet Inc ‘s Waymo unit and others.
GM filed a federal suit against Ford on July 24, accusing Ford of violating GM trademarks by using the name “Blue Cruise” for a system that enables hands-free driving.
GM had previously trademarked “Super Cruise” for its hands-free, partially automated driving technology. It also has trademarked “Cruise,” the name of its robo-taxi unit in San Francisco.
3.IBM:- International Business Machines Corp said on Friday that it would allow only fully vaccinated U.S. employees to return to offices, which are set to open from Sept. 7, given the rapid spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“We will still open many of our U.S. sites, where local clinical conditions allow, the week of Sept. 7. However, the reopenings will only be for fully vaccinated employees who choose to come into the office,” Chief Human Resources Officer Nickle LaMoreaux said in a memo sent to employees.
The resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the United States due to the Delta variant and the new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that requires fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks have led companies to change their plans on return to office, vaccinations and masking.
The technology firm also asked its employees to get fully vaccinated, joining other big techs to fight the spread of the virus.
Earlier on Thursday, Facebook Inc has pushed back its office return date for all U.S. and some international employees until January 2022, while AT&T Inc said it will require management employees to be vaccinated before entering a work location.
4.APPLE:-After a week of criticism over a its planned new system for detecting images of child sex abuse, Apple Inc said on Friday that it will hunt only for pictures that have been flagged by clearinghouses in multiple countries.
That shift and others intended to reassure privacy advocates were detailed to reporters in an unprecedented fourth background briefing since the initial announcement eight days prior of a plan to monitor customer devices.
After previously declining to say how many matched images on a phone or computer it would take before the operating system notifies Apple for a human review and possible reporting to authorities, executives said on Friday it would start with 30, though the number could become lower over time as the system improves.
Apple also said it would be easy for researchers to make sure that the list of image identifiers being sought on one iPhone was the same as the lists on all other phones, seeking to blunt concerns that the new mechanism could be used to target individuals. The company published a long paper explaining how it had reasoned through potential attacks on the system and defended against them.
Apple acknowledged that it had handled communications around the program poorly, triggering backlash from influential technology policy groups and even its own employees concerned that the company was jeopardizing its reputation for protecting consumer privacy.
It declined to say whether that criticism had changed any of the policies or software, but said that the project was still in development and changes were to be expected.
Asked why it had only announced that the U.S.-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children would be a supplier of flagged image identifiers when at least one other clearinghouse would need to have separately flagged the same picture, an Apple executive said that the company had only finalized its deal with NCMEC.
.5.SAUDI ARAMCO – Saudi Aramco is in advanced talks to acquire a roughly 20% stake in Reliance Industries Ltd’s oil refining and chemicals business for about $20 billion to $25 billion in Aramco’s shares, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.
An agreement could be reached as soon as the coming weeks, according to the report, which cited people with knowledge of the matter.
Reliance announced a sale of a 20% stake in its oil-to-chemicals business to Aramco for $15 billion in 2019, but the deal stalled after oil prices and demand crashed last year due to the pandemic.
In late June, Reliance’s billionaire chairman Mukesh Ambani said it hopes to formalise its partnership with Aramco this year and its Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan will join the Indian conglomerate’s board as an independent director.