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Daily Market Report | Apr. 28, 2021

Stocks Wobble Ahead of Fed Meeting – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • Major U.S. stock indexes wobbled Wednesday as investors awaited insights from the Federal Reserve on the economic recovery as well as earnings reports from technology giants.
  • The broad S&P 500 ticked up 0.1% after the opening bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.2%, a day after tech stocks pulled broader indexes lower.
  • Stocks have broadly flatlined this week despite a better-than-expected start to the earnings season and signs of the economy recovering.
  • With indexes hovering close to record levels, corporate earnings must cross a high hurdle to support stocks’ rich valuations.
  • There is also some concern about President Biden’s planned tax hikes and the surge in coronavirus cases in India.
  • President Biden is set to outline some of his plans to raise taxes on the highest earning Americans at a speech later Wednesday. The plans are part of a $1.8 trillion proposal that includes new spending on child care and education.
  • Investors will also be closely monitoring comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell following the conclusion of the central bank’s two-day policy meeting at 2 p.m. ET.
  • While the Fed is widely expected to keep interest rates and bond purchases unchanged, fund managers are listening for any changes in Mr. Powell’s tone that might indicate a shift in discussions about monetary policy in coming months.
  • Earnings will also remain in focus as investors look to see how tech companies are coping with changing consumer habits as lockdown restrictions ease.
  • Apple, Facebook and chip maker Qualcomm are expected to post results after markets close, as is Ford Motor.
  • In bond markets, the yield on benchmark Treasurys climbed for a fourth consecutive trading session.
  • The yield on the 10-year note ticked up to 1.627%, from 1.622% Tuesday. Bond yields rise as prices fall.
  • Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.1% in recent trading.
  • Among individual stocks, Deutsche Bank jumped more than 10% after reporting its strongest quarterly earnings in seven years.
  • Most major Asian markets posted gains. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.5%.
  • The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4%.

Covid-19 Live Updates: New U.S. Cases Fall Slightly – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • Newly reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. edged down, as federal health officials eased guidelines on wearing face masks in public for fully vaccinated people.
  • The U.S. reported 50,856 new cases for Tuesday, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Tuesday’s figure was lower than the more than 56,000 cases reported on Monday, and is similar to levels seen in mid-March. Not all states report data on new cases daily.
  • Hospitalizations continue to hover above 40,000, with the latest data posted by the Department of Health and Human Services showing 42,963 Covid-19 patients in hospitals around the country.
  • Deaths rose on Tuesday to 707 from 474 a day earlier, according to Johns Hopkins data. The overall U.S. death toll now stands at more than 573,300.
  • Vaccination campaigns continued to push forward, but at a somewhat slower pace. The U.S. administered an average of 2.7 million doses a day over the past week, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, down from averages of about 3.2 million a day earlier this month.
  • Some 37.3% of Americans over the age of 18 have now been fully vaccinated, and 54.2% of adults have received at least one dose, according to the CDC.

Microsoft Sales Show Strong Growth in Gaming, Cloud – Wall Street Journal, 4/27/2021

  • Microsoft extended its pandemic-fueled run of strong quarterly earnings that have bolstered investor enthusiasm in the software giant, bringing the company near a $2 trillion valuation.
  • The Redmond, Wash., company posted a 19% increase in its fiscal third-quarter sales to about $41.7 billion, generating net income of $15.5 billion for the January through March period. The results beat Wall Street expectations, according to FactSet.
  • Xbox content and services revenue increased 34% in the latest quarter aided by the recent release of two new consoles, Xbox Series X and S. Xbox hardware revenue more than tripled from the previous year.
  • Revenue from Surface laptops, which have been popular with people working and learning from home, rose 12% from a year ago. Surface sales are expected to decline in the current quarter, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said on an analyst call, in part because of the chip-supply issues.
  • The company said sales linked to Azure cloud services advanced 50% in the most recent quarter, on par with the December quarter.
  • Microsoft also benefited from the broad strength in the advertising market. Its search advertising business was up 17%, and ad-spending also helped lift revenue at LinkedIn, the professional social-media network, by 25%.
  • Microsoft’s Ms. Hood said she expected “another strong quarter” for the three months ending in June. The company forecast $43.6 billion to $44.5 billion in sales in the three-month period, beating Wall Street expectations.

Google Earnings Smash Sales Records as Digital Ad Market Booms – Wall Street Journal, 4/27/2021

  • Google’s parent company shattered sales records for the first quarter, fueled by a surge in digital ad spending that has strengthened the tech heavyweight even as regulators try to curtail its power.
  • Alphabet reported first-quarter sales of $55.31 billion, an increase of 34% from a year earlier when advertising sales plunged as the coronavirus crippled the global economy.
  • The company continues to spend heavily to ensure Google remains the default search engine on iPhones and other devices.
  • The toll fees, known as traffic-acquisition costs, rose 30% to $9.71 billion during the first quarter from a year earlier.
  • The company posted $31.88 billion in sales from its signature products, including search, Gmail and maps, a 30% increase that reflected the way brands are spending to reach people online.
  • YouTube pulled in $6 billion, increasing 49% from a year earlier.
  • Google also has been spending to diversify beyond its core ad business with a cloud-computing service that challenges Amazon and Microsoft. The company has been trumpeting a bevy of billion-dollar deals in recent months that lifted sales at the division 46% to $4.05 billion in the quarter.
  • Total profit reached almost $18 billion, soaring 162% from the previous year.
  • Google said it would repurchase an additional $50 billion in shares, fulfilling the wishes of investors who had been monitoring the company’s swelling cash reserves.

Visa emerging from pandemic ‘storm’ as spending volumes recover – Reuters, 4/27/2021

  • Visa is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, its top boss said on Tuesday, as a surge in online shopping helped the world’s biggest payment processor beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit and counter sluggish travel spending.
  • Visa’s total payment volumes rose 11% on a constant dollar basis from a year earlier, its biggest jump since the start of the pandemic. U.S. debit cards volumes soared 31% to $806 billion.
  • Restrictions and a resurgence of infections in several parts of the world have hit travel plans, sending cross-border volumes at Visa down 11%. That was still better than the past two quarters.
  • Visa reported net income of $1.38 per Class A share for the second quarter, compared with analysts’ estimates of $1.27 per share.

Starbucks Expects Higher Profit as Customers Return – Wall Street Journal, 4/27/2021

  • Starbucks said it expects profit to increase this year as customers come back to its cafes now operating more efficiently than before the coronavirus struck.
  • Sales of $6.7 billion were short of an expected $6.8 billion.
  • Starbucks said Tuesday that global same-store sales in its March-ended quarter increased 15% from the same period last year.
  • International markets accounted for much of the growth; same-store sales in the U.S. rose 9%.
  • Analysts had expected global growth of 17%.
  • Starbucks has also drawn more people into its online loyalty program as it has sought to boost in-person sales.
  • The chain said it had 23 million U.S. members in the latest quarter, an 18% increase from last year.
  • For its fiscal second quarter, Starbucks reported earnings adjusted for one-time items of 62 cents a share.
  • Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting earnings of 53 cents a share by that metric.
  • Starbucks said it expects profit for the year to rise more than it previously projected.
  • It now sees annual earnings of $2.65 to $2.75 a share, up from $2.42 to $2.62 previously.
  • The chain also bumped up its projections for store margins and sales.

Boeing Reports Loss as Air Force One Work Drags – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • Boeing booked another charge from its loss-making Air Force One program after falling behind on replacing the presidential jets, adding to financial pressures from the stuttering recovery of its commercial airliner business.
  • The limited resumption of 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner jet deliveries against a background of quality issues contributed to sales of $15.2 billion in the first quarter, down 10% from a year earlier.
  • It took a $318 million pretax charge on the project in the latest quarter, the second in a year and the latest drag from a defense unit that it is relying on to carry it through to a recovery in commercial airline traffic.
  • Boeing reported a loss of $561 million compared with a $641 million deficit a year earlier.
  • The company burned through $3.4 billion of cash in the quarter.

AMD lifts revenue forecast, CEO says supply chain has improved – Reuters, 4/28/2021

  • Advanced Micro Devices raised its annual revenue forecast on Tuesday, betting on strong demand for its chips used in data centers and personal computers as its chief executive said she was confident the company could source the chips despite a global supply shortage.
  • Revenue in the first quarter soared 93% to $3.45 billion, beating a Refinitiv IBES estimate of $3.21 billion, thanks in part to higher average selling prices for its chips.
  • Sales in AMD’s computing and graphics business, which includes graphics and central processor chips for personal computers, rose 46% to $2.10 billion.
  • Its enterprise, embedded and semi-custom segment, the unit that houses data center chips, posted an almost four-fold jump in sales to $1.35 billion.
  • Excluding items, the company earned 52 cents per share, exceeding expectations of 44 cents per share.
  • The company said it now expected 2021 revenue to rise 50% from a year earlier, implying a figure of $14.64 billion, compared with its previous forecast of a 39% jump.

Amgen profit, sales fall on lower drug prices; shares drop 3.4% – Reuters, 4/27/2021

  • U.S. biotech Amgen on Tuesday said its first-quarter sales and profit fell due to a 7% drop in its net drug prices and the COVID-19 pandemic, which continued to limit patient interactions with healthcare providers.
  • Revenue for the quarter fell 4% to $5.9 billion – also below analyst estimates of $6.26 billion.
  • Sales of newer migraine drug Aimovig fell 7% from a year earlier to $66 million for the quarter, well short of the $95.7 million projected by analysts. But sales of cholesterol fighter Repatha rose 25% to $286 million, beating Wall Street estimates of $251 million.
  • First-quarter sales of its rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel fell 20% to $924 billion, shy of analysts’ estimate of $1.1 billion.
  • The company’s quarterly adjusted earnings per share fell 12% from a year earlier to $3.70, short of the $4.04 forecast by Wall Street analysts, as calculated by Refinitiv.
  • For the full year, Amgen said it still expects adjusted earnings of $16.00 to $17.00 per share on revenue of $25.8 billion to $26.6 billion, but lowered its net EPS forecast to a range of $9.11 to $10.71 from a previous $12.12 to $13.17.
  • The company said it now expects a 2021 net tax rate of 14% to 15.5% – up from a previous estimate of 11% to 12.5%. Its adjusted tax rate is now forecast at 13.5% to 14.5%, compared with the previous 13% to 14%.

Mondelez quarterly sales beat estimates on snacking boom – Reuters, 4/27/2021

  • Mondelez International beat Wall Street estimates for first-quarter revenue on Tuesday, boosted by higher demand for its biscuits and chocolates in Asian and European markets.
  • Revenue rose to $7.24 billion from $6.71 billion a year ago, beating analysts’ average estimate of $7.02 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
  • Net revenue from the North American segment grew 4.3% to $1.98 billion, while European market revenue grew 10.2% to $2.85 billion.
  • Net earnings attributable to the company rose to $961 million, or 68 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $736 million, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier.

Pinterest’s user growth slows as pandemic curbs ease – Reuters, 4/28/2021

  • A slowdown in Pinterest’s user growth tarnished an otherwise strong quarterly report card, sending shares down about 10% aftermarket on Tuesday even though the company forecast current-quarter revenue above estimates.
  • Revenue, which is generated by placing advertisements next to users’ Pins or posts, soared 78% to $485 million, beating expectations of $473.7 million.
  • Pinterest’s monthly active users (MAU), a widely watched metric, grew only 30% to 478 million in the first quarter.
  • That was in contrast to last quarter’s 37% jump on a year-over-year basis.
  • Net loss narrowed to $22 million, from a loss of $141 million a year earlier.
  • The image-sharing company said it expected revenue to rise 105% in the second quarter, which implies a figure of about $558 million, compared with a Refinitiv IBES estimate of $530 million.

Texas Instruments quarterly revenue beats estimates – Reuters, 4/28/2021

  • Texas Instruments reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue on Tuesday, thanks to strong demand for its chips used in personal electronic gadgets such as televisions and PCs.
  • Total revenue rose to $4.29 billion from $3.33 billion in the first quarter.
  • Analysts on average were expecting $3.99 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
  • Net income rose to $1.75 billion, or $1.87 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.17 billion, or $1.24 per share, a year earlier.
  • TI said it expected second-quarter revenue in a range of $4.13 billion to $4.47 billion, above analysts’ expectations of $4.16 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Insurer Humana profit beats on Medicare Advantage strength – Reuters, 4/28/2021

  • U.S health insurer Humana on Wednesday beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit, benefiting from higher sales in its individual Medicare advantage plans and higher premium rates.
  • Sales from the company’s retail unit rose 11% to $18.65 billion in the first quarter ended March, as it added more members to its individual Medicare Advantage plans as well as Medicaid health plans for low-income Americans due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
  • Its consolidated benefit ratio, the percentage of premiums spent on claims, worsened to 85.9% from 85.1% a year earlier.
  • This was in-line with the average analyst estimate of 85.98%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
  • Excluding items, the company earned $7.67 per share in the first quarter, beating the average analyst estimate of $7.06 per share.
  • The health insurer on Wednesday reiterated its 2021 adjusted earnings target and growth expectation in its individual Medicare Advantage for the year.

General Dynamics revenue up 7% on aerospace – Reuters, 4/28/2021

  • Defense contractor General Dynamics on Wednesday posted a 7% rise in first-quarter revenue as its aerospace unit’s sales picked up, fueled by hopes of economic recovery following mass COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Sales in the company’s aerospace unit rose to $1.89 billion for the first quarter from $1.69 billion a year earlier, while overall revenue rose to $9.39 billion from $8.75 billion.
  • The company’s Gulfstream business jet deliveries rose to 28 units from 23 a year earlier, but fell from 40 in the prior quarter, amid increased coronavirus inoculations and easing travel restrictions.
  • Marine Systems revenue was up 10.6% compared with a year ago, after a $1.9 billion award from the U.S. Navy for the construction of a tenth Virginia-class submarine.
  • Net earnings rose marginally to $708 million, or $2.48 per share, from $706 million, or $2.43 per share, a year earlier.

Yum sees smaller KFC, Pizza Hut meal orders as dining out resumes – Reuters, 4/28/2021

  • KFC and Pizza Hut owner Yum Brands said it expects people to spend less per order as they start dining out again, taking the shine off an overall increase in demand during the first quarter due to the reopening of major economies.
  • Total revenue rose 18% to $1.49 billion above estimates of $1.45 billion.
  • Comparable sales of the company, which also owns Taco Bell, rose 9% in the first quarter, beating estimates of an 8.6% increase, according to data from Refinitiv IBES.
  • Net income of $1.07 per share also beat Wall Street expectations.
  • Although sales at Yum’s restaurants fell in 2020 due to COVID-19 closures and capacity restrictions, average expenditure per order jumped as consumers spent more on larger family and combo meals while ordering in.
  • In general, Yum is seeing a dip in order values as markets reopen, Chief Financial Officer Chris Turner said on a call with analysts on Wednesday.

Fed Likely to Keep Rates Near Zero as Recovery Picks Up – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • Federal Reserve officials are wrapping up a two-day policy meeting Wednesday at which they are likely to maintain ultralow interest rates to support the economy’s accelerating recovery.
  • The central bankers have noted in public comments the recent pickups in hiring, spending and inflation, but have signaled no readiness to consider changing the Fed’s key policies.
  • Fed officials have said they would hold rates steady until the labor market is back to full strength and inflation has reached the central bank’s goal of averaging 2%.
  • Chairman Jerome Powell has said those conditions are unlikely to materialize this year, and most Fed officials indicated last month that they expect to hold off on raising rates until 2024 at the earliest.

U.S. goods trade deficit hits record high in March – Reuters, 4/28/2021

  • The U.S. trade deficit in goods jumped to a record high in March, suggesting trade was a drag on economic growth in the first quarter, but that was likely offset by robust domestic demand amid massive government aid and easing pandemic stress.
  • The goods trade deficit surged 4.0% to $90.6 billion last month, the highest in the history of the series.
  • Exports of goods accelerated 8.7% to $142.0 billion.
  • They were boosted by shipments of motor vehicles, industrial supplies, consumer and capital goods, and food.
  • The jump in exports was offset by a 6.8% advance in imports to $232.6 billion. Imports rose across the board.
  • There were large gains in imports of motor vehicles, industrial supplies, consumer goods and food. Capital goods imports also rose solidly.

Biden to Propose $1.8 Trillion Plan Aimed at Families, Tax Hikes for Wealthiest Americans – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • President Biden plans to lay out a $1.8 trillion proposal that includes new spending on child care, education and paid leave and extensions of some tax breaks, using a prime-time address Wednesday to pitch a package he says will benefit the U.S. economy and workers.
  • Speaking to a joint session of Congress just before his 100th day in office, Mr. Biden will detail his American Families Plan, which he would largely pay for by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
  • The White House said the proposal includes $1 trillion in new spending over 10 years and $800 billion in tax cuts, largely extensions of breaks created or expanded in this year’s Covid-19 relief law.
  • Mr. Biden will call for a universal preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds and two years of tuition-free community college for all Americans, including the young immigrants known as Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children and have lived in the country illegally.
  • Mr. Biden’s proposal would provide money to make child care more affordable for low- and middle-income families and boost federal funding to child-care providers.
  • And it would establish a national paid-leave program for those needing time to care for a child or loved one or to recover from illness, among other reasons. That would provide 12 weeks of leave by the 10th year of the program, and workers would receive up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of wages replaced.
  • To pay for the new programs, the administration proposes raising the top income-tax rate to 39.6% from 37%.
  • For households making more than $1 million, Mr. Biden would also raise the top rate on capital-gains and dividends to 39.6% from 20%.
  • Including existing payroll and investment taxes—each 3.8%—the top rates on wages and capital gains would reach 43.4%, up from 23.8%.
  • Mr. Biden would also adjust how capital gains are taxed at death.
  • Unrealized gains would be treated as sold and taxable, with an exemption of $1 million a person, in addition to the existing exclusion of up to $500,000 for a married couple’s primary residence.

Mortgage Refinancing Initiative to Help Lower-Income Borrowers – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • The federal regulator of Fannie Mae FNMA -0.83% and Freddie Mac FMCC -0.83% unveiled a new program Wednesday aimed at helping more households lock in historically low interest rates, targeting lower-income borrowers who have missed out on the refinancing boom of the past year.
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the two government-controlled mortgage giants, announced plans to ease credit requirements, simplify documentation and waive certain fees for borrowers seeking to refinance their loans. The program is expected to get off the ground by the summer.
  • To benefit from the changes, borrowers would need to make 80% or less of their area’s median income and not have missed more than one mortgage payment in the past 12 months. The program only applies to borrowers with existing loans backed by the mortgage giants and it will be up to lenders to participate in it.

EUROPE & WORLD

Spotify Adds Subscribers as Covid-19 Boosts At-Home Streaming – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • Continued at-home listening of music and podcasts helped Spotify Technology SA post another quarter of strong subscription gains, though overall user growth softened as some of the company’s newest markets face a fierce resurgence of Covid-19.
  • In all for the first quarter, revenue rose 16% to €2.15 billion, in line with guidance.
  • Overall revenue from subscriptions climbed 14% to €1.93 billion, the equivalent of $2.33 billion.
  • Advertising revenue jumped 46% to €216 million, growing for a third consecutive quarter after sliding in the first half of last year amid pandemic headwinds.
  • For the quarter ended March 31, Spotify reported 356 million monthly active users, up 24% from a year earlier and at the low end of the company’s guidance.
  • Paying subscribers, its most lucrative type of customer, grew to 158 million, up 21% from the same period a year ago and at the top of the range of expectations.
  • Average revenue per user for the subscription business in the quarter fell 7% to €4.12, the equivalent of $4.98, as the company continued to attract new subscribers via discounted plans and charged lower prices in new markets such as India and Russia.
  • The company posted a profit of €23 million, up from €1 million a year earlier.
  • Owing to accounting issues, the company reported a per-share loss of 25 European cents a share, compared with a loss of 20 European cents in the year-earlier period.
  • For the current quarter, the company forecast monthly active users would grow to between 366 million and 373 million, and premium subscribers to increase to between 162 million and 166 million.
  • It said it expects to generate revenue of €2.16 billion to €2.36 billion.
  • For the year, Spotify lowered its guidance for monthly active users to between 402 million and 422 million.
  • It kept its subscriber outlook of between 172 million and 184 million, and raised its revenue forecast to between €9.11 billion and €9.51 billion.

GSK focused on split as cost checks, COVID-19 easing aid earnings – Reuters, 4/28/2021

  • Plans for GSK to split in two are “well underway” it said on Wednesday, as a cost clampdown and rising clinic visits for critical treatments after an easing of COVID-19 curbs helped it land better-than-forecast first-quarter earnings.
  • The British drugmaker said it would give details on June 23 on its plan to separate next year into an over-the-counter business and another for prescription drugs and vaccines.
  • GSK said that turnover for the quarter to March fell 15% to 7.42 billion pounds ($10.28 billion) at constant currency rates, as the year-earlier period was inflated by people stocking up on medicines because of the pandemic.
  • Adjusted earnings were 22.9 pence per share, down by a third, compared to analysts’ expectation of 21.9 pence per share on sales of 7.83 billion pounds.

Sony expects profit to slip after pandemic boom – Reuters, 4/28/2021

  • Japan’s Sony said on Wednesday it expects operating income to slip 4.3% this business year following record profit from sales of music, games and other content to people forced to stay at home by COVID-19 lockdown measures.
  • In the three months through March, Sony posted a profit of 66.5 billion yen – almost double the same period a year earlier.
  • That result compared with a 76.1 billion yen average of five analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.
  • Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said Sony was aiming to ship more than 14.8 million PS5s this year, double the number sold since its launch, but that a global shortage of semiconductors meant that it couldn’t drastically boost output.
  • For the business year that started on April 1, Sony forecast profit to fall to 930 billion yen ($8.53 billion), missing the 976.4 billion yen average of 19 analyst estimates, Refinitiv data showed.

Huawei’s Sales Drop Steepens Under Weight of U.S. Sanctions – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • Huawei Technologies reported a steepening decline in revenue in the first quarter, as its smartphone sales tumbled and the Chinese tech giant continued to struggle under U.S. sanctions.
  • Revenue fell 16.5% from a year earlier to 152.2 billion yuan, the equivalent of about $23.5 billion, during the first quarter, the company said. It was the second straight quarterly drop, following a decline of 11.2% in the fourth quarter.
  • The company, which is closely held and publishes a limited financial snapshot every three months, didn’t release quarterly income figures, but it said its net profit margin rose 3.8 percentage points to 11.1%. It attributed that rise to patent royalty income of $600 million and efforts to improve its operations and management efficiency.
  • Huawei didn’t disclose first-quarter sales of its smartphones or networking equipment, though the latter business has been more stable.
  • Globally, its share in the telecom gear market rose last year, according to data provider Dell’Oro Group, because of rising 5G contract wins in China. Outside its home market, Huawei’s market share fell amid U.S. pressure.

Deutsche Bank Avoids Archegos Meltdown, Reports Profit Surge – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • Deutsche Bank reported its strongest quarter in seven years thanks to activity at its investment bank, while the lender escaped the implosion of Archegos Capital Management that badly hit some rivals.
  • Revenue from investment banking increased 32%, while at its asset-management arm it rose 23%.
  • Revenue at its corporate business dropped 1% and was flat in its private bank operations in the first quarter.
  • But profits in both units were up because of lower bad-debt charges.
  • The bank set aside €69 million in the first quarter to cover souring loans, compared with €506 million a year earlier when the pandemic started.
  • The Frankfurt-based bank said net profit in the first three months of the year was €1.04 billion, equivalent to $1.25 billion, sharply up from €66 million a year earlier. The profit was higher than an average analyst consensus of €707 million.

Saudi Arabia to Sell More Aramco Stakes, Crown Prince Says – Wall Street Journal, 4/28/2021

  • Saudi Arabia is talking with unnamed foreign investors about selling stakes in Aramco, with options that include a 1% acquisition by a leading global energy company, according to the kingdom’s crown prince.
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler and chairman of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., as Aramco is officially known, said in a television interview that an announcement would come in the next year or two.
  • Other shares could be sold in secondary listings on the Riyadh bourse or transferred to the country’s sovereign-wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.
  • Despite efforts to diversify the economy away from oil, Aramco remains Saudi Arabia’s main source of revenue, with most of its $75 billion dividend filling state coffers.

Factmonster – TODAY in HISTORY

  • Benito Mussolini was executed. (1945)
  • Boxing champion Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the Army. (1967)
  • The Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal first comes to light when graphic photos of U.S. soldiers physically abusing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners were shown on CBS’s 60 Minutes II. (2004)

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