Elon Musk, a new Wall Street oracle?

Elon Musk, a new Wall Street oracle?
With his social media prognostications about Bitcoin or GameStop, Elon Musk has been venturing further away from his own businesses and becoming more like a Wall Street heavyweight who can move markets with just a few words. (AFP)
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Updated 02 February 2021

Elon Musk, a new Wall Street oracle?

Elon Musk, a new Wall Street oracle?
  • When he changed his Twitter profile to read simply “#bitcoin” on Friday, the cryptocurrency’s price temporarily skyrocketed by around 20 percent

NEW YORK: With social media prognostications about Bitcoin or GameStop, Elon Musk has ventured further away from his own businesses and become more like a Wall Street heavyweight who can move markets with just a few words.
In his latest foray, the Tesla and SpaceX founder appeared on Clubhouse — a social network accessible only by invitation — to interview the head of online broker Robinhood, in the hot seat for his management of the GameStop affair, a chain of video game stores whose share price recently rocketed and is shaking hedge funds.
After discussing his ambitions for the colonization of Mars, as well as cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence, Musk spoke with Vlad Tenev for 14 minutes, offering him the opportunity to respond to his detractors.
Robinhood has been limiting transactions on GameStop shares for several days.
But the gaming company, in fragile financial health, is being propped up by an army of small traders in a crusade against giant Wall Street hedge funds betting on its demise.
“Spill the beans, man,” Musk said. “What happened last week? Why can’t people buy the GameStop shares? People demand an answer and want to know the details and the truth.”
Musk, who last month became the richest man in the world on paper thanks to a Tesla stock market boom, has nearly 45 million followers on Twitter.
Swept on by the success of his companies Tesla and SpaceX, as well as by interest in the electric cars and rockets they manufacture, he is considered by many fans to be a visionary, his slightest word enough to sway some investors.
When he changed his Twitter profile to read simply “#bitcoin” on Friday, the cryptocurrency’s price temporarily skyrocketed by around 20 percent.
And the mere mention of the Polish publisher of video game CD Projekt, or the e-commerce platform Shopify or the craft market Etsy — which apparently delighted Musk with a hand-knitted hat for his dog — caused their stocks to soar.
The business giant, who has expressed his contempt for investors betting on a decline in a company’s shares, waded in on the GameStop affair by tweeting a link to the Reddit group WallStreetBets, which helped stock of the video game specialist take off.
Influential figures jostling the fate of companies is nothing new, said Aswath Damodaran, a professor of finance at New York University.
Comments by banker John Pierpont Morgan more than 100 years ago, or Chrysler boss Lee Iacocca in the 1980s, could move markets. And the pronouncements of investment guru Warren Buffett are still scrutinized by many traders, earning Buffett the nickname “the Oracle of Omaha,” the city where he lives.

“The fact that Twitter and Clubhouse have replaced traditional media is more a reflection of media than it is of markets,” said Damodaran.
But Musk has been “very intentional about creating kind of an outlaw, outsider persona,” said Christopher Smith, professor of communications at the University of Southern California.
“And that resonates with the tech bro culture,” he said.
In a highly fragmented media landscape, Musk has mastered the art of using new technologies “to really stoke excitement,” he said.
Other giants like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos rely on their business portfolio to do the talking, “but Elon Musk is probably more of an attention-seeking narcissist, he’s much more of a showman,” added Smith.
Musk often uses his personal Twitter account to impart news about his various companies.
But his presence on the website has caused him some headaches, too. Musk had a serious run-in with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which accused him in 2018 of misleading investors by tweeting about a possible withdrawal of Tesla from the stock exchange.
The tweet forced him to step down as chairman of the automaker’s board.
Perhaps aware of his Twitter account’s continued power to move markets — and the legal issues that might follow — the billionaire on Tuesday announced he was taking a break from the platform.
“Off Twitter for a while,” Musk said — on Twitter, naturally.


Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction
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Updated 12 sec ago

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

RIYADH: Qatar Energy is looking to raise between $5 to $10 billion from issuing green bonds, banking sources told CNBC Arabia.

Qatar Energy is developing an environmental framework in collaboration with global investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, to move into the green bond market in conjunction with the global trend towards reducing carbon emissions, sources said.

The offering is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2022 or by the end of June 2022, sources added.

Separately, Reuters reported that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in Qatar launched a national climate change action plan aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030.

The plan also envisioned reducing "carbon intensity" of its liquefied natural gas facilities by 25 percent by the same year.

Qatar's move follows other Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia which announced its net-zero emission target by 2060 ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow next week.


Qatar is the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas and aims to expand LNG production to 127 million tonnes annually by 2027. It says its gas production helps combat climate change globally because it can help the world shift from high-polluting fuels like oil and coal to renewable energies.


Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims

Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims
Updated 54 min 13 sec ago

Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims

Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims

A million cruise ship passengers will visit Saudi Arabia by 2028 according to ambitious plans set out by the managing director of the country’s Cruise Saudi company.

Fawaz Farooqui set out the goal during a session at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad, as he also claimed 50,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created by the industry by 2035.

He also pledged that five cruise ports will operate in Saudi Arabia by 2025.

Farooqui added that plans for Cruise Saudi had been hampered by the pandemic, and said: “Our plan was to bring the first cruise passenger in 2023, but the pandemic hit and many unfortunate incidents happened to the industry.”

Farooqui’s comments came just days after Cruise Saudi became a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council as the Kingdom continues its drive to diversify its economy away from oil as per the Vision 2030 agenda.


‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice

‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice
Updated 28 October 2021

‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice

‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice

Humanity needs rules for dealing with artificial intelligence (AI) in the same way it learned to manage fire and nuclear technology, one of the sector’s up and coming voices has claimed.

Bruno Maisonnier, founder and CEO of AI firm AnotherBrain, admitted there was a danger with the new technology, but that is no different from every major discovery since the dawn of man.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad, Maisonnier said: “There’s risk with AI as well as there are risk with every new technology, that’s part of human history 

“We brought fire and people died from fire, we brought nuclear and people died from that . 

“Each time we have the same reaction: First we fear and then we start to put the feedback and learn and put rules to get the positive out of this technology

“The same goes with AI. The question is when do we have to set these rules?

“Rules must be put but first we must allow the evolution to happen.”

Also speaking at the forum, Pascal Weinberger, CEO and co-founder of tech firm Bardeen AI, insisted that machines will never be able to fully replace humans in many environments.

“There are a lot of things that machines are better at than humans, and vice versa — especially at common sense,” he said.


Nokia's quarterly profit beats on 5G demand

Nokia's quarterly profit beats on 5G demand
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Updated 28 October 2021

Nokia's quarterly profit beats on 5G demand

Nokia's quarterly profit beats on 5G demand
  • The company expects comparable operating profit margin to be towards the upper end of the target range of 10 percent to 12 percent

Nokia reported a stronger-than-expected third-quarter operating profit on Thursday on higher demand for 5G gear, but warned the global shortage of semiconductors would hit its supply chain.


Shares of the Finland-based company were up 5 percent as investors lauded its efforts to get back on track following product missteps last year by riding on 5G demand and taking market share away from rivals, particularly in China.


Any problem in supplying to customers on time might dent those ambitions.


"At the moment, we are limited by semiconductor availability, that will affect Q4 and it's quite possible that this challenge will get bigger before it starts getting better," Chief Executive Officer Pekka Lundmark said in an interview.


Global producers of goods from televisions to cars have faced a host of supply chain issues ranging from a shortage of vital components, manpower, logistics snarls, and delays at plants because of power cuts in China.


Rival Ericsson last week also warned of supply chain issues.


"We are working every single day with the suppliers on all levels of the organisation and I have also been personally involved in these discussions," Lundmark said.


Nokia's quarterly net sales rose 2 percent to 5.4 billion euros ($6.27 billion) from 5.3 billion a year ago, in line with analysts' expectations.


The company expects comparable operating profit margin to be towards the upper end of the target range of 10 percent to 12 percent


Comparable operating profit during July-September surged to 633 million euros from 486 million last year, beating the 488 million euros forecast by 11 analysts polled by Refinitiv.


While its mainstay mobile network business suffered from lost business in the United States, network infrastructure grew 6 percent in constant currency and cloud and network services rose 12 percent.


"The 5G market is still growing and we expect that it will still take a couple of years before it reaches its peak," Lundmark said


In July, Nokia won its first 5G radio contract in China, while rival Ericsson lost market share after Sweden last year decided to ban Chinese vendors from their 5G networks.


Lundmark said revenue from China has started to flow in but the available market there for non-Chinese vendors was limited.


Transport problems holding back $2-a-kg hydrogen fuel, says Aramco's technology chief

Transport problems holding back $2-a-kg hydrogen fuel, says Aramco's technology chief
Updated 28 October 2021

Transport problems holding back $2-a-kg hydrogen fuel, says Aramco's technology chief

Transport problems holding back $2-a-kg hydrogen fuel, says Aramco's technology chief

RIYADH: Low-carbon hydrogen can be produced at a cost of $2 per kg but the issue is transporting the fuel to where it is needed, according to the chief technology officer of Aramco.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad, Ahmad Al Khowaiter said the technology for capturing the gas has proven itself reliable “over many years” and is “at scale today”.

Khowaiter claimed that hydrogen is the only option in “many of the harder to decarbonise sectors” as the world seeks to drastically reduce its carbon footprint.

He confirmed that Aramco, the Saudi-state owned oil and gas company, has been operating its own production pilot with the capacity for 800,000 tonnes a year of hydrogen for the last six years with “no problems, no challenges”.

“I really do believe that technology is mature, the cost structures are very compatible with the competitive energy costs that are needed for hydrogen” he told delegates at the conference, adding: “It really does allow, for example, low carbon hydrogen to be produced today at scale with very competitive costs.”

Khowaiter went on: “The challenge with hydrogen is transport, so the big challenge is converting it to something that can be transported or compressing it in transport. 

“At the point of production we’re talking $1.5 to £2 a kg range, which is far below alternatives for now, as the alternatives have to scale up.”