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.


Wataniya Insurance board recommends $53.3m capital increase

Wataniya Insurance board recommends $53.3m capital increase
Updated 57 min 41 sec ago

Wataniya Insurance board recommends $53.3m capital increase

Wataniya Insurance board recommends $53.3m capital increase
  • Proceeds to help boost solvency margin

RIYADH: Wataniya Insurance Company’s board of directors recommended on Thursday to increase the company’s capital through a SR200 million ($53.3 million) rights issue, according to a bourse filing.

The company plans to use the proceeds to support its future plans and increase its solvency margin, Wataniya said in a statement on Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). An insurer’s solvency margin is the difference between its assets and insurance liabilities and is designed to prepare it for unforeseen claims.

The financial adviser for the offering will be announced once appointed, the company said.


National Water Co. awards $95.4m contract to manage Riyadh water services

National Water Co. awards $95.4m contract to manage Riyadh water services
Updated 17 September 2021

National Water Co. awards $95.4m contract to manage Riyadh water services

National Water Co. awards $95.4m contract to manage Riyadh water services
  • Contract awarded to Alkhorayef Group and France's Veolia
  • Restructuring of Saudi water sector almost complete

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company has awarded a seven-year contract to manage water services and environmental treatment in Riyadh to a consortium of Alkhorayef Water and Power Technologies and France’s Veolia, Argaam reported.

The SR358 million ($95.4 million) contract is tied to 14 main indicators, including improving and developing the customer experience, raising operational efficiency through cost savings and reducing water losses, and improving network management, according to a statement by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Management contracts are one of the main pillars to improve the sector and prepare it for full privatization, said National Water Company CEO Mohammed Al-Mowkley.

NWC has completed 92 percent of its project to restructure the 13 administrative regions into six sectors, and as of November 2021, the process will be complete when the northern sector has been created, he said.

Management contracts to improve the performance of the sector’s services will all have been awarded by the end of 2021, he said.

If the targets are achieved after the third year of the contract, the National Water Company will be able to move directly to the stage of concession contracts, in which the private sector will take full responsibility for water services, and not wait until the seven years are over, he said.


Oil still hovers above $70 with US shut-in output: Market wrap

Oil still hovers above $70 with US shut-in output: Market wrap
Updated 16 September 2021

Oil still hovers above $70 with US shut-in output: Market wrap

Oil still hovers above $70 with US shut-in output: Market wrap
  • Brent crude was down 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $74.92 per barrel, while WTI slipped by 67 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $71.94

RIYADH: Oil prices are still trading at above $70 even as OPEC+ is increasing production and data showed today that Saudi oil exports are on the rise, due to the impact of hurricanes Nicholas and Ida on US offshore production.

Brent crude was down 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $74.92 per barrel, while WTI slipped by 67 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $71.94 after climbing to the highest since Aug. 2 on Wednesday.

US Gulf energy companies have been able to restore pipeline service and electricity quickly after Hurricane Nicholas passed through Texas early this week, allowing them to focus on efforts to repair the damage caused weeks earlier by Hurricane Ida.

Qatar Petroleum set official prices for the sale of Al-Shaheen crude, during November, at the lowest price premium in 5 months.

Sale prices for Qatari crude shipments came next November with an average premium of $1.53 a barrel to Dubai prices. 

Libya

Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said Thursday that exports had resumed from several oil terminals in the country's east after young protesters demanding jobs ended blockades there.

"Announcing the resumption of crude oil export operations at the ports of Al-Sidra and Ras Lanuf after a group of young people ended their sit-in inside the ports, which lasted for days," Libya's National Oil Corporation NOC said in a statement.

Russian ESPO oil prices at 21-month high

A rebound in China's crude demand has pushed up prices of a Russian grade popular with Chinese independent refiners to the highest in 21 months, several trade sources said on Thursday.

Russia's Surgutneftegaz sold three cargoes of ESPO crude loading in November at premiums of $4.10-$4.20 a barrel to Dubai quotes, the sources said, the highest since January 2020.

Malaysia

Exports of Malaysia's flagship crude oil Kimanis will fall in October and November following a production issue at an offshore oilfield operated by Royal Dutch Shell, three sources with knowledge of the matter said to Reuters.

Petroleum Brunei, one of the stakeholders, cancelled a tender to sell a Kimanis crude cargo that was supposed to load in early November because of the problem, one of the sources told the agency.


TASI ends the week with slight increase, Nomu edges down

TASI ends the week with slight increase, Nomu edges down
Updated 16 September 2021

TASI ends the week with slight increase, Nomu edges down

TASI ends the week with slight increase, Nomu edges down
  • Shares of 81 companies increased, while those of 105 companies declined

RIYADH: The Saudi stocks index, TASI, ended the last trading of the week with an increase of 11.13 points, or 0.10 percent, and closed at 11,422.11 points.

The parallel market index, Nomu, fell today, by 189.35 points, or 0.74 percent, it closed at 25,369.09 points.

Liquidity in Nomu amounted to about 42.6 million riyals,  328.1 million shares were traded , in 1460 thousand deals .

Liquidity in the main market TASI amounted to about 10.2 billion riyals, which is the highest in more than two months, 223.1 million shares were traded, in 300 thousand deals.

Shares of 81 companies increased, while those of 105 companies declined.

Nine of the 21 market sectors rose, led by public utilities by 1.3 percent, capital goods by 1.1 percent, and food retailing by 0.7 percent, while the remaining 12 sectors fell, led by media and entertainment by 4.5 percent, pharmaceuticals by 1.4 percent, communications by 1.2 percent, and investment, finance, and insurance by 0.8 percent.

The biggest gainers on Thursday were Textile with 5.6 percent increase, PCI with 4.6 percent, SABIC Agri-Nutrients with 4.3 percent, Fitness Time with 4.2 percent, and Chemanol with 3.6 percent.

The biggest losers were research and media by 4.8 percent, Al-Naqoul and the Kingdom by 4.4 percent, Bupa by 3.7 percent, food development by 2.4 percent, construction by 2.2 percent, and Mobily by 1.9 percent.

Theeb Rent a Car Company announced Thursday the distribution of SR22 million as interim cash dividends to shareholders for the first half of 2021.


Cinema chain AMC confirms plan to accept cryptocurrencies: Market wrap

Cinema chain AMC confirms plan to accept cryptocurrencies: Market wrap
Updated 16 September 2021

Cinema chain AMC confirms plan to accept cryptocurrencies: Market wrap

Cinema chain AMC confirms plan to accept cryptocurrencies: Market wrap
  • Bitcoin, the leading international cryptocurrency, traded lower on Thursday, falling by 0.42 percent to $47,617.84

RIYADH: AMC Entertainment, the world's most popular film exhibition company, has announced its plan to accept cryptocurrencies in its 950 theaters by the end of the year.

AMC CEO Adam Aron tweeted Wednesday: “Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know AMC has announced that we will accept Bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin cash.”

Other crypro news:

SkyBridge Capital, the investment firm founded by former aide to Donald Trump Anthony Scaramucci, has submitted an application for a crypto-trading fund (ETF), with the aim of providing investors with a capital appreciation.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the ‘First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF’ is seeking to list and trade its shares on the NYSE Arca Stock Exchange.

Scaramucci announced a new Algorand fund during the star-studded "SALT" hedge fund conference, which included the likes of Ray Dalio, Steven Cohen and Mike Novogratz.

“SkyBridge now has about $700 million in crypto. We are starting the Alogrand fund,  we are capping that fund at $250 million, and we have already raised $100 million for that fund.” Scaramucci said in an interview with CNBC Wednesday.

In Turkey, the Central Bank of Turkey has created a new platform with technology stakeholders to further develop a digital version of the national fiat currency.

The Central Bank of Turkey also entered into agreements with two defense and technology companies, as well as the Scientific and Technological Research Council, and the Informatics and Information Security Research Center to cooperate on the digital lira project, the state-run Anadolu Agency and Daily Sabah reported.

In the United States, at a hearing of the US Senate Banking Committee, Senator Elizabeth Warren asked the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, to increase oversight of cryptocurrency.

She flagged up several issues that she linked to cryptocurrencies that she felt could harm small investors.

Bitcoin, the leading international cryptocurrency, traded lower on Thursday, falling by 0.42 percent to $47,617.84 at 5:55 p.m Riyadh time. 

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, went in the opposite direction, trading up by 3.92 percent at $3,585.47, according to data from Coindesk.