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Musk’s potential Tesla stake sale follows share surge

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November 9, 2021

By Lewis Krauskopf and Noel Randewich

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Should Elon Musk decide to unload some of his stake in Tesla Inc, he will be capitalizing on a massive rally that has made the electric-vehicle maker one of the world’s most valuable companies.

The Tesla chief asked his Twitter followers on Saturday if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stake. Nearly 58% said they would support such a sale, leading the stock to fall 4.9% when trading resumed on Monday.

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Musk polled his Twitter followers after a jump in Tesla shares in recent weeks extended a strong, if volatile, run for the stock since it was added to the S&P 500 index late last year.

Trading in Tesla has averaged $19 billion a day in the past three months, more than any other U.S. company, according to Refinitiv data.

Here is a closer look at Tesla’s shares:

After falling in the first half of 2021, Tesla shares have soared in recent weeks. Since Oct. 20, the stock has gained some 34%, with the S&P 500 up 3.6% over that time, a move that has pushed the electric-car maker’s market value over $1 trillion.

With those recent gains, Tesla shares have now surged 67% since the stock joined the S&P 500 in late December, versus a 27% gain for the benchmark index over that time.

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(For graphic on Tesla shares since joining S&P 500 – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-STOCKS/TESLA/byvrjkrzwve/chart.png)

Tesla accounts for about 2.5% of the S&P 500’s $4 trillion market capitalization. That compares to 1.8% when Tesla joined the index in December 2020.

(For graphic on Tesla in the S&P 500 – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/egpbkamzzvq/Pasted%20image%201636404344233.png)

Tesla’s valuation has crept lower in recent months, as analysts increase their earnings forecasts. Analysts on average see Tesla’s 2022 earnings per share at $7.92, up from an average estimate of $5.50 per share in February.

However, Tesla’s PE valuation remains sky-high, with the stock now trading at 150-times future earnings, compared to 21 times for the S&P 500.

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(For graphic on Tesla’s forward P/E – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/dwvkreegrpm/Pasted%20image%201636404441389.png)

Short bets against Tesla have declined this year as the stock’s rally forced some investors to cover their positions.

The number of Tesla shares shorted stood at 29.5 million, down from 60.6 million at the start of January, analytics firm S3 Partners said on Monday. The short position in Tesla as a percentage of the company’s float is down to 3.6% from about 8% at the start of the year.

Still, Tesla’s short interest, a measure of the stock’s price and number of shares shorted, amounted to nearly $36.1 billion, larger than any other stock, according to S3.

(For graphic on Bets against Tesla shares fall – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-STOCKS/TESLA/zjvqkwwkjvx/chart.png)

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Tesla and other car companies’ shares have notched big swings this year as the auto sector goes through upheavals related to the global supply crisis and other effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Tesla’s stock has gained or lost 2% in a session 99 times so far in 2021, compared to 79 times for Ford Motor and just five times for the S&P 500.

(For graphic on A volatile year for U.S. car makers – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-STOCKS/TESLA/gdpzydwxjvw/chart.png)

(Reporting by Noel Randewich and Lewis Krauskopf; Additional reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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Deutsche Post CEO favourite to become Telekom chairman – sources

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December 5, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – Frank Appel, the chief executive of German logistics company Deutsche Post, is the favourite to become the next supervisory board chairman of Deutsche Telekom, two sources close to the matter told Reuters.

The sources said Deutsche Post’s supervisory board is due to meet on Wednesday and Deutsche Telekom’s board will meet a week later to discuss the matter.

Both companies declined to comment.

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The Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Saturday that Appel would potentially be proposed for election at Deutsche Telekom’s annual meeting on April 7.

The term of office of Telekom chairman Ulrich Lehner, who has headed the Telekom supervisory body since 2008, ends at next year’s shareholder meeting. He had already confirmed that an external search for a successor was under way.

Appel’s predecessor at Deutsche Post, Klaus Zumwinkel, also served as supervisory board chairman of Telekom.

The German government holds stakes in both companies.

Appel, a former McKinsey consultant, has been with Deutsche Post since 2000. In 2002, he became a member of the board of management, and in 2008 he moved up to the post of CEO.

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His contract runs until 2022 and a decision on his future at the Post had been expected soon. Some industry insiders have speculated that Appel could be ready to move on given that Deutsche Post has posted record results through the pandemic.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Nadine Schimroszik; Writing by Emma Thomasson; editing by David Evans)

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Canadian employers, facing labor shortage, accommodate the unvaccinated

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December 5, 2021

By Julie Gordon and Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s tight labor market is forcing many companies to offer regular COVID-19 testing over vaccine mandates, while others are reversing previously announced inoculation requirements even as Omicron variant cases rise.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government adopted one of the strictest inoculation policies in the world for civil servants and has already put more than 1,000 workers on unpaid leave, with thousands more at risk.

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Airlines, police forces, school boards and even Canada’s Big Five banks https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-major-banks-require-employees-entering-premises-be-vaccinated-2021-08-20 have also pledged strict mandatory vaccine policies. But following through has proven less straightforward, especially as employers grapple with staffing shortages and workers demand exemptions.

Job vacancies in Canada have doubled so far this year, official data shows, and vaccine mandates can make filling those jobs harder, potentially putting upward pressure on wages. That could fuel inflation https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-annual-inflation-rate-hits-47-oct-highest-since-feb-2003-2021-11-17, already running at a near two-decade high.

“It’s already difficult to find staff, let alone putting in a vaccine mandate. You’d cut out potentially another 20%” of potential workers, said Dan Kelly, chief executive of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

There are pitfalls to employing the unvaccinated. Companies run a higher risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and many vaccinated employees are uncomfortable working with those who have not had the jab, said industry groups and marketing experts.

At Luda Foods, a Montreal-based soup and sauce maker, president Robert Eiser said he has 14 open jobs, no vaccine mandate and no plans to restrict new hires to the vaccinated.

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“I don’t know that I want to reduce the (labor) pool, which is already quite low,” said Eiser. “We need to attract people to meet the demand. If we don’t, our competitors will.”

Data released on Friday underpinned Canada’s tight labor market, with a hefty 153,700 jobs https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/canada-posts-hefty-job-gains-outlook-clouded-by-omicron-variant-2021-12-03 added in November. It also showed a growing mismatch between available workers and unfilled jobs. And job postings are far above pre-pandemic levels. (Graphic: Canada job postings surge above pre-pandemic level Canada job postings surge above pre-pandemic level, https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/CANADA2/klvyknzklvg/chart.png)

WALKING BACK

The province of Quebec backtracked on a vaccine mandates for healthcare workers last month, saying they could not afford to lose thousands of unvaccinated staff. Ontario, which was also eyeing a mandate, said it would not go ahead.

Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal have both softened their vaccine policy to allow regular testing for workers who missed their Oct. 31 inoculation deadline.

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In Canada, 86% of adults are fully inoculated, though that drops under 80% among 18-40 year olds. At least 15 cases of the new Omicron https://www.reuters.com/markets/rates-bonds/canada-has-reported-total-11-cases-omicron-variant-health-official-2021-12-03 variant in Canada have been reported in the past week.

John Cappelli, vice president of onsite managed services in Canada for global recruitment firm Adecco, said half of his clients are mandating vaccines with the other half allowing regular testing for the unvaccinated.

But he expects the Omicron variant will prompt more workplaces to get strict on vaccination, even as they grapple with the tightest job market he’s seen in his 25-year career.

“We are now starting to see our first workplace (COVID-19) cases in five months,” he said.

The number of Canadian job postings on search website Indeed mentioning vaccine requirements has quadrupled since August. (Graphic: Canada job postings and vaccine mandates, https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/CANADA3/byvrjqrlmve/chart.png)

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In the hard-hit manufacturing sector, where 77% of firms say their top concern is attracting and retaining workers, vaccine mandates are more rare.

Dennis Darby, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, said most of Canada’s factories have operated safely throughout the pandemic. While CME encourages vaccination, “some companies are still using rapid testing if somebody doesn’t want to get vaccinated,” he added.

But companies risk a hit to their reputation if they are overt in efforts to tap into the unvaccinated as a labor pool, said Wojtek Dabrowski, managing partner at Provident Communications.

“If you go out and say, ‘We are intentionally seeking to hire unvaccinated people,’ many customers are equating that with you being anti-science and anti-safety,” said Dabrowski.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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Israeli firm to sell HSBC Tower in New York for $855 million

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December 5, 2021

By Steven Scheer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s Property and Building Corp said on Sunday it agreed to sell the HSBC Tower building in midtown Manhattan for $855 million to New York-based real estate firm Innovo Property Group, recording a net loss of $45 million.

The Israeli company, which is 63% owned by Discount Investment Corp, said it had also sold property in Israel for 390 million shekels ($123 million).

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Doron Cohen, chief executive of both Property and Building and Discount, said management was focusing on income-producing properties in Israel and that the amount it was receiving from both transactions would allow it to advance this policy.

“We are continuing the policy and examining the possibility of realising additional properties in the United States and in Israel,” Cohen said, noting the sale of the HSBC building came despite “gloomy” predictions over U.S. commercial real estate market.

He cited Tivoli Village, an upscale apartment complex in Las Vegas that opened this year, which may be put up for sale as part of the company’s efforts to boost liquidity and reduce debt.

Along with conglomerate Koor Industries, Property and Building, bought the 30-storey, 80,000 square metre HSBC Tower in 2009 for $353 million. In 2011, Property acquired Koor’s stake in the tower which has an occupancy of 99%, it said. HSBC had bought the building in the 1990s.

Property and Building said the value of the HSBC Tower in its books was $864 million as of Sept. 30. After costs, it said it would record a net loss of $45 million from the sale.

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Completion of the sale is expected by April 1, 2022 subject to Innovo’s right to advance the date while also receiving options to postpone the completion twice for 30 days each.

Property said after the sale it will have a net cash flow of $343 million.

Its shares were 0.7% lower in afternoon trading in Tel Aviv.

($1 = 3.1605 shekels)

(Reporting by Steven Scheer;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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