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1. Virgin Hyperloop reportedly loses $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia after Richard Branson pulls out of 'Davos in the Desert'02:23[−]


  • Saudi Arabia has walked away from its $1 billion Virgin Hyperloop investment, the Financial Times reports.
  • The move comes after Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson said he would suspend working with the Kingdom in the wake of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.
  • Swaths of US executives have declined to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference next week.

Saudi Arabia has pulled its $1 billion investment in Virgin Hyperloop One in response to the company joining droves of others who pulled out of the Kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative — colloquially known as "Davos in the Desert" — following the disappearance and possible murder of a naturalized US citizen and Washington Post columnist, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

Virgin Hyperloop One, one iteration of Elon Musk’s visionary Hyperloop transportation project, unveiled its first pod prototype earlier this year. Saudi Arabia is one one of its most important backers, and heralded the project as one that could “enable all 4th-generation technologies to flourish in the Kingdom.”

A spokesperson for Hyperloop One said the company "did not have a contract signed nor have we been notified that the contract is cancelled," adding that they have asked the paper to publish a correction. There has been no such correction.

On Thursday of last week, as evidence was mounting that Saudi officials were believed to have killed the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggiat the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Branson joined the likes of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and others in pulling out of the conference.

"I had high hopes for the current government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and it is why I was delighted to accept two directorships in the tourism projects around the Red Sea,” Branson said in a blog post published October 11.

"What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi Government."

You can read everything we know about the troubling disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi here.

SEE ALSO: Richard Branson just unveiled his vision for Virgin Hyperloop One — and it looks straight out of a sci-fi film

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2. Investors seem to be balking at MoviePass' parents' plans to reverse split its stock again — and for good reason (HMNY)00:08[−]


  • Helios and Matheson, the parent company of MoviePass, is seeking to boost its share price through another reverse-split of its stock.
  • Two of the major research firms that offer investors advice on shareholder votes back the reverse-split proposal.
  • Even so, investors appear dubious of it.
  • They have good reason to oppose it — it would free the company up to issue billions of new shares of stock after it's already massively diluted shareholders.

Sometimes investors have a much better sense of what's in their best interest than the executives in charge of the companies they own or the advisors who get paid to tell them how to vote on company issues.

Such seems to be the case with the shareholders of Helios and Matheson, the beleaguered owner of MoviePass. They finally seeming to putting their collective foot down, in defiance of the company's management and even influential proxy advisors Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services.

Helios and Matheson is seeking investor approval for the second reverse-split of its stock in four months. Once a high-flier, the company's stock has been sunk under massive dilution and the huge cash outflow from MoviePass' money-losing subscription cinema ticket service and now trades at around 2 cents a share. With Helios and Matheson running the risk that its stock will be delisted by the Nasdaq market, it's hoping to reduce its share count and boost its stock price by as much as a factor of 500 to get back into compliance with listing regulations.

Investors seem to be dubious of the new reverse-split proposal

But the company seems to be having trouble getting shareholders on board.

It's not hard to find discontent among Helios and Matheson's investors. You need only check Twitter or the various online investor discussion boards.

While investors have been unhappy for months now, thanks to the company's slumping stock, their growing ire now seems to have put the reverse-split proposal in real jeopardy of failing.

MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe and Helios and Matheson Chief Executive Ted Farnsworth.On Monday, just three days before Helios and Matheson's special shareholder meeting was due to take place and the votes on the proposal officially counted, it issued a press release and sent out a proxy statement to shareholders noting that ISS and Glass Lewis were backing its reverse-split proposal. The proxy advisors had issued their recommendations weeks earlier, so the company wasn't exactly alerting investors to breaking news. Instead, its move to tout those recommendations in the closing days before a vote is finalized is just the sort of thing corporate managers do when they're worried about losing.

Then, the very next day, Helios and Matheson took the unusual step of delaying the shareholder meeting for two weeks, explaining that it wanted to give investors "more time to consider and vote upon the proposal." A company spokeswoman declined to say whether the company postponed the meeting because it was losing the vote, but you better believe that if the early returns were going Helios and Matheson's way, the meeting would have been held right on schedule.

Executives have done a great job of destroying shareholder value

Investors have good reason to oppose the reverse-split proposal, even if doing so puts the company in greater danger of having its shares delisted. Helios and Matheson's executives have driven the company into the dirt, destroying enormous amounts of shareholder value in the process and abusing investors' trust, even to the point where the company is now reportedly facing an investigation by New York's attorney general. Passing the proposal as written would give CEO Ted Farnsworth and his team leeway to do yet more damage.

Under the proposal, Helios and Matheson would essentially trade investors one new share of stock in the company for anywhere from two to 500 of its current shares. The move would affect the number of shares it has outstanding, the number of shares it has to set aside to pay off convertible notes, and the number of stock options it has outstanding. It would also immediately increase the company's stock price in inverse proportion to the reverse-split ratio.

What the proposal wouldn't do, though, is reduce the number of shares the company is authorized to issue. That amount would remain at 5 billion. So, one of the effects of the reverse-split would be to give the company lots more room to issue new shares.

Farnsworth and company have repeatedly taken advantage of just that latitude. In the last year, thanks in part to two shareholder-approved increases in Helios and Matheson's share count and its first reverse split in July, which reduced its outstanding shares and gave it more head room to issue new ones, the company's share count has increased nearly 3,900,00%, adjusting for that split.

The last reverse split is a bad portent for this one

However, investors don't have to look any further back than July to get a pretty good idea of what might happen if they pass another reverse split. Helios and Matheson's leaders offered some of the same rationale for that split as this one — that it was needed to boost the company's stock price to avert it being delisted from the Nasdaq. As with the current proposal, the company offered a range of ratios by which it might reverse split the stock, in that case from 1 to 2 on up to 1 to 250.

But at the shareholder meeting, Farnsworth tried to downplay the import of the reverse-split proposal, saying it was simply an "insurance policy" in case shareholders chose not to increase its share count. Either way, the company would get increased headroom to issue new shares.

After investors passed both proposals, Helios and Matheson took advantage of each of them. It reverse split its stock by 250-to-1, the maximum authorized by investors, freeing up as many shares as it could under that proposal. And then it proceeded in the coming weeks to sell shares like there was no tomorrow.

In just a week, the company's share count had already quadrupled. Two weeks later it was 100 times larger. By the middle of last month it had more than doubled again. Adding that increase to the billions of shares it had to set aside for its convertible notes, Helios and Matheson soon got to the point where it had more than maxed out the 5 billion shares it was authorized to issue. (The company has since renegotiated the terms of some of those notes, reducing the number of shares it needed to reserve.)

As you might imagine, with all that share issuance, the company's stock price plummeted. After trading at $22.50 a share immediately after the reverse split, it fell to below a $1 a share again within a week and was down below 10 cents a share within two weeks. It's been mired around 2 cents for weeks now. Thanks to that decline, the company not only doesn't meet the Nasdaq's per-share price requirements, it now falls shy of its market capitalization standards, meaning that even if the reverse-split boosts its stock price, it could still be delisted because it's not worth very much.

Thanks to all of its stock sales and debt issuance, Helios and Matheson raised some $210 million in just the first six months of this year. In that same period, its operations — which largely involved paying retail prices for millions of movie tickets that it gave away for free to customers — blew through $219 million.

The company looks set to do it all over again

The new reverse-split proposal would set Helios and Matheson up to do the same thing all over again. It already has authorization via regulatory filings to sell more shares. The split would give it billions of new shares it could issue to raise yet more funds that it can burn through, with few restrictions on management.

Both ISS and Glass Lewis declined to comment on their recommendations. Their reports on the issue were each terse. Neither proxy advisor seemed to take very seriously the previous dilution that Helios and Matheson has already inflicted on shareholders or how the proposal would give the company room to afflict them with still more.

But all indications are that investors are taking that prospect a lot more seriously than the proxy advisors and company executives. As well they should.

Now read:

SEE ALSO: MoviePass' parent company increased its share count by an incredible 9,000% in less than two weeks — and just after reverse splitting its stock to combat dilution

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3. Stocks end lower after Fed minutesСр., 17 окт.[−]

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

  • Stocks wavered Wednesday amid strong earnings and concerns about rising rates.
  • A sell-off had shaved thousands of points from the major US indices last week.
  • Watch US stocks trade in real time here.

The three major US indices slipped Wednesday as an earnings-fueled rally lost steam and amid concerns about rising rates, with Wall Street still on edge in wake of a sell-off that had battered global stocks last week.

Capping a volatile day of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average ended down 0.4% after earlier clawing its way up from a 300-point loss. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite wavered before giving up session gains and ending slightly negative.

"The mood has turned sour, reflecting a mix of political noise and a few soggy data prints," said Mark McCormick, a strategist at TD Securities.

Stocks have found some refuge in strong corporate earnings reports, with big banks flying past Wall Street expectations on Tuesday. Netflix also beat and added nearly 7 million subscriptions, while IBM missed.

With unemployment at multi-decade lows and signs wage growth could pick up, all eyes were on minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting. The central bank signaled it would continue gradually increasing interest rates, once more this year and around three times in 2019.

But Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, thinks the minutes also revealed emerging worries among officials that the tightening labor market "is a threat to future inflation and might require a period in which rates rise above neutral."

While the Federal Reserve sees the economy as "evolving about as anticipated," it continued to cite uncertainty regarding trade policy. Growing protectionism could increase unit prices and hinder economic growth, the minutes said.

Before the US open, government data showed housing starts fell more than expected in September. Homebuilding across the country dropped 5.3% last month, the Commerce Department said, with particularly weak construction activity in the South.

Economists said Hurricane Florence probably played a role in downward revisions to August housing starts. But a potential slowdown in the housing market has been widely anticipated. Existing homes sales are scheduled to be released Friday.

Elsewhere, cannabis stocks tumbled on the first day of pot legalization in Canada. Tilray shed more than 7%, while Canopy Growth was down nearly 5%. Ottawa is the second in the world to authorize recreational marijuana use nationwide.

On the commodities front, West Texas Intermediate crude oil tumbled below $70 to its lowest level in nearly a month after government data showed US inventories climbed for a fourth week. Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, said stockpiles should "soon start to exert some downward pressure on prices."

SEE ALSO: Investors are doubling down on a trade that blew up in their faces earlier this year — here's what Morgan Stanley says they should do instead

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4. One of the world's largest stock brokerages is warning investors to steer clear of the 'Wild West' of legal marijuana stocksСр., 17 окт.[−]


  • TD Ameritrade is warning investors to steer clear of marijuana stocks.
  • The stock brokerage called out Tilray's wild swings in recent weeks as an example of "extreme volatility" and dangers to potential investors.
  • Watch the video below.

TD Ameritrade is warning investors to steer clear of the burgeoning marijuana industry.

"The marijuana and cannabis industry — sometimes referred to as the Wild West of investing — is littered with high-flyers, potentially over-valued companies, and even scams," the stock brokerage firm said in a three-minute video posted on its Youtube account.

Young traders have flocked to stock trading apps from companies like Robinhood and TD Ameritrade to cash in on the hype around marijuana stocks.

TD Ameritrade, however, is warning investors to be cautious. They likened the frenzy around prominent marijuana stocks like Canopy Growth and the NASDAQ-listed Tilray to other market bubbles, like the dot-com boom of the early 2000s and the housing market collapse in 2008.

"As marijuana moves from the black market to the stock market, the potential opportunity is easy to see," the young professional-looking man in the video said. "This excitement coupled with a hazy regulatory outlook means extreme volatility and high-risk for investors."

For example, Tilray — which was the first Canadian marijuana producer to go public on the NASDAQ — saw its shares soar 93% in on September 19 before giving up all of its gains. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) halted Tilray's trading for volatility five times in a single day of trading.

The stock is up over 550% since the initial public offering in July.

"It's hard not to see Tilray's chart as a textbook example of a market bubble — a poster child for the fear of missing out on the next big thing," TD Ameritrade said.

Tilray did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The SEC issued a warning in September as well, saying investors should be aware of the risks of fraud and market manipulation in the nascent sector.

"Fraudsters may try to use media coverage about the legalization of marijuana to promote an investment scam," the SEC said.

The North American Securities Administrators Association also released a warning on Wednesday regarding marijuana stocks.

"Scammers frequently use the latest 'hot product' on the market to drive up interest and lure investors to get in on the 'ground floor' of the next huge investment opportunity," the NASAA wrote on the organization's website.

The NASAA cautioned investors to watch out for fraudulent pump-and-dump schemes in the marijuana industry and encouraged potential investors to arm themselves with knowledge of the risks.

It's crucial to do your homework if you want to invest in marijuana stocks, or at least be aware of the high risk, TD Ameritrade said.

"Consider waiting until the industry has matured before investing," the video said.

Not all investors think the frenzy around marijuana stocks is a bubble.

Famed short-seller Andrew Left is building out a fund to focus on both long and short plays in the marijuana sector.

"There's an obvious fascination with investors, but at the same time it's a space that's open for hype," Left told Business Insider in a recent interview. "So I think it's very difficult for some investors to decipher the real players."

Watch TD Ameritrade's video here:

SEE ALSO: Famous short seller Andrew Left is creating a cannabis fund. He explains why the market's not in a bubble, but does need to 'chill out'

AND MORE: The CEO of the first marijuana company to IPO in the US reveals why this was the right time to go public

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5. ANALYST: Investing in Facebook has 3 risks (FB)Ср., 17 окт.[−]

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

  • Facebook recently announced it would delete a Russian firm's accounts over alleged data scraping and take down a series of accounts that were said to be focused on entertainment but were instead tied to military personnel in Myanmar.
  • The social media giant is "not as in control of its business as it needs to be," said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group.
  • Wieser, a long-time Facebook bear, laid out three major risks that investors should consider when buying the stock.
  • Watch Facebook trade in real time here.

Facebook has been busy dealing with security issues over the past week, taking down the Russian firm SocialDataHub's accounts over alleged data scraping, as well as a series of accounts that were said to be focused on entertainment but were instead tied to military personnel in Myanmar.

These were the latest in a series of problems that have surfaced at Facebook over the past few years, the big one being the Cambridge Analytica data scandal surrounding the 2016 presidential election.

All these may suggest the social media giant is "not as in control of its business as it needs to be," Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group, said in a note sent out to clients on Wednesday.

"The underlying problem that we see is that the company has been so focused on growth at any cost that it has failed to sufficiently invest in processes that might anticipate problems, acknowledge problems fast enough or fix problems fast enough."

Facebook's stock has been under pressure since July 25, when the social-media giant posted quarterly revenues that fell short of Wall Street estimates and warned investors that top-line growth rates will decline by " high single digit" percentages in the coming quarters. Shares fell more than 20% immediately after the earnings report, and are 27% down from the high set on July 25.

Wieser, a long time Facebook bear, who has a "sell" rating and $131 price target — 18% below where shares are currently trading — laid out three major risks that investors should consider when buying the stock.

1. High degree of rivalry given absence of barriers to deter new competition from emerging

"Web publishing and related businesses are highly competitive, which is only partially mitigated through ongoing investment of billions of dollars in capital expenditures annually," Wieser said.

"The inherently open nature of the web increases the ease with which a competitor could approach and capture a portion or all of Facebook’s consumers or fee-payers. Google and other companies will persistently nip at the heels of Facebook, looking for points of entry to capture a share of Facebook’s market opportunity."

2. High and increasing capital needs

Wieser wrote: "The consequence of this competitive intensity is that ongoing – and potentially rising – investment levels are required. It occurs in both in a publisher’s facilities (for example, bringing data centers closer to consumers) and in consumer-facing activities (such as social networking and online video, which require significant spending on servers, storage and other networking gear) in order to secure a company’s core business.

3. Government regulations/consumer pushback related to data management

"Privacy is a worldwide issue for all companies associated with the Internet to contend with," Wieser said. "Facebook is generally in the limelight, as it has continually pushed boundaries with its approach to user information."

He added: "Concerns were raised in large part because the system was launched without securing consent from consumers to opt-in."

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6. This $500 device wants to make it easy for you to ditch your Google or Yahoo email account and run your own, private email serverСр., 17 окт.[−]

Helm email server

  • Helm, a $500 device with a $99 yearly subscription plan, lets you operate an email server out of your own home.
  • Your email and data is stored on the device in your home, and it's encrypted before traveling through Helm's servers.
  • Helm claims to collect very little information from its users — just the necessary payment information and device diagnostics.
  • While no server is completely secure, this could provide peace of mind to people who don't trust large tech companies to protect their data.

It's not hard to get the impression that big tech companies can't effectively keep our data safe.

Just in the past few weeks, Google disclosed a security bug that exposed hundreds of thousands of private accounts on the Google+ social network. Facebook admitted that 29 million users had private information stolen. It's easy to decide to quit using social media sites, but nearly everyone needs or uses an email service. Email is the backbone of every internet account — you almost can't get by in life these days without an email address.

One solution is to run your own in-house email server, as plenty of companies and tech-savvy individuals do.

This means that a private entity is in control of the email server and all of the information stored there. There's no need to place your trust in a tech company that has proven itself to be vulnerable to security bugs or breaches.

But if you're not an IT pro, the idea of setting up an email server can be pretty intimidating. That's where Helm comes in.

Helm wants to make that a reality for the everyday email user — someone who probably wouldn't know how to set up an email server from scratch. Helm's $500 device is an in-home email server, meaning all of your data and emails are stored on the device right in your home. Helm doesn't collect much information about its users besides the necessary details like payment information and device diagnostics, and any communication or data are encrypted when they leave the Helm device.

With traditional email services like Gmail or Yahoo, your data and emails are stored on a server controlled by the email provider. You don't have much control over what that company does with your data.

Helm stores your emails and data in your home, but that doesn't mean it's completely safe. Any server can be attacked, regardless of where it's located. However, you're paying for the control over your emails and the ability to be free from a tech company storing your data. Helm also says it hires hackers to try to locate vulnerabilities in the device or its software, and it plans to release improvements and boost security through future software updates.

You can choose to store a backup of your emails on Helm's servers, but those backups are encrypted and require your security key in order to be decrypted.

Helm features a standard 120GB of storage, but that can be increased to up to 5TB with additional hardware. The device also comes with physical encryption keys for encrypting data locally on the machine and offline for a secure backup. The device costs $500, and has a $99 subscription fee for every year after the included one-year subscription.

For more information, or to purchase a device, visit Helm's website here.

SEE ALSO: This clever $35 iPhone case has a scroll wheel with six built-in lenses — and it turns your phone camera into a Swiss-army knife for taking pictures

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7. One of Canada's largest marijuana growers is going public on the New York Stock ExchangeСр., 17 окт.[−]


Aurora Cannabis, one of the largest Canadian marijuana producers, is going public on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shares of the company are set to begin trading under the ticker ACB before the end of October.

The Edmonton-based cultivator, or licensed producer, currently trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker ACB. The firm grows cannabis for both the adult-use and medicinal market.

Aurora's market capitalization has gained over 150% since the middle of August. On August 15, the beverage giant Constellation Brands announced it was upping its stake to $4 billion in Aurora's rival, Canopy Growth.

As of Wednesday, marijuana is legal in Canada. The US federal government still considers it an illegal, Schedule I drug.

Aurora is also hiring like crazy as Canada's legal marijuana market opens. The company has a whopping 11 pages of job openings on its website. These positions are based across Canada and range from high-level executive positions to laboratory research positions and industrial cleaners.

Read more: Some of the hottest companies in the booming cannabis sector are going on hiring sprees as Canada's legal marijuana market opens

While US-based exchanges were initially reticent to list marijuana producers, companies like Tilray(which conducted an initial public offering on the NASDAQ in July) Cronos Group, and Canopy Growth all now list on US exchanges.

To get listed on a US exchange like the NYSE, cannabis producers have to prove they are not violating any federal laws by importing cannabis into the US, except under specific circumstances.

Tilray received approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration to import a marijuana product from Canada to test whether THC and CBD — the active ingredients in the cannabis plant — are effective in treating tremors.

Despite the recent fervor around marijuana stocks, the sector's stocks were under pressure on Wednesday.

Read more of Business Insider's cannabis industry coverage:

SEE ALSO: Some of the hottest companies in the booming cannabis sector are going on hiring sprees as Canada's legal marijuana market opens

AND MORE: Canada has officially legalized marijuana for all adults

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8. A tiny Chinese manufacturer of eco-friendly building products explodes by 950% after pivoting to gemstones (YECO)Ср., 17 окт.[−]

Yulong Eco

  • Yulong Eco-Materials, a tiny Chinese manufacturer of eco-friendly building products, announced Wednesday it had completed the acquisition of a gemstone for $50 million.
  • The company is in the process of selling its China business, and plans to relocate its headquarters to New York this month, devoting all its resources to its new business.
  • Shares exploded nearly 1,000% following the news.
  • Watch Yulong trade in real time here.

Yulong Eco-Materials, a tiny Chinese manufacturer of eco-friendly building products, rallied as much as 950% on Wednesday after the company acquired a gemstone for $50 million.

Yulong announced Wednesday that it had completed the acquisition of the Millennium Sapphire, a 17.9 kilogram blue gem that is widely considered an icon in world of art and gems.

“We are extremely pleased to have completed the purchase of this undervalued world class asset for $50 million," CEO Hoi Ming Chan said in a statement.

"The most recent appraisal for the MS (September, 2018) was $60 to $90 million. World wide news headlines of the then unnamed rough sapphire purported the value between $90 to $500 million in 1996 when it was discovered.”

Yulong said in August that it signed a sale and purchase Agreement to acquire the Millennium Sapphire via the issuance of 25 million restricted shares valued at $2.00 per share. Yulong's shareholders voted on September 3 to approve the acquisition along with changing the name of the corporation to Millennium Enterprises Limited.

The company said it's in the process of selling and spinning off its China business, and plans to relocate its headquarters to New York this month, devoting all its resources to the Millennium Sapphire business.

Now read:

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9. Oracle is acquiring a tiny cloud startup backed by Qualcomm to build out its health science product suite (ORCL)Ср., 17 окт.[−]

Larry Ellison

  • Oracle is acquiring goBalto, a health tech start up which focuses on reducing the time it takes to start a new clinic trial.
  • goBalto, which was last valued at $70 million in a 2015 funding round, was backed by investors including Qualcomm Ventures.
  • The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Oracle is making moves to grow its health science platform with its acquisition of goBalto, a cloud startup focused on streamlining the clinic trial process.

The San Francisco-based goBalto was last valued at $70 million in 2015, according to Pitchbook.

Since its Series A in 2008, goBalto has raised money from investors at Qualcomm Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, Mitsui Global Investment, Dolby Family Ventures and EDBI.

Oracle did not disclose the terms of the deal.

goBalto's so-called "study startup solutions" are used across 90,000 research sites, according to Oracle. It claims to reduce the time it takes to get a new study started by 30% by "streamlining and automating the selection and set up of the best performing clinical research sites to conduct trials."

The deal would represent Oracle's fifth acquisition this year, though Oracle's acquisitions have not generally been in the healthcare sector. The last significant health sciences companies Oracle acquired were Phase Forward in 2010 for $685 million and Clear Trial in 2012 for an undisclosed sum.

In a letter to customers shared Wednesday, Oracle executive Steve Rosenberg said that goBalto's tools will be integrated with Oracle's existing health science platform, which currently addresses clinical trial planning, data collection, trial execution and safety management.

"Clinical trial site selection and activation is one of the most manual and time consuming process for our customers in the trial design phase and the addition of goBalto will remove another barrier from delivering treatments to patients faster," Rosenberg wrote.

SEE ALSO: 18 software stocks that have the 'durability' to defy a choppy market

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10. Here's what you find when you take apart a TeslaСр., 17 окт.[−]

rich benoit

  • For its latest episode, Business Insider's podcast 'Household Name' interviewed Rich Benoit, a Massachusetts man who buys salvaged Teslas and repairs them until they're like-new.
  • He shared what you'll find if you look under the hood.
  • In short: It's different every time.

So you'd like to know what's inside a Tesla — inside the car that has made electric vehicles sexy and made the company's CEO, Elon Musk, a cult hero.

There's one man in Massachusetts who can tell you. His name's Rich Benoit, and he buys salvaged Teslas and fixes them using parts from "donor cars."

Benoit is completely self taught because, of course, what he's doing is against the rules. Tesla has said that only Tesla repair shops can fix Tesla cars. But Benoit doesn't seem worried about that.

And, in an episode of Business Insider's podcast 'Household Name,' he made it clear that he's not intimidated by what's under the hood of a Tesla either, even though the company won't sell him parts. His wife's car, for example, is a Tesla he revived after it was completely flooded.

Listen to the full episode about Rich Benoit here:

"I said to myself, you know, what? Well, it's flood how hard can that be? It's gotta be a piece of cake," he said on the podcast. "You ... throw some rice in it and you call it a day like a cell phone. I dropped my cell phone in the toilet before I know I know it works. You just need more rice….that’s all ya need."

This is how he came to be familiar with what you'll find if you happen to take apart a Tesla Model S or X.

"Consistency isn't really Tesla's strong point," he said. "Every car I've taken apart has been different, very different. They may use different screws on one car, different sound deadening in another car. Some cars will have no sound deadening. Some cars might be missing a blatant panel, but that's definitely not their strong suit.

"Most of the door handles are a big thing," he continued. "It's the one of the most frequently used parts of the car. You have to get in the car to drive it obviously and that was a huge pain point."

Tesla customers have given the company's service centers choppy reviews. Demand for repairs is high, and the company has yet to build the centers to meet that demand. Still, Benoit — and anyone who might want to repair a Tesla — is working against the company's wishes.

So it's unclear how long their tinkering will continue.

(If you are a Tesla employee or customer who has a story to share about a car or experience with the company, give me a shout at

SEE ALSO: Internal documents reveal the grueling way Tesla hit its 5,000 Model 3 target

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE: To the "Household Name" podcast for more surprising stories about brands you know

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11. What you need to know on Wall Street todayСр., 17 окт.[−]

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

Investors are doubling down on a trade that blew up in their faces earlier this year — here's what Morgan Stanley says they should do instead

Traders refuse to throw in the towel on the controversial short-volatility trade that's come under pressure multiple times this year.

Morgan Stanley lays out why the trade is so ill-advised, especially amid current conditions, and offers alternative solutions.

The Bank of England is sounding the alarm on a quiet corner of the debt market now worth $1.4 trillion

The Bank of England on Wednesday raised the alarm about the growth of so-called leveraged loans in the UK, saying that the sector's rapid growth should be a cause for concern for policymakers and market participants going forward.

In the bank's record of the October meeting of its Financial Policy Committee— the body tasked with ensuring financial stability in the UK — the BoE mentioned leveraged lending almost 20 times, variously calling it "concerning" and likening it to what happened in the USA with sub prime mortgages in the run up to the financial crisis.

At their most basic level, leveraged loans are loans extended to people and companies with either pre-existing high levels of debt, or a poor credit rating. These loans, therefore tend to have higher interest rates meaning that rewards for lenders are higher, while the risk of default is also higher due to the nature of the customers.

Leveraged lending to corporates has ballooned in recent years, with the global market reaching a value of around $1.4 trillion, according to recent estimates. In the UK alone, £68 billion ($90 billion) of these loans have been issued in the last two years, the Bank of England said on Thursday. This represents around 20% of total UK corporate debt, when also including high yield bonds.

Pfizer to cut around 2 percent of jobs through early next year

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer plans to reduce its global headcount by around 2 percent through voluntary retirements and layoffs this year and early next year, as it looks to streamline its corporate structure and eliminate some managerial roles and responsibilities.

Pfizer has around 90,000 employees worldwide.

The move follows the announcement earlier this month that Chief Operating Officer Albert Bourla would succeed Ian Read as chief executive in January. The company also added new responsibilities for many of its top managers and hired a new chief digital officer.

Powerful Facebook investors just co-filed a proposal to take down Mark Zuckerberg as chairman

Four powerful institutional Facebook investors have co-filed a shareholder proposal to take down Mark Zuckerberg as chairman following what they say was his "mishandling" of several scandals this year.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and Pennsylvania State Treasurer Joe Torsella a re joining forces to pile the pressure on Zuckerberg.

They have put their names to a proposal, originally filed by the activist investor Trillium Asset Management, demanding that Facebook appoint an independent chairman. Business Insider first reported on the proposal in July.

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12. The one guy who has more to fear from Tesla than anyone else says he's not afraid at allСр., 17 окт.[−]

Rich Benoit

  • Tesla has mandated that it alone can fix its cars, but one Massachusetts man doesn't care about that.
  • He buys salvaged Teslas and fixes them on his YouTube show, Rich Rebuilds.
  • Business Insider interviewed him about why he's not afraid of the company going after him for our podcast ' Household Name.'

Only Tesla can fix a broken Tesla. But Rich Benoit does not care about that.

From his home in Massachusetts he fixes any Tesla "donor car" he can buy and switches bad parts for good ones. He does this even if the car has been flooded with water, even if it's mangled from an accident, even if it " looks like it rolled over 55 times.”

Even it's shaped like "rhombus."

"Jesus Christ," he said in a recent episode of Business Insider's podcast 'Household Name.' "This is what $18,000 plus shipping looks like. The car is shaped like a rhombus. Seats are destroyed."

Benoit publishes his work on YouTube, and his show is called 'Rich Rebuilds." Thanks to his work he's become something of a cult hero in the world of cars, and even inside Tesla.

Among the engineers who have painstakingly designed and manufactured the electric cars, he has become a symbol of what they are (car nerds who love to tinker) and what the company can be (something that survives beyond them.)

"I think what he's doing is what's going to keep us alive," said one Tesla engineer who requested anonymity to be interviewed on the podcast. "I think what Rich is doing is important for Tesla... I don't think it's dangerous for Tesla at all... I think if we stopped him, it would be a really big mistake."

Benoit thinks he's found a loophole that will let him continue to do his work without has tle — a Massachusettes law that gives people the "right to repair" their own property, and forces manufacturers to give them access to tools and diagnostic software to do so.

But Benoit has asked Tesla for help, and the company hasn declined. And the company has found ways to skirt around the law. It says the customers should have access to the same tools their dealers have, but Tesla is a direct to consumer company. It has no dealerships.

"That loophole is interesting because in Massachusetts Tesla actually did publish some repair manuals, but they're not very well written and they take you to tell you how to take things apart, which was great," Benoit said. "But the major thing that we're looking for is the diagnostic software to fix it.

"So if you repair a car that's one thing but you want to be able to troubleshoot issues with it. And that's the other thing you don't give you access to you can sign up for an account and you could try to sign into that account, but they won't give you access to the software unless you're a Tesla authorized repair shop. So loophole... after loophole…. after loophole."

Benoit says he loves and admires Tesla, and for right now the two sides are at a stalemate. Benoit is on his own, and inside Tesla there is a sense that what helps more than it helps — for now.

Hear the full episode here:

If you are a Tesla employee or customer who has a story to share about a car or experience with the company, give me a shout at

SEE ALSO: Tesla needs over $1 billion in cash over the next 6 months, and Wall Street is going nuts figuring out where it's going to come from

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13. Netflix's CEO says streaming has 5 to 10 years left of major growth before the company needs to start worrying (NFLX, AAPL, FB, GOOGL, DIS)Ср., 17 окт.[−]

Reed Hastings

  • Netflix faces a host of new rivals in the streaming video business, including Disney.
  • Despite that, the company has no plans to diversify into other business lines, CEO Reed Hastings said.
  • That's because there's more than enough room to grow in streaming for years into the future, he said.

If you've ever fantasized about potential a Netflix video game service, a Netflix smartphone or a Netflix movie theater pass, don't hold your breath.

That's the message from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who made it clear on Tuesday that the company cares about one thing and one thing only: streaming video.

Yes, the streaming market is getting increasingly crowded with AT&T, Apple, Disney, and Facebook all rushing in. But Netflix isn't worried about hitting a ceiling in the streaming business and being forced to find growth in other markets anytime soon.

"There is so much growth ahead that's possible in streaming video entertainment, so we're just going to focus on that for a very long time," Hastings said during a webcast for investors and analysts following Netflix's third-quarter earnings report on Tuesday.

How long?

By Hastings' reckoning, there's a good five to ten more years of room left for Netflix to grow in the streaming market.

Netflix pretty much invented the subscription streaming video market, and it dominates it. It now has some 138 million paying subscribers around the world, far more than rivals such as Hulu.

That success is attracting lots of other companies. Disney plans to launch a rival streaming service next year. Warner Brothers, now owned by AT&T, just launched the DC Universe streaming service. Facebook has released a collection of short-form and long-form videos. And Apple has released a couple of streaming shows and has several more in the works. So too Facebook.

And that's not to mention its long-time rivals, which include Amazon and Hulu.

Even Walmart is reportedly planning to jump on the streaming bandwagon.

Hastings says there won't be "wallet share" competition anytime soon

For the near future, though, there's more than enough room in the market for both Netflix and its rivals, Hastings said. The market is growing fast enough that it's not about to turn into a zero-sum game, where to gain a customer, Netflix would need to steal one from one of its streaming rivals, he said

stranger things"Someday there will have to be competition for wallet share," Hastings said. "But," he continued, "it seems very far off from everything we've seen."

Indeed, things looked very good for Netflix in the third quarter. It added 7 million subscribers — 2 million more than it had forecast — and posted a much better-than-expected profit.

Still, even if the market is growing fast enough that the competition from Disney and the other companies won't crimp Netflix's subscriber growth, it could hurt the streaming media giant in other ways. Most notably, it could restrict the amount and types of videos Netflix will be able to license from its rivals or force it to pay more to either license that content or develop new productions.

Already, Netflix will have to contend with the end of its licensing deal with Disney at the end of this year. Meanwhile, in recent years, Netflix has dramatically increased the amount it spends on content.

But on the webcast, Netflix officials downplayed both threats. The ending of such licensing deals has presented the company with new opportunities to develop its own content, particularly unscripted reality shows, said Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer. Those shows are attracting similar audiences as the scripted shows they've replaced in the company's lineup, but they cost less to produce, he said.

Netflix expects its cash drain to slow in 2020

Meanwhile, despite the growing competition for content, Netflix expects to get a handle in coming years on its investment in shows and movies, said David Wells, Netflix's chief financial officer.

This year, the company expects its free cash flow — which represent the cash generated or used up in operations less the amount its investing in things like equipment and content — to be in the range of negative $3 billion to $4 billion, thanks largely to the money it's spending on its Originals. It expects to see a similar outflow of free cash next year. But starting in 2020, it expects that outflow to start to decline, Wells said.

That outflow of cash has been beneficial to the company, he said.

"We're seeing those investments drive a lot of growth," Wells said. But, he continued, "Netflix is approaching the point where our growth in operating profit is going grow faster than our content cash spend."

To be sure, Netflix is not averse to diversifying eventually, Hastings said. It actually did just that when it moved from its original business of mailing out DVDs into streaming, he noted. But for now, Hastings and his colleagues see more than enough opportunity in the streaming business to stick with it.

"Someday, you know, many, many years from now, we may need to diversify, but for now, let's focus on the core," he said.

So if you're waiting for Netflix-branded popcorn and sodas to go along with a binge session of Stranger Things, check back in 5 years.

SEE ALSO: Netflix's 3rd-quarter earnings blow through Wall Street's expectations

SEE ALSO: The future is bright for Netflix and bleak for basic cable — these 3 charts show why

SEE ALSO: Netflix's 1 million subscriber miss is exactly why it’s time for the company to stop hiding a critical part of its business

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14. Oil tumbles below $70, hits lowest level in nearly a monthСр., 17 окт.[−]

american flag oil

  • Oil prices sank to their lowest point in nearly a month, with the US benchmark shedding nearly 3%.
  • The Energy Information Agency reported a fourth week of US crude buildup.
  • Watch oil trade in real time here.

Oil prices tumbled Wednesday to their lowest level since September after government data showed US inventories rose more than expected and as stocks paused an earlier rebound.

West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, fell more than 3% to below $70 a barrel. Brent was trading at around $80 per barrel, down about 2% for the session and more than 6% this week.

Marking the highest buildup in nearly four months, the Energy Information Administration said stockpiles of crude oil in the US rose by 6.5 million barrels last week to more than 416 million barrels. That was more than twice the amount of buildup that analysts had forecast.

Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, thinks Hurricane Michael was partly behind a sharp drop in exports. But she also noted stockpiles have been climbing for four weeks, the longest streak of gains since last year.

"But crude stocks have been building for some weeks and should soon start to exert some downward pressure on prices," she added.

Not helping the mood, US stocks were on track for another round of losses Wednesday. Following a steep sell-off across markets last week, Wall Street has remained on edge about rising rates and global growth prospects.

"Although the current market conditions favor higher oil prices, global trade tensions still remain a threat to oil bulls down the road," Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM, wrote in an email.

"Slowing global growth in the event of a full-blown trade war will most likely dent demand for crude."

SEE ALSO: Weed stocks are tumbling as Canada becomes the 2nd country to legalize marijuana

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15. WELLS FARGO: Warren Buffett might like these 9 stocks right now (MO, FL, MU, EQM, BEN, KORS, REGN, URBN, BBBY)Ср., 17 окт.[−]

warren buffett

Warren Buffett is the most famous value investor around.

His approach requires investors to look past the news and instead focus on the fundamentals of a company when deciding where to put their money. Simply put, value investing is the practice of investing in a company that is trading at less than its intrinsic worth and then holding onto shares until the price catches up, under the belief all companies will eventually be fairly valued.

In his 2014 letter to shareholders, Buffett laid out six criteria he applied to measure a company's fundamentals. He said he was normally interested in big companies with at least $75 million of pretax earnings; companies that could demonstrate consistent earning power and were not in need of a turnaround; companies that earned good returns on equity while using little or no debt; companies with strong management already in place; companies with simple business models, rather than those with lots of technologies that are hard to understand; and companies offer clear asking price to be acquired.

While most people don't have the wealth to acquire a whole company, they can still consider Buffett's suggestions when investing in equity markets by buying stocks that are being undervalued by the market.

Inspired by Buffett, Well Fargo analyst Colleen Hansen listed seven indicators and filtered nine stocks whose fundamentals may look attractive to Buffett.

Here are the seven indicators:

  • Five-year average return on equity (ROE) greater than 15%;
  • Five-year average return on invested capital (ROIC) greater than 15%;
  • Debt-to-equity (D/E) less than or equal to 80% of the industry average;
  • Five-year average pretax profit margin (PM) 20% higher than the industry average;
  • Current price-to-earning ratios(P/E) below ten-year historical and industry average P/E ratios(by consensus);
  • Current price-to-book value multiples(P/B) below historical and industry multiples;
  • Current price-to-cash flow (P/CF) ratios below the industry average

And here are nine companies that Hansen thinks Buffett could target:


Ticker: (MO)

Sector: Tobacco

5-Year Average ROE: 139.8%

5-Year Average ROIC: 37.6%

D/E versus Industry D/E: 82.5% vs. 184.4%

5-year average pretax PM versus 5-year average industry PM: 57.8% vs. 30%

Current P/E versus Industry P/E: 15 vs. 18.5

Current P/B versus Industry P/B: 7.2 vs. 9.6

Current P/CF versus Industry P/CF: 16.7 vs. 21.7

Market Cap: $113.22 billion

Source: Wells Fargo

Foot Locker

Ticker: (FL)

Sector: Retail

5-Year Average ROE: 19.2%

5-Year Average ROIC: 18.2%

D/E versus Industry D/E: 5% vs. 19.5%

5-year average pretax PM versus 5-year average industry PM: 10.6% vs. 6.1%

Current P/E versus Industry P/E: 11 vs. 18.6

Current P/B versus Industry P/B: 2.3 vs. 3.2

Current P/CF versus Industry P/CF: 6.0 vs. 8.7

Market Cap: $5.71 billion

Source: Wells Fargo

Micron Technology

Ticker: (MU)

Sector: Technology

5-Year Average ROE: 28.4%

5-Year Average ROIC: 19%

D/E versus Industry D/E: 11.7% vs. 43.9%

5-year average pretax PM versus 5-year average industry PM: 15.1% vs. 9.6%

Current P/E versus Industry P/E: 4.0 vs. 22.2

Current P/B versus Industry P/B: 1.5 vs. 4.6

Current P/CF versus Industry P/CF: 2.8 vs. 18.2

Market Cap: $49.26 billion

Source: Wells Fargo

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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16. These are the 20 defense companies donating the most money to American politiciansСр., 17 окт.[−]

thaad missile lockheed

The 2018 midterm election will be held on Nov. 6. And thus far, through at least Sept. 24, defense contractors have donated $22,941,651 to federal politicians and political parties, according to an analysis from the Center for Responsible Politics, which draws on the Federal Election Commission's latest political-candidate-contribution report.

While these defense industry contributions are substantial, they are many times smaller than the financial sector, which leads all federal contributions with nearly $554 million in contributions.

The Center for Responsive Politics' numbers include all donor contributions to outside groups and political action committees, as well as individuals giving over $200.

In many cases, it notes, donations don't come from the firms themselves but rather from their PACs, employees or owners, or those individuals' immediate families.

Here's what they found.

SEE ALSO: 3 US carriers are now in the Pacific amid tensions with North Korea — here's what they bring with them

20. Rockwell Collins Inc.

Contributions: $137,485.

Rockwell Collins Inc. is an Iowa-based company that makes avionics, navigation, displays for military aircraft, and more.

Thus far in the 2018 election cycle, 57.9% of its contributions have gone to Republicans, and some of the largest recipients in Congress have been Republic Rep. Duncan Hunter and Democratic Rep. David Loebsack.

19. DynCorp International

Contributions: $138,252.

DynCorp International is a Virginia-based company that provides all kinds of training, intelligence, and aviation services for the military, including maintenance for the AH-64 Apache program.

Thus far in the election cycle, 50.4% of DynCorp's contributions have gone to Democrats, and some of the largest recipients in Congress have been Republican Rep. Kay Granger and Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown.

Dyncorp has also been accused of bilking the federal government out of millions of dollars between 2004 and 2008 for their work in the Iraq War.

Dyncorp didn't donate any money to candidates in the election cycles immediately before and after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Its first contributions came in the 2006 election cycle and increased in 2008.

18. Cobham Management Services

Contributions: $143,000.

Cobham Management Services is a British company that manufactures a variety of technology for the military and even the refueling system for the KC-46.

About 68.5% of its contributions thus far have gone to Republicans, and some of the largest recipients are Republican Reps. Sam Graves and Duncan Hunter.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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17. An ex-Googler went on an epic 5-day tweetstorm that gives a brutal inside look at the backstabbing and politics at the company (GOOG, GOOGL)Ср., 17 окт.[−]

Vic Gundotra

  • A former Google web designer recently described his experiences while working briefly at Google+, the company's recently shuttered social network.
  • Morgan Knutson, who worked at Google for eight months before resigning in May 2012, described a lack of vision for the service and wasted resources while detailing ways Vic Gundotra, the overall leader of Google+, wielded his massive power within the company.
  • Knutson's narrative, written like a Twitter serial, sheds light on the troubled Google+, one of the company's most noteworthy and expensive failures.

If you're interested in technology, then one of the most fascinating longer reads available about Silicon Valley culture is the Twitter serial posted last week by Morgan Knutson, a former Google+ web designer.

Knutson wrote 149 tweets over a period of five days about his brief tenure at Google+, the long-troubled, now-defunct social network.

Knutson began writing a day after The Wall Street Journal revealed that Google had waited seven months before disclosing that a security lapse had enabled third-party developers to see private information belonging to as many as 500,000 Google+ users.

A few hours after the story was published, Google announced it had shuttered Google+, which was created to challenge Facebook but never came close.

Apparently, the situation prompted Knutson to reveal information he had bottled up for six years.

Part of what makes Knutson's tweets so fascinating is the idea that a former Googler has anything bad to say about the company. Google has a reputation for being one of the most employee-friendly places in tech, chock full of perks and benefits. It's rare that a former staffer complains publicly.

The other reason Knutson's story is so compelling is due to the titillating details about the dysfunction he said reigned at the Google+ of 2012.

Knutson, who resigned for a job at Dropbox in 2012 after only eight months at Google, describes a service that lacked an overall vision, often wasted resources, and was propelled and shielded internally by Vic Gundotra, the powerful former Google executive who led the Google+ effort.

He also said, contrary to his prior beliefs or the image that Google sells, he discovered not all employees were at the top of their field.

It's important to remember, as Knutson acknowledges, that he was one employee working on one project during a brief period.

To say Knutson sounds disgruntled is an understatement. To his credit, he acknowledges that he chaffed at receiving criticism and disliked it when he believed he didn't get enough credit.

He also had good things to say about some of his managers and about most of the people he came in contact with at Google.

With all of Google's success and money as well as its sheer size (more than 80,000 employees now), it's easy to think of the company as something otherworldly.

What Knutson does — with his descriptions of bruised egos, turf wars, and politically minded bosses — is remind us that Google isn't all that different from anywhere else humans are employed.

Correction: This story incorrectly stated the number of tweets that Knutson posted to tell his story. The correct number is 149.

SEE ALSO: Google is building a media and entertainment empire — here are 10 stars leading the effort

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18. Netflix's content spending will 'trigger substantial cash burn for many years' (NFLX)Ср., 17 окт.[−]

netflix ceo

  • Netflix posted third-quarter earnings and subscriber growth that topped expectations.
  • The streaming giant also warned investors that the costs of developing original content will take a bite out of its profit at the end of the year.
  • Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, a long-time Netflix bear, cautioned that the company's content acquisition spending will trigger substantial cash burn for many years.
  • Watch Netflix trade in real time here.

Netflix's impressive quarterly earnings and subscriber growth blew past Wall Street's expectations on Tuesday, causing analysts across the Street to upgrade their price targets. But Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, a long-time Netflix bear, cautioned that the company's cash burn remains a big problem for the video-screaming giant.

"We expect content acquisition spending to trigger substantial cash burn for many years; notwithstanding three Netflix price increases in the last five years, cash burn continues to grow," Pachter said in a note sent out to clients on Wednesday.

The tech giant on Tuesday said it earned $0.89 per share, 30% above what analysts had expected. Netflix also added 7 million subscriber during the third quarter, well above the roughly 5 million expected by analysts. It also guided above Wall Street estimates for next quarter. However, the streaming-media giant warned investors that the costs of developing original content will take a bite out of its profit at the end of the year.

"Our growing mix of self-produced content, which requires us to fund content during the production phase prior to its release on Netflix, is the primary driver of our working capital needs that creates the gap between our positive net income and our free cash flow deficit," Netflix said in its earnings release.

The management added that its cash burn will hold steady at $3 billion for fiscal year 2018, and currently sees next year’s negative free cash flow as roughly unchanged.

Pachter explained that Netflix's cash burn is likely hold steady this year because Disney and Fox are likely to migrate content that is currently licensed to Netflix to a Disney-sponsored standalone service next year.

"The silver lining is that Netflix will have less content available to it, resulting in more stable cash burn; unfortunately, this subjects the company to the potential for slowing subscriber growth should its original content offering fail to achieve the quality and quantity of the lost content," Pachter said. He believes a reversal of the company's multi-year cash-burn trend is "imminent" as management has said the trend of a climbing cash burn has "plateaued" at $3 billion per year.

As a result, Pachter lifted price target to $150 from $125 — 60% below where shares were trading Wednesday — to reflect better-than-expected subscriber growth and the possibility that Netflix's free cash flow will stabilize. He reiterated his "underperform" rating.

Netflix was up 84% this year.

Now read:


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19. The combined jackpots for the next Powerball and Mega Millions are over $1 billion — here are 8 over-the-top things you could buy if you wonСр., 17 окт.[−]

women happy cheering wealth

  • The Mega Millions jackpot has reached a record high of $848 million.
  • That's life-changing cash.
  • Just for fun, check out some of the over-the-top luxuries a winner, or winners, could afford.

Life could change for one — or even a few — lucky people in a matter of moments.

As of Wednesday morning, the Mega Millions jackpot climbed to an estimated $848 million — its highest jackpot ever. The Powerball jackpot reached $345 million. Combined, the two jackpots are worth over $1 billion.

With that much cash on hand, some of the world's finest luxuries suddenly become attainable. (After you take the proper steps to secure your cash, of course.)

Below, check out eight over-the-top purchases the lottery winner could make, from multi-million dollar real estate to once-in-a-lifetime travel excursions.

SEE ALSO: If you win the Powerball lottery, don't take the payment in a lump sum

DON'T MISS: Here's exactly what to do if you win the $400 million lottery jackpot, according to a financial adviser

Make a trip to Ibiza, Spain, to enjoy the most expensive tasting menu in the world at the Hard Rock Hotel. A 13-course dinner for two costs $3,266 and includes DIY cocktails, 360-degree projections, neon dining tables, and dishes that incorporate experimental techniques. Stay in the hotel's Rockstar Suite for about $4,200 a night.

Source: Business Insider, Hard Rock Hotel, Ibiza

You could buy not one, but two ranches for $50 million. Together, they represent the ultimate luxury Western lifestyle spanning about 7,100 acres with a swimming pool and sauna, an art museum, shooting ranges, tennis courts, and world-class equestrian facilities.

Source: Business Insider

Of course you'll need staff to maintain your new place (or places). A team of basic domestic staff —a butler, housekeeper, and chef — can cost at least $245,000 a year. Add a driver, nanny, and personal assistant and you're up to $460,000 annually.

Source: Business Insider

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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20. GOLDMAN SACHS: Investors are making extraordinary bets that these 15 stocks will explode higher before the end of the yearСр., 17 окт.[−]

soyuz ms 10 rocket launch flight photographers expedition 57 crew nasa reuters 2018 10 11T091619Z_1854069770_RC17A46851B0_RTRMADP_3_SPACE STATION LAUNCH.JPG

  • With volatility back in the stock market, investors will be well-served to identify stocks that have the potential to outperform, while hedging their downside risk.
  • Analysts at Goldman Sachs looked into options contracts to glean which stocks traders are making the most bullish bets on.

If the past few days have demonstrated anything, it's that volatility is back in the stock market and could remain through the end of 2018.

This makes it important for investors to gain exposure to stocks that could experience an end-of-year surge, coupled with strong hedges.

The options market is ideal for doing that, and analysts at Goldman Sachs have examined contracts expiring in January 2019 to glean what traders are making big bets on for the rest of this year.

They compiled a list of stocks that are among the cheapest to hedge on the market, as measured by three-month skew — or the difference between the premium options traders are paying to protect against price declines over the next three months relative to bets on increases.

"Very low levels of skew in options suggest investors are buying upside calls [options contracts betting on rallies] into year-end, or are less worried about downside risks," a team of analysts led by Katherine Fogertey said in a recent note to clients.

"As an example, options for Humana (Buy-rated) now reflect 3m normalized (put-call) skew is at its lowest level in a year. While shares are up 36% year to date, option investors appear to be positioning for the potential that recent outperformance can continue."

The list below shows stocks that options investors are betting will see huge gains by the end of the year. It's ranked in descending order of their three-month-skew percentile. As Fogertey noted, low skew means traders are less worried about risks, which implies greater upside.

SEE ALSO: Global investors haven't been this bearish on the economy since the financial crisis — and Bank of America says there's only one way to play it

Navistar International

Ticker: NAV

Year-to-date total return: -13%

3-month skew: 0.07

Percentile: 6

Source: Goldman Sachs

14. Ford

Ticker: F

Year-to-date total return: -24%

3-month skew: 0.06

Percentile: 6

Source: Goldman Sachs

13. Ralph Lauren

Ticker: RL

Year-to-date total return: 25%

3-month skew: 0.09

Percentile: 6

Source: Goldman Sachs

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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