The Electric-Vehicle Company That Charged Too Early

In the U.S., Tesla has sold more electric vehicles than any other car maker. In the much larger European EV market, that prize still goes to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, but Volkswagen outsold it last year and Tesla is closing in. The failure of Renault and Nissan (Mitsubishi joined the team later) to parlay their early lead in plug-in cars like the Nissan Leaf into strong growth prospects looks like one of the great missed opportunities of automotive history. On Thursday, Renault followed Nissan in laying out a “new beginning” after a rocky few years. The company has some lingering advantages in […]

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WSJ News Exclusive | James Simons Steps Down as Chairman of Renaissance Technologies

Investing pioneer James Simons is stepping back from his quant hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies LLC. Several weeks ago, Mr. Simons—a former math professor and codebreaker who built Renaissance into one of the most successful investment firms in history—told clients he was stepping down as chairman of the firm’s board of directors as of Jan. 1. Mr. Simons, who will turn 83 in April, resigned as Renaissance’s chief executive in 2010, but continued to lead the board. In a letter to clients, Mr. Simons, who will remain a board member, said “I believe it is time: this transition has been many years in […]

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Oil Demand Recovery Set to Fall Short of Pre-Pandemic Levels This Year

Global appetite for oil will remain subdued in the first quarter of 2021 due to coronavirus lockdown measures and rising infection rates, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Thursday. In its monthly report, OPEC maintained its forecast that world oil demand in 2021 won’t recover to the levels seen before the pandemic. Global demand took a 10% hit last year and the cartel expects it to rebound to 95.9 million barrels a day this year, but remain 4% below 2019 levels. Despite the beginning of vaccination programs in recent weeks, rising infection rates in wealthy Western nations are continuing […]

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Tesla, Intel, Deere: What to Watch When the Stock Market Opens Today

Here’s what we’re watching ahead of Thursday’s opening bell. —S&P 500 futures gained 0.2%, potentially extending Wednesday’s advance, which lifted the index to its second-highest level in history. Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3%. Read our full market wrap here. What’s Coming Up —President-elect Joe Biden is due to give a speech later outlining the scale of his proposed spending package to support households and businesses through the pandemic. —Earnings are due before the market open from Delta Air Lines . Progress Software will give an update after the close. —Weekly new jobless claims out this morning […]

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TSMC Sailed Through 2020 in Ship Shape

It’s good to be king, particularly when other kingdoms are struggling. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. , the world’s largest contract chip maker, is benefiting from a combination of surging demand, struggling competitors and top-notch technology. And it’s betting big on the future to keep that edge. TSMC just logged another bumper quarter: Net profit for the three months ending in December rose 23% from a year earlier. That brought full-year profit to a record $17.6 billion, a 50% increase from 2019. Strong demand has helped TSMC, which makes chips for companies like Apple and Nvidia. Stay-at-home demand has led to a […]

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BlackRock’s Fourth-Quarter Profit Rises on ETF, Bond Fund Inflows

BlackRock Inc.’s quarterly profit rose 19% as investors turned to the money-management giant’s funds through November’s election uncertainty, vaccine breakthroughs and a year-end rally. The investment company posted fourth-quarter profit of $1.5 billion, or $10.02 a share, up from $1.3 billion, or $8.29 a share, a year earlier. BlackRock’s revenue rose 13% to about $4.5 billion from roughly $4 billion in the year earlier period. The firm beat Wall Street analysts’ profit and revenue estimates. The world’s largest money manager scaled a new milestone in assets under management, breaching the $8 trillion mark to $8.68 trillion in assets. The company brought […]

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Chinese Investors Pour Billions Into Stocks on U.S. Blacklist

Investors from mainland China have spent billions of dollars buying beaten-down shares in Hong Kong-listed companies subject to a U.S. government blacklist. Buyers using a trading link known as Stock Connect have bought the equivalent of a net $15.8 billion in Hong Kong shares in the first nine trading days of this year, according to Wind, with a heavy concentration on stocks targeted by the U.S. More than a quarter of the funds went to China Mobile Ltd. , the country’s largest telecommunications carrier, while investments in oil major Cnooc Ltd. accounted for nearly one-tenth of total inflows in the period […]

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Believe in Tesla? Then Why Aren’t GM, Ford and Toyota Crashing?

It is just about possible to make sense of Tesla’s extraordinary valuation. Ignore Elon Musk’s fanboys, who cheer on the electric-car company at any price. Make some rosy assumptions about Tesla Inc. capturing a large part of the world’s vehicle sales, making more profit from each sale than existing car makers and adding in a nice business supplying battery-backed solar installations. Dismiss all the challenges, and a share price of 211 times the paltry estimates for this year’s earnings could be justified, at a pinch. But the stock market still has a problem. If Tesla is a success, the rest of […]

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Investors Find Value in Low-Rated Loans

Investors wary of lofty stock valuations and falling bond prices are turning to an unexpected haven: corporate loans with junk credit ratings. Prices of the loans rose in recent sessions even when equities declined, and an index of the debt has returned about 1% this year—far outstripping the 0.03% delivered by junk bonds and the 2% loss posted by U.S. Treasurys. Investors this month have funneled about $740 million into mutual and exchange-traded funds that specialize in the loans, according to EPFR Global Data. If the trend continues throughout January it would mark the first month of net inflows since September […]

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Bank Earnings: Expect a Messy Quarter and a Peek at 2021

2020 was a whiplash kind of year for U.S. banks. When the firms start reporting fourth-quarter earnings this week, investors will want to know if they should expect another. The spring and summer of 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic first started to ravage the U.S. economy, looked bad for banks. Profits plunged as they set aside money for bad loans. So did their stock prices. But by the fall, things had improved. Strong mortgage demand, healthy trading revenue and an economy kept afloat by generous government stimulus helped insulate the banks from a worst-case scenario. What isn’t clear now is how […]

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