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PBF Energy Slams California Governor Newsom for Gasoline Price ‘politicization’

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PBF Energy (NYSE:PBF) rejected a request from the California Energy Commission to testify at a hearing next week on gasoline price spikes, citing Governor Gavin Newsom’s “politicization of this issue” and failure to listen to warnings about the state’s declining gasoline production, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

“Refining is an extremely capital-intensive business,” and “California’s regulatory environment is putting future investment in refining and fuel manufacturing at risk in the state,” PBF (PBF) wrote in its response to the regulator.

Refiners Marathon Petroleum (MPC) and Phillips 66 (PSX) also declined to testify, citing concerns about being able to share information amid federal antitrust laws.

PBF (PBF) is on track to make nearly $3B in profits this year, which it is using to pay down the “exorbitant debt” it took on to survive California’s COVID-19 lockdowns, the company said in its letter.

The planned hearing comes as gasoline prices in California remain the highest in the continental U.S., with an average of $5.157 per gallon of unleaded gasoline, according to AAA; Newsom has blamed “greedy” oil companies “ripping off” customers at the pump.

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Original Source: seekingalpha.com

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Activision Dips on Report FTC Is Likely to Challenge Microsoft’s Acquisition

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Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is 3.6% lower postmarket alongside a holiday eve report that the Federal Trade Commission is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block its $69B acquisition by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

The FTC hasn’t yet voted out a complaint or even meet with company lawyers, but its staff reviewing the deal are skeptical of the companies arguments for the transaction, Politico reports.

That comes as much of the “heavy lifting” in the probe is done – including depositions of Microsoft chief Satya Nadella and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick – even if the investigation isn’t over, according to the report.

And if the FTC does proceed with a suit it could come as soon as next month.

Objections to the merger have primarily come from Microsoft’s console rival Sony (NYSE:SONY), which says it would be hurt significantly if Microsoft decided to make Activision best-sellers like Call of Duty exclusive to the Xbox – though the FTC’s concerns range beyond that, especially to the developing cloud gaming market.

Sony was reported to have met with Europe’s antitrust regulator about the proposed transaction in September, and Microsoft responded to that opposition with complaints in October.

Meanwhile, China’s “normal procedure” review of the deal may be nigh.

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Article: seekingalpha.com

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LexFintech Stock Climbs After New $20M Stock Buyback Program, Q3 Results

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LexFintech Holdings (LX) stock jumped 5.7% in Wednesday after-hours trading after the Chinese fintech company’s board authorized the company to buy up to US$20M more of its shares and American Depositary shares over the 12 months starting Nov. 17.

As of Sept. 30, the company had bought ~40M ADSs for ~US$44M under its existing US$50M share repurchase program.

In Q3, LexFintech’s (LX) total originations reached ~RMB 56.2B, up 0.7% from Q3 2021 and surpassing its original expectation of RMB 53B.

“Other key financial, operational and overall risk level metrics were well on the track of a gradual trajectory of recovery quarter over quarter this year,” said Chairman and CEO Jay Wenjie Xiao.

Q3 total operating revenue of RMB 2.69B (US$378.2M) dropped 9.4% Y/Y.

Adjusted net income per ADS attributable to ordinary shareholders was RMB 1.73 (US$0.24) , down from RMB 3.09 in the year-ago quarter.

90 day+ delinquency ratio was 2.66% at Sept. 30, 2022 vs. 2.63% at June 30, 2022.

Conference call at 8:30 PM ET.

Ahead of the Q3 results, SA contributor The Value Pendulum saw downside risks for the quarter.

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Original Article: seekingalpha.com

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U.S. Regulator Blames ‘inadequate Processes’ for Freeport LNG Blast

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U.S. natural gas futures rose Wednesday, reversing earlier losses as colder weather forecasts appeared to outweigh expectations that the restart of the Freeport LNG export plant will be delayed, causing some liquefied natural gas vessels to turn away from the plant in recent days.

Front-month Nymex natural gas (NG1:COM) for December delivery settled +2.7% at $6.20/MMBtu, the contract’s fourth gain in the past five sessions.

ETFs: (NYSEARCA:UNG), (UGAZF), (DGAZ), (BOIL), (KOLD), (UNL), (FCG)

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released the findings of a third-party consultant’s report that blamed the June explosion that shut Freeport LNG on inadequate operating and testing procedures, such as deficiencies in valve testing procedures, failure to adjust alarms that could warn operators of rising temperatures, as well as human error and fatigue.

The PHMSA report did not indicate when the plant, which had accounted for ~15% of U.S. LNG exports prior to the explosion, would resume operations.

Freeport LNG previously maintained the plant remained on track to return to service in November, but the company has not mentioned a restart date in recent days, and Bloomberg reported this week that Freeport told buyers it expected the outage would extend through December.

Gas prices have been supported in part by concerns over a possible U.S. railroad strike, which would threaten coal deliveries to utilities, forcing generators to burn more gas; seven unions have approved labor agreements while three unions have rejected the deal.

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Source Here: seekingalpha.com

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