Top US stocks to watch: Streaming stocks, Big Tech and IHS Markit

Big Tech remains under the regulatory spotlight, streaming stocks face new rules in the UK, IHS Markit beats expectations, Intel restructures itself, the CDC starts investigating heart inflammation cases linked to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and there is IPO news from Dingdong and Embark.

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Big Tech

The House Judiciary Committee will examine six antitrust bills today as pressure on Big Tech continues to build, potentially paving the way for them to reach the floor of the House in the future.

The bills primarily focus on the role of the likes of Apple, Facebook, Alphabet and Amazon, all of which have opposed efforts to reform regulations for the tech industry. Two bills will look into how companies like Amazon and Google can establish platforms for other businesses to use and then compete with them, with one proposing they sell assets to rectify the problem and the other favouring new rules to stop them from using these anti-competitive practices.

Another bill would ban Big Tech from acquiring other business unless it doesn’t directly compete with it, another is looking into how user data is handled, and others are looking to raise the budget for antitrust cases. The bills have sparked support and resistance from both Democrats and Republicans, with those against them arguing it stifles innovation in the country’s most successful industry and could weaken them against foreign rivals.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney

Reports have surfaced that the UK is looking to shake-up rules for streaming services in the country, potentially paving the way for tighter regulations to be imposed on the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Disney.

There are currently gaps in regulations for streaming services. For example, they do not have to abide by the same rules as public TV broadcasters and, because they are based overseas, can escape regulator Ofgem’s remit.

The government is set to consult on the issue this summer before making a decision as to whether streaming services should be brought under the same scope of rules as broadcasters.

IHS Markit

Information and analytics specialist IHS Markit beat expectations when it released second-quarter results this morning as all of its divisions reported growth in the period.

Revenue rose to $1.18 billion from $1.02 billion the year before, with adjusted Ebitda rising to $517.4 million from $454.0 million. That beat the $1.13 billion of revenue and $505.7 million of earnings expected by Wall Street.

Revenue from Transportation jumped 41% year-on-year, the vast majority of which was organic. Financial Services revenue increased 11%, Consolidated Markets & Solutions was up 2% and Resources edged-up 1%.

Intel

Intel said it is creating two new business units, one to chase the opportunities in creating new software and the other to pursue new high-performance computing and graphics technology.

The company said Greg Lavender has joined as chief technology officer and takes charge of both of the new divisions. It also charged Raja Koduri with responsibility for its new computing systems and graphics group.

It also announced that it was restructuring its Data Platform Group into two new units. The first will be Datacenter and AI focused on data center and cloud-computing products led by Sandra Rivera. The second will Network and Edge Group, focused on networks, IoT and connectivity solutions led by Nick McKeown.

Pfizer and Moderna

A meeting of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will happen later today to discuss the possibility that the coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are linked to cases of heart inflammation.

The health ministry in Israel flagged the possible link earlier this month and the CDC has been investigating cases of heart inflammation among young men for several months. Details of over 300 cases will be presented today, but this is still a fraction of the 138 million-plus people to have been vaccinated so far, 20 million-or-so of which are below the age of 24.

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley has warned that staff and clients will not be able to enter the bank’s New York and Westchester offices if they are not fully vaccinated, according to Reuters.

The new rule is expected to come into force on July 12 but will also scrap the need to wear masks or adhere to scoail distancing rules. Unnamed sources said those that are not fully vaccinated would have to continue to work remotely.  

Tesla

Tesla said it has opened its first charging station in China using its own solar and energy storage systems.

The station is in Lhasa city and will be solar powered, storing energy for it to charge vehicles when needed. It is utilising the technology from SolarCity, which it bought back in 2016.

Dingdong

Chinese groceries app Dingdong us aiming for a valuation of over $6 billion through its initial public offering and raise up to $357 million to help cement its position in an increasingly competitive market.

The valuation would compare to the $5.1 billion price tag achieved when Softbank invested in the business last month.

The listing comes as competition heats up from rivals including Alibaba-backed Hema, Meituan Maicai, Tencent-backed Missfresh, and JD Daojia.

Embark

Self-driving truck technology company Embark is set to go public by merging with SPAC Northern Genesis Acquisition to raise around $614 million in cash and earn a valuation of $5.2 billion.

The proceeds are expected to fund the company until 2024 and none of the existing shareholders plan to sell shares as part of the offering. The company is eagerly looking to commercialise its technology after testing out its self-driving trucks over the last five years.

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