Twitter Stock Falls After Musk Abandons Takeover Plan

File photo


Twitter stock fell Monday after Tesla chief Elon Musk ditched a $44 billion deal to buy the social media giant.

The platform stock dropped 5.46 percent on Wall Street, to $34.80 by around 7:05 am (11:05 GMT). It had lost 5.10 percent before the weekend.

Musk on Friday pulled the plug on the deal, accusing the company of “misleading” statements about the number of fake accounts, according to a letter from his lawyers, a copy of which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Musk’s effort to terminate the deal that he inked in April sets the stage for an epic court battle over a billion-dollar breakup fee.

The social network says the number of fake accounts is less than five percent, a figure challenged by the multi-billionaire who believes the number to be much higher.

According to several US media, Twitter has hired prominent New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Twitter declined to comment to AFP.

After the news broke, Musk tweeted: “They said I couldn’t buy Twitter. Then they wouldn’t disclose bot info. Now they want to force me to buy Twitter in court. Now they have to disclose bot info in court,” accompanied by pictures of him laughing.

For analyst Dan Ives at Wedbush Securities, “this is a ‘code red’ situation for Twitter and its Board as now the company will go head to head against Musk in a Game of Thrones court battle.”

“We see no other bidders emerging at this time while legal proceedings play out in the courts.”


Equities Tumble, Oil Rallies On Red-Hot Ukraine Tensions

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 10, 2018 visitors look at an electronic board at the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange (B3), in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Nelson ALMEIDA / AFP)


Equity markets plunged while oil and haven assets rallied Tuesday after Russia’s Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, ramping up geopolitical tensions and fears of a conflict.

Investors were sent running after Putin recognised the independence of two rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Lugansk and sent in “peacekeeping” forces.

The move came hours after the Kremlin appeared to pour cold water on a potential summit with US President Joe Biden and led to condemnation from world leaders and warnings Moscow would be hit with a series of sanctions.

Biden, France’s Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned that Moscow’s gambit “would not go unanswered”.

The White House said Biden would issue an executive order to “prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in” the two rebel regions.

A French presidential official said the European Union was preparing a list of Russian entities and individuals to sanction in a “proportionate” response to the recognition.

The European Union said it would adopt sanctions later Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Oil Prices Near $100 On Ukraine Tensions, Equities Tumble

The prospect of war and strict sanctions sparked concerns about the impact on supplies of a range of commodities from the region, including oil, wheat and nickel.

Crude — already up more than 25 percent this year on surging demand — piled higher still on Tuesday, with Brent closing in on the $100 mark for the first time since 2014.

Hopes of an Iran nuclear deal, which could see Tehran resume global oil exports, were unable to temper the gains.

The jump in oil is compounding worries about inflation around the world, with the Federal Reserve coming under intense pressure to tighten monetary policy to prevent prices running out of control.

That has in turn battered equity markets in recent months, and the latest developments out of Europe led to another day of hefty selling Tuesday.

Russia’s MOEX index plunged eight percent at the open, having lost 10 percent Monday, while London, Paris and Frankfurt tumbled in early exchanges.

In Asia, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai and Taipei dived at least one percent, while there were also losses in Bangkok, Jakarta and Wellington.

Hong Kong tanked 2.7 percent owing to a selloff in tech firms as traders again fret over the possibility China will embark on another crackdown on the sector.

Those fears were fuelled by a report that regulators had ordered a probe into state firms’ links with Alibaba fintech arm Ant Group. The city’s struggle to contain a Covid outbreak has also hit sentiment in Hong Kong as leaders impose strict containment measures.

“It’s a fluid situation in the evolving geopolitical thematic we see before us,” Chris Weston, of Pepperstone Financial Pty, said.

“Traders are currently playing defence as lower liquidity, driven by the US Presidents Day holiday, (exacerbates) moves.”

The uncertainty on trading floors was also pushing safe havens higher, with gold climbing past $1,900 and heading for a one-year high, while the yen was also stronger against the dollar.

The greenback was sharply higher against other currencies, however, including a four percent gain on the ruble.

And commentators warn of further pain if Putin presses ahead with an invasion of Ukraine.

“Uncertainty still rules,” Cristian Maggio, at TD Securities, said before Putin’s recognition of the rebel regions. “In the case of armed conflict, Russian assets will weaken substantially more than now.”

– Key figures around 0820 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.7 percent at 26,449.61 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 2.7 percent at 23,520.00 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.0 percent at 3,457.15 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 1.4 percent at 7,379.87

West Texas Intermediate: UP 3.7 percent at $94.46 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.2 percent at $97.53 per barrel

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1301 from $1.1337 Monday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3573 from $1.3609

Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.22 pence from 83.33 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 114.72 yen from 114.82 yen

New York – Dow: Closed for a public holiday

— Bloomberg News contributed to this story —

What Happened With Global Stocks Through Christmas?

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during the beginning of the Christmas holiday week on December 23, 2019 in New York City. SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP


Global stock markets were mostly flat in quiet Christmas Eve trading on Tuesday, running out of fizz before the festive break, although the Nasdaq hit its ninth straight record close.

US investors have been in a cheery mood most of the fall as the outlook for US-China trade talks improved, reducing uncertainty, and most economic reports have been good.

In the sleepy holiday-shortened sessions, the broad S&P 500 slipped a hair, and the benchmark Dow dipped 0.1 percent, but the Nasdaq, with a 0.1 percent gain, posted another all-time high.

It was a similar picture in other major markets, as London’s benchmark FTSE 100 shares index rose 0.1 percent, while the Paris CAC 40 finished flat.

“In true Christmas tradition, financial markets saw low trading volumes and volatility,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 had already shut for Christmas.

Trading volumes are typically light at this stage with many investors away for extended Christmas and New Year holiday celebrations.

But the sleepy session was punctuated by some big developments.

New Boeing revelations

Dow member Boeing fell 1.4 percent after reports the embattled company sent new documents to the congressional committee investigating its response to two deadly crashes.

The documents “appear to point to a very disturbing picture” about Boeing’s response to safety issues regarding the 737 MAX, an aide to the US House Transportation Committee told AFP.

The company sent the documents to the committee late Monday, hours after announcing it had ousted Dennis Muilenburg as chief executive and installed Chairman David Calhoun in the post. Shares had rallied on the leadership change.

Meanwhile, Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick on Tuesday severed his last ties with the ride-hailing giant, announcing he would exit the board of directors at the end of 2019.

Uber shares gained 0.4 percent.

‘Santa Rally’ fades

Investors were pausing for breath after a bumper run over the last two weeks or so.

“Investors must feel as if they were extra good this year,” said CFRA Research Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall, who noted that both stocks and bonds rose solidly in 2019.

Global equities have already enjoyed a “Santa Rally” as dealers welcomed news over the US-China trade war and Brexit, having been on a roller-coaster ride for the last 12 months.

Britain’s pro-Brexit Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a landslide election on December 12, boosting investor sentiment.

Last week, Johnson clinched parliamentary approval for the nation to depart from the European Union on January 31, dispelling Brexit uncertainty that had plagued markets for more than three years.

The rally gathered pace at widespread investor relief over the China-US trade pact, with the two economic superpowers set to sign off the deal early next month.

Asian markets were mixed in thin business Tuesday.

Key figures around 1930 GMT

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 28,515.45 (close)

New York – S&P 500: FLAT at 3,223.38 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.1 percent at 8,952.88 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,632.24 points (close)

Paris – CAC 40: FLAT at 6,029.55 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: closed for holiday

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,774.29

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: FLAT at 23,830.58 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 27,864.21 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 2,982.68 (close)

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2958 from $1.2936

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.52 pence from 85.73 pence

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1085 from $1.1079

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.39 yen from 109.44 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8 percent at $67.21 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $61.14.



Leicester Stretch Unbeaten Run, Pulis Under Pressure

Riyad Mahrez (L) celebrates with teammates Christian Fuchs and Harry Maguire (R) after scoring Leicester City’s second goal during their Premier League football match against Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium.. on November 4, 2017. Paul ELLIS / AFP


Leicester City extended their unbeaten run on Saturday with a draw at Stoke while struggling West Brom’s winless run stretched to nine league matches against 10-man Huddersfield, cranking up the pressure on manager Tony Pulis.

With five of the top six sides not in action until Sunday, the focus was on the battle lower down the Premier League table before Liverpool were due to kick off in the late match against struggling West Ham.

In the early game, former England striker Peter Crouch came off the bench to rescue a point for Stoke City in a 2-2 draw, denying new Leicester manager Claude Puel another victory after he won his first match at the helm against Everton last week.

The 2015-16 Premier League champions are now unbeaten in six games in all competitions after early season struggles but will be disappointed they twice let their lead slip and in the end were indebted to goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who made a fantastic flying stop in the dying seconds.

Leicester parted company with Craig Shakespeare last month after slipping into the relegation zone but have recovered strongly under caretaker boss Michael Appleton and ex-Southampton boss Puel.

“I am happy with the attitude of my players, it was a good game, good intensity and passion,” said Puel.

“We had a lot of chances today. It is difficult to accept one point but Kasper saved well at the end so then OK, we take a point. It is an encouraging game which is important for the future.”

Huddersfield stunner

Huddersfield’s Rajiv van La Parra broke the deadlock in their home match against West Brom, lighting up a match devoid of real quality with a stunning strike on the stroke of the interval.

West Brom, struggling for goals, have not won a Premier League match since mid-August and remain just two points clear of the relegation zone, with Pulis’s proud record of never being relegated under threat.

Huddersfield were forced to play for more than half an hour with 10 men after Christopher Schindler was shown a second yellow card, prompting three substitutions from Pulis but the visitors failed to force an equaliser.

Elsewhere, Sean Dyche’s Burnley extended their impressive unbeaten away record with a 1-0 win at Southampton courtesy of a late Sam Vokes strike to move up to sixth in the table.

Burnley, with three wins and two draws, have already won more games and points on the road than they amassed in the whole of 2016-17, when they garnered just seven points.

Brighton earned three points at struggling Swansea with a first-half goal from Glenn Murray and a Steve Cook strike in added time gave Bournemouth a 1-0 win away at Newcastle.

West Ham will take on Liverpool in the late evening kick-off on Saturday, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in line for a first league start after his move from Arsenal and West Ham desperate for points to pull away from danger.

On Sunday, leaders Manchester City host Arsenal while second-placed Manchester United travel to Chelsea, with both sides needing a win to stay on the coattails of Pep Guardiola’s team.

Tottenham, on a high after their historic 3-1 Champions League win against Real Madrid, host bottom-placed Crystal Palace.