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Oil prices rose slightly on Friday as concern over an economic slowdown in China, the world's biggest oil consumer, was countered by bullish signals from both the Chinese and U.S. refining sectors.


Nissan Motor Co's incoming chief executive Makoto Uchida told employees in a video message on its internal website on Friday that his mission is to "restore business performance and regain trust in Nissan," according to a transcript of the message viewed by Reuters.


A hefty profit warning sent Renault shares tumbling as much as 15% on Friday, capping a miserable year for the French carmaker following the arrest of long-time boss Carlos Ghosn and adding to signs of a sharp slowdown in the global auto industry.


World stocks slipped after China posted its weakest growth rate in nearly three decades on Friday, while the dollar was set for its worst week in almost four months having been pummeled by pound and euro Brexit rallies.


times square

  • Interbrand, a brand consultancy firm, ranked the world's biggest companies.
  • They based the ranking on brand strength now, how the brand wants to improve in the future, and what value does it add to the company.  
  • Amazon, Google, and Microsoft were some of the leading brands to consumers, while Facebook fell out of the top 10. 
  • View Markets Insider's homepage for more stories.

Brand image can be a huge factor for companies and their success, often influencing consumer decisions with it. 

Interbrand, a brand consultancy firm, has ranked the world's brand to see which were the most important in 2019.

They did this by looking at three main factors — brand strength currently — in other words, how positive is the perception of the brand across the world; what value does the brand itself add to the company; and, what plans does the brand have for the future.

The firm then calculated "overall financial return to an organization's investors, or its economic profit," as well as "the ability of the brand to create loyalty and, therefore, sustainable demand and profit into the future."

Brands in tech stood out, such as Apple, Google and Amazon, while Spotify and Harley Davidson and were courting less favor with consumers. 

Facebook fell out of the top 10 to 14th place and sportswear giant Nike came in at 16th place. 

Below are the top 10 global brands in 2019. 

10. Disney — brand value: $44.3 million

Disney's market cap at the time of writing stands at $240.2 billion, and the brand only stands to get stronger with the advent of the new streaming service Disney+. Interbrand found that it's brand strengths were differentiation, commitment, and presence. Its brand value has grown 11% in the last year, according to Interbrand, after a mammoth year in film with "The Lion King," "Toy Story 4" and "Avengers Endgame."



9. McDonald's — brand value: $44.53 million

McDonald's, which has a $158.5 billion market cap, has consistently grown its brand value since 2003, and in the last year increased by 4%. Interbrand said its strengths were commitment, differentiation, and presence. With the rollout of a plant-based burger with Beyond Meat, it could yet still grow.



8. Mercedes-Benz — brand value: $50.8 million

Mercedes-Benz, isn't independent per se, rather it is owned by Daimler. It's brand value increased by 5%, through its commitment, relevance and responsiveness. 



7. Toyota — brand value: $56.2 million

The Japanese carmaker's market cap is roughly $222 billion, and in the last year its brand has grown 5%. Interbrand based this on relevance, authenticity, and presence.



6. Samsung — brand value: $61 million

Samsung, one of the leading tech giants in the world with a market cap of $284 billion grew by 2% in the last year. It showed responsiveness, relevance and authenticity.



5. Coca-Cola — brand value: $63.4 million

Coca-Cola's brand has actually declined in the last year 4% and has been doing so since 2014. Despite that, it sits at number 5, showing the strength of the brand — led by presence, authenticity and commitment. 



4. Microsoft — brand value: $108.8 million

Worth $1 trillion by market cap, Microsoft is one of the world's leading brands, one of five tech companies in the top five. Its brand has improved markedly this year by 17%, due to clarity, relevance and responsiveness. 



3. Amazon — brand value: $125 million

Jeff Bezos' firm is among the world's biggest brands. Amazon's market cap stands at $885.3 billion, and its strengths were responsiveness, relevance, and presence, as the brand grew 24% in the last year. 



2. Google — brand value: $167.7 million

Google, was beaten to the top spot but clearly showed its dominance in the world's household names, as it had the second-highest brand strength. With a market cap of $869 billion, the brand grew 8%. Of course, presence and relevance featured but also responsiveness. 



1. Apple — brand value: $234.2 million

The world's strongest brand was tech giant Apple. With a market cap of about $1 trillion, the tech giant nabbed the top spot, beating Google in terms of brand value by an entire Coca-Cola and more. It grew 9% in the last year, through differentiation, governance, and engagement. 





(This October 17 story refiles to change Thursday to Wednesday in fifth paragraph)


Swedish truckmaker AB Volvo reported a sharp decline in third-quarter orders and forecast a demand slump on both sides of the North Atlantic next year, taking the shine off forecast-beating earnings.


The $100 billion Vision Fund of Japan's SoftBank Group Corp has in just over two years burned through much of its capital investing in money-losing, late-stage tech startups in areas as varied as autonomous driving, healthcare and finance.


Holiday Inn-owner InterContinental Hotels Group blamed lower business bookings in China and Hong Kong protests for a 0.8% fall in third-quarter revenue per room on Friday, the latest company to be pinched by weaker global travel.


Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd has shelved plans for its first U.S. dollar debt deal in 23 years, the airline said on Friday, after sources told Reuters that global investors had baulked at the pricing due to civil unrest in Hong Kong.


China Chinese Trader Shanghai Stocks

  • China's economy grew at 6% between July and September — the slowest growth rate since 1992.
  • Much of this was down to slowing demand from abroad, as the trade war weighs on Chinese production. 
  • The fear is that this slowdown will have knock-on effects to other major economies, like Germany, and could further drag global growth. 
  • View Markets Insider's homepage for more stories.

China economy grew at 6% in the last quarter, the slowest since 1992, as the trade war bites into the global economy.  

The number, from China's National Bureau of Statistics, missed analyst expectations of 6.1% from Bloomberg's median, as a slowdown in industry outweighed a pick up in services activity. Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics, says it's the lowest growth rate the country has posted since quarterly figures were released in 1992.

Much of this slowdown can be attributed to slowing demand from abroad, both for Chinese goods going out and foreign goods coming into China — with the trade war playing a large part in this due to the decline in American imports and exports. 

"Pressure on economic activity should intensify in the coming months," Evans-Pritchard said in an email. "Cooling global demand will continue to weigh on exports, fiscal constraints mean that infrastructure spending will wane in the near-term, and the recent boom in property construction looks set to unwind."

Evans-Pritchard added he expects monetary policy to loosen to help drive growth, but "it will take time for this to put a floor beneath economic growth."

Fears now that the global economy is flirting with a recession will have grown due to the figures coming from China, given the importance China plays in the world economic system — other countries that rely on China such as Germany will be hampered by this, as we have already seen manufacturing slip in the past year.

Last week the IMF's chief economist, Gita Gopinath, warned that trade wars could slow global growth to the slowest rate since the financial crisis of 2008/9. 

"The weakness in growth is driven by a sharp deterioration in manufacturing activity and global trade, with higher tariffs and prolonged trade policy uncertainty damaging investment and demand for capital goods," Gopinath said adding that "To rejuvenate growth, policymakers must undo the trade barriers put in place with durable agreements, rein in geopolitical tensions, and reduce domestic policy uncertainty."

Elsewhere in the report, China saw an uptick in industrial production from 4.4% in August to 5.8% in September as well as retail sales moving from 7.5% to 7.8%. 

gdp china

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NOW WATCH: Amazon is reportedly seeking a new space in New York City. Here's why the giant canceled its HQ2 plans 5 months ago.



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  • According to Vanity Fair, prior to crucial points that have swung the trade war, investors traded thousands of electronically traded futures contracts on the S&P 500. 
  • In one case, Vanity Fair said, a trader or a group of traders, made $1.8 billion after buying 420,000 e-minis just before Trump announced talks "were back on track" with China. 
  • Those isolated trades have totaled to about $3.5 billion.
  • "There is definite hanky-panky going on," an unnamed "longtime" Chicago Mercantile Exchange trader told Vanity Fair.
  • View Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The trade war has consistently sent markets moving in the past year. And according to a new Vanity Fair report, some traders may have been frontrunning new developments.

According to the magazine, some traders were suspiciously well-positioned ahead of huge swings in the trade war, either by buying or selling hundreds of thousands of electronically traded futures contracts, called "e-minis" on the S&P 500. 

The magazine noted that on September 10, a trader or group of traders bought 82,000 e-minis in the last 10 minutes of trading in New York. In Beijing, it was almost 4 am on September 11 when this happened. A few hours later, the Chinese government announced it would lift tariffs on a range of American products. Markets surged, and the buyer who bought the e-minis made $190 million, Vanity Fair found.

The magazine quote an unnamed "longtime" Chicago Mercantile Exchange trader as saying: "There is definite hanky-panky going on, to the world's financial markets' detriment. This is abysmal."

Meanwhile, a representative for the CME told Vanity Fair that the trades in question didn't originate from a single source and are of no concern to the exchange.

Markets Insider has reported about the market impact of Trump's tweets — Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs both analyzed trade-related tweets to see how much they moved markets, with the former creating the Volfefe index, a bot designed to analyze the movement of the stock market. 

Read more: Ray Dalio warns the White House's latest plan to clamp down on Chinese investment could soon become a reality. Here's why he thinks 'all market participants need to worry.'

Goldman's analysis showed that traders really do believe that the president's tweets do affect Fed policy, which, in turn, affects markets. 

Vanity Fair then notes that June 28, in the last 10 minutes of trading someone bought 420,000 e-minis, which came to about 40% of the day's trade of e-minis — which already stood out. 

Trump was in Osaka, meeting with China's President Xi Jinping. He emerged an hour after saying that trade war talks were "back on track." That week, the stock market surged, and whoever made that bet had a profit of $1.8 billion, Vanity Fair calculated.

On August 23, a Friday, markets were looking glum in the wake of poor trade war news. But the following week, Trump lied saying that trade war talks were going well after a phone call with China. The Chinese said no call happened. Nevertheless, the S&P bounced 80 points and a person who had bought 386,000 e-minis the week before made $1.5 billion, Vanity Fair found.

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NOW WATCH: Violent video games are played all over the world, but mass shootings are a uniquely American problem



China's third-quarter economic growth slowed more than expected and to its weakest pace in almost three decades as the bruising U.S. trade war hit factory production, boosting the case for Beijing to roll out fresh support.


Shares in French media group Vivendi jumped on Friday after it posted higher third-quarter revenue and said that a potential sale of a stake in its Universal Music Group (UMG) was attracting buyer interest.


Sales and profit guidance cut as market conditions worsen and regulations bite


The world's second largest economy is battling a trade war with the US and slowing domestic demand.


Credit Suisse will start charging wealthy clients with large cash deposits in Swiss francs, the latest Swiss bank to pass on negative interest rates to customers.


Weaker than expected figure is worst in three decades, adding to global economic woes


Saudi Aramco has delayed the planned launch of its initial public offering in hopes that pending third-quarter results will bolster investor confidence in the world's largest oil firm, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.


The world's rich nations face a double-whammy, with ageing populations meaning more retirees -- just as low and negative interest rates make it harder for pension funds to secure the investment returns needed to fill up their coffers.


When Frans Kolkman hung up his police badge in 2017, he was looking forward to a comfortable retirement. Two years later he's among millions of Dutch pensioners facing a cut and fearing there may be worse to come.


Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook met the chief of China's market regulator in Beijing on Thursday, the Chinese agency said, a week after the U.S. firm was thrust into the midst of political tensions between the mainland and protesters in Hong Kong.


China's economic growth slowed more than expected to 6.0% year-on-year in the third quarter, the weakest pace in at least 27-1/2 years, as demand at home and abroad faltered amid a bruising Sino-U.S. trade war.


City becomes war zone when troops attempt to arrest a son of jailed ‘El Chapo’ 


Custodian of donations to Church was approached by businessman with links to senior cardinal


Recent bullish signals from bond market indicator are linked to short-term factors


In a financial system overly dependent on too-big-to-fail banks, innovations like Facebook’s could be crucial


Rana Foroohar learnt hard lessons in the dotcom boom. Today, she has a feeling of déjà vu


Dissident disappears only to turn up on state TV in Tehran regretting his opposition


China’s $13 trillion economy is slowing and indicators showing that range from freight shipments to factory power generation and from employment to expenditures on entertainment.


06:00 Wirecard: the unanswered questions (Financial Times)
German fintech company’s rebuttal of the FT’s reporting leaves unanswered questions


But other smartphone makers will find it hard to follow South Korean giant


Delivery delays to Boeing's 777X jetliner are holding back Emirates' growth and could partially affect the Gulf carrier's broader fleet requirements, airline President Tim Clark said on Thursday.


British luxury goods are targeted by the US as new taxes on exports take effect.


Sterling jumps at first on news of a deal, but falls back after the DUP reiterates its opposition.


Acting White House chief of staff states Donald Trump wanted Kiev to probe 2016 election ‘corruption’


Five-day ceasefire agreed in exchange for withdrawal of Kurdish forces from ‘safe zone’


Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown University

  • Mark Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on freedom of expression and Facebook's role on the internet during a 35-minute speech at Georgetown University.
  • During the speech, the Facebook CEO and cofounder focused on how free expression on the site had led to powerful social movements, and he identified three major threats to freedom of speech on the internet.
  • Zuckerberg said he was concerned by the spread of laws that restrict free speech online, admitted that Facebook and other social media platforms run the risk of restricting their users' speech, and said that people are trying to redefine what types of speech are dangerous.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Speaking to a live audience at Georgetown University, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Facebook's role in providing a voice to more than 2 billion people of around the world, and why he feels it's essential to protect freedom of expression on the internet.

"People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society," Zuckerberg said. "People no longer have to rely on traditional gatekeepers in politics or media to make their voices heard, and that has important consequences."

Though Facebook has faced constant criticism for allowing misinformation to spread on the platform, Zuckerberg focused on the positive action that has resulted from people expressing themselves freely on social media. During the 35-minute speech, Zuckerberg pointed to the spread of social movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter as examples of free speech being used for good.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg just slammed China for allegedly censoring Hong Kong protest videos on TikTok: 'Is that the internet we want?'

Zuckerberg acknowledged that many of the Russian agents who meddled with the 2016 presidential election used fake identities to pose as Americans and spread "distasteful" content. But he said rather than restricting what can be said on Facebook, it's more important for the company to focus on preventing fake accounts from making an impact.

"Focusing on authenticity and verifying accounts is a much better solution than an ever-expanding definition of what speech is harmful," Zuckerberg said. He said that Facebook identifies 99% of terrorist content before it appears in anyone's feed, and the company removes billions of fake accounts every year, often within a few minutes of them signing up for the site.

While discussing the steps Facebook has taken to defend freedom of expression, Zuckerberg also identified the three largest threats he sees to free speech on the internet, and around the world. He mentioned the increase and spread of laws that restrict free speech online, admitted that Facebook and other social media platforms run the risk of restricting their users' speech, and said that people are trying to redefine what types of speech are dangerous.

SEE ALSO: Salesforce billionaire Marc Benioff says Facebook should be broken up: 'They’re after your kids'

Zuckerberg is concerned that regulations in places like China that restrict free speech could spread to other parts of the world.

"We're increasingly seeing laws and regulations around the world that undermine free expression and people's human rights," Zuckerberg said. "These local laws are each individually troubling, especially when they shut down speech in places where there isn't democracy or freedom of the press. But it's even worse when countries try to impose their speech restrictions on the rest of the world."

Much of Zuckerberg's comments on laws limiting free speech were focused on China's strict media regulations. The country has been the subject of international controversy for restricting certain types of posts on social media and launching counter-campaigns against pro-Hong Kong activists on social media. The NBA also saw many of its Chinese business relationships jeopardized by a lone pro-Hong Kong tweet from an American employee.

"China is building its own internet focused on very different values, and is now exporting their vision of the internet to other countries," Zuckerberg said. " Until recently, the internet in almost every country outside China has been defined by American platforms with strong free expression values. There's no guarantee these values will win out. A decade ago, almost all of the major internet platforms were American. Today, six of the top ten are Chinese."

Zuckerberg also talked about Facebook's former VP for Latin American, Diego Dzodan, being arrested in Brazil for withholding encrypted WhatsApp data from law enforcement. Dzodan told authorities that the company couldn't produce the encrypted information, and was jailed for 24 hours before a judge ordered his release.



Zuckerberg said that social media platforms pose a threat to freedom of expression due to the amount of control they have over their users.

Zuckerberg also said that social media platform holders are responsible for many of the decisions that control people's speech online. Facebook and Twitter have been accused of having a leftist bias by President Donald Trump and both platforms are regularly criticized for their moderation policies.

"I understand people are concerned about bias and making sure their ideas are treated fairly," Zuckerberg said. "Frankly, I don't think we should be making so many important decisions about speech on our own either. We'd benefit from a more democratic process, clearer rules for the internet, and new institutions."

Last month Facebook announced that it would establish an oversight board to make content policy decisions. The board will have up to 40 members and is funded by a independent trust. 

"Building this institution is important to me personally because I'm not always going to be here, and I want to ensure the values of voice and free expression are enshrined deeply into how this company is governed," Zuckerberg said.

He added that while Facebook wont allow speech or expression that promote violence, the company will err on the side of allowing expression rather than restricting it. That includes protecting posts and ads that may contain misinformation, so long as they don't lead to harm.



Finally, Zuckerberg believes that people attempting to redefine certain types of expression as dangerous could be harmful to the democratic process.

Zuckerberg said the world is in a state of tension caused by globalization and the spread of technology, comparing the current moment to World War I and the American Civil Rights moment.

However, he said the tension has also led to distrust, and people are trying to restrict one another's voices to protect their own political interests.

"Increasingly, we're seeing people try to define more speech as dangerous because it may lead to political outcomes they see as unacceptable," Zuckerberg said. "Some hold the view that since the stakes are so high, they can no longer trust their fellow citizens with the power to communicate and decide what to believe for themselves."

Zuckerberg said that this type of censorship could do more long term damage to the country's democratic process than the speech it intends to silence.





Elizabeth Warren 2020

  • Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has championed Medicare for All on the campaign trail, repeatedly saying she's "with Bernie" on a plan that would extend universal healthcare coverage to every person in the United States and virtually abolish private insurance.
  • Though detail-oriented on the campaign trail, Warren has struggled to explain her version of Medicare for All's impact on the middle class, particularly whether taxes would be raised and how that would be structured.
  • She's consistently declined to elaborate whether she would raise middle class taxes to help finance her proposed overhaul.
  • Sensing weakness in a robust fundraiser gaining momentum as a primary frontrunner, Warren's primary rivals are pouncing and attacking her lack of specificity on a key issue for Democratic voters.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has championed Medicare for All on the campaign trail, repeatedly saying she's "with Bernie" Sanders on a plan that would extend universal healthcare coverage to every person in the United States and virtually abolish private insurance.

The Massachusetts senator also fended off criticism for not rolling out a healthcare plan of her own.

Though detail-oriented on the campaign trail, Warren has struggled to explain her version of Medicare for All's impact on the middle class, particularly whether taxes would be raised and how that would be designed.

She's consistently sidestepped questions on whether she would raise middle class taxes to help finance her proposed overhaul, as she did at Tuesday night's fourth Democratic debate.

Read more: Democratic candidates go after Elizabeth Warren over how much her Medicare for All plan will cost at Ohio debate

"I have made clear what my principles are here. Costs will go up for the wealthy and for big corporations," Warren said in response to a yes-or-no question about a middle-class tax hike. "And for hardworking middle-class families, costs will go down."

Sensing weakness in a robust fundraiser gaining momentum as a primary frontrunner, Warren's primary rivals are pouncing and attacking her lack of specificity on a key issue for Democratic voters.

"I don't want to pick on Elizabeth Warren but this is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous," former Vice President Joe Biden told reporters in Ohio Wednesday. "It's fascinating that the person who has a plan for everything has no plan for the single most consequential issue in this election in the minds of the American people across the board."

Read more: Elizabeth Warren says she's got a detailed plan for almost everything, but she still lacks specifics on Medicare for All

Warren characterized Medicare for All as "a framework" that "doesn't have the details" during a New Hampshire campaign swing, the Wall Street Journal reported. How she goes about crafting a structure around that framework will ultimately determine whether the middle class ends up paying more for their healthcare.

"A Medicare for all plan could be designed so that many people, including those who are middle class, pay less in taxes than they are paying now in premiums, deductibles, and copays," Executive Vice President for Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation Larry Levitt recently tweeted. "It depends entirely on the details."

Then Levitt said in a follow-up tweet, "The key details that determine whether a Medicare for all plan would lead to middle class people paying less: How much health care prices are driven down and which taxes go up to pay for the plan."

Tax hikes are likely needed to pay for Medicare for All

Many experts agree that such an expansive proposal would require a tax hike to pay for its significant cost.

John Holahan, a health policy expert at the nonpartisan Urban Institute, told the Washington Post that "even though high-income people are going to pay a lot more, this has to hit the middle class."

The Urban Institute published a report Wednesday estimating that Medicare for All would ramp up federal spending by $34 trillion over a decade.

The report concluded that in a plan that resembles universal coverage, "higher-income people will likely face the greatest increases in taxes, meaning their new tax burdens would likely exceed their savings; the reverse is likely true for lower-income populations."

Read more: A new poll found the aggressive Medicare for All plan Bernie Sanders has championed is getting less popular as time goes on

Sanders — Warren's main progressive rival — readily acknowledges that he would raise taxes on the middle class to finance Medicare for All. He's floated a four percent payroll tax on employees and exempting the first $29,000 of income for a family of four among the options.

But the Vermont senator tempers that by arguing overall healthcare costs would go down as a result of doing away with premiums, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket costs. Warren echoed that point as well.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that American families pay around $6,000 a year in annual premiums alone.

Bernie Sanders

Yet key details are still missing from his plan. The Sanders Medicare for All plan doesn't indicate how it would pay hospitals, doctors and other key providers of medical care. It also depends whether more people use health care services, which would increase the program's price tag, and whether it streamlines billing and administering duties — and reduce costs.

Support is softening for Medicare for All, according to an ongoing poll from Kaiser, which helps explain why some other candidates such as Sen. Kamala Harris who previously embraced the plan have turned away from it. Voters have grown skeptical of some of the possible trade-offs involved, particularly on ending private health insurance.

But in the end, candidates like Warren bear the burden explaining a plan that does draw support among a substantial chunk of voters.

"Medicare-for-all does appeal. It's just how we're going to pay for it," 37-year-old voter Yul Owens told the Post.  "As long as somebody has a plan for how we're going to fund these things, there's not a problem at all."

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NOW WATCH: Fox News pundits are using white supremacist language tied to 'The Great Replacement' conspiracy theory



David Katzman, CEO of SmileDirectClub stands with founders Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkell as the company debuts its IPO at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York, U.S. September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

  • Hindenburg Research tweeted Thursday that SmileDirectClub admitted in a court case filed Wednesday that its stores in California were raided in 2018 by the Dental Board of California. 
  • Shares fell as much as 13% on the news. SmileDirectClub filed the case against the Dental Board of California and is seeking damages.  
  • Hindenburg shorted shares of SmileDirectClub in early October and sees 85% downside for the company. 
  • Watch SmileDirectClub trade live on Markets Insider.

SmileDirectClub shares plunged as much as 13% on Thursday after Hindenburg Research — which has a short position on the company — tweeted that the company's SmileShop retail stores had been raided by the Dental Board of California. 

The case was filed by SmileDirectClub against the Dental Board of California on Wednesday. It alleges that stores in Oakland, San Francisco, and Hollywood, California were raided unannounced by the board on May 31, 2018. 

"SmileDirectClub filed its lawsuit against the California Dental Board and one of its investigators who has engaged in a pattern of illegal behavior in an attempt to harass and intimidate our customers and our team members at the SmileShops in California," a spokesperson for SmileDirectClub told Markets Insider. 

"This investigator accelerated the activity starting on September 16 of this year despite the California board closing its prior investigation in July," the spokesperson said. "This really left us no choice but to file this lawsuit so we could protect our club members, our team members, and our mission to democratize access to affordable care."

sdc

The case, which Hindenburg Research tweeted as a slideshow, states that "as a result, the raids seriously harmed SmileDirect's business, revenue, goodwill, employee relations, and reputation in the marketplace." 

Hindenburg Research has come after SmileDirectClub before. In a research note published in early October, it claimed that SmileDirectClub is "carelessly cutting corners" and "putting customer safety at risk." It said that the company has 85% downside, and put a price target of $2 on the shares. 

SmileDirectClub has had a rough start since its September IPO, which was the worst-performing US debut with a valuation over $1 billion since 2007, according to Bloomberg data. Shares of the company slid 28% below their offer price of $23 on the first day of trading.

Thursday, shares closed down roughly 60% since its IPO in September.

sdc

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NOW WATCH: Super-Earths are real and they could be an even better place to live than Earth



UAW strike

  • The six-week-long strike of more than 48,000 General Motors workers could cost the company more than $3 billion — the largest estimate yet — according to a new analysis from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 
  • The firm's analysts expect the automaker to take a $750 million hit to operating income in the third quarter, and another $2.5 billion loss in the fourth quarter. 
  • The number is derived from an estimated total loss of production of a little less than 350,000 vehicles and a contribution margin per vehicle between $10,000 and $12,000, according to the firm's analysis. 
  • Shares of GM rose as much as 2.5% on Wednesday after the United Auto Workers union announced the two parties had agreed on a proposed tentative labor deal. 
  • Watch GM trade live.

The United Auto Workers strike could cost General Motors as much as $3.25 billion — the largest estimate yet — according to a new analysis from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The strike, which is closing in on its sixth week, could cost GM $750 million in operating income for the third quarter and another $2.5 billion during the fourth quarter, the firm's analysts wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

The figure comes from an estimated total loss of production of a little less than 350,000 vehicles and a contribution margin per vehicle between $10,000 and $12,000, according to the firm's analysis. 

The estimate is also based on the assumption that a tentative deal that was announced on Wednesday will be ratified by next week, BAML said. 

Based on the updated forecast, the bank also slashed its 2019 earning's per share estimate to $4.95, from $6.85. 

About 48,000 GM workers began striking in mid-September due to disagreements over pay, healthcare costs, and automaker's use of temporary workers. 

The UAW GM National Council was scheduled to meet privately on Thursday to vote on a proposed labor deal that would end the strike. 

Shares of GM are up about 8% year-to-date. 

Read more: Wall Street's biggest firms pay Raoul Pal $40,000 a year for his research. He explains why the market is heading for a negative-rate situation that could crush banks and roil pension funds.

GM stock

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NOW WATCH: Super-Earths are real and they could be an even better place to live than Earth



An employee rides a bicycle next to oil tanks at Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

  • Saudi Aramco delayed its scheduled mega-IPO, according to the Financial Times.
  • The world's largest oil company was poised to go public as soon as November, first offering 1% or 2% of shares on Saudi Arabia's domestic exchange before listing the rest of a 5% stake internationally. The offering was set to be the largest IPO on record.
  • The firm delayed its offering to give investors greater detail on how its quarterly earnings were affected by September's drone strikes on Aramco infrastructure, the FT reported.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Saudi Aramco delayed the scheduled launch of its massive IPO, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

The world's largest oil company reportedly wanted to give investors additional details on how its quarterly earnings were affected by September's drone attacks, according to the FT. Aramco is now eyeing a December or January date for its IPO, two sources familiar with the plans told The Wall Street Journal.

The resulting damage to Aramco infrastructure led the company to temporarily slash production. CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC last week the firm would return to "maximum sustained capacity" by the end of November. 

Aramco officials planned to sell 1% to 2% of shares on Saudi Arabia's domestic exchange as soon as November before listing the rest of a 5% stake internationally. A prospectus — the document used to market Aramco shares internationally — was slated for release on October 25.

Read more: Famed economist David Rosenberg explains how the Saudi oil fiasco's impact on US consumers could hasten the next recession

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman previously called for the firm to be valued at $2 trillion. If the state-owned oil company offered 5% of shares at a $2 trillion valuation, the IPO could raise as much as $100 billion, four times the largest IPO in history.

The company hired JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank to advise in the offering, Reuters previously reported.

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FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2018, file photo Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York. On Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ordered Juul and five other vaping companies to hand over information about how they market e-cigarettes, the government’s latest move targeting the industry. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

  • Juul Labs halted all US sales of its fruity-flavored e-cigarette pods on Thursday under mounting regulatory pressure to stop marketing them towards minors.
  • Hours earlier, rival Philip Morris took pains to distinguish IQOS — its alternative to conventional cigarettes — from Juul, and emphasize it's targeted at adult smokers.
  • "When it comes to the youth access issue, this is where we focus on good conversion practices and a very stringent focus on adult smokers," CEO Martin King said on the group's earnings call.
  • Watch Philip Morris trade live on Markets Insider.

Juul Labs halted all US sales of its fruity e-cigarette flavors on Thursday under mounting regulatory pressure to stop marketing them towards minors. Hours earlier, rival Philip Morris took pains to say IQOS — its alternative to conventional cigarettes — is targeted at adult smokers.

Juul pulled its mango, creme, fruit, and cucumber refill pods from its online store, after suspending physical sales last year. It won't resume selling them until the Food and Drug Administration completes a vaping review, the company said.

"We must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders to combat underage use while providing an alternative to adult smokers," CEO K.C. Crosthwaite said in a statement.

Philip Morris CEO Martin King was eager to draw a distinction between Juul and the cigarette titan's IQOS offering, which it launched in the US this month. He emphasized IQOS is a heated tobacco product rather than an e-cigarette, and regulators shouldn't lump them into the same category. He also said three times that the product is targeted at adult smokers, not youths or non-smokers.

Read more: The precarious path of e-cig startup Juul: From Silicon Valley darling to $38 billion behemoth under criminal investigation

"When it comes to the youth access issue, this is where we focus on good conversion practices and a very stringent focus on adult smokers," King said. "We have very big conversion practices to make sure that we're focused on adult smokers.

He added: "We're making sure that the people that convert to IQOS are former adult smokers."

King is undoubtedly keen to avoid Juul's challenges. Those came to a head in September, when the FDA issued a warning letter to Juul calling out its labeling and advertising — which included giving a presentation to teenagers at their school — and requested more information about its outreach and marketing practices as part of an investigation into vaping.

Juul appointed a new CEO within weeks: Altria's former growth chief K.C. Crosthwaite. He launched a review of the company's practices and policies and suspended its US broadcast, digital, and print advertising.

"We must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders to combat underage use while providing an alternative to adult smokers," Crosthwaite said in the press release announcing Juul's suspension of fruity flavors.

Now read: Philip Morris is betting on e-cigarettes and new flavors as it feels the heat from Juul and KT&G

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Riyadh had been expected to sign off on key listing this week


Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia

  • The family of billionaire West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice benefited and maxed out a taxpayer-funded subsidy aimed at softening the economic blow for farmers hurt by President Donald Trump's ongoing trade war with China.
  • The Associated Press reported that records show that Justice Farms of North Carolina, owned by Justice's family, reached the $125,000 ceiling earlier this year and received the largest amount of soybean subsidies in West Virginia.
  • The AP reported that the figures vastly exceed the average payments to other farmers: $6,438 for soybeans and $152 for corn.
  • Justice's estimated net worth is $1.5 billion, generated from a sprawling agricultural and coal empire, making him West Virginia's richest man.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for stories.

The family of billionaire West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice benefited and maxed out a taxpayer-funded subsidy aimed at softening the economic blow for farmers hurt by President Donald Trump's ongoing trade war with China.

The Associated Press reported that records show that Justice Farms of North Carolina — owned by Justice's family — reached the $125,000 ceiling earlier this year and received the largest amount of soybean subsidies in West Virginia.

The company accepted $121,398 in soybean subsidies and $3,602 for corn on farm properties it owned throughout West Virginia. The AP reported that the figures vastly exceed the average payments to other farmers: $6,438 for soybeans and $152 for corn.

There is no evidence that Justice committed any wrongdoing by drawing funds from the program. A spokesperson for Justice's companies told the AP "it's absurd for anyone to use this important program as the basis for cynical political attacks" and many businesses around the country had received the money.

Read more: Farmers are skeptical of the partial trade pact Trump announced with China

Justice's family could be receiving more payments in the near future, the report noted. The Trump administration bailed out farmers struggling with lost sales abroad to the tune of $28 billion so far and lifted the maximum amount farm operations are allowed to receive to $250,000 for the second round of payments. Loopholes, however, have allowed large farms to benefit and sometimes blow past the existing subsidies cap.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa — who owns 750 acres where he grows soybean and corn — has also benefited from the subsidy program, the Des Moines Register reported. Yet he's also called for stricter oversight on how funds are ultimately distributed in the program.

Justice's estimated net worth is $1.5 billion, generated from a sprawling agricultural and coal empire, making him West Virginia's richest man. He listed over 100 business interests in his last financial disclosure form. He faced extensive criticism after not placing his businesses in a blind trust when he became governor, which would shield him from possible conflicts of interest.

Justice sought to distance himself from his companies by arguing his children now control them.

Read more: Farmers are slamming Trump's $28 billion farm bailout — more than double Obama's 2009 payment to automakers — as a 'Band-Aid'

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Union Pacific train

  • Rail shipments in the United States have fallen drastically this year, down more than 4% in the third quarter. 
  • Union Pacific saw volume fall 8%, causing its quarterly earnings to fall short of Wall Street expectations. 
  • That sluggishness was thanks to a lagging economy, executives said. The railroad also plans to cut some 200 jobs in Kansas City. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A sluggish economy and falling shipment volumes ate into Union Pacific's third quarter earnings

President Donald Trump's trade war has wreaked havoc on railroads for months, and the latest victims are 200 employees of the US' largest railroad.

In the same week as it disclosed an 8% drop in volumes thanks to a lagging economy — which in turn caused third-quarter earnings  to fall short of Wall Street estimates — Union Pacific confirmed the job cuts as it combines switching operations at two yards in Kansas City, Missouri.

"The economy is what the economy is," Robert Knight, the railroads chief financial officer, said on a conference call with investors an analysts on Thursday. "We deal with the hand that we're dealt and we don't use that as an excuse."

And that hand hasn't been a good one, by any means.

Read more: US retail sales unexpectedly drop as Trump's trade war hits the backbone of the economy 

Rail traffic across the board fell by 4.2% in the second quarter, according to data from the American Association of Railroads, continuing a year of decline as cheap trucking rates invite more shippers to highways rather than rails. CSX, Union Pacific's major competitor on the east coast, saw volume decline 5% in the quarter, it also told investors this week.

"UNP's results continue to be a victim of the uncertain macroeconomic environment and cheap trucking rates, among other competitive pressures," Jason Seidl, an analyst at Cowen, said in a note to clients. The firm lowered its estimates for Union Pacific following its disappointing results.

Shares of UNP, while down immediately following the earnings release, rose 0.75% in trading Thursday.

"If we can get a little cooperation from the economy, that would be very helpful," Knight said on the earnings call.

Read more: Business economists warn Trump's trade policies could drag growth below 2% next year 

As for the 200 jobs in Kansas City that are disappearing, Union Pacific said the changes "changes will improve operating efficiencies, helping us provide customers with safe and reliable rail service."

Looking forward, executives appear to have some hope that economic growth can rebound, despite hitting its lowest global level since the great recession.

"As the economy strengthens, which it will at some point and as truck capacity tightens up, which it will at some point, we're in a great place to take advantage of that," Lance Fritz, Union Pacific's chief executive, said.

SEE ALSO: A Union Pacific exec told us why railroads are more high-tech than cars or planes

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trader screen volatility

  • Some experts think volatility in stocks and bonds may increase through the end of the year, like it did at the end of 2018. 
  • Nancy Davis of Quadratic Capital Management says that's not a bad thing if traders and investors are positioned correctly. 
  • Traders can hedge against volatility and make money by being long fixed-income volatility, she said, using Quadratic's IVOL ETF as an example. 
  • Read more on Business Insider.

Some experts think there could be more turbulence ahead in fixed-income and equity markets through the end of 2019. But that doesn't scare Nancy Davis, managing partner and chief investment officer of Quadratic Capital Management.  

"I think the end of the year always has a greater potential to have more volatility," Davis told Markets Insider in an interview. "And I think there's also a lot of subsurface currents going on right now that are not healthy indicators." 

Equity markets have whiplashed through 2019 on trade news, the Federal Reserve's policy, and recession fears. Fixed income has also been choppy this year. US Treasurys rallied until September, but have bounced since. The increased turbulence is reminiscent of the end of 2018, when volatility spurred by US-China trade negotiations rocked the fourth quarter and pushed the bull market into the red. 

Read more: A record number of big fund managers are worried governments aren't doing enough to avoid a global recession.

While volatility may ramp up in 2019, it's not something that investors need to be worried about if they're positioned correctly, Davis said. She called the similar blowup of late 2018 in a July interview with CNBC.

"Long term, you want to own things that are not going to be correlated to everything else," she said. "If the risk in one's portfolio is that equities fall, credit spreads widen and volatility increases, being long fixed-income volatility is a good way to be defensive and protect equities in the portfolio." 

For Davis, being long fixed-income volatility and hedging against inflation are key. Davis runs an ETF positioned to do just that — the Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge ETF, or IVOL, was launched in May. The fund currently has $67.34 million assets under management, according to ETF.com

Many kinds of volatility 

Most investors' view of volatility in the market is narrow, Davis said. This means that they might be leaving opportunities to gain on the table. 

"A lot of people think volatility and they think of the VIX," she said. But the VIX, or the Cboe Volatility Index, is only one type of volatility, and a "tiny fraction of the volatility markets in the universe," she said.

Fixed-income markets are much larger, specifically interest rate volatility markets, she said. IVOL trades volatility only accessible via the over-the-counter options market, which are the result of a private transaction between buyer and seller. It also trades Treasury inflation-protected securities, or TIPS. 

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: These 5 trades can help investors make a killing during a crucial earnings season

Right now, she sees her ETF as a solid value investment because compared to other assets it's incredibly cheap. And, it's distributed roughly 30 basis points each month, she said, which is about double the 13 basis points that the 10-year US Treasury bond is currently distributing. 

It also gives investors access to something most people can't get on their own, as OTC options don't trade on a formal exchange. In this way, the ETF is democratizing financial markets, said Davis. 

Active is better 

For trading fixed income volatility, active management is better, Davis said. This is because there isn't a lot of long volatility baked into passive benchmarks for fixed income — the primary benchmark is the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index, which is 26% mortgages, Davis said. 

"Mortgages are inherently short fixed income volatility," she said. This is because the owner of a home can prepay the mortgage anytime, adding prepayment risks and meaning that the owner of the mortgage is essentially short the option to the homeowner. 

"I don't think people realize that they're actually short fixed income volatility in that index," she said, stating that there is a lot of money chasing the benchmark. 

But the benchmark isn't positioned to do well if volatility ticks up, she said. This means that investors could feel pain through the end of the year if markets whipsaw further.

If volatility increases, investors pegged to the Bloomberg Barclays index will lose money. But investors that are long fixed income volatility, like those in her ETF, will gain, she said. 

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FILE PHOTO: An employee tends to medical cannabis plants at Pharmocann, an Israeli medical cannabis company in northern Israel January 24, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

  • Cannabis producer Cronos Group traded as much as 26% higher Thursday after a series of massive block purchases boosted the stock price overnight.
  • The shares soared as much as 43% in after-hours trading following purchases of 810,000 and 350,000 shares at $8.40, according to Bloomberg data.
  • The spike pushed cannabis peers up as well, with Aurora Cannabis jumping as much as 6.1% and Tilray rising as much as 3% in early Thursday trading.
  • Watch Cronos Group trade live here.

Canadian cannabis producer Cronos Group jumped as much as 26% in early Thursday trading after a series of massive block trades boosted the stock overnight.

The company's stock soared as much as 43% in after-hours trading Wednesday following 810,000 share and 350,000 share trades at $8.40 per share, according to Bloomberg data. Two trades of 238,000 shares each followed soon after at $11.50 per share.

Cronos has since pared its gains, now trading roughly 4% higher as of 11:35 a.m. ET.

Read more: Here's how the largest and most powerful Wall Street banks are cautiously opening their doors to the potentially $80 billion US cannabis industry

The spike pushed other cannabis firms higher in Thursday trading. Aurora Cannabis jumped as much as 6.1% Thursday. Tilray jumped as much as 3%.

CannTrust surged as much as 4.2% before reversing its gains. The stock now trades roughly 2% lower.

Canada's "Cannabis 2.0" level of legalization began Thursday, exactly one year after the nation first legalized recreational marijuana. The new law permits cannabis products including vape pens, edibles, and beverages.

Cronos traded at $8.67 per share at 3:12 p.m. ET, down about 16% year-to-date.

The company has four "buy" ratings, 11 "hold" ratings, and two "sell" ratings from analysts, with a consensus price target of $12.77, according to Bloomberg data.

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CRON

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FILE PHOTO: The Airbnb logo is seen on a little mini pyramid under the glass Pyramid of the Louvre museum in Paris, France, March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo


Airbnb's bid to go public in 2020 may face new hurdles as the home-share company reportedly boosted spending at the start of the year.

The company's losses doubled year-over-year in the first quarter as it spent more on marketing and sales, The Information reported Thursday. Airbnb increased sales and marketing spending to $367 million in the first quarter, setting the pace for yearly spending in the category to surpass the $1.1 billion sum from 2018.

Total expenses reportedly grew 47% in the first quarter, while revenue increased only 31% in the same period.

Airbnb's private status keeps outside investors from knowing exactly how much the company is profiting — or losing — on a quarterly basis. Yet the newly released information could raise questions about whether the company is earning enough to appeal to public investors.

Airbnb declined to confirm the increased spending, telling The Information only that "2019 is a big investment year in support of our hosts and guests."

Read more: Nobel laureate Robert Shiller wrote the textbook on the 2 worst bubbles in recent history. Now he tells us his best advice for avoiding the next big one.

The news arrives as Wall Street sours on money-losing unicorn companies. Peloton wiped out more than $900 million in investor wealth when it went public on September 26, marking the third-worst trading debut for a mega-IPO since the financial crisis. Lyft and Uber have both struggled to return to their initial offer price. SmileDirectClub is down more than 40% from its IPO price.

Several companies have even canceled their planned IPOs at the last minute. Hollywood conglomerate Endeavor cited market conditions when it pulled its offering the day before it was slated to trade publicly. WeWork indefinitely postponed its IPO after controversial CEO Adam Neumann stepped down and analysts scrutinized the company's core business.

Airbnb recently planned to hire Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as advisors for a 2020 direct listing effort, Reuters reported in early October. The company has a $31 billion private valuation and would be among the largest companies to go public in 2020 if the listing occurs.

The unconventional approach to public markets would allow Airbnb to avoid the millions of dollars in underwriting fees associated with IPOs, as no new shares are offered in a direct listing. Spotify and Slack are among the large-cap tech firms to go public through direct listings.

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bojack horseman

  • Traders betting against Netflix just saw all their gains for the year wiped out after the stock surged on the company's latest earnings beat.
  • Netflix short-sellers are now down more than $238 million in mark-to-market losses this year, according to data from the financial-analytics provider S3 Partners.
  • The streaming juggernaut is the fifth-most-shorted stock in the US market, with about $6.13 billion in total short interest, S3 Partners said.
  • Watch Netflix trade live.

Traders betting against Netflix just got crushed.

Short-sellers, who aim to make money by wagering that a stock will fall, erased all their gains for the year after shares of Netflix surged as much as 8% on Thursday following its latest earnings beat. The stock also spiked 11% in after-market trading following the report.

That amounted to a roughly $287 million bloodbath for short-sellers — a $44 million mark-to-market loss on Wednesday, and a $243 million loss on Thursday.

Netflix shorts are now down more than $238 million in mark-to-market losses this year, according to data from the financial-analytics provider S3 Partners. Further, shorts have absorbed a $645.5 million loss for the month of October alone, S3 said in an email to Markets Insider.

The streaming giant is the fifth-most-shorted stock in the US market, behind Apple, Tesla, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Microsoft. It has a total of about $6.13 billion in short interest, or about 5% of the company's shares available for trading, according to S3 Partners.

The highlight of Netflix's earnings report — and the likely impetus for the stock gain — was international new-subscriber additions that beat Wall Street forecasts. The company also reported earnings per share that surpassed estimates.

The spike came after the stock lost about 20% of its market value following a surprising contraction in US subscribers during the second quarter, juicing short-sellers' profits.

Shares of Netflix are now up about 10% year-to-date.

Read more: Wall Street's biggest firms pay Raoul Pal $40,000 a year for his research. He explains why the market is heading for a negative-rate situation that could crush banks and roil pension funds.

NFLX stock

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