Investor Relations Week: Companies on Abortion Access, Worst First Half in 50 Years for U.S. Stocks and New ETFs Tackle ‘Night Effect’

Reuters (paywall) reported that a growing number of large US companies have said they will cover travel costs for employees who must leave their home countries to access abortions, but these new policies could expose companies to prosecution and even potential criminal liability, according to legal experts. ., Apple, Lyft, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase & Co were among the companies that announced plans to provide these benefits through their health insurance plans ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. canceling the cue point. Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Less than an hour after the ruling was released, Conde Nast CEO Roger Lynch sent a memo to staff announcing a travel expense reimbursement policy and calling the court’s decision a ‘blow to reproductive rights. “. Walt Disney Co unveiled a similar policy, telling employees it recognizes the decision’s impact on abortion but remains committed to providing full access to quality health care, according to a spokesperson.

The New York TimesDealBook noted, however, that while “several companies have pledged to help employees cross state lines for abortions…many of these companies have also donated to political campaigns that have actively worked to undermine Roe”.

– The FinancialTimes (paywall) reported that U.S. stocks recorded their worst first half in more than 50 years after a rout sparked by the Federal Reserve’s attempt to rein in persistent inflation and exacerbated by growing worries about global growth. The S&P 500 fell 0.9% on Thursday, leaving the blue chip index down 20.6% in the first six months of 2022, the paper said. Stocks on Wall Street have not had such a bad start to the year since 1970, when stocks sold off in response to a recession that ended what was, until then, the longest period of economic expansion in American history. The pullback in U.S. stocks has “gutted” more than $9 billion in market value since the end of 2021, the paper said, citing Bloomberg data on the S&P 1500 Index, a broader gauge that tracks groups at small, mid and large capitalization.

– The FT also noted that corporate fundraising had cooled “significantly” in the first half of 2022, with market conditions leaving bankers and corporate finance chiefs wary of issuing new equity and debt. Companies around the world raised $4.9 billion through new bonds, loans and equity in the first half of 2022, down 25% from the $6.6 billion raised in the first half of 2021, which was a record period, according to data provider Refinitiv.

– A new ETF launch from NightShares seeks to tap into a little-known phenomenon in the stock market that has historically generated outsized gains, reports Business Intern. The NightShares 500 ETF seeks to replicate the strategy of buying the exchange at the 4:00 p.m. close and then selling the position the following day when the market opens at 9:30 a.m. “And then rinse and repeat, because the strategy holds no stock market exposure for most of its intraday trading hours,” Business Insider noted.

A body of academic research has backed the strategy, showing that most – if not all – of the stock market’s gains over the past 30 years have been made during night trading sessions rather than during the day.

CNBC reported that Russian energy giant Gazprom lost more than a quarter of its market value after the state-owned company decided not to pay dividends – the first time the company will not pay dividends since 1998. This decision would have reversed a recommendation by the board of directors to pay a dividend of 52.53 rubles ($1) per share. Gazprom’s share price crashed 27% before the Moscow stock exchange intervened to halt trading. The outlet said that Gazprom reported record profits in 2021 thanks to “spiking commodity prices”, but that a “barrage of economic sanctions following Russia’s assault on Ukraine threatens to reduce its income”.

– A wave of mega-deals lifted global M&A volumes to $2 billion in the first half of the year, even as inflation, rising interest rates and war in Ukraine wreaked havoc trust and frustrates important transactions, reported the FT. He said 25 deals worth more than $10 billion were announced in the first half of 2022, up 12% from the same period last year – although overall deal volume was down by a fifth, according to Refinitiv figures. The newspaper added that “concerns have also been raised that some of the larger deals that have supported the market could fail or take longer to close than expected.”

– The WSJ said that according to a study commissioned by the UN-affiliated Race To Zero climate campaign, many large companies working in agriculture and other sectors that drive deforestation will not meet their climate targets without immediate action to protect forests. The study analyzed the environmental programs of 350 companies in the forestry, land use and agriculture sectors that have a major impact on the world’s forests. He found that 148 of these companies have committed to net zero, but estimated that only nine are making great strides in tackling deforestation.

“These companies play a huge role in the sector, which has more impact than steel and cement,” said Nigel Topping, who works to inspire companies, investors and cities to act in the United Nations climate process. Companies typically set net zero goals for decades to come. Still, Topping said, those goals could be out of reach unless companies take urgent action against deforestation. Companies should commit to stopping deforestation by 2025, and lenders and investors should prioritize the issue, he said.

– “Traditional asset managers, hedge funds and wealth managers might be surprised to learn how much more they pay to license an index than their competitors,” said Institutional investor. Some companies pay more than twice as much as their peers, according to the latest study from Substantive Research. The company, which provides analysis on the investment research market for asset managers, also found that the amount an index provider charges its clients for a single index differs on average by 21%. Investor budgets for index services range from 0.55 basis points to 1.27 basis points of their assets under management, according to the study.

– Grayscale, which runs the world’s largest bitcoin fund, said it would sue the SEC after regulators rejected its bid to convert the investment vehicle into an exchange-traded fund, reports CNBC. The SEC on Wednesday rejected Grayscale’s application for a spot Bitcoin ETF, citing the investment manager’s failure to answer questions about concerns about market manipulation. The watchdog is concerned that investors may not have sufficient protections under the Grayscale proposal. The decision has wider implications for the crypto industry and the crisis it is currently facing: Converting Grayscale to an ETF would make it easier and faster for shareholders to redeem their holdings and potentially stabilize the price of Bitcoin. .

– Wall Street banks are rethinking their involvement in the listings of special purpose acquisition companies (Spacs) in the nascent Middle Eastern market, the report said. WSJ, as new accountability guidelines from US regulators “chill the once-hot industry”. Middle East Spac’s sponsors such as Gulf Capital and Investcorp were initially in talks with Citigroup and Bank of America, respectively, but will likely rely on local banks to finalize the deal, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with it. folder. It’s unclear what role either US bank will play, if any.

– Elsewhere, the WSJ also reported that a political deal struck by EU lawmakers designed to target Chinese companies has raised concerns among some US business groups. New rules for companies that derive financial benefits from governments outside the bloc, primarily targeting companies in China and elsewhere with government support, would allow the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, to d prevent these companies from making certain acquisitions or winning major government contracts if they previously benefited from foreign subsidies that regulators deemed distorting. The rules are designed to prevent subsidized foreign companies from gaining an unfair advantage over EU companies, but the paper reports that some US business groups argue that the initial proposal, presented last year, was wide enough that a range of US companies and other multinationals could be affected because of the way the text defines subsidies.

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