China Maintains Benchmark Lending Rates
Stock Alert: Viomi Technology 19% Higher On Q4 Results, Share Buyback
Shares of Chinese smart-home products maker Viomi Technology Co., Ltd (VIOT) are surging more than 19% after the company’s fourth-quarter revenue beat estimates. Viomi also announced a share buyback.
Net revenues for the quarter increased 82.2% year-on-year to $250.2 million on strong product sales. The consensus estimate of 5 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was at $289.87 million.
Net income in the fourth quarter increased 64.4% to $13 million or $0.18 per ADS from last year-quarter. Excluding items, earnings of $0.20 per ADS, however, missed estimates at $0.23.
For the first quarter, Viomi expects net revenues to be approximately flat as compared to the corresponding period last year.
The company today announced a share repurchase program of up to US$10 million worth of its Class A ordinary shares in the form of American depository shares over the next twelve-month period.
VIOT is currently trading at $5.65. It has traded in the range of $4.20- $15.84 in the past one year.
Tehran says former FBI agent Levinson left Iran years ago
DUBAI (Reuters) – Tehran said on Thursday that a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in March 2007 had left the country years ago despite his family saying he had died in Iranian custody.
“Based on credible evidence, Levinson has left Iran years ago for an unspecified destination,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to state television.
“In the past years Iran has tried to find out his state but could not find any signs of him being alive.”
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell says he has coronavirus
NBCUniversal’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Shell, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
In a memo to staff Wednesday, Shell said he was diagnosed with the virus after feeling sick.
“I recently have been feeling under the weather and just learned that I have tested positive for Covid-19,” Shell wrote. “Although the virus has been tough to cope with, I have managed to work remotely in LA and am improving every day.”
Last week, one employee, NBC News technician, Larry Edgeworth, passed away from coronavirus.
Earlier this week, a senior segment producer at MSNBC penned an anonymous open letter, calling for the shutdown of NBCUniversal’s headquarters, 30 Rock, in light of Edgeworth’s death and the nature of the quick-spreading virus.
Since last week, employees at NBCUniversal have been directed to work from home when possible. But in many cases, workers at the company’s channels NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo and local stations, must still go into the office.
Shell thanked those employees for their “courage.”
“The virus will pass, our world will return to normal, and when it does, we will be poised to have one of the busiest and most exciting years in our company’s history,” he concluded.
‘Most photographed’ Wall Street trader Peter Tuchman has coronavirus
Peter Tuchman, dubbed the “most photographed trader on Wall Street,” took to Instagram on Thursday to tell his 10,000-odd followers that he had tested positive for coronavirus.
The New York Stock Exchange trader, who calls himself the “Einstein of Wall Street” on his Instagram page, revealed the diagnosis with the picture of a Corona Extra beer bottle and an emoticon of hands joined together.
“Hi guys I just thought I’d let you know that I did test positive for corona. I am battling it pretty hard never felt so sick in my life…” Tuchman said in the post.
“Great team of doctors no breathing problems that’s a good thing all the other problems that’s a bad thing will get to the other side of this I’ll be in touch … soon … send prayers,” he added.
At least two more Intercontinental Exchange-owned NYSE floor traders tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, despite strict measures taken to prevent those infected from entering the exchange while it remained open last week, according to a memo seen by Reuters.
India Unveils Economic Stimulus Package
India’s government unveiled an economic stimulus package worth INR 1.7 trillion as the nation faces complete lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, or covid-19.
Measures were aimed to help low income households, daily wage earners and small businesses, who are more vulnerable to the 21-day lockdown.
“We don’t want anyone to remain hungry, or without money. So we will be giving enough to take care of their food grains requirement, protein requirement, in terms of pulses,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference on Thursday.
The package includes food security, cash transfer, free cooking gas, contribution to employees’ provident fund and relief to construction workers. The minister announced an insurance cover of INR 5 million to front line medical professionals and workers.
The government plans to provide free cooking gas to 83 million families over the next three months and also cash transfer to 200 million women and the elderly.
Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days from Tuesday midnight, asserting that it was “very necessary to break the chain of coronavirus.”
Earlier, Prakash Sakpal, an ING economist said the three-week nationwide lockdown will significantly dent India’s GDP growth, making this an even worse year for the economy than the 2008 Global financial crisis.
China Maintains Benchmark Lending Rates
China left its benchmark lending rates unchanged on Friday, defying expectations for a reduction as economic activity faces severe downturn after the outbreak of coronavirus, or covid-19.
The one-year loan prime rate was retained at 4.05 percent and the five-year loan prime rate at 4.75 percent. The one-year LPR was last reduced in February, by 10 basis points.
Although rates were kept unchanged, monetary conditions are still easing as the People’s Bank of China has been using a broad set of instruments to ensure that credit keeps flowing despite disruptions to activity, Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics said.
The loan prime rate is fixed monthly based on the submission of 18 banks, though Beijing has influence over the rate-setting. This new lending rate replaced the central bank’s traditional benchmark lending rate in August 2019.
Although official data showed sharp contractions in industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment during January to February period, the central bank refrained from cutting the medium term lending rate on Monday.
The central bank had injected $14.3 billion into the financial system this week via medium-term lending facility with the rate unchanged at 3.15 percent.
Nonetheless, the bank reduced the reserve requirement ratio for qualified banks with effect from March 16, releasing CNY 550 billion into the financial system.