Monday, 30 Mar 2020

Investor who took Virgin Galactic public raising nearly $1 billion in two new IPOs

Trump nominates Rep. John Ratcliffe again to be nation’s top intelligence official

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday picked Rep. John Ratcliffe again to be the nation’s top intelligence official, overseeing the 17 U.S. spy agencies that the president has repeatedly scorned.

The president earlier nominated the two-term Republican congressman from Texas to be the new director of national intelligence. But in early August, Trump abruptly withdrew his name amid growing questions about Ratcliffe’s qualifications for the job. Democrats and Republicans criticized him for having little experience in the field of intelligence.

“John is an outstanding man of great talent!” Trump said in announcing his choice in a tweet.

If confirmed by the Senate, Ratcliffe would replace Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist who is currently serving as acting national intelligence director while keeping his title as U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Harley-Davidson CEO steps down, stock gains in late trading

The chief executive of Harley-Davidson Inc. stepped down by mutual agreement with the company Friday afternoon, the motorcycle manufacturer announced, and shares rose 5% in late trading. Matthew Levatich relinquished his titles of president and CEO as well as his seat on the board, and board member Jochen Zeitz was named acting president and CEO of the company. Zeitz was also named chairman of the board, and will retain that title after a new CEO is named; Michael Cave, who had been acting as chairman, will take on the title of presiding director. "The board and Matt mutually agreed that now is the time for new leadership at Harley-Davidson," Zeitz said in Friday’s announcement. "Matt was instrumental in defining the More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth, and we will look to new leadership to recharge our business." Harley’s revenue has declined year-over-year in the past five quarters in a row, and 11 of the past 14, as the company has struggled to appeal to younger customers. The stock has struggled, declining 17.9% in the past year as the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.82% has gained 7%, but shot 5% higher in after-hours trading Friday following the announcement.

Steve Cohen’s Point72 Hedge Fund Posts February Gain, Rising Nearly 1%

Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management gained almost 1% in February, amid a market rout that saw the S&P 500 Index tumble, according to people with knowledge the matter.

The hedge fund, which manages $16.1 billion, built on better-than-average returns from last year. Point72 rose about 16% in 2019, compared with the industry average of 9%, Bloomberg previously reported.

Equity markets plunged in late February as concerns mounted about the economic fallout from the spreading coronavirus. The S&P 500 fell 11% in five days and the Dow Jones Industrial Average careened to the lowest since June, wiping out almost $3 trillion in value from U.S. equities.

A spokeswoman for Stamford, Connecticut-based Point72 declined to comment.

White House Weighs Use of Defense Law for Coronavirus Supplies

The Trump administration may invoke the Defense Production Act to force manufacturers to produce needed supplies to combat coronavirus, said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

That could include manufacturing face masks needed by medical workers, for which the administration has said there could be a shortage in the event of an outbreak. No decision has been made on invoking the act, Azar told reporters on Friday.

“We’ll use it if we need it,” he said. “I don’t have any procurements I need it for right yet.”

The comments came during a briefing set up by the Trump administration to ease fears about the spread of the virus.

The briefing came after the World Health Organization raised the global risk for coronavirus to “very high” from “high.” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank is prepared to cut interest rates. Amazon.com Inc. asked workers to avoid non-essential travel.

The Trump administration expects Congress to pass a coronavirus funding measure as soon as early next week, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland told reporters. He said it’s needed within two weeks.

Azar said the administration can’t undertake all the preparation needed without more money and is moving forward with a $136 million transfer of funds from other areas.

Moody's says Pemex needs higher crude, fuel prices to support cash generation

MEXICO CITY, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Moody’s Investors Service said on Friday that Mexican state oil company Pemex will need much higher crude and fuel prices to support cash generation but noted it had made “good progress” on its key objectives to stabilize production.

Investor who took Virgin Galactic public raising nearly $1 billion in two new IPOs

Chamath Palihapitiya, who used a previous blank-check initial public offering to place Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. SPCE, +11.97% on the public markets, has filed for two more such funds that seek to raise $900 million in total. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday afternoon show an attempt to raise $300 million for Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. II and $600 million for Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. III. The first Social Capital Hedosophia blank-check IPO raised $600 million in 2017 and sat dormant for more than 20 months before announcing a deal with Virgin Galactic. The space-travel company began trading in October and has more than doubled in price since, closing Friday at $24.60 for a market capitalization of $4.8 billion.

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