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Booking stock gains despite continued erosion of online travel activity | Instant News


Booking Holdings Inc.’s operations continued to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of 2020, but held up better than analysts expected. Booking BKNG, + 3.57%, known as Priceline before changing its corporate name to one of its other online travel brands, said fourth-quarter losses on Wednesday of $ 165 million, or 4 .02 dollars per share, down from earnings of $ 27.75 per share. in the same quarter a year ago. Sales fell to $ 1.24 billion from $ 3.34 billion during the 2019 holiday season. After adjusting for some tax impacts and other costs, Booking recorded a loss of 57 cents per share, down compared to adjusted earnings of $ 23.30 per share a year ago. Analysts on average expected adjusted losses of $ 4.28 per share on sales of $ 1.2 billion, according to FactSet. Shares gained around 2% after hours of trading following the release of results. The travel industry came under fire during the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline worsened in the last quarter of the year, with the coronavirus causing more lockdowns. Chief Executive Officer Glenn Fogel issued a note of hope in a statement during Wednesday’s announcement. “The travel environment continued to be difficult during the fourth quarter of 2020 and through January 2021 as the number of COVID-19 cases remained very high and travel restrictions were reimposed in many. regions of the world, ”Fogel said. “However, in recent weeks we have started to see improvements in booking trends which we will continue to monitor.” Although Booking did not provide a forecast for the first quarter in Wednesday’s announcement, analysts expected any recovery to start further into 2021. “Given the likelihood of lockdowns extending as far as in March (notably in the UK) we expect a reset is needed for 1H: 21 Street forecasts (with our estimates) as intra-quarterly travel is muffled, although this should be to some extent within the expectations, ”Stifel analysts wrote in an online travel revenue snapshot earlier this month. “We believe the situation looks more favorable over a 12 to 18 month period for Booking, given the strong leverage effect on leisure travel, exposure to alternative accommodation and the ability to generate revenue.” Investors have been betting heavily on a possible turnaround, as Booking shares jumped over 27% last month and are now up over 36% last year, while the S&P 500 SPX index, +1, 14%, increased by 20.3%. Some of these gains appear to be linked to the initial public offering and early trading by Airbnb Inc. ABNB, + 6.72%, which sells full-residence accommodation instead of hotels – Booking and another rival, Expedia Group Inc. EXPE, + 1.93%, offer similar options in their brand portfolios. “A public assessment of Expedia’s alternative accommodation portfolio in the form of Airbnb seems to suggest a significant pricing error one way or the other” and “a similar argument can be made for Booking on a sum basis parts relating to Airbnb, ”Wedbush analysts wrote earlier this month, while improving Expedia’s stock and raising their reservation price target. Airbnb, which is worth more than Booking despite being considerably smaller, is expected to publish its results for the first time as a public company on Thursday afternoon. Airbnb stock, which sold for $ 68 when it went public in December, closed at more than $ 200 on Wednesday. .



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Airbnb’s first profits since its IPO could be an indicator for the travel industry in 2021 | Instant News


Airbnb Inc.’s business was decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, but quickly rebounded to the point that it had one of the biggest initial public offerings of 2020. Now is the time to find out what is expected. for 2021. Airbnb ABNB, -5.19% will report financial results for the first time since going public on Thursday afternoon, ending a blistering year for the company and a difficult year for the travel industry. So far, it appears that the online accommodation booking platform has been better positioned to deal with the pandemic than other companies in the travel industry, as travelers have finally sought out getaways near their homes where they could. avoid other people. Airbnb “has shown it to be more resilient to this particular shock of traveling,” said Tom White, analyst at DA Davidson. Airbnb reported third-quarter profit of $ 219 million, in part thanks to aggressive cost-cutting measures it implemented, on revenue of $ 1.34 billion – its second largest quarter never recorded. But an increase in COVID-19 cases in the fourth quarter led to further travel restrictions, which weighed on other companies in the industry, such as Expedia EXPE, -0.73%, and could also be reflected in Airbnb results – Analysts expect less than $ 750 million in fourth quarter revenue. The prospects offered by Airbnb could be greater for Airbnb and the travel industry. Airbnb released a report at the end of January in which it cited the results of its own survey as saying, “A majority of Americans (54%) have already booked, are currently planning to travel, or are planning to travel in 2021.” It remains to be seen whether travelers will still be pitted against Airbnb’s main competition: hotels. “Unless there is a structural change in traveler behavior, the change in preference is likely to be gradual, especially when hotels are back on a level playing field,” KeyBanc Capital Markets’ Justin Patterson wrote in a recent note. What to expect Profits: Analysts polled by FactSet are forecasting an average loss of $ 8.41 per share, largely thanks to the equity compensation costs of Airbnb’s IPO. Estimize, which brings together estimates from analysts, hedge fund managers, executives and more, expects a loss of $ 6.09 per share on average. Revenue: Analysts are expecting an average of $ 739.4 million in revenue, according to FactSet. The estimate is $ 775.9 million. Stock movement: Airbnb shares gained 35% during their period in public markets, while the S&P 500 SPX index, -0.49%, rose 6.5% during this period. a quarter-over-quarter slowdown in the fourth quarter in Europe and “lingering weakness” in the first quarter. But they said they believed Airbnb would withstand a downturn better than other online travel companies “given its focus on alternative accommodation inventory.” Growth: Airbnb continued to outperform hotels and OTAs in December year over year, KeyBanc analysts wrote in a note, which also said Airbnb and its smaller rival Vrbo had experienced positive growth year-over-year spending in January. The CFRA said in a note that it expects a strong rebound in bookings in 2021, including monthly bookings exceeding previous peak levels by the end of the summer. Regulatory risks: Airbnb faces bans and restrictions on stays or listings in different regions of the world. In his home country, he may also be affected by efforts to amend or reject section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which, among other things, protects him and other companies based in line, of any responsibility for the words and actions of their users. Sucharita Kodali, an analyst at Forrester, said that if Section 230 “was canceled, it would dramatically change all markets.” Without Section 230, she said Airbnb would have “a lot more than it needs to master,” as it could potentially face lawsuits for rental clauses, property damage and violence. Of 29 analysts polled by FactSet, 10 have a buy rating on Airbnb stock, while 16 have a hold, two say sell and one considers the stock’s overweighting. The average price target was $ 164.65 on Monday, when the stock closed at $ 195.34. .



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Facebook will restore news in Australia after the government agrees to amend the bill | Instant News


Facebook Inc. will restore links to news articles in Australia, five days after blocking news from its platform in response to a proposed law requiring tech giants to pay publishers for their content.

“We are restoring the news on Facebook in Australia in the coming days,” said Campbell Brown, vice president of Facebook’s global news partnership, in a statement late Monday.

Facebook
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-0.47%

said it had reached an agreement with the Australian government to amend the bill, allowing, among other things, a two-month mediation period to reach an agreement with the issuer before entering arbitration proceedings if an agreement cannot be concluded.

“After further discussion, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers in relation to the value we receive from them,” Facebook said in a separate statement. .

The resolution comes after talks between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg over the weekend.

The social media giant suddenly blocked news articles from its platform last Wednesday in response to upcoming legislation, in motion invite criticism. At the time, Facebook said that the Australian government “fundamentally misunderstood the relationship between our platform and the publishers using it”.

Alphabet
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Google, faces the same regulations, instead entered into a series of deals with Australian news publishers to obey the law.

The Australian Parliament is expected to approve the bill – which is meant to support journalism – soon. Other countries, including Canada, see the Australian model as a roadmap for additional regulation in their country.

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Why hasn’t the cost of food gone up yet | Instant News


More American consumers ate at home last year because of the pandemic, contributing to the biggest annual increase in food prices at home in nine years.

Food costs are expected to increase further in 2021. “This year, food price inflation is certainly a concern,” said Isaac Olvera, chief economist with ArrowStream, a supply chain technology company for the food service industry.

Food prices in 2020 are up 3.9% from 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Prices are for the food category at home, where the buyer is also a consumer rose at the same rate of 3.9% last year, the biggest annual increase since 2011.

That US Department of Agriculture estimates a 2% to 3% increase in food prices this year, compared to a 20-year historical average increase of 2.4%. Prices for meals outside the home – served by restaurants and other services – are also expected to increase by 2% to 3%, while prices for meals at home are expected to increase by 1% to 2%, the government agency said.

Food inflation is almost double the Federal Reserve’s inflation target, said Sal Gilbertie, president and chief investment officer at Teucrium Trading. Meat and grains, and grain products like bread, represent “a much higher overall rate of inflation,” he said. BLS data revealed an unadjusted 5.5% increase in the meat expenditure category from January 2020 to January 2021.

Gilbertie attributed the higher rate of inflation to rising grain prices and “the failure and rebuilding of China’s pig herd.” The Chinese have to import large quantities of animal protein to make up for the shortage of meat from pig herds hit by African swine fever. Then China imports grain to feed the pigs as it works to rebuild their numbers, he said.

Corn
CH21,
-1.32%

C00,
-1.32%

and soybeans
SH21,
+ 0.24%

S00,
+ 0.24%

prices are higher this time of year. Last year, corn futures rose nearly 25%, wheat
WK21,
-1.09%

W00,
-1.09%

up nearly 15% and soybeans by more than 37%.

China was behind most of the increase in corn and soybeans, Olvera said. Brazil and the US supplied most of the beans to China and last year. Brazil is basically running out of exportable soybeans and is actually importing it.

Among the biggest reasons for the increase in food costs last year, however, were disruptions to packing factories caused by workers suffering from the coronavirus that closed many meat processing facilities, Olvera said. “Packing factories are closed and production of beef, pork and poultry is hampered,” he said, as consumers flock to grocery stores to buy supplies.

Retail food demand this year remains “strong,” Olvera said, with pricing across the protein complex above last year’s level. During this year, the futures price for lean pork
LHJ21,
+ 0.92%

LH00,
+ 0.92%

has increased by about 20%, while feeder cattle
FCJ21,
+ 0.81%

FC00,
+ 0.78%
,
or livestock sent to the feedlot, experienced a modest decline.

Olvera said the increase in the number of skinny pigs this year was partly due to the increase in feed costs. “Many traders are betting on pork supply and export expectations,” and the market suggests that “domestic pork availability may be tight until mid-year.”

The price of feeder cattle is under pressure due to the increase in corn prices. Because maize is used in feed, ranchers are more likely to lose money on fattening cows, Olvera said. There could be less livestock and a tighter meat supply in the second half of this year, he said, adding that he continued to view beef demand as still strong.

The reopening of restaurants will lead to inflation, as wholesale food supplies will be reallocated between retail and food services, Olvera said, although it is not known how active consumers will return to restaurants in a post-pandemic world.

In the long term, “we believe that consumers have changed and this change will force… the food service industry to become more agile,” he said.

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The Australian Prime Minister urged Facebook to lift the news blockade | Instant News


CANBERRA, Australia – The Australian Prime Minister on Friday urged Facebook to lift the blockade of Australian users and return to the negotiating table with news publishing businesses, warning that other countries will follow their government’s example in getting the digital giant to pay for journalism.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Facebook’s move on Thursday to prevent Australians from accessing and sharing news as a threat.

The blockade has raised disputes with the government over whether powerful tech companies should pay news organizations for content.

“The idea of ​​shutting down the kind of site they did yesterday was a kind of threat – I know how Australians are reacting to it and I don’t think it’s a good move on their part,” Morrison told reporters.

“They have to move quickly past that, get back to the table and we will finish it,” he added.

There is public outrage about how Facebook is
FB,
-1.53%

The blockade was imprudent, cutting off access – at least temporarily – to the pandemic, public health and emergency services.

Newspaper headlines included: “No likes for non-social networks”, and “Face lock”.

An article about how fake news will replace credible journalism on the Australian feed carries the headline: “The ‘fake book’ shows that it only matters profit, not people.”

Several non-Australian outlets also appeared affected, with posts disappearing from the UK’s Daily Telegraph and Sky News Facebook pages. The two share names with news outlets in Australia.

The blockade was a response to the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening passing a bill that would see Facebook and Google pay Australian media companies fair compensation for journalism linked by the platform. A law must be passed by the Senate to become law.

Alphabet
GOOGL,
-0.60%

GOOG,
-0.52%

Google has responded promptly to work on content licensing deals with major Australian media companies under its own News Showcase model.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
NWS,
-1.35%

has announced a broad agreement with Google covering operations in the United States and United Kingdom as well as Australia. Australia’s premier media organization, Seven West Media
SWM,
-0.93%

also reached an agreement earlier in the week. Rival Nine Entertainment
NEC,
-0.75%

reportedly approaching the pact itself, and the Australian Broadcasting Corp. state property is negotiating.

Morrison said he discussed Facebook’s dispute with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. Morrison also discussed proposed Australian legislation with the leaders of Britain, Canada and France.

“There is a lot of global interest in what Australia is doing,” Morrison said. “That’s why I invite, as we did with Google, Facebook to engage constructively because they know that what Australia is going to do here is likely to be followed by many other Western jurisdictions.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the minister in charge of the proposed News Media Bargain Code, had a phone conversation with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg after the blockade started on Thursday and again on Friday.

“We discussed their remaining problems & agreed that our respective teams would resolve them soon. We’ll talk again over the weekend, ”tweeted Frydenberg on Friday.

“I affirm that Australia remains committed to implementing the code,” added Frydenberg.

Frydenberg stated that Facebook had been in constructive negotiations with the Australian media regarding a payment agreement immediately before the sudden blockade.

Facebook said on Thursday that the proposed Australian legislation “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and the publishers using it.”

Morrison said his government was “happy to hear them on technical matters” but remained determined to pass the law.

“You can’t help but be friends with Australia because Australia is very friendly,” said Morrison. “We want to remain friends and this is the time they are friends with us again.”

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