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Tech, Media & Telecom Roundup: Market Talk

10 Oct 2017 8:20 am

The latest Market Talks covering Technology, Media and Telecom. Published exclusively on Dow Jones Newswires at 4:20 ET, 12:20 ET and 16:50 ET.

0809 GMT - Facebook is losing its second India head in a year. Umang Bedi, managing director for India and South Asia, is departing the company at the end of 2017, Facebook says. Bedi joined the firm last year, following the relocation to a new Facebook role in the US of Kirthiga Reddy, who departed the post after India's government banned Facebook's controversial free Wi-Fi project in the country amid a public backlash. India is a key market for Facebook because it is home to more than 200 million users, second only to the US, and holds significant potential for future growth as hundreds of millions of people get online for the first time via inexpensive smartphones. (newley.purnell@wsj.com; @Newley)

0733 GMT - Use debt and cash from the operating company to finance the acquisition of Multimedia Polska and you will be downgraded. That could be what Moody's is trying to tell UPC Holding as it cuts its outlook on the Liberty Global subsidiary's Ba3 rating to negative from stable, according to UniCredit analyst Jonathan Schroer.Moody's cites the "weaker operating momentum" in Switzerland, but UniCredit is "a bit surprised" as weaker trends in Switzerland have been evident for a while. (tasos.vossos@wsj.com; @tasosvos)

0733 GMT - Shares in French business jet maker Dassault Aviation and engine provider Safran are lower Tuesday over new concerns about the development plans for the Falcon 5X plane. Dassault boss Eric Trappier Monday revealed that Safran has flagged new problems with the Silvercrest engine. Earlier concerns already forced Dassault to delay plans to introduce the Falcon 5X. Mr. Trappier says "we haven't yet analyzed all the consequences, but we already know that the 5X entry into service, which had been rescheduled in 2020 in accordance with the latest engine development plan, will have to be postponed again." Dassault is 0.2% lower. Safran shares down 0.8%. (robert.wall@wsj.com; @r_wall)

0349 GMT - JD's new e-commerce platform in China to sell luxury goods comes 2 months after rival Alibaba's such effort. China's is the world's largest market for luxury products, and the online firms are investing heavily to grow their luxury and fashion business. In June, JD made a $400 million investment in a UK high-end products website. The competition matters as Chinese consumers, now wealthier and more discerning, are starting to buy more luxury and fashion online. JD has also tried to throw in a "white glove" service, which has men in tuxedos delivering luxury-goods parcels. Still, there is some way to go as luxury is tough to sell online because of counterfeit fears and the need by producers to maintain a brand image. (liza.lin@wsj.com)

0112 GMT - Samsung Electronics surges 4.3% to 2.67 million won, as trading resumes in South Korea after a break of over a week, and as investors rush to buy the stock ahead of the company's 3Q numbers due on Friday. Despite a likely earnings decline for its display and mobile business, strong pricing for its memory chips is expected to help the firm report another stellar quarter for the company, said Daiwa analyst SK Kim. On Monday, he raised the 12-month target price on the company to 3.5 million won from 3.2 million won, maintaining a buy rating. "Solid earnings momentum will likely continue in 2018," said Kim. Meanwhile, the Kospi is up 1.7%, driven by Samsung's strength. (kenan.machado@wsj.com)

0042 GMT - Twitter is working on a feature to let users flag posts they want to read later, several of the company's employees say in tweets. Using the hashtag SaveForLater, one shared a GIF of a prototype. The development itself isn't huge--many Twitter users have other ways of marking content they want to read later with stars or sending it to themselves in direct messages--but the feature hints at changes to the way Twitter's product team is operating. The company has been slow to roll out even incremental changes to its product; now the pace of change appears to be accelerating. Less than 2 weeks ago, Twitter said it was experimenting with doubling the length of tweets. (georgia.wells@wsj.com; @georgia_wells)

2326 GMT - Qualcomm has taken new steps to win the European Commission's approval of its proposed acquisition of NXP Semiconductors. The chipmaker last week filed unspecified "commitments," according to the commission's website. The European authority has expressed worries that the combined company might unfairly block rivals in chips for cellular and near-field communications. It twice has suspended its investigation into the $39 billion buyout, saying it would resume when Qualcomm complied with requests. The firm expects the deal, which would be the industry's largest-ever, to close by year's end. (ted.greenwald@wsj.com)

2016 GMT - Despite the myth that men are better investors, stock-picking app Robinhood says the average female investor more than doubles the returns of her male counterpart by 1.6x annually. Women have been outperforming men on the platform of two million users for the last three years in a row. (The app doesn't break out the number of female users but says the data set is statistically significant.) Women's "buy and hold" investment strategy works to their benefit. Men tend to be overconfident seeking quick gains and trade 44% more often than women, Robinhood says. It's not all good news for women though. They tend to start investing later in life; the average female investor on Robinhood is 31, and the average male investor is 29. (Veronica.Dagher@wsj.com; @VeronicaDagher)

1718 GMT - United Technologies poached Judy Marks from Siemens to run its Otis elevator division after its prior leader unexpectedly left in July. Marks has been CEO of Siemens USA and its Dresser-Rand unit. The Otis division has struggled in Europe and China in recent years, but United Technologies' deal to buy Rockwell Collins has opened the door to potentially splitting the company in coming years. (thomas.gryta@wsj.com; @tgryta)

1407 GMT - TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC is facing risks to its broadband business, prompting Citigroup to cut the U.K. company to sell from neutral. The brokerage notes that shares in TalkTalk have rallied since early August on factors including a proposal by anti-trust body Ofcom to regulate BT's 40 megabyte-per-second broadband, possibly allowing rivals to use it. Still, Citi says TalkTalk can no longer count on benefiting from the Ofcom plan since BT launched a legal challenge. "It [TalkTalk] faces risks in a transition to full fibre due to its relative lack of balance-sheet flexibility," Citi adds. Shares in TalkTalk fall 0.4% to 214 pence. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

1333 GMT - Citigroup downgrades BT Group PLC to neutral from buy, saying its shares are now fairly valued as competition in fibre broadband increases. BT is set to lose 1.5 million wholesale broadband customers, or 13% of the total, in the five years from March 2018 as rivals using BT infrastructure "reach wider and more effectively" than the brokerage had forecast, Citi says. "Our estimate changes leave BT looking reasonably valued compared to peers rather than inexpensive and it looks to us like the market's pricing-in of capital expenditure risk has gone far enough already," the brokerage adds. Citi also cuts its target price to 310p from 360p. Shares fall 1% to 280 pence. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

1318 GMT - Hulu says it's adding esports content to its streaming-video service through a partnership with videogame-competition organizer ESL. The content will span news, industry trends, ESL tournaments and more. Esports is a fast-growing area of entertainment especially popular among young, digitally-savvy men and women. This year, about 191M people world-wide are expected to watch an esports contest at least once a month, according to research firm Newzoo. "We know our viewers, especially those watching Hulu on consoles, are hungry for this type of content," says Lisa Holme, vice president of content acquisition at Hulu, in a prepared statement. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. (sarah.needleman@wsj.com; @saraheneedleman)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 10, 2017 04:20 ET (08:20 GMT)

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