Media

FILE PHOTO: The Nintendo booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: The Nintendo booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 13, 2017. REUTERS/ Mike Blake

April 26, 2019

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nintendo Co Ltd’s shares fell as much as 5 percent in early Tokyo trading, a day after the gaming company offered conservative earnings guidance and urged caution on the roll-out of its Switch console in China.

Nintendo’s shares were down 2 percent at 1106 local time (0206 GMT), underperforming the benchmark index which was down 0.8 percent.

The Kyoto-based gaming company said on Thursday it expected to shift 18 million Switch hardware units this financial year, which would give the console a total install base of 53 million units.

Despite this, Nintendo is forecasting a meager 5.4 percent rise in Switch software sales on a year earlier to 125 million units.

That is seen as conservative by many analysts, with the Switch’s games pipeline this year including two full Pokemon titles and the latest in the popular Luigi’s Mansion and Animal Crossing series.

“Whether it would reach its targets became a big theme last year so Nintendo has released figures it can be confident of hitting,” said analyst Hideki Yasuda at Ace Securities.

The guidance creates “a very low bar for the rest of the year,” Jefferies analyst Atul Goyal wrote in a client note.

Nintendo’s stock price is subject to intense scrutiny by analysts, investors and fans, with its up and downs inspiring heated debate on social media. Graphic: Nintendo share price, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2DtXkW3

Even after the sell-off, Nintendo’s share price has risen 29 percent this year.

On Friday, the gaming company also formally announced its partnership with Tencent Holdings Ltd to sell the Switch in China, which some analysts said could break new ground in that country’s underdeveloped console market by tapping fans of Nintendo characters.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Time celebrates its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, in New York
FILE PHOTO: Taylor Swift poses upon arriving for the Time 100 Gala celebrating Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in New York, U.S., April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

April 26, 2019

(Reuters) – Grammy-winning singer Taylor Swift announced the release of her new single “ME!” on ABC television’s broadcast of the National Football League draft in Nashville on Thursday.

Swift, 29, said the song and its music video will be released at midnight on Friday and will feature Brendon Urie, the lead singer of Panic! at the Disco.

“‘ME!’ is a song about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it and owning it,” she said during an interview with ABC host Robin Roberts.

“With a pop song, we have the ability to get a melody stuck in people’s heads and I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves,” she said.

Swift began her career as a country singer in Nashville at age 15 before branching out with pop hits such as “Shake It Off” and “Bad Blood.”

The NFL held the first round of its annual draft on Thursday. The rest of the seven-round draft will be held at the weekend.

Swift had been hinting on social media about a coming announcement and posting photos of flowers, kittens and jewels, all in a pastel palette.

On Thursday afternoon, Swift surprised hundreds of her fans by joining them at the unveiling of a butterfly wing mural in the Gulch area of the city. “ME!” was written in the center of the mural as a hint to her evening announcement.

Her last album was 2017’s revenge-oriented “Reputation,” which included songs such as “Look What You Made Me Do” that took aim at people who had attacked her personally and professionally.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Paul Tait)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo are seen in front of displayed binary digits in this illustration
FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo are seen in front of displayed binary digits in this illustration taken, March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

April 26, 2019

(Reuters) – U.S. social media giant Facebook Inc on Thursday said it has filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal court, against a company and three people in New Zealand, alleging the sale of fake engagement services on its Instagram photo-sharing platform.

Facebook, in a blogpost, said the company and individuals – whom it did not name – used various other companies and websites to sell the services. It said it issued warnings and suspended associated accounts but that they persisted in their activities.

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in BENGALURU; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Source: OANN

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok, Russia in this undated photo released on April 25, 2019 by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS

April 25, 2019

By Joyce Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, during his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said peace and security on the Korean Peninsula will entirely depend on future U.S. attitude, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Friday.

Kim’s remarks are seen as keeping pressure on the United States to be “more flexible” in accepting Pyongyang’s demands to ease sanctions, compared to the U.S. stance during his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February which broke down, as Kim said earlier this month.

Kim said at the time he will wait “until the end of this year” for the United States to become more flexible.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region is now at a standstill and has reached a critical point where it may return to its original state as the U.S. took a unilateral attitude in bad faith at the recent second DPRK-U.S. summit talks,” KCNA reported Kim saying, using North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The DPRK will gird itself for every possible situation.” Kim added.

Kim invited Putin to North Korea at a convenient time and Putin accepted, KCNA said.

The first face-to-face talks between Putin and Kim, held on an island off the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok on Thursday, did not appear to have yielded any major breakthrough.

Russia and North Korea agreed to more closely promote mutual understanding and bonds, and boost strategic collaboration for ensuring regional peace and security, KCNA said.

Putin said afterward he thought a deal on Pyongyang’s nuclear program was possible and that the way to get there was to move forward step by step in order to build trust.

But any U.S. guarantees might need to be supported by the other nations involved in previous six-way talks on the nuclear issue, Putin said, which was seen as a way to use the summit to strengthen Russia’s diplomatic clout as a global player.

Russia and North Korea agreed to take measures to further cooperate in trade, economy, science and technology, KCNA said.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee and Hyonhee Shin in Seoul; Editing by Chris Reese and James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of Facebook logo in this illustration picture
FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of Facebook logo in this illustration picture, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

April 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc is preparing for a record-setting fine from U.S. regulators over privacy issues, but Wall Street shrugged at the looming penalty after the company added users and trounced profit expectations for the first quarter.

It has been just over a year since Facebook’s improper data sharing with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica launched probes on both sides of the Atlantic. That included a U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into whether Facebook violated a 2011 agreement over user privacy.

Some companies pulled their ads off the social network and users tweeted #DeleteFacebook as they shut down their accounts. And investors knocked nearly $70 billion off Facebook’s market value in less than a month as executives admitted costs of fending off outright regulation would spiral.

But Facebook is now worth $40 billion more than it was right before the scandal erupted. Shares surged 6 percent on Thursday, the day after it disclosed a $3 billion litigation accrual in quarterly earnings that otherwise beat estimates.

“With each fresh scandal, commentators and politicians demand vague action and declare the end is nigh,” said Ben Marder, senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

“All this just solidifies Facebook as a shining example of ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Figures show its users are generally happier now, following alterations to the algorithm to give them more ‘meaningful content’.

Facebook’s namesake app logged an 8 percent rise in users from the first quarter last year. The company raised its 2019 expense forecast, but the financial penalty itself prompted few concerns.

There were some worries from analysts about changes the FTC could potentially force as part of a settlement, however, and how new requirements might hurt ad targeting and revenue.

Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg in March said he was open to government oversight of social media, and in a blog post said Facebook’s future is in private messaging. The company is also working on a WhatsApp-based payments system.

Analysts appear to buy into Facebook’s vision, though it has not articulated how it will adapt its ad model. In the meantime, they said advertisers will still be drawn by its massive user base.

“While marketers may say privately that they do worry about Facebook’s problems with fake news, election meddling, privacy and more, they worry more about their own financial health, and Facebook is still a major partner in that regard,” eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson said.

Facebook is also a global and diversified company. Its U.S. users have held relatively steady in recent quarters, but overseas markets fuel growth.

The company has said its Instagram app now has more than a billion users, versus Facebook’s 2.38 billion. There are also an estimated billion people on Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.

One analyst characterized Facebook as a Swiss army knife with ad products that can now meet almost any advertising need. Industry estimates show only 25 percent to 30 percent of global advertising has migrated online

“Along with Google, we expect Facebook to be a primary beneficiary of the about $600 billion global advertising industry’s secular shift from offline to online,” Baird Equity analysts said

FTC REMEDIES?

Of course, regulatory risks remain and more bad headlines could turn off users, analysts said. Facebook has also grappled with scrutiny over how the platform was being used to promote extremism and spread misinformation.

There are also worries revenue from targeted ads could slow.

A settlement with the FTC could include remedies for the company that force it to change its business practices, privacy experts said. The FTC might require Facebook to collect less of the user data that it needs to target advertisements, for example.

David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at the time of the 2011 consent agreement, said Facebook should be required to make sure its users agree to any data collection by third parties.

Having less data could knock two percent off overall revenue since Facebook would know less about its users and advertisers would pay less, Gene Munster of Loup Ventures estimated. Facebook had $55.8 billion in revenue last year

The company has set aside $3 billion to cover a settlement with U.S. regulators and warned that could rise to $5 billion. That would be largest civil penalty ever paid to the FTC.

Facebook generated more than $5 billion in free cash in the quarter and ended with $45 billion in cash. Revenue in the first quarter rose around to $15.1 billion, growing by roughly the size of the accrual.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru and Diane Bartz in Washington)

Source: OANN

President Donald Trump is denying he ever ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump’s comments came in a pair of tweets on Thursday morning.

He wrote:  “As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire (special counsel) Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself. Nevertheless,….

“….Mueller was NOT fired and was respectfully allowed to finish his work on what I, and many others, say was an illegal investigation (there was no crime), headed by a Trump hater who was highly conflicted, and a group of 18 VERY ANGRY Democrats. DRAIN THE SWAMP!”

McGahn had refused to carry out Trump’s order to fire the special counsel “for fear of being seen as triggering another ‘Saturday night massacre,’” according to Mueller’s report.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speak to the media at the State Department in Washington
Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speak to the media at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

April 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department’s inspector general has concluded that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan did not seek preferential treatment of Boeing Co, his former employer, while at the Pentagon, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday.

The decision potentially opens the door for U.S. President Donald Trump to nominate Shanahan to be the next defense secretary.

Officials close to Shanahan have said they believe one of the main reasons he has not been nominated yet was because of the inspector general’s investigation. Trump has had numerous opportunities during the past few months to nominate him but has not yet done so.

Shanahan, 56, who spent more than three decades at Boeing, is the longest serving acting defense secretary ever. He took over at the Pentagon on Jan. 1 after Jim Mattis resigned amid policy differences with Trump.The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the inspector general found no evidence of wrongdoing and could put out the report publicly as early as Thursday.

The inspector general started the investigation in March after a watchdog group filed a complaint alleging Shanahan promoted aerospace firm Boeing in meetings and disparaged competitors.

The investigation was based on a complaint filed by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, which said Shanahan had appeared to violate the ethical rules by “promoting Boeing in the scope of his official duties at the Department of Defense (DOD) and disparaging the company’s competitors to his subordinates.”

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Makini Brice; Editing by Susan Heavey and Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Trump speaks at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia
U.S. President Donald Trump departs after delivering remarks at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

April 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he had never ordered his White House counsel at the time, Donald McGahn, to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as described in the report Mueller wrote about the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

“As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The Democratic chairman of the House judiciary panel has issued a subpoena for McGahn to testify and provide documents to the committee, but it is not clear whether the White House will comply. Trump has vowed to fight every subpoena from House Democrats probing his administration.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

April 25, 2019

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – Dow and S&P futures were pressured by a steep fall in industrial company 3M’s shares on Thursday, while upbeat results from high-flying companies Facebook and Microsoft supported Nasdaq futures.

Investors are assessing earnings reports from some of the biggest U.S. companies this week to see if the strong run-up in market since the start of the year is justified as the main Wall Street indexes hover below all-time highs.

The S&P 500 is trading roughly 0.5% below its intraday record hit in late September, while the Nasdaq hit an intra-day record high on Wednesday but failed to close at those levels.

“As the earnings season gains potency, the missing link to a stronger upward move is low volume, suggesting a cautious attitude by investors,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

3M Co’s shares tumbled 9.1% in premarket trading after the company said it would lay off 2,000 workers globally as it reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its 2019 earnings forecast.

Microsoft Corp gained 5% after the company beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly results and predicted continued growth for its cloud computing business.

After a 23% rally in its shares this year, the software company is set to topple Apple Inc as the most valuable publicly listed U.S. company.

Facebook Inc jumped 8.4% after the social media giant’s quarterly profit blew past Wall Street’s profit estimates and the company set aside $3 billion to cover a settlement with U.S. regulators.

At 7:18 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 104 points, or 0.39%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.25 points, or 0.01% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 17.5 points, or 0.22%.

Among other movers, Lam Research gained 4.8% after the semiconductor equipment maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

Amazon.com Inc, Intel Corp and Ford Motor Co are among the big names set to report results after the bell.

Economic data due at 8:30 a.m. ET is expected to show new orders for U.S. core capital goods rebounded in March, after falling unexpectedly in February.

Separately, a Labor Department report is expected to show the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits rising 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 200,000 for the week ended April 20.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Source: OANN

Huawei logo is pictured during the media day for the Shanghai auto show in Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: A Huawei logo is pictured during the media day for the Shanghai auto show in Shanghai, China April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

April 25, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British culture minister Jeremy Wright said on Thursday he could not rule out a criminal investigation over the “unacceptable” disclosure of confidential discussions on the role of China’s Huawei Technologies in 5G network supply chains.

Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, is under intense scrutiny after the United States told allies not to use its technology because of fears it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying. Huawei has categorically denied this.

Sources told Reuters on Wednesday Britain’s National Security Council (NSC) had decided to bar Huawei from all core parts of the country’s 5G network and restrict its access to non-core parts.

The leak of information from a meeting of the NSC, first reported in national newspapers, has sparked anger in parliament because the committee’s discussion are supposed to be secret.

“We cannot exclude the possibility of a criminal investigation here,” Wright said, speaking in response to an urgent question on Huawei in parliament.

“I do not think that the motivation for this leak matters in the slightest. This was unacceptable and it is corrosive to the ability to deliver good government.”

Wright said that such leaks endangered the ability of the committee, made up of senior ministers and which hears regularly from intelligence agency bosses, to get unequivocal and frank security advice from experts.

“Decisions will get less and less properly-based if we can’t trust people to keep private what should be kept private,” he said.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May, who chairs the NSC, declined to comment upon leaks or questions on leak enquiries, but said: “The prime minister is clear that the protection of information on matters of national security is of the highest importance.”

Wright said that he would report to parliament the conclusions of a government review of the 5G supply chain once they had been taken.

(Reporting by William James, Elizabeth Piper and Kylie MacLellan. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)

Source: OANN


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