Do you have plans to go to another country? Get ready to dig your claws into the sludge that sits at the bottom of the piggy bank. The price of international airfare has more than doubled as a result of soaring demand and falling capacity, both of which have enabled airlines to hike prices in order to offset rising fuel expenses.
According to Graham Turner, the chief executive of Flight Centre, even in the face of a raging new wave in the COVID-19 pandemic, rising interest rates, and fears of recession, consumers traveling in business class are shelling out more than $18,000 to get to Europe and the United States while those in the economy are paying fares of around $5,000. This information comes despite the fact that there are concerns about a recession.
(And for those travelers sitting on large reward point balances, redemptions for airline seats, particularly in business or first class, are nearly impossible to come by and highly expensive. Customers have complained that journeys to Europe can cost as much as 1.5 million loyalty points.)
And it isn’t just the business market, which was the first to experience a recovery in demand, that is coming back to life; the consumer market as a whole is as well. The first group of people who traveled abroad to see relatives has given way to a larger population of people who take their vacations abroad on a more consistent basis as the international leisure market has started to take off.
The revenue forecast at Flight Centre was raised on Monday as a result of a demand surge that was significantly stronger than anticipated. The travel agency reported that it has been profitable after accounting for interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization for the six months leading up to June 2022, thereby reversing a previous loss.
Although the company anticipates that it will still post a loss for the entire year of 2022, the amount is less than what was originally anticipated by the business.
Flight Centre’s total transactional revenue increased to $10 billion for the 2022 financial year (from $3.95 billion in 2021), thanks to the higher airfares, but in order for it to return to its pre-COVID levels, airlines will need to boost their capacity.
The more optimistic projections are similar to those made by Qantas, which has recently confirmed that its underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation for the second half of the 2022 fiscal year will range from $450 million to $550 million. This is the case despite the fact that the company will have paid down $1.5 billion in debt during that time period.
During the entirety of the 2023 fiscal year, it is anticipated that both Flight Centre and Qantas will make an underlying profit.
The good news is that there are already indicators that the price of fuel has partially retreated from highs of close to $US130 a barrel to around $US94. This is good news because it indicates that the price of fuel is beginning to stabilize. The bad news is that Australian airlines are once again being affected by employee shortages, which is creating yet another bottleneck that prevents capacity from being increased.
Having said that, Turner is negotiating on capacity returning to more typical levels by the time Christmas rolls around, and he hopes that the rates will fall along with it.
Although the share prices of Qantas and Flight Centre responded significantly to Flight Centre’s latest earnings upgrade by going up by 2% and 5% respectively, this industry has been threatening excellent news for quite some time.
In recent broker updates on Qantas, there is evidence of analysts warning of upside earnings risk despite the multitude of operational problems, employee shortages, and customer complaints. This is despite the fact that Qantas has been facing all of these issues simultaneously.
UBS stated in a report that it sent out to investors the previous week that “On the balance of probabilities, we think the potential upside for QAN considerably surpasses the negative.”
It was stated that Qantas would be vulnerable to the economic downturn, but it was felt that the company was more resilient than it had been in the past due to the fact that it had lower fixed costs and the ability to adjust its capacity according to demand. It set a price objective for the next 12 months at $6.55, which is 42 percent higher than where it is presently trading.
Macquarie included Qantas on its list of stocks that it expected would come in with earnings that were higher than the consensus expectation.
The fact that there have been no closures of international or domestic borders is an important qualification for all of this recovery. In the event that this scenario plays out, businesses in the aviation industry will face a precipitous decline in their earnings.
However, there is no enthusiasm for restricting air travel in Australia because local governments are unwilling to even impose mask use.
And according to Turner, there is no evidence that the new COVID wave that has struck our shores has caused a slowdown in bookings. This is what the company says. Instead, he thinks that susceptible travelers have avoided the market, while those who are ready to take the risk have not been discouraged by the mountain of new COVID cases.
China State-Owned Giants May Delist From US Exchanges
Five of China’s largest state-owned corporations want to delist from US exchanges as the two countries struggle to agree on auditing Chinese businesses.
China Life Insurance Co., PetroChina Co., and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. announced their delisting intentions Friday, together with Aluminum Corp. of China and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co.
The US and China have been at conflict for 20 years over American inspectors’ access to Chinese company audit work files. Negotiators haven’t reached a deal despite a 2024 deadline to shut down noncompliant enterprises. Mainland China and Hong Kong are the only two jurisdictions that don’t allow PCAOB inspections, citing security and confidentiality concerns.
As US and Chinese officials struggle to achieve a settlement, speculation mounts that sensitive Chinese companies could leave US markets willingly.
“These state-owned firms are in vital areas and may have access to information foreign regulators don’t,” said Saxo Markets strategist Redmond Wong.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission said the delisting plans were business-related.
Bloomberg Intelligence projected in May that 300 Chinese and Hong Kong companies worth $2.4 trillion risk being removed off US exchanges as the SEC raises scrutiny. China Life, PetroChina, China Petroleum & Chemical, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and Baidu Inc.
Uncertain if delisting will improve discussions on audit inspections, a US regulatory requirement aimed to safeguard investors from accounting frauds and other financial wrongdoing. The 2024 deadline comes from a popular 2020 bill, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act.
PCAOB Chair Erica Williams said a voluntarily delisting may not stop the board from reviewing audit work papers. The PCAOB’s jurisdiction to investigate was retrospective, so the watchdog could still require work files from departing corporations, Williams noted.
If a corporation or issuer delists this year, it doesn’t matter to Williams because he wants to know if they committed fraud last year.
Alibaba joined a growing list of corporations that could be booted off American exchanges on July 29.
Alibaba stated in July it was seeking a Hong Kong main listing, joining Bilibili and Zai Lab. The switch might help corporations attract more Chinese investors and provide a model for US-listed Chinese enterprises facing delisting.
Alibaba stated in August it would aim to keep its NYSE and HKE listings.
Alibaba, Pinduoduo, JD.com, China Life, and Sinopec sank 3% in US pre-market trade. PetroChina lost 1% and Kraneshares CSI China Internet Fund ETF sank 1.8%.
China considers eight companies listed on major US exchanges to be “national-level Chinese state-owned enterprises,” according to a congressional investigation. China Southern Airlines Co., Huaneng Power International Inc., Aluminum Corp. of China, China Eastern Airlines Corp., and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical.
Delistings will have little impact on the companies because their New York shares are thinly traded, but they highlight rising US-China tensions, said Bloomberg Intelligence strategist Marvin Chen.
Relations between the superpowers have been tight following Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan provoked Chinese military drills near the island.
Congress may speed up the delisting deadline to 2023, adding pressure for the two parties to achieve a compromise.
The PCAOB chair declined to set a deadline for reaching a deal with Chinese officials, but said it must be soon.
China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom Corp., and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. were delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in January 2018 after President Trump banned investment in Chinese enterprises with military ties. Huaneng Power International plans to delist owing to poor volume and administrative complexity and costs.
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Tesla Stock Rises As Elon Musk Sells $6.9 Billion Worth of Shares
“It is crucial to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk wrote, “in the event that Twitter compels this deal to close, which is hopefully improbable, and certain equity partners don’t come through.”
The announcement that Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk had sold approximately $7 billion worth of stock in order to set aside cash for his contentious purchase of Twitter caused the company’s shares to rise on Wednesday (TWTR).
According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk sold 7.92 million shares between August 5 and August 9, resulting in a profit of around $6.9 billion. After sales of approximately 8.5 billion in early April, he still controls approximately 155 million shares of the clean energy carmaker, which accounts for 15% of the company.
Musk claimed that he wanted to avoid a “emergency sale” of Tesla stock in the event that “Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through” on the $44 billion transaction. He took advantage of a 47% rally in Tesla shares between late May and August 5, when the first sale was made, in order to accomplish this goal.
He also stated that he would repurchase the stock in the event that the Twitter deal, which is scheduled to be heard by a judge from the Delaware court system in the middle of October, is finally unsuccessful.
During the late morning session of trading on Wednesday, Tesla shares were marked 2% higher to reach a price of $868.20 a share. In the meantime, Twitter shares increased by 3.4% to $44.30 per share.
Since the beginning of July, Musk has been in a public dispute with Twitter regarding the number of accounts on the social media platform that are referred to as “fake” or “bots.” Musk believes that these accounts constitute a material change to the terms of the merger that he agreed to in the spring.
Twitter, for its part, is suing Musk to force him to purchase the group for $44 billion, or $54.20 per share. In court papers published last week, Twitter argued that the idea of a “billionaire founder of multiple companies, advised by Wall Street bankers and lawyers” being “hoodwinked into signing a $44 billion merger agreement” is “as implausible and contrary to fact as it sounds.” Twitter is suing Musk to force him to purchase the group for $44 billion.
Twitter was forced to manage a slowdown in worldwide ad spending and the uncertainty tied to Musk’s disputed takeover, which resulted in the company posting an unexpected loss for the second quarter late last month.
The company stated that this was due to “headwinds in the advertising industry associated with the macroenvironment as well as uncertainty related to the pending acquisition of Twitter by an affiliate of Elon Musk.” Group revenues decreased by 1% to $1.14 billion, again falling short of the Street forecast of a $1.315 billion tally. Twitter said that this was because of “uncertainty related to the pending acquisition of Twitter by an affiliate of Elon Musk.”
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New Tax Credit Affects Top-Selling EVs
In a win for Democrats, the Inflation Reduction Act passed the Senate and will likely pass the House. If all goes as planned, President Biden might sign the bill in two weeks.
For the auto sector, the proposal expands the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs by removing the 200,000-vehicle cap.
While it sounds excellent for automakers, new requirements mean 70% of EVs and PHEVs won’t qualify for the credit.
72 EV models are currently available in the U.S., including battery, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles, says John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group that includes GM, Toyota, and Ford. 70% of EVs would be disqualified when the measure passes, and none would qualify for the entire credit when further sourcing restrictions take effect. Zero.”
These changes will make EV tax incentives more restrictive:
North America must finish assembly.
Car MSRP must be below $55,000, and trucks and SUVs below $80,000.
The U.S. or free-trade partners must supply battery materials by 2024.
In less than two years, the last battery sourcing component will mean no EVs qualify for the credit, says Bozzella. The plan imposes consumer income criteria that will make many high-earning Americans and joint filers ineligible for tax advantages.
The Automotive Alliance for Innovation lists all zero-emission EVs and PHEVs on sale in America, as well as EV and battery producers.
Yahoo Finance has verified how the top 5 EVs and PHEVs in America will fare under the new guidelines.
Models 3 and Y
Following enactment, both U.S.-made Model 3 cars and Model Y SUVs, the best selling EVs in America, would qualify for the tax credit, a benefit for Tesla given the credit is currently being phased out. Registration data is used as a proxy for Tesla Model 3 and Model Y sales.
Only the $46,990 Model 3 RWD qualifies. Assuming the Model Y is an SUV, both versions qualify (Long Range – $65,990; Performance – $69,990).
Ford Mustang Mach-E finished second in EV/PHEV sales last quarter with 10,941 units. The $43,895 base Mach-E might qualify as a vehicle or SUV, and because it’s produced in Mexico, it would qualify for the tax credit.
Last quarter, 10,861 Wrangler 4xE plug-in hybrids were sold. With a starting MSRP of $54,595, it would qualify for the tax credit because it’s built at Jeep’s Toledo, Ohio plant.
Kia EV6 and Hyundai IONIQ5
The all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5 sold 7,448 units in the second quarter, and Kia’s EV6 EV sold 7,287. The IONIQ 5 and Kia EV 6 are constructed in South Korea, so they don’t qualify for the tax credit. This is a hit for Hyundai as the IONIQ 5 and EV6 have been hailed by reviewers and start at $39,950 and $33,900 respectively. The affordable MSRPs may still make both feasible options for many Americans despite loss of the credit.
GM’s Bolt EV and Bolt EUV sold 6,945 units last quarter. With a starting price of $25,600, it’s the cheapest pure electric vehicle on the market, and final assembly will take place at GM’s Orion factory in Michigan.
Audi e-tron, Polestar 2
Popular cars including the Audi e-tron, Lucid Air, Polestar 2 sedan, and Porsche Taycan that currently qualify for the federal tax credit will not if the bill is enacted into law.
Manufacturers may no longer need incentives, so all is not lost.
Sam Fiorani, Vice President of Global Vehicle Forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, told Yahoo Finance, “By the time vehicle makers can take full credit for the legislation, the market will be ready to accept electric vehicles and the incentives will no longer be necessary.” Without incentives, the buyer’s pricing won’t alter much. These incentives boost prices and boost manufacturing profits.
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