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UP Fintech Holding Limited
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DXC Technology Company
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ANGI Homeservices Inc.
Chesapeake Energy Corporation
The Chemours Company
CommScope Holding Company, Inc.
(Bloomberg) -- The millions of Californians who were plunged into darkness during an unprecedented blackout last week shouldn’t expect a check in the mail from bankrupt utility giant PG&E Corp. anytime soon. When asked by a state regulator on Friday whether the utility plans to pay back customers for the costs of the outage, PG&E utility chief Andrew Vesey said the company hasn’t “committed to making those reimbursements.” It’s not “our intention to undertake a reimbursement,” he said at a meeting in San Francisco.California Governor Gavin Newsom had called on PG&E to refund residential customers affected $100 each and businesses $250 for the shutoff. Vesey said the company would be open to talking with regulators about the idea at a later date.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The chief of California utility giant PG&E Corp. has a suggestion for those state officials attacking the company over an unprecedented blackout it orchestrated last week to prevent wildfires: Why don’t you try making the call next time?Bill Johnson, chief executive officer of the embattled power company, posed the idea in a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday -- just before attending a meeting in San Francisco where he was blasted by state regulators. In his letter, Johnson said perhaps the state’s utility commission or its fire agency should make future decisions on whether to turn off the lights. Currently, that responsibility lies with three PG&E vice presidents.Johnson noted that PG&E’s analysis of the event went unchallenged at an inter-agency meeting ahead of the blackout, which plunged more than 2 million people into darkness. “There was consensus,” he said. And the company said it doesn’t intend to reimburse affected customers as Newsom had proposed that it do earlier this week.At the meeting on Friday, California’s utility regulator wasn’t buying Johnson’s idea. The company’s shutoff has drawn outrage from residents and state officials who say the blackout was more extensive than necessary and wasn’t properly communicated. Banks, offices, restaurants, pharmacies, grocery stores and others were forced shut. Traffic lights went down. Government agencies hauled out costly backup generators to keep critical operations running. In all, the economic impact may have topped $2.6 billion.“I can tell you, you guys failed on so many levels on pretty simple stuff,” California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer said at the meeting. “This isn’t hard.”‘Digging Deep’Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma described Johnson’s idea of leaving future decisions in the state’s hands as “looking to give somebody else the responsibility versus digging down deep and looking at what meaningful changes need to be made.”Johnson insisted that he wasn’t trying to evade responsibility but to bolster the public’s confidence in decisions made. “There is commentary out there that we can’t be trusted,” he said. “If the decision authority goes somewhere else, we would still do all the analysis.”Others have raised the idea since the blackout. When asked about a state-level decision last week, Newsom himself would only call it an “interesting question” and “one we’ve asked ourselves on multiple occasions.”Two consecutive years of deadly wildfires sparked by PG&E’s power lines during high winds drove the company into bankruptcy in January, facing $30 billion in liabilities. Johnson told the commission on Friday that cutting power last week may have helped prevent another disastrous blaze. After the winds subsided, PG&E found more than 100 instances of damaged equipment.Poor Execution“We didn’t have any catastrophic fires in northern and central California, and that was the sole purpose of the shutoff,” Johnson told the commission Friday.He conceded however that the blackout wasn’t executed as well as it could’ve been. Local governments said they received conflicting information from PG&E representatives. A group of county and city officials compared the experience in a filing to “battling the Hydra” and said their liaisons were forced to sit “alone in a conference room” separated from the company’s emergency operations center by three security gates.PG&E executives including Johnson acknowledged that they need to improve their communication and coordination with agencies -- because last week’s blackout won’t be the last. Johnson told commissioners that it will probably take ten years for PG&E to shore up its grid enough so that shutoffs can be “ratcheted down significantly.”To contact the reporters on this story: David R. Baker in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mark Chediak in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
EIA inventory data showed a buildup of 104 Bcf (billion cubic feet) in natural gas inventories. The EIA reported the natural gas inventory on October 17.
The vaping crisis has brought on some twists and turns for the cannabis sector. New York courts are now weighing an e-cigarette ban.
Here we discuss three medical product stocks that are due to report soon and are likely to beat estimates on earnings, riding on a host of factors.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Imagine you’re the chief executive officer of a large pharmaceutical corporation with an important drug that’s under attack. More than 2,500 lawsuits have been filed against your company. The plaintiffs aren’t individuals, though, they’re governments — counties, cities and states. And some of the biggest names in the plaintiffs’ bar have agreed to represent these entities, lawyers like Joe Rice, whose firm was said to have earned $1 billion for helping to bring the tobacco companies to heel in the 1990s.You know you’ve got some incriminating-sounding documents in your corporate files — what company doesn’t? — but you also know that the Food and Drug Administration approved your drug. Patients crushed it and snorted it — something that was never intended. And you’re convinced that the plaintiffs are pushing the envelope with the public nuisance laws they are relying on to bring these cases. Yes, your company will probably lose at trial, but you think you have a good chance to win on appeal.Then you look at the army arrayed against you, and it hits you: You’re never going to be able to litigate your way out of this. It’s not just that there are 2,500 lawsuits or that they are being brought by governments. It is what that represents. Government exists to serve the interests of the people, and the people are saying that your company participated in something that inflicted tremendous damage on the country. Hundreds of thousands of people have died. And your company needs to be punished.At this point, you pick up the phone, call your opponents and say, “How much do we need to pay to settle this?”I am obviously not privy to the thinking of the CEOs of the various companies facing opioid lawsuits. But given the news of the last few days, I imagine that their thought process was not too far from what I just described. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that three of the distributors being sued — McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Corp. — have offered to pay $18 billion over 18 years to settle their cases. This news leaked less than a week before the start of a big opioid trial in Cleveland, in which the three companies are among the defendants.The next day, Bloomberg News reported that Johnson & Johnson was offering $4 billion to end the litigation, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Inc. was proposing to give away $15 billion worth of generic drugs to be freed of the lawsuits. On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the five companies and the states had agreed on the outlines of a settlement that would cost the companies $50 billion.And of course, Purdue Pharma Inc. had already waved the white flag, with a bankruptcy filing last month intended to end the lawsuits by essentially turning the company’s assets over to a trust that would be controlled by the plaintiffs.It is too early to know whether any of these settlement offers will stick. Although the federal judge presiding over the Cleveland trial, Dan Aaron Polster, has asked the CEOs of the three distributors plus Teva to appear Friday to discuss the settlement talks, I’m told that the trial is still likely to begin on Monday, as scheduled.Any settlement will also need approval from the cities and counties that have filed suits. They are deeply suspicious of any deal the states might cut because they remember the outcome of the tobacco litigation. In 1998, the tobacco companies agreed to pay $246 billion over 25 years to the states, but little of that money trickled down to cities and counties. Indeed, a minuscule amount went to anti-tobacco efforts; most of the money is now used to fill state budget gaps.Still, whether it happens next week or next year, the opioid litigation will almost surely end with the companies being sued spending billions to settle it. The stock market practically demands it: Share prices of all the companies that have made settlement offers in recent days have jumped. And continuing litigation drains and distracts a company.Here’s the problem, though. Whenever plaintiffs’ lawyers argue that companies have done bad things and need to pay up, they justify the demand for money by saying it will be used to solve the problem. But will it? In this case, I have my doubts.In an opioid case in Oklahoma a few months ago, a judge ruled that Johnson & Johnson should pay $572 million (later reduced by $107 million), which he calculated would cover opioid abatement services in Oklahoma for just one year. So point one: Ending the crisis will require more money than even Big Pharma can provide.Second, just throwing money at the problem is not going to solve it. States and cities will most likely take different approaches. Some will be better than others. But there is no clear plan coming from the federal government — or anywhere else — about what steps are needed to end the crisis. Until there is, more money is likely to be wasted than not.Third, chances are good that the settlement money will be used for things that have nothing to do with opioids. Again, tobacco in instructive: Settlement money was supposed to be earmarked for tobacco control programs, but in most states the politicians couldn’t resist grabbing it for other purposes.Earlier this summer, during a court hearing, Judge Polster said that “developing solutions to combat a social crisis such as the opioid epidemic should not be the task of our judicial branch.” It was the job, he said, of the executive and legislative branches.He’s right. But that’s just not the American way. In the U.S., when there is a problem with a product, our first instinct is to sue the corporation that made it. When the litigation is settled, money is transferred from shareholders to plaintiffs (and their lawyers). It may be a satisfying resolution, but it rarely solves the problem. To reference tobacco one more time, two decades after the tobacco settlement, 480,000 Americans still die from smoking each year.I suspect the same will be true of the opioid crisis. The companies will settle, the lawyers will pocket millions and the states will get the rest. And the crisis will continue.I’ve said it before, and I’ll no doubt say it again: There’s got to be a better way.To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Cannabis 2.0 era has officially started. Now, Canadians can legally access a host of cannabis-infused products like beverages, vapes, and edibles.
Despite vaping concerns, Aurora Cannabis plans to introduce vape products in December. Reports of vaping-related illnesses started in late August.
(Bloomberg) -- Mother Nature has given a bit of a break to California during the 2019 wildfire season, but firefighters say the threat remains in force.Only about 163,000 acres have burned this year, a fraction of the 632,000 or so scorched in the same period last year. A wet, snowy winter led to a widespread greening in the spring, signaling there would be plenty of tinder around after a hot, dry summer. But the landscape stayed relatively moist after clouds moored above the Sierra Nevadas in May slowed the snow melt.With weather as an ally, firefighters were able to spend more time finding and containing hot spots before they spread. Meanwhile, PG&E Corp. has suggested its blackout of 2 million people this month may also have helped. After the cutoffs, the company said it found more than 100 instances of wind-driven equipment damage that could have caused fires.“How we warm up and how we dry out are pretty important on how we set up the fire regime for the rest of the year,” said Mike Anderson, a state climatologist in Sacramento. “This year our heat didn’t show up until August. We actually caught a break.”Two years of wildfires helped push PG&E, the state’s biggest utility owner, into bankruptcy after its equipment was identified as the cause of raging blazes that included the Camp Fire in November 2018 that killed 86 people and destroyed an entire town. This month, the company responded by cutting power to residents across northern and central California to make sure its equipment didn’t cause harm once again.While that move has faced fierce criticism, PG&E crews inspecting more than 27,500 miles (44,257 kilometers) of power lines after the blackout found wind damage that included trees tangled with power lines and utility poles knocked to the ground, according to spokesman Jeff Smith.“Had we not shut off power, this type of damage could have sparked a fire,” PG&E Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in an opinion story in Thursday’s San Francisco Chronicle. “In fact, vegetation contacting lines was the very cause of a number of fires in the North Bay two years ago.”Still, the consensus among forecasters and firefighters is that neither the state nor its utilities are out of the danger zone yet.The wildfire season runs into winter, when about 90% of the state’s rain and snow descends. In the meantime, while the state’s bone-dry season was delayed, it wasn’t eliminated. Very low humidity levels combined with high winds rolling down mountain sides -- the “Santa Ana” winds in Southern California, and the “Diablos” in the north -- remain a threat for wildfires ahead.Late season blazes can be very dangerous. In December 2017, for instance, the Thomas fire covered 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, destroying more than 1,000 structures.“Everyone who is commenting on this year is doing so with their fingers crossed,” said Keith Gilless, dean emeritus of the U.C. Berkeley College of Natural Resources, in a telephone interview.The concern now is focused on as many as 147 million dead trees still standing in California’s forests that were killed by a six-year drought earlier in the decade and a subsequent infestation of bark beetles, said Scott McLean, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection, commonly called Cal Fire.California this year had 400 extra seasonal firefighters to help tamp down spot fires and implement prescribed burns to limit the amount of tinder in key areas, according to McLean. “It’s hard to say what the rest of this year is going to bring,” he added. “We probably should see more fire activity into November at some point.”To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at email@example.com;David R. Baker in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at email@example.com, Reg Gale, Steven FrankFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Since an unprecedented blackout plunged millions of Californians into darkness last week, residents and state officials have questioned how utility giant PG&E Corp. came to the decision to cut the lights.Now they have some answers.In a report filed with California utility regulators on Thursday, the San Francisco-based company said three vice presidents are responsible for deciding whether the power goes out to keep electrical lines from igniting blazes: Michael Lewis, senior vice president of electric operations; Sumeet Singh, vice president of asset and risk management; and Ahmad Ababneh, vice president of electric operations on major projects and programs. Two more vice presidents will join the bunch in 2020.PG&E said the utility has already provided the factors these officials take into account in deciding. In a September 2018 document, the company said it uses national fire danger ratings, National Weather Service warnings, humidity levels, temperature, terrain and local climate to weigh shutoffs. The utility said at the time that it expected to cut service once or twice a year. So far in 2019, it has shut power at least thrice.PG&E has been taking more extreme measures to keep its lines from sparking blazes since a series of catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 saddled the company with an estimated $30 billion in liabilities and forced it into bankruptcy. Last week’s blackout -- the largest one the utility has ever orchestrated -- has drawn outrage from politicians who said the outage was too extensive and that the company did a poor job of communicating it to customers.“There are crucial lessons to learn from this event, and we are committed to learning and doing a better job across the board,” PG&E Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in a letter accompanying the report.PG&E also said in the filing that the company’s board of directors doesn’t directly influence shutoff decisions. But it noted that a board committee oversees the company’s wildfire safety plan -- which includes shutoffs.\--With assistance from Mark Chediak.To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at email@example.com, Aaron ClarkFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
On October 17, the EIA released its inventory data. US crude oil inventories rose by 9.3 MMbbls—far above the Reuters poll for a rise of 2.88 MMbbls.
American Eagle (AEO) keeps up with the tradition of hiring seasonal employees for the holiday season with plans to recruit nearly 10,000 part-time associates this year.
Teva, the world's largest generic drugmaker, is recalling all unexpired stock of Ranitidine Effervescent Tablets in 150 micrograms and 300 micrograms dosages, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ranitidine-mhra-drug-alert-issued-for-teva-uk-recall.
The order by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland, Ohio, came as distributors McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health Inc, AmerisourceBergen Corp and Israel-based drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd moved to reach a deal ahead of a trial before Polster that begins on Monday. All of those companies except J&J are set to be defendants in the trial before Polster, who oversees the bulk of the litigation.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Ten to 15 years ago, pundits liked to speculate that California was on the verge of becoming a failed state. In the early years of the new century the state suffered widespread blackouts thanks to a botched deregulation of its electricity market. Meanwhile, with long-standing ballot initiatives requiring a legislative supermajority to pass tax increases, and education expenses ballooning, the state’s budget seemed permanently mired in the red. Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor at the time, managed to cobble together a deal to limit deficits, but the Great Recession sent them soaring again. The collapse of the housing bubble hit California hard, pushing unemployment above 12%. Some commentators suggested that California’s governance model, heavy on regulation and subject to the whims of ballot initiatives, could lose out to the more laissez-faire systems of states like Texas.California battled back. Under Schwarzenegger's successor, Jerry Brown, the state raised taxes on residents making more than $250,000, and bumped up the sales tax a bit. The new taxes on California’s high earners, along with the recovery in the housing and stock markets and a new technology boom, helped push the state’s budget back into the black:But California’s victory over dysfunction may be short-lived. Earlier this month, California utility PG&E Corp. intentionally cut power to millions of residents, costing the state economy billions of dollars. The planned blackout was meant to keep power lines from sparking wildfires, which have raged across California with increasing fury in recent years:The monetary losses from these fires are staggering — some estimates put them at $400 billion in 2018, or almost a seventh of the state’s gross domestic product. This includes health costs, lost property, lost jobs, decreased asset values and migration out of the state. Meanwhile, PG&E executives say that the intermittent blackouts will continue, meaning that much of the state may no longer have reliable year-round electricity. That will doubtless exert a further chilling effect on investment and property values.Fires aren’t California’s only problem. Thanks in large part to spiraling urban rents, the homeless population increased by 5.3% from 2010 to 2018, in a state that already has almost half of the nation’s homeless. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, the crisis is especially acute, with destitute people and pitiful tent encampments crowding the sidewalks. Government pension costs are rising much faster in California than in the rest of the nation, forcing cost-saving measures that are degrading the state’s education system.These forces are driving Californians to move out of the state in increasing numbers. Population growth is trickling off, and may soon go negative:Even the wealthy are moving away. A recent paper by economists Joshua Rauh and Ryan Shyu found that out-migration of top-bracket taxpayers accelerated after the income tax hike of 2012. That’s bound to put even more pressure on state finances that rely so heavily on contributions from the top 1%. Just how much of that exodus is due to the tax hikes rather than to other factors is unclear, but Rauh and Shyu argue that tax avoidance plays a significant role.So despite its heroic efforts and an unprecedented degree of political unity — Democrats now have a supermajority in the state legislature and the governor's office — California risks falling back onto the dysfunctional path that it seemed to be on in the early 2000s.Much of this is for reasons beyond the state’s control. Climate change is exacerbating drought and wildfires. The rent crisis in California cities is largely due to a structural shift in the U.S. economy; as knowledge industries become more dominant, high-earning workers are crowding into cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles in order to be close to each other, driving rents up for everyone else.But California’s political system is making it hard to respond to these pressures. Thanks to a 1978 ballot initiative called Proposition 13, California cities have stringent limits on raising revenue from local property taxes. That forces the state to provide many services, financing them with hefty income taxes. Those are inherently more unreliable than property taxes, since wealthy taxpayers can move away (while property can’t move), and since California’s income taxes fluctuate a lot because they depend so much on the profits residents earn on volatile stock prices.Meanwhile, despite one-party control of the state legislature, California has been unable to meaningfully address its housing crisis. Powerful local property owners prevent municipal governments from allowing new housing to accommodate the influx of workers from out of state. And they wield power at the state level too, as demonstrated by the demise last year of a bill that would have permitted more apartment buildings near transit hubs.As for the state’s beleaguered power companies, it’s not clear that any plan exists. PG&E is resisting pressure to sell its assets to local governments, Governor Gavin Newsom is considering breaking up the company and the state utility commission is looking at a restructuring. None of that answers the fundamental question of how the state will provide reliable electricity in an age of intensifying wildfires.If California is going to avoid this dark path, it will need the political will to carry out bold reforms. Proposition 13 must be repealed, and property taxes raised. The state legislature needs to pass bills to allow greater housing density and more construction throughout the state. Cities will have to make deals on benefit cuts for pensioners in order to spend more on schools. And the state will probably have to bite the bullet and shell out more money to bury power lines.California can still save itself from becoming a failed state, but its days of complacency and easy prosperity are over. To contact the author of this story: Noah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Teva Pharmaceutical's UK unit has recalled some batches of heartburn medicine Ranitidine, Britain's medicines watchdog said on Thursday, making it the latest drugmaker to pull the product. Teva, the world's largest generic drugmaker, is recalling all unexpired stock of Ranitidine Effervescent Tablets in 150 micrograms and 300 micrograms dosages, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ranitidine-mhra-drug-alert-issued-for-teva-uk-recall. Teva did not immediately respond to a request for comment.