In a development that must come as a bit of a shock for the United Kingdom, around one-third of the companies in the union are planning to move at least portions of their operations abroad due to Brexit-related turmoil. The survey was conducted by the Institute of Directors (IoD), and as many as 1200 business leaders from the across the United Kingdom were surveyed. The findings are alarming. While 13% of the respondents stated that they were seriously considering moving operations abroad, 16% said that they already have their moving plans in place. After the results of the survey were revealed, the IoD that findings in the survey were ‘worrying signs.’

The UK’s business community has been in a bit of turmoil ever since the country decided to leave the European (EU) Union in June 2016 but the deadline to formally leave is 29 March 2019. Until now, the UK Government led by Theresa May has not been able to agree on a deal to leave the EU, and the disastrous possibility of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit now looms large. In such a situation, it would be damaging for any firm to not consider moving portions of their business operations out of the UK. The delay with agreeing on a deal with EU has caused immense confusion among business leaders in the UK, and the findings of the survey should not come as a surprise.

The study also pointed that some of the big firms in the country had already moved some part of their businesses abroad, but due to the events of the past month, smaller firms are also making plans to follow suit. The Director-General of IoD, Edwin Morgan said, “For these firms, typically with tighter resources, to be thinking about such a costly course of action makes clear the precarious position they are in. We can no more ignore the real consequences of delay and confusion than business leaders can ignore the hard choices that they face in protecting their companies.”

The findings of the survey can also be confirmed from findings made by other studies. For instance, many trade agencies in Europe have informed the BBC that hundreds of companies in the UK are now setting up shop in different parts of the EU as the 29th March Brexit deadline approaches. A government spokesperson said that the current leadership wants to protect jobs and that the best way to leave the EU was to “leave with a deal.”

New e-commerce rules in India that went effect in the country on the 1st of February has resulted in Amazon India pulling a wide range of products from its website. The company pulled the products to comply with the latest set of rules that were laid out by Indian authorities back in December 2018. According to the rules, e-commerce companies in India are not allowed to offer products from sellers in whose companies they have a stake. People close to the developments at Amazon India stated that the process of pulling non-compliant products started on Thursday night. One of the sources told Reuters, “The company has no choice, they are fulfilling a compliance requirement. Customers will suffer.”

Some of the products that have disappeared include products sold by Cloudtail and Shopper’s Stop. Amazon owns a stake in both those companies. In addition to that, products like Amazon’s Echo speakers and home cleaning products from its in-house brand Presto have also been taken off. Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart had both lobbied against the new rules and in fact, urged the Indian government to delay the implementation. CEO of Flipkart Kalyan Krishnamurthy had written a letter to the concerned authority last month stating that there would be a significant disruption for customers if the rules were implemented in February. It is believed that the current administration in India brought about these rules in a bid to placate smaller traders in India ahead of the elections. Over the years, they have been vocal about ‘unfair’ pricing policies of e-commerce companies.

The Indian market is one of the biggest for Amazon, and the company has invested $5.5 billion in the country so far to gain a foothold in the exploding e-commerce industry. During a conference call last week with reporters this week following the announcement of the company’s earnings report, the Chief Financial Officer of Amazon, Brian Olsavsky stated that although the circumstances in India are ‘a bit fluid.’ However, he stressed that India remains an excellent long term bet for Amazon.

Amazon generated record-breaking profit and sales during the festive period, but they conceded that due to the situation in India, their first-quarter earnings might not be up to the mark. On the other hand, Flipkart, which was bought by Walmart for $16 billion last year, also expressed its disappointment at the new set of regulations. The effect on Flipkart is yet unknown but the company’s vice-president Rajneesh Kumar said in a statement “We believe that policy should be created in a consultative, market-driven manner and we will continue to work with the government to promote fair pro-growth policies.” 

Two of the major FAANG-related (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) stocks, Facebook and Apple, are poised to beat earnings expectations, according to a report by Bespoke Finance Group. The report went on to add that among the three FAANG stocks that are going to report their earnings this week, Amazon is the only one that does not have as good a track record of beating analysts’ earnings expectations as the other two (Apple and Facebook). All the findings in the report have gleaned from historical data of the three companies in question, and it paints a compelling picture of what could be expected this week.

According to the data studied by the Bespoke Finance Group, Facebook has the best history when it comes to beating estimates and stock performance following the all-important announcement. It is quite staggering that Facebook has a 96% hit rate when it comes to beating earnings expectations and in addition to that, the stock has also recorded the best post-earnings performance among all the stocks that have been studied. There may be ongoing troubles at Facebook and Apple, but Bespoke Finance Group’s research only looks at the historical performance of the companies. In that regard, the research cannot be faulted in any way.

Apple had already stated that there might be a shortfall in revenue in the current quarter, but Bespoke has stated that the company is in the habit of tempering expectations when it comes to earnings. Apple had lowered guidance in as many as 9 of its first-quarter earnings, according to the report.

However, the main thrust of the report is that Amazon might not end up beating expectations and that inference has also been drawn from the company’s dodgier record when it comes to beating earnings expectations. The report when on to state that Amazon’s fourth-quarter reports have been historically hit or miss. It added, “The stock has beaten EPS on 5 of its last 8 Q4 reports, but it has only beaten sales estimates once (last Q4). From 2002 to 2010, the stock raised guidance on 5 of its 9 Q4 reports, but since 2011, the stock has lowered guidance 4 times.” As anyone will testify, historical performance of large-cap stocks is almost always the right way to go when it comes to gauging reactions of stock prices to earnings reports. However, there are always factors beyond the history that might have a considerable effect.

A couple of weeks after it originally detailed a hack, New Zealand-based digital currency trade Cryptopia is still dealing by cyber scammers, as indicated by a recent blog post by a blockchain framework firm Elementus.

The Cryptocurrency trade suspended their services after recognizing a big hack that apparently brought about huge losses on Jan. 15. Cryptopia expressed that the hack happened previously on January 14. The exchange at first expressed that it was experiencing unscheduled support, issuing a few brief updates previously revealing the break.

On January 20, New Zealand-based Elementus detailed that as much as $16 million worth of Ethereum (ETH) and ERC20tokens were misleadingly stolen. As per the blog report, information on the Ethereum public blockchain shows that investments started to be extracted from Cryptopia’s two main wallets – one holding ETH, alternate tokens on the daybreak of January 13.

In the present post, Elementus says that the assault is proceeding and that cyber scammers have stolen 1,675 ETH ($175,875) from 17,000 Cryptopia wallets, collecting at this location. It further expresses that among the 17,000 influenced wallets are 5,000 which were dumped when the platform was first ruptured, however, have since been refilled.

Elementus says that it was evident that a similar hacker or hackers are in charge of the continued security break, as the assets have been transferred to the location utilized in the initial hack. Both previously mentioned addresses on Ethers can have been hailed for their contribution in the hack, and the site has cautioned that people, in general, ought to continue with alert while communicating with the addresses.

The report infers that Cryptopia does not have authority over its Ethereum wallets, while the cyber hacker still does. Some in the crypto network have noticed this is certainly not a second assault on Cybertopia’s wallets, yet a continuation of the hack. One individual on Twitter stated:

“The nature of the compromise is, the attacker stole their ETH private key and deleted [Cryptopia’s] copy. Same hack, just new histrionic-news cable point to steal your attention if you never learned the basics of how private keys work.”

Recently, a report from blockchain investigation firm Chainalysis expressed that two hacker groups have supposedly stolen $1 billion in the digital currency. As indicated by a report imparted to the Wall Street Journal, two elements have received most of the cash lost in cryptocurrency scams.

Mergers and acquisitions continue apace in the United Kingdom as the Brexit shadow looms large over the horizon and a mega-merger between two major supermarket chains is the hot topic today. Sainsbury’s and Asda have been in talks over a merger for some time, and according to the former broker UBS, the deal should be a viable one even if the regulators forced the merged entity to close 132 stores.

The merger between Sainsbury and the Walmart-owned Asda was agreed in April 2018 in a deal worth $9.6 billion, but the deal still needs clearance. The deal needs clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the British regulator and the findings are going to be available at some point in February. It is believed that the concerned parties will be made aware of the findings on the week starting on 11th of February, according to some estimates. Because the deal is going to make the merged entity the largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, the CMA might insist on store closures as a pre-condition to greenlighting this deal.

According to a note by UBS, the merger is not in danger of breaking down even if those closures do take place. The note stated, “Assuming zero disposal proceeds, merger economics can absorb at least circa 132 remedy stores and potentially dozens more. Thus, we see scope for a deal close even if the CMA adopts a narrow market definition.” However, one thing that should always be at the back of the mind of the two companies is that it can be tough to find backers for such a large entity in an industry that is increasingly facing stiff competition from online alternatives.

The merged entity would eventually be bigger than Tesco, which is the biggest supermarket chain in the United Kingdom and the remedy stores that Sainsbury’s and Asda have at their disposal could be the big competitive advantage for them. In addition to UBS, Bank of America Merill Lynch also seemed unconcerned about the possibility of store closures. In a note that, BAML stated, “Even a high disposal number would not be a risk to the deal, in our view.” It seems that despite the troubles that such a large merger is supposed to run into, it is eventually going to go through and the two companies would simply need to take the store closures in their stride.