T – HBO Max to launch $9.99-a-month version with ads in June: report

AT&T’s
T,
+0.62%

WarnerMedia plans to price an ad-supported version of its HBO Max streaming service at $9.99 a month starting in June, according to a CNBC report Wednesday.

HBO Max currently costs $14.99 a month and, at $1 more a month than Netflix Inc.
NFLX,
+0.19%
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is the most expensive streaming service. A $9.99-a-month plan would make it more competitive with rivals Hulu ($5.99 with ads, $11.99 with no ads); Amazon.com Inc.’s
AMZN,
+1.20%

Prime Video ($12.99 a month); and Walt Disney Co.’s
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-0.68%

Disney+ ($7.99 a month).

Citing sources familiar with the matter, CNBC reported ads would appear only in programming that’s exclusive to HBO Max, and HBO-branded content will not have commercial breaks. The ad-supported tier, however, will not include new releases of Warner Bros. movies, which are premiering on HBO Max for 31 days starting the same day they open in theaters. That may be less of an issue long-term, because the movie-streaming plan is only scheduled to last until the end of the year; starting in 2022, Warner Bros. movies will go back to opening exclusively in theaters.

The launch of an ad-supported tier for HBO Max had been teased by WarnerMedia executives for months. It’s hoped that the cheaper price tag will attract a wider audience, amid tough competition from other streaming services.

Earlier this month, AT&T reported global HBO Max subscriptions grew by 3.3 million in the first quarter, to 63.9 million — above expectations. The company expects 150 million subscribers by 2025, when the service is finally expected to break even.

AT&T shares are up 7.6% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s
SPX,
-0.08%

11.4% gain this year.

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SQ – Cathie Wood's ARK Invest Sells Over 280,000 Shares of Square

A couple of the ARK exchange-traded funds run by ETF star Cathie Wood made a huge sell on Wednesday. Accordingly these funds sold nearly 280,000 shares of Square Inc. (NASDAQ: SQ) shares on Wednesday, as the price of these ETFs dropped less than 1% in the session. Note that this ETF is still up over 100% in the last year.

ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA: ARKK) sold 185,396 shares of Square, and ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (NYSEARCA: ARKW) sold 94,679 shares. At Wednesday’s closing price this would have valued this sale at roughly $71.2 million. Even though this is a small fraction of the total holdings, every little bit counts. ARKK is up 136% in the last year and ARKW is up 148%.
24/7 Wall St. recently reported on Square:

Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) comes in at number two on Cathie Wood’s list. ARK Invest holds 10.26 million shares valued up to $2.68 billion. ARKK holds 6.66 million shares, ARKF holds 1.89 million shares and ARKW holds 1.71 million shares.
Square stock recently traded near $269, with a consensus price target of $267.86. The 52-week trading range is $56.63 to $283.19.

Catherine Wood, the CEO and CIO of ARK Investment Management LLC is a minority and non-voting shareholder of 24/7 Wall St., LLC, owner of 247wallst.com.

AMZN – Amazon plans to raise wages for 500,000 workers

In light of a current effort to hire for tens of thousands of jobs across its customer, fulfillment, delivery, package sortation and fulfillment, Amazon (AMZN) moved up its annual fall pay review for those teams and plans to roll out pay increases starting in mid-May, Amazon executive Darcie Henry said in a blog post Wednesday. It will increase hourly pay by between $0.50 and $3, a total investment of more than $1 billion. “This is on top of our already industry-leading starting wage of at least $15 an hour and the more than $2.5 billion that we invested last year in additional bonuses and incentives for front-line teams,” Henry, Amazon’s vice president of people experience and technology, worldwide consumer, said. The move follows several weeks of scrutiny of Amazon’s labor practices amid a landmark union drive at a Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse. Union organizers lost the election by a large margin; while they are challenging some 500 ballots, the vote lead held by Amazon is greater than the total number of challenged ballots. Although it won this time, “there are many reasons for Amazon to be concerned about future unionization efforts—especially in areas of the country where an Amazon job doesn’t pay relatively as well as it might in Alabama,” Arindrajit Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told CNN Business in an email. Amazon already expanded its workforce to more than 1.3 million people globally last year after hiring 500,000 new workers as it scrambled to manage an increase in demand from the pandemic. Pay hikes could help the company attract additional employees in the midst of a tight labor market that has left other businesses, like restaurants, struggling to find workers. “An increasing tightness in the labor market means its $15 minimum wage is decreasingly effective at recruitment and retention of qualified workers, and a substantial raise can help with that,” Dube said. Although the company plans to raise pay for nearly half a million workers, it did not say it will officially raise its $15 minimum wage. Doing so would put it in step with rival Costco, which increased its starting rate for hourly store workers to $16 per hour in February. The wage increases for some workers are likely needed for hiring, but the “bottom line is they can afford a wage hike more than just about any big retail [or] e-commerce company,” Molly Kinder, a fellow at the Brookings Institute, said. Amazon earned $21 billion in profit in 2020, and its market capitalization was $1.74 trillion as of Wednesday’s close. “As I have written about Amazon, $15 is a floor, not a ceiling,” Kinder said.–CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this report.

SIRI – SIRI Stock: From $6.31 To $6.07 Explanation

The stock price of Sirius XM Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: SIRI) fell 3.88% as it went from a previous close of $6.31 to $6.07. This is why it happened.

The stock price of Sirius XM Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: SIRI) fell 3.88% as it went from a previous close of $6.31 to $6.07. Investors are responding negatively to SiriusXM’s first quarter 2021 operating and financial results.
These are the results:— Revenue of $2.06 billion, an increase of 5% compared to the prior-year period— The company recorded a net income of $219 million in the first quarter of 2021, compared to $293 million in the prior-year period.— The first quarter 2021 net income included a $220 million non-cash impairment charge connected to the failure of the company’s SXM-7 satellite, not reflecting any potential insurance recoveries, a $25 million charge related to the surrender of certain office space, and a $95 million benefit associated with a state tax audit settlement.— The net income per diluted common share was $0.05 in the first quarter of 2021, compared to $0.07 in the prior-year period.— The diluted EPS was $0.07 in the first quarter excluding the impact of the two impairments and the tax audit settlement mentioned above.— The adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter was $682 million, up 7% from $639 million in the prior-year period.
KEY QUOTES:
“I am pleased to announce SiriusXM has started the year impressively – we added 126,000 self-pay net subscribers, an 83% increase as compared to the period a year ago, saw a first quarter record-low churn rate of 1.6%, and are reporting a new record-high quarterly adjusted EBITDA figure. These strong results reflect the value we bring to our listeners through the breadth and depth of our content. Our advertising revenue grew 24%, driven by robust monetization of both on- and off-platform opportunities, as well as the growing podcast market. While we are benefiting from the broader reopening of the economy and the acceleration of consumers’ digital adoption, the meaningful long-term investments we’ve been making are also paying off. This includes creating and delivering compelling content, strengthening our digital product experiences, and scaling a full suite of end-to-end distribution and monetization solutions for content creators and publishers. We are extremely focused on achieving our 2021 goals and reinforcing our long-term position as North America’s premier audio entertainment company.”
“Across SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher, we have added new channels, shows, hosts, and podcasts, enhancing the expertly curated audio entertainment experience across all formats from music to sports. Drake, one of the most streamed artists in the world, launched his exclusive full-time SiriusXM channel, Sound 42. All of our audio platforms were on display as rocker Tom Morello launched a SiriusXM show, multiple new streaming music channels, and a new podcast available on SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher. We are working with highly regarded creators on new podcasts; earlier this week we announced the acquisition of 99% Invisible, the acclaimed and popular podcast from Roman Mars and his creator team. This was our first year as the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament, and we have expanded our streaming rights with both the NBA and MLB. We also created special music and talk programming that honored both Black History and Women’s History months back-to-back.”
— Jennifer Witz, Chief Executive Officer of SiriusXM
Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes. Before making any investment, you should do your own analysis.

BA – FAA orders Boeing to fix 737 Max electrical issue

A 737 Max lands at Boeing Field in Renton, Washington, after a test flight.
Boeing/Paul Christian Gordon

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday ordered Boeing to fix an electrical issue in a group of 737 Max airliners before the planes can enter service. The Immediately Adopted Rule requires airlines to “modify the electrical bonding of the support panels in the flight deck to provide sufficient electrical grounding,” the agency said.The order concerns a problem Boeing first reported to the FAA on April 7. Two days later, the company notified 16 airline customers that they address a potential electrical problem that could interfere with the operation of a backup power control unit.

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Boeing said it has developed a solution to the issue and is in the process of fixing the affected aircraft.Approximately 109 Max aircraft are affected, 71 of which fly for US airlines and have been removed from service, the FAA said in a statement to CNET. The agency didn’t say which domestic carriers are affected, but current operators of the aircraft include American, United, Southwest and Alaska.This latest issue is unrelated to the repairs to the Max’s flight control system the FAA ordered in November. Though it’s now flying again globally — except for China, the Max was grounded worldwide for almost two years after crashes in 2018 and 219 killed 346 people. As part of Boeing’s third-quarter earnings announcement Wednesday, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said he expects the work to take a few days per airplane. “We are also working closely with the FAA and customers to address electrical issues identified in certain locations in the flight deck of select 737 Max airplanes, he said. “We will continue to focus on safety, quality and transparency through this process.”