The daily business briefing: January 26, 2023
Meta reinstates Trump on Facebook and Instagram, Tesla reports record quarterly profit but warns of economic uncertainty, and more
Meta to restore Trump's access to Facebook and Instagram
Meta Platforms said Wednesday it would reinstate former President Donald Trump's access to its Facebook and Instagram platforms. Meta suspended Trump's accounts the day after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack by a mob of his supporters seeking to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Biden. The social media company suspended Trump's accounts to avoid the risk of inciting more violence. Before he was barred, Trump had the most followed account on Facebook. "The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box," said Nick Clegg, Meta's president of global affairs. Twitter restored Trump's access in November.
Tesla reports record profit but warns of economic uncertainty
Tesla on Wednesday reported record quarterly profit in late 2022 but warned it was facing an uncertain economic environment in 2023. The electric-car maker said its fourth-quarter profit rose 59 percent from a year earlier to nearly $3.7 billion, despite slowing vehicle delivery growth. The profit was slightly below the $3.8 billion analysts had expected. Sales came in at $24.3 billion, up 37 percent from a year earlier but below the $24.7 billion forecast by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Tesla acknowledged that its prices were "on a downward trajectory," but said recent cuts were "necessary to become a multi-million vehicle producer." Tesla shares gained in premarket trading, as U.S. stock futures gained after the major indexes closed mixed on Wednesday.
IBM to lay off 3,900 workers
International Business Machines announced Wednesday it would cut about 3,900 jobs in the latest round of layoffs by major technology companies. The reductions amount to about 1.5 percent of the company's workforce, focusing on employees remaining after the spinoff of IBM's Kyndryl and Watson Health units. IBM said its 2022 cash flow came in at $9.3 billion, under its $10 billion target because its working capital needs were higher than expected. Despite mostly upbeat results, IBM shares fell about 2 percent in extended trading, losing earlier gains due to the news of the job cuts and cash-flow miss, analysts said.
Chevron announces $75 billion stock buyback plan
Chevron shares gained more than 2 percent in extended trading Wednesday evening after the energy giant announced a $75 billion stock buyback program, and a dividend increase to $1.51 per share from $1.42. Chevron's market cap is around $350 billion, so the buyback amounts to more than 20 percent of the company's stock. Chevron enacted a $25 billion buyback plan in 2019 that ends in March. The new buyback plan follows a big year for energy companies as the reopening of the U.S. economy after the lifting of pandemic restrictions increased demand for fuel in the United States, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine contributed to rising oil and gas prices worldwide. Chevron shares gained more than 50 percent in 2022.
SAP cuts 3,000 jobs as it continues shifting focus to cloud business
German software maker SAP announced Thursday that it would cut 3,000 jobs — about 2.5 percent of its global workforce — as it trims costs and continues to shift its focus from permanent software licenses to more lucrative cloud subscription services. SAP reported a 30 percent revenue increase in its cloud business in the last quarter of 2022. Analysts have warned that SAP's cloud business might suffer as economic uncertainty forces other companies to reduce their spending, but "SAP has been signing more customers," Reuters reported. SAP also has started exploring the sale of its majority stake in Qualtrics, its Salt Lake City-based employee-survey software business.