The daily business briefing: February 27, 2023
Twitter lays off 10 percent of its workforce, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway made record stock buys last year, and more
Twitter lays off 10 percent of its workforce
Twitter laid off another 200 employees over the weekend, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing three people familiar with the matter. The news site The Information reported earlier that at least 50 workers had been fired in the latest cost cuts at the social media company since Elon Musk acquired it in October for $44 billion. The latest layoffs reportedly affected engineering teams that work on advertising technology, the main Twitter app, and the systems that keep the social media platform running. Esther Crawford, a product director at Twitter who oversaw Twitter's relaunched subscription product, was among those let go, according to The Information. Twitter laid off about 3,700 workers in November. The company has faced declining revenue since Musk's takeover.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway made record stock purchases in 2022
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway spent an unprecedented $68 billion on stocks in 2022 as it sought bargains, the company reported over the weekend. The company sold $34 billion in stock, so its net purchases came in at $34 billion, with its biggest bets including Chevron and Occidental Petroleum. The conglomerate's previous record was $43 billion, or $24 billion net, spent in 2018. Buffett said in his annual letter to shareholders that Americans should shake off "self-criticism and self-doubt" as economic troubles loom, and remain focused on long-term investing. "I have yet to see a time when it made sense to make a long-term bet against America," he wrote.
WSJ: Union Pacific to pick new CEO
Union Pacific, the nation's largest freight railroad operator, said Sunday it would name a new CEO this year, The Wall Street Journal reported. The news came hours after New York hedge fund Soroban Capital Partners, a major shareholder, urged the company's board to get rid of current chief Lance Fritz, saying Union Pacific was underperforming under his leadership. The company said its board is committed to finding "highly qualified candidates both within the industry and adjacent industries." Union Pacific said Fritz had led it to financial growth under tough conditions, but Soroban said the company had fallen short on safety, total shareholder return, and other metrics.
Stock futures rise after biggest weekly losses of 2023
U.S. stock futures gained early Monday as the three major indexes struggled to rebound from their biggest weekly losses of 2023. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, at 7 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.6 percent. Stocks fell on Friday after a larger-than-expected increase in personal spending, a key inflation gauge for the Federal Reserve, fueled concerns that the central bank will raise interest rates more than previously anticipated to fight inflation. An early 2023 rally has faded as concerns over rate hikes have intensified. "The bears are dusting themselves off after getting sacked in January," said Louis Navellier, chairman and founder of growth investing firm Navellier & Associates.
'Ant-Man' leads box office for 2nd week despite steep drop
Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania held onto the top spot at the domestic box office, despite an unusually steep drop of 69.7 percent in its second weekend, to $32.2 million in ticket sales. The R-rated horror comedy Cocaine Bear brought in $23.1 million in its opening weekend, according to studio estimates released Sunday. Cocaine Bear's debut beat expectations. The film, directed by Elizabeth Banks, cost just $35 million to make. It is based on the true story of a 175-pound black bear that died in 1985 after eating cocaine that fell in the Georgia mountains from a smuggler's plane.