The week in investor relations: Unauthorized access, Dimon ‘rakes it in’ and miner moves into asset management
– Intel was this week forced to publish its earnings earlier than planned, reported Bloomberg. The company is looking into whether someone gained early access to part of its earnings announcement on Thursday, and said in a statement: ‘We are investigating reports that non-authorized access may have been obtained to one graphic in our earnings material. Earlier [Thursday], once we became aware of these reports, we made the decision to issue our earnings announcement a brief time before the originally scheduled release time.’ The chipmaker usually releases its numbers after markets close, but this time it rushed them out about 10 minutes earlier when the stock was still trading.
– JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon ‘raked in’ salary, bonus and stock worth $31.5 mn in 2020 after decrying income inequality, reported The Guardian. In 2019, Dimon told CBS’ 60 Minutes that income inequality is a ‘huge problem’. The paper said Forbes estimates that Dimon has a fortune at $1.7 bn, noting that he is one of a handful of billionaires who have warned that the excesses of capitalism are threatening the foundation of society.
– Mining firm Norilsk Nickel has moved into asset management, according to the Financial Times (paywall). The company, which the paper described as ‘one of the mining industry’s most serious polluters’, is launching a range of exchange-traded products that will track the price of gold, silver, platinum and palladium. The Norilsk precious metals trackers, which start trading on Deutsche Börse on Monday, are debt securities backed by physical metal, a structure known as an exchange-traded commodity.
– Investors in mainland China are showing unprecedented interest in Hong Kong stocks, reported Bloomberg. It said mainland traders ‘have net purchased nearly $29 bn worth of Hong Kong shares in January alone’ – almost a third of the total for all of last year. The drive is powering the city’s fastest rally for a new year in more than three decades. Mainland investors swooped in after international investors were forced to sell some Chinese stocks following a ban by the US.
– Top shale drillers in the US told Reuters that the effect of a promised ban by US President Joe Biden on new oil and gas drilling on federal lands would be muted. It would ‘take years to shut off production’, executives told the news site, because companies have stockpiled permits. Smaller firms are more likely to be affected by a Biden rule tightening, however, as they lack the resources to stockpile permits. Federal lands are the source of about 10 percent of US oil and gas supply, according to Reuters.
– Four out of five FTSE 350 companies held their AGM ‘behind closed doors’ in the months after the UK locked down last March, reported the FT. As such, investors were unable to participate and ask questions of the board except by email, according to ShareAction, the responsible investment charity, which is writing to FTSE 100 businesses urging them to embrace technology to ensure this year’s AGMs are accessible to all.
– Confused investors pushed Signal Advance, a micro-cap technology stock that trades on the over-the-counter market, as high as $70.85 after Elon Musk tweeted about a similarly named encrypted-messaging app, Signal. Business Insider reported that Signal Advance had been at just $0.60 before Musk’s tweet – a climb of 11,708 percent – after a privacy update to WhatsApp pushed users to seek more secure alternatives.