After the first week of 2024 saw lots of selling, perhaps to optimize taxes on 2023 capital gains — last week was better for investors. Major indices, having found support at key levels are now at important resistance levels. Dow Jones was up 0.3% last week, S&P 500 gained 1.8%, hitting 52-week highs and is now within a few points of its all-time high. Nasdaq rose 3.1% and is encountering resistance at 15,000. More than 100 companies are getting ready to list on Nasdaq after filing confidentially with the SEC, Nasdaq’s CEO Adena Friedman told investing publication Barron’s. Circle has confidentially filed for an initial public offering, the company said on Thursday, signaling the stablecoin issuer is taking another run at becoming a publicly traded firm after a special purpose acquisition deal fell apart in 2022. The first Bitcoin ETFs were approved by US regulators, and saw US$4.6 billion in volume on the first day of trading. Microsoft passed Apple in market capitalization as of Friday’s close, becoming the most valuable company. OpenAI launched a new store for users to share custom chatbots. Twilio’s CEO is stepping down, under pressure from activist shareholders. Numerous companies announced job cuts, including Alphabet, Amazon, Twitch, Discord, Unity, Humane. Hewlett Packard Enterprise said it’s agreed to buy networking gear vendor Juniper Networks for about US$14 billion, or US$40 per share, in an all-cash deal. Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman are competing to acquire DocuSign with a market value of about US$12.5 billion. Apple’s Vision Pro headset could sell out quickly at launch, a top analyst predicted. Carta said late Monday it was closing a part of its business under fire for improperly using private customer data. Sophic Client, UGE reached commercial operation on a rooftop Community Solar project in Peekskill, New York. Independent third party values the project at US$1.4 million or US$2.98/Watt.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

Sophic Client UGE International (UGE-TSXV, UGEIF-OTC) reaches commercial operation on rooftop Community Solar project in Peekskill, New York. Independent third party values the project at US$1.4 million or US$2.98/Watt.

UGE International Ltd., a leader in commercial and community solar, announces that it has reached commercial operation on its 457-kilowatt rooftop community solar project in Peekskill, New York. UGE’s latest community solar project sits atop Spare Cube, a self-storage facility in Peekskill, NY, and is UGE’s second community solar asset in Peekskill (the first towards the end of 2021). With large footprints and flat roofs, self-storage facilities make for ideal rooftop solar sites, while the addition of solar allows self-storage owners to maximize their assets by earning lease revenue from their rooftops in addition to income from storage units. As part of an ongoing partnership , wireless provider T-Mobile will serve as the project’s anchor energy off-taker, supporting T-Mobile’s commitment to power its business using 100% renewable energy. UGE will reserve 50% of the project’s energy output for Low- to Moderate-Income (LMI) subscribers, allowing these households and businesses to save upwards of 10% on their electricity costs. With the completion of this project, UGE’s operating portfolio now stands at 5.3MW, with an additional 17.7MW of projects currently in the deployment and construction phase of development. https://bit.ly/47yMkBI

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

Nasdaq CEO’s comments about IPOs portend sunny skies ahead for the tech industry.

More than 100 companies are getting ready to list on Nasdaq after filing confidentially with the SEC, Nasdaq’s CEO Adena Friedman told investing publication Barron’s. Barron’s called Friedman’s comment “startling,” and we have to agree with that description. If that does come to happen, the IPO drought that the tech industry has suffered through for months will draw to a close sooner rather than later. Considering the ripple effect that the lack of liquidity has had on all stages of venture capital investment, this would be excellent news for everyone dealing with startups. If true, of course. And that is why the source matters perhaps just as much as what was said. Confidential filings are obviously hard to track, but Friedman is likely better informed than we are. https://shorturl.at/GMV24

Circle confidentially files for IPO.

Circle has confidentially filed for an initial public offering, the company said on Thursday, signaling the stablecoin issuer is taking another run at becoming a publicly traded firm after a special purpose acquisition deal fell apart in 2022. Circle issues the popular stablecoin USDC, which is pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar, and was last valued at US$7.7 billion in 2022. Unlike many crypto companies, Circle has benefited from higher interest rates, which help it generate more interest income from assets like Treasuries that back its stablecoins. http://tinyurl.com/yc4j86wy

Shein seeks China’s permission for US IPO.

Shein is seeking Beijing’s nod to go public in the U.S., two sources with knowledge of the matter said, highlighting the limits of the fashion company’s efforts to present itself as global rather than a Chinese company. The move could further complicate Shein’s listing plans, which have run into political opposition in the United States. A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to block Shein’s initial public offering until it verifies it does not use forced labor. Shein, which according to one of the sources was valued at US$66 billion in a fundraising in May, filed its planned U.S. IPO with the Chinese regulator in November, the two sources said. This is despite Shein having moved its headquarters from Nanjing to Singapore in 2022. Shein, which sells cheap fashion in over 150 countries, also confidentially filed with the SEC for the IPO in November, Reuters has reported. In a sign of the likely fraught nature of the application process, the SEC has yet to respond to Shein’s IPO filing, one of the sources said. http://tinyurl.com/8e7ttuc2

Microsoft passes Apple to become most valuable company.

Microsoft passed Apple in market capitalization as of Friday’s close, becoming the most valuable company, a testament to how much the software giant has benefited from its edge in AI. Microsoft shares finished the day up 1% to US$388.47, giving it a market capitalization of US$2.887 trillion, while Apple shares rose a fraction to US$185.92. That gave the iPhone maker a market capitalization of US$2.874 trillion. http://tinyurl.com/2njes8x9

OpenAI says Times lawsuit ‘without merit’.

OpenAI issued its response to the New York Times Co’s lawsuit, asserting that training its models on copyrighted material is permitted under “fair use,” and it also allows publishers to opt out of the process, which the Times did in August 2023. The Times’ lawsuit, it said, is “without merit.” In a blog post published on Monday, the large language model developer laid out its approach to training LLMs on copyrighted content from news outlets and other sources. It pointed out that it’s made a number of licensing deals already with outlets including Axel Springer, which owns Politico and Business Insider, and the Associated Press. In the lawsuit, the Times provided several examples of OpenAI’s ChatGPT regurgitating Times articles nearly verbatim. OpenAI admitted that it’s possible for its models to memorize portions of its training data, but added that it’s working to prevent this “rare failure.” The company also said that the Times manipulated prompts to force OpenAI’s models to regurgitate articles, and counter to the lawsuit, negotiations leading up to that point between the two parties had been progressing constructively. http://tinyurl.com/3wbyr27v

OpenAI launches new store for users to share custom chatbots.

The store will feature a bot leaderboard, and will eventually introduce payments. OpenAI has launched an online store where people can share customized versions of the company’s popular ChatGPT chatbot, after initially delaying the rollout because of leadership upheaval last year. The new store, which rolled out Wednesday to paid ChatGPT users, will corral the chatbots that users create for a variety of tasks, for example a version of ChatGPT that can teach math to a child or come up with colorful cocktail recipes. The product, called the GPT Store, will include chatbots that users have chosen to share publicly. It will eventually introduce ways for people to make money from their creations — much as they might through the app stores of Apple Inc. or Alphabet Inc.’s Google. http://tinyurl.com/v97ptya3

Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson steps down as CEO.

Twilio chief executive officer Jeff Lawson is stepping down, under pressure from activist shareholders, the company announced Monday. He will be succeeded by company president Khozema Shipchandler, Twilio said in a statement. Lawson’s departure follows mounting activist pressure from Legion Partners, and then Anson Funds, following a more than 80% drop in Twilio’s share price over the past two years, reflecting a sharp slowdown in revenue growth and increased losses. Anson, in particular, had suggested a change in leadership, The Information previously reported. In a statement, Sagar Gupta, Portfolio Manager at Anson Funds, said Anson was “pleased” with the leadership change but believed “more actions are needed to maximize value for shareholders.” Lawson, who co-founded Twilio in 2008, will also leave the board of directors. Jeff Epstein, an operating partner at venture capitalist Bessemer Venture Partners and long-time lead independent director, will chair the board. http://tinyurl.com/2mz8jden

JD.com’s unit says it may have overstated revenue.

Dada Nexus, an on-demand retail and delivery subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, said its internal audit found “suspicious practices” that could cast doubt on its revenue, causing Dada’s Nasdaq-listed shares to plunge 46% Monday. In a statement, Dada said it may have overstated 500 million yuan (US$70.4 million) of revenues from online advertising and marketing as well as 500 million yuan of expenses. The company withdrew its previous revenue guidance for 2023 and said it would conduct “an independent review to ascertain the financial impact and the scope of suspicious practices, if any, and the root cause.” In China, Dada is a major competitor in China’s online grocery and delivery sectors. JD.com’s shares, also listed on Nasdaq, fell 2.7% Monday. http://tinyurl.com/mryrxrkx

Alphabet union says google laid off more than 1,000 employees.

A spokesman for a union representing workers at Google’s owner, Alphabet, said Wednesday’s layoffs at Google impacted more than 1,000 people, making it the largest round of cuts since last January. The move underscores how big tech firms and startups alike continue to feel pressure to reduce costs or bloat following an nearly-unprecedented hiring spree during the 2020-2021 pandemic period. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the union’s statement. In California, Google regulatory filings said it planned to cut 703 people. (The filings were first reported by SFGate.) Google spokespeople have declined to specify the total number of staff it is cutting but have said cuts included hundreds of people in multiple units, including hardware and Google Assistant. As of September, Google had roughly 182,000 employees worldwide. http://tinyurl.com/3sd8yt5e

Amazon’s entertainment cuts continue with 5% Audible layoff.

Amazon is laying off 5% of staff in its Audible audiobook division, Business Insider reported on Thursday, just one day after the company laid off at least 800 employees in other parts of its entertainment business. Audible, which Amazon acquired in 2008, attributed the cuts to an “increasingly challenging landscape” and said the division needed to get “leaner,” according to an email from Audible head Bob Carrigan reported by Insider. On Wednesday, Amazon cut several hundred employees in its Prime Video and Amazon Studios MGM divisions, as well as 500 Twitch employees. The cuts so far in 2024 have followed sporadic cuts in other divisions like fashion and Alexa late last year, as well as 27,000 mass layoffs that began in November 2022. http://tinyurl.com/mppc2xh3

Twitch plans layoffs that will hit 35% of staff.

Twitch, the livestreaming platform owned by Amazon that remains unprofitable nearly a decade after the tech giant purchased it, plans to cut more than a third of its workforce, roughly 500 jobs, Bloomberg reports. The cuts are the newest indication of turmoil at the site — and Amazon’s growing unease about Twitch’s inability to stem its losses. In the past year, several top executives have departed, and a month ago, Twitch said it would exit South Korea, a surprise move: South Korea is a top market for livestreaming, but even there, Twitch had been unable to push its operations out of the red. Twitch already had two rounds of layoffs last year — cutting around 400 jobs — amid a turnaround led by new CEO Dan Clancy. Before Clancy’s arrival in 2023, Twitch had suffered substantial criticism from the influencers on its platform over how it shared revenue, adding to the perception that the site was falling behind other rivals, including YouTube, which remains the most lucrative source of income for creators. http://tinyurl.com/3t4wzpc5

Discord lays off 17 percent of employees.

Discord is laying off 17 percent of its staff, a move that CEO Jason Citron said is meant to “sharpen our focus and improve the way we work together to bring more agility to our organization.” They’ll impact 170 people across various departments. Citron said Discord grew its headcount too fast over the last few years — an admission that has become quite common among tech CEOs as of late. The company has been contemplating going public since it turned down a US$12 billion acquisition offer from Microsoft in 2021. nhttp://tinyurl.com/ydbu6s75

Unity to lay off another 1,800 employees, representing 25% of its workforce.

Just a few weeks after its most recent round of layoffs, Unity is once again reducing its workforce. This time, around 1,800 employees will lose their job in the coming weeks as the company is trying to improve its financial performance after a difficult year. Unity is the maker of a video game engine that is widely used in the video game industry. At US$38.74 a share, the company’s stock is still down significantly compared to its all-time high of US$201.12 in November 2021. Last year, after conducting three rounds of layoffs, the company tried to improve its financials by changing the fee structure for the engine. http://tinyurl.com/2yd5ysp6

Humane lays off 4 percent of employees before releasing its AI Pin.

Humane laid off 4 percent of employees this week in a move that was described as a cost cutting measure to those who were impacted, according to sources familiar with the matter. Employees were recently told by leadership that budgets would be lowered this year, said one of the people, who requested anonymity to speak without the company’s permission. The cuts, which numbered 10 people, come ahead of the five-year-old startup shipping its first device: a US$699, screenless, AI-powered pin that is pitched as a smartphone replacement. After a lot of hype and secrecy, Humane unveiled the AI Pin to the world in November and began accepting preorders, with shipments planned to begin in March.. http://tinyurl.com/exppbzmh

HPE to acquire Juniper Networks for US$14 billion.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise said it’s agreed to buy networking gear vendor Juniper Networks for about US$14 billion, or US$40 per share, in an all-cash deal. HPE expects to close the deal late this year or in early 2025, the company said in a statement. The announcement came a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that the companies were in late-stage talks. Juniper shares had their best day in 20 years on Tuesday after the Journal report, which said a deal could be announced this week. The shares jumped 22% to close at US$37.05. The purchase price of US$40 a share represents a 32% premium over Monday’s close before the Journal story published. Coming together would lead to US$450 million in annual cost savings within three years of the deal’s completion, HPE said. JPMorgan and Qatalyst advised HPE, according to the statement. http://tinyurl.com/4e3mnxdh

Bain, Hellman & Friedman vying to acquire DocuSign.

Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman are competing to acquire DocuSign Inc, the provider of online signature services with a market value of about US$12.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The two private equity firms are among the final bidders in the auction for DocuSign, which is set to be one of the biggest leveraged buyouts of 2024, the sources said. While the investment firms have not joined forces, it is possible that they may partner down the line to clinch a deal, the sources added. An outcome is expected in the coming weeks. Blackstone Inc, another buyout firm, held talks about a potential deal with DocuSign but is no longer in contention, according to two of the sources. DocuSign shares ended trading on Thursday up 9.3% at US$61.35 on the news. The Wall Street Journal reported in December that DocuSign was exploring a sale, without identifying any suitors. DocuSign went public in 2018 at a US$6 billion valuation. http://tinyurl.com/3fbfkfen

Emerging Technologies

Waymo will start testing robotaxis on Phoenix highways.

Waymo is about to start testing its driverless passenger vehicles on the highway later this month, a critical milestone for the company that, if successful, will unlock expanded commercial operations. The company said Monday that its autonomous Jaguar I-Pace SUVs will begin shuttling employees around the freeways in Phoenix, Arizona in just a few weeks, after having spent much of the last year doing testing with an operator behind the wheel. Driverless highway service will eventually expand to regular customers, the company says, though it didn’t offer a timeline for when that will become available. http://tinyurl.com/y5d3byxz

Walmart is bringing drone deliveries to 1.8 million more Texas households.

Walmart is expanding its drone delivery program to 1.8 million more households in Texas. The retailer says its drone deliveries now cover 75 percent of the population in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, all thanks to partnerships with drone startups Wing and Zipline. Walmart launched its drone delivery program with Zipline and DroneUp in Arkansas in 2021 before expanding it to more states in 2022. The newly expanded service in Texas allows customers living within 10 miles of a participating Walmart to get items delivered to their homes via drone. Since there is a weight limit, customers can only have smaller products like cold medicine, birthday candles, and even a carton of eggs delivered. Walmart says deliveries arrive in 30 minutes or less, with some reaching customers’ doorsteps in as fast as 10 minutes. http://tinyurl.com/3uzkc6be

Apple’s Vision Pro Headset goes on sale Feb. 2.

Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headsets will go on sale in the US starting on February 2, Apple announced Monday. The device will cost US$3,499, with pre-orders starting on Jan. 19. First announced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June last year, Vision Pro is Apple’s answer to Meta’s Quest Pro as both companies race for dominance in the emerging augmented and virtual reality space. The iPhone maker has reportedly been working on the device for years and the Vision Pro represents Apple’s first product expansion since it introduced the Apple Watch in 2015. Apple said the device is powered by Apple’s custom M2 chipsets and comes with 256GB of storage space, with additional optical configurations for consumers with vision correction needs. Vision Pro will offer users a 4K high-resolution viewing experience for video calls, watching movies or playing games, including immersive virtual and augmented reality experiences. http://tinyurl.com/243h9vxk

Apple’s Vision Pro headset could sell out quickly at launch, top analyst predicts.

Apple’s Vision Pro virtual reality headset could be difficult to buy at launch, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Thursday. Apple will only produce between 60,000 units and 80,000 units of the US$3,499 headset for the release Feb. 2, Kuo wrote on social media, and he predicts units could quickly sell out. For comparison, analysts say Apple usually ships about 225 million iPhones per year. The prediction from one of the top Apple supply chain analysts underscores how unusual and limited the launch of Apple’s first major product since the Apple Watch could be. Apple announced the headset last summer, and earlier this month, said preorders would start this month ahead of a U.S.-only release in February, suggesting a controlled and limited rollout. Apple didn’t hold a second launch event to discuss the product. http://tinyurl.com/mr4b2awe

Sony teased a ‘spatial’ VR headset with a smart control ring.

Sony is previewing a new “spatial content creation” system designed to let users edit and shape 3D models while wearing a virtual reality headset. The company showed off the headset along with a unique pair of controllers today during a presentation at CES 2024. The headset, which is powered by the Snapdragon XR2 Plus Gen 2 platform and outfitted with 4K OLED displays, isn’t primarily for gamers like PlayStation VR. Instead, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said that this new headset is made for professionals who work with 3D, allowing wearers to expand the “creation space by overlaying virtual objects into physical spaces.” The demo showed users manipulating virtual objects while using two controllers: a ring and a pointer that fits into your hand. http://tinyurl.com/4xeraps7

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

Netflix Games gains traction with installs up 180% year-over-year in 2023, thanks to GTA and others.

Just over two years ago, Netflix announced it would enter a new business: gaming. Amid a mobile gaming market dominated by free-to-play and ad-supported business models, Netflix’s plan was to make its games free without ads or in-app purchases. The gambit may now be starting to pay off. In 2023, Netflix Games downloads increased by over 180% year-over-year, according to estimates from market intelligence firm Sensor Tower. In total, the games have been downloaded 81.2 million times worldwide across the App Store and Google Play in 2023, with the fourth quarter accounting for around 53% of those downloads. That’s up from 36% of Netflix’s 2022 game downloads being driven by fourth-quarter installs, the data indicates. In 2022, Netflix games were downloaded 28.7 million times, and in 2021, 5.2 million times, Sensor Tower estimates. http://tinyurl.com/58rmt54x

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

First Bitcoin ETFs approved by US regulators.

Fifteen years after the genesis block was mined (and after one false announcement), the US Securities and Exchange Commission approved Bitcoin exchange-traded funds. Bitcoin has fully joined the financial system it was built to challenge. The decision will make 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs available to investors, such as those from Grayscale, Fidelity, BlackRock, and more. For the last 10 years, the SEC has denied every attempt to create a Bitcoin ETF, which is a bundle of assets that sort of works like a mutual fund. Unlike a mutual fund, though, these vehicles trade on exchanges, where stock market participants can easily buy and sell them. That’s crucial here — it means, basically, you can invest in Bitcoin without the bother of setting up your own wallet. That might be enough for certain kinds of investors who’ve been sitting on the sidelines to take the plunge into cryptocurrency. Crypto investors have been frothing about this — because in order to back their funds, the companies that issue ETFs will have to buy matching amounts of Bitcoin. http://tinyurl.com/2p9yam3v

US bitcoin ETFs see US$4.6 billion in volume in first day of trading.

U.S.-listed bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) saw $4.6 billion worth of shares trade hands as of Thursday afternoon, according to LSEG data, as investors jumped into the landmark products approved by the U.S. securities regulator on Wednesday. The products mark a watershed moment for the cryptocurrency industry that will test whether digital assets – still viewed by many professionals as risky – can gain broader acceptance as an investment. http://tinyurl.com/2ebex6n4

Carta ends secondary trading services after founder outcry.

Carta said late Monday it was closing a part of its business under fire for improperly using private customer data. CEO and co-founder Henry Ward said the company was closing the unit that facilitates buying and selling private startup shares to quash any perception that it used data from the other, larger part of its business—helping startups manage their investors, or cap tables—to generate leads for so-called secondary trading. “Because we have the data, if we are trading secondaries, people will always worry that we are using the data, even if we are not,” wrote Ward in a post on Medium. The closure follows Ward’s acknowledgement Sunday that the company had experienced an internal policy violation affecting three clients. On Friday, Karri Saarinen, the co-founder and CEO of Linear, which used Carta to manage its equity stakes, accused the company of approaching its investors about selling their Linear shares without Linear’s knowledge or approval. The episode threatened Carta’s trust with startups, which closely guard information on their private stock ownership. Ward said that its cap table business generates about US$250 million a year in revenue while fund administration generates another US$100 million. Its secondary trading business only generated US$3 million a year. The decision marks a defeat for Ward, who co-founded Carta a decade ago as eShares with the vision of creating a “Nasdaq for private markets” to help starup employees and angel investors cash out their shares. “It is my greatest failure and disappointment,” he wrote. Axios first reported on the decision. http://tinyurl.com/3jav5p3n


TSMC halts sales declines after AI demand offsets chip malaise.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s fourth-quarter revenue beat estimates of a decline, as demand from artificial intelligence players helped offset sluggish smartphone and laptop chip sales. Hsinchu-based TSMC, the main chipmaker to Apple Inc. and Nvidia Corp., reported December sales of NT$176.3 billion (US$5.7 billion), completing a NT$625.5 billion quarter. That matched earnings from the same period a year earlier, which was among TSMC’s highest quarterly results. The average analyst estimate for sales over the last three months was NT$616.2 billion. http://tinyurl.com/4h9mr7bd

Chinese companies resort to repurposing Nvidia gaming chips for AI.

Chinese companies are resorting to chips repurposed from standard PC gaming products to develop artificial intelligence tools, after Washington blocked US exports of high-performance processors. Thousands of Nvidia gaming graphics cards are being stripped of their core components in factories and workshops every month, before being installed on new circuit boards, according to two factory managers and two chip buyers familiar with the situation. Industry experts said the repurposing of chips from cards designed to be slotted into consumer PC motherboards to improve gaming graphics amounted to a rough workaround to tackle the lack of high-end processors in China. While Nvidia’s gamer-focused products have raw computing power, they are not as capable in the high-precision calculations needed for training some large language models with bigger data sets. Due to the limits of interconnection speeds between chips, it is also challenging to overcome this by simply grouping more chips in computing clusters. https://archive.is/WshGn


Honda teases new EVs with futuristic ‘Space-Hub’ and ‘Saloon’ concept cars.

Honda Motor revealed two concept cars Tuesday at the CES tech conference as a preview for a new lineup of electrified vehicles that will begin arriving in North America in 2026. The concept models are called the “Space-Hub” and “Saloon,” which the first production “Honda 0 Series” EV will be based on, according to the Japanese automaker. Honda says the new “0 Series” of vehicles are being developed under three core principles: “Thin, light and wise.” Honda plans to introduce the first model of the Honda 0 Series based on the Saloon concept in North America, followed by model introductions in Japan, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and South America. http://tinyurl.com/2xt9yp7d

Global electric car sales rose 31% in 2023.

Global sales of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) rose 31% in 2023, down from 60% growth in 2022, according to market research firm Rho Motion. “The pace of growth is slowing, but that’s what’s expected in growing markets like this,” Rho Motion data manager Charles Lester told Reuters. “You can’t double every year.” Lester said global EV sales last year were largely in line with the 30% growth Rho Motion had forecast. For 2024, the firm forecasts global EV sales growth of between 25% and 30%. Sales in December hit a monthly record of 1.5 million units, Rho Motion said. Fully electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for 9.5 million out of the 13.6 million EVs sold around the world in 2023, with PHEVs accounting for the rest. After years of accelerating growth, some automakers fear electric car sales in Europe and elsewhere could be heading for slowing demand as drivers wait for better, smaller and cheaper models that are two to three years down the road. http://tinyurl.com/mpntfck7

Hertz is selling 20,000 EVs and replacing them with gas cars.

Hertz is selling off a third of its electric vehicle fleet, which is predominantly made up of Teslas, and will buy gas cars with some of the money it makes from the sales. The company cited lower demand for EVs and higher-than-expected repair costs as reasons for the decision. The sell-off began last month and will continue through 2024. As some electric vehicle-focused blogs have noted, they’re being sold at steep discounts. The company said in a Thursday morning filing that it is recognizing “approximately US$245 million of incremental net depreciation expense related to the sale,” which is a dry way of saying it’s taking a bath on the decision. Hertz told shareholders that it believes it will be able to make up that loss in the coming years. Hertz’s move to slash its EV fleet comes as electric vehicle sales growth has cooled from record highs. The news also follows recent comments from Hertz’s global CEO Stephen Scherr about how the rental giant was dealing with high repair costs — in part because many of the Teslas were being used by Uber drivers — and dramatic depreciation thanks to Tesla’s drastic price cuts. Just two years ago, Hertz announced plans to buy 100,000 EVs from Tesla by the end of 2022. http://tinyurl.com/33bcphu3

Sophic Capital Client Insights

Sophic Client Xcyte Digital (XCYT-TSXV): An Xcyte-ing company hosting virtual events.

This report explores companies targeting the lucrative virtual events and VRE industries. We also profile Sophic Capital client Xcyte Digital Corp., an innovative event technology aggregator and developer leveraging spatial computing and artificial intelligence to provide a high value, cost effective, multi-platform subscription service for all virtual event needs. We believe that Xcyte is positioned to become the leader in this sector. http://tinyurl.com/5n75p6hp


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Forward-looking statements are based on opinions and assumptions as of the date made, and are subject to a variety of risks and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward looking statements. There can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct; these statements are no guarantee of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Sophic provides no assurance as to future results, performance, or achievements and no representations are made that actual results achieved will be as indicated in the forward looking information. Nothing herein can be assumed or predicted, and you are strongly encouraged to learn more and seek independent advice before relying on any information presented.