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HSBC Shares Rise 10% as Ping An Insurance Increases Stake to 8%

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HSBC Hong Kong shares rallied as its largest single stakeholder Ping An bought 10.8 million shares, increasing its stake to 8%.

Shares of HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE: HSBC) rallied on Monday in Hong Kong after its largest shareholder Ping An Insurance increased its stake. Ping An, the Chinese company, raised its HSBC stake from 7.95% to 8% despite the ongoing tension between Washington and Beijing.

Ping An revealed the new stock purchase in an exchange filing on the 25th of September. In addition, the Chinese firm said that its assets management arm bought 10.8 million of HSBC shares. Ping An has been a major stakeholder in HSBC since 2017.

Ping An Increases Stake in HSBC

Following Ping An’s stake increase, HSBC Hong Kong’s shares had its most significant intraday jump of 8.5% on Monday. Shortly after, the investment bank dropped to 7.8% during the midday trading break.

Currently, HSBC is up 9.55% to $19.84 in premarket trading. Apart from the recent addition fueled by the stake increase, the rising tension between Washington and Beijing has affected the British investment bank. With a current market capitalization of $73.32 billion, HSBC has lost $84 billion in market value this year.

Amidst other losses, HSBC’s shares dropped 8.9%, a 25-year low in the past week. The bank fell 52.68% over the past twelve months and 53.67% in 2020. Also, the company lost more than 23% in the last three months with a further decline of 16.27% in the past month. Recently, HSBC plunged nearly 3% over the last five days.

A Redburn analyst Fahed Kunwar noted that HSBC’s stock is the worst-performing among other banks in Europe:

“Something has changed in the way HSBC, the equity, is perceived. It should be outperforming, instead it is underperforming.”

Regardless of HSBC’s recent losses, its largest investor, Ping An Insurance, still shows much confidence in the company. Speaking to South China Morning Post, a Ping An spokesman commented on the purchase:

“All we have said previously is HSBC is a long-term investment.”

HSBC Before Stake Increase

Before now, shareholders found HSBC as a solid bet to invest. Retail investors also relied on the bank’s dividends to boost their retirement income. However, HSBC suspended its dividend in April. According to analysts, brokers, and investors, HSBC announced the suspension at its chief regulator’s request in the UK.

In contrast, Barclays (LON: BARC) and Lloyds Banking Group (LON: LLOY), which also suspended dividends, are outperforming HSBC. Lloyds Banking Group climbed nearly 8% over the past five days.

The founder of Surich Asset Manager in Hong Kong, Simon Yuen commented on the ongoing tension between the U.S. and Chinese governments.

“What is driving the share price? One of the major concerns is the uncertainty ahead, especially in times where the US and China [relationship] is growing quite tense.”

According to a report by South China Morning Post, Yuen further suggested that investment in HSBC should be on hold. Yuen advised investors against putting funds in the bank till after the U.S. presidential election on the 3rd of November.

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Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge.
When he’s not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.



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Tourism Industry to Adopt Crypto Payments as They ‘Will Really Matter for Travel’

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The list of tourism companies accepting crypto payments is constantly growing. You will find the names of tourism players currently transacting in crypto below.

It is quite difficult to name at least one sphere that has not been touched by blockchain. The impact of cryptocurrencies on our life has been inevitable, and now industries can not but accept this fact and think of ways to get deeper involved in crypto-related activity. One of the industries that have been recently adopting cryptocurrencies is tourism. Now, when travel companies are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, all of them are looking for ways to expand their activity and get back to pre-pandemic revenue. And cryptocurrencies can serve as a means of doing that. Therefore, the tourism industry is adopting crypto payments, with more and more travel providers warming to this idea.

According to many industry experts, cryptocurrency, first of all, appeals to younger generations of travelers. As Johannes Reck, CEO and co-founder of GetYourGuide, stated, cryptocurrency transactions “will really matter for travel”. He explained:

“People want to put their crypto back into the system [and] travel is one of the biggest categories there is. We take dogecoin now into the real world; you can apply it and actually get a real-world, kinetic experience.”

The list of tourism companies accepting crypto payments is constantly growing. You will find the names of tourism players currently transacting in crypto below.

Who Accepts Crypto Payments?

There are a lot of travel companies that allow you to purchase your plane ticket or hotel via Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies.

An American online travel agency that finds affordable rates for flights, hotels, and car rentals by searching through significantly more low-fare options that other websites might miss. CheapAir lets you pay with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin through BTCPayServer processor.

The world’s leading full-service online travel company was the first major travel organization to have payments in digital currency. It started accepting Bitcoin payments back in 2014. The cryptocurrency payment option was available until June 2018. Then, the company stopped it. However, Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS) partnered with crypto-friendly travel booking platform Travala.com. As a result, more than 700,000 Expedia Group hotels and accommodations became available via Travala.

Travala accepts several cryptocurrencies including BTC, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Binance Coin (BNB). It also distinguishes itself by hosting a native cryptocurrency on its platform, the AVA token. It incentivizes the use of the token with benefits such as discounts on your bookings, bonus rewards, and a loyalty program to foster a healthy internal economy.

Alternative Airlines is a website that offers over 600 global airlines that accept cryptocurrency payments for secure and verified transactions. You can complete your booking entirely through its website and find the best prices due to alternative flight options through small airline carriers in lesser-known regions.

Destinia allows you to use cryptos to book hotels, flights, cars, buses, trains, or even skiing trips in more than 90 different countries. This website also lets you enter your budget parameters and organize activities and locations to create thematic vacations ranging from festivals to honeymoons.

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Daria is an economic student interested in the development of modern technologies. She is eager to know as much as possible about cryptos as she believes they can change our view on finance and the world in general.



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Lloyds Banking Group Set to Acquire Embark for £390 Million as Q2 Pretax Profits Rise

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In line with the move, Lloyds increased its net new money target to around £40 billion in 2023.

British financial institution Lloyds Banking Group PLC is set to buy major WealthTech player Embark Group for £390 million. The UK banking giant will acquire £35 billion of assets under administration from the Dundee-based retirement solutions provider. The deal, which is Lloyds’ biggest since it returned to private ownership four years ago, will also see it inherit about 410,000 customers. However, Embark’s Rowanmoor SIPP and SSAS administration are excluded from the package deal and will be retained by existing shareholders.

Lloyds Banking Group’s Plans to Buy Embark

The newly acquired business consolidates Lloyds’ existing partnerships which caters to the more complex financial planning and investment requirements of mass-affluent and high net-worth customers. It currently provides this offering through Schroeders Personal Wealth and Cazenove. The banking group hopes to leverage the technology platform that Embark provides to increase its investment offerings using WealthTech. Under the arrangement, Embark will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Scottish Widows Group, with the acquisition expected to complete in the fourth quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

Lloyds 2021 Financial Numbers Against Past Results

On Thursday, Lloyds posted a 2.1 billion pound ($2.92 bn) pretax profit for the second quarter of 2021. This figure was substantially higher than the projected profit estimate of £1.23 billion for the said period, according to its compiled consensus. At the same time last year, the financial institution lost £676 million, considering the prevailing circumstances with the pandemic. In 2019, the British bank reported a profit of £1.29 billion for the same period.

In addition to its reported Q2 pretax profit for 2021, Lloyds also indicated impairments of £333 million, showing a recovering economy up from £323 million in the previous quarter. There was an increase in net income from £3.46 billion to £3.90 billion at the same time in 2020, and to £4.40 billion back in 2019. This was higher than the 3.69 billion pounds projected by the bank’s compiled consensus. Lloyds ended the period with a common equity Tier 1 ratio of 16.7%, a key measure of balance sheet strength. It also declared an interim dividend of 0.67 pence per share.

Lloyd’s WealthTech Ambitions With Embark

In line with the move, Lloyds increased its net new money target to around £40 billion in 2023. This is in line with its 2021 strategic review,  to reflect its increased growth and potential.

The new Lloyds arrangement will see Embark a new chief executive. The new CEO will be Widows Group managing director for pensions, stockbroking, and distribution, Jackie Leiper. Furthermore, Lloyds also intends to “work closely” with Embark’s existing asset management partners, BlackRock and Franklin Templeton. The banking group intends to a top-three position in different facets. These include direct-to-consumer, robo-advice, and self-directed businesses. 

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Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge.
When he’s not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.



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Volkswagen Reports Record First Half Earnings Encouraging Car Manufacturer to Raise Profit Margin Target

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Volkswagen posted first half earnings of $13.5 billion and now expects operating return on sales to go as high as 7.5%.

German automaker Volkswagen AG (XETRA: VOW) on Thursday, July 29, posted record first half sales of 11.4 billion euros ($13.5 billion) after experiencing a surge in demand for its products. The increased demand for premium cars in Europe and the Americas, and the tripling of electric car sales majorly contributed to the company’s sales volume. As a result, Volkswagen has now raised its projected profit margin target for the second time in three months. The company’s expected operating returns on sales is now between 6% and 7.5%. This is higher than the previously projected range between 5.5% and 7%.

The German car maker’s second-quarter deliveries were pegged at 2.55 million vehicles. This is an increase from the 1.89 million reported in the first half of 2020. Quarterly group sales revenue came in at 67.29 billion euros, up from 41.08 billion euros for the same period the year before. Furthermore, Volkswagen posted operating results before special items at 6.55 billion euros, up from -2.39 billion euros the previous year.

Volkswagen reports that it expects half of its sales in 2030 to battery-electric hybrids by 2030. It also stated that almost 100% of its new vehicles in major markets by 2040, will be zero-emission.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess is happy with the realized first half operating profit before special items. In a recent statement, he attributed this to “…clear proof of how strong our brands are and how attractive their products are.” Diess suggested double-digit returns in the premium division of the company as well as rising demand for electric cars. The recent report suggests remarkable growth, considering that only last year the automakers had to lower their delivery expectations amid growing uncertainty.

The Volkswagen First Half Earnings Aside

Despite the recent sales optimism, Volkswagen expects to brave a peculiar and ongoing industry issue: a shortage of semiconductors. These semiconductors, also called ‘chips,’ are highly integral to the manufacturing of cars. The crippling effects of COVID 19 and rising demand have created a deficit of these said ‘chips’ in the industry. An effect so severe that even Nissan CEO, Makoto Uchida, has weighed in on it. The Japanese automaker’s top exec expects his company to manufacture half a million fewer vehicles in 2021, as released in a statement. As it stands, there’s also a shortage of factories making the older, less advanced chips that used in cars.

Volkswagen believes that there will still be hurdles to overcome in the future. In its earnings report, the carmaker cited economic challenges of the supply chain variety that will arise from a recovering global economy. Other issues it expects to tackle head-on include an increase in competition intensity and volatile commodity and foreign exchange markets. Lastly, there is the obligation to produce ‘greener’ vehicles that emit less carbon in the face of stringent emissions-related requirements.  

Regarldess of the possible problems, the recent development is an improvement on the company’s situation exactly a year ago. At the time, the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected its sales volume.

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Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge.
When he’s not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.



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