Market strategy by Swissquote Analysts

By Peter Rosenstreich

Swisscom said it is in advanced talks to buy Vodafone Group’s Italy business for 8 billion euros ($8.68 billion), weeks after the U.K. group turned down a bid from Xavier Niel’s Iliad Group. The Swiss telecommunications company said Wednesday that it plans to merge Vodafone Italia with its Italian subsidiary Fastweb, potentially shaking up one of Europe’s largest telecoms markets. Vodafone separately confirmed the talks. The company said that after speaking with several parties to explore market consolidation in Italy, it believes a deal with Swisscom delivers the best combination of value creation, upfront cash proceeds and transaction certainty for its shareholders.

By Peter Rosenstreich

Holcim achieved a record result last year and announces a major share buyback program for 2024. The Swiss building materials group, which is about to spin off its US business, increased its recurring EBIT by 14.7 percent to 4.76 billion Swiss francs, as it has now announced. The corresponding margin rose by 130 basis points to 17.6 percent. Nominally, sales fell by just under 1.2 billion francs to 27 billion francs.


Chevron warned investors that Exxon Mobil and China’s Cnooc are asserting they have a right to pre‑empt the company’s bid for a stake in a prolific oil project off Guyana, an emerging dispute that could derail Chevron’s megadeal for Hess. Chevron said in a regulatory filing that Exxon and Cnooc say they have the right to counter Chevron’s offer for Hess’s stake in the Guyana project, which Exxon operates and is one of the largest oil finds in years. Chevron warned investors it may not complete its purchase of Hess “within the time frame the company anticipates or at all.”


The rally in Berkshire Hathaway stock this year could stall after the company’s fourth‑quarter earnings report released on Saturday. The results beat expectations: Operating earnings per Class A share rose 30% to $5,881 in the fourth quarter, about 3% above the FactSet consensus. But the beat was smaller than in the third quarter, when earnings topped expectations by nearly 15%. Profits were lower in the fourth quarter at two of Berkshire’s key divisions ‑ Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, a freight transportation company, and Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which operates a group of electric utilities, natural gas pipelines, and a real estate brokerage business.

By Peter Rosenstreich

Mercedes‑Benz Group raised its dividend despite posting a decline for fourth‑quarter sales and net profit, and forecast lower earnings this year on geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty. The German luxury‑car maker said that net profit slipped 21.5% on year to 3.16 billion euros ($3.42 billion), as inflation and supply‑chain costs pressured the company’s bottom line. Analysts expected net profit to finish the quarter at EUR2.80 billion, according to Visible Alpha.

By Peter Rosenstreich

Nvidia’s fourth‑quarter results showed that massive spending to build artificial intelligence systems remains strong as the chip maker scrambles to meet demand. Chief Executive Jensen Huang described AI as hitting “the tipping point” and indicated demand for the computing power that underlies AI remained astronomical. “Demand is surging worldwide across companies, industries and nations,” he said. That demand showed up in the company’s results Wednesday. Sales more than tripled in the company’s fiscal fourth quarter from a year earlier and are projected to do so again in the current period.

By Peter Rosenstreich

Walmart said it reached a deal to buy television maker Vizio for $2.3 billion, a major bet by the retail behemoth that it can make advertising revenue a significant part of its future. The deal gives Walmart access to more opportunities to sell advertising through the TVs that Vizio manufactures, as well as create entertainment for shoppers, the retailer said. News of a potential deal between Walmart and Vizio was first reported by The Wall Street Journal last week, sending Vizio’s stock higher. Buying Vizio gives Walmart access to a TV operating system, granting it access to more space to sell ads and viewership data as it is working to grow its advertising business.

By Peter Rosenstreich

German pharmaceutical and life sciences major Bayer said it plans to amend its dividend policy to pay out the legally required minimum for three years. This follows a review of the company's capital allocation priorities to reduce debt. The change would result in a dividend of 0.11 euros per share for fiscal year 2023 compared to 2.40 euros per share paid in fiscal year 2022.


Nike said that it will reduce its workforce by about 2%, or more than 1,600 people, in a bid to cut costs. Nike Chief Executive John Donahoe said the company is using its resources to increase investment in categories like running, women's apparel and the Jordan brand, according to an employee memo. The cuts aren't expected to affect employees in stores and distribution centers or those in its innovation team.

By Mathieu VILLARD

Shares in Pernod Ricard jumped after the company confirmed its mid‑term outlook and posted first‑half sales that met expectations. The French distiller booked sales of 6.59 billion euros ($7.07 billion) for the six months to Dec. 31, an organic decline of 3% compared with the year‑ago period, but in line with Visible Alpha consensus.