5 Top Stories

Snapchat Ramps Up AI Spending

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Snapchat Ramps Up AI Spending

Social media app Snapchat [SNAP] wants to make its platform more appealing and plans to invest aggressively in artificial intelligence (AI), to the tune of $1.5bn a year, to deliver better advertising experiences. “There was a recognition that we’d fallen behind the curve on the machine learning side, which, to some degree, was reflected in the business performance,” CEO Evan Spiegel told Bloomberg.

Chinese EV Makers Slow to Pay Their Bills

Nio [NIO] and XPeng [XPEV] are taking longer than usual to pay their suppliers, at 295 and 211 days, respectively — compared with 101 days for Tesla [TSLA]. After slashing retail prices in Europe, Tesla is looking to attract European fleet buyers through discounts, reported Reuters. Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to unveil a plan to counteract China’s electric vehicle dominance.

AstraZeneca’s Singapore Manufacturing Plans

AstraZeneca [AZN] unveiled plans to build a $1.5bn manufacturing facility in Singapore. Scheduled to open in 2029, the plant will produce cancer-targeting antibody drugs. The move is likely part of the British-Swedish pharma giant’s plan to reduce its reliance on China for manufacturing, with CEO Pascal Soriot telling Bloomberg in March that “we are organising ourselves so that we can actually supply the US and Europe independently”.

Travel Tech Navan Eyes IPO

Travel tech firm Navan, worth a reported $9.2bn, is on track to achieve profitability this year, CEO and Co-founder Ariel Cohen told CNBC. Former Chief Revenue Officer Rich Liu, who the company called “an expert on scaling companies from seed to IPO and beyond”, has returned to lead subsidiary Navan Travel, raising the question of whether Navan will go public. The company isn’t far off from a stock listing, Cohen said; Business Insider reported that it is eyeing an April 2025 IPO.

Bezos-Backed Blue Origin Takes Flight

Blue Origin returned to the skies over the weekend after a hiatus following a mid-flight failure in September 2022 involving an unmanned research mission. Sunday’s launch carried six people and marked the seventh time the space firm backed by Amazon [AMZN] founder Jeff Bezos has taken people to the edge of space. It was also the 25th successful flight for the New Shephard reusable rocket programme.

The Inflation Picture Looks Brighter

The S&P 500 hit a record high last week on a strong US CPI reading. While the inflation picture remains uncertain, Kate Moore, Head of Thematic Strategy for the Global Allocation Team at BlackRock [BLK], told OPTO Sessions that equities have the potential to surge towards the end of the year. However, “six or seven months of warmer inflation prints” would likely be bad for sentiment, Moore warned.

Intuit AI Tools to Drive Q3 Earnings

Filing tax returns can be a headache. Intuit [INTU] launched a generative AI assistant at the end of last year to help make filing easier and answer other financial queries. The fintech firm expects to report strong revenue growth for Q3 when it delivers results on Thursday amid accelerating demand for its AI tools and its traditionally strong performance in the run up to the 15 April US tax deadline.

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