5 Top Stories

Bitcoin ETFs Approved; EV Sales Slow; Netflix Ad Tier Thrives

Every day, we handpick the 5 Top Stories stock market investors need to know. In 5 minutes, you’ll learn the stocks, CEOs, and money managers moving markets.

Bitcoin ETFs Are (Finally) a Thing

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has approved bitcoin ETFs, but the long-awaited decision was met by a muted reaction on the part of the cryptocurrency itself, which largely held steady — although it has climbed 160% over the past 12 months. CNBC reported analysts’ fears that Coinbase [COIN], custody partner of many of the ETFs, may have little room to grow after a 400% surge in its share price in anticipation of the event.

EV Sales Growth Halves in 2023

New figures from Rho Motion show that growth in sales of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles slowed to 31% globally, down from 60% the previous year. But, as Rho Motion Data Manager Charles Lester told Reuters, “that's what's expected in growing markets like this”. Last year, Volkswagen’s [VWAGY] Audi sold 1.89 million units, just ahead of Tesla’s [TSLA] 1.81 million. Lastly, BYD’s [BYDDY] first chartered cargo ship is en route for Europe, where it is to deliver 7,000 vehicles.

Will Google Have to Pay its Fine to the EU?

Juliane Kokott, an Advocate General at the EU’s Court of Justice, has said that Alphabet’s [GOOGL] Google should lose its fight to avoid paying a €2.4bn fine, affirming on Thursday that the tech giant “was leveraging its dominant position on the market for general search services to favour its own comparison shopping service”. Elsewhere, Google announced on Wednesday that it is laying off hundreds of employees across its digital assistant, hardware and engineering teams.

Netflix Ad Tier Thrives

Launched in November 2022, Netflix’s [NFLX] ad-supported tier has hit more than 23 million global active users per month; of these, 85% “are streaming on the platform for more than two hours per day”, Advertising Chief Amy Reinhard told Variety at the CES conference. The streaming giant has been raising prices on its ad-free service, with a view to pushing subscribers to the ad-supported tier, where commercials constitute an additional revenue stream.

OpenAI Seeks to Licence Content

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft-backed [MSFT] OpenAI is in discussion with CNN, with a view to licensing its articles in order to use them to train ChatGPT; the artificial intelligence (AI) start-up is similarly in discussions with Fox [FOX] and Time. OpenAI is facing several lawsuits related to the alleged use of copyrighted works to train its AI products.

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