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5 Top Stories

Meta Wows; Apple Hikes; Xpeng’s Driver-Assist Plans.

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.

Meta Wows

Meta’s [META] hotly anticipated third quarter (Q3) earnings did not disappoint, with the firm reporting its largest quarterly revenue since it went public over 10 years ago. Sales were up 23% year-over-year to $34.1bn, and rose for the third straight quarter. The company attributed this growth to an uptick in advertising demand, as well as ongoing cost-cutting and AI developments. Elsewhere, Reuters reported that TikTok and YouTube are weighing joining Meta in applying for Indonesian e-commerce licenses.

Apple Hikes

Apple [AAPL] is to join rivals Netflix [NFLX] and Disney [DIS] in raising the cost of a subscription to its streaming service, Apple TV+, by $3 — a 40% hike. The iPhone maker has also announced an overhaul of its AirPods earphones, one of its top-selling products, as well as entry-level and pro models. New data from Canalys shows China iPhone sales dropped 6% year-over-year in Q3, in contrast to a 37% jump for Huawei models in the country.

Xpeng Plans Driver-Assist Launch in EU

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) frontrunner XPeng [9868.HK] has announced that it is on-track to roll out driver-assist technology in 50 Chinese cities by the end of 2023, and will launch the tech in Europe by the end of 2024, subject to regulatory approval. The day after California banned General Motors' [GM] Cruise from operating its driverless cars, Arizona’s transportation department said on Wednesday that it is closely monitoring the vehicles.

Stellantis Buys into EV Maker; Mercedes Flounders

In a deal worth $1.6bn, Stellantis [STLA] is to buy a 21% stake in Leapmotor [9863.HK], giving it access to the Chinese EV maker’s cutting-edge technology, as well as to the Chinese market. The Mercedes-Benz [MBG.DE] share price fell on Thursday after the company reported lower profit and revenue; Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm called the EV market a “pretty brutal space”, Reuters reported.

Merck’s Sales Beat

Merck [MRK.DE] on Thursday beat expectations with its Q3 sales and profit, largely thanks to demand for its Covid-19 treatment in Japan. Sales were at $15.96bn, up from 7% from the year-ago quarter, and above an average expectation $15.3bn, according to analysts polled by LSEG, formerly Refinitiv. Sales of cancer immunotherapy Keytruda were up 17% to $6.3bn — better than analysts’ expected $6.2bn from the treatment.

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