News

Qutoutiao Inc., a two-year-old Chinese content-aggregation app, filed for an U.S. initial public offering Friday afternoon. The company said it would seek $300 million by selling American depositary shares, though that number is typically a placeholder to determine fees and will be updated in later filings. Qutoutiao launched in June 2016 and claimed in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission to have 17.1 million users accessing the service daily and spending, on average, almost an hour -- 55.6 minutes -- on the app each day. The app, which translates to "fun headlines," brought in $108.5 million in the first half of 2018, almost all of it from advertising, which was more than the company collected in all of 2017, when it reported total revenue of $78.1 million. Losses also grew however, with Qutoutiao reporting a net loss of $77.7 million in the first half of this year after an annual net loss of $14.3 million in 2017. Qutoutiao would join a wave of Chinese mobile apps that have gone public on the U.S. markets in 2018, a list that includes iQiyi Inc. , Bilibili Inc. and Pinduoduo Inc. The company hopes to list its ADSs on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol QTT, and has enlisted Citigroup and Deutsche Bank Securities as underwriters.

Avista Healthcare Public Acquisition Corp. shares rose in the extended session Friday after the company said it planned to acquire Organogenesis Inc. Avista shares rose 5.4% after hours, following a 0.1% decline to finish the regular session at $10.11. The combined company is expected to have an enterprise value of about $673 million, and Organogenesis will trade under the ticker "ORGO" on the Nasdaq as a wholly owned subsidiary, Avista said. Avista said the deal will be funded through a combination of cash, stock and debt, and is expected to close by the end of the year. Canton, Mass.-based Organogenesis is a regenerative medicine company that makes products for wound treatment and surgery.

S&P Global Ratings on Friday lowered Turkey's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to 'B+' from 'BB-' with a stable outlook. "The downgrade reflects our expectation that the extreme volatility of the Turkish lira and the resulting projected sharp balance of payments adjustment will undermine Turkey's economy," said the ratings agency. S&P Global also projected the Turkish economy to sink into a recession in 2019 even as inflation accelerates to 22% in the next four months. The ratings agency also warned that the weaker lira is putting pressure on the highly indebted corporations and raised the funding risk for Turkey's banks. Moody's Investors Service also downgraded Turkey's sovereign rating to 'Ba3' from 'Ba2' and revised the outlook to negative. "The key driver for today's downgrade is the continuing weakening of Turkey's public institutions and the related reduction in the predictability of Turkish policy making," said Moody's. It cited escalating concerns over the independence of the country's central bank, and the absence of a "credible" plan to tackle the root causes of the current financial problems. "The tighter financial conditions and weaker exchange rate, associated with high and rising external financing risks, are likely to fuel inflation further and undermine growth, and the risk of a balance of payments crisis continues to rise," it warned. The Turkish lira retreated against the U.S. currency with the greenback buying 6.028 lira in recent action versus 5.8246 lira late Thursday in New York.

U.S. stock benchmarks Friday booked a second straight win, capping a volatile week in August that has been marked by jitters about contagion emanating from Turkey, and a resumption of negotiations between China and the U.S. to possibly end a protected tariff spat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 110 points, or 0.4%, at 25,669, while notching a weekly gain of 1.4%, the S&P 500 index finished the session up 0.3% at 2,850, registering a weekly climb of 0.6%. Meanwhile, the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.1% at 7,816 on the day, lagging behind its equity peers amid concerns about tech giants, including Tesla Inc. and chip makers Applied Materials Inc. and Nvidia Corp. , which both delivered quarterly results that failed to thrill investors and fueled some early weakness among semiconductor shares, as measured by the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF . The popular semiconductor, exchange-traded fund finished the session off 0.8%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq closed out the week 0.3% lower. Turkey's lira closed lower against the dollar, reversing some of the gains of the past few sessions, with the currencies gyrations sparking concerns about the health of emerging markets, while a report from the Wall Street Journal, indicates that Beijing and Washington are set to next week establish the groundwork for a series of talks that may end their testy trade dispute by November.

Facebook Inc. was sued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination. Facebook enables advertises to display ads either only to men or women, not show ads to Facebook users interested in an "assistance dog," "mobility scooter," "accessibility" or "deaf culture"; not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in "child care" or "parenting," or show ads only to users with children above a specified age; not display ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in a particular place of worship, religion or tenet, such as the "Christian Church," "Sikhism," "Hinduism," or the "Bible;" not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in "Latin America," "Canada," "Southeast Asia," "China," "Honduras," or "Somalia;" and draw a red line around zip codes and then not display ads to Facebook users who live in specific zip codes. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a statement of interest, joined in by HUD, in U.S. District Court on behalf of a number of private litigants challenging Facebook's advertising platform.

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