Bernstein sees AI boosting restaurants including Yum! Brands and Chipotle
By Sam Boughedda
Bernstein analysts told investors in a note Tuesday that artificial intelligence (AI) will find its place in the restaurants ecosystem, favoring companies such as Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG).
The analysts explained that the industry has lagged behind others in tech innovation due to low margins, misalignment of incentives between franchisees and franchisors, and relatively low labor costs.
However, "today profitability pressures and reduced gap between labor cost and tech costs are inducing restaurants to look for long-term solutions to restore their profitability," the analysts wrote. "We believe AI will finally find its place in the restaurants' ecosystem."
They believe multiple use cases are arising with this increased focus. "We believe that 1) Self service kiosks and 2) Drive thru automation, and 3) AI-led order accuracy detection systems have the highest potential in the restaurant industry, as we expect them to scale faster and generate more meaningful EBIT impact," analysts added.
Bernstein expects AI to increase the competitive advantages of restaurants with digital culture, with analysts naming Yum! Brands and Chipotle as two that stand out.
"We believe that the secret sauce for digital success is creating a digital culture that permeates all levels of the organization and that is consistent over time," they said. "We have also high expectations on Domino's, but we look forward to further signs of restoring their leadership innovation."
2023-03-28 22:40:00 Come from : Investing.com
U.S. consumer confidence rises in March
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly increased in March, but Americans are becoming a bit anxious about the labor market, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 104.2 this month from a reading of 103.4 in February. The cutoff date for the survey was March 20, about 10 days after the failure of two regional banks. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index at 101.0.
"The gain reflects an improved outlook for consumers under 55 years of age and for households earning $50,000 and over," said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of Economics at The Conference Board.
The share of consumers viewing jobs as "plentiful" fell, while the proportion saying jobs were "not so plentiful" rose. Consumers' 12-month inflation expectations rose to 6.3% from 6.2% last month.
(This story has been corrected to fix the month on the headline to March from February)
(Reporiting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
2023-03-28 22:36:00 Come from : Reuters
TIM's grid suitors studying bid improvements, sources says
By Elvira Pollina
MILAN (Reuters) - Suitors for Telecom Italia (BIT:TLIT)'s network are studying potential improvements to their rival multi-billion euro bids for the former phone monopoly's grid after they received additional information on the asset, sources said on Tuesday.
The sale of the grid is a key plank of CEO Pietro Labriola's plan to revamp Telecom Italia (TIM) and cut its debt pile of 25 billion euros ($27.1 billion).
The TIM board this month mandated Labriola to start a formal bidding process and seek improved offers from Italian state lender CDP and Macquarie, as well as from rival suitor KKR by April 18.
TIM provided both sides with additional data over its network business last Friday and the contenders have started a re-assessment of their initial offers, the sources added.
CDP, which owns a 10% stake in TIM, initially offered some 18 billion euros including debt, as part of a plan to combine TIM's network assets with those of TIM's smaller rival Open Fiber, sources have said.
CDP and Macquarie are both investors in Open Fiber.
KKR, which already owns a minority stake in TIM's fixed network, offered 20 billion euros, including a 2 billion euros earnout mechanism, according to sources familiar with the matter.
VIVENDI WANTS MORE
Both initial rival offers valued TIM's prized network assets at least 10 billion euros below a 31 billion price tag set by TIM's top investor Vivendi (OTC:VIVHY), sources have previously said.
French media group Vivendi, which quit the board in January after a round of fruitless talks with the government over the future of TIM, has heavy reservations over the bidding process, according to separate sources.
The French group, which owns a 24% stake in TIM and whose support could be key for any network deal to go through, does not believe a new round of offers would close the valuation gap, those sources added.
Vivendi is pushing to negotiate with the Italian government an alternative solution for TIM, aimed at taking the phone group private as part of a division of its assets.
Rome has 'golden powers' it can use to fend off unwanted interest in TIM's network, an asset it regards as of national strategic importance.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's administration has repeatedly said it wants to secure public control of TIM's grid. ($1 = 0.9240 euros)
2023-03-28 22:31:00 Come from : Reuters
Oscar Health surges after ex-Aetna boss Mark Bertolini named as CEO
By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com -- Shares in Oscar Health Inc (NYSE:OSCR) climbed by more than 63% on Tuesday after the U.S.-based health insurance company named former Aetna chairman Mark Bertolini as its new chief executive officer.
In a statement, the group said Bertolini will start in his new position on April 3. He will replace co-founder Mario Schlosser, who will become president of technology and lead a push to develop Oscar's tech platform.
Previously, Bertolini helmed health insurance giant Aetna, where he oversaw the sale of the business to CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) for nearly $70 billion.
“Oscar Health is an established challenger brand in the healthcare industry, pushing the boundaries of how insurance operates and delivers for members,” said Mr. Bertolini.
Alphabet-backed Oscar Health allows patients to use its mobile app to fulfill a number of health-related services like scheduling physician visits and checking lab results. The group saw a burst of customer demand after the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, as more people looked for remote healthcare options.
Shares in Oscar Health, which had their stock market debut in March 2021, have slipped by 62% over the past one-year period.
2023-03-28 22:29:00 Come from : Investing.com
Saudi Arabia stocks higher at close of trade; Tadawul All Share up 0.04%
Investing.com – Saudi Arabia stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Building & Construction, Hotels & Tourism and Insurance sectors led shares higher.
At the close in Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All Share rose 0.04%.
The best performers of the session on the Tadawul All Share were Takween Advanced Industries (TADAWUL:1201), which rose 9.98% or 0.86 points to trade at 9.48 at the close. Meanwhile, National Metal Manufacturing Co. (TADAWUL:2220) added 9.98% or 1.70 points to end at 18.74 and Middle East Specialized Cables Co (TADAWUL:2370) was up 9.94% or 1.02 points to 11.28 in late trade.
The worst performers of the session were Al Kathiri Holding Co (TADAWUL:3008), which fell 2.95% or 1.80 points to trade at 59.30 at the close. Riyadh Cables Group Company CJSC (TADAWUL:4142) declined 2.86% or 1.50 points to end at 51.00 and Tihama Advertising&Public Relations (TADAWUL:4070) was down 2.84% or 1.90 points to 65.10.
Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange by 174 to 78 and 16 ended unchanged.
Crude oil for May delivery was up 0.58% or 0.42 to $73.23 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in June rose 0.44% or 0.34 to hit $78.10 a barrel, while the June Gold Futures contract rose 0.45% or 8.90 to trade at $1,980.40 a troy ounce.
EUR/SAR was up 0.24% to 4.06, while USD/SAR unchanged 0.01% to 3.76.
The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.21% at 102.31.
2023-03-28 22:15:00 Come from : Investing.com
L'Oreal defeats U.S. woman's lawsuit over 'Paris' product labels
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A judge dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit accusing L'Oreal SA of tricking American shoppers into overpaying for its beauty products by making them believe the products came from France.
In a decision on Monday, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan said L'Oreal's referring to "Paris" and sprinkling French words on packaging would not deceive reasonable consumers about where its shampoo, mascara and other products came from.
The plaintiff, Veronica Eshelby, claimed she had not noticed the fine print before learning that the products she bought were manufactured in L'Oreal's factory in North Little Rock, Arkansas, or elsewhere in the United States and Canada.
Torres said the case was similar to dismissed lawsuits over references to "Hawaiian" and "Jamaican" on product packaging.
She also said reasonable consumers would understand that "Paris" was part of the brand name "L'Oreal Paris." L'Oreal is based in Clichy, France, a Paris suburb.
"The front label is not so misleading that a reasonable consumer who cared about the country of manufacture should not be expected to look at the full packaging for a disclaimer, which was clearly and correctly provided," Torres wrote.
Eshelby lives in Orange County, California. Her lawyers did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests for comment.
Companies are periodically sued over their products' origins in U.S. courts.
In 2015, Anheuser-Busch offered refunds to settle a Florida lawsuit claiming it misled consumers into thinking its Beck's beer was brewed in Germany, not St. Louis, Missouri.
The case is Eshelby v. L'Oreal USA Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-01396.
2023-03-28 22:13:00 Come from : Reuters
Former Americanas bosses created difficulties in information disclosure, Rial says
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The former CEO of bankrupt Brazilian retailer Americanas said on Tuesday the firm's previous management had created difficulties in the disclosure of information about its situation and the succession process. Sergio Rial, who led the firm for less than two weeks before resigning after it unveiled accounting inconsistencies of about 20 billion reais ($3.9 billion), was speaking in a Senate hearing about the retailer's crisis.
Current Americanas CEO, Leonardo Coelho Pereira, and the president of Brazil's banks federation Febraban, Isaac Ferreira, also attended.
"I was extracting the day-to-day information drop by drop. There was no willingness to explain how this happened," Rial told the Senate economic affairs committee, referring to the accounting problems that led the firm to file for bankruptcy protection in January. According to Rial, previous chief executive Miguel Gutierrez did not want him to attend a year-end management meeting. "The information was very controlled by him and his board," Rial told the senators.
"Until December 26 it was not known prospectively what the result of Americanas would be in 2022 ... to this day it is not known," he added. Last week, Americanas postponed indefinitely its fourth-quarter of 2022 earnings report, initially scheduled for Wednesday.
($1 = 5.1897 reais)
2023-03-28 22:13:00 Come from : Reuters
U.S. stocks mixed as rising yields pressure tech sector
By Liz Moyer
Investing.com -- U.S. stocks were mixed as Treasury yields were on the rise, pressuring growth stocks and big tech.
At 9:42 ET (13:42 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 15 points or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 was down 0.2% and the NASDAQ Composite was down 0.7%.
The yield on the 2-year Treasury rose above 4% to 4.017%, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury was 3.556%. Investors are less worried about the banking sector after the weekend deal by Raleigh, N.C.-based First Citizens BancShares Inc (NASDAQ:FCNCA) to buy parts of the failed Silicon Valley Bank.
The news lifted bank stocks on Monday and fueled gains for the Dow.
Futures traders now see an even chance of the Federal Reserve lifting interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point or leaving them unchanged when it meets in May.
Later today, Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr is scheduled to appear in the Senate to testify in the first of several hearings about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd ADR (NYSE:BABA) shares rose 10% after the Chinese e-commerce firm said it plans to split into six units covering e-commerce, media and the cloud. Each unit will have the ability to raise funding and go public, the company said.
Shares of ride-hailing firm LYFT Inc (NASDAQ:LYFT) rose 6% after it said its co-founders would step away from day-to-day management and former Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) executive David Risher would be its new CEO.
Oil was mixed. Crude Oil WTI Futures were flat at $72.78 a barrel, while Brent Oil Futures crude was down 0.2% to $77.66 a barrel. Gold Futures were up 0.6% to $1982.
2023-03-28 21:49:00 Come from : Investing.com
Ocado says Kroger committed to build more warehouses despite roll-out slowdown
LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. supermarket group Kroger (NYSE:KR) Co is committed to building more automated warehouses in partnership with British online grocer and technology group Ocado (LON:OCDO), despite slowing a roll-out of sites, Ocado CEO Tim Steiner said on Tuesday.
Ocado struck a deal with Kroger in 2018 to help the U.S firm ratchet up its delivery business with the construction of robotically operated warehouses.
The initial deal saw Kroger identify 20 sites to build automated warehouses, or customer fulfilment centres (CFCs) as Ocado calls them, in the United States.
Kroger is currently live with eight sites, with 16 ordered so far.
"They are committed to building more, they just want to make those (existing) ones work as well as they can before they roll out loads – very sensible thing to do," Steiner told reporters.
He said Kroger remained "extremely positive" about the relationship, noting he visited the firm last week and will again in two weeks' time.
"They expect to have loads of these warehouses. But when you do something new, you need to make it work really well before you scale it up massively," he added.
Steiner was talking after Ocado Retail - Ocado Group 's online supermarket joint venture with Marks & Spencer (OTC:MAKSY) - reported first-quarter results.
While during the pandemic Ocado Retail didn't have enough capacity to meet consumer demand in the UK, it currently has surplus capacity, which represents a cost to the business in the short term.
In November, the planned build in Ocado's 2024-25 financial year of two new automated warehouses in the northwest and southeast of England was "paused", reflecting "a more prudent and disciplined approach to capacity roll-out".
Online grocery's share of the total grocery market in Britain was about 7% before COVID-19. It peaked at about 15% during the pandemic and has since come off to about 11%.
Steiner said last month he is convinced online penetration of the UK's grocery market will increase from the current level.
Shares in Ocado Group were down 4.6% in afternoon trading, extending losses over the last year to 60.4%.
2023-03-28 21:46:00 Come from : Reuters