What You Need To Know Ahead Of Oracle's Earnings Report
~2.2 mins read

Oracle (ORCL) is set to report earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024 after the bell on Tuesday, with investors watching for cloud infrastructure growth and strategy updates about sovereign artificial intelligence (AI).

Analysts project Oracle's revenue to be $14.57 billion for the final quarter of fiscal 2024, up from the previous quarter and the same period in fiscal 2023, according to estimates compiled by Visible Alpha.

Net income is expected to be $3.33 billion, up from the quarter prior, and roughly flat from the year-ago period. Analysts anticipate diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.18, up from 85 cents the previous quarter and compared to $1.19 a year earlier.

Oracle reported in March that its cloud infrastructure drove the company's remaining performance obligations to a record high on strong demand in the AI era.

The company said that large new cloud infrastructure contracts fueled the record quarter, with Oracle CEO Safra Catz saying she expects Oracle will "continue receiving large contracts reserving cloud infrastructure capacity."

The CEO indicated that while demand for Oracle's "Gen2 AI infrastructure substantially exceeds supply," the company is "opening new and expanding existing cloud datacenters very, very rapidly."

Oracle could announce new cloud infrastructure customers and provide updates about how its existing contracts have evolved as customers adapt their AI strategies, especially as big tech companies announce increased capital expenditures to invest in AI.

Mizuho analysts said, "Oracle is not immune to macro concerns recently cited by enterprise software, but FQ4 consensus appears conservative and Oracle could exceed estimates driven by OCI momentum and strength in certain applications, offset by license weakness."

Oracle recently announced partnerships with companies leading AI innovation including Microsoft (MSFT) and Palantir Technologies (PLTR).

Through these partnerships, Oracle has been able to benefit from AI monetization through enterprise offerings. The company has also been able to focus on developing its edge to address key issues in the AI era like sovereign AI.

Oracle could be well-positioned to help governments, companies, and organizations that want to keep their AI sovereign, meaning they produce AI using their own infrastructure and data. AI sovereignty has come into focus amid data privacy concerns.

In its earnings call, Oracle could provide an update on how sovereign AI is benefiting the company and what makes Oracle stand out from others when organizations are looking to build sovereign AI systems.

Oracle shares have gained over 19% since the start of the year, at $125.92 as of Friday's close.

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S&P 500 Gains And Losses Today: Gold Miner Newmont Drops Along With Gold
~2.3 mins read

Major U.S. equities indexes moved lower on Friday after data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the economy added more jobs than expected in May.

Although the strong jobs report contradicted earlier indications of a potential economic slowdown, the surprising resilience in the labor market renewed doubts about when the Federal Reserve might move forward with interest rate cuts.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.1%, while the Dow and the Nasdaq ended the session 0.2% lower.

Shares of solar technology firm Enphase Energy (ENPH) tumbled 7.2%, suffering the steepest losses of any S&P 500 constituent, following the disclosure of a class action lawsuit filed against the company. The matter involves allegations of illegal business practices by officers or directors of the company related to inconsistencies in earnings and growth projections for the first quarter of 2023.

The price of gold dropped over 3% after the jobs report dampened hopes for interest rate cuts and as data showed that China's central bank did not purchase any bullion for its official reserves in May. The falling price of gold pressured shares of Newmont (NEM), the world's largest gold producer, which lost 5%. Shares of fellow miner Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) fell 3.9%.

Shares of agricultural chemical firm Corteva (CTVA) slipped 3.7%. Although the company recently launched a new herbicide to protect corn crops, Corteva posted year-over-year declines in sales and net income when it reported first-quarter earnings last month.

Shares of atmospheric gas distributor Air Products and Chemicals (APD) posted Friday's biggest gains in the S&P 500, jumping 3.7%. The strong performance came after the company signed a 15-year deal to provide green hydrogen to TotalEnergies (TTE) as the French oil and gas firm aims to reduce carbon emissions at its refineries in Europe.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) shares advanced 3.2% as the health care technology firm said it had received a CE Mark for its dual-chamber leadless pacemaker, clearing the company to begin sales of the device in Europe. The company expects the device, which received approval from U.S. regulators last year, to drive sales growth in its cardiac rhythm management segment.

3M (MMM) shares gained 2.7% after Bank of America upgraded the stock to "buy" and boosted its price target to $120 from $105. The upgrade represented a vote of confidence in the conglomerate's new CEO Bill Brown, with analysts highlighting his potential to accelerate growth by focusing on innovation and operating efficiency.

Shares of Capital One Financial (COF) were up 2.5% after the bank and credit card issuer announced a fraud-prevention partnership with payment processors Stripe and Adyen (ADYEY). The collaboration between the companies involves launching an open-source program called Direct Data Share that is designed to improve the accuracy of real-time authorization decisions for transactions, helping reduce losses related to fraud.

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Just In: P@nic As Aircraft Carrying Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima And Nine Others Goes Missing
~0.4 mins read

An aircraft carrying Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others has reportedly gone missing.

The Malawi Defense Force aircraft “went off the radar” after it left the nation’s capital, Lilongwe, on Monday, June 10, 2024.

This was disclosed in a statement by the secretary to the president and cabinet, Colleen Zamba.

Chilima was on his way to Mzuzu, where he was expected to connect to Nkhata Bay for the burial of the late Ralph Kasambala, a former Minister of Justice.

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3M Leads Gains On The Dow After Upgrade From BofA
~1.4 mins read

3M (MMM) was the best-performing stock on the Dow Jones Industrial Average Friday after Bank of America (BofA) upgraded the stock, citing optimism about the company's direction under new CEO Bill Brown.

BofA raised its rating on the consumer and commercial products giant to "buy" from "neutral," and lifted the stock's price target to $120 from $105.

The analysts wrote in a Friday note that they see Brown, who took over last month, as “refocusing the company on growth and operations.” They added that the change in leadership came “at an opportune time” because 3M has spent the last several years battling class-action lawsuits over so-called "forever chemicals" known as PFAS, and military earplugs. The company has moved to exit PFAS manufacturing and spin off its health-care unit.

The BofA analysts said that with major legal challenges for 3M settled and lower uncertainty about remaining lawsuits, “investors are likely to focus on improving operations, potential cyclical leverage, and inexpensive valuation even when adjusted for future legal liabilities.”

Analysts noted that in a video Q&A sent to 3M employees May 12, Brown “clearly stated that innovation driven organic growth and operating efficiency are his two top priorities.”

The analysts said the video message also showed Brown spent his first days at the helm visiting 3M’s manufacturing and research and development (R&D) facilities, “the two areas of the company which historically have been at the heart of 3M culture.”

3M shares closed 2.7% higher at $100.86 Friday, contributing to their over 10% gain since the start of the year.

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Reps Seek Rational Six-year Single Tenure For President, Governors
~1.1 mins read

A group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives are seeking alterations to the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for the rotation of the Presidency among the six geo-political zones of the country.

They also want an amendment to the Constitution to provide for “A single tenure of six years for the President and Governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The lawmakers led by Rep. Ikenga Ugochinyere (PDP-Imo), made the call at a press conference at the National Assembly in Abuja on Monday, June 10.

According to him, the reduction in government spending and wastage, efficiency in governance, and national stability by providing a single term of six years for the President and Governors will go a long way in cost-cutting measures.

“We want the creation of the office of two vice presidents from the southern and northern parts of Nigeria.

The 1st vice shall be a succession Vice president, while the 2nd Vice president shall be a Minister in charge of the Economy, and both shall be Ministers,” Ugochinyere said.

He said that the bill would seek to amend the relevant sections of the Electoral Act to ensure that all elections at both Federal and State levels were held on the same day among others.

The lawmaker said that the bill if become an Act, would ensure that all elections and election-related litigation were concluded within a period of six months.

“Ours is a commitment to building a united, stable, and prosperous nation. Nigeria can and must become a great and modern nation,” he said.

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Have You Exfoliated Lately?
~3.2 mins read

Exfoliation products arranged diagonally on a cream-colored background: brushes, pumice stones, rough-knit mitt, serums, lotions & more

Social media has a way of making the ho-hum seem fresh and novel. Case in point: exfoliation, the process of removing dead cells from the skin's outer layer. Anyone scrolling through TikTok lately might be convinced this longtime skin care approach can transform something old — let's say our aging epidermis — into like-new skin.

But a Harvard dermatologist says that's asking too much.

"I don't think exfoliation is going to fix anybody's wrinkles," says Rachel Reynolds, MD, interim chair of dermatology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. While exfoliation offers definite benefits, it can also irritate and inflame the skin if you don't do it carefully, or use tools or chemicals your skin doesn't tolerate.

How is exfoliation done?

There are two main ways to exfoliate: mechanical and chemical. Each boasts specific advantages.

  • Mechanical (or physical) exfoliation uses a tool such as a brush or loofah sponge, or a scrub containing abrasive particles, to physically remove dead skin cells. "Mechanical exfoliation can improve skin luster by taking off a dead layer of skin that can make it look dull," Dr. Reynolds says. "And it can help unclog pores a bit, which can reduce some types of acne."
  • Chemical exfoliation uses chemicals — often alpha and beta hydroxy acids or salicylic acid — to liquify dead skin cells. "Chemical exfoliants work on a more micro-level to help dissolve excess skin cells and reduce uneven pigmentation sitting at the surface of the skin," she explains. "They also restore skin glow, improve acne, and give the skin a little more shine."
  • Why do skin care products so often promote exfoliation?

    Perhaps hundreds of commercially available skin care products — from body washes to cleansers to face masks — are labeled as exfoliating, Dr. Reynolds notes. But she's skeptical about why such a wide array of items plug this feature so prominently.

    "It's advantageous for a cosmetics company to sell consumers more products in a skin care line," she says. "But it's buyer beware, because this is a completely unregulated market, and cosmetic companies can make claims that don't have to be substantiated in actual clinical trials."

    Do we need to exfoliate our skin?

    No. "Nothing happens if you don't exfoliate — you just walk around with bumpy or slightly dry skin, which is inconsequential except for cosmetic reasons," Dr. Reynolds says.

    "No one has to exfoliate, but it can be helpful to exfoliate the arms and legs," she adds. "As we age, these areas get more dry than other parts of the body, and people notice they build up a lot more flaking skin and an almost fish-scale appearance."

    That phenomenon may or may not be a sign of keratosis pilaris, a common but harmless skin condition characterized by rough, bumpy "chicken skin" on the upper arms and thighs. Physical exfoliators are a good first choice because keratosis pilaris covers areas that have tougher skin than the face, she says. But it's fine to use a cleanser or lotion containing a chemical exfoliant instead. Either type can improve skin texture and the skin's appearance.

    Can exfoliation harm our skin?

    Yes. Both physical and chemical exfoliation techniques can do more harm than good, depending on several factors. Sensitive skin is more likely to become irritated or inflamed by any exfoliant. And overdoing it — whether by rubbing too hard or using a product with higher concentrations of acid — can trigger irritant contact dermatitis, which can look red, angry, and chapped.

    "Physical exfoliation that's done too harshly can also aggravate inflammatory acne, making it worse," Dr. Reynolds says. "Also, exfoliating can make you more prone to sunburn."

    What are the safest ways to exfoliate?

    Dr. Reynolds recommends chemical exfoliants over physical versions. "Sometimes the abrasives in those apricot scrubs, for example, can go too far, aggravating the skin and creating inflammation," she says.

    She offers these additional tips to exfoliate safely:

  • If you haven't exfoliated before, start with a simple washcloth to determine how well your skin responds to mild attempts at physical exfoliation.
  • Then try gentler chemical exfoliants, such as lower concentrations of hydroxy acids or salicylic acid. Work your way up to stronger concentrations only if needed.
  • If you're hoping to eradicate stubborn skin problems such as melasma (brown facial patches) or comedonal acne (small, skin-colored bumps often on the forehead or chin), consider undergoing a chemical peel at a dermatologist's office.
  • Don't exfoliate every day. "At most, do it two or three times a week," Dr. Reynolds says. "Your skin needs to repair itself in between exfoliation episodes."

    Source: Harvard Health Publishing