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Discovery+ has more than 11 million subscribers after just one month

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Discovery+ has more than 11 million subscribers after just one month

Discovery said its new streaming service, Discovery+, has amassed over 11 million subscribers since it launched last month, even as cord-cutting and flat advertising revenue hit its business in the fourth quarter.

Chief Executive David Zaslav said Monday that Discovery — which owns HGTV, Food Network and TLC as well as Animal Planet and Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network — is “off to a promising start in 2021” led by the “successful launch of Discovery+.”

Zaslav said that the service, which costs $4.99 a month with ads and $6.99 without ads, is poised to hit 12 million subscribers by the end of February.

In its first report since Discovery+ launched, the company also reported that it posted flat revenue for the fourth quarter that totaled $2.89 billion and diluted earnings of 76 cents a share. Both the earnings and revenue figures topped Wall Street analysts’ forecasts of EPS of 72 cents on sales of $2.83 billion.

Shares of Discovery surged more than 7 percent to $54.45 in early trading Monday.

The company, which is the home of the hit reality show “90 Day Fiancé,” blamed sluggish advertising sales for the stall in total revenues, adding: “Advertising was flat as higher pricing and the continued monetization of content offerings on our next-generation platforms were offset by secular declines in the pay-TV ecosystem and lower ratings.”

Nonetheless, Discovery’s CEO was bullish about the year ahead, despite continuing headwinds related to the pandemic that dinged the company’s financial results last year.

 “Our unmatched global scale and ability to serve consumers everywhere with a truly differentiated offering across platforms … position us to achieve sustainable long-term growth and drive long-term shareholder value,” Zaslav said.

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Tech rebound pulls stocks out of a slump and to weekly gain

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Tech rebound pulls stocks out of a slump and to weekly gain

Wall Street ended sharply higher after a volatile session Friday, with the Nasdaq rebounding at the end of a week that saw it extend losses to about 10 percent from its previous record high.

All three main indexes bounced back from losses earlier in the day, with investors in recent sessions spooked by rising interest rates that offset optimism about an economic rebound.

Microsoft rallied 2.15 percent, boosting the S&P 500 more than any other stock, with gains in Alphabet, Apple and Oracle also lifting the index.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields hit a new one-year high of 1.626 percent after nonfarm payrolls increased by 379,000 jobs last month, blowing past a rise of 182,000 forecast by economists polled by Reuters.

Focus is also on a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill as a sharply divided U.S. Senate began what was expected to be a long debate over a slew of amendments on how that money would be spent.

The Nasdaq logged its third straight weekly decline after a recent spike in Treasury yields dented demand for high-flying technology stocks.

Rising interest rates disproportionately hurt high-growth tech companies because investors value them based on earnings expected years into the future, and high interest rates hurt the value of future earnings more than the value of earnings made in the short term.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq is around 8 percent below its Feb. 12 closing high.

Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said his firm in recent days has bought shares in a handful of growth companies whose prices have been pummeled in the recent selloff.

“Next week, I would expect volatility to continue, with pockets of opportunity, with certain things that sold off potentially rebounding,” Dollarhide said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.85 percent to end at 31,496.3 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.95 percent to 3,841.94.

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.55 percent to 12,920.15.

In a busy session, volume on U.S. exchanges was 17.4 billion shares, compared with the 15.3 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

For the week, the S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent, the Dow added 1.8 percent and the Nasdaq lost 2.1 percent.

In Friday’s session, the S&P 500 energy sector index surged 3.9 percent to over a one year high as oil prices soared.

Oracle jumped more than 6 percent after Barclays upgraded the business software maker to “overweight” expecting improvement in the IT spending environment.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.86-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.12-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 55 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 225 new highs and 134 new lows.

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Goldman Sachs reportedly set to make $200M off Texas storm

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Goldman Sachs reportedly set to make $200M off Texas storm

Traders at Goldman Sachs may reap huge profits from the winter storm last month that left many across Texas and other Southern states without electricity, clean water and heat, Bloomberg News reported Friday.

The Wall Street bank could make up to $200 million from the physical sale of power and natural gas and from financial hedges after spot prices jumped, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Goldman did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Bloomberg reported that while the bank could make $200 million on paper, the actual profits collected are likely to be less, as regulators and consumers intervene with legal challenges in the aftermath of the energy crisis and some companies go bankrupt.

Bank of America also stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars from trades related to Texas’ energy market, the Financial Times reported Friday.

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Twitter explores ‘undo send’ feature for paying users

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Twitter explores 'undo send' feature for paying users

Twitter is testing an “undo send” function that would give users a short time to withdraw a tweet before it is posted, the company confirmed Friday.

App researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who discovers unannounced social media features by looking at the sites’ code, tweeted an animation showing a tweet with a spelling error where an ‘undo’ button was available before a short timer ran out.

A Twitter spokeswoman said the feature was being tested as part of the company’s exploration of how subscriptions could work on the platform. She said Twitter would be testing and iterating possible paid-for features over time.

Twitter has said it is working on paid subscription models, which would reduce its dependence on ad revenue, including a “super follow” feature to let users charge their followers for access to exclusive content which will launch this year.

CEO Jack Dorsey has previously said the site would likely never have an “edit button,” a feature users have long sought.

But Twitter has been introducing more prompts as users send tweets such as asking them if they want to read an article before sharing it, and experimenting with allowing people to revise a tweet reply before it is published if it uses harmful language.

The company reportedly included a possible “undo send” feature in a user survey last year asking which features people would like to have available through a subscription model.

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