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Microsoft’s Tax Tango with IRS: Wall Street’s Newest Dance Craze!

In the world of tech and taxes, Microsoft is making headlines for a dance-off with the IRS that’s got Wall Street raising an eyebrow. After the closing bell, Microsoft’s stock (NASDAQ:MSFT) did a minor dip, probably more of a polite nod, really, at -0.4%, as news broke that the taxman is knocking on Redmond’s door, demanding a whopping $28.9 billion in back taxes, plus a sprinkling of penalties and interest for good measure.

Now, it seems the taxman’s time machine only goes back to 2004-2013, which coincidentally is when cargo shorts were in fashion and flip phones were all the rage. Microsoft, on the other hand, has updated its corporate wardrobe and practices since then. They’re basically saying, “IRS, those issues are so last decade, we’ve moved on.” They’re treating this whole situation like a retro fashion faux pas.

In response, Microsoft is channeling its inner superhero, shouting “Avengers, assemble!” to assemble a team of lawyers and accountants to dispute these tax claims. They’re ready for a tax showdown that could take years, with appeals and counter-arguments that might make even the most ardent tax nerds’ heads spin. They’ve got a pretty solid record of U.S. tax payments, boasting over $67 billion in contributions to the national coffers since 2004. If this were a poker game, they’d be flashing a royal flush, saying, “Look, we’ve been paying up.”

At the heart of this tax tango is a dispute about how Microsoft spreads the wealth across different regions. It’s like a global game of “Who Gets the Biggest Slice of the Pie?” But Microsoft’s explanation is simple: it’s all about fair play and global harmony. They’re talking about something called “transfer pricing” and “IRS-approved cost-sharing regulations.” These terms might sound like financial lingo for rocket science, but they’re just ways to say, “Hey, we’re sharing the profits where it makes sense.”

In the end, Microsoft is extending an olive branch to the IRS, saying, “Let’s chat and find a middle ground, like two reasonable adults.” They’re hoping to settle this tax squabble over a cup of virtual coffee in the next few years. And by the latest quarterly report, they’re pretty chill about the whole situation, believing they’ve got enough funds set aside for this tax rollercoaster. So, let’s see if Microsoft can dance its way out of this tax tango and keep its shareholders grooving to the beat.

Stock Market Today: Dow ends higher as focus shifts to consumer inflation data

The Dow closed higher Wednesday, shrugging off data pointing to an uptick in the pace of inflation as investor focus shifted to consumer inflation data for September that will likely seal the Federal Reserve’s decision on whether to stand pat on rate hikes next month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2%, 65 points, Nasdaq gained 0.7%, and the S&P 500 rose 0.4%.

Wholesale inflation comes in hot; consumer inflation up next

Producer price inflation surprised to upside on the Wednesday, but that was largely brushed aside with just a day to until the September consumer inflation report.

The consumer price index is expected to have slowed to 0.3% in September, while the core measure, which excludes food and energy and is more closely watched by the Fed, is forecast to have remained steady at a 0.3% pace.

“We forecast that headline CPI rose by 0.32% in September, down from August, as a lower acceleration in energy prices brings down headline CPI,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Fed members backed future hike at September meeting

The Fed’s minutes from its September meeting, released Wednesday, showed that most Fed members were backing one more rate hike.

The minutes, however, were deemed to be stale on arrival as many Fed members now appear to have shifted to a dovish tone since September following the recent surge in Treasury yields.

Exxon Mobil agrees to acquire Pioneer Natural Resources for $59.5 billion

Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM) fell more than 3% after the oil and gas giant agreed to buy Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) in all-stock $59.5 billion deal.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2024, is expected to boost Exxon Mobil’s total upstream production “to more than 5 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2027,” Goldman Sachs says, and boost the combined entity’s operating cash flow and free cash flow in 2024.

Birkenstock disappoints on stock market debut

Birkenstock Holding (NYSE:BIRK) fell 12% on its stock market debut to end the day at $40.20, below its opening price of $41 a share and IPO price of $46 a share.

Plug Power surges after touting higher growth

Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) said it expects revenue to jump to $6 billion by 2027 and $20 billion by 2030. That would represent a marked increase from its current rate, with revenue for 2023 expecting to come in at about $1.2 billion.

Sentiment on Plug Power has also been boosted by growing optimism for deal wins as the battery power company is believed to be in the running to win funding for hydrogen projects that are expected to be announced by President Biden this week.

Tempest Therapeutics takes flight investors cheer positive liver cancer treatment study update

Tempest Therapeutics (NASDAQ:TPST) surged 1000% after an updated trial of its combination therapy to potentially treat patients with liver cancer showed improved results from an earlier study, when compared with the standard of care.


Strike at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant Escalates Ongoing Contract Dispute

In a surprising turn of events, 8,700 United Auto Workers (UAW) members at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant have launched a strike, intensifying the contract dispute that has held the Detroit Three automakers in its grip for the past four weeks. UAW alleges that the strike was triggered by Ford’s unwillingness to budge during contract negotiations, adding fuel to an already high-stakes labor battle.

Ford, the second-largest automaker in the U.S., pulled no punches in its response, condemning the strike as “grossly irresponsible.” The company went further, accusing UAW leadership of pursuing a strategy designed to inflict “reputational damage” and “industrial chaos.” As tensions soar and the strike impacts Ford’s largest and highly lucrative plant, experts are taking note of the abrupt shift in the dispute’s dynamics.

Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley, emphasized the disruptive nature of the situation due to the strike’s sudden onset and highlighted its economic repercussions. With UAW members picketing at the Kentucky Truck Plant, pressure on both sides of the dispute has reached a new level.

Liontown & Albemarle’s Extended Courtship in Lithium Love Story

Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) and Albemarle Corp. (NYSE:ALB) are the talk of the town as they extend the exclusive due diligence period for their lithium merger by a week. What was initially a four-week whirlwind romance has now added a little extra spark. Albemarle, the suitor in this tale, is almost ready to put a ring on it, but they need just a smidge more time to make sure their happily-ever-after deal is sealed with a kiss.

Liontown, the sought-after belle in this lithium ball, is clearly smitten by Albemarle’s charms, as they’ve been giving their full-hearted support to the union. This love story is worth a whopping A$6.6 billion, or $4.23 billion for those who like to count in greenbacks. That’s a lot of roses and chocolates! But wait, there’s a twist in this romantic plot.

Enter Gina Rinehart, the billionaire matchmaker who’s got her own ideas about love and lithium. Her firm, Hancock Prospecting, has swooped in and grabbed a 19.9% stake in Liontown. Love triangles are never simple, are they?

Now, Albemarle needs 75% of Liontown’s investors to give their blessing for the marriage to go through. It’s like a Lithium version of “The Bachelor,” but with billions on the line instead of roses. Will this extended courtship lead to a happily-ever-after, or will the billionaire’s interference be the plot twist that keeps us on the edge of our seats?

Investing is like planting a money tree in the financial jungle – you water it with your hard-earned cash and watch it grow, all while hoping it doesn’t get eaten by the bears of market volatility or strangled by the vines of economic uncertainty. But with a little patience, a dash of knowledge, and a sprinkle of diversification, you can eventually lounge in the shade of wealth, sipping the sweet nectar of compounded returns. So, remember, in the world of finance, it’s not just about saving for a rainy day; it’s about sowing the seeds of a sunny, financially independent future.