The biggest U.S. gasoline price surge in years is running out of steam just in time for the start of the summer driving season.Energyread more
Stocks rose on Friday, but notched weekly losses as investors worried the U.S.-China trade war is hurting economic growth.US Marketsread more
The combination of mounting recession fears, bets on a more cautious Fed and a regular uptick in market volatility could spell more losses.Marketsread more
The therapy, Zolgensma, is a one-time treatment for spinal muscular atrophy — a muscle-wasting disease and leading genetic cause of infant mortality, affecting 1 in every...Biotech and Pharmaceuticalsread more
SpaceX has raised just over $1 billion in financing since the beginning of the year.Investing in Spaceread more
An analyst for Ark Invest, which has a major investment in Tesla, says recent drastic price-target cuts by others on Wall Street are missing the big picture.Investingread more
Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is seen as the bookmaker's favorite to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.Europe Politicsread more
Apple bought Tueo Health, which was developing tech to help parents monitor asthma symptoms in children, using a mobile app and commercial breathing sensors.Technologyread more
United Airlines will take its 14 Boeing 737 Max jets off its schedule for another month, through Aug. 3, canceling another 1,290 flights.Airlinesread more
Trade could be a big factor for markets in the week ahead, but investors will also be attuned to fresh inflation data and the bond market, which is flashing new worries about...Market Insiderread more
Mississippi is one of several states that have moved to pass new restrictions on abortion this year.Politicsread more
Saudi oil giant Aramco is undertaking a series of moves that may pave the way for a long-delayed stock market debut.
The kingdom plans an initial public offering for Aramco in 2021, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said during a news conference Wednesday. Falih backed the latest target for the IPO with several announcements that would essentially prep the market for the debut, which is expected to be the largest ever.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday released the results of an independent audit that confirms the kingdom controls more than 260 billion barrels in oil reserves. The assessment makes the metrics behind the world's largest energy company — long the subject of skepticism — a bit less opaque to potential investors in Aramco.
"This certification underscores why every barrel we produce is the most profitable in the world, and why we believe Saudi Aramco is the world's most valuable company and indeed the world's most important," Falih said in a statement.
Falih later announced Aramco will issue bonds in the second quarter of this year. In order to tap the debt market, Aramco will release additional financial information, offering a wider glimpse into a private company whose inner workings are a closely held secret.
"That shows that Aramco's hesitation about doing an IPO is not about keeping information private," said Ellen Wald, an independent energy policy analyst at Transversal Consulting. "It's not because they're hiding something."
Falih did not say how much the bond sale would seek to raise, but it is widely expected to underwrite at least part of Aramco's purchase of a majority stake in Saudi petrochemicals company Sabic. The 70 percent stake that Aramco intends to buy is controlled by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and valued at roughly $70 billion.
Falih dismissed speculation that Aramco will fund the entire purchase with cash raised in the bond sale. The kingdom is aiming to complete the acquisition and update its balance sheet with the Sabic assets before it presents an IPO to the market.
If Aramco follows through in 2021, it would mark the end of a long and winding road.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman first floated the idea of listing roughly 5 percent of Aramco on international stock markets in January 2016. The kingdom hoped to fetch a $2 trillion valuation for Aramco and raise about $100 billion to fund Crown Prince Mohammed's economic transformation plan.
Aramco initially targeted the second half of 2018 for the IPO, but the process reportedly got bogged down by indecision over key issues such as where to list shares. Independent assessment also doubted Aramco would be valued at $2 trillion.
By early 2018, a plan emerged to first list shares on Saudi Arabia's domestic stock market. Then, Falih conceded in May that 2019 was the new target for an international listing. In August, Reuters reported that Aramco was scrapping the IPO. Falih dismissed the report and said the company remained committed to its plan.
The delay makes sense for several reasons, said Wald, who chronicled Aramco's history in "Saudi Inc.: The Arabian Kingdom's Pursuit of Profit and Power."
Today's IPO market is heavily geared toward companies with huge growth potential, and while Aramco turns tremendous profits, it would be more of a value stock churning out steady dividends, she said.
That is the case for international oil companies like Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, but Aramco's refining and petrochemicals units are small compared with its integrated peers. It makes sense that Aramco would want to shore up this high-value business before being evaluated against other oil majors, according to Wald.
Aramco's plan to tap the debt market also speaks to those ambitions, in her view.
"It could indicate that they are looking to make massive expansions beyond what they are self-funding and that's definitely been indicated by some of the news we've heard," she said.
In addition to diversifying into petrochemicals through the Sabic deal, Aramco is reportedly exploring investments in the booming market for liquefied natural gas.
Aramco is in talks to buy a stake in a Russian Arctic LNG project, according to Reuters. Aramco is also mulling an investment in one of several planned U.S. LNG terminals, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week.