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Trending tickers: Chubb, Nvidia, Microsoft, BT and EasyJet

The latest investor updates on stocks that are trending on Thursday

FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett attends the Berkshire Hathaway Inc annual shareholders' meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 3, 2024. REUTERS/Scott Morgan/File Photo
Chubb is Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway secret stock pick (REUTERS / Reuters)

Shares in the Swiss insurer surged in pre-market trading after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) disclosed a major stake in the company.

Berkshire revealed it acquired nearly 26 million shares of Chubb in a Wednesday Securities and Exchange Commission filing of the company’s first-quarter investments. That translates to a value of approximately $6.7bn (£5.28bn).

Berkshire had requested confidential treatment from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the third and fourth quarter of last year for one or more of its equity holdings. The treatment was sought presumably because Buffett wanted to accumulate Chubb without tipping off other investors and potentially boosting the price of Chubb shares.

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"Chubb is an attractive equity investment for Berkshire because it operates in a business Berkshire knows well: property-casualty insurance," Cathy Seifert, a CFRA Research analyst who covers Berkshire, said in an email reported by Reuters.

The company led by the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ also announced it was eliminating its stake in HP (HPQ).

Shares in the chipmaker were higher in pre-market trading after KeyBanc Capital Markets said it sees limited signs of a demand pause for the company. This comes ahead of Nvidia's first-quarter results next week.

Consensus expectations on Wall Street are for Nvidia to report revenue of $24.51bn. But to avoid disappointing investors, KeyBanc analyst John Vinh said, the chipmaker will need to report revenue of around $26bn and give guidance for its second quarter of around $28.5bn.

Read more: Mag 7 stocks including Apple and Amazon still holding strong

“Despite anticipation of next-generation Blackwell GPUs [graphics-processing units] in the second half, we see limited signs of a demand pause and expect Nvidia to report first-quarter results and second-quarter guidance meaningfully above expectations,” wrote Vinh in a research note.

The company will post its first-quarter results on May 22. Shares have drifted from a range of $850 to $950 since late March.

Microsoft shares were slightly higher in pre-market hours despite reports that it is asking some of its China-based employees to consider transferring outside the country as relations between the US and China grow increasingly strained over technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and semiconductors.

The US tech giant is asking about 700 to 800 people in its China-based cloud-computing and AI operations if they want to transfer to the US, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The move comes amid spiralling Sino-US relations as President Joe Biden's administration hiked tariffs on various Chinese imports, including electric vehicle (EV) batteries, computer chips and medical products.

The Biden administration is seeking tighter restrictions on China’s capability to develop AI and is considering creating rules that would require companies like Microsoft to have a licence before giving access to AI chips to customers from the country.

BT Group surged to the top of the FTSE 100 after the telecom's boss said she is aiming for a more than double free cash flow over the next five years.

BT pre-tax profits fell 31% to £1.2bn last year, while revenue was up 1% to £20.8bn.

The landline, mobile and broadband provider's results, the first under new boss Allison Kirkby, included an increase in the dividend and another round of cost-cutting with the company said to be at an "inflection point."

Kirkby said BT had achieved its £3bn cost-cutting target a year ahead of schedule, as she announced another £3bn in gross cost savings to be reached by the year ending March 2029.

Read more: FTSE 100 LIVE: European stocks fall as Japanese economy shrinks faster than expected

The FTSE 100 company now expects to double normalised free cash flow over the next five years, rising to £1.5bn this year, £2.0bn in 2027 and £3.0bn by the end of the decade.

The telecoms company said it has now built fibre broadband to 14 million homes and started building on a further six million, as part of a plan to reach 25 million homes by late 2026.

The low-cost airline has said chief executive Johan Lundgren will step down early in 2025 after seven years at the helm as it reported improved half-year losses.

EasyJet posted a reduction in first-half losses, the headline pre-tax loss for the six months to 31 March narrowed to £350m from £411m a year previously.

The company carried 36.7 million people during the period, 11% up year-on-year, while airline revenues per seat rose 5% to £69.87.

The carrier said Lundgren, who took on the job in December 2017, will be succeeded by chief financial officer, Kenton Jarvis, who has been with the group since February 2021.

Lundgren said: "EasyJet’s targeted growth and focus on productivity has delivered a reduction in winter losses, boosted by our trusted brand and network that we continue to invest in.

"We are now absolutely focused on another record summer, which is expected to deliver strong full-year earnings growth and are on track to achieve our medium-term targets."

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