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Gender parity on UK company boards is not likely until 2036: Study

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LONDON — Gender parity on U.K. company boards has suffered a setback in the wake of the pandemic, with new research saying that it will now take an additional four years before this equality is achieved.

The report, published Wednesday by consultancy The Pipeline, assessed the situation in the FTSE 350, which includes firms listed on the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 — the two main stock indexes in the U.K.

The predicted year for gender parity on executive boards at these publicly-listed U.K. firms has gone up by four years to 2036, according to the research.

“The pandemic provided an opportunity to push forward with meaningful change, but instead we have gone backwards and the prospect for women seeking advancement to the senior echelons of FTSE 350 companies looks as desolate as ever,” the firm said in a statement.

The Pipeline’s Women Count report showed that companies where at least 50% of their board members were women experienced a profit margin of 21.2%. On the other hand, firms without women on their executive committees saw a drop in profits of 17.5%.

“If companies continue to actively ignore the importance of gender diversity at the top, the U.K. will suffer financially and struggle to bounce back quickly from the pandemic,” the consultancy firm said.

The prospect for women seeking advancement to the senior echelons of FTSE 350 companies looks as desolate as ever.

Other institutions have previously warned about the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on gender equality, and many researchers have noted that a more diverse representation on company boards is often correlated with a more successful business.

The International Monetary Fund, for instance, said in October that women were among those at the highest risk from the economic crisis. At the time, the Fund highlighted that women were more likely to be working in sectors that were brought to a halt by social restrictions, while also taking on the biggest proportion of childcare.

The IMF also asked governments to take action to address gender inequality.

“That is why it is so important to step in with targeted policy intervention to ensure that this does not lead to a persistent widening of inequality across gender,” Damiano Sandri, a deputy division chief at the IMF’s Research Department, told CNBC at the time.

“For example an important policy measure that can be used is to ensure that people have access to parental leave and I am using people because of course we want to provide women with the opportunity to have parental leave to care for children, but we also need to ensure that men themselves can take time off from work so they can share equally the burden of looking after children while schools are closed,” Sandri explained. 

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Netflix (NFLX) Q2 2021 earnings

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Co-CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings (R) and CEO of Nubank David Velez walk together at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 08, 2021 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

Netflix reported earnings after the bell. Here are the results.

  • Earnings per share (EPS): $2.97 vs $3.16 expected, according to Refinitiv survey of analysts
  • Revenue: $7.34 billion $7.32 billion expected, according to Refinitiv
  • Expected global paid net subscriber additions: 1.75 million expected, according to Factset

Analysts aren’t expecting blockbuster reports this quarter, with Jefferies analysts using the word “meh” to describe anticipated performance in their earnings preview.

“June results are the day after you’ve slept off a cold. Your head is clear, but you’re not quite 100%…That’s where we are for Netflix. June is likely a non-event and clears the way for a 2H acceleration in sub growth. We aren’t quite yet there, but almost,” the Jefferies analysts wrote in a July 18 note.

Even Netflix isn’t expecting high subscriber growth for its second quarter. The company gave guidance of about 1 million net subscriber additions in its first-quarter earnings report.

The company is set to face a test of whether it can continue to sustain high subscriber growth, though the focus will be on its third quarter guidance. Historically, Netflix posts smaller net subscribers additions in the second quarter. That leaves next quarter’s guidance to indicate whether or not the streaming giant can “get back to its pre-Covid 25mn+ net sub adds/year trend,” Bank of America analysts wrote in a July 16 note.

Investors are anticipating 4.87 million net subscriber additions in the third quarter, according to FactSet data.

Netflix is also facing pressure from tough year-over-year comparisons, since last year consumers were in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and spent much more of their time online and in need of entertainment. Worldwide Netflix mobile app downloads were down 38% year-over-year and down 9% quarter-over-quarter, according to Sensor Tower data. Daily active users also dipped more than 20% year-over-year, according to the report.

Still, analysts remain optimistic on the stock.

“We believe that while Netflix will face tough comps in the near term, the company will continue to see long term durable growth despite increasing competition and faces less regulatory scrutiny vs mega-cap tech peers. We continue to see Netflix’s ability to grow as its global content investment strengthens its value proposition,” the BofA analysts wrote.

Much of the optimism comes from Netflix’s upcoming slate of content, much of which had been pushed back into the second half of this year and next year.

“Historically, successful content has been a catalyst for net sub growth, so, after 2Q earnings, we expect investors to focus heavily on the buildup and ultimate success of upcoming content,” Jefferies wrote. “Management has remained confident that back half weighted content will re-accelerate sub growth, bringing the metric closer to its historical cadence. As such, we believe content performance over the next 12 months will play a significant role in shaping how investors view the long-term growth of NFLX.”

This story is developing. Please refresh for updates.

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Trump friend Tom Barrack arrested on UAE lobbying charges

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Thomas Barrack, chairman and chief executive officer of Colony Capital Inc., gestures while speaking during the closing reception at the Milken Institute Japan Symposium in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, March 25, 2019. The conference brings together business leaders and government officials to discuss geopolitical, economic and social issues facing Japan. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Thomas Barrack, a private equity investor who is a close friend of former President Donald Trump, was arrested Tuesday morning in Los Angeles on federal charges related to illegally lobbying Trump for the United Arab Emirates, the Justice Department said.

Barrack, who was charged in a seven-count indictment in New York federal court, was chairman of Trump’s 2017 inaugural fund.

Barrack, 74, is a longtime friend of Trump’s, and the founder of the large private equity firm Colony Capital.

The indictment accuses the Santa Monica, California, resident Barrack and several other defendants of unlawful efforts to advance the interests of the UAE at the direction of senior officials of that nation, “by influencing the foreign policy positions of the campaign of a candidate in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and, subsequently, the foreign policy positions of the U.S. government in the incoming administration,” the Justice Department said.

Charged with Barrack for acting and conspiring to act as agents for the UAW from April 2016 throough April 2018 were Matthew Grimes, 27, of Aspen, Colorado, Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi and Rashid Al‑Malik, a UAE national.

Barrack is also charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents.

Barrack stepped down at Colony Capital’s CEO in 2020. In April, he resigned as executive chairman of the firm.

A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the arrest.

A spokesman for Barrack could not immediately be reached for comment.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 11 update with Teams chat

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Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft on Tuesday said it’s rolling out a Windows 11 update that includes its Chat feature for talking with friends and family members over Microsoft Teams. People who are already testing Windows 11 through the Windows Insider program will be able to try the Chat software before Windows 11 becomes generally available for everyone later this year.

The addition of the component into Windows could bring greater adoption of Teams, which became more popular during the coronavirus pandemic. If more people use Teams, the software could become a more valuable asset in the Office suite, which is currently the largest part of Microsoft’s business.

People can access the Chat feature by entering the keyboard shortcut Win-C (formerly the shortcut for accessing the Cortana virtual assistant) from any screen in Windows 11, Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft senior program manager, wrote in a blog post. An icon is also available in the taskbar. Once the Chat window window is open, it’s possible to open the full-fledged Microsoft Teams app, which has been redesigned for Windows 11.

Initially users will only be available to participate in individual and group chats. Support for voice and video calls and other features will come later, LeBlanc wrote, and so far Chat has only been localized for devices using the English language and configured to the U.S. It’s only being rolled out to a limited set of Insiders so far.

Not everyone has to be on Teams in order to exchange messages with people using Chat in Windows 11. If a person using Chat sends a message to a person who’s not on Teams, the recipient will get the message in an email or an SMS message, and Microsoft will provide an option to join Teams, LeBlanc wrote. And it’s possible to sync Skype and Outlook contacts.

Microsoft did add pre-installed Skype apps into Windows 10 in 2015, and last year, after the pandemic had arrived, the company tried to make it easy for people to start Skype calls from Windows with a Meet Now feature. With Windows 11, the focus is instead on Teams, which had 145 million daily active users as of April.

If more people do start using Teams as a result of its inclusion in Windows 11 in the form of Chat, that could pose fresh challenges to competitors, including Slack and Zoom.

“Today, Microsoft announced that it is going to bundle Teams with Windows as well as Office,” Slack said on the day Microsoft announced Windows 11. “Our reaction is simple: choice is better than lock-in, open is better than closed, and fair competition is best of all. Unfortunately, Microsoft has never seen it that way.”

WATCH: Why Windows 11 is bringing Android apps to your PC

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