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Tiger Global doubles FCA stake; Tesla soars as analysts bullish despite 'drama'


* U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global Management LLC more than doubled its stake in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to become the fourth-largest FCA shareholder, taking the value of its investment in the carmaker to above $1 billion. Tiger Global disclosed in a filing with the Dutch regulator AFM that it held 59.67 million shares in the carmaker as of Sept. 3, compared with 26,049,289 shares valued at $492.1 million it held in FCA as of June 30, as per an Aug. 14 SEC filing. FCA has been led by Mike Manley since July, before the death of former CEO Sergio Marchionne.

* Tesla Inc. stocks closed at $285.50, up 8.46%, on Sept. 10 after bullish remarks by Bernstein and Baird analysts. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi forecast the electric-car maker's stock "to revert towards the middle of its $270 to $370 range," saying the "near-term risk-reward" for the company looked "relatively skewed to the upside." Baird analyst Ben Kallo reportedly urged investors to buy Tesla shares "even with drama," calling Tesla's Gigafactory a "competitive advantage" for the company over the long term. Separately, Tesla raised the registered capital of its Shanghai-based plant to 4.67 billion Chinese yuan from 100 million yuan and expanded the scope of that business to include production and sale of EVs, Beijing Business News reported.


* Volvo Cars will close its South Carolina-based plant Sept. 12 "in light of the evacuation order that's now in place for Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties" due to Hurricane Florence, Bloomberg News reported, quoting Stephanie Mangini, a spokeswoman for the Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.-owned carmaker.

* Ford Motor Co. will showcase two new models from the automaker's Transit product line, featuring built-in connectivity and advanced electrification systems, at the IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hannover, Germany, from Sept. 20-27. The Detroit carmaker said its new 2-tonne Transit vehicle, set for launch mid-2019, will be equipped with a 48V mild hybrid battery technology, a first in that segment, while Ford will debut the Transit Custom plug-in hybrid van, due to launch in 2019, at the show. Ford's smart mobility unit also released two new products for fleet operators, Ford Telematics and Ford Data Services.


* Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp. agreed to acquire U.S. rival Integrated Device Technology Inc., or IDT, for about $6.7 billion in cash in a push to capitalize on a rapidly growing connected car and self-driving technology industry. Renesas will pay $49.00 per share in cash for all IDT outstanding shares, a premium of about 29.5% over IDT's common stock as of Aug. 30.

* Aston Martin Holdings (UK) Ltd. picked its new production site in St. Athan, Wales, for production of its electric vehicles, including its first battery-electric vehicle at the facility in 2019. Aston Martin will also make the Wales facility the hub of its flagship Lagonda brand and expects to roll out the company's first SUV from there beginning late-2019. The British luxury-car maker is among several U.K. companies that announced investments totaling more than £500 million in low-emission technology projects that are expected to create 1,000 new jobs across the country at the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit Sept. 11-12. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is set to announce an additional £106 million in funding toward research and development, new batteries, and low-carbon technology.

* Tesla hiked the price of its Model 3 dual motor variant by 20% to $6,000, the third price change within a few months. The company said the change was made to better reflect "the value of our products and to streamline our manufacturing operations," Electrek reported, quoting a Tesla release. The U.S. electric-car maker previously had decreased the price of the Model 3 add-on to $4,000 before bringing it back up to $5,000 in August. The Model 3 dual motor option now starts at $55,000, Electrek reported.

* Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz Vans unit is developing a self-driving battery-electric vehicle, Vision Urbanetic, that can toggle between a transit vehicle that can carry up to 12 passengers and a cargo van that can carry a load of up to 10 EPAL pallets. The vehicle aimed at mobility services can switch between passenger vehicle to delivery van module in under two minutes, the company said.


* Mexican Finance Minister José Antonio González Anaya said the country is open to signing a bilateral trade deal with the U.S. if Canada fails to reach a deal on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with its southern neighbor, the Financial Times (London) reported. González Anaya's comments come as Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is set to resume NAFTA negotiations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sept. 11, earlier than expected.

* The European Parliament's environment committee voted 38-23 for more stringent vehicle carbon emissions goals than those proposed by the European Commission. The committee agreed to the new benchmarks, set to go for plenary voting during the week of Oct. 1, which include reducing emissions from new cars by 20% for 2025, compared with the EC's stipulated 15%, and a reduction target of 45% by 2030 as against the previous EC target of a 30% cut. Members of the parliament voted for a stronger sales target for zero and ultralow-emission cars of 20% in 2025 and 40% in 2030, with penalties for failing to meet these targets.


* Volkswagen AG said it became the first automaker to use a metallic 3D printing process called HP Metal Jet, which speeds up 3D printing of auto parts and raises productivity by 50 times when compared with conventional 3D printing methods. VW said HP Metal Jet, developed in collaboration with HP Inc. and GKN Powder Metallurgy, is the first 3D printing technology to be "mass production ready" in the industry. GKN Powder Metallurgy and VW will set up as early as 2019 an automotive process chain to further test the technology.

* Japanese tire and rubber manufacturer Bridgestone Corp. said it acquired U.K. automotive service provider ETB Group from founder Charles Ivill and his family. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Bridgestone said the deal will benefit the company's product range and strengthen its retail and sales footprint in the U.K.


* China produced 1,999,900 vehicles in August, down 4.38% year over year, and sold 2,103,400 units in the month, down 3.75% year over year, hurt by falling demand in the passenger vehicle segment, Gasgoo reported, citing information released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Year-to-date, auto output still is up 2.77% year over year at 18,134,700 vehicles, while deliveries are up 3.53% at 18,096,100 vehicles, Gasgoo reported.

* Volkswagen's premium unit Audi reported a 10.9% year-over-year growth in global sales of 153,900 vehicles in August, led by an increase of 21.5% year over year in European sales as customers bought more cars before the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure emissions norms came into effect Sept. 1. Likewise, VW's passenger cars unit Seat also posted a 38.9% year-over-year jump in global August sales of 41,200 vehicles. Wayne Griffiths, Seat's vice president for marketing and sales, however, expects to be impacted "for the remainder of the year" because of the WLTP.

* Hyundai Motor Co.'s robotics arm Hyundai Cradle invested an undisclosed sum in Seattle-based mobility-as-a-service company Migo, which offers a platform-agnostic ride-hailing app across over 75 cities in the U.S. and Canada. The on-demand ride-discovery app allows commuters to find the best available mode of transportation between two places with real-time pricing and wait times, Hyundai Motor said. Hyundai Cradle, along with Samsung Venture Investment Corp., separately took part in a $20 million series A funding round for solid-state battery maker Solid Power.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, Hang Seng dropped 0.72% to 26,422.55, while the Nikkei 225 rose 1.30% to 22,664.69.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.63% to 7,233.61, and the Euronext 100 shed 0.27% to 1,030.63.

On the macro front

The Redbook Index for retail sales and the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey are due out today. The National Federation of Independent Business' index of small business optimism increased to 108.8 in August from 107.9 in July.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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