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Trending tickers: Apple, Palantir, Tesla and Whitbread

The latest investor updates on stocks that are trending on Tuesday

The Apple shines over the Upper West Side neighborhood Apple store in New York on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (© Richard B. Levine)
Apple is shutting down Apple Pay Later just months after launch. (Richard Levine)

Shares in the iPhone maker were higher in pre-market trading after reports that it is ending its buy now, pay later service, just over a year after launching it.

The service, called Apple Pay Later, allowed customers to split purchases between $50 and $1,000 into four payments spread over six weeks with no interest or fees.

Apple’s website said that the company is “no longer offering new loans” for Apple Pay Later, but that existing ones aren’t affected.

The iPhone maker took the step after announcing that third-party services — such as ones from Affirm Holdings Inc. and Citigroup Inc. — would be integrated into its upcoming iOS 18 software.

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Read more: FTSE 100 LIVE: European stock markets rise as UK grocery inflation edges lower

“Starting later this year, users across the globe will be able to access instalment loans offered through credit and debit cards, as well as lenders, when checking out with Apple Pay,” the company said in a statement. “With the introduction of this new global instalment loan offering, we will no longer offer Apple Pay Later in the US.”

Shares in the software company were the most sought after ahead of the US opening bell, as Argus Research analysts began coverage of the data-analytics software company with a 'Buy' rating.

Analysts at Argus Research believe Palantir stands to benefit from growing sales to commercial clients. The target for the stock price is $29, with artificial intelligence highlighted as a potential catalyst for continued growth.

"Warfare in this century will continue to be transformed by software," Alex Karp, chief executive of Palantir Technologies, said in his letter to shareholders in May.

"Many fear the application of artificial intelligence in the military context, including its potential to make possible more autonomous and indeed self-directed weapons systems," he added.

However, Karp said, the company’s software "has become as vital to the elimination of an adversary as it is to protecting the innocent from harm."

Shares in the EV maker rose in pre-market trading as rival Fisker (FSRN) filed for bankruptcy after failing to secure investment amid waning consumer demand.

The Tesla challenger, started by James Bond car designer Henrik Fisker, has seen its share price plummet by 99% as it battled a cash crunch.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees on Monday that the electric vehicle maker is working on stock-based compensation for high-performing employees, according to Reuters.

Read more: UK interest rates set to remain on hold ahead of general election

The plan comes just days after Musk won shareholder approval for his $56bn pay plan consisting of stock options and two months after he announced job cuts affecting more than 10% of Tesla's global workforce in the face of slowing demand for EVs and intensifying price competition from Chinese rivals.

Premier Inn owner, Whitbread, said it is confident about the year ahead as it increased sales and cut costs amid falling inflation.

Whitbread’s shares have jumped by 4.6%, as investors welcome the news that UK trading strengthened over the last quarter.

The Bedfordshire-headquartered group grew its total sales by 1% to £739m in the 13 weeks to 30 May 2024, compared to the same period the year before. Sales were “driven by improved UK trading and continued progress in Germany.”

Its Premier Inn business in Germany reported a 15% increase in total sales.

Dominic Paul, chief executive of the hospitality group, said: “Whilst the normal booking pattern means our forward visibility remains limited, our forward booked position is positive and we remain confident in the full-year outlook.

“This reflects a more encouraging trading performance in the UK, our strong commercial programme and increased cost efficiencies, as well as good progress in Germany.”

Paul added that Whitbread is on track with the programme to restructure its food and beverage business announced earlier this year, which will close or convert more than 200 restaurants and cut about 1,500 jobs.

Its £150m share buyback is on track, he said, with 3.2m shares purchased so far for £96m.

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