Forbes Daily: As Tech Stocks Rally, Apple Achieves A New Record

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Amazon says it achieved a key environmental goal in 2023 by matching its electricity consumption with 100% renewable energy. But some experts are skeptical.

Reaching the milestone doesn’t mean the company is powering its operations with renewables. Instead, it’s purchasing an equivalent amount of energy from solar and wind plants, and Amazon says it is the “largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world.”

Still, Amazon’s emissions from its direct operations actually rose 7% in 2023 from the previous year, and the company has been criticized for being vague about its climate goals.

Let’s get into the headlines,


The S&P 500 and Nasdaq reached new highs on Wednesday, driven by gains in large technology stocks. Apple, Microsoft and Nvidia led the rally, with Apple achieving a record market capitalization of $3.56 trillion as it approaches the $4 trillion milestone, fueled by optimism over generative AI in its upcoming iPhone.

The FTC will sue three of the largest pharmacy benefit managers, a day after releasing a scathing report alleging the companies—which manage roughly 80% of prescriptions in the U.S.—were driving up the prices of medications like insulin. The FTC’s lawsuit will challenge the business practices of UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx, Cigna Group’s Express Scripts and CVS Health’s Caremark, the Wall Street Journal reported.


A jury found Bill Hwang, founder of Archegos Capital Management, guilty on 10 charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and market manipulation related to the 2021 collapse of his firm, which led banking shares across Europe and the U.S. to fall. Hwang faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge, meaning he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Costco announced Wednesday that its membership fees will soon increase for the first time since 2017, with the retailer’s Gold Star Membership and Business Membership jumping from $60 to $65 a year, while the Executive Membership fee will increase from $120 to $130. The retailer’s shares climbed more than 2% in after-hours trading following the announcement.


A U.S. company controlled by Chinese billionaire Sun Guangxin is suing Texas’ state electric grid operator, alleging that the state’s law blocking foreign investment on national security grounds is unconstitutional. The lawsuit from Guangxin’s company, GH America Energy, claims it is only within the federal government’s authority to regulate foreign commerce, as more states like Montana and Florida enact restrictions on foreign investment.


Samsung Electronics’ unionized workers in South Korea announced an indefinite strike on Wednesday to step up their campaign for a pay raise, in a move that threatens to disrupt production of the company’s advanced memory chips used in AI accelerators, computers and smartphones. According to the union, around 6,500 of its members are on strike, but Samsung told several news outlets that the strike hasn’t caused any disruptions so far.


Donald Trump is expected to announce his running mate at or before next week’s Republican National Convention, and the former president has weighed in on the strengths and risks of three Republicans who have emerged as his top choices: Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. If Trump doesn’t make his choice public beforehand, he would be the first nominee since former President George H.W. Bush to announce his vice presidential pick at the convention.

Actor George Clooney published an opinion piece in the New York Times urging President Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential race, citing concerns about Biden’s age and effectiveness. Clooney joins other prominent Democratic celebrities, including Stephen King, Rob Reiner and Abigail Disney, who have expressed that Biden should step aside. Meanwhile, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Democrats are pushing Biden to decide quickly if he’ll stay in the race, as “time is running short.”

MORE: In an op-ed published Wednesday evening by the Washington Post, Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) became the Senate’s first Democrat to publicly urge Biden to withdraw from the race, writing that his constituents are “worried that he can’t win this time, and they’re terrified of another Trump presidency.”


The NBA secured a $76 billion multi-year television deal set to make NBC and Amazon new regular season telecast partners and maintain ESPN’s rights to broadcast the NBA Finals, per The Athletic. The deal, which will last for 11 seasons, still needs to be approved by the NBA’s board of governors.


As of January 1, many companies were required to start reporting information to the U.S. government about who ultimately owns and controls them. It’s the result of the 2021 Corporate Transparency Act, though the legislation has been challenged in court. Your company may need to report information about its owners if it’s a corporation, LLC, or other entity created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or any similar office in the U.S.


The Uncanny Rise Of Silicon Valley’s Trump Whisperer

TOPLINE Palantir advisor Jacob Helberg, a former Democratic fundraiser, has never built a successful tech company, or led a major fund. But now, he’s among a coterie of wealthy tech elites lining up to shape tech policy to their liking by helping Donald Trump unseat President Joe Biden in the November presidential election.

As an advisor to defense contractor Palantir and a friend to its cofounder Peter Thiel, an outspoken supporter of Trump in the 2016 election, Helberg has a lot to say—particularly on AI.

And Trump, it appears, is listening. Helberg donated $1 million to the Trump reelection campaign earlier this year, and he has committed another $1 million—which would make him a major individual donor to the former president. He told Forbes he talks to Trump’s campaign “every other day,” but declined, with a smile, to say whether he’s discussed a potential administration role. (The Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

The reasons for Helberg’s meteoric rise in GOP circles are as fuzzy as his own credentials. And despite appearing at high-profile policy events and garnering praise from Trump himself, it’s hard to tell what, exactly, he actually does from day to day. He is vague when explaining his nine-to-five role at Palantir, for instance, and describes his interactions with the Trump campaign as “an extracurricular.”

And as for his role advising Congress on a potential ban of TikTok in the States, well, “there are some residual workstreams” though “the bill’s signed, it really is a done deal.” (A spokesperson for Palantir didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

WHY IT MATTERS Unlike other Silicon Valley heavyweights who’ve parlayed their business careers into governmental influence, like former Google CEO Eric Schmidt or LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, Helberg has built his reputation in other ways. Key among them: using his hawkish anti-China treatise The Wires of War to help him leapfrog from a mid-level role on Google’s news policy team into think tank jobs and a spot on the powerful U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which he used to rally support in Congress for the TikTok bill.



Inside Out 2 continued its run of success and became Pixar’s highest-grossing movie on Wednesday, surpassing Incredibles 2. The film has helped bring life to the summer box office, and eased concerns about Pixar’s viability following a Covid-19 slump:

$1.25 billion: The amount the film has grossed globally, the first film of the year to hit $1 billion

Nearly $155 million: The amount the film grossed at the domestic box office upon its mid-June release, the best opening weekend of the year

2015: The year its predecessor, Inside Out, was released, grossing about $857.6 million worldwide


Brand partnerships can be daunting if you’ve never worked with an influencer or content creator before, but there’s a secret to making this marketing tactic work: Don’t overthink it. Focus on legitimate advocates for your brand and avoid forced promotions, as audiences can easily detect inauthentic endorsements. Build relationships through personalized outreach and interaction, making your brand’s connection with these creators feel sincere and credible.


With Hurricane Beryl causing widespread power outages across Texas, residents have turned to an unconventional source for updates as traditional resources become unreliable. Which app are Texans using to track power outages?

A. Weather Channel app

B. Google Maps

C. Whataburger app

D. Red Cross app

Check your answer.


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Thanks for reading! This edition of Forbes Daily was edited by Sarah Whitmire and Chris Dobstaff, with writing contributions by Tavon Thomasson.