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Google to pull nearly all employees from Russia, Tesla booted from S&P 500 ESG index, TJX stock pops

Yahoo Finance Live looks at the companies tied to several trending industry stories, including Elon Musk's reaction to Tesla being removed from the S&P 500 ESG index.

Video transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: As we take a look at our triple play picks now, a lot of our stocks being affected by the broad declines that we're seeing in the market today. My pick to kick us off, though, is Google. The company announcing that it's moved nearly all of its employees out of Russia in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine. As you can see there, Alphabet down about 3 and 1/2% on the day. Now, according to the "Wall Street Journal," this effectively ends its subsidiary business there for the foreseeable future.

Now, Google's Russian subsidiary is also filing for bankruptcy. That's after the Russian court froze their main bank account and removed the funds, leaving Google unable to pay their staff. Now, Russian authorities say they don't plan to block Google services, which, of course, include their search engine, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube. But this move does come as McDonald's also announced it's selling all of its restaurants and operations in Russia earlier this week.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, Rachelle, Google really just becoming the latest Western company here to pull out of Russia, with plans to pull out of Russia. Like you just said, McDonald's announced plans to sell their Russian business to a local buyer. We had Nike and Adidas, just two of the retail names. A number of names in the financial sector, American Express, Deutsche Bank among those, that are changing how they do business in the country. So I'm sure that Google will not be the last that we hear of companies changing their strategy or pulling out altogether when it comes to doing business in Russia.

I wanted to take a look at TJX because we are talking a lot about the massive sell-off that's going on right now on Wall Street. But the parent company of TJ Maxx is actually bucking that downward trend. You can see the stock is getting a nice boost today on the heels of actually mixed earnings. But investors, they're excited about the stronger margin performance that the company posted. They posted double digit percentage growth in earnings and also revenue during its first quarter, sending its shares surging today. You can see the stock up just over 6%.

Earlier today, in earlier trading, it was actually up more than 10%, which is the biggest intraday jump that we have seen for TJX since November. But Dave, we talk a lot about these retail plays, so questioning whether or not they are going to get hit significantly by inflation. At least with this report, they did warn of potentially slowing sales going forward, but this report, investors finding a reason to get excited because of that stronger margin than we were initially expecting.

DAVE BRIGGS: Actually, I thought more would be made of the forecast, downgrading that, as you said, from 3% to 4%-- 2%, between 1% and 2%, but that was not a problem. And to offset those costs, they said they were able to survive the increased costs due to solid pricing and reduced COVID costs and much better international profits, so nice to have a silver lining in the retail sector. Thank you for that.

You know what time it is for me. It's the Musk Minute, my time to talk about Elon Musk. And my play is Tesla. They were given the boot today. Not that lock on your tire for too many tickets, but they've actually been kicked out of the S&P 500 ESG Index. The S&P explained the decision in a blog post, saying Tesla's, quote, "lack of low carbon strategy, codes of business conduct, along with racism and poor working conditions" reported at Tesla's factory in Fremont impacted their score. No comment from Elon Musk. I'm just kidding, of course.

He went nuts on Twitter. He called the decision BS. He labeled the metrics, "the devil incarnate." He said that the ratings lost their integrity. And he added an ESG-themed meme for good measure. Shares of Tesla struggling, this year down 40%, slipped another 5% plus today in the selloff. Rachelle, it's just been flat out ugly out there. And Elon Musk, no containing this man on social media.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: I mean, hey, the man says he's a proponent of free speech. Apparently, no matter what it costs him, he's willing to put that out there. But I mean, we have seen a lot of these whistleblower comments, like some people wondering about treatment at some of these Tesla plants. So obviously, free speech cuts both ways. Obviously, we'll have to wait and see if these things are investigated and how it plays out. But once again, Elon Musk not doing himself any favors by continuing to use this public form of Twitter to react to every single thing versus perhaps going through the legal channels and making sure that it doesn't affect the stock prices of some of the companies that he's heading.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, he never sits back. He doesn't wait for anything anyone else to chime in or anyone else to have an opinion before he likes to get his voice out there. And we know that that has been so consistent, whether or not he's dealing with Tesla, whether he's dealing with SpaceX. Now, when it comes to Twitter, he doesn't hold back. And I think that today's reaction didn't take anyone by surprise. But it was an interesting move here, the fact that Tesla has been removed from the ESG Index and really highlighting some of the issues that the company has dealt with or some of the issues that have been created at Tesla over the last several years.

DAVE BRIGGS: Wouldn't it be nice if he had no comment, just once?

SEANA SMITH: It would be so nice, so nice. He's never at a loss for words.

DAVE BRIGGS: He also weighed into politics in a podcast earlier this week, and then he jumped on Twitter and clarified. He said, I really have not been voting for Republicans at all in recent years. I really have voted almost all the time for Democrats, but then said, I will vote for Republicans in these midterms. Rachelle, do you believe that he's never been voting Republican?

RACHELLE AKUFFO: You know, hey, he's not one to sort of hold back in terms of how he feels and what he does.


RACHELLE AKUFFO: So you kind of almost have to take him at face value. I mean, probably, a lot of people are wondering, if a deal goes through, if that's, perhaps, going to affect the algorithm, if that's going to affect the number of conservative voices that perhaps outweigh the liberal voices, or will it be completely a level playing field? But once again, never one to hold back, is Elon Musk.

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