Financial Daily Dose 1.15.2021 | Top Story: As Unemployment Claims Surge, Biden Unveils $1.9T Covid Recovery Proposal

January 15, 2021

A big jump in unemployment claims, as reported yesterday, confirmed fears that a “resurgent pandemic” is challenging U.S.’s economic recovery. Some 1.15 million workers filed initial claims for state unemployment benefits during the first full week of 2021 - NYTimes and WSJ and Marketplace

On Thursday, president-elect Biden laid out plans for $1.9 trillion “in government spending to combat the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the economy” in what he and his team are pitching as a two-bill effort that could also include direct payments to Americans and small business, state, and local aid - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and Marketplace

Cisco Systems has reached a deal to buy Acacia Communications—a maker of optical interconnect technologies—for $115/share, up substantially from its July 2019 purchase price of $70/share. The offer values Acacia at roughly $4.5 billion - WSJ

Speaking of deals, Google is plowing ahead with its $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit “after European Union antitrust officials last month approved the [deal] with conditions aimed at protecting users’ health data and preserving competition in the wearable-tech sector.” U.S. antitrust authorities are “continuing to scrutinize the deal” - WSJ and Law360 and TechCrunch

Drilling down on what eligibility for the next PPP rollout looks like, including for returning borrowers - NYTimes

Fed Chair Powell took a few minutes in his webcast Q&A session on Thursday to assure markets that the central bank had no plans—immediate or otherwise—to raise interest rates or to even slow any of the support it’s been providing to the virus-ravaged economy - NYTimes and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

James Simons, the codebreaker and “investing pioneer” behind Renaissance Technologies—“one of the most successful investment firms in history”—has stepped down as Renaissance board chair, a role he held even after resigning as company CEO in 2010 - WSJ

General Electric has sued Siemens Energy in Virginia federal court, accusing its energy sector rival of “stealing trade secrets for gas turbines and using them to win at least nine gas turbine contracts worth billions of dollars” thanks to an account manager who allegedly “received secret information during a confidential bidding process and shared it with dozens of colleagues, some of whom used it to alter a bid for a lucrative contract in Virginia” - Bloomberg

Pretty incredible what TikTok, a longboard, and some Ocean’s Spray can do - Bloomberg

Interesting take from Harvard’s Benjamin Friedman on the role of religion—“specifically, the new ideas that emerged in the English-speaking Protestant world in the late 17th and the 18th century”—in the development of modern economics - WSJ

On cue, it seems, as we rapidly approach a year of lockdown: the “delights of sea-chantey tik tok.” Don’t ask questions. Just embrace it  – NewYorker

Have a good weekend, and stay safe,