Financial Daily Dose 10.19.2021 | Top Story: SEC Issues Long-Awaited Report on Meme Stock Craze

October 19, 2021

The SEC was out Monday with a long-awaited report on the meme-stock frenzy that helped propel GameStop and a handful of other “little-regarded” companies to meteoric rises in the depths of our first Covid winter. The report, however, “suggested no policy changes in response to the heavy trading” and “found that everything worked largely the way it was supposed to.” Instead of specific recommendations, the report focused on areas of “additional consideration,” including game-like digital engagement practices and payment for order flow - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and Law360

At Cane’s, the white-collar corporate crew descended upon retail locations to help fill openings caused by a tight labor market and consumers’ insatiable demand for chicken. At Starbucks, the bigwigs’ appearance coincided with a push by workers at Buffalo, NY-area stores for unions—a potential first for one of the “nearly 9,000 corporate-owned Starbucks locations” in the U.S. And baristas are taking note - NYTimes

Not saying we called it, but, well, we kind of called it. A day after the Times’ Media Equation column asked hard questions of new Politico owner Axel Sprenger’s workplace culture—especially at its German tabloid giant Bild—the company announced that it had removed the Bild editor at the heart of the allegations - NYTimes

Real-estate company Zillow revealed Monday that it will “stop buying and flipping new houses for the remainder of this year,” a business it entered some three years ago. Zillow blames “backlogs related to renovating the homes” and “constraints for on-the-ground workers” as reasons for its abrupt cessation - WSJ and Bloomberg and Marketplace

Foxconn, the Taiwanese “electronics giant that assembles Apple’s iPhones” and has been at the center of a long-running drama about a development project in Wisconsin, has unveiled a set of three electric vehicles in a bid to “become a major player” in the industry. Foxconn partnered with Taiwanese carmaker Yulon Motor on the cars, and it has reportedly “also signed agreements with start-ups like Fisker and Lordstown Motors to help develop and mass-produce their vehicles” - NYTimes and WSJ

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the owner of local broadcast stations across the U.S., is “working to contain a cybersecurity incident that disrupted some of its networks and had some of its servers and workstations encrypted with ransomware.” Sinclair “operates 185 broadcast networks in 86 markets and owns 21 regional sports networks” - WSJ

Think your job is tough? Be glad you’re not a Chinese media company trying to cover the impending collapse of the nation’s powerful Evergrande Company. Key word “trying” - NYTimes

Research out of the San Fran Fed suggests that the American Rescue Plan—the $1.9 trillion Covid relief package that became law in early March 2021—found something of a middle ground over the academic debate about whether its initiatives would overheat the economy, concluding that “the spending had some effect on inflation but suggesting that it is most likely to be temporary” - NYTimes

The early results are in, and Beijing’s much-publicized recent efforts to rein in its corporate giants and to “tackle festering issues in its economy” have spelled a “steeper-than-expected economic slowdown in the third quarter of the year” across China - WSJ and Bloomberg and Marketplace

Amazon is hoping to hire 150,000 seasonal workers in the U.S. as it prepares for the upcoming holidays, a figure that’s a full 100k more than it announced last year and that’s on par with rival Walmart’s hiring goals - WSJ

Let’s be honest, I probably would’ve recommended this “Last Week Tonight” follow-up piece on local car ads anyway, but then John Oliver goes and throws Zumbrota into the mix, and there was just no getting around it. Enjoy - LastWeekTonight

Stay safe, and get vaxxed,