Financial Daily Dose 7.20.2021 | Top Story: Markets Dive on Monday on Delta Variant Fears
July 20, 2021
Markets dove at the opening bell and never recovered on Monday, with all three major indices off between 1 and 2%--the most across the board since May. Most market watchers blamed concerns over the economic recovery stalling out given the surge in Delta variant cases among unvaccinated people. Yesterday, that meant that investors “behaved as they had during the pandemic’s early days, pouring money into so-called stay-at-home stocks, whose business models appear almost tailor-made to thrive despite lockdowns” - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and HuffPost
That dip coincided rather awkwardly with news from the National Bureau of Economic Research that the pandemic recession “is officially over” and has been for “more than a year.” In fact, clocking in at just over two months, the Covid recession was officially “the shortest contraction on record” - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg
Also sliding on Monday: Bitcoin, which continued its slide back toward $30k this week thanks to a selloff likely also prompted by investors seeking refuge in more stable assets - Bloomberg and MarketWatch
The recent involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against Tsinghua Unigroup, “China’s would-be microchip champion” that’s “[l]aden with state funding and political backing,” suggest that the company “is emerging as a cautionary tale about the waste that can come with misplaced investment and subsidies.” While Beijing isn’t shy about supporting homegrown businesses across many sectors, its microchip ambitions are in a special league—something akin to “its space program”—with the goal “to achieve self-sufficiency in manufacturing the tiny chips that make everything from automobiles to missiles and supercomputers work” - NYTimes
Drug distributors and manufacturers AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Johnson&Johnson are reportedly “nearing a conclusion” of negotiations for a $26 billion deal “to resolve thousands of lawsuits filed by state and local governments blaming them for helping fuel the nation’s opioid epidemic” - WSJ
Trading app Robinhood Markets that found itself at the heart of last year’s meme-stock craziness is looking to raise some $2 billion in its IPO launch set for next week. That figure would peg the company’s market value at roughly $33 billion, below earlier estimates of near $40B - WSJ and Bloomberg and Law360
While updating disclosures as part of that IPO process, the company also revealed that it expects to pay $30 million “as part of a tentative settlement with a New York regulator over anti-money laundering and cybersecurity issues at its cryptocurrency subsidiary.” That’s double what Robinhood had initially set aside related to the investigation – Law360
Toyota delivered a blow to the already struggling Tokyo Games this week, announcing that it would not run planned Olympics-themed TV ads in Japan, “a symbolic vote of no confidence from one of the country’s most influential companies just days before the Games begin amid a national state of emergency” - NYTimes and WSJ
The Financial Stability Board, “which brings together regulators from around the world,” is working on a new series of reforms to “discourage investors from pulling out cash at times of stress” from money-market funds after prior rounds of reforms “buckled during the 2008 financial crisis” - WSJ
Because I know you’re on tenterhooks here: some thoughts on whether the necktie will survive the pandemic or yield to the naked collared shirt as the new “standard of formality” in the States – TheAtlantic
Stay safe and get vaxxed,
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