Financial Daily Dose 9.21.2021 | Top Story: Markets Dive on Fears of Evergrande Default

September 21, 2021

Wall Street used the Chinese corporate debt crisis (and property development company Evergrande’s potential coming default in particular) as its reason for a big dive on Monday, with the Dow down 800 point at one point and all indices closing sharply lower in their worst performance since May – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Royal Dutch Shell is shedding its Permian Basin holdings in a massive $9.5 billion deal with ConocoPhillips. The sale “is the latest sign that Shell, like other European oil companies, is under pressure to sell off oil and gas production and move toward producing cleaner energy in response to growing concerns about climate change among investors and the general public” - NYTimes and WSJ

Coinbase has dropped plans to offer a lending program that would have “allowed customers holding a digital token called USD Coin interest by lending it to other cryptocurrency traders” following scrutiny from the SEC and Chair Gensler’s clear position that the product would require the company to register the activity under investor-protection laws - WSJ and Bloomberg and Law360

Meanwhile, SEC officials have officially launched a probe into video-game maker Activision Blizzard of “disclosures regarding employment matters and related issues.” Activision, which makes the popular Call of Duty title, has been plagued by allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination in its ranks since the summer, and some 1500 workers walked off the job in July in protest of the company’s “initially dismissive response to the accusations of misconduct” - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and Law360

Twitter is paying nearly $810 million to resolve a consolidated class-action securities suit that accused the company of “deliberately” misleading investors about user engagement in 2015. The shareholder action “claimed Twitter misled investors about two closely tracked metrics: monthly active users . . . and timeline views.” Twitter will admit no wrongdoing as part of the deal - WSJ and Law360 and Bloomberg

Allianz asset-management leader Jaqueline Hunt is reportedly in the midst of discussions to leave the company as the insurance giant “navigates a Justice Department probe into a group of investment funds that suffered steep losses last year” - WSJ

For some restaurants hoping to attract (and win back) workers as the industry tiptoes towards a mid-Covid normal, it’s not just about boosting wages but rather rolling out “some measure of work-life balance in an industry where late-night hours and 80-hour workweeks were once a badge of honor” - NYTimes

As for those employers who expected the end of emergency unemployment benefits two weeks ago to cause a run on applications, well, they’re still waiting. For now, “nothing has changed in regard to the benefits that have fallen off and the need for people continues to grow” - Bloomberg

Exploring the cracks in the financial regulatory system that allowed a disaster like Archegos to build until it nearly broke Credit Suisse - WSJ

GM announced on Monday that it will start rolling out new battery cells for its recalled Chevy Bolts next month, though most owners “likely will have to wait months to receive the remedy.” GM has warned of battery fires in its all-electric model and estimated the recall campaign could cost $1.8 billion when all’s said and done - WSJ and TechCrunch

We’re not quite in Hotel California territory here, but Montserrat’s approach to Covid-era tourism does have a distinctly “you can check in any time you like, but you can never leave” vibe to it - NYTimes

Stay safe, and get vaxxed,