Stocks Rise as Tech Shares Rebound – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- Technology stocks rallied Tuesday, helping the Nasdaq Composite rebound a day after sliding into correction territory.
- The Nasdaq rose 3.2%, while the S&P 500 added 1.8%.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average added more than 250 points and is flirting with record levels.
- At the same time, a selloff in government bonds appeared to be on pause. The yield on the 10-year Treasurys ticked lower to 1.552% on Tuesday. It had ended the previous day at 1.594%, the highest level in more than a year.
- U.S. lawmakers are on track to pass the latest version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package later this week.
- That has boosted investors’ confidence in the economy’s prospects and bolstered demand for shares of companies that are likely to benefit from the economic rebound, such as banks and energy producers.
- This rotation sent the Dow—which is weighted more heavily toward cyclical sectors—to notch its second highest close in history Monday.
- More broadly, all 11 sectors of the S&P were in the green in recent trading, suggesting investors were enthusiastic, at least for now, to resume their broad buying of stocks.
- Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 ticked up 0.7%. In Asia, major indexes were mixed.
- The Shanghai Composite dropped 1.8%, and South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.7%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 1%.
Covid-19 Live Updates: U.S. Reports Rise in Daily Cases – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- The U.S. reported a rise in newly reported coronavirus cases, even as vaccinations continued to gather pace and safety guidelines were relaxed for fully inoculated people.
- The country reported 44,758 new cases for Monday, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Monday’s total was up from the 40,903 new cases reported on Sunday but still sharply lower than peak levels in January, when daily tallies often exceeded 200,000.
- The nation’s death toll rose by 719 on Monday, bringing the total to nearly 526,000, according to Johns Hopkins data. The number of fatalities reported Monday was higher than the 672 deaths a day earlier, but the figure was down from a week earlier, when more than 1,500 deaths were recorded.
- The U.S. continued to make headway with its vaccination campaign. The seven-day average of daily doses administered has risen to 2.2 million, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- With more than 92 million doses administered in total, 18.1% of the country’s population has been vaccinated to some degree, according to the CDC.
- Italy surpassed 100,000 confirmed deaths from Covid-19 on Monday, a somber point in a country still waiting for meaningful progress against the pandemic. Around 300 people are dying of Covid-19 daily in Italy. In Western Europe, only the U.K. has had more confirmed deaths from the virus.
- In France, officials warned the hospital system was coming under pressure as Covid-19 variants spread. The intensive-care unit occupancy rate was 76.1% as of Tuesday, up nearly 10% since the start of the month. During the peaks of the first and second waves in April and November, ICUs were more than 90% full.
- Still, French officials said they didn’t expect a third lockdown as the pace of the country’s vaccination campaign picks up. That is partly because of a decline in the incidence of older people entering ICUs.
U.S. Growth Surge Could Unbalance Fragile Global Economy – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- The U.S. will drive a sharp rebound in the world economy this year, but the strength of the American bounce could unbalance weaker economies, particularly in the developing world.
- According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the rise in U.S. government bond yields in response to higher growth and inflation expectations could spark capital flight from emerging economies, where vaccine campaigns have barely begun and whose economic recovery is expected to take longer.
- The Paris-based research body now expects the world economy to reach pre-pandemic levels of output by the middle of this year, six months earlier than it expected when it last published updated forecasts, in November.
- It now sees global output increasing by 5.6% in 2021, having declined by 3.4% in 2020. In November, it forecast global growth for this year of 4.2%.
- The main reason for the upgrade is a stronger outlook for the U.S. economy, which it now sees expanding by 6.5%, more than twice the pace it forecast in November and the fastest expansion since 1984.
- The OECD made much more modest changes to its forecasts for other large economies than for the U.S. It now expects the eurozone to grow by 3.9% this year, up from the 3.6% forecast in November, while it expects China’s economy to expand by 7.8%, having previously predicted 8%.
- The OECD now predicts the U.S. economy will be larger at the end of 2022 than it had expected before the pandemic struck. Among other Group of 20 leading economies, only Turkey is seen being in a similar position.
- India is expected to see the largest shortfall, with gross domestic product more than 8% down on where it was expected to be before the coronavirus began to spread.
- The research body said there was a risk that global growth becomes more unbalanced, leading to potentially disruptive flows of capital to high-growth countries from low-growth ones.
SoFi Is Buying a Community Lender to Speed Up Banking Expansion – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- Fintech startup Social Finance agreed to buy a tiny California community lender to accelerate its push into the banking business.
- The San Francisco-based company will spend about $22 million to acquire Golden Pacific Bancorp Inc., which has three branches in and around Sacramento and about $150 million in assets.
- SoFi plans to contribute an additional $750 million to capitalize the bank for a national, digital expansion should regulators approve the transaction.
- SoFi has laid out a bold growth plan to investors. It said it expects to increase its user base to three million customers this year, up 75% from the 1.7 million it had in December.
- SoFi also told investors it expects adjusted net revenue from its lending business to increase 38% in 2021.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan Transfers $6 Billion Worth of His Shares – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- Zoom Video Communications founder Eric Yuan transferred roughly 40% of his ownership in the company he runs, a stake valued at about $6 billion, after Zoom’s shares more than tripled last year.
- The transaction was recorded as two gifts of nearly 9 million shares apiece, to unspecified recipients and from two trusts for which Mr. Yuan and his wife are co-trustees, according to a securities filing made late on Friday.
- Mr. Yuan was the company’s biggest shareholder with a 15% stake in the value of the company and about 40% of the company’s voting power before last week’s transactions, according to InsiderScore, which analyzes stock transactions by corporate insiders.
- The gifts amounted to about 6% of the company’s shares outstanding, InsiderScore said.
T-Mobile to Step Up Ad Targeting of Cellphone Customers – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- T-Mobile will automatically enroll its phone subscribers in an advertising program informed by their online activity, testing businesses’ appetite for information that other companies have restricted.
- The No. 2 U.S. carrier by subscribers said in a recent privacy-policy update that unless they opt out it will share customers’ web and mobile-app data with advertisers starting April 26. For example, the program could help advertisers identify people who enjoy cooking or are sports enthusiasts, the company said.
- T-Mobile’s new policy will also cover Sprint customers acquired through the carriers’ 2020 merger. Sprint had previously shared similar data only from customers who opted into its third-party ad program.
- A T-Mobile spokeswoman said the changes give subscribers advertising that aligns with their interests. “We’ve heard many say they prefer more relevant ads so we’re defaulting to this setting,” she said. (See below how to change your account settings.)
U.S. Companies in China Say Political Tensions Remain Top Concern – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- U.S.-China political tensions remain the top concern for American companies in China despite some optimism about the relationship improving under President Biden, according to companies surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce in China.
- Half of U.S. companies are pessimistic about the effect that the bilateral relations could have on their China business over the next two years, with only 16% of respondents expressing optimism, according to the chamber’s annual Business Climate Survey, which was published Tuesday in Beijing.
- The pessimism comes despite 50% of respondents predicting the tone of the U.S.-China relationship would likely improve this year following the change in leadership in Washington, up from just 30% of respondents last year who thought relations would improve.
- Exactly half of surveyed companies said China’s business environment is improving, compared with just 12% that thought it was getting worse, while 61% expressed confidence that Beijing is committed to further opening up its economy to foreign investment over the next three years.
AerCap confirms aircraft-leasing business talks with General Electric – Reuters, 3/9/2021
- Ireland’s AerCap Holdings on Tuesday confirmed ongoing discussions with General Electric to acquire its aircraft-leasing business.
- The U.S. business, known as GE Capital Aviation Services or GECAS, is one of the world’s biggest jet-leasing companies.
- It leases passenger aircraft made by companies including Boeing and Airbus.
- Reuters on Monday reported AerCap and General Electric are discussing a deal to forge an industry titan with more than 2,000 jets, citing people familiar with the matter.
- “No further statements will be made by the issuers or the company regarding this matter until the time of the conclusion of those discussions,” the Irish jet leasing company said in a statement.
House Progressives Back Revised Covid-19 Aid Bill as Vote Nears – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- The House looked on track to pass the latest version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package later this week, as liberal Democrats swallowed their frustration with the Senate’s changes and prepared to approve the bill for a second time.
- The legislation would provide $300 in weekly unemployment benefits through Sept. 6, send $1,400 direct payments to many Americans, direct $350 billion to state and local governments, fund vaccine distribution and expand the child tax credit, among other aid.
- Last week, centrists in the Senate pushed to phase out the $1,400 stimulus checks more quickly for some households and reduced the weekly federal unemployment benefits to $300, down from $400 in the original House bill.
- The bill includes an expansion of the credit that would send money to households, increasing the benefit to $3,000 a child from $2,000 while adding a $600 bonus for children under age 6.
- Counting the child credit, the $1,400 payments and other tax provisions, the bill provides a 20% boost in after-tax income to the lowest-earning 20% of households, according to a Tax Policy Center estimate released on Monday.
- Democratic leaders can afford to lose no more than four Democratic votes if all Republicans vote against the bill again. Only two Democrats joined all Republicans to vote against the relief bill last month, both more centrist lawmakers: Reps. Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Jared Golden of Maine.
U.S. consumers expect to spend more on rent and other bills, NY Fed survey finds – Reuters, 3/8/2021
- U.S. consumers said they expect to spend substantially more on rent, gas and other essentials over the next year, a sign some people are expecting key costs to rise as the economy continues to heal from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Median inflation expectations over the next year rose slightly to 3.1% in February, reaching the highest level since July 2014. Projections for inflation at the three-year horizon stayed flat at 3.0%, according to the monthly Survey of Consumer Expectations.
- Consumers said they expect gas prices to rise by a median 9.6% over the next year, up from 6.2% in January. It was the fifth straight month of increase and a new high for the survey, which launched in 2013. Similarly, rent is expected to increase by a median of 9.0% over the next year, up from 6.4% in January.
GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri Won’t Run for Re-Election – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2022, the latest in a series of retirements planned by veteran lawmakers as the GOP reorients itself following the loss of the White House and both chambers of Congress.
- Mr. Blunt, a close ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), announced his decision in a video and press statement Monday, surprising his colleagues and heralding the end of a long political career that included senior leadership roles in both chambers.
- Mr. Blunt is the No. 4 Senate Republican in his role as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
- Mr. Blunt’s last race, in 2016, was made challenging by the rise of former President Donald Trump, whose frequent calls to “drain the swamp” created turbulence for long-serving Republicans.
- Already, a string of Republicans who competed successfully in that cycle have announced that they won’t run again, including Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Richard Shelby of Alabama.
EUROPE & WORLD
Chinese Technology Stocks Have Fallen Harder Than U.S. Peers – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- U.S. technology stocks have slipped into correction territory. Chinese technology stocks have fallen even more.
- An index of the largest technology stocks listed in Hong Kong has dropped 26% in less than three weeks, reflecting how a sudden turn in the market has snowballed into significant losses for investors who piled into popular stocks earlier this year.
- The Hang Seng Tech Index—which tracks 30 companies including Chinese internet giants Tencent Holdings and Alibaba., and smartphone maker Xiaomi —closed Tuesday at its lowest level in 2021 and is now in bear-market territory, defined as a drop of at least 20% from a recent high.
- In comparison, the Nasdaq Composite closed on Monday 10.5% lower than the index’s recent high on Feb. 12.
China’s Car Sales More Than Quadrupled in February – Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2021
- China’s car sales surged in February from a year earlier when the country was at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and consumers were locked down in their homes.
- Retail sales of passenger cars last month more than quadrupled to 1.18 million vehicles compared with the year before, the China Passenger Car Association said Tuesday.
- The jump reflects the low sales during the same period last year. Sales plummeted 79% in February 2020 as many cities were locked down and factories and dealerships were shut.
- In February, 97,000 electric cars were sold, CPCA said. That is a more-than-sevenfold increase from a year earlier, but represents a 38% decline on month.
- Tesla sold 18,318 Shanghai-made Model 3s and Model Ys last month, the group’s data showed.
- Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine de Beauharnais, widow of a former French officer executed during the revolution. (1796)
- The first battle between two ironclad ships, the Monitor (Union) and Merrimack (Confederate) occurred, revolutionizing naval warfare. (1862)
- The special session of Congress known as the “100 days” opened, launching FDR’s New Deal. (1933)