Hope you all stay warm. You have a quick round of business and technology news to get ahead of the week. – Charlotte Cowles
What’s up? (February 14-20)
An expensive mix
Citigroup made an embarrassing mistake last summer and mistakenly sent a $ 900 million wire to a group of lenders, instead paying very little interest to send it. Citigroup is trying to recover the money it sent from beauty company Revlon. And usually, cash wired in error requires recipients to return it. But last week, a judge ruled that lenders could keep it all. His reasoning: He had grounds for believing that the payment, which is owed to Revlon, was all intentionally covered. The decision is a major setback for Citigroup, which it says will appeal.
- The video retailer’s shares in GameStop have crashed since their January high, which was driven by memes on social media.
- Amateur traders placed heavy bets on Reddit over the company’s shares in January on each other, at one point the price rose more than 1,700 percent.
- A large part of this wave was aimed at damaging hedge funds, which was against short selling – betting – GameStop stocks. Some of those funds resulted in heavy losses.
- But with many individual investors pumping up stocks, they can also lose large amounts of money. Some believe the price will go back up and are refusing to sell, even as the share price has fallen.
- Now, the regulators are watching how the rally started and whether it should result in new rules being enacted.
‘What happened on January 28?’
The question was raised by members of Congress when they grilled key players in the GameSpot trading frenzy that hijacked the stock market last month, and many investors, both big and small, lost money. At the center of the hearing was Vlad Tenev, chief executive of online brokerage firm Robinhood, which handled most of the gametop trades, but abruptly halted them when they reached a fever pitch on 28 January. Mr Tenev again explained – that GameStop trades were stopped due to the new requirements of the clearinghouses that perform them. He Apologized to its users for the company’s failures, but they also insisted that Robinhood had done nothing wrong and privileged powerful business partners at the expense of small-time investors, as some critics suggested Have given. It is unclear what – if anything – laws and regulators will do to reduce such turmoil in the future.
Dollar by dollar
The country’s largest private employer, Walmart, said it would raise 425,000 wages for its employees. This means that about half of its 1.5 million workers in the United States will take at least $ 15 an hour. But many of its workers will still earn less. Unlike its biggest rivals such as Target and Amazon, Walmart has a minimum wage of $ 11 per hour, with wages starting at both $ 15 per hour. The company announcement came nearly a week after its chief executive, Doug McMillan, met with President Biden and discussed the administration’s interest in raising the national minimum wage to $ 15 per hour from its current rate of $ 7.25 per hour. .
What will happen next? (February 21-27)
A winter warning
Texas is recovering from a severe cold snap that lasted for millions of days without electricity and water, but its economy has collapsed. Its agricultural industry is literally frozen, and livestock are dying. Many semiconductor companies had to deactivate production to meet the global shortage of computer chips, which has already slowed down car manufacturing at plants worldwide. But such catastrophic events can be the new normal. Economists – including a top Federal Reserve official – are warning that banks need to be better prepared for more climate-change-related disruptions for manufacturing, electricity and other industries.
The House of Representatives plans to hold its first floor vote on the Biden administration’s $ 1.9 trillion pandemic rescue package this coming Friday. Democrats hope to pass the measure before March 14, when additional federal unemployment benefits ($ 300 per week, provided on top of current state unemployment benefits) are scheduled to be abolished. Through a legislative drawback, the stimulus bill can be approved with a simple congressional majority and no Republican support.
News you can’t use
The Australian government has proposed a law for tech companies to create news outlets for content they share on their platforms (and in turn, helps them with advertising dollars). This poses obvious problems for giants like Facebook and Google, who are taking the opposite approach to the proposal. Facebook took a fighting stance by indefinitely blocking all news links from its platforms. On the other hand, Google announced a three-year deal to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to compensate for its content, and said a similar partnership is in the works. If the law succeeds, other countries can follow in Australia’s footsteps.
Retail sales increased 5.3 percent in January, indicating that Americans spent incentive checks received at the end of the year instead of saving them. Parler, the social network that was forced offline because it called Trump supporters for violence around the time of the Capitol riot, is back and running. And the New York Attorney General has sued Amazon, accusing the company of providing insufficient security protections for workers in New York City during the epidemic and retaliating against employees who raised concerns.