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1/28/21: What’s Going On

American Airlines, Apple and more from around the business world.
(Philip Pilosian)
(Philip Pilosian)
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“American Airlines Group Inc. surged in early trading Thursday, extending a day-earlier gain as the carrier was swept up in a rally among heavily shorted stocks being targeted in Reddit’s Wall Street Bets forum. The surge underscored the disconnect between retail traders’ attacks on shorted stocks and the reality of an industry where demand cratered because of the pandemic. Like its U.S. peers, American is still reeling from losses, and the company’s narrower-than-expected deficit in the fourth quarter suggested nothing to justify a burst of market enthusiasm. American is the most shorted stock among major U.S. airlines.”

“The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits for the first time rose less than expected last week as the Covid-19 vaccine rollout continued under the new Biden administration. Jobless claims totaled 847,000 for the week ended Jan. 23, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected first-time claims to total 875,000. Some 5.05 million continuing claims were expected.”

“If the rise of direct-to-consumer businesses has been one of the big e-commerce trends of the last decade, then the growth of startups raising huge rounds to consolidate D2C players, to bring more economies of scale to the model, has definitely been a related theme of the past year. In the latest move, a startup out of Germany called the Berlin Brands Group has announced that it plans to invest €250 million (about $302 million at today’s rates) to buy up smaller companies and bring them into its fold.”

Companies Raising Capital
NameAmountDescription
Nubank$400 MillionBrazilian-Based Neobank
Didi Chuxing$300 MillionChiese Ride-Hailing Giant Pushing Deeper Into Autonomous Driving
Ula$20 MillionExpanding Its E-Commerce Marketplace In Indonesia
Flowhaven$16 MillionEvolving Brand Licensing Management Beyond Emails And Spreadsheets

“One retail research and advisory group is forecasting there could be as many as 10,000 store closures announced by retailers in the United States this year, which would set a new record, as the Covid pandemic continues to take a toll on the industry and companies rethink how many locations they’re able to keep open.”

“Retail stockbrokers placed restrictions on Wednesday on trading of GameStop, AMC Entertainment Holdings and other securities as the companies have become the center of a frenzy that has driven triple-digit spikes in their stock prices in recent days.”

“Ant Group Co. is planning to turn itself into a financial holding company overseen by China’s central bank, responding to pressure to fall fully in line with financial regulations, according to people familiar with the matter.”

“Apple Inc. plans to roll out its extensive new privacy-protection options for users over the next several months, moving ahead with plans that have ratcheted up tensions between the company and social-media giant Facebook Inc.”

“Apple Inc. [also] reasserted itself as the world’s No. 1 seller of smartphones in the fourth quarter thanks to record sales of its latest iPhone, while Huawei Technologies Co.’s device shipments collapsed under the weight of U.S. restrictions.”

“A Pfizer Inc. laboratory study found that coronavirus mutations identified in the U.K. and South Africa had only small impacts on the effectiveness of antibodies generated by the company’s Covid-19 vaccine.”

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