According to the latest Global Fund Manager Survey by Bank of America, 74% of respondents believed bitcoin to be a bubble. Just 16% expressed confidence that it is not a bubble. Comparatively, only 7% think the stock market is a bubble. The results come from a survey of 200 panelists with $533B in assets under management. About 10% said they think bitcoin will outperform in 2021.
Amazon India has announced that it is setting up a $250 million venture fund that will focus on digitizing small and medium businesses in India. A part of the fund will also be used for R&D in agriculture and healthcare technologies in the country. It also reiterated its long-term commitment towards the Indian government’s ’self-reliant India’ initiative called ’Aatmanirbhar Bharat.’
China reported a first-quarter GDP of 18.3%, slightly below expectations of a 19% increase. The surge in growth comes off a contraction in the first quarter of last year, when the economy shrank by 6.8% during the height of the outbreak of Covid-19. Retail sales rose 34.2% in March, while industrial production rose 14.1%.
With IBM aiming to automate more business processes, the company announced that it will acquire process mining company myInvenio. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, IBM said myInvenio could use its platform to find the best business processes to automate with AI. IBM has built out its automation portfolio for its AI unit and its hybrid cloud.
Dell’s shares rose by as much as 9 percent after it announced that it will go ahead with a plan to spin off shares of VMware in a deal that should happen in the fourth quarter. It is believed that the move will help Dell pay down debt. VMware will collectively distribute a cash dividend worth $11.5 billion to $12 billion to shareholders, with Dell being set to receive $9.3 billion to $9.7 billion.
Coinbase, the biggest US crypto exchange, is set to list on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. The listing is by far the biggest yet of a cryptocurrency company. Private market transactions had valued the company at around $68B this year, versus $5.8B in September. The crypto market remains buoyant ahead of the listing - Bitcoin is currently trading over $64000 with the entire market at $2.3 trillion.
New Zealand introduced a law that will require banks, insurers and investment managers to report the impacts of climate change on their business. The law governs banks, insurers with total assets / assets under management of more than NZ$1 billion, and all equity and debt issuers listed on the stock exchange. Disclosures will be required for financial years beginning next year.
The United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics said Britain’s economy grew slightly by 0.4% in February. Covid curbs were imposed in varying degrees across all four nations of the UK during January and February. The February rebound followed a fall of 42% in January. However, the ONS said the economy was still 7.8% smaller than a year earlier, when the pandemic didn’t impact the GDP.
The 3 billion euro project led by Total and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) provides for the management of oilfields in the Lake Albert region in Uganda’s west, and proposes pumping the crude to the coast across Tanzania via the East African Crude Oil Pipe Line (EACOP). The two leaders, Total and CNOOC say that a shareholding agreement had been reached.
Chinese regulators hit Alibaba with a $2.8B fine in its anti-monopoly investigation, saying the company abused its market dominance. The investigation that opened in December was focused around a practice by the tech giant that forces merchants to choose one of two platforms, rather than being able to work with both. In addition to the fine, Alibaba will have to file compliance reports.
Tech investor Peter Thiel believes China can use Bitcoin as a ’financial weapon’ against the US. ’Even though I’m sort of a pro-crypto, pro-Bitcoin maximalist person, I do wonder whether at this point Bitcoin should also be thought in part of as a Chinese financial weapon against the US,’ Thiel said. Bitcoin, Thiel added, ’threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the US dollar.’
With nearly half the ballots counted Thursday, 1,100 warehouse workers at Amazon had rejected the union while 463 voted in favor of it. The count will resume Friday morning in Birmingham, Alabama. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is organizing the Amazon workers in Bessemer, said that 3,215 votes were sent in.
Restaurants in the US are facing a shortage of tomato ketchup. This comes amid a surge in demand for sachets of sauce, ’driven by... accelerated delivery and take-out trends,’ as noted by Heinz, the most widely sold brand of ketchup. The company, recently, announced ’a 25% increase in production, totaling 12 billion ketchup packets...a year.’
According to the latest Forbes’ annual rich list, Beijing is home to more billionaires than any other city in the world. Beijing added 33 billionaires last year and now hosts 100. New York came in a close second with 99 billionaires. However, the combined net worth of NYC’s billionaires remained $80B greater than that of their counterparts in Beijing.
The US Labor Department said the number of American workers applying for unemployment benefits rose to 744,000 for the week ending April 3. It is an increase of 16,000 from 728,000 a week earlier. This reflects the slow recovery of Covid-hit job market. Applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for self-employed and gig workers totaled 151,752 last week, a decrease from the previous week.
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said he backs a hike in corporate tax rate as part of an infrastructure upgrade. This comes after Bezos faced criticism from President Joe Biden, Congress and the public. Biden had said Amazon was one of those top companies that ’use various loopholes where they pay not a single solitary penny in federal income tax,’ whereas middle-class families pay over 20% in tax rates.
The Group of 20 major industrial countries issued a joint statement that also announced that agreed on a proposal to boost the resources of the International Monetary Fund by $650 billion. This is aimed at providing support to poorer nations who have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the proposal still needs approval from the IMF’s board and then contributions from member countries.
The US commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, said President Joe Biden is willing to negotiate on his push to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to pay for the $2.25 trillion ’American Jobs Plan.’ While briefing reporters, Raimondo said, ’There is room for compromise. That is clear.’ She also asked American corporations not to walk away if they didn’t like a 28% hike. She termed it as ’unacceptable.’
Larry Connor, real estate firm The Connor Group’s managing partner will reportedly team up with deep sea specialist EYOS Expeditions as he looks to explore both the Challenger Deep and the Sirena Deep of the Mariana Trench next week. He is also gearing up to be the pilot for Axiom Space’s 10-day AX-1 mission to the ISS, flying on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, in January 2022.