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Cryptocurrency market value tops $1 trillion

Cryptocurrency market value tops $1 trillion

The market capitalization of the overall cryptocurrency market topped $1 trillion for the first time Thursday as Bitcoin surged to yet another record high. Bitcoin briefly climbed past the $40,000 mark to a peak of $40,324.01 Thursday, more than doubling the previous high in 2017. Bitcoin currently has a market cap of $730B, and is followed by Ethereum ($139B).

2 weeks
Marks & Spencer says UK Covid-19 curbs hit its Christmas clothing sales

Marks & Spencer says UK Covid-19 curbs hit its Christmas clothing sales

British retainer Marks & Spencer reported another big fall in sales of clothing and homeware in the Christmas quarter. The company blamed the slump on the UK governments as Covid-19 restrictions. Striking a pessimistic note, CEO Steve Rowe said the latest UK lockdowns, which could potentially extend until Easter, may further hit the company’s clothing and home sales.

2 weeks
US jobless claims slightly dip in January first week, layoffs still high

US jobless claims slightly dip in January first week, layoffs still high

US workers filed 787,000 applications for unemployment benefits in the first week of 2021. It is slightly less than the previous weeks jobless claims of 790,000 workers. The dip was unexpected as the Covid-19 pandemic is at its worst state in the country since it arrived in the US, in February-March 2020. The new jobless claims figure makes the total such applications to 73.8 million since March.

2 weeks
US trade deficit widens to 14-year high, now stands at 8%

US trade deficit widens to 14-year high, now stands at 8%

The United States’ trade deficit with the rest of the world widened by 8% to $68.1 billion in November, the Department of Commerce announced. This is its highest level since August 2006. This was a result of businesses boosting imports to replenish inventories. Imports rose by 2.9% to $252.3 billion. Goods imports jumped by 3.0% to $214.1 billion. Exports rose by 1.2% to $184.2 billion.

2 weeks
US services sector grows for seventh straight month

US services sector grows for seventh straight month

America’s services sector, which is the biggest employer in the US, grew for the seventh consecutive month last month despite the Covid-19 pandemic raged like wildfire through the holidays. The Institute for Supply Management index shows the sector grew to a reading of 57.2 in December month from a reading of 55.9 in November. Readings above 50 represent expansion in services industries.

2 weeks
Analysts say UK’s dropping birth rates may adversely impact future economy

Analysts say UK’s dropping birth rates may adversely impact future economy

The Covid-19 pandemic has made many couples in the United Kingdom cancel or, postpone their plans to have babies. Analysts fear that Britain, which already has an aging population, will have far more older people in the coming years. With a large number of unemployable old people and fewer young people driving consumption, even spending would dip. These two factors are a recipe for economic doom.

2 weeks
Dow ends at high despite attempt by Trump supporters to siege Capitol

Dow ends at high despite attempt by Trump supporters to siege Capitol

Riding on expectations that there would be more stimulus for the economy soon, stocks rose on Wall Street Wednesday. The Dow gained 437.80 points (1.4%) to 30,829.40 and the S&P 500 rose 21.28 points (0.6%) to 3,748.14. This is despite a violent attempt by thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters to storm the Capitol to overturn the election’s result. However, it did wipe out some gains.

2 weeks
Trump administration’s 1st auction for Alaska oil rights draws lukewarm response

Trump administration’s 1st auction for Alaska oil rights draws lukewarm response

The US government held the first auction for drilling rights for extracting oil from Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, after President Trump allowed it recently. However, it failed to attract big oil companies. An Alaskan state agency won the bid, drawing immediate flak from environmental groups. The sale raised less than $15 million – far less than the administration’s expectations.

2 weeks
Walgreens to sell drug wholesale business to AmerisourceBergen in $6.5bn deal

Walgreens to sell drug wholesale business to AmerisourceBergen in $6.5bn deal

Walgreens Boots Alliance said it will sell its wholesale drug business to AmerisourceBergen in a $6.5 billion cash-and-stock deal. Walgreens said the deal will allow it to focus more on its core retail pharmacy business that has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Drug wholesalers typically buy medicines from manufacturers and then distribute them to customers, like drugstores and hospitals.

2 weeks
Trump bans transactions with companies behind 8 popular Chinese apps

Trump bans transactions with companies behind 8 popular Chinese apps

President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order prohibiting money transactions with the companies behind eight Chinese apps. These are: Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office. The US Commerce Department confirmed that it will begin implementing the executive order’s directives before Trump leaves office on January 20, Reuters reported.

2 weeks
Saudi Arabia to cut oil output

Saudi Arabia to cut oil output

During negotiations with Russia and OPEC nations, Saudi Arabia announced it will cut production by 1 million barrels a day, during February and March. OPEC+ nations will maintain current output. Russia and Kazakhstan will slightly increase production.

2 weeks
Despite COVID surge, US manufacturers grow faster in December

Despite COVID surge, US manufacturers grow faster in December

The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 60.7% in December from 57.5% in the prior month, marking the highest level in almost two and a half years. Manufacturers have expanded for seven months in a row since the economy reopened last spring.

2 weeks
Taking a U-turn, NYSE says it won’t delist three Chinese telecom companies

Taking a U-turn, NYSE says it won’t delist three Chinese telecom companies

The New York Stock Exchange said it won’t delist three Chinese telecom giants that have been targeted by the US government. The NYSE, who made the announcement only last week to delist China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom Hong Kong, said it had made the decision ’in light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities.’ China had decried the move to delist the companies.

2 weeks
GM auto sales down for 2020 but rebounded in 4Q, Bentley has record sales

GM auto sales down for 2020 but rebounded in 4Q, Bentley has record sales

GM reported that their vehicle sales were down 12% for 2020 but up 5% in the fourth quarter over the same period in 2019. G.M. sold 2.5 million cars and light trucks in 2020, down from nearly 2.9 million in 2019. Auto sales fell sharply last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. Luxury car maker Bentley had a record 2020 selling 11,206 cars powered by a 50% increase in sales to China to 2,880.

2 weeks
Fiat and Peugeot shareholders approve huge merger of two companies

Fiat and Peugeot shareholders approve huge merger of two companies

The shareholders of France’s PSA Group, the makers of Peugeot cars, approved the company’s merger with Italy’s Fiat Chrysler by a massive 99.85% majority. Fiat’s shareholders were expected to vote in favor of the deal Monday itself. The $52 billion deal is expected to be completed by the end of March. This will create the world’s fourth-largest carmaking company, which will be called Stellantis.

2 weeks
Data shows minority-owned companies waited for months before getting loans

Data shows minority-owned companies waited for months before getting loans

Paycheck Protection Program data analyzed by Associated Press show many minority business owners didn’t receive Covid-19 relief loans until the PPP’s last few weeks. Meanwhile, more white business owners were able to get loans earlier in the program. The first round of PPP saw $349 billion approved in just two weeks, but many minority-owned firms that applied to multiple banks early were rejected.

2 weeks
China warns of retaliation for New York Stock Exchange’s delisting of companies

China warns of retaliation for New York Stock Exchange’s delisting of companies

China said Saturday that it would take necessary countermeasures in response to the New York Stock Exchange’s announcement that it would delist three major Chinese telecoms - China Telecom Corp. Ltd., China Mobile Ltd. and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. - with trading of the companies to be suspended between Jan. 7 and Jan. 11. The move stems from an executive order President Trump issued on Nov. 12.

2 weeks
Tesla narrowly missed its 2020 target to deliver 500,000 vehicles

Tesla narrowly missed its 2020 target to deliver 500,000 vehicles

In the last three months of 2020, Tesla announced record deliveries of its electric cars, coming within a whisker of achieving the half-million target set by its chief executive, Elon Musk. After a final quarter that met analysts’ estimates, the annual sales of the California-based producer increased by 36 percent, producing a total of 499,550 cars in 2020.

2 weeks
Minimum wage set to rise in 20 US states

Minimum wage set to rise in 20 US states

On Friday, 20 states and 32 cities and counties in the US will raise their minimum wage. In 27 of these places, the pay floor will reach or exceed $15 an hour. In New Mexico, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50, up $1.50. And in California, the rate for employers with 26 workers or more will rise from $13 to $14 an hour. In Minnesota, the gain is just 8 cents, to a $10.08 hourly rate.

3 weeks
US stocks notch records in final trading day of 2020

US stocks notch records in final trading day of 2020

US stocks hovered near record highs on Thursday as investors close the book on a tumultuous year. The S&P 500 index rose 24.03 points, or 0.6%, to 3,756.07. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 196.92 points, or 0.7%, to 30,606.48. The Nasdaq composite picked up 18.28 points, or 0.1%, to 12,888.28. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 5.14 points, or 0.3%, to 1,974.86.

3 weeks
Hedge fund Alden offers to buy Tribune, valuing it at $521M

Hedge fund Alden offers to buy Tribune, valuing it at $521M

A hedge fund named Alden, Tribune’s largest shareholder of the newspaper publisher, has offered to buy the rest at a price that values it at $520.6 million. Tribune publishes nine major daily papers, including the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun. Alden wrote Tribune on Dec. 14, according to a regulatory filing, and has not received a response. Alden owns 31.6% of Tribune.

3 weeks
Oil industry’s gloom cannot treated with a Covid vaccine

Oil industry’s gloom cannot treated with a Covid vaccine

Set aside the pandemic; Ignore the collapse in demand; Forget about the time oil prices went negative; Look at everything else that happened this year, and Well. Oil still had a pretty terrible year. Between hurricanes, geopolitical rivalries, irate investors and climate pressures, oil producers faced a host of challenges that weren’t created by the coronavirus — and can’t be cured with a vaccine!

3 weeks
US 30-year mortgage rate ticks up from 2.66% to 2.67%

US 30-year mortgage rate ticks up from 2.66% to 2.67%

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the U.S. and global economies, U.S. long-term mortgage rates ticked up marginally this week but remain near record lows. According to mortgage giant Freddie Mac on Thursday, the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loan increased to 2.67 percent from a record-low 2.66 percent last week. It stood at 3.72 percent a year ago.

3 weeks
Tesco among more than 100 companies in UK caught paying staff below minimum wage

Tesco among more than 100 companies in UK caught paying staff below minimum wage

Tesco, Pizza Hut, and Superdrug are among more than 100 companies that have been named and shamed by the UK government for failing to pay workers the minimum wage. 139 companies investigated between 2016 and 2018 failed to pay £6.7m to more than 95,000 workers. The minimum wage ranges from £4.15 an hour for apprentices, to £8.72 an hour for over-25s.

3 weeks
Bitcoin hits record $28,600 as 2020 rally powers on

Bitcoin hits record $28,600 as 2020 rally powers on

Bitcoin on Wednesday jumped to a record US $28,599.99, after the digital currency almost quadrupled in value this year amid heightened interest from bigger investors. The world’s most popular cryptocurrency was last up 2.3 per cent at US$28,012. It has surged by nearly half since breaking US$20,000 for the first time on Dec. 16.

3 weeks
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