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Financial News

Nov 1, 2021

The Weekly Scan November 1, 2021

By Stash Team

Find out what’s happening in the world of business this week.

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Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of November 1, 2021.

In a far-away galaxy. Facebook is changing its corporate name to Meta, reportedly reflecting a desire to be known for more than just its social network. While the social platform will still be called Facebook, company founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said, “In our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier,” at a Facebook Connect event on October 28, 2021. But the rebranding comes at a time when Facebook is feeling the heat from a long stream of controversy. Last week, for example, thousands of pages of internal documents came to light, reportedly highlighting the company’s role in spreading misinformation as it allegedly pursues profits over people.

  • The takeaway: Companies may change their names for a variety of reasons. Google changed its corporate name to Alphabet in 2015, in an attempt to separate its business lines and provide greater clarity to investors. But companies may also alter their brands due to negative publicity, wrongdoing, or some other misfortune. Phillip Morris, formerly one of the biggest manufacturers of cigarettes and tobacco products in the U.S., changed its name to Altria in 2002 following a multi-billion dollar class action suit against the cigarette industry. Facebook is used by 3 billion people globally. 

NPR

Thrillionaire. Car rental company Hertz announced last week that it will partner with ridesharing app Uber, providing it with 50,000 Tesla vehicles by 2023. The $4 billion partnership has reportedly helped push Tesla’s stock and market capitalization up, making it a trillion dollar company. Previously, Hertz said that it would expand its electric vehicle fleet, by buying 100,000 cars from Tesla by the end of 2022.

  • The takeaway: Tesla is one of a handful of companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, that have managed to hit a market cap of $1 trillion or higher. Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, as demand for rental cars plummeted. However, as the travel industry has recovered, Hertz emerged from bankruptcy. Hertz currently trades over-the-counter (OTC), meaning it doesn’t trade on an exchange, although the company said it hopes to list on Nasdaq this year.

Wall Street Journal

All bark? A new cryptocurrency known as Shiba Inu may soon overtake Dogecoin’s $31 billion valuation as the most prized dog-themed meme coin. The value of Shiba Inu increased as much as 30% over 24 hours last week, giving it a market cap of approximately $29 billion. The creators of Shiba Inu supposedly established the cryptocurrency as a challenge to Dogecoin, naming the currency for the Japanese dog breed on the face of that cryptocurrency. Shiba Inu, which is built on the Ethereum blockchain, is allegedly designed as a “dogecoin killer,” and its creator has reportedly described it as “an experiment in decentralized spontaneous community building.” 

  • The takeaway: It’s not entirely clear what has led to the run up in Shiba Inu. (Among other things, customers have petitioned online brokerage Robinhood to list it on its platform.) However, the excitement around it is similar to the fervor surrounding “meme” stocks earlier this year. In January 2021, retail investors flooded stocks such as GameStop, AMC Theaters, BlackBerry, driving their prices up and causing what’s known as a short squeeze—which forced institutional investors to sell their shares, driving prices up even higher. This rush to “meme” stocks also demonstrated the influence of social media, since retail investors collaborated on forums like Reddit.

CNBC

More than basic. Chicago and Los Angeles are joining the growing number of municipalities considering universal basic income (UBI). Both cities are reportedly in the final stages of approving a standard of income that covers essential costs for thousands of their residents, with no strings attached. Los Angelinos can apply for $1,000 a month in cash assistance, while some Chicagoans can receive up to $500 a month, provided they prove they live at or below the poverty level

  • The takeaway: Approximately 40 cities have considered UBI programs, including Stockton, California, which was reportedly the first municipality to give monthly assistance to 125 residents, starting in 2019. However, the funding sources for such programs, and how long they will run, are still up for debate. For example, Chicago plans to use $30 million of federal money from pandemic relief, through 2022. Los Angeles will use $38 million from its taxpayers for the next year.UBI programs have correlated with increased employment and better mental health for recipients, according to one study.  Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic, which shuttered large parts of the economy in March 2020, has increased poverty rates in the U.S., and led to greater financial insecurity for essentials such as food

Washington Post and Los Angeles Times

 Here’s what we covered in last week’s Scan

  • Hotel chain Marriott International reportedly collected more than $200 million in potentially deceptive fees from customers over the last ten years.
  • Donald Trump, the former president, announced plans to launch a media company.
  • Social media company Facebook will pay $14.25 million in civil penalties for allegedly discriminating against U.S. workers.
  • WeWork, the office-sharing company, went public two years after a failed initial public offering (IPO).

Nothing in this material should be construed as an offer, recommendation, or solicitation to buy or sell any security. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value. All product and company names are trademarks ™ or registered ® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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