What’s up? (July 18-24)
Delta variant generates uncertainty
A new spike in coronavirus cases, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant, rocked investors and businesses last week. On Monday, fears of what an increase in cases, mostly among the unvaccinated, would mean for the global economic recovery led to the worst drop in the S&P 500 in months. But on Tuesday, stocks rebounded. The recent epidemics are also prompting executives to rethink their plans to reopen offices. Apple, for example, has said it will delay plans to return to the office for at least a month, no earlier than October 1. But not all companies have come to the same conclusion. Morgan Stanley’s chief legal officer urged the bank’s outside law firms to call their lawyers back to the office.
NBC wins the Olympics
The summer games, delayed by a year, kicked off in Tokyo on Friday with a hushed ceremony in a nearly empty stadium. Most residents of Japan and many public health experts were in favor of canceling the event, which takes place during the state of emergency in the country after a spike in Covid-19 cases. Depending on who counts, Tokyo has spent between $ 8 billion and $ 12.6 billion more than expected on games. And at least 75 people with Olympic credentials, including six athletes, have tested positive for Covid-19 since arriving in Tokyo. Expectations of a huge windfall for Japan’s largest marketing company have diminished as sponsors cancel or cut back their promotional campaigns and events. But NBCUniversal, which owns the exclusive rights to broadcast the Games in the United States, still expects full participation from advertisers. According to an estimate from data research firm Kantar Media, advertisers are expected to spend $ 2.25 billion to appear alongside coverage of the Olympics, a 20% increase from the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.
Airlines bounce back
Outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant have so far not hampered the airlines’ recovery. Customer spending on airlines briefly exceeded 2019 levels this month, according to Facteus, a research firm that monitors online payments. Ticket prices and the number of people screened by the Transportation Security Administration are also on the rise, with American, Southwest and Delta all reporting second-quarter profits. (United reported a loss but predicted it would return to profitability in the third quarter.) But it’s not clear to the aviation industry. None of these companies would be close to profitability without the $ 54 billion in federal assistance that helped pay employee wages during the pandemic. Passenger volumes are still declining from previous times, and carriers are grappling with delays and staff shortages as they increase rapidly.
And after? (July 25-31)
Robinhood trades on Robinhood
Robinhood, the stock trading app, is expected to start trading on the Nasdaq market by the end of the week. The company, which allows users to trade for free using a simple interface, plans to price its stock at a range that could value it up to $ 35 billion. Robinhood’s plans for its IPO are unusual in that it will sell up to a third of its shares directly to clients through its app, a move meant to deliver on its promise to “democratize investing.” This move can also introduce volatility, as there is no guarantee that these investors will not immediately get rid of the shares when the stock begins to trade. But the biggest risk to Robinhood may be regulatory. Last year, the company agreed to pay a fine of $ 65 million for misleading customers about its business. Last month he agreed to pay a $ 70 million fine for issues like misleading information and system crashes, and he faces nearly 50 lawsuits over his decision to restrict trade during the trading frenzy. from GameStop.