Friday, July 2, 2021

S&P 500 Closes at Record for 7th Straight Day. U.S. stocks finished at new highs Friday, with the S&P 500’s seventh straight record close marking its longest streak since 1997, after a stronger-than-expected jobs report. All three benchmarks climbed to new all-time highs ahead of the U.S. holiday weekend, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching its first record close since May. The Dow advanced 153 points, or 0.4%, ending at 34,786. The S&P 500 rose 32 points, or 0.8%, to 4352, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 117 points, or 0.8%, to 14,639. For the week, the indexes climbed 1%, 1.7%, and 1.9%, respectively. The 10-year Treasury yield declined to 1.43%.

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Employers Hired at Their Fastest Rate in 10 Months, Jobs Report Shows

Hiring picked up more than expected in June as wage growth slowed, making for the kind of just-right jobs report that underpins optimism about the economy without spurring fear of Federal Reserve efforts to forestall inflation.
 
Taken together, the data show the job market continues to recover. It should keep Americans optimistic about economic growth as more consumers are vaccinated and spend some of the cash they have stashed away since lockdowns and layoffs began last year. At the same time, the increase in nonfarm payrolls isn’t enough to add to concerns that the Fed will have to begin tightening monetary policy sooner than expected. The smaller-than-expected rise in wages takes some heat off policy makers. 
 
The Labor Department’s latest employment situation report, released Friday, said U.S. businesses added 850,000 jobs last month. Economists polled by FactSet had anticipated an increase of 675,000. The June gain followed an increase of 583,000 in May and marks the fastest rate of hiring since August.

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Initial Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic Low as Layoffs Slow in Uneven Recovery

Claims for unemployment insurance hit a new pandemic low, resuming the downward trend interrupted in recent weeks.
 
Seasonally adjusted initial claims fell 51,000 to 364,000 in the week ended June 26. That pushed the four-week moving average down to 392,750, also a new low since pandemic shutdowns spurred mass layoffs last March. The latest fall in claims was more than expected. Economists polled by FactSet anticipated claims to clock in at 400,000.

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Federal Judge Dismisses FTC Complaint Against Facebook

In a significant legal win for Facebook, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed parallel antitrust complaints against the company that had been filed by the Federal Trade Commission and a group of 48 state attorneys general.
 
The FTC alleged last December that Facebook was “illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a yearslong course of anticompetitive conduct.” The complaint said Facebook had a “systematic strategy” to maintain monopoly power, including the acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. The FTC’s proposed remedies included forcing the divestitures of both Instagram and WhatsApp, while requiring Facebook to seek prior notice for future deals.

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Justice Department Probes Lordstown Motors: WSJ

Electric-vehicle start-up Lordstown Motors is the subject of a U.S. Justice Department probe, The Wall Street Journal reports.
 
Lordstown has already had a rough ride. The company has been the subject of a short-selling report by Hindenburg Research. In addition, it has disclosed the Securities and Exchange Commission requested information about how the company characterizes pre-orders for its all-electric truck, dubbed Endurance.

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Robinhood Is Going Public Soon. What Its Prospectus Tells Us.

Robinhood Markets, the zero-commission investment app that has revolutionized online trading, has disclosed its plans to go public.
 
It will be among the most highly anticipated initial public offerings in years, in large part because of how Robinhood has changed the investing landscape, encouraging millions to buy and sell stocks, many of them for the first time.

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J&J Covid-19 Vaccine Protects Against Delta Variant, Study Says

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has suffered a long list of setbacks, from concerns over rare side effects that led to a 10-day pause in its use in the U.S., to errors by a manufacturing contractor that caused tens of millions of doses to be rendered unusable.
 
On late Thursday, however, the company announced a big win for its vaccine. Johnson & Johnson said a new study showed that the vaccine elicits neutralizing antibody activity against the Delta variant now sweeping the globe.

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U.S. Home Prices Accelerated at a Record Rate in April

National home prices increased 14.6% annually in April, marking a new record.
 
The swift rate of annual appreciation, up from 13.3% in March, was “literally the highest reading in more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data,” said Craig J. Lazzara, S&P DJI’s managing director and global head of index investment strategy. “April’s performance was truly extraordinary.”

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Pending Home Sales in May Unexpectedly Rise to Highest Reading Since 2005

Pending home sales in May unexpectedly rose to the highest reading for the month since 2005, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.
 
The trade group’s measure of pending sales, or homes in contract that have not yet closed, rose 8% from April’s revised rate and was 13.1% higher than the same month a year ago. The increase was unexpected, particularly after April’s drop in pending sales. Consensus estimates collected by FactSet had called for a 1.5% decrease month over month.

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China Is Launching a Security Review of Didi

Regulators in China announced a cybersecurity review of the ride-sharing company Didi. The disclosure is the latest in a series of developments in China that show the government taking a more aggressive stance on regulating the country’s large internet businesses.
 
In a statement on its website (translated via Google), the Cyberspace Administration of China said that “in order to prevent national data-security risks, maintain national security, and protect the public interest,” it will “Implement a cyber-security review” of DiDi’s operations. The agency added that “in order to cooperate with the network security review work and prevent risks from expanding,” Didi suspended new-user registration for the review period.

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