Friday, May 21, 2021

Stocks End Mostly Lower After Choppy Week. Stocks finished mostly lower Friday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipping to a session low ahead of the closing bell as Bitcoin saw renewed pressure, just two days after the cryptocurrency suffered a precipitous decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, hung on to a gain of around 124 points, or 0.4%, to finish near 34,208. The S&P 500 fell by around 3 points, or 0.1%, to close near 4156, while the Nasdaq ended 0.5% lower near 13,471. The Dow ended the week down 0.5%, while the S&P 500 lost 0.4%. The Nasdaq remained positive for the week, up 0.3%.

21may

Apple CEO Cook Defends App Review Process in Testimony in Antitrust Fight

Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stand Friday morning during the company’s legal battle with Epic Games, arguing that Apple‘s app review process has benefitted users. He added that he believed an outside party would not be as motivated as Apple in protecting users’ data and fighting malware.
“We’re making decisions in the best interest of the user,” Cook said. He noted that sometimes there are conflicts between what a user and developer may want.
The Apple chief executive’s testimony comes at the end of the third week of the antitrust trial.

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Bitcoin Is Sliding Again as Threats of Regulation Mount

Bitcoin’s slide resumed on Friday as it tumbled to $37,400, down 10% from early morning prices around $41,400.
The threat of stiffer government regulation is mounting, causing a new round of price jitters, with a statement from Chinese Vice Premier Liu being blamed for Friday’s tumble.
Investors had a respite for a couple of days after the cryptocurrency lost nearly 40% of its value from peak to trough this week, going from $49,860 to $30,200.

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Morgan Stanley’s Leadership Moves Could Set Up Next CEO

Morgan Stanley announced a set of leadership changes Thursday that provide hints at who will eventually succeed CEO James Gorman.
Long-serving employees Ted Pick and Andy Saperstein were named co-presidents of Morgan Stanley, with the changes set to take place on June 1. Pick currently leads the bank’s institutional services business, which covers trading and advisory services, while Saperstein heads the firm’s wealth management business.

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Initial Jobless Claims Fall to Pandemic Low. But Ongoing Claims Are Still Rising.

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in the latest week fell to another pandemic low, though the number of people still claiming benefits remains high.
Seasonally adjusted initial claims fell 34,000 to 444,000 in the week ended May 15, the Labor Department said Thursday. That marks the lowest level since March 14, 2020, when 256,000 people filed for unemployment benefits. The previous week’s figure was revised higher by 5,000 to 478,000.

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Ford Nails the Electric F-150 Launch. Look Out, Tesla.

Ford Motor has launched one of the most important vehicles in the company’s history. That’s saying something for the company that sold the Model T starting in 1908. The company launched the all-electric F-150 Lightning truck at an event streamed online Wednesday evening.
“Ford went well beyond installing a battery pack in a traditional F-150,” iSeeCars.com analyst Karl Brauer told Barron’s in an emailed statement. “It’s obvious Ford recognizes both the opportunity and risk presented by the shift toward electric vehicles, and the auto maker has clearly committed to keeping the F-150 viable in a battery-powered world.”

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TikTok Parent’s Founder Steps Down From CEO Role

The founder of Chinese internet powerhouse ByteDance, the company behind video-streaming apps TikTok and Douyin, will resign at the end of the year and be succeeded by co-founder Liang Rubo, the company said in a statement.
Zhang Yiming, 38, who launched ByteDance 10 years ago, is the latest high-profile Chinese internet billionaire founder to resign, in the general context of a Beijing crackdown designed to curb the influence of big technology companies and their sometimes charismatic leaders.

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Retail Earnings Show There’s No Stopping the American Consumer

Never fear, the American shopper appears to be everywhere.
Going into retail earnings this week, many on Wall Street expected to see the baton passed from big-box, stay-at-home plays to specialty apparel and department stores. Instead, early figures from Walmart, Home Depot, and Macy’s show that shoppers are just as likely to be finishing home improvement projects as they are to be buying luggage for their first postpandemic trip.

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JPMorgan Chase Switches Up Leadership of Consumer Unit

It’s a game of musical chairs in the leadership ranks of JPMorgan Chase.
Gordon Smith, currently JPMorgan’s co-president, chief operating officer, and chief executive of Consumer & Community Banking, plans to retire at the end of the year, the bank announced on Tuesday.

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Is ‘Rocky’ Worth $9 Billion? Amazon-MGM Talks Highlight Value of Content.

Amazon.com is in talks to acquire the film studio MGM for about $9 billion, according to a Variety report that cites “industry sources.” The Information previously had reported that Amazon.com and MGM are holding talks.
The news highlights different media companies’ approaches to catalog content—MGM’s portfolio includes classics such Rocky and The Pink Panther—as the industry positions itself for a future in which streaming is dominant.

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