Barron’s Weekly Market Updates – September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021
Stocks Post Weekly Decline as Investors Await Fed Policy Meeting. Stocks ended lower Friday, capping a losing week for major indexes as investors awaited next week’s meeting of Federal Reserve officials, which may bring more clues to the timing of the Fed’s plan to eventually taper its monthly asset purchases. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 166 points, or 0.5%, to close near 34,585, while the S&P 500 lost 41 points, or 0.9%, ending near 4433. The Nasdaq Composite finished near 15,044, down 138 points, or 0.9%. Friday’s losses left the Dow with a 0.1% weekly decline, while the S&P 500 lost 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite retreated 0.5%.
Inside the Coming War Over Digital Currencies
The war over money is heating up: For the first time in more than a century, the dollar’s supremacy is being challenged. The rise of cryptocurrencies and “stablecoins” has spurred a rethinking of what a currency is, who regulates it, and what it means when it’s no longer controlled by a national government.
The dollar itself may be getting an overhaul, transformed into a digital currency that can travel instantly around the world, holding up against Bitcoin or any other token.
What kind of upheaval will the new currencies wreak? No one knows. And there are plenty of legitimate use-cases for cryptos and applications built on top of blockchain networks. But the technology is so disruptive that it’s triggering calls for a cascade of new regulations, and it’s spurring governments around the world to think about digitizing their currencies, at least partly to remain relevant and maintain control over their economic interests. The Fed itself is expected to weigh in with its own report in coming days.
Vaccines for Children Are Moving Closer. Pfizer Will Seek FDA Go-Ahead Next Month.
Pfizer plans to apply for emergency-use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 early next month and will seek the go-ahead for use for children aged six months to five years shortly thereafter, a company executive said on Tuesday.
Pfizer’s vaccine, developed in partnership with BioNTech, is currently approved for people 16 and older and authorized under the emergency-use authorization program for people aged 12 to 15. There are no Covid-19 vaccines available for children under the age of 12.
Apple’s New iPhone Launch Was a Bigger Deal Than We Thought
On the surface, last week’s edition of Apple’s annual fall product launch event was kind of a yawner. There weren’t many surprises, the new iPhone 13 lineup was in line with expectations, and upgrades to iPads and the Apple Watch were less than revolutionary.
But dig in a little, and you can find lots to chew on.
Retail Sales Beat Expectations, a Surprise for the Economic Rebound
Retail sales rose unexpectedly in August as Covid-19 cases have been ticking up and product shortages have weighed on American consumers.
Overall sales rose 0.7% month over month, an improvement from July’s revised 1.8% drop and beating the forecast for a 0.7% fall. Excluding automotive, sales climbed 2% in August, crushing expectations for a 0.1% decline. On a year-over-year basis, total retail sales rose 15.1%.
China Evergrande Group has debt due next week that it can’t pay. The woes of the property giant—the world’s most indebted developer—aren’t just China’s problem, and could spill over into global financial markets.
China has already warned banks that Evergrande won’t be able to pay debt obligations due Sept. 20, according to reports, which would bring the group one critical step closer to failure. And the Chinese central bank has just moved to avoid a liquidity crisis, injecting 90 billion yuan ($14 billion) into the country’s banking system Friday.
SpaceX Launch of Inspiration4 Is a Giant Leap for Space Tourism
SpaceX successfully launched four civilians into space this week in the first spaceflight staffed wholly by commercial astronauts to orbit Earth.
The aerospace company run by Tesla’s Elon Musk launched the crew of Inspiration4 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center shortly after 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The mission will take the four astronauts 360 miles from Earth for at least three days before they splash down in one of several spots off the Florida coast.
Lucid Air Gets EPA Range Rating of 520 Miles. That Beats Tesla.
Tesla’s Model S has a range of 405 miles. Lucid Group said the range of its Lucid Air Dream Edition goes one better. In fact, it goes more than 100 miles better.
The car has received an official rating from the Environmental Protection Agency of 520 miles of range, according to Lucid. It is the longest-range electric vehicle ever rated by the EPA, the company added.
Amazon Says More Than 1 Million People Applied for Jobs During Career Day Event
While Amazon.com has been criticized for its employment practices, the e-commerce and cloud computing giant doesn’t seem to have a lot of trouble attracting job applicants.
Amazon.com said Friday that more than 1 million people around the world applied for jobs at the company as part of its Career Day 2021 event on Sept. 15, with over 500,000 applicants in the U.S. alone.