U.S. stocks witnessed a volatile week as a tech-led sell-off weighed on the markets, although a shift to cyclicals in a recovering economy helped limit losses and stay afloat.
Concerns about rising bond yields jittered investors who were worried about a tightening of monetary policy. The weakness intensified after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell failed to quell investors’ worries around higher yields.
Towards, the end of the week, however, markets staged a pullback to cut losses, with the S&P 500 (GSPC) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) recording weekly gains.
For the week, the S&P 500 rose 0.8%, while the Dow Jones gained 1.8%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq (IXIC) declined 2.1% to mark its third consecutive weekly loss. From its Feb 12th high, the index is down about 8.3%.
Among other notable moves was a fall in shares of Tesla (TSLA) that fell about 4% on Friday, marking a loss of more than 15% in its value in the year and closing below $600 for the first time since December 4, 2020.
Chamath Palihapitiya sells remaining personal stake in Virgin Galactic
Billionaire investor and Virgin Galactic (SPCE) Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya sold his remaining personal stake last week, worth about $213 million at the average selling prices. Shares of the company fell nearly 10% on Friday, bringing its weekly loss to more than 25%. The company has lost more than half its value since hitting a record high of $62.80 in early-February.
Palihapitiya’s latest set of share sales come at a time when Virgin Galactic has revealed more delays to its spacecraft testing program and doesn’t expect commercial flights to begin until early-2022. The company had earlier forecast spaceflights to commence by the summer of 2020. Possibly weighing on the stock is also the stepping down of its chief space officer George Whitesides last week.
FedEx pledges to be carbon neutral by 2040, to invest $2 bn for clean energy steps
Logistics giant FedEx (FDX) said it is investing at least $2 billion towards sustainable energy initiatives that include carbon capture research and electric vehicles. It is planning to replace all parcel pickup and delivery vehicles with electric fleets by 2040. The company has over 200,000 vehicles and 680 cargo airplanes.
A growing number of major U.S. firms are signalling a shift towards clean energy and setting carbon neutral goals. The logistics giant joins this list of companies that includes Amazon, among others. The Jeff Bezos-led firm committed towards meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement ten years ahead of schedule. By 2024, Bezos is expecting Amazon’s energy use to come from renewable resources.
Goldman Sachs restarts cryptocurrency trading desk
Goldman Sachs Group (GS) has resumed its cryptocurrency trading desk and will begin dealing bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients next week onwards, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. With part of its fast-growing digital assets sector that includes projects around blockchain and central bank digital currencies, the desk restart comes at a time when bitcoin has skyrocketed more than 470% over the past year.
Bitcoin’s acceptance has increased significantly in the past few years making it the largest cryptocurrency and is seen by some investors and companies as a hedge against inflation. Against that backdrop, Goldman’s move seeks to cash in on this growing trend with several major financial institutions venturing into the space, including CME Group Inc (CME) and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
Apple may face EU probe after complaint by Spotify
Apple (AAPL) could face an EU antitrust chargesheet in the coming weeks after a complaint by rival Spotify (SPOT), saying it unfairly pushed its own music streaming service. The European Commission is likely to send a statement of objections to the iPhone maker before the summer, multiple news agencies have reported.
The case is one of the four opened by the EU competition enforcer against Apple in June last year, as per this report. This points to an increased competitive scrutiny on the firm. The Commission is said to be probing Apples’ App Stores rules for all competing apps, e-books and audio books, and its terms and conditions for its mobile payment service – Apple Pay.
Walt Disney to close at least 20% of Disney Stores
Walt Disney Company (DIS) said it will close at least 60 Disney retail stores in North America this year, as the company looks to shift its focus on e-commerce. Additionally, it is also evaluating a significant reduction of stores in Europe.
Walt Disney is looking to cash in on more consumers adopting online platforms over physical locations to shop. Other retail giants such as Walmart and Macy’s have also shuttered brick-and-mortar stores after the COVID-19 pandemic hit sales at these outlets and customers shopped online.