Market Recap: Friday, May 21 – Yahoo Finance

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Yahoo Finance Video

Yahoo Finance Presents: Gina Raimondo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo joins Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer to discuss the semiconductor shortage, the Biden administration’s economic agenda, and priorities for the Commerce Department over the next four years.

Bloomberg

Billionaire Founder of China Property Giant Dies of Illness

(Bloomberg) -- The billionaire founder of KE Holdings Inc. has died of an unspecified illness, a shocking development for a Chinese property company that pulled off one of the strongest U.S. market debuts of 2020.Zuo Hui, who turned the company known as Beike from a nationwide chain of real estate offices into China’s largest platform for housing transactions and services, died May 20 after an “unexpected worsening of illness,” his company said in a statement without elaborating. KE Holdings’ board will announce follow-up arrangements within two weeks, it added.Zuo, 50, has been the driving force behind the company’s success, headlining the bell-ringing ceremony when it went public and holding 81.1% of voting shares under a dual-class voting structure as of end-February, according to its annual report. The company’s American depositary receipts fell 0.8% to $49.85 in New York on Thursday, paring an earlier decline of almost 10%.Zuo was backed by some of Asia’s most influential startup investors, including Hillhouse Capital Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd., and ranks among SoftBank Group Corp.’s most successful bets. KE Holdings almost doubled on its August U.S. debut, vaulting Zuo into the ranks of the world’s richest entrepreneurs with a fortune in excess of $20 billion at one point, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index.Its shares were up 151% from their New York debut through Wednesday’s close, conferring on the late chairman a net worth of $14.8 billion.In an interview with CCTV aired in April, he downplayed the significance of the IPO and the riches it bestowed.“Why should I feel excited?” he said, dressed in jeans, a dark blue vest and black sneakers. “This makes no difference to me.”Read more: Founder of China Property Site With No Profits Worth $20 BillionBorn in 1971 in Shaanxi province, Zuo graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 1992 before getting into sales and establishing an insurance business, where he made his first fortune, according to local media. He then founded Beijing Lianjia Real Estate Brokerage Co. in 2001, when China’s property market was still relatively young, and started Ziroom in 2011 to offer long-term apartment rentals. In 2018, he incorporated KE and launched Beike, becoming one of the country’s most celebrated entrepreneurs.Beike uses artificial intelligence and big data to improve its service and provide market insights, according to its website. As of June, the company boasted 226 million homes on its platform and 39 million monthly active users on mobiles. That’s swelled to more than 48 million mobile monthly active users and half a million agents.The platform also draws in others by allowing decorators, renovators and financial institutions to connect with buyers, creating an ecosystem of property and related offerings.(Updates with closing share price in third paragraph)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Reuters

US STOCKS-U.S. stocks end mixed as Dow recovers on strong economic data

Wall Street closed mixed at the end of a volatile week of trading, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average being the only bright spot, as inflation concerns loom over growth names. The Dow was lifted by industrial heavyweights, including Boeing and Caterpillar Inc.. Boeing jumped 3.1% as industry sources said the planemaker has drawn up preliminary plans to increase in 737 MAX output to as many as 42 jets a month in fall 2022.. Banks, including Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan , also supported the Dow.

Bloomberg

Bond Fund Manager Takes Cues From Equities to Beat Inflation

(Bloomberg) -- Just as stock investors often turn to bond-proxies in a bid to bolster their portfolios, one fixed-income fund manager is leaning toward equity-correlated securities to protect hers from the specter of inflation.For M&G Investments Eva Sun-Wai that means exposure to Norway and Italy in her $246 million global government bond fund, as well as Asian local debt as inflation is more subdued in that region. While she sees the inflation threat as transient, she wants her fund protected from its impact in the near term.“There is some appeal to the higher-yield developed-market curve such as Norway and Italy, where valuations are attractive and correlations to commodity and equity are higher,” she said in an interview earlier in May. In addition, “Italy has been continually supported by the European Central Bank.”The yield on 10-year Norwegian bonds has climbed about 60 basis points this year to 1.56%, while its Italian counterpart is up more than 50 basis points to 1.06%. The equivalent for Treasuries -- often seen as the global bond benchmark -- is up more than 70 basis points to 1.63%.Global bond investors are trying to gauge the lifespan of the current spate of inflation as the world economy recovers from its deepest downturn in generations. A sustained period of price rises could trigger another debt selloff, while transient inflation would likely open the door for selective buying in markets.Three-Decade Bond Veteran Warns Against Big Bets on InflationReducing ShortsThe London-based 24 year-old -- the youngest fund manager at the firm -- has tilted her portfolio to be long inflation bets and short duration ones. Still, she acknowledges bonds are getting more attractive.“Yields are getting cheaper and we are gradually reducing shorts, not completely bearish on duration outright,” Sun-Wai said.The yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed to 1.77% -- its highest in over a year -- at the peak of inflation fears in March. But it has since pulled back as dip buyers emerged and investors debated the sustainability of price rises.“I’m a bit cautious on Treasuries and the dollar as the U.S. is starting off with a large level of national debt post-Covid, and also with potential tapering on the horizon,” said Sun-Wai, who was promoted to her role in January after joining the firm in 2018 as an investment graduate.Her fund is underweight with a short position in 30-year Treasuries, while maintaining a small long position in 5-6 year debt.Rate CycleIn a central bank version of a slow bicycle race, Sun-Wai is cautious about the rate hiking cycle which would favor exposure to a country’s currency over its bonds.She suggests the Bank of England could be the one to hike first, albeit reluctantly. The Norwegian central bank could also increase rates, in the second half of this year, she added.“I suspect a lot of central banks resent been the first mover because it will increase their cost of capital,” she said. “All of them are trying to take baby steps in terms of policy normalization.”That makes Thailand and China local rates attractive, given that central banks in these countries remain accommodative and inflation is more anchored, according to Sun-Wai. The impact of the resurgent pandemic in Asia suggests higher commodity prices are unlikely to spark inflationary concerns that would spur policymakers into action, she said.Virus Surge in Asia Has Traders Seek More Data for Investments“Due to the virus concern, central banks should remain accommodative for now, which should be positive for the local curve, especially when U.S. rates settle down,” she said. “Asian local rates have better value than U.S. rates on a real yield basis, especially since the aggressive selloff we saw in the first quarter.”(Updates prices in fourth paragraph)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Reuters

Factbox-Five things to know about Epic's epic legal fight with Apple

Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook takes the witness stand on Friday to defend the lucrative App Store against "Fortnite" maker Epic Games' allegations that it is a monopoly that Apple illegally abuses. After years of complaints about Apple by app companies like music service Spotify Technology, Epic sued the most valuable U.S. public company for allegedly using its dominance to rake in bigger profits. Epic has waged a public relations and legal campaign, arguing that Apple acts anticompetitively by only allowing apps it approves on the world's 1 billion iPhones and by forcing developers to use Apple's in-app payment system, which charges commissions of up to 30% on sales.

Bloomberg

Talen Energy Plans Push into Crypto, And Creditors Frown

(Bloomberg) -- Talen Energy Corp., a debt-laden power producer operating in the U.S. Northeast and Texas, unveiled a sweeping plan to focus more on clean energy and expand into crypto mining. Its bondholders aren’t sold.The Woodlands, Texas-based company pitched prospective investors Wednesday on the strategy, which would require it to raise as much as $800 million in new equity to fund the construction of two new data centers, including one to mine cryptocurrency, according analysts and investors who watched the presentation.Talen -- which owns a mix of natural gas, coal, nuclear and solar plants -- is the latest power company focus harder on renewables as U.S. President Joe Biden pushes to squeeze fossil fuels off power grids. But the company’s move into crypto mining is novel.To do it, Riverstone Holdings LLC-backed Talen says it needs to recapitalize. Company management emphasized that it’s a good business with an unsuitable capital structure, according to viewers of the presentation, who asked not to be named because the event was private. Part of that recapitalization could include creating new corporate entities within the capital structure, according to analysts.Talen’s 6% unsecured notes due 2025 dropped more than 4 cents on the dollar to around 84.25 cents on Thursday, according to Trace data. Its 10.5% bonds due 2026 bonds last traded at around 91.6 cents, down from about 95.5 the day before the presentation.The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, while a spokesperson for Riverstone declined to comment.Talen expects the first data center phase to cost $350 million to $400 million, which would be funded with $175 million to $225 million of equity, as well as project-level debt, according to a Bank of America Corp. research note.”The company’s coin-mining center would cost about $300 million, funded primarily with equity, Bank of America said. The company expects the facility to be operational in the middle of next year.Talen has struggled at times in recent years, repeatedly filing some of its natural gas plants for bankruptcy as its debt plunged to distressed levels.In April, Talen announced a joint venture with clean-power developer Pattern Energy Group LP to develop about 1.4 gigawatts of solar and wind projects. “This joint venture will allow us to accelerate our clean power transformation and grow Talen’s enterprise value,” Alex Hernandez, Talen’s president, said in an April statement.BloombergNEF has projected 204 gigawatts of utility-scale solar installations and 83 gigawatts of small-scale photovoltaic additions across the U.S. between 2021 and 2030. It also forecasts the country over that period will add 115 gigawatts of wind power.(Updates with decline to comment from Riverstone in sixth paragraph.)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Barrons.com

Bitcoin Is Sliding Again as Threats of Regulation Mount

FEATURE 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.

FX Empire

Major Forces Behind Bitcoin’s Worst Losses Since 2013

The dramatic sell-offs in the past few days in the crypto market was catalysed by a flurry of negative macros, coming from Elon Musk to reports that China was excluding crypto from its financial system, yet recent reports revealed that Crypto exchanges largely contributed to the seismic price swings sighted on Wednesday.

MarketWatch

Bitcoin bros mock Paul Krugman for comparing the crypto craze to ‘a natural Ponzi scheme’

The self-described “crypto skeptic” writes that while he often uses Venmo to split checks and buy groceries, and the PayPal-owned PYPL peer-to-peer payment service launched when bitcoin (BTCUSD) did in 2009, he still hasn’t seen bitcoin, Dogecoin (DOGEUSD) or other digital tokens become as readily adopted for daily transactions by the masses. “This may sound to you like a speculative bubble, or maybe a Ponzi scheme.” Krugman says that all long-running Ponzi schemes need a narrative, which crypto has in spades.

Reuters

McDonald's is sued for $10 billion for alleged bias against Black-owned media

McDonald's Corp was sued on Thursday for at least $10 billion by two companies owned by media entrepreneur Byron Allen, who accused the fast-food chain of racial discrimination for not advertising enough with Black-owned media outlets. The complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court said McDonald's violated federal and state civil rights laws through its "racial animus and racial stereotyping" in allocating ad dollars.

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