Happy Super Bowl Sunday. Here are the key business stories for the week ahead. – Charlotte Cowles
What’s going on? (January 31 – February 6)
27 years after founding Amazon, Jeff Bezos is handing over his job as managing director to one of his protégés, Andy Jassy, who heads the company’s lucrative cloud computing department. Mr Bezos becomes the CEO of Amazon and participates in high-level decision-making, but it is still the end of an era for the largest e-commerce retailer in the country. He walks away on pretty good marks: Amazon’s most recent quarterly revenue topped $ 100 billion for the first time, and the company’s worth ($ 1.7 trillion) has Mr. Bezos one of the richest people in the world made. However, we face challenges as the company is increasingly scrutinized by lawmakers and antitrust authorities to determine whether it is exercising its influence illegally.
The beginning of the end
Well, here’s something unsurprising: shares of GameStop – the company that sparked an online stock buying frenzy that upset the markets – fell back to earth, falling to a tiny fraction of what they were a few days earlier had held. The same army of retail investors that fueled GameStop’s boom-and-bust cycle had also snapped up stocks of underdogs like AMC Entertainment and BlackBerry, whose prices also crashed last week. The rapid devaluation of so-called meme stocks, named for their popularity on social media, has led investors to wonder who to blame for their losses. However, when the market stabilized it had its biggest rally in months.
Will the GameStop saga change the regulation of stock trading? Maybe. Recently confirmed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen held a meeting with senior regulators on Thursday to discuss the increasing prevalence of retail investing – stock trading made easy (and free) with apps like Robinhood and E-Trade. The advantage of these platforms is that they make investing more accessible to ordinary (read: not Wall Street) people. If the past few weeks have taught us anything, the whims of these individual stock traders can also create volatility that harms investors of all kinds.
What’s next? (February 7th to 13th)
Charm and route
The Biden administration and the Democrats in Congress are calling for their sweeping coronavirus relief bill of $ 1.9 trillion and will work out the final details this week. In order to avoid possible deadlocks, the Senate Democrats have passed a budget framework that allows the aid package to be passed with a simple majority and without Republican support. President Biden said he was still hoping to compromise with Republicans who had opposed the scope and price of the bill. But he’s unwilling to waste time soliciting their votes or focusing on cornerstones like school aid or direct payments of $ 1,400 to skilled Americans. And with the grim report on Jobs in January, there’s no moment to lose.
The business of elections
Voting technology company Smartmatic has filed a $ 2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, three of its anchors, and attorneys Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell. The company accuses the defendants of harming their business and reputation by spreading false theories about its services as part of their discredited allegations of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections. In its complaint, Smartmatic argues that Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell, who represented former President Donald J. Trump, “made a story about Smartmatic” and that “Fox joined the conspiracy to provide Smartmatic and its voting technology and software defame and belittle. ”
A strange year for advertising
The cost of Super Bowl ads remained similar to the previous year – about $ 5.6 million for a 30-second commercial. It’s the first time the rate hasn’t increased significantly in over a decade, and it took CBS much longer than usual to sell all of the slots. It’s an odd time for marketing, after all, and advertisers face a dilemma: are you playing on the pandemic and reminding viewers of a nightmare they were hoping for a precious few hours? Or do you ignore it and risk looking numb? The ads are dominated by pandemic-popular companies such as the delivery service app DoorDash, the Mexican take-out chain Chipotle and the recently troubled investment platform Robinhood.