Financial Daily Dose 2.1.2021 | Top Story: Exxon and Chevron Merger On Table as Covid Devastates Big Oil

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Moved by Covid’s bite out of the energy industry, oil behemoths ExxonMobil and Chevron Corp. have held talks about joining forces, “testing the water for what could be one of the largest corporate mergers ever.” Were it to move forward, a merger “would reunite the two largest descendants of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly”—broken up by U.S. regulators in 1911—and likely property “regulatory and antitrust challenges under the Biden administration” - WSJ and Bloomberg

TikTok rival, the Chinese “short-video app operator Kuaishou Technology,” appears set to rake in at least $5.4 billion from its Hong Kong listing “after meeting strong investor demand.” That figure would value the company at over $60 billion and would make its debut the “world’s largest in more than a year” - WSJ

Last week’s GameStop insanity and Robinhood’s role in it all has prompted the Times to deliver us this feature on the online trading app that “became a cultural phenomenon and a Silicon Valley darling with a promise to wrest the stock market away from Wall Street’s traditional gatekeepers” before it clamped down on GME trading last week and revealed it “was at the mercy of the very industry it had vowed to upend” - NYTimes [and Bloomberg]

Streetwise will see your shock at the GameStop madness and raise you a scolding reminder that the markets have always been this way - WSJ

And what about the Robinhood and Reddit faithful? Don’t worry—we’ve got that covered, too - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg

Also, a reminder why—despite calls for immediate action—the SEC isn’t particularly suited to do a whole lot more than “closely monitor[]” the chaos – Law360 and NYTimes

Oh yeah, and silver and SPACs are next - WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and Marketplace

The Times on the undeniably important role that the stock market (yes, this imperfect, roller-coaster of a system) played in propping up pandemic-addled companies even after their major lenders decide to take a pass on further lending - NYTimes

The Journal broke a story this weekend about a slate of current and former PIMCO employees who have accused the company in a letter to senior execs of engaging in “a pattern of abusive and discriminatory behavior toward women and urging them to take steps to fix gaps in pay and promotions” - WSJ

GM’s big Friday announcement that it planned on a zero-emission fleet by 2035 did more than send shockwaves through the auto industry—it also appears to have helped GM start inching out of the “environmental doghouse” after the company opted out of complying with California’s tougher emissions standards  - NYTimes

Not one to let membership in a party that for years aggressively railed against the IMF get in his way, Argentinian finance minister Martin Guzman is currently pushing for a new deal to repay the $44 billion his country owes the Fund without the harsh “austerity measures the IMF imposed with other governments.” Good luck, big guy - WSJ

Breaking down the ways that Apple’s planned privacy changes will take a major bite out of Facebook’s bottom line - WSJ

And speaking of trouble for Zuck, the Facebook founder’s meeting with Aussie officials last week “did little to resolve the spat between the social media giant and the country over proposed changes to media laws” that would require the social media giant to “pay for using media content” - Bloomberg

Some speculation on what a Gensler-led SEC could mean for cryptocurrency regulation - NYTimes

Start your February the right way by picking up a copy of Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar’s hilarious and devastating “You’ll never believe what happened to Lacey.” Seriously, do it now - Salon

Stay safe.

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