Financial Daily Dose 7.19.2021 | Top Story: OPEC+ to Boost Production Following Saudi/UAE Truce

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Members of the OPEC+ coalition have reached a deal to increase oil production, a “move that could help ease the pressure on gas prices and inflation as economies around the world recover after pandemic lockdowns.” The agreement could see producers “pumping more oil beginning next month” - NYTimes and WSJ and MarketWatch

Zoom is making its first big move to solidify its place in a post-pandemic business landscape with a nearly $15 billion deal to acquire Five9 Inc., “a provider of cloud-based customer-service software” that Zoom hopes will “expand its potential offerings for business and enterprise clients” - WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and TechCrunch

Friday’s numbers showed an “unexpected jump” in retail sales for June, a welcome sign that consumers increased their spending after a disappointing drop in May. Sales now appear to be “fluctuating month to month, propelled by an uneven reopening of the economy” - NYTimes

In comments last week, Treasury Secretary Yellen took a tough stand on the last administration’s much-touted trade deal (such as it was) with China that “included Chinese commitments to buy American products and change its trade practices.” Secretary Yellen, herself in the midst of an “extensive review of America’s economic relationship with China,” asserted that the deal “failed to address the most pressing disputes between the world’s two largest economies” and warned that “the tariffs that remain in place have harmed American consumers” - NYTimes

Secretary Yellen, her former colleagues at the Fed, and SEC officials are also putting in plenty of time these days assessing the viability of stablecoins—“digital currencies pegged to national currencies like the U.S. dollar” that are “increasingly seen as a potential risk not just to crypto markets, but to the capital markets as well” - WSJ

The Times helps us understand, 4 months on, just how it was a that a massive ship at a unfortunate angle managed to break the global supply chain (and how, incredibly enough, the shipping industry writ large has managed to address “some of the most critical issues that led to the grounding”) - NYTimes

A decade removed from IBM’s PR blitz touting its Watson AI technology (on the heels of Watson stomping Ken Jennings on Jeopardy), we catch up with the company and its big product to help sort out how Watson both failed to remake entire sectors of the economy and to “lift[ ] IBM’s fortunes” - NYTimes

Perhaps because Covid “upended almost everything,” including the entire U.S. economy, fund managers sought refuge in the familiar over the past 16 months, sticking with stock preferences nearly “identical to what they were” at the start of the pandemic, according to data compiled by Bank of America - Bloomberg

The DOJ has officially opened a probe into the SPAC deal that helped take Lordstown Motors public last year. SEC are already investigating the struggling e-truck maker based on short-seller allegations that the company’s preorder disclosures were “largely fictitious” – Law360

Speaking of SPAC scrutiny, Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square crew has abruptly dropped plans to use “his jumbo-sized SPAC to purchase a stake in Universal Music Group” after the SEC “raised concerns about the complex transaction” - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg

We’ve spent plenty of time here unpacking the WeWork unraveling that led to founder Adam Neumann’s ouster and major investor Masa Son scrambling to reinforce his SoftBank empire shaken by WeWork’s fall. Now the Journal helps us understand how the disintegrating personal relationship between Neumann and Son played a vital role WeWork’s cratering - WSJ

While battery growth has vaulted lithium into the spotlight as the hottest of the formerly obscure metals, don’t sleep on gallium, the metal byproduct of “extracting aluminum from rock” that, when combined with nitrogen, becomes a hard crystal with properties prized for “power electronics” - WSJ

The Times is calling it an “unofficial ranking,” but a decade of dadding can confirm that at least 7 of these absolutely deserve their place on this list of the “10 most annoying kids’ toys” - NYTimes

Stay safe and get vaxxed,
MDR

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