Major indices in the US stock market on Wednesday ended the first quarter of 2021 higher amid rally in the stocks of Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and other major tech companies.
The Nasdaq 100 closed 1.51% higher on the back of gains by Apple, Microsoft and Tesla while the benchmark S&P 500 hit an intra-day high and ended the session with a 0.36% gain.
After the markets closed, the country’s president Joe Biden unveiled the details of the infrastructure bill and the economic recovery plan worth $2.25 trillion that is aimed at promoting clean energy and technological developments.
According to media reports, Biden described the plan as a “once in a generation investment” and “the largest” one “since Word War II.” It consists of two parts – the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, he also revealed, adding that the second part of the plan will be released in “a few weeks.”
Microsoft Awarded $22 Billion contract with US military
Microsoft Corporation has won a contract worth $21.9 Billion with the United States military to build more than 120,000 augmented-reality headsets for Pentagon over the period of 10 years.
According to CNN, Microsoft was granted a $10 billion contract Iin 2019 to supply cloud services to the Department of Defense (though its rival, Amazon (AMZN), is still waging a legal contest against that decision).
Google, Amazon Employees Set To Return to Work
Google LLC Employees will from April start returning to the company’s offices in a “limited” capacity and only after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s now been a year since many of us have been working from home, and the thought of returning to the office might inspire different emotions,” Google’s head of HR Fiona Cicconi was quoted by the New York Times.
Amazon on Wednesday said it expected part of its staff to return to workplaces as early as this summer and most of it in the fall amid hopes the situation concerning the COVID-19 pandemic would improve soon.
“Our plan is to return to an office-centric culture as our baseline. We believe it enables us to invent, collaborate, and learn together most effectively.” the company said in a memo to staff. This comes after the tech giant recently announced it would offer its employees the option to receive a vaccine against COVID-19 at their workplaces.
Education platform Coursera Goes Public
Online education platform Coursera opened trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday at $39 per share, 18.2% higher than its IPO price of $33.
The company targets to raise $519 million with a market capitalization of $4.3 billion.
In its prospectus, the firm said the pandemic had disrupted in-class learning and traditional means of education and people turned to Coursera online classes, pushing its 2020 revenue by 59% to $294 million.
Goldman to start offering bitcoin
American multinational investment bank Goldman Sachs Group will begin offering bitcoin and other digital assets to its clients, CNBC reported on Wednesday citing an internal communication sent to employees by the company’s Vice President Mary Rich.
According to the reports, the company intends to offer a “full-spectrum” of investments in bitcoin and digital assets.
Huawei’s 2020 Earnings
Chinese Tech firm Huawei Technologies on Wednesday reported its earnings results for 2020 with its revenues for the full year growing by 3.8% to $136.7 billion while net profit for the period rose 3.2% to $9.9 billion.
Its home market, China, accounted for 66% ($89.7 billion) of total sales but remained the only area where the phone maker saw positive growth allowing it to offset the declines from the rest of the world.
Huawei’s consumer business generated $74.1 billion while the carrier unit’s revenues remained flat at $46.2 billion. Its enterprise segment was the fastest-growing in the firm with a 23% increase in revenue to $15.4 billion.
Shares of UK online food delivery company Deliveroo fell by as much as 30% in their debut on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
The delivery company set its opening price at £3.90 for a valuation of approximately £7.6 billion but the shares dropped to as low as £2.71 shortly after they began trading.
France Goes into Lockdown
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday unveiled new measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 by enforcing a nationwide lockdown.
The lockdown measures will take effect on April 3 and remain in place for at least 4 weeks, Macron explained, attributing the measures to an increase in COVID infections, as well as the number of people hospitalized.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting concluded on Wednesday without any recommendation on oil production cuts ahead of Thursday’s talks where the group will decide on production going forward.
According to Bloomberg, the OPEC+ alliance is debating whether to revive part of the 8 million barrels of daily output — about 8% of global supply — they’re withholding.
The total overproduction for the period from May 2020 to February 2021 reportedly stood at slightly over 3 million barrels per day (bpd).
Suez Canal blockage losses Top $1 billion
The Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority Osama Rabie said on Wednesday that the losses caused by the week-long blockage of the crucial waterway could surpass $1 billion.
“The amount of damage and losses, and how much the dredgers consumed, will be calculated. Estimates, God willing, will reach a billion dollars and a little bit more, this is the country’s right,” Rabie said in an interview with Egyptian Sada El-Balad TV.
The canal was unblocked on Monday after the successful refloating of the Ever Given ship.