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US stocks pull back after setting records

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Stocks slip in volatile day of trading

US stocks ended the day markedly lower Wednesday after rallying at the open to reach record intraday highs.

Investors are still waiting for news of more stimulus from Washington. Meanwhile, an antitrust lawsuit and push to breakup Facebook (FB) by the FTC and 48 state attorneys general is unnerving investors in tech stocks.

Shares of DoorDash (DASH) soared in their market debut.

Dozens of states and the FTC sue Facebook for alleged anticompetitive behavior

Dozens of states and the federal government sued Facebook (FB) on Wednesday in twin antitrust lawsuits, alleging that the social media giant has abused its dominance in the digital marketplace and engaged in anticompetitive behavior.

The parallel lawsuits, months in the making, represent an unprecedented challenge to one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful corporations. The complaints zero in on Facebook’s acquisition and control over Instagram and WhatsApp, two key services in its social media empire.

The suits come roughly 14 months after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office was leading a group of attorneys general in investigating Facebook for potential anticompetitive practices. More than 40 attorneys general ultimately signed onto Wednesday’s complaint. The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, has been conducting its own antitrust investigation of Facebook since June 2019.

Facebook’s stock fell 2% on the announcement.

Don't fret the pricey market

The market’s phenomenal run-up makes sense, despite the souring economy and unrelenting rise in Covid cases in the United States, said Kristen Bitterly, Head of capital markets for Citi.

“The market is not the economy and the economy is not the market,” Bitterly told Alison Kosik on CNN’s “Markets Now” live show. “The market is really looking out 6 months. We believe these vaccines are going to be effective, and the market’s going to benefit.”

Bitterly conceded that the world is a scary place. But people shouldn’t cash out just yet. If you missed the top market days this year, you would have underperformed a buy-and-hold strategy by 19% – way more than the 10% of a typical year.

“The most important thing now is to stay invested,” she said.

Timing the market is difficult.

Why it's still 'a great moment to be an investor'

Are you worried that it’s too late to put money in the market? You haven’t missed out, says Kristen Bitterly, head of capital markets for Citi.

“It continues to be a great moment to be an investor,” Bitterly told Alison Kosik on CNN’s “Markets Now” live show.

She acknowledged that the market is perhaps “a little overheated here,” but she said there are plenty of companies with sub-par valuations, including those that didn’t benefit from the changes in the economy during the pandemic.

“The truth is there’s a big disparity between Covid winners and Covid losers,” she said. “You have to do that rotation before it’s too late.”

Snowflake CEO on his $100 million a month pay: 'I'm an investor'

Snowflake is one of the hottest stocks on the planet, and the company’s data cloud business is growing fast.

The company’s CEO, Frank Slootman, is handsomely compensated for that success: Nearly $100 million a month in stock options. But he doesn’t see a problem with that.

“Your publicity is causing me discomfort,” Slootman told CNN Business’ Alison Kosik on “Markets Now.” “I’m an investor. I invest my money and time, and all of us benefit.”

Slootman was encouraged by his company’s fast-paced growth. He said he believes the stock price is worth its sky-high valuation because people are willing to buy it at that price. “The stock is worth what someone wants to pay for it. Markets get it right over the long haul,” he said.  Although the company’s not focused on profit, he said Snowflake raised the roof on computing.

“We could only do a fraction of the work we wanted to because of limits of infrastructure,” he said. “We lifted those limits. The world is completely unleashed.”

“We’re in for a heck of a ride here,” he added.

Canopy Growth closing some of its cannabis operations in Canada

Cannabis company Canopy Growth (CGC) announced Wednesday that it is shutting down cultivation and production sites across Canada in an effort to further cut costs.

Canopy Growth, headquartered in Ontario, said 220 employees will be affected as a result of the site closures in five provinces. The production sites targeted for closure represent about 17% of Canopy’s Canadian operations. The outdoor grow operations in Saskatchewan that are included in the closure represent the entirety of Canopy’s Canadian outdoor production footprint.

Canopy, one of the largest cannabis companies, has been steadily winnowing down its operations. Along with other North American cannabis firms, it suffered financially as a result of growing operations far faster than markets have developed.

“These actions will be an important step toward achieving our targeted C$150 million to C$200 million of cost savings and accelerating our path to profitability,” Canopy Growth CEO David Klein said in a statement. “We are confident that our remaining sites will be able to produce the quantity and quality of cannabis required to meet current and future demand.”

As a result of the closures, Canopy is expected to incur charges of 350 million Canadian dollars (US $273 million) to C$400 million.

Shares of Canopy were down 86 cents, or about 3% to $27.96 in midday trading. 

Tom Siebel-led software firm C3.ai soars in IPO

Sure, food delivery service DoorDash (DASH) is set to skyrocket in its Wall Street debut Wednesday. But the artificial intelligence-powered software company C3.ai (AI) had a message for DoorDash – hold my beer.

C3.ai soared more than 140% right out of the gate to above $100 a share after pricing its initial public offering at $42 – well above its expected range of $36 to $38. C3.ai raised more than $650 million from the stock sale and is now worth around $9.5 billion.

The company is led by CEO Tom Siebel, a billionaire who sold his software firm Siebel Systems to Oracle (ORCL) in 2005 for nearly $6 billion.

C3.ai is not profitable, but like many other startups it is posting strong gains in revenue. Total sales were up more than 70% in C3.ai’s most recent fiscal year – and the company generates nearly all of its revenue from recurring subscriptions for its AI-powered business software.

Top customers include French utility Engie (ENGIY), oil services leader Baker Hughes (BKR) and Caterpillar (CAT). C3.ai also has a big backer – Microsoft (MSFT). The software giant has agreed to buy a $50 million stake in the company at the IPO price.

IPOs (as well as companies going public through special purpose acquisition companies or SPACs) are in hot demand right now.

The scintillating debut for C3.ai also comes one day before Airbnb (ABNB) is set to go public. Some unicorns are choosing to directly list their shares too. That’s how controversial big data firm Palantir (PLTR) went public.

DoorDash makes its Wall Street debut

Food-delivery giant DoorDash is set to begin trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, marking the culmination of a year that has seen delivery companies benefit greatly from skyrocketing demand for their services.

DoorDash said Tuesday it priced its stock at $102 per share, raising nearly $3.4 billion in its IPO and valuing the company at about $39 billion – more than double its last private market valuation.

The pricing was far above DoorDash’s original proposed price range of between $75 to $85 a share, in a sign of strong investor demand.

The company, which was launched seven years ago by a group of Stanford students to help businesses in Palo Alto offer delivery, has become a lifeline for many restaurants and merchants across the country. Now, the country’s biggest food delivery app is riding the wave of pandemic-fueled demand to Wall Street.

Stocks are in the red

The trading day is just a little older than an hour and stocks have already turned negative. All three indexes are in the red, albeit modestly so.

The Dow is 0.1%, or 20 points, lower, while the S&P 500 is flat. The Nasdaq Composite is down 0.1%.

It’s hard to stay excited about potential stimulus packages when there is no tangible progress on them and Covid infections continue to rise across the country.

“We’re still all talking, and hoping to get an outcome,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier when asked his opinion of Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin’s new relief proposal.

Read more about the Whiplash over different stimulus plans on Capitol Hill.

Job openings ticked up in October, but layoffs increased, too

America’s job opening increased by more than economists had expected in October, a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed this morning.

Job openings stood at nearly 6.7 million in October, more than the 6.3 million expected and up from 6.4 million in September.

But the data included some bad news, too.

Althoughthe number of new hires was little changed, total separations increased to 5.1 million from 4.8 million in September. The number of workers quitting was unchanged at 2.2% but more workers were laid off and discharged the in in the prior month.

The worrying part of the release is that the resurgence of Covid-19 infections didn’t happen until November, so the next job openings report might look quite different.

Stocks open higher

Wall Street was in the green at the opening bell in New York. Hopes that Congress will pass another round of government stimulus before the holidays is boosting the market.

At the same time, investors are concerned about the worsening spread of Covid-19 that could lead to another shutdown of businesses given various states have already tightened restrictions.

If the S&P and the Nasdaq finish in the green, they will reach fresh record highs.

US stock futures point to higher open

US stock futures were mostly higher Wednesday morning as investors grew more optimistic that Congress would pass necessary fiscal stimulus to boost the economy as the worsening Covid-19 pandemic threatens to shut down thousands more businesses and put millions more Americans out of work.

  • Dow futures were up 89 points, or 0.29%
  • S&P 500 futures were 0.18% higher
  • Nasdaqfutures fell 0.05%

Stocks rose across the board Tuesday, hitting new records.

Elon Musk says he moved to Texas

Tesla’s CEO says he has relocated to the Lone Star State.

Elon Musk revealed his move from California to Texas during The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council annual summit Tuesday.

Musk told the paper’s Editor in Chief, Matt Murray, that while “there’s a lot of things that are really great about California,” he believes the state is taking its success for granted.

The CEO has been hinting at leaving California for a while. Back in May, Musk tweeted that Tesla would “now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately” after local officials refused to let the company reopen its Fremont factory during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more here.

2021 could be a tougher year for stocks

If you had said at the start of 2020 that the economy would shut down, the unemployment rate would skyrocket and earnings would plunge due to a highly contagious and lethal virus and we’d still end the year with stocks near all-time highs, people would think you were crazy.

Heading into 2021, investors are optimistic about stimulus from the incoming Joe Biden administration, more help from the Federal Reserve, relief as Covid-19 vaccines are administered to millions and — most hopefully — a return to some kind of normal.

There’s no guarantee that this scenario will play out. Stocks have gone up so much this year that all of 2021’s good news may be priced in and then some. It could be harder for stocks to keep climbing.

Read more here.

FTC wants to stop P&G from buying razor startup Billie

The Federal Trade Commission is continuing its crackdown on consolidation in the razor business.

The FTC on Tuesday announced that it will file a lawsuit to keep Proctor & Gamble (PG), the world’s largest consumer goods company, from acquiring Billie, an upstart seller of women’s razors and personal care products.

Eight months ago, the antitrust agency made a similar move, suing to stop Schick-owner Edgewell Personal Care (EPC) from absorbing Harry’s, a men’s razor startup.

Read more here.