Business This Week | The Economist

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In the United States, a federal judge dismissed two antitrust cases against Facebook carried by the Federal Trade Commission and by a group of state attorneys general. The latter was thrown on a technicality. the FTC The case claimed the tech giant was abusing its market power in social media and using it to crush smaller rivals. But the judge concluded that the FTC did not provide enough evidence to prove that Facebook is a monopoly. The company’s stock price jumped 4% on the news.

Separately, Amazon filed a petition to try to force Lina Khan, the new president of the FTC, recuse oneself . He argued that she had “already made up her mind” that the company was a threat to competition.

Microsoft and Google ended a truce in which they pledged not to prosecute or complain to regulators without trying to resolve disagreements first. The deal was struck in 2015 by two new bosses at the time who wanted a fresh start in a strained relationship.

The biggest American banks said they would pay an additional $ 2 billion in dividends in the next quarter. The announcements come after the Federal Reserve eased restrictions on payments to shareholders, which it imposed last year to guard against large capital losses linked to the pandemic.

News from Facebook and banks helped push Americans stock markets to new heights. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 have reached historic highs. Wednesday the S&P 500 achieved their fifth straight record. The rise was also spurred on by investors’ expectation that the next corporate earnings season will produce strong results as well as a new survey that has shown a slight uptick in consumer confidence in America.

Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has frozen the ability for customers to withdraw and deposit pounds sterling on its main platform. The company claimed that the function had been “suspended for maintenance”. It is not clear whether the incident is linked to a decision by the Financial Conduct Authority, a UK supervisory body, which found that the exchange was not registered in Britain and therefore was not authorized to operate there. Binance later said that it had released the withdrawals in pounds sterling.

Hot property

American house prices rose 14.6% in the 12 months ending in April. It is the fastest growth rate in 30 years. The jump was largely due to low mortgage rates and increased demand for suburban housing. Similar factors pushed house prices in Britain to their highest annual growth rate since 2004.

Argentina was removed from an index of emerging market economies compiled by MSCI, a major index provider. The move was made in response to Argentina’s capital controls that were imposed in September 2019 in an attempt to support the weakening peso. As a result, Argentinian stock prices fell.

Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ridesharing app, closed its first day of listing on the New York Stock Exchange with a market cap of $ 68 billion. It is the largest foreign listing in America since Alibaba debuted in 2014.

UBS said it would allow about two-thirds of its staff to mix home and office work. The Swiss bank hopes this will give it a recruiting advantage over its competitors. Other big banks, such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, are pushing for a full return to the office.

the UN estimated that the impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry will shrink the world GDP from 1.7 to 2.4 billion dollars in 2021 (1.9 to 2.7% of the total). Poor countries are expected to be the hardest hit because they will likely have the lowest vaccination rates.

However, United Airlines bet that air travel will eventually rebound. It spent $ 30 billion on 270 new planes, its biggest addition to its fleet. United plans to replace two-thirds of its 50-seat jets with bigger jets. This will help the airline to offer more premium seats to its customers.

Shareholders at Toshiba, a Japanese conglomerate, voted to remove the chairman of the company’s board of directors. The vote comes after an independent report found that company management colluded with government officials last year to quash a rebellion by activist investors. Following their show of force, activist investors would be willing to solicit bids from private equity firms.

Rocket man

Elon Musk said that Space x, his private rocket company, could spend between $ 20 billion and $ 30 billion on his low-orbit network. The company has 1,500 satellites that provide broadband to places without a fiber connection or 5g. He wants to extend the network to 12,000 satellites. The cost is much higher than previous estimates. As Mr. Musk put it, “That’s a lot, basically.”

This article appeared in the The World This Week section of the print edition under the headline “Business This Week”

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