More Than 1 in 10 Americans Invested in Crypto over the Past Year, Survey Finds

More than 1 in 10 Americans invested in cryptocurrency over the past year, according to a survey published by NORC, a research group at the University of Chicago. The survey found that 13% of Americans polled bought or traded crypto in the past 12 months, while 24% of Americans invested in stocks over the same time period. Moreover, 61% of the crypto investors bought in over the past six months, meaning that they were likely spurred by the increase in Bitcoin and Ethereum prices earlier this year. "Potential investors are leery of investing their retirement savings into what has been, to date, a fairly volatile investment," said Mark Lush, manager of the Behavioral and Economic Analysis and Decision-Making team at NORC, quoted by CNBC. "Cryptocurrencies may have staying power as an investment option, but our hunch is that they will continue to lag behind more traditional investment opportunities for the foreseeable future."

Amazon Looking to Hire Digital Currency and Blockchain Expert

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is looking to add a digital currency and blockchain expert to its payments team, according to a recent job posting on its career website, suggesting that the tech gain is looking to move into the crypto market. According to the listing, Amazon's payments acceptance and experience team is looking to hire an "experienced product leader to develop Amazon's Digital Currency and Blockchain strategy and product roadmap." Under the position, the candidate will use their "expertise in Blockchain, Distributed Ledger, Central Bank Digital Currencies and Cryptocurrency to develop the case for the capabilities which should be developed, drive overall vision and product strategy, and gain leadership buy-in and investment for new capabilities," according to the job positioning.

Florida Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Curb CDC Restrictions on Cruise Lines

The state of Florida on Friday asked the Supreme Court to curb restrictions on cruises imposed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arguing that the rules held the cruise industry back from returning fully to business. A federal district court in Florida sided with the state last month in response to a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ashley Moody, according to CNBC. However, earlier this week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal temporarily halted that decision, allowing the CDC rules to remain in place. "The CDC's Order is manifestly beyond its authority, as the district court correctly concluded in preliminarily enjoining it," Moody wrote in the filing, quoted by CNBC. Related stocks: Carnival Cruise (NYSE: CCL), Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE: NCLH) and Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL).

Facebook Brings Cloud Gaming to Apple Device with a Web App

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) announced Friday that it is bringing its cloud gaming service to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhones and iPad through a web app. The site will let you play simple web games and stream graphically intensive games, according to The Verge. “We’ve come to the same conclusion as others: web apps are the only option for streaming cloud games on iOS at the moment,” Facebook’s vice president of gaming, Vivek Sharma, told The Verge in a statement. “As many have pointed out, Apple’s policy to ‘allow’ cloud games on the App Store doesn’t allow for much at all. Apple’s requirement for each cloud game to have its own page, go through review, and appear in search listings defeats the purpose of cloud gaming. These roadblocks mean players are prevented from discovering new games, playing cross-device, and accessing high-quality games instantly in native iOS apps — even for those who aren’t using the latest and most expensive devices.”

General Motors Recalls 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs for Fire Risk

General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced Friday that it is recalling 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to fire risk concerns. GM and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urged Bolt owners to park their vehicles outside away from their homes and keep charge levels above 70 miles until the Detroit carmaker replaces the cars' battery modules. The largest U.S. automaker said "experts from GM and (battery maker) LG have identified the simultaneous presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell as the root cause of battery fires in certain Chevrolet Bolt EVs," quoted by Reuters. The Bolt EVs were recalled back in November for fire risks and at least one of the two new fires was in a vehicles that had already had the software update released as part of that recall, Reuters reports.

Yellen Urges Congress to Raise Debt Ceiling

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress on Friday warned that the Treasury will need to use "extraordinary measures" on August 2 to prevent the US government from defaulting unless lawmakers reach a deal to raise or extend the debt ceiling soon. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Yellen gravely cautioned that the Treasury is forced to suspend the sale of government bonds at the end of July. She wrote: "I respectfully urge Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the US by acting as soon as possible." She noted that refusal to raise the debut ceiling would cause "irreparable harm to the US economy and the livelihoods of all Americans." Yellen's warning comes as Republican lawmakers prepare for a dangerous fight over the debt ceiling that in the worst case could result in the first ever default, which is widely considered catastrophic to the global economy.

Coronavirus Cases Top 192.9 Million as Delta Spreads in US

The novel coronavirus disease, officially named COVID-19, continues to spread globally in an ongoing deadly pandemic. Cases are climbing in all 50 states and D.C. as the Delta variant rapidly spreads across the US. The CDC has been reporting an average of about 43,700 new cases per day over the past week, up 65% over the previous 7 days and nearly three times as high from 2 weeks ago. Hospital admissions of COVID patients also jumped 32% on a weekly basis. Vaccination rates peaked in April at over 3 million shots per day but have since decreased to about 530,000 per day. Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, and Nevada are seeing the highest daily average of new cases per capita over the past week. Finally, according to Johns Hopkins University data, the number of cases rose to over 192.92 million globally, with over 34.30 million in the US, and the worldwide death toll rose to over 4.14 million, with over 610,282 in the US.

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Begins

Japanese athlete Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic flame on Friday to officially kick off the Tokyo Games, becoming the first tennis player modern history to start the event. The four-time Grand Slam champion will be competing in her first match Sunday against China. The Summer Olympics are set to last until August 8. But controversy surrounds the Games, as some critics argue it is too dangerous to hold the event with COVID-19 case counts rising across Japan. Cases in Tokyo hit a six-month high Thursday. The Olympics have placed strict health rules on participants and banned all spectators, but athletes from multiple countries have already tested positive. The US Olympic team said it has a vaccination rate of 83%, meaning at least 100 athletes are unvaccinated.

Boston Beer & Veoneer Move on News

Today shares of alcohol producer Boston Beer (NYSE: SAM) and American-Swedish automotive technology firm Veoneer (NYSE: VNE) are both moving on news updates. Boston Beer reported earnings Thursday after market close. It posted GAAP earnings of $4.75 per share, badly missing consensus estimates of $6.69. Revenue was $602.8 million, up 33.3% but missing estimates by $54.85 million. The firm also cut its 2021 outlook about 24% due to soft expectations for its hard seltzer brands. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) downgraded Boston Beer from buy to neutral. Veoneer said it agreed to be acquired by Canadian automotive technology firm Magna International (NYSE: MGA) for about $3.8 billion. The purchase deal will help Magna enhance its driver assistance technology. In the afternoon, Boston Beer shares plummeted 24.5%, while Veoneer shares skyrocketed 56.4%.

Honeywell Beats on Earnings

Honeywell International (NYSE: HON) reported second quarter earnings today before the bell, and in the afternoon its stock has slipped 2.3% to $227.40 on the earnings beat. The industrial giant posted net income of $1.430 billion, up from $1.081 billion in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of $2.04, beating consensus estimates of $1.93. Honeywell posted adjusted earnings per share of $2.02, up from $1.26 and beating consensus estimates of $1.95. The firm posted revenue of $8.81 billion, up 17.8% and beating estimates by $150 million. Looking ahead to the full year, Honeywell boosted its guidance, now seeing adjusted earnings of $7.95 to $8.10 per share on revenue of $34.6 to $35.2 billion, above analysts' expectations.

NextEra Reports Mixed Earnings

NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) reported second quarter earnings today before the bell, and in the afternoon its stock has risen 1.3% to $77.10 on the mixed earnings. The electric power and renewable energy firm posted net income of $256 million, down from $1.275 billion in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of 13 cents, badly missing consensus estimates of 69 cents. NextEra posted adjusted net income of $1.395 billion or earnings per share of 71 cents, up from 65 cents and beating consensus estimates of 69 cents. The firm posted revenue of $3.93 billion, down 6.4% and missing estimates by $980 million. Looking ahead to the full year, NextEra reaffirmed it sees adjusted earnings of $2.40 to $2.54 per share and for fiscal 2022, it sees $2.55 to $2.75 per share.

American Express Beats on Earnings

American Express (NYSE: AXP) reported second quarter earnings today before the bell, and in the afternoon its stock has risen 1.8% to almost $174 on the earnings beat. The financial services firm posted net income of $2.3 billion, up from $257 million in the prior year period. Amex posted GAAP earnings per share of $2.80, up from 29 cents and easily beating consensus estimates of $1.63. The firm posted revenue of $10.24 billion, up 33.3% and beating estimates by $650 million. Provision for credit losses was a benefit of $606 million, handily beating estimates of $291.5 million. The firm acquired 2.4 million new proprietary cards. Chief executive Stephen Squeri said the firm's strong results show its strategy of investing to rebuild growth momentum is paying off.

Roper Beats on Earnings

Roper Technologies (NYSE: ROP) reported second quarter earnings today before the bell, and in the afternoon its stock has risen 1.1% to $497 on the earnings beat. The industrial firm posted net income of $286 million, up from $219 million in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of $2.69, beating consensus estimates of $2.60. Roper posted adjusted earnings per share of $3.76, up from $2.94 and beating consensus estimates of $3.66. The firm posted revenue of $1.59 billion, up 21.4% and beating estimates by $10 million. Chief executive Neil Hunn said the firm delivered excellent results. Looking ahead to the full year, Roper lifted its guidance, now seeing adjusted earnings of $15.0 to $15.20 per share, above analysts' expectations.

Kimberly-Clark Misses on Earnings

Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) reported second quarter earnings today before the bell, and in the afternoon its stock has edge up 0.3% to above $135.35 on the earnings miss. The consumer goods firm posted net income of $404 million, down 41% from $681 million in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of $1.19, badly missing consensus estimates of $1.71. Kimberly-Clark posted adjusted earnings per share of $1.47, down from $2.20 and badly missing consensus estimates of $1.71. The firm posted revenue of $4.72 billion, up 2.4% but missing estimates by $50 million. Chief executive Mike Hsu said the results reflect continued volatility driven by the pandemic. Looking ahead to the full year, Kimberly-Clark cut its guidance, now seeing adjusted earnings of $6.65 to $6.90 per share and 1% to 4% net sales growth.

Zomato Surges in Indian Public Debut

Shares of Indian food delivery firm Zomato surged 65% Friday at the close in its public debut in Mumbai, delivering insight into the appetite of equity investors for the world’s burgeoning ecommerce startup ecosystem. Zomato shares traded above the issue price of 76 Indian rupees or $1 and soared as high as 138.9 Indian rupees or $1.87. The firm ended the day on the BSE in Mumbai at 125.8 Indian rupees or $1.69, reaching a market cap of $13.2 billion, up from the $5.4 billion valuation from its last private funding round. Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal wrote in a blog post: "Today is a big day for us. A new Day Zero. But we couldn’t have gotten here without the incredible efforts of India’s entire Internet ecosystem." Indian tech startups have raised a record amount of private equity capital this year amid global investors' search for the next big thing in emerging markets.

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