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Berkshire Hathaway, led by Warren Buffett, announced Monday
morning that it has agreed to buy insurance business Alleghany for $11.6 billion in
cash, or $848.02 per share. In Monday’s premarket, Alleghany shares, which
ended at $676.75 on Friday, soared approaching the acquisition price. Buffett tapped
into Berkshire’s vast cash hoard of $146.72 billion at the end of 2021 to make
the purchase. Berkshire’s Class A shares touched a new high last week, closing
above $500,000 for the first time. The deal is likely to finalize in the fourth
quarter of this year.
CNBC has learnt that Goldman Sachs is near announcing that it will be the first major U.S. bank to trade an over-the-counter cryptocurrency transaction. According to the two organizations, Goldman exchanged a bitcoin-linked instrument known as a non-deliverable option with crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital. According to CNBC’s Hugh Son, the move is considered as a significant step forward in the development of crypto markets for institutional investors. Hedge firms have been looking for bitcoin derivative exposure.
President Joe Biden has added a stop in Poland to his journey to Europe this week,
where he will meet with NATO and European allies to discuss Russia’s offensive
in Ukraine. Poland, a key partner in the Ukraine conflict, is hosting tens of
thousands of American troops and sheltering more Ukrainian refugees than any other
country. Biden has no plans to visit Ukraine, according to White House
Russian demands for a capitulation in Mariupol in exchange for safe passage out of the beleaguered key port city were rebuffed by Ukrainian officials on Monday. A commercial area near the city center in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, was destroyed by Russian bombardment. According to the British Defense Ministry, Ukraine’s resistance has kept Russian forces more than 15 miles from Kyiv’s core.
Nike climbed 5.5 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday
after posting fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue that topped expectations.
Nike noted strong demand in North America but declined to make forecasts in the face
of rising prices, Russia’s Ukraine conflict, and choked supply
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun assured employees that the company’s technical expertise would fully help the inquiry into the disaster of a China Eastern Airlines 737-800 that killed all 132 passengers on board. Early Monday, a plane crashed in the mountains of southern China. Boeing, a Dow component, fell modestly in premarket trade after plunging 3.6 percent the day before.
Disney, which has lost more than 6% of its value in the last month, was steady in the premarket ahead of a week of scheduled staff walkouts, which will begin on Tuesday, in protest of CEO Bob Chapek’s delayed condemnation of Florida’s so-called Don’t Say Gay statute. Chapek admitted on Monday that the corporation made a mistake by remaining silent on the law in Florida, where Disney World is located.
Alibaba shares rose over 10% in premarket trading in the United States on Tuesday after the Chinese e-commerce giant announced a 66 percent increase in the amount of its share buyback program to $25 billion. Alibaba has repurchased approximately 56.2 million American depositary receipts, valued at approximately $9.2 billion, as part of its previously announced buyback program. ADRs are shares that are traded on the New York Stock Exchange and operate as proxies for overseas firms. Alibaba is attempting to restore investor trust after its stock has lost about two-thirds of its value since its all-time high in October 2020.
The stock of GameStop, which had risen over 31% on Tuesday, soared another 12.5 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday when the video game retailer’s chairman, Ryan Cohen, purchased additional 100,000 shares. As the activist investor, who also co-founded online pet store Chewy, aims to pull GameStop into e-commerce, the purchase increases his ownership to 11.9 percent. Cohen unveiled a large interest in Bed Bath & Beyond two weeks ago and pushed for a turnaround there. Over the last 15 months or so, both Bed Bath & Beyond and GameStop have seen significant gains and losses in the meme stock mania.
Before the opening bell on Thursday, the government delivered two significant economic reports: unemployment claims and durable goods. For the week ending March 19, first-time unemployment benefit applications fell by 28,000 to 187,000, a lower level than projected and the lowest since early September 1969. Durable goods orders declined 2.2 percent in February, more than double the expected drop.
The Federal Reserve is keeping a close eye on the generally solid labor market and rising inflation, having raised interest rates for the first time in more than three years during its meeting last week. Chairman Jerome Powell of the Federal Reserve said on Monday that more aggressive rate hikes are possible as the year progresses.
Russia is considering accepting bitcoin as payment for its oil and natural gas exports as it becomes increasingly isolated as a result of Western sanctions over its actions in Ukraine. In translated remarks Thursday, the chair of Russia’s legislative committee on energy stated that alternate ways of paying for electricity in “friendly” countries like China or Turkey might include the buyer’s national fiat currency and bitcoin. Commodities are mostly traded in the US dollar or the euro around the world.
Investors gained confidence in the economy’s ability to survive the intensifying crisis in Ukraine and the Federal Reserve’s plans to raise interest rates to contain inflation, as stocks in the United States rose for the second week in a row.
The S&P 500 gained 1.8 percent for the week, bringing its two-week rise to 8.1 percent, its highest level since late 2020. The Nasdaq Composite, which is heavily weighted in technology, gained 2%, bringing its two-week gain to more than 10%. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3 percent.
For much of the afternoon, major indices traded lower before rebounding late in the day and concluding mixed. The S&P 500 increased by 22.9 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4543.06, while the Dow industrials increased by 153.3 points, or 0.4 percent, to 34861.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 22.54 points, or 0.2 percent, to 14169.3 points.