January 04, 2021

What We’re Reading This Week [January 4, 2021]


As reported in Yahoo Finance, the first trading day of 2021 was off to a rocky start in the U.S.  Despite progress on COVID vaccine distribution, markets reacted to the discovery of a highly transmissible strain of COVID in the US, which comes with a greater risk of lockdowns, along with uncertainty surrounding the Georgia runoff elections and the composition of the 117th Congress. [Yahoo Finance; Jan. 4, 2021]

The Houston Chronicle notes the continued rise of Texas as a center of major commercial bankruptcy activity in 2020.  In the first 11 months of 2020, commercial bankruptcy filings in Texas nearly tripled over the same period in 2019.  While this filing boom was led by the oil & gas sector, major and minor retailers also opted to file in Texas, including big names like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, and Tuesday Morning.  [Houston Chronicle; Dec. 30, 2020]

The Wall Street Journal reports on the growing trend of startup companies going public via SPACs—special purpose acquisition companies.  These so-called “blank-check companies” go public holding no assets before merging with a startup or growth business, reducing the SEC reporting and compliance obligations on the business that would otherwise go along with a traditional IPO.  Among other things, startup companies have taken to YouTube to promote investments in their companies, particularly among younger, less sophisticated investors.  [Wall Street Journal; Jan. 3, 2021]

CNBC is reporting that U.S. home price growth is the fastest in smaller metropolitan areas between the coasts, like Indianapolis, Austin, and Memphis, which is attributed to the effects of COVID, including “work from anywhere” policies, continuing to push workers away from major urban centers towards smaller communities.  [CNBC; Jan. 4, 2021]

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