Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of August 24, 2020.
Make sure to check back as we update these stories.
Higher and higher. The S&P 500 closed at a record high of 3,389.78 on August 18, 2020, erasing all its losses since the pandemic began in the U.S. in February. The S&P also saw a record intraday high of 3,395.06 on the same day. The last time the index reached a record high was on February 19, 2020, when it closed at 3,386.15. The index plummeted in response to the spread of Covid-19 and the temporary closing of many businesses, reaching its lowest point on March 23, 2020, and closing out the first quarter with a 20% loss.
- The takeaway: Despite the S&P 500’s record gains, the stock market is not the economy. Covid-19 continues to spread in the U.S. The virus has infected more than 5.8 million people in the U.S., and killed more than 180,600, causing record business bankruptcies, and unemployment of 10.2%, with 16.3 million people out of work. Keep in mind that the stock market can dip at any time, despite these gains.
Not so nano. Last week Apple became the first public company in the U.S. to reach a valuation of $2 trillion. Shares of Apple hit a price of $468.65, just above the $467.77 price needed to make it a $2 trillion company. Apple reached a value of $1 trillion just two years ago, in August, 2018.
- The takeaway: While some businesses have struggled to maintain sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, tech companies such as Apple have become even more crucial as people rely on technology to work remotely. Apple’s sales increased 11% in the second quarter of 2020 from a year earlier. However, there’s no indication that this trend will continue. The company will split its stock in a 4-for-1 transaction later this month.
TikTok heads to court. Video-creation and sharing app TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, reportedly plans to sue the Trump administration over its executive order banning TikTok in the U.S. The president issued an executive order on August 14, 2020, requiring ByteDance to divest itself of its U.S. operations within 90 days. That order follows another one on August 6, 2020, asking the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to develop a list of ByteDance’s transactions to be banned in 45 days. TikTok intends to challenge the first order on the grounds that it strips the company of access to due process. TikTok will also contest its classification as a national security threat.
- The takeaway: This suit comes as companies including Microsoft and Twitter explore acquiring. TikTok is valued at $50 billion.
California burning. California is fighting off wildfires that have burned more than 1 million acres of land in the state, killing at leas t four people. More than 13,000 firefighters are struggling to control the hundreds of fires that are burning across the state. The LNU Lightning Complex fire in the northern Bay Area and Central Valley is the 2nd largest fire in California’s history, covering 347,630 acres. The SCU Lightning Complex fire near San Jose covers 343,965 is the 3rd largest in history. President Trump declared the fires a national disaster, and will send federal aid to the state.
- The takeaway: The fires have already burned more acreage and killed more people than all of the California fires of 2019. Record temperatures in California have contributed to the continued spread of the fires. The heatwave in California has also led to power outages throughout the state, as residents try to stay cool.
Find out what we covered in last week’s Scan.