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Welcome back to a four-day workweek, aka what every week should be. Let’s get into it.
If you’re feeling a little sluggish today after the long weekend, you’re not alone. Wall Street spent last week partying, notching back-to-back records. But today, it seemed like traders stumbled into work in sunglasses, chugging black coffee as they tried to stay awake at their Bloomberg terminals.
The Dow tumbled 209 points Tuesday, after ending last week at an all-time high. The S&P 500, fresh off its seven-record closing streak, fell 0.2%.
It wasn’t clear what sparked the selloff, but a few factors may have played a role:
- Oil market chaos: Oil prices soared and then retreated Tuesday after OPEC countries failed to reach a deal on production increases. That’s left investors scratching their heads over what comes next.
- Summer slump: Even bankers go on vacay, and when trading volume is low, that can exacerbate volatility.
Stocks to watch:
- AMC popped 5% in early trading Tuesday after the company announced it’s ditching plans to sell 25 million additional shares. (The stock pared those gains, ultimately finishing down nearly 4%.) The sale would have allowed it to capitalize on its success as a Reddit-backed “meme stock,” which has driven shares up more than 2,300% this year. At the same time, a sale would have diluted value for existing shareholders.
- Didi, which made its US debut only last week, plunged 25% Tuesday after Chinese regulators banned its ride-hailing platform from app stores over the weekend, citing cybersecurity risks.
- Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is one of the most heavily shorted stocks among customers of online broker TradeZero America. Shares have nearly doubled this year, and the company made a surprise announcement last week that its founder would take off in Virgin’s rocket-powered plane on July 11 — nine days before Jeff Bezos’ planned July 20 launch.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
Here’s some high-level drama with deeply petty roots: The Department of Defense is canceling a $10 billion cloud computing contract, known as JEDI, that the Trump administration awarded to Microsoft over Amazon in 2019. The contract was supposed to modernize the Pentagon’s IT, and Amazon, the market leader in cloud computing, seemed like a shoo-in. (But remember: Trump, a wildly unsuccessful businessman, hated Jeff Bezos, a wildly successful CEO.) Amazon sued over the decision, saying it was politically motivated. Now the DoD plans to solicit bids for a new, updated contract from both Microsoft and Amazon.
The latest from the Department of Why Is This Still A Thing?: 40-hour workweeks are pointless and even harmful. And scientists are proving it.
Researchers in Iceland are calling trials of a shorter workweeks an “overwhelming success,” after productivity improved and workers reported feeling less burned out.
In two large trials between 2015 and 2019, public sector employees were asked to reduce their work time by about five hours a week, without reducing their pay. To the surprise of literally no one, the workers’ wellbeing improved dramatically.
After shortening the workweek to about 35 or 36 hours, instead of 40, researchers found that productivity and services stayed the same or improved across the majority of workplaces.
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON
- Software vendor Kaseya said that up to 1,500 businesses have been compromised by a ransomware attack that unfolded late last week and has ricocheted around the world.
- Subway is completely revamping its menu this week, hoping to turn around years of declining sales.
- Former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns has been named chairwoman of Teneo, the embattled consulting firm whose CEO resigned last week, reportedly over drunken behavior at a party.
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