From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.


May 26, 2021 may go down as a landmark day of reckoning for the fossil fuel industry. Three separate developments at three of the biggest oil companies in the world amounted to major victories for the climate movement. Royal Dutch Shell was ordered by a court in the Netherlands  to drastically cut its CO2 emissions this decade in a ruling that could set a precedent for all of Big Oil. Separately, an activist hedge fund that had amassed a small stake in ExxonMobil in order to agitate for a greener strategy crashed the Exxon’s shareholder meeting, winning at least two seats on the corporate board. Another coup happened at Chevron, where a majority of shareholders voted to force the company to cut some of its carbon emissions. Despite the historic pressure on the industry to confront their emissions, oil & gas is the best-performing sector of the S&P 500 this year, up more than 36 percent compared to a 14 percent rise for the broader index. 


The Street has been liking what it’s hearing from Ford lately. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker held its first investor day this week with CEO Jim Farley at the helm, presenting a focused vision for an electrified future at the company that brought the world the Model T. Ford announced that it would increase spending on EVs from $22 billion to $30 billion by 2025, with 40 percent of global sales coming from electric models like the F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E. Ford didn’t go as far as its crosstown competitor GM in putting forth a timeline for full electrification, but investors were pleased just the same. Shares jumped more than 15 percent following the presentation before paring some gains at the end of the week. 


The meme stocks are making noise again. Shares of Reddit favorites GameStop and AMC soared in tandem, posting double-digit gains in action reminiscent of last winter’s rally — though without the huge options volume that accompanied that surge. (AMC, teetering on the verge of bankruptcy this time last year, now has a market cap of more than $10 billion). Beyond Meat got in on the frenzy, too, after CNBC host Jim Cramer suggested that the stock was due for a short squeeze, given that 25 percent of the alternative meat company’s float is held short. Bed Bath & Beyond and BlackBerry also benefited from the speculative trading revival, seeing gains of 9 and 10 percent respectively. 


Amazon announced it would buy the Hollywood studio MGM for about $8.5 billion, making it Amazon’s second-biggest acquisition after Whole Foods. MGM was founded in the silent-film era and holds a film catalog that includes the James Bond franchise, Pink Panther, and Rocky, as well as a TV studio that produces The Handmaid’s Tale and Fargo. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, before stepping aside as chief executive later this summer, said Amazon will “reimagine” MGM’s catalog “for the 21st century.” The crown jewel of that catalog is most certainly James Bond, and the family that tightly controls the 007 I.P. said they plan to keep those films exclusive to theaters before they debut on Prime Video. Amazon also announced that former exec Jeff Blackburn will return to lead the company’s consolidated media and entertainment unit, including MGM, Amazon Studios, Prime Video, Twitch, Wondery, and Amazon Music. Shares of Amazon rose by a few bucks following news of the acquisition, the biggest yet by a tech giant in Hollywood. 


Peloton will start making its fitness equipment in the U.S. The company is spending $400 million to build a factory in Ohio, just outside Toledo, with the goal of manufacturing treadmills and exercise bikes there by 2023. Peloton says the factory will create 2,000 new jobs for the area. The investment comes amid delays in customer orders stemming from a supply chain crunch. Peloton is snapping back after a recent selloff triggered by a voluntary recall of its Tread Plus products over safety concerns, with shares rising more than 8 percent in the last month.

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