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.


U.S. stocks had a winning week as strong corporate earnings overcame concerns about slowing growth as the Delta strain of the coronavirus threatens to slam the brakes on the pandemic recovery. The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq all finished the week higher with the Dow finishing above 35,000 for the first time. That was a nice rebound from where the week started, when the Dow dropped more than 700 points. Earnings also eclipsed some concerning data from the labor market, which showed 419,000 initial jobless claims were filed last week, up from a revised 368,000 the week prior and significantly higher than the expectations of 350,000. Still, continuing jobless claims declined by 29,000 to a fresh pandemic-era low. Meanwhile, a weeks-long rally in bond yields continued fears that the major concern facing the markets is no longer inflation but sluggish economic growth — especially if the state of the pandemic erodes optimism that COVID could be a thing of the past anytime soon.  


The earnings reports came in fast and furious all week. Among the winners: Crocs, which reported a record quarterly revenue and raised its full-year guidance, saying it expects sales to grow 60 to 65 percent compared to last year. The maker of comfortable — and allegedly trendy — shoes did express concerns about the continued global supply chain disruptions and logistics issues but said it factored those constraints into its revised guidance. Domino’s Pizza beat expectations, too, on surprisingly strong same-store sales numbers that show people are still ordering in even as more restaurants reopen. And Twitter and Snap both gave a preview of what’s expected to be another strong quarter for Big Tech. Twitter showed its fastest revenue growth since 2014 — a 74 percent year-over-year gain thanks to sustained advertising demand. Daily active users grew 11 percent. The rebound in the digital advertising market also pushed Snap to more than double its revenue, cutting its net loss in half. That stock jumped more than 20 percent on the upbeat earnings and even helped lift Facebook and Google ahead of their reports next week. 


It wasn’t all clear skies ahead for the broader tech industry. Netflix reported earnings that missed expectations, showing subscriber growth slowed due to a lack of compelling new programming. Studios, Netflix included, are working through a backlog of production delays from the pandemic, leading to the relatively bare shelves currently in theaters and on streaming services. Still, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and Apple TV+ are all gaining subs as Netflix’s share of the pie continues to shrink. To that end, Warner Bros. will make 10 movies exclusively for HBO Max next year as the streaming platform prepares to lose access to content from rival studios that are keeping more of their shows and films exclusive to their own streaming services. HBO and HBO Max combined added another 2.8 million subs in the last quarter. AT&T, which is in the process of selling HBO parent WarnerMedia, said it expects to have as many as 73 million paying subscribers to the HBO “suite” by the end of the year.


The remarkable rebound in air travel continues. A week after Delta reported its first profit of the pandemic, thanks in part to the American taxpayer, Southwest and American Airlines returned to profitability as well. American reported a profit of $19 million while Southwest made $348 million for the quarter. Federal bailout money was a big factor, but analysts say the return of leisure travel this summer is almost shocking -- in some cases stronger than it was before the coronavirus lockdowns. United bucked the trend, reporting a narrow quarterly loss but saying it expects to be profitable next quarter and noted that long-haul and business travel was also coming back faster than anticipated. 


Robinhood’s IPO roadshow kicks off this weekend, and the financial services company is livestreaming portions of the event with co-founder and CEO Vlad Tenev to the public as a way of ginning up interest among the very retail investors that power its platform. Robinhood is setting aside a chunk of its IPO shares for those traders while also looking to appeal to the institutional investors that typically determine the fate of a public offering. The company is expected to debut on the Nasdaq next Thursday under the ticker ‘HOOD.’ While Robinhood saw growth explode during the pandemic, a company whose entire business model was made irrelevant by the pandemic is also planning to go public. Rent the Runway confidentially filed for an IPO this week, hoping to capitalize on the strong recent performance of retail stocks. The company that rents clothes and accessories for weddings and other events — which effectively evaporated for much of the last 18 months — has said it expects a massive recovery in the fashion-rental business as many more people venture out this summer and fall.

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