US stocks maintain record pace

By CNN Business

Updated 9:02 a.m. ET, April 22, 2021
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4:04 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Stocks finish mixed

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

It was a choppy trading day on Wall Street, with the major indexes ending mixed. The Dow and S&P 500, which had been on track for record finishes earlier in the day, fell short of new highs.

Earnings season started off with a bang and strong results for major banks. In addition, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated that interest rates will likely remain at their ultra-low levels for a while.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN) premiered on the market and closed up more than 31%.

2:51 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Fed points to price increases and moderate economic growth in Beige Book

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The Federal Reserve noted that economic activity accelerated at a moderate pace between late February and early April, with consumer spending strengthening and employment picking up, according to today's Beige Book report.

The report, which summarizes economic conditions across the nation also noted that prices rose.

"Many Districts reporting moderate price increases and some saying prices rose more robustly," the report said.

With inflation worries front and center for investors right now, these comments are important.

Input costs rose, partially due to supply chain disruptions and exacerbated by extreme weather in parts of the country in February. Selling prices rose as well and are expected to continue on that path.

2:19 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

This Coinbase competitor has a warning for crypto bulls

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

The stunning debut for Coinbase Global (COIN) took Wall Street by storm Wednesday. But the CEO of another publicly traded cryptocurrency firm is urging investors to pull a Larry David and curb their enthusiasm.

The majority the crypto companies out there "will struggle," said Richard Byworth, CEO of Diginex, which runs the EQUOS crypto exchange.

In an interview with CNN Business, he argued here are too many companies in the industry and consolidation will be needed to shake out the weak hands: "There are hundreds of crypto exchanges, and many of them are niche, local ones."

Diginex (EQOS) went public last year on the Nasdaq, beating its much bigger rival Coinbase to Wall Street. Shares of Diginex were volatile Wednesday, surging nearly 10% at one point before falling into the red. Byworth conceded that investors may be looking at Diginex and EQUOS as a "less mature" Coinbase play.

Still, he believes Coinbase's debut will be good for his company and the broader industry. "People have been pinging me all day about Coinbase, and their next question was, 'Should I buy bitcoin?'" he said.

Smaller crypto companies should be careful, he added, noting that life as a public company can be more challenging than as a private startup.

"Sarbanes-Oxley is no joking matter," Byworth said about the corporate governance rules that the federal government put into place in the wake of the early 2000s Enron accounting scandal. "People will need to take governance seriously."

1:19 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

The reopening is great for personal and economic reasons, but not for the stock market: strategist

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The stock market is in a sugar rush with both the Dow and the S&P 500 on track for record closing highs today.

The economy's impending reopening, the continued vaccine rollout and more personal freedoms, including traveling, following a year in lockdown are fueling the good vibes.

"The market seems to be anticipating all of those positives," but isn't appreciating the risks, warned Savita Subramanian, head of US equity and quantitative strategy at Bank of America (BAC).

Reopening is great from a personal and economic point of view, but the toll it might take is something to really think about," she said on the CNN Business digital live show Markets Now.

Stock valuations remain high and inflation is beginning to rise, possibly to levels that might affect companies' profit margins. Meanwhile, Washington is looking to raise taxes.

"This is a well-loved bull market," and the S&P 500 has seen interest from all types of investors, Subramanian said. But signals are pointing at some potential woes ahead.

While stocks will probably still outperform bonds, "I would pick my spots in this market," she said. That might mean investing in smaller companies or businesses in cyclical sectors that will get a boost from the recovery.

"I think the easy money is behind us," she added.

Even so, Subramanian still sees many investors clinging to their positions in big tech or internet stocks, which she calls the "Covid beneficiaries." A great repositioning could be just ahead.

1:14 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Bed Bath and Beyond earnings disappoint as company looks to a more digital future

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) have fallen some 10% following the company's earnings earlier today.

The retailer said it will close 200 stores by the end of fiscal 2021 as the company "moves into a digital era," according to its CEO Mark Tritton.

"I think [the pandemic] has both accelerated and complicated our ability to transform," he said on the CNN Business digital live show Markets Now.

Bed Bath & Beyond's online sales jumped during the pandemic, but brick and mortar retail looked very different. The pandemic allowed the company to address the number of stores it had.

"We'll continue to look at the profitability of our stores" to create a business for the future, said Tritton, who joined the company in 2019 after stints at Target and Nordstrom.

1:01 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Early Coinbase investor is thrilled about 'surreal' gain in value

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

Coinbase Global (COIN) is set to make a lot of investors rich (on paper at least) with its stock market debut Wednesday.

But one venture capitalist is really, really happy with his decision to put money in Coinbase: Garry Tan, managing partner with Initialized Capital, invested in the company back in 2012 when it was founded.

Tan told CNN Business that his firm's first investment — about $300,000 at the time — is now worth more than $2 billion. That's a more than 6,000% return.

Tan met Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong back when Armstrong was still working for Airbnb (ABNB) — another startup that has enjoyed recent success on Wall Street — and was intrigued by his idea to create Coinbase.

"Brian's very remarkable," Tan said. "It feels like he was walking the right path the whole time and that the rest of the world finally came and joined him."

It's been "surreal" for Tan to see how much the value of his firm's Coinbase investment has risen in just a few years, but he's optimistic that this is just the beginning.

"This is still very early," Tan said. "The crypto world needs Coinbase." 

12:56 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Coinbase IPO allows investors to participate in cryptocurrencies more broadly

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

As the market awaits the first trade of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global (COIN), investors eagerly anticipating its possibilities.

"It's a very exciting day. Coinbase is going to be one of the most highly valued IPOs ever," said Kathleen Smith, principal of the Renaissance IPO ETF (IPO) on the CNN Business digital live show Markets Now.

Coinbase's initial public offering could value the business at up to $100 billion, Smith said. "This company is worth the same as Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Charles Schwab...," she added.

That's great news for investors who want to participate in the cryptocurrency space but don't know how to access it, Smith added. Don't want to take a crypto position? Now there's a stock for that.

12:22 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Higher rates this year are 'highly unlikely', Powell says

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The economic recovery is under way and that's not lost on the Federal Reserve. But it's "highly unlikely" that rates will go up this year, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell today told legacy private equity investor David Rubenstein at and event of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

I would say that the economy at this point seems to be at a bit of an inflection point," Powell said.

He pointed at the at March jobs report, which showed nearly a million jobs added, as proof of the recovery gathering steam.

But of course there are still risks. "The main risk is that we will have another spike in cases,” Powell said with respect to new strains of the coronavirus.

The main risk as far as Wall Street is concerned is a change in the Fed's monetary policy. Inflation has been rising and investors worry that this could mean a sooner end to the central bank's ultra-low interest rates. But Powell has cautioned patience on the matter.

There's a tendency from the market to focus too much on the dot plot," which is the aggregate of Fed officials' expectations, Powell said.

Three major boxes would have to be checked before that could happen, according to Powell: The labor market recovery would have to be complete, inflation would have to really have reached 2% and be on track to run moderately above that level. And none of that is the case yet.

Because inflation has run below 2% for some time, we seek inflation that runs moderately above 2%," Powell added.
9:02 a.m. ET, April 22, 2021

Coinbase's stock launch is the third wave of the internet, crypto market analyst says

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

The Wall Street debut for Coinbase Global (COIN) Wednesday could turn out to be a seminal event for the burgeoning industry tied to cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.

"Coinbase is ushering in the third wave of the internet," said Ian Balina, CEO and founder of cryptocurrency investment research firm Token Metrics.

Balina notes that Amazon (AMZN) and Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL) in the late 1990s and early 2000s marked the first wave of online commerce and advertising; the rise of Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and Snapchat (SNAP) in the 2010s helped launch the second big digital thrust via social media.

And he says Coinbase represents the next internet revolution: decentralized finance.

To that end, eToro — an online broker that competes with Robinhood and has a big crypto-trading arm — has already announced plans to go public through a blank check merger. Balina expects Coinbase rival Kraken may look to go public too.

He added that he's not worried about Coinbase's eye-popping valuation of nearly $100 billion on its first day of trading, comparing naysayers to those who doubted the market potential for Tesla (TSLA). He thinks Coinbase is "undervalued for the long-term."

Anton Chaschin, managing partner of prime trading with cryptocurrency exchange CEX.IO, agreed that the Coinbase direct listing is a "big validation" for the industry — and that more crypto stocks will likely follow Coinbase to Wall Street.