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Global stock markets sag as SEC brings hammer down on Chinese companies - Fortune

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Good evening, Bull Sheeters. This is Fortune finance reporter Rey Mashayekhi, filling in with a special PM edition of the newsletter while Bernhard’s on break.

Friday was a poor day for markets globally, with virtually all major indexes around the world posting losses amid persistent concerns about the Delta variant of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the SEC took action to stem the tide of Chinese companies listing in the U.S.

U.S.

  • Markets in New York fell on Friday, but still managed to post gains for the month of July. The SP lost 0.5% on the day, the Dow slipped 0.4%, and the Nasdaq slid 0.7%.
  • The SEC is bringing the hammer down on Chinese companies seeking U.S. public listings by imposing heightened disclosure requirements. This comes after investors lost some $400 billion this month on Chinese firms trading on U.S. exchanges.
  • Robinhood made back some of the losses sustained in its rocky first day of trading yesterday, climbing 1% on Friday. Despite the stock trading app’s underwhelming IPO, you can count star tech investor Cathie Wood among the company’s believers.
  • U.S. consumer spending grew 1% in June—though consumer sentiment has since pulled back in July.
  • Earnings season continued Friday. Oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron reported strong results amid surging oil prices, while consumer goods conglomerate Procter Gamble warned of inflationary pressures.

Europe

  • The European bourses were down across the board. London’s FTSE lost 0.7%, Frankfurt’s DAX was down 0.6%, the CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.3%, and the pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.5%.
  • The Eurozone economy grew 2% in the second quarter, beating expectations.
  • Amazon has been hit with a record fine of 746 million euros ($887 million) by EU privacy regulators for its advertising practices.
  • Germany is set to allow certain institutional funds to invest up to 20% of their holdings in cryptocurrencies.
  • Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, said it will stop offering futures and derivatives products in Europe amid growing regulatory scrutiny.

Asia

  • Asian markets slid again after a short-lived rebound. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell nearly 1.4%—having lost 5% this week amid a Chinese tech rout spurred by Beijing’s regulatory crackdown. The Nikkei in Tokyo shed 1.8% on the day, while on mainland China, the major indexes in Shanghai and Shenzhen slipped 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively. South Korea’s KOSPI sank 1.2%
  • Despite a torrid week for Chinese stocks, many investors appear to have bought the dip—pouring $3.6 billion into funds focused on Chinese equities in the week ended Wednesday, including $300 million into tech-focused funds.
  • Citigroup’s CFO said he doesn’t think China’s regulatory crackdown on its private sector will harm the bank’s corporate business in the region. Meanwhile, Citi and Allianz each got the go-ahead from Chinese regulators to operate fund custody and insurance asset management businesses, respectively, in the country.
  • Chinese ride-sharing firm Didi Global has denied reports that it’s considering going private one month after its disastrous IPO.

Elsewhere

  • Gold pulled back around 1% but remains above $1,800/ounce.
  • The dollar snapped its losing streak and notched up in value.
  • Crude oil rose again, with Brent trading at north of $76/barrel.
  • Bitcoin jumped on Friday afternoon, breaking $41,000.

By the numbers

Per tradition, let’s wrap up the week with some figures.

$13.5 billion

That’s how much net worth Jeff Bezos lost in the wake of Amazon’s disappointing earnings report, which triggered a nearly 8% slide in the retail giant’s stock price Friday. In turn, Bezos’ worth has now fallen below the $200 billion mark. You just have to feel bad for the guy.

88.5%

Of the 296 SP 500 companies that reported their second-quarter earnings as of Friday morning, that’s the percentage whose profits beat analyst expectations—the highest figure on record dating back to 1994, according to Refinitiv.

-3.94%

That’s how much Royal Caribbean’s stock fell Friday after it emerged that six passengers aboard the cruise line’s Adventure of the Seas cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19. The news sent shares of the company’s major competitors down as well, with Carnival’s stock slipping 4.7% and Norwegian Cruise Line’s sliding 5.1%.

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That’s all from me this week; please be sure to check out today’s reads below. Have a wonderful weekend and see you on Monday.

Rey Mashayekhi @reym12 [email protected]

As always, you can write to  [email protected]  or reply to this email with suggestions and feedback.

Today’s reads

Robinhood has long championed small investors. But its IPO pounded them by Shawn Tully

Robinhood IPO puts the secretive practice of ‘payment for order flow’ in the spotlight. Here’s how it works by Jessica Mathews

The man who saved the euro teams with Europe’s most polarizing bank CEO to save the world’s oldest bank by Christiaan Hetzner

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on why the ride-hailing giant is betting on flying taxis by Jeremy Kahn and Katherine Dunn

Why Volkswagen thinks buying a car rental company will turn it into Uber—but better by Christiaan Hetzner

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Market candy

“All in all, as far as markets and the economy are concerned, ‘Things couldn’t be better.’ If that’s the case, I guess it’s probably time to sell!”

That’s Guggenheim Partners Global CIO Scott Minerd, in a note published Friday detailing why investors should consider “de-risking” amid a resurgent coronavirus.