Weekly Financial Recap April 9th

Some highlights of this past week’s news in business

Financial Technology 

The startup trading app Robinhood is giving traditional brokerages like Charles Schwab and E-Trade a run for their money as it completes its latest round of funding. The app, founded by Stanford graduates Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev, provides commission-free trading for securities such as common stock and ETFs. Recently, the 4-year old company was valued at $1.3 Billion. In addition to providing zero-cost trading and zero account minimum, the firm also provides an advanced version of their app called Robinhood Gold, which provides after-hours trading and additional buying power for individual investors. The gold version comes as a no interest $10 a month flat-fee. This version also allows investors to skip the three-day waiting period for deposits and make trades instantly. Robinhood utilizes an engineering-focused team while significantly cutting down on their need for physical locations in order to pass on these benefits to their customers.

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U.S. Economy 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a loss of 8.01 (.04%) points on Friday’s close. These losses were mostly lead by financial services, including Visa, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs following the close of the Trump-Jinping summit on Thursday and Friday and missile strikes on Syria by the United States on Thursday. Dow futures were also down by more than 100 points on Thursday as the announcement of the missile attack was made public.

Consumer & Retail 

Private equity firm JAB Holdings announced this week that it would pay $7.5 Billion for the sandwich chain, Panera. Panera’s share price surged more than 14% after the announcement of their sale to JAB and closed on Friday at $312.00. JAB Holdings is also the owner of Einstein Bros. Bagel Co. and Krispy Kreme, which they acquired last summer. Other competitors included McDonald’s and Starbucks.

Oil & Gas 

Brent crude oil closed up 39 cents at a one-month high of $55.28 on Friday after missile attacks on Syria. The recent attack signaled the toughest military action the U.S. has taken towards the civil conflict in its 6-year history. This event caused a greater level of uncertainty for the oil-rich region, which forced oil futures upwards and increased the demand for U.S. oil. The oil market is in a new bullish territory as U.S. inventories have accumulated along with increasing geopolitical risks.

Ali Punjani
Independent Business Blogger

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