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Markets 2021: Stocks Soar, IPOs Explode, Crypto Goes Wild

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Wall Street delivered another strong year for investors in 2021, as a resurgence in consumer demand fueled by the reopening of the global economy pumped up corporate profits.

As of Dec. 22, the S&P 500 had risen 25%, its third-straight annual increase. Along the way, the benchmark index set 67 all-time highs.

The market weathered a number of challenges along the way. Skyrocketing inflation, worldwide supply chain disruptions and a global economy still vulnerable to the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic fueled market volatility, especially toward the end of the year.

Still, Wall Street got a boost from the Federal Reserve, which kept its key short-term interest rate at near zero all year. That helped keep borrowing costs for companies low and stock valuations high. However, investors expect the Fed to start pushing rates higher next year.

Investors had bullish expectations coming into 2021, betting that the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines would pave the way for businesses and their customers to get back to normal.

While many industries have yet to fully bounce back, especially travel and tourism, the gradual reopening of the economy in the spring ushered in a swell of demand that pushed corporate earnings growth above Wall Street’s expectations, a trend that continued into the fall. That helped juice gains for stocks.

Energy sector stocks have led the S&P 500, vaulting 46% as the price of U.S. crude oil climbed 50%. Financial stocks also have had a banner year, vaulting 31% after falling in 2020. Technology companies, which led the market in 2020, had another solid year, gaining 32%.

Initial public offerings exploded as companies sought to take advantage of the rising stock market. Investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies became more mainstream. And small investors, often taking their cues from social media and online forum sites like Reddit, sent shares in GameStop and other companies soaring and helped popularize the use of commission-free stock trading portals like Robinhood.

INFLATION GETS STICKY

Inflation awoke from a long slumber in 2021. The U.S. government’s consumer price index skyrocketed 6.8% in the 12 months that ended in November — the sharpest such jump since 1982. The speed of the global economic recovery surprised businesses, which had laid off workers, let shelves and warehouses go bare, and cut factory output when the coronavirus pandemic first hit. They’re still struggling to catch up with demand, creating supply bottlenecks and higher costs for raw materials and finished goods.

Many companies have raised prices to offset higher input costs and keep profit margins steady. Consumers are paying more for everything from Pampers diapers and Tide detergent to Cheerios to household appliances. It’s unclear exactly when the supply bottlenecks will ease, so further price increases could be in the picture for 2022.

— Paul Wiseman, Damian Troise

INVESTORS PILE INTO ‘MEME STOCKS’

Small investors piled into stocks in 2021, at times banding together on online forums like Reddit’s WallStreetBets to stoke a frenzy over certain targets like GameStop. The financially struggling video-game retailer surged more than 1,600% in January as novice investors using trading apps like Robinhood snapped up shares. The mania led to big losses for some hedge funds, multiple halts in trading and congressional hearings asking who was getting hurt.

The rise of small investors is one reason stocks represented a quarter of household assets as of the third quarter, up from only 13% a decade ago, according to Wells Fargo Securities. The “meme stock” phenomenon even spurred at least one investment firm to launch an exchange-traded fund of stocks getting talked up on social media. The trend also helped boost revenue for Robinhood, an online trading platform popular with new investors, though the company’s shares made an underwhelming stock market debut in July and are down sharply for the year.

— Alex Veiga

BONDED RETURNS

The U.S. economy grew strongly this year, and inflation jumped enough to jolt shoppers across the country. Usually such things send bond prices tumbling and, in turn, their yields soaring. But that didn’t happen in 2021. Yields did rise through the year, and they to be sure left investors with losses in what’s supposed to be the safe part of their portfolios. The largest bond fund lost 1.4% as of Dec. 13, on track for its worst yearly performance in eight.

But yields remain low relative to history. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, for example, is still below where it was in the spring. That could be a product of expectations for inflation to eventually fall and for the economy to moderate its growth too. Low bond yields have been one of the main reasons that stock prices have surged so high: With bonds paying so little, there’s a widespread belief on Wall Street that there is no alternative to buying stocks.

— Stan Choe

BATTERY POWERS

Electric vehicle sales nearly doubled in the U.S. and worldwide as automakers rolled out new models. Many consumers bought EVs to avoid burning oil, but others went for the quick acceleration and crisp handling. Shares of Tesla, the world’s EV leader, jumped more than 40% as of Dec. 22. An order of 100,000 Teslas from Hertz generated outsize enthusiasm from investors. Amazon-backed startup Rivian soared after going public even though it hasn’t made a profit.

The industry’s old guard revved up its commitment to EVs — for example, General Motors plans a GMC Hummer EV. But GM had to stop selling two EVs due to a recall for battery fires, and rival Ford is expected to top it in EV sales. GM shares still rose more than 30%; Ford shares more than doubled. Although EVs will only be 5.8% of global new vehicle sales this year, that figure could grow close to 15% in 2025, says research firm LMC Automotive.

— Tom Krisher

GOT CHIPS?

A global chip shortage had repercussions across much of the economy in 2021, thwarting consumers who faced delays in getting new cars, video game consoles and an array of other products. The shortage had its origins in the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with the lockdowns shuttering Asian semiconductor factories in early 2020. As 2022 approaches, some analysts are now worried about what happens when the shortages ease and an oversupply of chips affects prices.

Many chipmakers, electronics manufacturers and governments have outlined long-term plans to diversify supply chains so that a virus outbreak, ice storm, earthquake or political conflict in one region doesn’t disrupt the global supply of a key ingredient for so many tech products.

Shares of Nvidia, whose processors help power video games, data centers, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and automobiles, have more than doubled in consecutive years.

— Matt O’Brien

CRYPTO GOES MAINSTREAM

Cryptocurrency prices went on another roller coaster this past year: surging, plunging and then cycling again. What made 2021 different was how many more people experienced those swings, as crypto crossed into the mainstream. In the most famous example, El Salvador became the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender. Perhaps more impactful for financial markets, the first exchange-traded fund tied to Bitcoin futures also began to trade. It offered professional investors an easy way into the market, and it took just a month to amass $1.4 billion in assets.

Of course, crypto still retains a sense of iconoclasm, and even some fun. Dogecoin, a coin that started as a joke, climbed more than 15,500% from the start of the year to 74 cents in the summer, as traders tried to goose it to the $1 level. It recently fell back below 16 cents.

— Stan Choe

CHINA TECH CRACKDOWN

Anxious investors knocked more than $1 trillion off the value of high-flying Chinese tech companies on foreign stock exchanges after the ruling Communist Party tightened control over their industries. Industry leaders in e-commerce, entertainment and other fields have been warned not to use their dominance to keep out new competitors.

Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company by sales volume, was fined $2.8 billion on charges it suppressed competition. Tencent Holding, operator of the popular WeChat message service, and others have been fined over acquisitions regulators said increased their dominance. Tencent was ordered to end exclusive contracts with music suppliers. Alibaba’s stock market value has plunged more than 60% from its October 2020 peak of $838 billion. Tencent lost 43% to $539 billion. Didi Global Inc., China’s dominant ride-hailing service, lost almost half its market value after regulators criticized its handling of customer data. Didi announced Dec. 3 it would pull out of the New York Stock Exchange and move share trading to Hong Kong.

— Joe McDonald

GONE TO MARKET

Initial public offerings exploded in 2021 as companies sought to take advantage of a soaring stock market. There were 389 IPOs through the first week of December, easily surpassing the total of 221 for all of last year, according to Renaissance Capital. Some of the more notable IPOs in 2021 included online broker Robinhood, which has helped reshape the stock market by bringing in millions of new investors. Dating app Bumble and electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive were also highly anticipated IPOs.

It was also a blowout year for special-purpose acquisition companies. SPACs, as they are known, are an alternative way for companies to become publicly traded. Also referred to as blank-check companies, they raise money from public investors with the intent of buying a private company later. Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing company Grab went public in the biggest-ever SPAC deal in December. However, SPACs have been facing tougher scrutiny from regulators. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler has called for greater disclosures in SPAC deals.

— Damian J. Troise

ENERGY CRUNCH

Rising prices for oil and natural gas unsettled the global economic recovery in 2021. The biggest crunch came in Europe, whereby December natural gas prices had soared more than nine times their level at the start of the year amid fears that reserves would run out in a colder than average winter. Energy prices spilled over into geopolitics as Russian President Vladimir Putin cited Europe’s gas shortage to push for final regulatory approval of the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Amid tensions over Russian troop movements near Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was “very unlikely” Nord Steam gas would flow if Russia attacked.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden tried pressuring OPEC to boost production and tapping his country’s emergency stockpiles of oil in an effort to lower gasoline prices for U.S. drivers. Oil and gasoline prices did fall, but mostly due to fears of another possible economic slowdown from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The average pump price two days before Christmas was $3.29 per gallon, down 11 cents in a month but up from $2.25 a year ago.

— David McHugh

REALITY AND THE METAVERSE

Social media companies had an eventful year, starting with Twitter and Facebook banning then-President Donald Trump from their platforms after the Capitol riots. Later in the year the debate over social media’s impact on the public exploded when Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked tens of thousands of damning internal documents about the harm the company is causing to its users around the world. Amid the fallout that has included congressional hearings, Facebook rebranded itself Meta Platforms, reflecting its commitment to developing the metaverse. CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the metaverse as a “virtual environment” you can go inside of — instead of just looking at on a screen.

Meta’s stock price and revenue have so far withstood the turmoil. Twitter, on the other hand, has not fared as well, at least with investors. While some big investors had been calling for Jack Dorsey to step down as CEO, actual news of his departure in November failed to boost the company’s stock price.

— Barbara Ortutay

A sign for Wall Street hangs in front of the New York Stock Exchange on July 8, 2021. Wall Street delivered another strong year for investors in 2021, as a resurgence in consumer demand fueled by the reopening of the global economy pumped up corporate profits.

A marquee displays gas prices at a Shell station on Nov. 22, 2021, in San Francisco. Rising prices for oil and natural gas unsettled the global economic recovery in 2021.

Facebook employees take a photo with the company’s new name and logo outside its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Oct. 28, 2021, after the company announced that it is changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the metaverse as a “virtual environment” you can go inside of — instead of just looking at on a screen.

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Ohio Subdivision Committee Meets to Discuss Redrawn Maps

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The state’s bipartisan Ohio Subdivision Commission has long and repeatedly resigned prior to the midnight deadline.

Columbus, Ohio — Democrats Victory in the High Court This month, it seemed that they dug into their heels against another round of the Ohio Gerrymandering legislative map on Saturday.

The state’s bipartisan Ohio Subdivision Commission has long and repeatedly resigned prior to the midnight deadline set by members to come up with a compromise that would satisfy members of both parties.

In submitting the map on January 12, the Ohio Supreme Court granted a 10-day committee to approve the redrawn maps of the state’s 99 Ohio House districts and 33 Ohio Senate districts. The judge also retained the right to consider the new map.

Lawyer for a successful party Constitutional issues Earlier maps have determined to unfairly support the Republicans who portrayed them, stating that the deadline allowed under court rules is actually Monday.

In any case, the pressure of time is intense. The deadline for submitting primary candidates on May 3 is February 2, and State Secretary of State Frank LaRose has warned that the executive branch has already begun to be delayed.

Newly elected Democratic leader Allison Russo has accused the Republicans of refusing to support maps that more closely reflect Ohio’s voter preferences over the past decade.

“To achieve this goal, members of the Republican Commission must recognize the obligation to map to create at least 45 Democratic seats and 15 Democratic Senate seats,” she said in a statement on Friday. “Ohio people expect us to provide a fair and constitutional map by the court’s deadline. It’s our job to provide it.”

However, the Republicans are still very upset in the process, casting 5 out of 7 votes on the Commission.

On Friday, they came up with a proposal to break it down into 57 Republican and 42 Democratic seats, 20 Republican seats and 13 Democratic Senate seats.

Parties in the proceedings against the map — including voting rights and Democratic groups — Submit your own plan On Friday. The Ohio ACLU described the drawings as “technically perfect” when meeting the 2015 Partisan Equity and Balance Requirements Checklist approved by voters.

On Saturday, the Citizen-led Ohio Citizens Subdivision Commission submitted the proposed amendments to the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate. Map approved along the party line on September 16th. Due to the lack of democracy support, the plan is only valid for four years, rather than the ten years generally intended when the state redraws lines to reflect the total of the new 10-year census. Wouldn’t have been.

Democratic rallies in the House and Senate also submitted map proposals on Saturday, but Republicans were working to bring the first map closer to what the Democrats wanted.

Discussions continued between the Commission’s four legislative rallies and three state-wide officials, Governor Mike Dewein, Larose, and Keith Faber.

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Ohio State University Student Workers Organize Protests

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Dozens of Ohio State University students gather in frigid temperatures to protest behind the Ohio Union, and student workers pay the college a minimum wage of one hour to improve overall working conditions. I demanded that it be raised to $ 15 per.

As a student assistant at Ohio Union, Anthony Parker’s work varies from shift to shift. Senior Parker majoring in public policy often works in the canteen kitchen, preparing orders for grubhub drivers to receive.

Parker pays $ 10.50 an hour, and the workforce in Ohio is less than a delivery driver picking up his own food.

“The biggest problem among students is wages,” Parker said in a protest on Friday. “The problem is that wages remain low.”

Ohio State University pays student workers a variety of basic hourly wages. As the state raised the minimum wage from $ 8.80 to $ 9.30 per hour on January 1, the university raised the wages of returning student workers by the same amount this year. Employees with a tip earn $ 4.65 per hour. Most on-campus jobs are paid between $ 9.30 and $ 13 per hour, according to Parker.

Resident assistants earn $ 150 every two weeks and about $ 4.45 per hour, but those students don’t have to pay for housing and get discounts on meals.

University spokesman Ben Johnson said Ohio State University employs more than 15,000 student employees on six campuses.

“The university offers competitive salaries and benefits to retain and support key student employees and appreciates their contribution to campus life and land-granting missions,” he said. Said.

According to Parker, many student workers on campus are paid $ 10 an hour, which is not much compared to what they can earn off campus.

“Many places are understaffed and it’s easy to find nearby jobs that cost more off campus, like Target and Chipotle,” he said.

According to a 2018 Georgetown University survey, nearly 70% of all college students in the United States are working. However, the impasse in negotiations over raising the federal minimum wage, coupled with rising costs in higher education, means that most college students are not as well worth their spending as they once were.

Sixty years ago, college students who worked part-time during the school year and full-time at the minimum wage during the summer pay tuition, fees, and most rooms and boards at a typical public four-year college. I was able to. , According to the Urban Institute. Today, the same amount of work at the minimum wage covers only 57% of college tuition and fees, and 27% of room and board and other costs.

Jacob Mesman, a sophomore in geography and African-American and African-American studies, works from 1 am to 5 am at the front desk of the Dracquet Tower. He helps the locked out students, answers residents’ questions, and asks visitors to wear masks properly.

Mesman earns $ 9.30 an hour, but he said he couldn’t make any more by working overnight or on holidays, and that’s not enough.

“I will be paid for hunger wages,” Mesman said. “I sacrifice sleep, grades, and social life to work.”

Mesman said student workers are the “lifeline of the university” and ensure that everything goes smoothly. One day he asked what would happen if no one went to work.

Some jobs on campus pay higher wages. For example, student bus drivers start at $ 14 an hour, and college medical center employees earn $ 15 an hour. But Parker said it was a matter of principle to pay more to all student workers.

Instead of paying more for student workers, Parker said Ohio State University has a contract with a third-party employer called Upshift, which connects adults with part-time jobs in the area. He said the base fee for those jobs was $ 18 an hour.

According to Johnson, the university worked with Upshift in 2020 to meet short-term and temporary needs.

“Wages are determined by the market and other factors,” Johnson said. “The individuals referred through the Upshift app are not university employees. Students interested in this type of temporary work should apply directly to Upshift.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the number of jobs many Americans see, and it did not exclude college students.

Students at the University of Minnesota called on the school in November 2021 to raise the minimum wage for student workers. In March 2021, more than 120 student workers at Kenion University in Gambia picketed the campus, saying the university had exploited student labor and practiced injustice. Labor policy during a pandemic that adversely affects some student workers. Since February 2020, graduate students from Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Santa Cruz have held at least three strikes.

Ohio State University students aren’t trying to form a union at this time, Parker said, but protesters are in contact with union organizers at Kenion and other smaller schools.

Although they have protested under various circumstances, Parker said Kenion’s union strike was “incredibly exciting.”

Ohio student protesters marched across the campus to Scott Dining Hall. We spoke with more student workers and Morgan Harper, a lawyer running for the Ohio Democratic Party in the US Senate.

Parker said he hopes Ohio State University leaders will listen to the demands of student workers. He said it was time for change between inflation making everyday life more expensive and rising tuition fees.

“It’s easy to handle all of this,” he said.

Mark Stansbury on the left, a member of the American Local 4502 Communication Worker, is outside the Student Union of Ohio State University Student Workers, who wants the university to raise the minimum wage for student workers to $ 15 per hour. I will talk on Friday in protest at.

Mark Stansbury on the left is a member of the Communication Workers of America Local 4502 and is outside the Ohio Student Union by Ohio State University student workers who want the university to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 per hour. I’ll talk on Friday in protest.

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PCHFH Bingo Is Scheduled for February 10th

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Ottawa-Putnam County Human Habitat will host “Date Night: Tool & Purse Bingo” on Thursday, February 10th at VFW Post 9142, 212 W. Second St. All evening revenues support PCHFH’s new and important homes. Repair program.

“Habitat for Humanity is about building hope,” said Anne Coburn Griffith, Executive Director of PCHFH.

The master of the night ceremony is Big Kahuna from 106.3 The Fox. The organizers will also offer a $ 1 ticket, 50/50, and sweetbox prizes for a basket lottery that highlights local businesses, experience, and craftsmanship.

The door opens at 5 pm The game starts at 6 pm

Tickets are $ 35. Eight tables can be booked for $ 280. Tickets are 150 N. Oak St via www.putnamohhabitat.org. You can purchase by mailing a check to Putnam County Habitat for Humanity, sending a message on Facebook, or calling the office at 419-523-9621.

Secretary Anne Coburn Griffith and Executive Secretary Karen Meyer of the Patnam County Habitat of Mankind are surrounded by power tools and designer handbags to be featured at Tools & Perth Bingo on Thursday, February 10.

PCHFH Bingo is scheduled for February 10th

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