• Third equity raise of the year ahead of index inclusion: link 
  • Tesla was added to the S&P 500 index: link
  • Elon asks about Bitcoin: link
  • Snubbed: link


A hack exploit of cybersecurity firm SolarWinds’ software that allows access to various Microsoft systems left many enterprises exposed. The Russians are alleged to have conducted an operation that lasted months and involved several US government agencies including the US Treasury, Commerce Department, and Energy Department. The operations are assumed to have gained access to critical organizations and enterprises around the world. Damage remains untold but it is another cautionary tale in cybersecurity. Even with the best protocols and software in place, attacks may still come.

Our non-expert advice to readers would be to change passwords frequently – including now, if you were not aware of this news – and to enable multi-factor authentication on any particularly sensitive accounts. 


The SEC has begun to weigh in on cryptocurrencies. It has charged Ripple with unregistered securities offerings. As a result, associated cryptocurrency XRP crashed lower. Several crypto exchanges suspended trading of XRP. Elsewhere, cryptocurrencies have surged during December. Bitcoin, for example, started the month around 19,000 and finished the month at around 29,000. Interest in this topic has surged and so has its price – as if its self-fulfilling, or a mania. Our position remains the same – that this is a highly speculative area. Experienced traders may find profit from the rising prices and volatility, but we are dubious of investors making money by holding long-term. Even if it were so, what if the investor is hacked and their digital wallets are emptied or what if the SEC weighs in like they did on Ripple? These are dangerous investing waters so wade carefully.



Markets remain surprisingly wide open. Airbnb is the latest unicorn company to go public, making its debut on the Nasdaq during December. The company’s valuation impressively soared above $100 billion during first days of trading but has since receded to a meager $80 billion. Amazingly, this happens while stories circulate of Airbnb rental property owners going bust during the pandemic. These may be false, but it does give pause.

Pop quiz: Airbnb being the popular web destination for vacation rental searches with millions of bookings… what was operating income for Airbnb for the nine months ended September 2020? Trick question. A loss. A record $689 million loss. To be fair, bookings and revenue were down substantially year-over-year in 2020. But take 2019, a year of record revenue of $4.8 billion and still Airbnb reported operating loss of $501 million (loss…negative!).



A new variant of Covid-19 has been detected in the UK and South Africa that has raised alarms. This new variant is estimated to be 70% more transmissible, though no more deadly. The new COVID-19 vaccines are expected to remain efficacious, but it is early to know with certainty. The worry is just the interim – cases, hospitalizations, and outcomes – as the vaccines are rolled out globally. The new variant is being found elsewhere now. In the US it has been found in at least California and Colorado.



Stimulus in the US is another political football with proceeds going any which way to interest groups. With the convenience of hindsight, perhaps, it seems little stimulus goes towards solving the problems at hand. It is evident that combined government stimulus and central bank actions were a capital market boom in 2020 considering how things started and ended in the markets. With central bank and government balance sheets multiples bigger than they ever were, subsequent need for stimulus must be ever larger if it is to be impactful. After months of wrangling over what and how much, the US government has reached agreement on a new, second round of stimulus. This time much smaller and without additional central bank firepower. Whether you agree with stimulus or not, this latest package appears to be too little too late in terms of moving the needle. This smaller stimulus combined with the latest news about COVID-19 and we may see a major pullback in economic activity and capital markets in the coming months as the 2020 liquidity injection fund flows dry up and various regions shelter from surging virus cases.