1. Coronavirus Updates: US continues to see surge, cases appear in Asia based military camps
Florida reported 15,300 new virus cases on Sunday, its largest daily increase yet. However, Disney World in Florida pressed ahead with its re-opening, so that’s probably something to watch out for.
California Governor Gavin Newsom is ordering some indoor businesses, including restaurants, bars, movie theaters and museums to re-close statewide as new cases continue to rise.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined the state’s plan to allow schools in some regions to reopen this fall, adding that “we’re not going to use our children as guinea pigs.”
In Okinawa, Japan, there was a cluster of outbreak in the US military bases with the marines reporting 94 cases of Coronavirus, where the island had seen just 148 other infections.
“When the military doesn’t provide essential information of how many people are infected or where they are from or where they have been outside of the base, the Okinawan people are really scared and frustrated and disappointed,” said Manabu Sato, professor of political science at Okinawa International University, to the New York Times.
The United States military in South Korea also announced on Monday that 11 troops had tested positive upon arrival from the United States.
2. Jack Ma sells US$8.2 billion worth of Alibaba shares
Alibaba founder Jack Ma cashes out billions of dollars in Alibaba shares as its stock has skyrocketed by about 50%. Ma cut his stake from 6.2% to 4.8%.
The report did not say when Ma sold his shares or for how much. At the current market price, the stake would be worth about $8.2 billion.
Last year, Ma resigned as the company’s executive chairman from the empire he built to focus more on philanthropy.
In May, Alibaba said its digital platforms now account for one-sixth of all retail sales in China, particularly peaking at the height of the pandemic.
“We believe there is a new normal that will stay even after the pandemic is over,” CEO Daniel Zhang said over an earnings call.
3. Singapore enters recession after economy shrinks by 41%
The latest GDP estimate, computed largely from data in April and May was worse than analysts’ forecast. The economy’s 41.2% contraction was of course, due to lack of economic activity and a nationwide lockdown during the pandemic.
Compared to a year ago, the Singapore economy contracted by 12.6% in the second quarter. That’s also worse than the 10.5% forecast by analysts in the Reuters poll.
Singapore’s “circuit breaker” shut down started in early April and involved shutting most workplaces (except those offering essential services) and closing all schools temporarily. Some measures began easing in June.
The restrictions hurt businesses dependent on domestic consumption at a time when external demand for Singapore goods was also weak due to a global economic downturn precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the government.
4. Robinhood trading app is now worth US$8.6 billion
Robinhood, a US based investment app popular with millennials have raised US$320 million in funding, the total $600 million Series F round bumps the firm’s valuation to US$8.6 billion.
In May, Robinhood announced that it had raised a $280 million Series F funding round led by Sequoia Capital.
Robinhood has seen increased interest during the recent global economic crisis triggered by the pandemic, as the app makes it easy for first-time investors to start an account and begin trading.
The app also facilitates digital assets trading.
The company reported in May that it had already netted more than 3 million funded accounts by that point in 2020.
The valuation is a big bump for Robinhood, who has seen some controversy this year, from the app going down for multiple days, to a 20 year old committing suicide in June after seeing a negative balance of $730,000 in his account while trading options. It points to how platforms must be diligent about stating the risks and downsides of their products, in this case, investing.