The Big “I” Word Makes The News Again

I just realized I haven’t reported on any big tech woes in a while. At least it feels like a while, what with Russia and Ukraine behind almost every business news story these days.

Yet big tech remains under scrutiny nonetheless. Take yesterday, when five members of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee asked the Justice Department to investigate Amazon (AMZN).

They believe it lied to Congress about its competitive practices – that Amazon does, in fact, use third-party seller data to unfairly advance its products in search results.

The accused, naturally, denies that. And I’m curious to see how little investors will care today about the charge considering the company’s announcement.

Yesterday after the closing bell, it said it will do a 20-for-1 stock split and institute a $10 billion buyback plan. reported at 9:00 last night that “Amazon stock surged 7% to 2,990 during after-hours trading…”

In this, it:

… joins several big tech companies to have announced stock splits. Google-owner Alphabet (GOOGL)… announced a 20-for-1 stock split on [February] 21. In August 2020, Apple [(AAPL)] initiated plans for a 4-for-1 split. Tesla [(TSLA)] also told investors that same month it would institute a 5-for-1 split.

Such actions reduce share price, making it easier to attract retail investors. And considering how far down big tech has gone as of late, it’s easy to see the appeal.

Along similar lines, Yahoo Finance ran a story about Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation Fund (ARKK) recording “four straight weeks of inflows totaling $850 million.”

The ETF is trading “at a mere fraction of its highest share price,” but its disruptive tech-buying portfolio manager “has never backed down on optimism around her strategy.”

That’s despite a 35%+ year-to-date drop, showing either intense commitment… or intense foolishness.

Maybe both.

More Non-REIT News to Know About

Now on to gas prices… where diesel fuel reached an average $5 per gallon, their “highest level ever recorded,” according to GasBuddy petroleum analysis head Patrick De Haan. In general, he added:

Americans have never seen gasoline prices this high. Nor have we seen the pace of increases so fast and furious. That combination makes this situation all the more remarkable and intense, with crippling sanctions on Russia curbing their flow of oil, leading to the massive spike in the price of all fuels: gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and more.

Moreover, “It’s a dire situation and won’t improve any time soon.”

That will obviously add fuel to inflation as retailers pay the consequences and inevitably pass the costs on to consumers. Which in turn could prompt more people to join the jobs market to manage the increased costs of living…

Or it could simply keep people at home more for the same reasons.

That’s obviously still to be determined, but we do know that job openings totaled 11.3 million for January. And since the Bureau of Labor Statistics just released its latest Consumer Price Index numbers, we also now know that rose 7.9% year-over-year in February, exactly as expected.

That’s obviously higher than January’s 7.5% jump… and the fastest annual increase since 1982. CPI also rose 0.8% over January, whereas January’s figure rose 0.6% over December.

At last check, U.S. markets were down. But they were probably up as much as they were yesterday on the idea that WWIII might not happen after all. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told ABC News, he’s “cooled down” about joining NATO. Moreover, he’s willing to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin about disputed territories.

Both country’s foreign ministers met today, only for those talks to stall.

The World According to REITs

There’s plenty to talk about everywhere else. But real estate investment trusts (REITs) are still taking a breather from their earnings releases. As such, we only have one update to offer today.

That would be how Rexford Industrial Realty (REXR) acquired eight industrial properties for $205.2 million in cash. These were all in California locations and included land it intends to develop.

The more, the merrier, it seems to be saying… the same sentiment investors in Ashford Hospitality Trust (AHT) seemed to express.

Let’s hope that intense optimism wasn’t premature.

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Source: The Daily REITBeat)

Brad Thomas is the Editor of the Forbes Real Estate Investor.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide information to interested parties. As ...

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