Market Morning: Aramco Goes Public, Pelosi to Save Democracy, Payrolls Beat, Uber Assaults

Stock Market Roundup

Aramco Goes Public, Finally

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Saudi Arabia took the biggest company in the world public today in the Saudi Arabian exchange, for what logically ended up being the biggest IPO in the world. It sold 3 billion shares at $8.53 a share, raising more than the now-runner-up Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) when it went public in 2014. Since only 1.5% of the company was for sale, that puts the total market cap for Aramco at $1.7 trillion, $300 billion short of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s goal of $2 trillion. The funds will be used to further the 2030 Vision plan of bin Salman, which is basically a big-spending centralized boondoggle of a bunch of perks that will probably be prone to corruption at every level. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi, most likely orchestrated by the Saudi royal family, delayed the IPO a bit as people were justifiably miffed that powerful people could get away with such an audacious act, but money still talks, and the IPO went forward anyway, but not on US exchanges. Much of the 1.5% of the company on offer was bought by Saudi Arabia’s own nobility, some of its export partners including China, and other sovereign wealth funds.

The Saudis are hoping that this week’s production cuts by OPEC will boost oil prices (NYSEARCA:UCO), but it probably won’t be enough to for the company to reach the $2 trillion threshold.

Nancy Pelosi Out to Save American Democracy

Speaker of the House of Representatives and 2nd in line to the Presidency behind Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, has made it her mission to save American democracy by impeaching the democratically elected President of the United States and thereby attempting to oust him from office. In a televised address, Pelosi accused trump of abuse of power and compared him to King George III, whose general level of taxation that the American revolutionaries revolted against was much lower than the level of taxation espoused by Pelosi, and Trump as well for that matter.

“Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections,” said Pelosi, with pomp and verve.

Up next at some point, a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Trump can call his own witnesses. Stay tuned. This could get interesting.

Phoenix To Buy British Swiss Re

Europe’s largest life assurance funds owner (unfortunately closed to new customers if you’re interested in assurance funds) Phoenix Group Holdings (OTCQB:PNXGF), will buy the British insurance unit of Swiss Re for $4.1 billion. Phoenix expects the acquisition to bring in 7 billion pounds. THe deal was for 1.2 billion pounds in cash and a 13-17% stake in Phoenix. Swiss Re is the world’s second biggest reinsurer. The move might have something to do with Brexit, so that the British unit could be transferred to a more favourable regulatory regime.

Futures Up On Employment Beat, 50-Year Unemployment Low

US stock futures lurched higher once again as the non-farm payrolls number came in at 266,000 versus 180,000 expected. The Nasdaq (NASDAQ:QQQ) hasn’t quite reached a new high yet but it might by the end of the day. The S&P 500 is also within a hair’s breadth of new all time highs. Unemployment fell to a 50 year low at 3.5%, but since the measure of unemployment has changed many times since 1969, it’s really hard to tell what the numbers actually mean in the real world. In any case, they are certainly generating euphoria on Wall Street, for now at least.

Uber Release Highly Anticipated Sexual Assault Report

Some Uber (NYSE:UBER) drivers aren’t very good people apparently. Some Uber riders aren’t very good people either. Over 2017 and 2018, 5,981 cases of sexual assault were reported to Uber, 45% by drivers from abusive passengers, 55% by passengers from abusive drivers. Of those reports, 464 were of rape, 92% committed by drivers, 7% by passengers. There were 19 cases of deaths from assault as Uber did contextualize assaults within the scope of national averages, but mainstream media has chosen not to detail these contextualized statistics explicitly. The important thing though is that just so we know that everything reported is perfectly politically correct by today’s standards, we are told that “Women and female-identifying individuals made up 89% of the victims with men and male-identifying individuals comprising about 8% of victims. Fewer than 1% of victims identified as gender minorities.” What percentage of female-identifying individuals carried an XY chromosome pair in their cellular nuclei and vice versa was not mentioned in the report.


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