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Tech Stocks Lead Wall Street Higher; Toys R Us Investor Hints at Store Revival

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Tech Stocks Lead Wall Street Higher; Toys R Us Investor Hints at Store Revival

Stocks shook off an early stumble and closed broadly higher March 15, nudging some of the major U.S. indexes to more all-time highs as the market added to its recent string of gains.

The S&P 500 rose 0.7 percent after having been down 0.5 percent in the early going, extending its winning streak to the fifth day. Technology stocks, airlines, cruise operators, and other companies that rely on consumer spending helped lift the market. Banks and energy stocks were the only laggards.

Wall Street continues to eye the bond market, where yields pulled back a bit from Friday’s sharp increase. Investors are also focused on the recovery of the U.S. and global economies from the coronavirus pandemic. The $1.9 trillion aid package for the U.S. economy has lifted investors’ confidence in a strong recovery from the pandemic in the second half of the year, but also raised concerns about a potential-jump in inflation.

President Joe Biden’s pledge to expand vaccine eligibility to all Americans by May 1 should also translate into faster economic growth.

Rising interest rates continue to be a key concern for investors following the sudden jump over the last month in bond yields. Rates are not yet at a concerning level, and both the markets and economy can easily digest them, said Yung-Yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management.

“The question ultimately becomes how well markets can digest and stay the course on the idea that these increases are temporary,” he said. “As well as coming to terms with the idea that temporary might be three or four quarters”.

The firm buys a stake in Toys R Us parent

NEW YORK — A New York-based brand management firm that already owns Anne Klein and Joseph Abboud is taking a controlling stake in the parent company of the iconic Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands.

Yehuda Shmidman, CEO at WHP Global, declined to offer the terms of the financial agreement in the deal with Tru Kids Inc., which closed on Friday. Tru Kids was formed in 2019 when it acquired Toys R Us’ intellectual property during its liquidation in 2018.

Shmidman said the U.S. business will consist of both online and physical stores, though the strategy is still being worked out.

“Could it be a shop in shop? Could it be a popup store? Could it be an airport store? ” said Shmidman. “We are exploring it all”.

The deal comes nearly two months after the closure of the only two Toys R Us stores that were part of a small U.S. comeback attempt by the iconic chain.

 

The company’s online business in the U.S. remains operational. And outside of the country, Toys R Us and Babies R Us generate more than $2 billion in global retail sales annually through nearly 900 branded stores and eCommerce sites.

Stripe haul values firm at $95B

NEW YORK — The online payment company Stripe continues to attract investors, raising $600 million in funding to reach a whopping company valuation of $95 billion.

Stripe is by far the most valuable private fintech company in the world. Robinhood, the trading platform recently making headlines, just raised $3 billion to reach a valuation of around $11.2 billion.

The company which makes software that allows companies to accept online or in-person card payments said it will use the capital in the latest round of funding to invest in its European operations, particularly its Dublin headquarters. Stripe has two headquarters; the other is in San Francisco.

Stripe will also expand its global payments and treasury network. Some of its clients include Jaguar Land Rover, Maersk, Deliveroo, and Klarna.

Companies that enable online payments have thrived in the pandemic. Stripe’s valuation has almost tripled in a year.

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