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Happy Thursday, y’all. Our mini trading week is almost over!

The U.S. labor market scored a small W today. 🏅 Weekly jobless claims hit an 18-month low, with just 310,000 filing for benefits. That figure fell 35,000 week-over-week. Continuing claims fell, too.

Despite that small dub, all four indexes closed in the red today. 💔 The Russell 2000 lost the least, trading down just over 2 basis points.

8/11 sectors also traded down today. Real estate had the worst day, losing 2.1%.

The global crypto market rose 1.7%, buoyed by double-digit gains in more than a dozen tokens and altcoins. $ALGO led the pack, +34.6% today. More on crypto below. 👀

The Boston Beer Company fell 3.8% after pulling earnings guidance for the year. $SAM isn’t confident that hard seltzer will pull its weight. 

In commodities: lumber jumped 4.1% today, but it’s still down 63.4% from its peak. 🌲

$RKLB rose 33.3%, $ONE.X added 30.39%, and $AFRM popped 33.5%.

Here are today’s quotes:

S&P 500 4,493 -0.46%
Nasdaq 15,248 -0.25%
Russell 2000 2,249 -0.02%
Dow Jones 34,879 -0.43%

Earnings

Earnings Roundup

Zscaler ($ZS) 🚀

EPS: $0.14 vs $0.09 est 
REV: $197.1 million, +57% YoY

Press release

Affirm Holdings ($AFRM

EPS: ($0.47) vs ($0.24) est
REV: $261.8 million, +71% YoY

Press release



Stocks

All Aboard The Free Tuition Train 🚂

All Aboard The Free Tuition Train 🚂 Featured Image

E-commerce giant Amazon just announced a new employee benefit: free college tuition for over 750,000 U.S. employees. 🤓 📚

It’s no secret that companies are struggling to attract minimum-wage workers atm. Amazon is the latest mega corporation to provide free college in an effort to pull more employees — the company will also pay for books at multiple universities nationwide.

Even if you work just 20 hours a week, you could be eligible for up to 50% college tuition reduction under Amazon’s plan. Clearly, $15/hr is no longer sufficient to build a workforce. Ardine Williams, Amazon’s VP of workforce development, said:

“Career progression is the new minimum wage. Most adult learners don’t have the luxury of quitting their jobs and going to school full-time.”

Chipotle, Starbucks, Walmart, and Target announced similar programs this year. Amazon intends to pay employees’ tuition upfront, with associate degrees, high-school completion programs, and English-second-language certifications also included in the plan.

To pull this off, Amazon will probably have to fork out a whopping $1.2 billion over the next 4 years. 💸 These are huge line-items, but ultimately necessary selling points for attracting new talent. Here’s the WSJ with more info.


Crypto

These Cryptocurrencies are Unphased

These Cryptocurrencies are Unphased Featured Image

Despite the dullness of the crypto market, some cryptocurrencies skyrocketed this week. 🚀 🚀

This week’s biggest gainer, Algorand ($ALGO.X), entered the top 20 cryptos in dramatic fashion. It has more than doubled in the last seven days, but still sits below its all-time high of $3.28.

Why is $ALGO.X surging? 💭 Recently, El Salvador permitted Bitcoin as legal tender. For better widespread crypto implementation, El Salvador partnered with leading crypto firm Koibanx to create a wallet product for its citizens. This wallet will be developed using the Algorand blockchain as a piece of core infrastructure. The news acted as a catalyst for $ALGO.X, and it soared. ✈️ ✈️

Algorand was joined by another usual suspect: Solana ($SOL.X). The crypto booked an all-time high after crossing the $210 mark this week. Solana has surged 383% over the past 30 days, according to CoinGecko. Since the start of the month, it has surpassed the market caps of $DOGE.X and $XRP.X. Today, $SOL.X is the 5th largest crypto ex-stablecoins, sitting north of a $55 billion valuation. 😍

The ongoing NFT hype on Solana has helped accelerate its price momentum. The blockchain’s big entry into the world of NFTs was boosted by the launch of the Degenerate ApesOn Monday, FTX.US’s NFT marketplace went live, enabling users to mint, buy and sell NFTs — all traded cross-chain on the Ethereum and Solana blockchains. 

There are dozens of other tokens that remain unaffected by the hustle and bustle of the crypto market. For instance, Cosmos ($ATOM.X) is up by ~30%, and Harmony ($ONE.X) soared 33% in the past 24 hours. Wanna give them a try?? 🤑


Stocks

Turbulence Ahead

Turbulence Ahead Featured Image

The Delta variant is once again tipping the scales against airlines. 😪 Travel, which was battered during the COVID-19 pandemic, has appreciated a bounce-back with the economy’s gradual reopening. However, travel still hasn’t reached its pre-pandemic levels. 

American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, and United all lowered outlooks for Q3 2021 because of the ongoing virus drama. Fewer bookings, paired with cancellations on already-booked itineraries, are among the core reasons for concern.

Surprisingly, the U.S. Global Jets ETF rose 1.91% today. 🤔 The $JETS ETF tracks some of the largest airlines in America. The ETF has fallen 14.8% over the last 3 months.


Crypto

Mastercard’s Crypto-Related Acquisition

Mastercard’s Crypto-Related Acquisition Featured Image

To enhance its cybersecurity tools and comply with crypto regulations, Mastercard acquired CipherTrace, a blockchain analytics start-up. 🤖

The details of the acquisition have not yet been disclosed. However, the deal will help the giant payment company track over 900 cryptocurrencies, as per the release.

CipherTrace specializes in scanning blockchains for illicit transactions. Mastercard said the deal will help businesses “identify and understand their risks” and “help manage their digital asset regulatory and compliance obligations.”

Earlier this year, the payment company demonstrated interest in crypto, saying Mastercard would allow customer-to-merchant payments in cryptocurrency without settling in fiat. In July, the company referred to using the USDC stablecoin as a bridge for users paying for goods in cryptocurrency. 

This deal goes to show that payment companies are keeping an eye on the crypto security system. 👀