Friday,
March 12, 2021

Market recap

Dow Jones

32,485.59

+188.57 (+0.58%)

S&P 500

3,939.34

+40.53 (+1.04%)

Nasdaq

13,398.67

+329.84 (+2.52%)

Red Robin

$37.18

-$0.27 (-0.72%)

Tesla

$699.60

+$31.54 (+4.72%)

Axon

$152.76

+$11.66 (+8.26%)

Amid evolving news + uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, your financial needs are our top priority. For more information on COVID-19 and your finances click here.

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Top Story

Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill

What is Included in the Bill?

President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan yesterday, a $1.9 trillion bill providing COVID-19 relief for American families and communities. Yesterday also marked one year to the day after the WHO declared a pandemic.

The bill will send direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans. Additionally, the bill will extend the $300 per week unemployment insurance supplement until September 6. The plan also allocates $20 billion in funding for COVID-19 vaccines and $350 billion for state, local, and tribal relief.

Receiving Your Stimulus Check

The White House has said that direct deposits will begin arriving in people’s bank accounts as early as this weekend. Payments will continue going out over the course of the next several weeks.

The Get My Payment tool from the IRS can answer questions about the status and timing of your stimulus payment.

If you have a SoFi Money® account, you may have been given a new routing number recently. But not to worry—if you have an open Money account, qualify for this stimulus, and have received past stimulus payments, you should expect this stimulus payment to post in the same way. But remember to use your new SoFi Money routing number when you’re filing your 2020 taxes. Find it in the Money tab of the app under “More.”

Things to Do with a Stimulus Check

If you will receive a check, you have flexibility to use it as you see fit—save, invest, or spend. But here are some things to consider:

Setting up an emergency fund: If you don’t already have one, you could consider using a stimulus payment to set up an emergency fund. Conventional wisdom says you should have between three months and six months’ worth of expenses set aside for an emergency, but it all depends on your financial situation. If you need a place to store your emergency fund for safe keeping, consider a Vault from SoFi Money.

Reviewing student loan payments: Student loan payments are suspended and interest is waived on all federal student loans until the end of September. You could consider applying a stimulus payment to the principal of a federal student loan before interest kicks back in. Check with the loan servicer to confirm payments have been suspended.

Saving for retirement: Depending on your financial situation, this could present an opportunity to review some of your investments. A few options worth exploring are:

•  Maximizing contributions to an IRA: Those that haven’t hit contribution limits for 2020 still have time if you have not filed your 2020 taxes yet.

•  Contribute to an after-tax brokerage account: If you’ve already met your savings goals and have taken advantage of retirement accounts, you might choose to invest your stimulus money for the chance of earning returns in the stock market. Invest now, no matter your experience level, with SoFi Invest® in the SoFi app.

South Korean Ecommerce Company Makes its Public Debut

Coupang’s First Trading Day

Yesterday, South Korean ecommerce company Coupang (CPNG) made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s shares began trading at $59.60—a 70% increase from its initial public offering price of $35.

The company’s name is a blend of the English word “coupon” and the Korean sound for hitting the jackpot, “pang.” Coupang’s market share has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic to hit 24.6% in 2020, which is up from 18.1% in 2019.

Coupang’s Growth Over the Past Year

The company has made big investments in infrastructure to make its customer experience as seamless as possible. For example, customers who belong to Coupang’s membership service can return items simply by leaving them outside their doors without a box or return label.

“Our mission is to create a world where customers wonder ‘How did I ever live without Coupang?’” explained the company’s founder, Bom Suk Kim.

Comparisons to Amazon and Alibaba

Coupang is often compared to Amazon (AMZN) in the US and Alibaba (BABA) in China. Both of these ecommerce giants saw significant growth after going public. Consumer markets in the US and in China are significantly larger than they are in South Korea. Coupang will not have as much room to grow domestically as Amazon and Alibaba, but it could still be poised for significant expansion.

The South Korean ecommerce market had an estimated value of $90.1 billion in 2020 with an annual growth rate of 22.3%. The country’s population is about 52 million with the vast majority of people living in dense urban areas. South Korea had a robust delivery culture long before ecommerce became widespread, with customers ordering food and other services over the phone. For this reason, analysts expect that many of the ecommerce trends taking place during the pandemic will be here to stay.

Friday Fundings: Snyk, Aqua Security, and Optibus

Application Security Company Hits $4.7 Billion Valuation

Snyk, a company creating application security technology, recently raised its valuation to $4.7 billion after a round of new funding and a secondary sale totaling $300 million. Accel and Tiger Global led the round with participation from investors including Addition, Boldstart Ventures, Canaan Partners, and Coatue. Analysts expect this will be Snyk’s final funding round before it goes public.

Demand for application security solutions is soaring. According to Snyk, about 43% of data breaches have been linked to problems with application security. However, there is a shortage of developers working on solutions to this problem, which could mean Snyk will see growth in the coming years.

Aqua Security Raises $135 Million

Aqua Security, a startup which works on securing cloud-native services, has secured $135 million in a Series E funding round led by ION Crossover Partners. The company is now valued at $1 billion.

Aqua was one of the earliest companies to focus on securing container deployments. Many of its rivals were bought up over the years, but Aqua has stayed independent. Analysts expect the company could pursue an IPO in the near future.

Public Transportation Analytics Company Raises $107 Million

Transportation data provider Optibus recently raised $107 million in a Series C funding round. Bessemer Venture Partners and Insight Partners co-led the round.

The Tel Aviv-based company’s platform analyzes how people and vehicles move through cities. It then offers navigation, scheduling, and other guidance to help organize mass transportation. Optibus works with city governments as well as companies which organize shuttle services for their employees. Demand for Optibus’ services has climbed during the pandemic as transportation providers think about strategies for keeping people safe on busses, trains, and other forms of transportation.

Not-So-Breaking News

  • Tesla (TSLA) and Nio's (NIO) stocks popped yesterday after Mizuho slapped buy ratings on the pair of electric vehicle makers. Meanwhile, Tesla has increased the prices of some of its car models, according to a report from Reuters. Some investors think the move could help margins moving forward.
  • Canoo, an electric vehicle startup, plans to launch an American-made electric pickup truck in 2023. The company will begin taking pre-orders this year. Pickups are the top-selling new vehicle in the US.
  • Casual dining chain Red Robin (RRGB) is introducing three new delivery-only brands called The Wing Dept, Fresh Set, and Chicken Sammy’s. Demand for food delivery has surged during the pandemic and some restaurants expect that consumers will still be eager to order food at home even once more people are vaccinated and can return to in-person dining.
  • Axon (AXON), a leader in the connected public safety technology industry, and Skydio, a drone manufacturing and autonomous flight company, announced a partnership. The companies will collaborate to build autonomous drones for law enforcement and emergency responders.
  • Vir Biotechnology (VIR) and GSK (GSK) announced that their COVID-19 therapy, VIR-7831, significantly reduces hospitalization and risk of death for adults infected with the novel coronavirus. The companies plan to seek Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment in the US and other countries.
  • Assessing your financial situation is the first step to handling your finances during COVID-19. Hear from Brian Walsh, CFP® at SoFi, for more advice on Making Smart Money Moves During COVID-19.

Financial Planner Tip of the Day

“Combat the urge to impulse spend by trying to institute a holding period on all purchases. Before hitting the buy button, wait 24-48 hours. After the holding period, come back to the shopping cart and reevaluate if you really need it. In some cases, you might not even remember why you wanted it in the first place.”

Brian Walsh, CFP® at SoFi

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