2019 is nearly over.
And as the year draws to a close, it’s important to take a moment to think about everything that’s happened.
This year saw an escalating trade war between China and the U.S., not to mention the IPOs of big tech companies including Uber, Lyft, and WeWork, with mixed results. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Board cut interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008. HBO’s Game of Thrones ended while Disney sought the streaming throne with the debut of Disney+. And who knew that public utilities could go bankrupt? (PG&E we’re talking about you.)
Through it all, Stash has been here with you, helping you understand the important business news, and how current events can shape your financial future. In fact, we’ve published more than 300 stories in 2019, helping you identify the most important trends and guiding you through your financial journey.
Take a trip down memory lane with us as we remember the events that defined the year.
PG&E announces bankruptcy. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the largest public utility in California, announces it will file for bankruptcy protection, according to reports. The electric company faces $30 billion in liability charges for its alleged role in the 2017 and 2018 fires in California.
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Amazon’s NY HQ is over before it starts. After months of pushback from local politicians and community leaders, e-Commerce king Amazon announces it is canceling plans for a second headquarters in New York City. Amazon previously conducted a year-long search among hundreds of U.S. cities for its new spaces.
Lyft goes public. The ride-share company has its first day as a public company, following its initial public offering, or IPO. Lyft, which lets consumers use an app to hail rides in numerous towns and cities around the world, sees its stock price jump 20% as it begins trading on Friday, March 29, 2019.
The average amount Stashers invested at a time2 in 2019:
Game of Thrones ends. HBO’s blockbuster series has its finale, meaning everyone has one less show to talk about around the water cooler. We riff on how some of the most important characters from the show might advise you on how to invest your very own coin(s). Do you know where your dragons are?
The markets reach record highs. On Tuesday, April 23, the S&P 500 gains 25.71 points, closing at 2,933.68. Its previous record was 2,930.75, reached on September 20, 2018, according to the Associated Press. On the same day, the Nasdaq jumps 105.56 points to 8,120.82, beating its previous record of 8,109.69 on August 29, 2018.
The trade war intensifies. President Trump announces the U.S. will double tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. China responds by saying it will add new tariffs of its own on $60 billion of U.S. exports.
The Fed stays the course. The Federal Reserve Board, the nation’s central bank, decides against increasing interest rates on Wednesday, May 1. By leaving interest rates where they are, the Fed reverses a policy of rate increases that it had followed throughout 2018.
Uber’s IPO troubles. After plenty of hype suggesting Uber’s IPO would be one of the largest in a decade, the company’s stock falls 7% from its offering price of $45 on its first day of trading. By the end of its first trading day, Uber’s valuation stands at $76 billion, far below its initial estimate that it could reach as high as $120 billion, according to reports.
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Defense companies merge. Two of the nation’s largest defense companies, Raytheon and United Technologies announce plans to merge. The combined business potentially could be an aerospace and defense industry giant, nearly rivaling Boeing for market cap.
The Fed cuts rates. In July 2019, The Federal Reserve cuts its federal funds interest rate to a range between 2% to 2.5%, the first interest rate cut in ten years. By cutting its benchmark rate, the Fed hopes to keep the economy growing, according to a statement.
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The trade war continues. Trade talks between China and the U.S. break down, as China backs out of an agreement to purchase more products from the U.S. The Trump administration threatens a new round of tariffs, in addition to the $250 billion it has already placed on Chinese imports.
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FDA says cool it, Juul. Juul announces Chief Executive Officer Kevin Burns is stepping down, reportedly in reaction to a proposed FDA ban on all flavored vaping products, and a spate of deaths and illnesses related to electronic cigarettes.
The Fed cuts rates again. The Fed cuts the federal funds rate again, this time to a range between 1.7% to 2%. It cites slower global growth and soft U.S. inflation as reasons.
WeWork falters. WeWork’s initial public offering (IPO) was supposed to be one of the most successful of 2019. But soon after it files its S-1 paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in August 2019, things began to unravel. The paperwork shows WeWork has hundreds of millions of dollars of debt.
The Fed makes a third cut. The central bank cuts interest rates to a range between 1.5% to 1.75%. Its benchmark rate is used to determine many consumer loans, from credit cards to mortgages.
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Disney+ arrives. The Walt Disney Co., best known for animated classics and family-friendly entertainment, launches a new streaming service called Disney+. With its streaming service at half the price of Netflix, Disney enters streaming wars dominated by companies like Netflix and HBO.
Google’s leadership changes. On Tuesday, December 3, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, announce that they will step down from their executive roles at Alphabet, the parent company of Google, which they started as a research project while they were students at Stanford in 1998.
Aramco breaks a record. Saudi Arabian oil company Aramco achieves its goal of having the largest IPO in history when it lists 1.5% of its shares on the Saudi stock exchange. On December 12, 2019, Aramco reaches a $2 trillion market cap, hitting the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s initial hope.