Value stocks? Or zombie traps?

And more of the week's best financial insight

An airplane.
(Image credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

Value stocks? Or zombie traps?

"Are Boeing, Delta, and Exxon 'zombie companies' or value stocks?" asked Wayne Duggan at Benzinga. Analysts and traders often use the phrase "zombie companies" as a way to describe companies that are laden with debt and "would not be surviving without financial support from the government." This year, with the Fed's corporate bond–buying program keeping many companies afloat, the number of 'zombies' has multiplied. But the term is thrown around so often that it can mislead investors looking for value stocks that "could make for excellent recovery plays." Companies that are currently struggling, such as Exxon, Boeing, and Delta, are being labeled "zombies," even though they are widely expected to return to profitability and "have plenty of opportunities to pay down debt."

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Google's financial play

A redesign of the Google Pay app places new emphasis on helping you manage your personal finances, said Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch. Google has partnered with Citibank and Stanford Federal Credit Union to launch "mobile first" bank accounts with no monthly fees, overdraft charges, or minimum balances. Links to other bank accounts and credit cards also enable Google Pay to "pull in information about your spending. It's basically like Mint-lite." Going one step further, however, Google is using the data to uncover "interesting insights into your spending habits."

The Bitcoin resurgence

"Bitcoin is having a moment, again," said Adam Samson at the Financial Times. The cryptocurrency was trading up near $18,000 last week, approaching the levels it last saw during its wild run in 2017, before "the bubble burst spectacularly." Bitcoin trading is "mostly driven by speculation as opposed to clear fundamentals." But there are some signs that it is becoming more mainstream. PayPal recently started allowing customers in the United States to "buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin and other tokens in their online wallets." And a recent research note from JPMorgan suggested Bitcoin may be "nibbling away at gold's place" in some portfolios.

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