The daily business briefing: June 30, 2021
United orders 270 new jets as travel rebounds, home prices rise at the fastest pace on record, and more
United to buy 270 new jets as travel demand rebounds
United Airlines announced Tuesday that it was buying 200 Boeing MAX jets and 70 larger A321neos made by European rival Airbus to meet expected demand as travel bounces back from the coronavirus crisis. The deal, valued at more than $30 billion at list prices before bulk discounts, is a big boost to Boeing's effort to rebuild its MAX program. The order is the largest placed by a U.S. airline since American Airlines ordered 460 new planes from Boeing and Airbus in 2011, and the latest sign that major carriers expect travel to make a strong post-pandemic comeback. The sharp decline in travel last year resulted in a $7 billion 2020 loss for United, which accepted billions in aid from the federal government.
Home prices rise at fastest pace on record
U.S. home prices rose in April at their fastest pace on record due to tight supply and throngs of people desperate to buy in the booming housing market, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index released Tuesday. The index measures average home prices in major metropolitan areas, and found that prices jumped by 14.6 percent in the year that ended in April, up from the 13.3 percent rate for the year that ended in March. The April rate was the highest since the index began in 1987. Low mortgage rates and buyers newly able to work remotely are driving strong demand. The median existing-home sales price jumped in May, surpassing $350,000 for the first time.
Uber plan would bring workers back to office 50 percent of the time
Uber told its workers on Tuesday that it would start a hybrid return-to-work system this fall, asking people to work in the office 50 percent of the time but letting them work from home the rest of the time. Employees could split up their schedules in any way that works for them and their teams, the ride-hailing company's chief people officer, Nikki Krishnamurthy, wrote in a blog post. Uber workers also will have flexibility regarding the office locations where they want to work, with the option of choosing from a list of "dedicated team hubs." With the plan set to be implemented in the fall, provided the coronavirus pandemic doesn't worsen in the United States before then, employees will be able to continue working from home until Sept. 13.
Report: Didi prices IPO higher than expected, raises $4.4 billion
Chinese ride hailing company Didi Global priced its initial public offering of stock at the top of its indicated range on Tuesday and increased the number of shares sold, raising $4.4 billion, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter. Didi, the world's largest ride-hailing operator, sold 317 million American depositary shares, up from a planned 288 million, after it received more orders than anticipated. It priced them at $14 each. As the stock heads into its Wednesday debut on the New York Stock Exchange, Didi will have a valuation around $70 billion. Former rival Uber owns a big stake in Didi, which it acquired when it sold its Chinese operations to Didi in 2016.
Stocks struggle after latest S&P 500, Nasdaq records
U.S. stock index futures fell slightly early Wednesday following Tuesday's record closes for the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Futures tied to the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the Nasdaq were down by about 0.1 percent several hours before the opening bell. The Nasdaq rose by 0.2 percent on Tuesday. The S&P and the Dow inched up by 0.03 percent. Wall Street got a lift from a sharp rise in home prices and the strongest consumer-confidence numbers since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States more than a year ago. Wednesday is the last day of the second quarter, with the three main U.S. stock indexes all up by double digits so far this year.