The daily business briefing: April 12, 2022
Atlanta reclaims title as world's busiest airport, Shopify plans a 10-for-1 stock split, and more
Atlanta again world's busiest airport as travel rebounds
Atlanta has reclaimed its title as the busiest airport in the world, after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport dropped one spot last year, according to figures released Monday by the industry group Airports Council International World. The world's 10 busiest airports accommodated 463 million passengers in 2021, a 52 percent increase over 2020 but still 29 percent below pre-pandemic levels in 2019. In 2021, eight of the top 10 passenger airports were in the United States. The previous year, seven of the top 10 were in China. The latest figures show "an encouraging trend of recovery" as the busiest pre-COVID airports return to the top, said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World's director general.
Shopify seeks 10-for-1 stock split
Shopify said Monday it plans to split its stock 10-for-1 to make it more accessible to all investors. The e-commerce start-up also wants shareholders to approve a "founder share" to boost CEO Tobias "Tobi" Lütke's voting power. If shareholders go along, the Ottawa-based company will issue Lütke a new class of non-transferable shares that he will be able to combine with his existing Class B shares to boost his voting power to 40 percent. "Tobi is key to supporting and executing Shopify's strategic vision and this proposal ensures his interests are aligned with long-term shareholder value creation," Robert Ashe, Shopify's lead independent director, said in a statement.
Oil prices fluctuate on mixed messages about China lockdowns, supply
Oil prices rebounded early Tuesday, rising about 3 percent as Shanghai eased some COVID-19 restrictions and OPEC warned it couldn't increase output enough to offset lost Russian supply. Oil fell 4 percent to below $100 per barrel on Monday as China's coronavirus lockdowns threatened to cut demand and the United States and other countries boosted supply by releasing record amounts of crude from strategic reserves. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate dropped 4.2 percent Monday to $94.29, its lowest point since Feb. 25, the day after Russia invaded Ukraine and disrupted oil markets. Fuel consumption has stagnated in China since Shanghai, the country's most populous city, imposed lockdowns in response to a COVID-19 surge.
Chinese factory-hub Guangzhou blocks travel due to coronavirus cases
The Chinese manufacturing hub of Guangzhou shut down entry to most people on Monday to fight a coronavirus surge in the country's major eastern cities. Shanghai, China's biggest city with 26 million people, remained under a strict lockdown as it announced 26,087 new cases in 24 hours, although only 914 of the patients were showing COVID-19 symptoms. Guangzhou, a city of 18 million northwest of Hong Kong, so far hasn't imposed a lockdown, but it has shifted schools to online learning and declared that only with a "definite need" to travel can leave the city. It reported just 27 cases on Monday.
Stock futures mixed ahead of key inflation data
U.S. stock futures struggled for footing early Tuesday ahead of a big new inflation report. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down less than 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up by 0.1 percent. Investors are bracing for the Tuesday release of the March consumer price index. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect it to show an 8.4 percent annual increase in prices, the biggest jump since December 1981, due largely to rising rents, and food and energy costs. Stocks dropped sharply on Monday. The Dow and the S&P 500 fell 1.2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 2.2 percent as rising bond yields hurt growth stocks.