Robinhood restricts buying of fractional shares in GameStop, other hot stocks

Crypto Exchange Binance Says Withdrawals Now Reopened

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, reopened withdrawals after briefly suspending them on Friday to address a large increase in requests.

User sign-ups, deposits and trades are at an all time high, Chief Executive Officer Changpeng Zhao said in a tweet.

Funds were safe, the company said, and kept in the Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU), an emergency insurance fund stored in a separate cold wallet. Binance allocates 10% of all trading fees received into SAFU to offer protection to users and their funds in extreme cases.

Phillips 66 Q4 adjusted earnings Miss Estimates

Below are the earnings highlights for Phillips 66 (PSX):

-Earnings: -$539 million in Q4 vs. $736 million in the same period last year.
-EPS: -$1.23 in Q4 vs. $1.64 in the same period last year.
-Excluding items, Phillips 66 reported adjusted earnings of -$507 million or -$1.16 per share for the period.
-Analysts projected -$1.06 per share

China Executes Former Head of Asset Management Firm in Bribery Case

Beijing (AP) — The former head of a Chinese state-owned asset management company was executed Friday on charges of taking bribes in one of the most severe penalties imposed in a recent corruption case.

Lai Xiaomin, 58, formerly of China Huarong Asset Management Co., was put to death by a court in the eastern city of Tianjin, the government announced.

The Second Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin ruled in January that the unusually severe penalty was justified because Lai took “especially enormous” bribes that exceeded 600 million yuan ($93 million) in one instance. It said he sought or collected 1.8 billion yuan ($260 million) over a decade in exchange for abusing his position to make investments, offer construction contracts, help with promotions and provide other favors.

Most death sentences imposed by Chinese courts are suspended for two years and usually are commuted to life. Death penalties without the chance of a reprieve are rare.

Bitcoin Investors May Lose Everything, Central Banker Warns

Bitcoin investors need to be prepared to “lose all their money,” European Central Bank governing council member Gabriel Makhlouf said, the latest warning from a central banker on the cryptocurrency.

“Personally, I’m not sure why people invest in those sorts of assets, but they see them as assets clearly,” Makhlouf, who is also governor of Ireland’s central bank, told Bloomberg TV on Friday. “Our role is to make sure that consumers are protected.”

Makhlouf’s comments echo skepticism from ECB leaders. The cryptocurrency is a “highly speculative asset,” President Christine Lagardesaid this month. Bitcoin prices have more than doubled since November and topped $40,000 earlier this month. Large movements in its value are common, with four daily swings of more than 5% in the past nine days.

On Friday, Bitcoin rallied above $35,000, with brokers attributing the move to Elon Musk mentioning the cryptocurrency in his bio page on Twitter.

Bitcoin Jumps Above $35,000 as Musk Puts It Into Twitter Profile

Still, Makhlouf doesn’t see “financial stability issues at the moment arising from Bitcoin itself.”

“I worry more about about consumers making the right choices,” he said.

Church & Dwight Co Inc. Q4 adjusted earnings Beat Estimates

Church & Dwight Co Inc. (CHD) announced a profit for its fourth quarter that advanced from last year.

The company’s earnings totaled $150.2 million, or $0.59 per share. This compares with $144.4 million, or $0.58 per share, in last year’s fourth quarter.

Analysts had expected the company to earn $0.52 per share, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

The company’s revenue for the quarter rose 14.0% to $1.30 billion from $1.14 billion last year.

Church & Dwight Co Inc. earnings at a glance:

-EPS (Q4): $0.53 vs. $0.55 last year.
-Analysts Estimate: $0.52
-Revenue (Q4): $1.30 Bln vs. $1.14 Bln last year.

Gold Edges Higher Amid Risk Aversion

Gold prices rose on Friday as equity markets fell amidst an upsurge in risk aversion.

Spot gold rose 0.6 percent to $1,854.71 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.9 percent at $1,857.50.

Asian markets ended deep in the red, European stocks are bracing for the worst week since October and U.S. stock futures fell as investor sentiment was jolted by a surge in speculative trading from retail investors organized over online forums, such as Reddit.

Hedge funds and other large investors that bet against GameStop have lost more than $5bn after a cohort of amateur investors joined forces to inflate the price of shares in the U.S. video game chain, according to data analytics company S3.

Lingering concerns over tight liquidity in China, rising Covid-19 cases and the slow and chaotic nature of Europe’s vaccination rollout also rattled investors.

With GDP data from Germany and France coming in above expectations, investors now await U.S. reports on personal income and spending, consumer sentiment and pending home sales for directional cues.

Robinhood restricts buying of fractional shares in GameStop, other hot stocks

FILE PHOTO: GameStop gift cards are shown for sale at a GameStop Inc. store in Encinitas, California, U.S., May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

(Reuters) – Online brokerage Robinhood said on Friday it was not allowing purchases of parts of shares in GameStop and other stocks, a practice that has encouraged smaller investors by reducing the size of the amount they have to bet.