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The Daily Ten – Knotel Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Silver prices jump 10%, Amazon adds palm-reading biometric ID scanner to stores…

February 1, 2021by Steve NsonNews

The Daily Ten – Knotel Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Silver prices jump 10%, Amazon adds palm-reading biometric ID scanner to stores…

February 1, 2021 by Steve Nson
Monday, February 1st, 2021

The Daily Ten

1. Real-Estate Startup Knotel Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy | WSJ

Company agreed to be taken over by real-estate services firm Newmark Group

Real-estate startup Knotel Inc. filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy for its U.S. business on Saturday, agreeing for the company to be taken over by real-estate services firm Newmark Group Inc.

Knotel said Sunday that it filed for bankruptcy to reorganize its real-estate footprint and enable the sale to go through.

The moves are the latest sign that the Covid-19 pandemic has upended the once-booming co-working industry.

New York-based Knotel, founded in 2016, raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors. It expanded rapidly for years and was one of the more aggressive competitors in the co-working and flexible office space sector, becoming one of WeWork’s fiercest rivals.

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2. $500 Billion in Aid to Small Businesses: How Much Did It Help? | The New York Times

Some economists say the Paycheck Protection Program has not proved as useful as other aid. 

As Democrats and Republicans spent months last fall arguing over how to rescue the economy, one provision drew widespread support from lawmakers: reviving the Paycheck Protection Program, the government’s marquee effort to help small businesses weather the pandemic.

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, called the lending program “a bipartisan slam dunk.” House Democrats included an extension and expansion of the program in aid packages in the summer and the fall. And Treasury economists said in December that the program might have saved nearly 19 million jobs.

Yet there is dissent from one notable contingent: Academic economists who have studied the program have concluded that it has saved relatively few jobs and that, at a cost of more than half a trillion dollars, it has been far less efficient than other government efforts to help the economy.

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3. Silver prices jump more than 10% as Reddit traders try their squeeze play with the metal | CNBC

Futures contracts for silver surged higher early Monday morning as the Reddit-fueled boom in highly shorted stocks appears to be spilling over into the metals market.

Spot silver prices jumped more than 10% at around 4:10 a.m. ET, trading at $29.69 an ounce. The contract had climbed as much as 11% earlier in the session, briefly hitting $30.03 to register its highest level since Feb. 2013 before paring some of its gains.

The sharp move higher reflected the biggest move for silver futures since at least 2013 and extended gains for silver and silver-related equities late last week.

Silver mining stocks Coeur Mining and Pan American Silver rose 16.9% and 14.7%, respectively, on Thursday and Friday. The iShares Silver Trust jumped 6.7% during those two sessions.

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4. 660 Fifth Ave. sheds Satanic address, to reopen next year | New York Post

The office tower formerly known as 666 Fifth Ave. is putting Satan — and decades of ruinous mismanagement — behind it. Having shed the devilish address for unthreatening 660 Fifth, Brookfield Properties’ 1.5 million square-foot tower between East 52nd and 53rd streets is on track to reopen in 2022 — a year ahead of previous reports.

The $400 million redesign by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates will make the mostly vacant building unrecognizable except for its basic form. The aluminum-paneled façade, which seemed striking in 1957, is giving way to a new curtain wall of insulated glass panels. Light-flooded, semi-open floors are replacing warrens of old-fashioned, walled offices.

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5. Elon Musk busts Clubhouse limit, fans stream to YouTube, he switches to interviewing Robinhood CEO | TechCrunch

Below you can read our live coverage of the first even appearance by Elon Musk on Silicon Valley’s hottest startup right now, Clubhouse.

In summary, Musk used the session to ‘talk to his base’ on topics ranging from space travel, colonies on Mars, and crypto. He managed to bust a few moths about his ‘alternative’ potions on several subjects, and at times managed to sound far more nuanced than his normally meme-propelled Twitter feed, which, it turns out, may just be him simply having fun with his followers, rather than taking serious positions. He almost seemed to be saying ‘I’m not the Messiah, I’m just another naughty boy…’.

In contrast to previous expositions on the viability of living on Mars, Musk didn’t portray a rose-colored vision. He said while worthwhile to keep humankind alive, life would be hard.

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6. Amazon adds palm-reading biometric ID scanner to more physical retail stores in Seattle | GeekWire

Amazon is expanding its new Amazon One palm-reading biometric identification system to three additional Amazon Go stores in Seattle.

The company debuted the technology in September. It works by scanning the palms of participating customers, giving them an alternative to the regular process of checking into the automated retail stores, which normally involves using a QR code in an app.

Amazon One is now available at the Amazon Go store at 1122 Madison St. and will launch at the 920 5th Ave. and 1906 Terry Ave. locations in the coming weeks. There will be eight Amazon physical retail stores in the Seattle area with Amazon One, including Amazon Books and 4-star locations.

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7. Why GameStop’s stock could rise much, much higher | Axios

The meteoric rise in GameStop’s stock price is being called a short squeeze by most. But that’s not what’s happening, says one expert, and that could mean that if and when the short squeeze does come GameStop’s price could soar significantly higher than current levels.

What’s happening: Short sellers have piled into GameStop as a result of its meteoric stock price rise, not the other way around, Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3 Partners, told Axios.

Over the past year the amount of shares shorted has increased by 12%, while the total dollars at risk have risen by 1,900%, S3’s data show.

That’s a sign that big bets are coming in from hedge funds and institutional investors, meaning that the short squeeze has not even begun.

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8. Steve Cohen, Mets billionaire owner, off Twitter after heat over GameStop squeeze | Fox Business Network

New York Mets billionaire owner Steve Cohen deleted his Twitter account over death threats aimed toward his family after a heated week over his dealings with GameStop, he said in a statement Saturday.

He said he was going to “take a break for now.”

Cohen took a lot of heat as his hedge fund Point72 Asset Management invested $750 million into Melvin Capital on Tuesday alongside Citadel’s reported $2 billion bailout, that firm is run by another billionaire Ken Griffin.

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9. Melvin Capital, hedge fund that bet against GameStop, lost more than 50% in January | CNBC

Hedge fund Melvin Capital Management lost 53% in January amid a record rally in GameStop and other stocks the fund was betting against, a source familiar with the matter told CNBC.

The heavy losses come as retail investors piled into popular hedge fund short targets, including the struggling video game retailer. Shares of GameStop finished last week with a gain of 400%, bringing its total return this year to 1,625%. The stock closed Friday’s session at $325.

As recently as October it traded under $10. CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin reported last week that Melvin Capital closed out its short position in GameStop on Tuesday afternoon after sustaining heavy losses.

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10. Hotels Aim to Goose Demand With Rooms That Look Like Netflix Sets | Bloomberg

If The Queen’s Gambit could put a run on chess boards, could it also inspire travel? 

The U.S. hotel industry closed 2020 with a whopping 1 billion empty rooms for the year—but the 21C hotel in Lexington, Ky., has an idea to keep at least one of its 88 accommodations off that list.

Taking inspiration from its hometown’s prominent role in the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit—which has netted more than 62 million viewers—the hotel redesigned one of its rooms in honor of the show’s protagonist chess savant, Beth Harmon.

On the Harmon Room’s ceiling is a larger-than-life chess board with suspended kings and pawns, as imagined in the series; its walls are covered in a retro-inspired knight print by the acclaimed Kentucky-based studio, Ferrick Mason. Scattered throughout are copies of Chess Review magazine and midcentury modern furnishings on loan from a local bookstore and local antiques dealers.

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