Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Fears of the "B"-word (bubble) are growing louder. There's a staggering split screen: a teetering economy with millions unemployed in a pandemic that's killing thousands per day and newly public tech companies riding high on nosebleed valuations.

Yes, but: Investors acknowledge the backdrop is bad. They say investors are piling into and betting on companies like Airbnb and DoorDash for better times ahead.

What they're saying: “The public markets have adopted a venture mentality,“ Joe Kaiser, a director at Mercato Partners, said during an Axios event earlier this week.

  • Investors are thinking about what a company like a DoorDash can do five years from now, Kaiser said. “That's why we're seeing valuations that look frothy," relative to the economic backdrop.

The other side: The soaring valuations show "the extreme exuberance and unprecedented liquidity in the market," James Gellert, who runs financial analysis firm RapidRatings, told the New York Times.

Airbnb's valuation is now roughly $86 billion —  a big leap from its $18 billion valuation in April, when the company took a huge hit as the pandemic rocked the economy.

DoorDash was last valued at $16 billion by private investors — but as of close yesterday, it's worth over three times more than that.

Data: FactSet; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

One more: AI software company C3.ai went public this week — priced at $42 per share (already higher than its upwardly revised IPO range).

  • It opened on Wednesday at $100 and finished 120% higher. Yesterday it closed up another 40%.

The buildup: Earlier this week, there was record volume in the main IPO exchange-traded fund — which swaps in new, sizable public companies shortly after they debut. (The ETF is up about 3% so far this month, following its best monthly gain ever in November.)

The big picture: Stock market investors' euphoria over these tech stocks is another manifestation of the risk-on mentality that's ballooned even more in recent weeks, as the possibility of a vaccine and a return to normalcy appears on the horizon.

  • Plus: "You just have this worldwide phenomenon of capital infusion, money printing, low interest rates — where capital is being forced into equities markets," said Arjun Sethi, co-founder of venture firm Tribe Capital.

The bottom line: If the companies can't keep up with public market expectations, "you could see some carnage pretty quickly," Kaiser said.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Varsity Tutors to be valued at $1.7 billion in SPAC deal

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Nerdy, the parent company of online learning platform Varsity Tutors, announced on Friday that it will be acquired by a SPAC called TPG Pace Tech Opportunities at a valuation of $1.7 billion. Axios had previously reported on the deal talks.

Why it matters: This is the first tech SPAC deal affiliated with private equity giant TPG, and comes as more and more legacy investment firms are hopping on the blank check bandwagon.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

The unprecedented stock market craziness, in one chart

Data: Bloomberg; Chart: Sara Wise and Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. Note: Stocks limited to companies with a market capitalization of more than $150 million. 

Almost never does a stock trade more than twice its market value in a single day. It never happened in 2001, for instance, and never happened in 2003, and only happened once in 2002.

Driving the news: It has happened 7 times this week already, and 20 times this month. In the past 12 months, it's happened 84 times, which is more than all of the previous occurrences going back to November 1998.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

SEC says it will "closely review" restrictions on Reddit-fueled stocks

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday warned Robinhood and other brokerages that it will "closely review" actions they took on Thursday that prevented investors from buying stock in GameStop and other popular Reddit-fueled stocks.

Why it matters: The move from Robinhood generated anger across the political spectrum and among small investors who wanted to participate in one of the most exciting stock-market trades of the moment.