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A Lyft driver. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Not only is Lyft not profitable now and losing $911 million a year, the company has said it's not sure how it ever will be profitable. But investors don't care.

Driving the news: Lyft is expected to price on Thursday and go public Friday, with estimates for the company's market cap having risen to $25 billion. That's $10 billion higher than its most recent private valuation of $15.1 billion, which was double its value as recently as April 2017 of $7.5 billion.

What's happening: Lyft's IPO is perfectly timed at the intersection of 3 concurrent market themes that are driving investor FOMO.

  • Private companies are staying private for longer and growing larger than they have before. Despite a recent uptick, fewer companies than ever are going public.
  • Private equity managers are holding more dry powder, or money on the sidelines, than ever before. That's a function of more money flowing into private equity as its returns have beaten public markets' and a lack of new businesses deemed worthy of that capital.
  • The stock market is rising again, headlined by big technology names, toward all-time highs with rich valuations that's even got Warren Buffett saying he can't find anything to buy.

The intrigue: This is a wide-ranging phenomenon that's even demonstrated itself in Tajikistan government bonds.

  • Despite being a country most investors couldn't find on a map, Tajikistan's $500 million bond offering in 2017 received $4 billion worth of bids, or 8 times more than it offered. That was with a credit rating well below investment grade and absolutely no track record.
  • As I wrote not long after the Tajikistan deal, emerging market debt was so in demand from buyers in search of high yields and whatever was hot at the moment that dedicated EM investors literally weren't able to get bonds they wanted.
  • "It's frustrating for me as an investor," Josephine Shea, portfolio manager at Standish Mellon Asset Management said at the time. "There seems to be quite a bit of indiscriminate buying without looking into underlying fundamentals."

The theme continued this year as Uzbekistan, another former Soviet country that has never before sold bonds to the international market, produced a $1 billion bond offering at a 4.75% coupon (well below average) that received $5.5 billion of bids.

The bottom line: Whether it makes money or not, Lyft is a hot name that's part of a successful sector. It has been just the latest beneficiary of investor FOMO. That's driving Lyft's valuation to potentially double what it was just 9 months ago and more than triple what it was 2 years ago.

  • Barring a recession or some cataclysmic error or scandal, the rest of the LUPAS (Lyft, Uber, Pinterest, Airbnb and Slack) will probably see similar valuation bulge.

Go deeper: Lyft files first for IPO in litmus test for the industry

Go deeper

Acting Capitol Police chief: Phone logs show Jan. 6 National Guard approval was delayed

Pittman at a congressional tribute for fallen officer Brian Sicknick. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified on Thursday that cellphone records show former USCP chief Steven Sund requested National Guard support from the House sergeant-at-arms as early as 12:58pm on Jan. 6, but he did not receive approval until over an hour later.

Why it matters: Sund and former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving clashed at a Senate hearing on Tuesday over a dispute in the timeline for when Capitol Police requested the National Guard during the Capitol insurrection.

Manhattan prosecutors reportedly obtain millions of pages of Trump's tax records

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Manhattan district attorney is now in possession of millions of pages of former President Trump's tax and financial records, CNN first reported, following a Supreme Court ruling that allowed prosecutors to enforce a subpoena after a lengthy legal battle.

Why it matters: Trump fought for years to keep his tax returns out of the public eye and away from prosecutors in New York, who are examining his business in a criminal investigation that was first sparked by hush-money payments made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 election.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

The digital dollar is now high priority for the Fed

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. is starting to get serious about a central-bank-backed digital currency, with recent comments from top officials laying out the strongest support yet.

Driving the news: On Tuesday Fed chair Jerome Powell told Congress that developing a digital dollar is a "high priority project for us," but added that there are "significant technical and policy questions."