Robinhood raises cash, Big Tech earnings, GameStop movie

Elon Musk is well-known for his Twitter antics.
Elon Musk is well-known for his Twitter antics.
Image: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Pool/File Photo

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Robinhood raised another $2.4 billion. The trading app, central to the GameStop saga, has got more from shareholders in the past week than it has over its entire existence.

BP lost $5.7 billion last year. It’s the energy giant’s first annual loss in a decade, thanks to global travel restrictions and lower fuel consumption.

A huge snowstorm hit the east coast of the US. Everything is shut—”a life-threatening situation,” said New York’s governor—and vaccinations are canceled.

The UK is desperately trying to stamp out a South African coronavirus variant. Surge testing” sites have been established in several zip codes, but it’s probably too late.

India’s latest budget is about big spending and big borrowing. The government has decided to ignore fiscal prudence for the moment.

The US threatened sanctions after Myanmar’s coup. But the military junta can likely count on support from China.

Seriously, again? Shares in the wrong Clubhouse spiked after an apparent Elon Musk endorsement.

What to watch for

Three of the biggest names in tech report earnings today. Rosy numbers are expected all around, thanks to pandemic-driven shifts to e-commerce and cloud computing. For some, however, it won’t be all “great quarter” backslapping:

🛍 Alibaba’s extended Singles’ Day sales likely paid off financially, but it’s under the cloud of a Chinese regulatory crackdown. Coincidentally, founder Jack Ma was left off a list of Chinese tech luminaries published by a state-run paper today.

☁️ Alphabet’s overall numbers are expected to be strong, but the company is for the first time reporting costs and operating profit for Google Cloud. Analysts believe that business is much weaker than Amazon’s Web Services.

🛒 Amazon caps off an already stellar year with a report that includes its Prime Day sales and the holiday season.

Charting sub-Saharan Africa’s 2021 growth

Sub-Saharan Africa will see moderate but positive GDP growth of 2.7% this year, a welcome rebound from the region’s first recession of 25 years in 2020, when GDP shrank by an estimated -3.7%.

A bar chart showing sub-Saharan Africa's fastest-growing economies in 2021, plus South Africa and Nigeria. The projected percent change in GDP is: Kenya at 6.9%, Botswana and Rwanda at 5.7%, Cote D'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Guinea, and Tanzania at 5.5%, Mauritius at 5.3%, South Africa at 3.3%, and Nigeria at 1.1%.

But Yinka Adegoke notes that growth won’t be especially strong for oil producers and other extraction-reliant economies, including the region’s largest: Nigeria and South Africa. More diversified economies including Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and Tanzania will recover better.

Presenting the beauty industry’s makeover

Image for article titled Robinhood raises cash, Big Tech earnings, GameStop movie

Beauty is all dressed up and going places. Despite an unexpected 2020, the industry is thriving. That’s in part because brands with social media mastery are appealing to an eager customer base that’s still willing to spend. In our latest presentation, Chika Dunga explores the forces that are creating beauty’s glow up.

✦ Give your news diet a glow up with a Quartz Membership. Try it out free for seven days.

Surprising discoveries

GameStop, the movie. MGM acquired the rights to adapt The Antisocial Network.

20,000 honeybees took over a tech company’s empty office. They produced 10 gallons of honey, beeswax, and pollen.

AI resurrected a dead singer’s voice. A new cover mimics the sound of deceased South Korean folk rock artist Kim Kwang-seok.

Everyone’s buying Kamala Harris’s favorite shoes. Sales of Chucks doubled during inauguration week.

Also, more books, but not to read. It’s all for the Zoom background.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, office bees, and Converse sneakers to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Hasit Shah, Tripti Lahiri, Mary Hui, Liz Webber, and Jordan Lebeau.