The U.S. Government ordered the Chinese embassy in Houston to be closed. The government claims that it was a center for espionage into U.S. trade secrets and other spying efforts. The closure was ordered on Tuesday to protect the intellectual property of Americans. Shortly afterward, smoke was seen as embassy staff started burning documents. In retaliation, China has ordered that the U.S. close its embassy in Chengdu.
Relations with China have become more severely strained with several moves directed against that country. Various officials within the country have been sanctioned because of the new governmental oppression in Hong Kong and of the imprisoned Uighurs, the limiting of Chinese technicians and researchers to U.S. technology, the removal of Chinese companies from the stock exchanges, and conflicts in the South China Sea.
One Chinese technician that had been charged with visa fraud and lying to the FBI had taken refuge in the Chinese consulate located in San Francisco. The researcher/student had served in the Chinese military and did not report it. She was taken into custody but it is not certain how she was arrested. It is believed that this event helped the stock market to drop on Thursday.
Tesla Stock Prices Drop
The car manufacturer Tesla has filed a lawsuit claiming that Rivian – an electric car manufacturer that is backed by Amazon – stole some trade secrets from the company. Six employees switched companies and Musk believes that Rivian is now using technology those employees learned while at Tesla. On Friday, Tesla lost 10% of its stock value, but its value is still 240% higher than it was a year ago.
Even Lower Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates were reduced recently to what was considered lower than they had been for a long time. If new home buyers or people looking to refinance their mortgage are looking for great deals, now is the time for an even better deal. The average price of 30-year mortgages, the Mortgage News Daily reported, has dropped to 2.87%. Since this is an average low, it means that if you look around that you could find even better rates – possibly even as low as 2.375%.
Tech Industry Causes Drop in S&P 500
Several tech giants suffered losses today that were reflected in the S&P 500 stock drop. Verizon reported on Friday that its revenue has dropped because of the pandemic. As of June, the company reported that it had 119.9 million people with wireless connections, which included cellphones, smartwatches, and tablets. Some of this number, however, was past due accounts that they had to keep open because of the Keep Americans Connected federal program. The company suffered a loss of 5.1%, bringing its income to $30.4 billion.
Intel came out with news that revealed that its new next-generation chip (7-nanometer) would be late by six months. Problems were found in the manufacturing process. The company also reported lower guidance for third-quarter earnings. After the report was given, Intel’s stock dropped by 18%.
Gold Prices Reach $1,900
For the first time in 11 years, gold prices have reached $1,900 per ounce. This is a rise in the value of about $90.00 in the past week. The cause for the rise is believed to be the current problems with China that seem to be growing worse. This figure is not far behind the all-time high of $1,921.17, which occurred in September 2011. The week of July 22nd saw the second-highest amount used to buy gold – $3.8 billion.