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Let's start with a little history, shall we?
On July 8, 1951, Paris, the capital city of France, celebrates turning 2,000 years old. In fact, a few more candles would’ve technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C. The history of Paris can be traced back to a Gallic tribe known as the Parisii, who sometime around 250 B.C. settled an island (known today as Ile de la Cite) in the Seine River, which runs through present-day Paris. By 52 B.C., Julius Caesar and the Romans had taken over the area, which eventually became Christianized and known as Lutetia, Latin for “midwater dwelling.” The settlement later spread to both the left and right banks of the Seine and the name Lutetia was replaced with “Paris.” In 987 A.D., Paris became the capital of France. As the city grew, the Left Bank earned a reputation as the intellectual district while the Right Bank became known for business. Today, Paris continues to be one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, renowned for such sights as the Eiffel Tower (built in 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution), the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame Cathedral (built in 1163), Luxembourg Gardens and the Louvre Museum, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Mona Lisa.”
On July 8, 1776, a 2,000-pound copper-and-tin bell now known as the “Liberty Bell” rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Four days earlier, the historic document had been adopted by delegates to the Continental Congress, but the bell did not ring to announce the issuing of the document until the Declaration of Independence returned from the printer on July 8. In 1751, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s original constitution, the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly ordered the bell to be constructed. After being cracked during a test, and then recast twice, the bell was hung from the State House steeple in June 1753. Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament’s controversial Stamp Act. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling, however, was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence.
On this day in 1853, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, sails into Tokyo Bay, Japan, with a squadron of four vessels. For a time, Japanese officials refused to speak with Perry, but under threat of attack by the superior American ships they accepted letters from President Millard Fillmore, making the United States the first Western nation to establish relations with Japan since it had been declared closed to foreigners two centuries before. Only the Dutch and the Chinese were allowed to continue trade with Japan after 1639, but this trade was restricted and confined to the island of Dejima at Nagasaki. After giving Japan time to consider the establishment of external relations, Commodore Perry returned to Tokyo with nine ships in March 1854. On March 31, he signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan. In April 1860, the first Japanese diplomats to visit a foreign power in over 200 years reached Washington, D.C., and remained in the U.S. capital for several weeks, discussing expansion of trade with the United States. Treaties with other Western powers followed soon after, contributing to the collapse of the shogunate and ultimately the modernization of Japan.
Future limp into Wednesday with the Dow and S&P down fractionally. The Nasdaq is up slightly. Crude is 0.4% and Gold is up 0.3%.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) held 245M shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) at the last count in May, making it Apple's second-largest shareholder with about 5.5% ownership of the company's public stock. "I don't think of Apple as a stock. I think of it as our third business," said Warren Buffett referring to wholly owned subsidiaries Geico and BNSF. "It's probably the best business I know in the world." Interested to see, in this age where an analyst can move a stock's price with a positive call, what will happen to $AAPL now that the greatest investor of all-time call it the "probably the best business I know in the world"?
Small business owners and employees were not the only beneficiaries of the Payment Protection Program. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) are in line to split between $1.5B-$2.6B in fees for being the conduits of the government aid, according to an analysis of newly released data. Other banks in line to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in processing fees include Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Truist (NYSE:TFC), PNC (NYSE:PNC), TD Bank (NYSE:TD), U.S. Bank (NYSE:USB), KeyBank (NYSE:KEY) and Zions (NASDAQ:ZION).
Shares of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) soared 7% on Tuesday on reports that the retailer's same-day delivery program, dubbed an "Amazon Prime Killer" by some, is due to launch in July. The service, named Walmart+, is priced at $98 per year and undercuts Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN) at $119, according to Recode. It will also include video entertainment, as well as other perks like discounts on gas, product deals, reserved delivery and two-hour delivery offers. Interesting to note that the CEO of Walmart did not take to twitter and call for the break-up of Amazon.
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