23andMe Joins Branson SPAC; Reddit Stocks Fall

Stocks finished up Thursday, with the three major U.S. indices logging gains.

Investors eyed better-than-usual unemployment figures: The number of workers filing initial unemployment claims for regular state programs fell to 779,000 in the week ending Jan. 30. This marks the third straight week of declines although jobless claims remain elevated as pandemic-related hiring woes continue.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 332 points, or 1.1%, to finish at 31,056. The S&P 500 closed at a record 3,871.

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23andMe to go public. The consumer genetic-testing firm will go public in a merger with Richard Branson-backed VG Acquisition Corp. ( VGAC), a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

Going public via SPAC, also called a “blank-check company,” instead of through a traditional initial public offering is increasingly popular. Typically, a SPAC raises money through an IPO to merge with a privately held company, which becomes public as part of the deal.

The 23andMe deal with VGAC values the company at $3.5 billion, including debt. When the deal is completed, the ticker will be ME.

VGAC was up more than 30% on the day.

Reddit stocks fall. The mania for so-called Reddit stocks continued to abate Thursday amid a rising push toward regulatory oversight.

Shares of GameStop ( GME) and AMC Entertainment ( AMC) fell more than 40% and 20%, respectively. These companies had soared in value recently thanks to chatroom-fueled buying sprees and a “short squeeze.”

Robinhood Co-CEO Vladimir Tenev and Keith Gill, an influential cheerleader for trading GameStop, are targeted to testify at a February hearing on the GameStop trading frenzy.

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23andMe Joins Branson SPAC; Reddit Stocks Fall originally appeared on usnews.com

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