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AFRM starts trading on Nasdaq



Affirm Holdings Inc. website home screen on a laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in Little Falls, New Jersey, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares of payments company Affirm soared more than 103% in its initial public offering on the Nasdaq, kicking off what’s likely to be a busy season for market debuts.

The stock began trading at $90.90 per share. Affirm had priced its shares at $49 apiece, above its target range of $41 to $44 each.

Founded in 2013 by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Affirm has become prominent in the “buy now pay later” space that offers point-of-sale loans. The company allows customers to finance online purchases that can be paid back in monthly installments without accruing compounding interest. 

It works with around 6,500 retailers, including PelotonWayfairWalmart and direct-to-consumer eyeglasses company Warby Parker. In an update to its IPO filing, Affirm said it is used by more than 6.2 million people. Affirm also partnered with Shopify last year, allowing merchants to offer installment loans on products they sell.

Affirm brought in roughly $510 million in revenue for the fiscal year ended on June 30, a 93% jump from last year, according to its filings. In the three months ending Sept. 30, revenue grew 98% year over year, while net losses fell by roughly half to $15.3 million.

Affirm makes money when it helps a merchant make a sale. It also earns interest income on loans it buys from bank partners and some consumer loans. The rate it charges varies by consumers’ creditworthiness, but often starts at 0%.

“Our goal is to be a viable alternative to credit cards,” Levchin told CNBC ahead of the company’s first trade.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co were the lead underwriters for the offering. Major investors include Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Funds.

Affirm’s market debut could mark another successful venture for Levchin, who owns 27.5 million shares in the online lender. Following PayPal’s sale to eBay in 2002, Levchin started the social application company Slide. That sold to Google in 2010 for a reported $182 million. 

Affirm, which trades under the symbol AFRM, has made CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list twice.

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FBI investigating woman said to have stolen Pelosi’s laptop to sell to Russia



US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 15, 2021. – Pelosi tasks retired general Russel Honoré with the security review after US Capitol riot on January 6. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

SAUL LOEB | AFP | Getty Images

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has obtained an arrest warrant for a Pennsylvania woman alleged to have stolen a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, with the intention of selling the device to the Russian equivalent of the Central Intelligence Agency.

In an affidavit signed on Sunday, FBI Special Agent Jonathan Lund said the agency was investigating Riley June Williams after a person described as her “former romantic partner” told authorities that Williams intended to send the computer to a friend in Russia who would then pass it along to the SVR, the country’s spy force.

Lund wrote that the former romantic partner said the transfer of the laptop “fell through for unknown reasons” and that Williams either still has the device or destroyed it.

Williams appears to have fled, Lund wrote in his affidavit. Williams’s mother told local law enforcement in Harrisburg, Pa. that Williams had “packed a bag and left her home and told her mother she would be gone for a couple of weeks.”

“WILLIAMS did not provide her mother any information about her intended destination,” Lund wrote. “Sometime after January 6, 2021, WILLIAMS changed her telephone number and deleted what I believe were her social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, and Parler.”

Williams is charged with disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and entering a restricted building. She could not be reached for comment.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi’s office, did not immediately respond to an inquiry. Hammill said shortly after the attack that a computer had been stolen, and that it was only used for presentations.

Lund’s affidavit says that Williams was identified after her ex-partner made several calls to the FBI tip line. The FBI also reviewed video from the riot that appears to show Williams at the Capitol ushering a mob up a staircase that leads to Pelosi’s office.

The affidavit also notes that law enforcement in Harrisburg met with Williams’s mother, who is not identified, on Jan. 11, after Williams’s mother filed a suspicious persons report. The officers at one point watched Williams and her mother speak over video chat, it says.

On Saturday, the officers again spoke with Williams’s mother, “who told them that a British media crew had come to her home the night before, asking to speak with WILLIAMS, who was not present.”

That same day, ITV News, a United Kingdom-based outlet, posted a video to its YouTube page title “Revealed: ITV News identifies protester who stormed the Capitol.” The video identifies “Riley Williams” as a “22-year-old care worker” from Pennsylvania.

The video shows Williams’s mother claiming her daughter recently became interested in President Donald Trump’s politics and message boards popular among the “far right.”

Williams’s father told police on Saturday that he had driven with Williams to D.C. for the protest but that the two did not stay together during the day. He said that they returned to Pennsylvania together, according to the affidavit.

Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot, and federal authorities have said that hundreds could ultimately face charges.

Michael Sherwin, the acting United States attorney for the District of Columbia, has noted that it is likely that the relatively minor charges brought early on could be upgraded as the investigation continues.

Democratic lawmakers have asked the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to provide information on whether any foreign power had a role in exploiting the attack.

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Covid-19 vaccine passports are an investment for the future, not now



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coronavirus relief, currencies and oil



SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific traded higher Tuesday morning as investors await remarks from U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 edged 0.96% higher while the Topix index advanced 0.46%. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.11%.

Shares in Australia also saw gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 up about 1%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.13% higher.

Former Federal Reserve Chair Yellen is set to tell the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday that the government must “act big” with its next Covid relief package, according to Reuters, which cited a prepared opening statement for her hearing before the committee.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that Yellen is expected to make clear that the U.S. doesn’t seek a weaker dollar.

On the coronavirus front, the head of the World Health Organization warned Monday of a “catastrophic moral failure” due to unfair vaccine rollouts.

Markets stateside were closed on Monday for a holiday.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.765 — higher then levels below 90.4 seen last week.

The Japanese yen was at 103.68 per dollar, still stronger then levels above 104.1 against the greenback seen in the previous trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.769, off levels above $0.775 seen late last week.

— This article was updated to accurately reflect the moves of the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia.

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