Square (SQ) has renamed itself Block to reflect its focus on technologies such as blockchain and expand beyond its original credit card-reader business.

Why this matters: The company announced that the name change acknowledges its growth and creates room for further growth. As part of the Square rebrand, Square Crypto – the company’s bitcoin arm will also change its name to Spiral. Block will still trade under the same ticker symbol –  SQ(CNBC).

AMC shares sank after variant news 

AMC (AMC) shares took a dive after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the first case of the omicron variant had been detected in California.

Why this matters: The stock tanked as much as 17% after this news, re-opening industries like theatre and travel stocks slid over concerns that the variant will likely disrupt daily life. AMC’s stock is down 26% since the variant was first announced last week, causing a huge sell-off. (Yahoo Finance) 

Microsoft is coming after Zoom 

Microsoft (MSFT) announced Teams Essentials, a stand-alone version of its video conferencing software with small businesses in mind.

Why this matters: This new version costs $4 per user compared to Zoom (ZM)’s $14.99 – a pretty wide price margin. Microsoft has positioned the new version of the software to be easy to use and it includes the company’s Slack-like chat software. Zoom has been struggling to come out of the post-pandemic trenches, this news places the company on an even hotter seat. (Barron’s) 

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