Tuesday newspaper round-up: Apple, UK house sales, Evergrande, Blackberry

Apple became the first US company to be valued at over $3tn on Monday as the tech company continued its phenomenal share price growth, tripling in value in under four years. A pandemic-era surge in tech stocks has driven the major US tech companies to new highs, pulling US stock markets with them. Apple became the world’s first trillion dollar company in August 2018, passed $2tn in 2020 and hit its new high as trading began after the holidays and its shares passed $182.80 a piece before dipping lower to end the day valued at over $2.9tn. – Guardian

The number of UK first-time homebuyers has hit its highest level since 2002, according to a new estimate. Despite the uncertainty generated by the pandemic and strong house price growth, the number of first-time buyer transactions in 2021 is estimated to be 408,300, according to Yorkshire Building Society. That would be a 35% increase on the 303,000 transactions in 2020, and more than double the levels in the years following the global financial crisis of 2007-08. – Guardian

Shares in Evergrande were suspended on Monday amid increasing uncertainty about the stability of the debt-ridden Chinese property behemoth. Evergrande said that trading in Hong Kong had been halted ahead of the release of “inside information”, but declined to give further details. It came after the company, which is struggling under the weight of $300bn (£222bn) of loans, missed a debt payment last week. Chinese media reports over the weekend said Evergrande had been ordered to demolish an illegally-built development in Hainan, a southern island region in China. – Telegraph

They were once the height of mobile technology, with thousands of emails and messages typed out by suited executives and teenagers alike on their reassuring physical keyboards. But the world’s last few BlackBerry users will find their phones begin to stop working on Tuesday as support for the devices’ software is finally switched off. The Canadian technology company behind BlackBerry, known at the peak of its powers more than a decade ago as Research In Motion, said devices running its operating system will “no longer reliably function” as of Jan 4. – Telegraph

A quarter of working parents in Scotland said they were likely to take on work or avoid taking time off at Christmas because of a rise in living costs. A survey for the charity Action for Children in Scotland found that almost 74 per cent were concerned about rising energy bills and prices in shops. Of these 25 per cent said that they would work extra hours or not take time off and nearly 90 per cent were prepared to miss out on family gatherings. – The Times

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