Japan’s stock market tumbled after reports emerged that Shinzo Abe, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, would resign due to health concerns. The prospect of Abe’s resignation has spooked investors with his signature monetary (low-interest rates) and fiscal policy (collecting tax/revenue and splashing it) programme, Abenomics, might come to an end with his departure. Now here's your weekly round-up of the business and finance news you need-to-know. | In a flash The $200bn-Dollar Ant EmpireTeam Micro-Mart Enter The TikTok RaceAmerican Housebuilders Keep Building Gains The $200-Dollar Ant Empire | What happened and why... Ant Group - a colony of hard workers and Alibaba's online payments arm - is lining up a record-breaking IPO that would value the Chinese fintech at record-setting $200 billion. 🏗️ How they built an Ant empire... In 2011, Ant Group (then known as Alipay) separated from Jack Ma's Alibaba to keep Chinese regulators off their backs.Since 2011, the Ant has not stopped growing. Valued at $150 billion in 2018, it netted $2.2 billion in profit in the last quarter of 2019. But this is about more than just payments. With 6-legs, this expanding empire can spin more than just a payment plate... Bread & butter... Their payments app, still known as Alipay, is big and getting bigger. With 1.2bn global users, Alipay saw 580 million people in China make a purchase via Alipay in a six-month period. Money markets... Yu'e Bao, is another string to the Ant bow and is the world's largest money-market fund with over ~600 million users. The fund has now become a home for standard Chinese checking accounts. Open Sesame... Sesame Credit, a controversial (or just immoral) third-party credit rating system - compared to Black Mirror - is part-owned by Ant group. With Alibaba listing in both New York and Hong Kong back in 2014, investors had been expected another stroll down Wall Street for a slice of the Chinese pie, but Ant had other ideas. The payments-giant opted for a Shanghai-Hong Kong dual listing over the bright lights and deep pockets of New York City, for two obvious reasons... You're a nobody (give it a New York accent)... With ~900m of their 1.2bn customers based in China, Ant is hoping customers will quickly become shareholders too. Not something New York could deliver.And then there's the Trade War... what is it good for? Absolutely not IPOs. With government-ties and an ongoing trade war with America, Ant Group has dodged American capital markets and stayed closer to home. | The Takeaway ⛓️ Draw-bridging economies... Ant Group is yet to drop a timeline on its listing, but the decision to list close-to-home is another step in the direction of a draw-bridging global economy. It's a big boost for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai but more than anything, it's another marker in the divesting of the world's two biggest economies. Walmart Comes To Microsoft's Rescue | What happened and why... With time-ticking on TikTok's 90-day ultimatum to sell the company's US-arm or face a ban in the country, retail-giant, Walmart (+5.49%), have entered the race and teamed up with Microsoft in the process. The video-sharing phenom owned by Chinese tech-giant, Bytedance, has been under glaring scrutiny over its China ties. In June, India fully banned TikTok over national security concerns. Then in July, President Trump said he would ban TikTok unless Microsoft can prove that it can move American TikTok data to the US by 15th of September. That tight deadline forced some snap decisions on Thursday... 🎤 Mic drop... American TikTok boss, Kevin Mayer, resigned ahead of the impending ban by US President Donald Trump, with the political pressure proving too much.💸 Enter #TeamMicro-Mart... Walmart and Microsoft’s joint bid is set to compete with Oracle, whose bid to acquire TikTok is reportedly being backed by venture capital firms General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital. So what does an old-timer like Walmart want out of a Gen-Z entertainment platform like TikTok... Eyeballs... Of the ~800M TikTok users,100M is based in America. TikTok’s integration of e-commerce and advertising is a “clear benefit to creators and users” of the platform.Magic Marketplace... TikTok would enable Walmart to grow its online third-party marketplace while expanding its own reach to online customers. #TeamMicroMart and Oracle are going head-to-head for TikTok’s operation in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. No price has been officially set but analysts are speculating at a sale in the region of $30 billion range. | The Takeaway We had wind of Walmart some weeks ago, with the retail-giant reportedly working with Japanese conglomerate, SoftBank, on a potential deal. Walmart’s lack of cloud infrastructure— or equivalent to Microsoft Azure— made the deal a non-starter. With Trump's focus to keep TikTok user data inside the country.☁️ Every cloud... One of the pluses for advertisers and businesses is this deal would make American digital advertising a 'slightly' more competitive market against the existing backdrop of the dominant Facebook and Google. Housebuilders Keep Building Gains | What happened and why... The stock market narrative during the pandemic has been; Tech: Wins | High Street: Lose. While observers have been tied-up chasing the next working-comms giant, American housebuilders have not stopped building and growing. 🧨 Record highs... Shares in US homebuilders have surged to record highs, skipping past the levels hit during the previous housing bubble. Let's put some more perspective on these gains... Setting the benchmark... The Dow Jones Home Construction index - a benchmark for investors' housing appetite - is up 29% this year.Pace-setters... The four largest homebuilders in the S&P 500 — DR Horton, Lennar, NVR, and PulteGroup — all hit record highs this month. And to put a tech perspective on things for all the silicon-junkies out there... DR Horton, the largest listed US homebuilder, is outpacing the likes of Microsoft and Google throughout the S&P's bounce-back rally. With the highest net sales in the company's history, the company’s stock has gained 44% this year. ⚡ What set it off... US interest rate cut... The big driver behind this jump in sales is the swift cut in US interest rates.The US Federal Reserve cut rates to nearly zero in March as part of sweeping crisis measures... a move that has US 30-year mortgage rates at an average of 2.8% for the first time. | The Takeaway Home buying has bounced back strongly after a drought of activity following the outbreak of coronavirus. New home sales in July hit a 'seasonally adjusted' annual rate of 901,000. That's the highest tally since 2006. But something has to give soon.