Are You Happy At Work? Because Apparently Worker Satisfaction Is At Its Highest Level In 10 Years

By 04.20.16

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“There’s a little bit of P.T. Barnum in me” — Warren Buffett, who’s getting ready for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting on April 30. P.T. Barnum was a master showman, and Berkshire’s meeting promises to be quite the show—with a 5K fun run, cookout and steak dinner, among other festivities. No wonder 40,000 people are expected to attend.

MARKET SNAPSHOT
Big Picture

  • U.S. stocks finished mixed, with the S&P 500 back above 2,100 for the first time since December as corporate earnings continued to impress and commodities rallied
  • Asian markets finished positive as oil reached its 2016 peak, with Japan leading the advances and the Nikkei 225 leaping 3.5%

Alternatives to Watch

  • Argentina officially returned to the international bond market with a record-breaking $16.5 billion of bonds yesterday after a 15-year hiatus. For the record, that’s the most money ever raised by an emerging market

Market Movers

  • Shares of Tesla Motors were down 3% after Consumer Reports outlined problems that customers had experienced with the Model X SUV
  • eBay was hampered after receiving a downgrade from Morgan Stanley, which cited problems in the company’s international business

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CORPORATE PRIMER

All Eyes On Yahoo

Everyone’s watching Yahoo, and no, it’s not just because it’s earnings season. While the company managed to slide by expectations by pennies—we’re talking beating earnings per share predictions by one cent—that’s not really what all the fuss is about. The real fuss: Yahoo plans to sell off its core business, and the deadline for bids was Monday. Confirmed bidders were announced yesterday on top of earnings. Yahoo’s suitors are as follows: Verizon, YP Holdings and Bain Capital. The favorite in the clubhouse appears to be Verizon, but the outcome is far from certain.

J&J Wins Out

Johnson & Johnson triumphed even in the face of international economic adversity. The consumer products behemoth beat out earnings expectations despite revenue pressures from the strengthening dollar (no good for international sales) and weaker emerging market demand. How’d J&J pull it off? Its pharmaceutical business was the bright spot—increased diabetes and blood cancer drug demand culminated in a 12.9% sales increase in the U.S. That’s not what we’d call a “fun” growth driver, but you won’t see J&J complaining.

Inside Intel’s Restructuring

The world’s largest producer of semiconductors announced that it’s cutting 12,000 jobs, a solid 11% of its workforce. Why the massive layoff? Chalk it up to a major decline in consumer demand for PCs, which is Intel’s bread and butter business. While Intel won’t stop being a PC-focused company (60% of its sales are from PCs, after all), it knows where the future lies—and it ain’t PCs. That would be the cloud, and Intel wants to be the leader of the chip technology that powers the data centers that power…yes, the cloud. While we’re at it, Intel also announced first quarter earnings that were slightly below analyst expectations, but that was a mere appetizer to the big layoff news.

Not All That Glitters is Gold

We’ll throw you some stats, and you guess the stock. Worst overall performance in the Dow this year—that should do it for some of you. Plus, as usual, the title above is a bad pun. Still need more? This stock is also the most notorious bank on the Street, with four straight quarters of missed earnings, including yesterday, when it posted adjusted earnings down 50% year-over-year. You guessed it, it’s ya boi Goldman Sachs. We’ll cut GS a break this time, since its performance actually isn’t that much worse than that of its Wall Street compatriots.

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OTHER STORIES

  • Fan sues Kanye West, Tidal over rapper’s new album
  • Airbnb pushes into tourism with travel recommendations and guidebooks
  • UnitedHealth, nation’s largest health insurer, bolts Obamacare amidst huge losses
  • Apple hires Tesla exec for secret project

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ECONOMIC CALENDAR

  • Monday: Netflix (+/-), Pepsi (+), IBM (+/-), Morgan Stanley (+/-), Hasbro (+) Earnings; Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday: Johnson & Johnson (+), Intel (+/-), Goldman Sachs (+/-), Yahoo (+/-), Philip Morris (-), UnitedHealth (+), Harley-Davidson (+/-) Earnings; Housing Starts (-)
  • Wednesday: Coca-Cola, Qualcomm, American Express, Las Vegas Sands, Yum! Brands, Mattel Earnings; Existing Home Sales
  • Thursday: Alphabet, Microsoft, Verizon, Visa, Starbucks, Schlumberger, General Motors, Under Armour, Southwest Airlines, D.R. Horton, Novartis Earnings; Weekly Jobless Claims
  • Friday: General Electric, McDonald’s, Honeywell, Kimberly-Clark, Caterpillar, American Airlines Earnings; PMI Manufacturing Index

WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK

Rihanna said it best: a new survey of 600 workers by the Society for Human Resource Management found that worker satisfaction is at its highest level in 10 years. On the other hand, the survey shows that many employees might actually dislike everything about their job. How does that work? Here are the numbers behind the paradox:

  • Employee satisfaction worked its way up to 88%, compared to 82% in 2008. Let’s all give a pat on the back to the improving economy, folks.
  • The survey also found that the most important factors for workers are pay and “respectful treatment of employees at all levels.” Yet only 31% of people surveyed said they were happy with their compensation and only 23% were satisfied with the treatment of employees.
  • And if that wasn’t making you scratch your head, there’s more. Employee satisfaction is increasing even though hourly earnings have remained stagnant and wage growth has been weak at best. It looks like people are just happy to not be in a recession.

INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY

The probability of a car passing a certain intersection in a 20 minute windows is 90%. What is the probability of a car passing the intersection in a five minute window? (Assume a constant probability throughout.) (Answer)

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BUSINESS TERM OF THE DAY

Unadjusted Basis — A basis used for depreciation purposes. Unadjusted basis uses the original cost of property or equipment without regard to salvage value.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

$2.9 trillion: amount of money currently being managed by hedge funds, six times as much as the amount managed in 2000.


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