Amazon Shipped A BILLION Products This Holiday Season, Plus Hulu And Disney Hook Up

By 12.28.16

morning-brew-new
Enjoy your December 28th hand-crafted Brew!

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“God-given opportunity” — Wilbur Ross, President-elect Trump’s pick for Secretary of Commerce, suggesting that Brexit offers a golden opportunity for other European countries to steal trade from the UK. It’s a dog-eat-dog world.

Market Snapshot

  • U.S. markets finished higher yesterday, with oil posting its longest winning streak in four months as the Nasdaq reached an all-time high and the Dow began closing in on 20,000 once again

 

It Takes Two

…Panasonic (+0.62%) and Tesla (+2.90%) are investing $256 million in a solar cell factory. The Japanese electronics producer and Tesla are buddying up to begin manufacturing photovoltaic cells and modules as early as next summer at a New York Tesla factory. For the non-solar experts out there (don’t worry, that’s most of us), the parts being manufactured will be used in solar panels for roof tiles and other products. What does this have to do with electric cars? You might recall that Tesla recently acquired SolarCity, which just so happens to be all about solar panels. Therein lies the connection. And if you’re thinking “why Panasonic?” remember that Panasonic was already Tesla’s exclusive supplier of batteries for both the Model S and Model X. A dynamic duo, indeed.

 

Next Time You’re Craving a Disney Binge

…Head to Hulu. Tesla and Panasonic weren’t the only companies hooking up under the business mistletoe (purely metaphorical, of course). Yesterday, streaming service Hulu announced a licensing agreement with Disney that includes over 50 classics—think Air Bud, The Mighty Ducks and The Emperor’s New Groove. The news comes just a few months after the two companies inked a deal to stream Disney TV shows. Now, Hulu can add exclusive movie rights to a good chunk of your childhood. You know the drill by now: as cord-cutting becomes ever more common, streaming companies are racing to beef up their options for kids, so sealing the deal for some of the best Disney throwbacks gives Hulu a huge leg up on rivals like Netflix and Amazon. Time to grab some popcorn and take a long stroll down memory lane.

 

‘Twas the Season

…For Amazon (+1.42%), as it reportedly shipped more than a billion items this holiday season. Best sellers? Start with Amazon’s runaway success, the Echo, aka Amazon’s all-in-one home assistant, and its smaller, cheaper version, the Echo Dot—sales of the Echo line were over nine times higher than last holiday season. And there’s more: more users than ever relied on their trusty Amazon Prime memberships, and December 23 was the most lucrative day for Prime Now deliveries. The company also logged its fastest Prime delivery on Christmas Eve, delivering a gift to a customer in California in a mere 13 minutes. How’s that for a “best ever” holiday season?

And in bonus crazy Amazon news: the Echo could be a star witness in a murder case. Yes, you read that right. Police are seeking access to an Echo device that was present in a house where a murder went down. Note to self: don’t ask Alexa where to store a dead body (or Siri, since she’ll take that literally).

 

When Your Accounting Is So Bad

…You turn a writedown from million to billions. Let’s back up: in December of 2015, Toshiba (-24% last two days) was caught with its pants down (also metaphorical) thanks to a record-breaking $1.3 billion accounting scandal involving filing false financial statements. Flash forward to this week, when the Japanese conglomerate reported major issues with its nuclear division. And we do mean major: unexpected writedowns in the division are now expected to total over $4 billion, which could wipe out all annual profits. Toshiba is looking into selling off assets and asking banks for more dough to raise some much-needed capital—we wish Toshiba luck in its quest to avenge back-to-back accounting scandals. In the meantime, might we recommend brushing up on Accounting 101?

 

Other Stories

 

Economic Calendar

May The (Financial) Force Be With You

Carrie Fisher, the ever-badass actress best known for her role as Princess Leia, died yesterday at the age of 60. Fisher had become synonymous with the Star Wars franchise, which has dominated pop culture for 40 years, earning $37 billion while charming the imaginations of millions worldwide:

  • George Lucas produced the first Star Wars movie in 1977. Grossing over $2.5 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars, the original Star Wars launched Carrie Fisher into stardom.
  • Sure, the movies have been blowout successes, but there’s been plenty more money made in merchandise, too. Toys, DVDs, VHS (remember those?), video games and 358 books published by 76 different authors have cemented Star Wars into our cultural consciousness and earned billions in the process.
  • In 2012, George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4 billion. Disney continued the franchise’s galactic momentum with 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which made North American box office history. This year’s Rogue One isn’t doing too shabby either: its four-day holiday gross is estimated to be more than $96.1 million.

Interview Question of the Day

Make the seating arrangement of 10 children in such a way that there are five rows with four children in each row. (Answer)

Video of the Day

We all know Tesla is making moves. But saving lives? Yes, that too. The company’s new radar technology was on full, glorious display yesterday. This incredible video of an accident on the highway in the Netherlands shows the Autopilot’s forward collision warning predicting the accident before it happened. Impressed yet? We are.

Food for Thought

The holiday season is a time for giving and getting. This means lots of gifts, and unfortunately not all gifts can be winners. According to finder.com, Americans waste more than $9.5 billion on unwanted gifts every year. But it’s the thought that counts, right? Looking at you, basil chocolate-scented travel candles.


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