“Our view is autonomous vehicles could have just as much [of an] impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago” — Ford CEO Mark Fields, who announced plans yesterday to bolster the company’s Silicon Valley staff with a view towards offering self-driving cars by 2021. Welcome to the self-driving club, Ford, you’ve got plenty of company.
- U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday, with utilities leading the decline ahead of today’s Fed minutes release
- Shares of Hain Celestial Giant, a health food brand, plummeted 27% after atrifecta of bad news: delaying its earnings release, missing guidance and potential accounting concerns
A Strong Housing Market
…Is good for everyone—especially Home Depot. The retailer announced strong earnings yesterday, living up to Wall Street’s expectations for significant profit growth. Following the release, CEO Craig Menear announced that this past quarter yielded the highest sales in Home Depot’s history, prolonging the homegoods retailer’s 2016 hot streak. Despite all the good news, shares were basically flat, but it’s really a case of Home Depot being a victim of high expectations.
Dick’s Keys to Earnings Success
…Beating on revenue, profit and same store sales. But wait, there’s more: Dick’s Sporting Goods also raised its full year guidance and called for a 2-3% same store sales increase thanks to its commitment to open up 36 new locations this year. Remember, Dick’s warned investors earlier this year that rival Sports Authority’s bankruptcy may negatively affect Dick’s profits (those going-out-of-business fire sales tend to depress prices across the industry)—so it was music to investors’ ears that the spillover effects weren’t as bad as feared. True to form, shares were up 7% yesterday, taking Dick’s 2016 gains to a staggering 55%—outperforming the S&P 500 by over 40%. No big deal.
The Duo Debut
…After some delays, Google finally unwrapped its new video chat app, Duo. Wait, a “video chat app” with a very simple user interface and design—sound a lot like FaceTime? You bet, but here’s the difference: unlike Facetime, which only works on iPhones, Duo works with Android devices and iPhones. Google’s more open approach to video calls (which extends to many of Google’s hallmark services that are available on iOS) vs. Apple’s more closed system perfectly summarizes the two rivals’ differing mobile strategies. Plus, Duo only adds to the ever-increasing competition in the video chat space—which will you choose?
U.S. vs. UK: Inflation Edition
…And the UK wins (kind of). July inflation data was released yesterday for both the U.S. and the UK. Let’s start in America, where the Consumer Price Index rose 0.8%, a slight drop from June’s 1% rise. The fall was mainly thanks to a decrease in oil prices, which plays a major role in the CPI measurement. Conversely, CPI in the UK hit 0.6% in July, its highest mark since November of 2014. The jump is all thanks to an increase in transportation, hotel and alcohol prices (perhaps the stress of Brexit drove Brits to the pubs). Of course, if the Brits had known Brexit would lead to higher beer prices, would the vote have gone differently?
- Aetna to cut nearly 70% of Obamacare plans in 2017
- Apple to build new research center in China
- Univision buys Gawker Media for $135 million
- Barnes & Noble fires CEO, labeling him ‘not a good fit’
- Monday: Housing Market Index (+/-)
- Tuesday: Home Depot (+), TJX (-), Advance Auto Parts (-), Dick’s Sporting Goods (+), Urban Outfitters (+) Earnings; Consumer Price Index (+/-); Housing Starts (+); Industrial Production (+)
- Wednesday: Cisco, Lowe’s, Target, L Brands, Staples, American Eagle Earnings; Fed Meeting Minutes
- Thursday: Walmart, Ross Stores, Gap Earnings; Weekly Jobless Claims
- Friday: Foot Locker, Deere, Estee Lauder Earnings
POINTLESS POLITICAL POSTS
If you’ve opened up Facebook recently, chances are one of your friends posted something about Trump or Hillary. And if any of them think they’re political pundits, we have some bad news: nobody cares. According to a study by Rantic, a social media marketing website, most Facebook users aren’t persuaded by political posts.Might we suggest sharing these numbers with your FB friends?
- 94% of Republicans, 92% of Democrats and 85% of Independents have never changed their political views based on a Facebook post. Finally, something both parties can agree on.
- 36% of Republicans, 31% of Democrats and 21% of Independents feel that social media isn’t an appropriate place to discuss politics. This raises the question: if not on social media, where is an appropriate place to discuss politics?
- Fed up with all these political posts and not sure what to do? 18% of liberals and 12% of conservatives have “unfriended” someone based on a political post. Ouch.
INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY
A lady has two children. One is a boy. What are the chances of the other child also being a boy? (Answer)
BUSINESS TERM OF THE DAY
Black Swan – A random or extremely difficult-to-predict event or occurrence that deviates from what is normally expected. Think the 2008 financial crisis.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
More Brexit fallout, and it’s not looking good: JP Morgan published forecasts for London’s property market yesterday that predict a 10% decline in value by the end of 2017. Yikes.
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