Walmart Blows Earnings Expectations Out Of The Water, Self-Driving Uber Cars Begin Rolling Out In Pittsburgh

by 2 years ago

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MARKET SNAPSHOT

Big Picture

  • U.S. markets closed slightly higher following some positive economic data, mainly lower weekly jobless claims

Alternatives to Watch

  • Oil prices rose for a sixth day in a row as investors eagerly wait for the production cut meeting to take place

CORPORATE PRIMER

Private Prisons are Out

…The DOJ has spoken. The U.S. Department of Defense issued a memo yesterday stating that private prisons compare poorly to those run by the government, and will therefore be phased out over the next five years. Take it from the horse’s mouth, Attorney General Sally Yates: “they do not save substantially on costs and…they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.” Well there you have it. Corrections Corp. of America and GEO—two major private prison enterprises—saw their stocks plunge almost 40% on the news.

Living Better Isn’t Just a Slogan

…It’s a reality for Walmart. The retail giant bucked the trend of many of its peers (looking at you, Target) by surpassing earnings expectations with flying colors. And the future is looking even brighter. What’s the plan? As you might have guessed by its $3.3 billion purchase of Jet.com earlier this month, Walmart’s focus is squarely one-commerce—with the end goal of having an Amazon-like online presence. Of course, despite its gargantuan size, Walmart’s only reached a fifth of Amazon’s online revenues, but it’s now the second-most visited retail site on the planet (Amazon is first, in case it wasn’t blindingly obvious)—so it seems Walmart may be on the right track.

Self-Driving Cars: A Thing of the Present

…Made possible by Uber. If you live in Pittsburgh, you’ll be able to Uber in a self-driving car later this month. Yes folks, it’s happening. So how is Uber pulling this off ahead of self-driving leaders like Google and Tesla? Uber’s partnered with Volvo to provide this first fleet of self-driving SUVs—easily beating Ford to the punch, which earlier this week promised self-driving cars by 2021. Don’t get too riled up: two Uber employees will still ride along, and hands will always be on the wheel in case the self-driving functionality breaks down. That said, with this next step—in addition to Uber’s recent acquisition of self-driving startup Otto—Uber’s in good shape to make fully commercialized driving a reality.

Don’t Mess With the Hulk

…Gawker.com is over. Gawker Media Company announced yesterday that its signature gossip blog will be shutting down next week. What’s the deal? For one, Gawker went bankrupt after losing a highly-publicized sex-tape lawsuit to Hulk Hogan. That’ll do it. The decision to shut down the blog only gets more interesting because Univision purchased Gawker Media for $135 million earlier this week. But even with Gawker.com’s shuttering, Univision is still set to inherit Gawker’s six other websites, which include Deadspin and Gizmodo. Better catch up on all your celebrity gossip while you still can.

OTHER STORIES

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

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ABOUT THOSE BONUSES

If you read Tuesday’s Brew, you’ll know that it’s not just an Olympic gold medal that American Olympians are fighting for: with Olympic hardware oftentimes comes an equally as valuable bonus from the U.S. Olympic Committee. So, where does the U.S. stand? We’d say in pretty good shape: as of Wednesday, American athletes have collectively won over $3 million in medal bonuses. Let’s break it down:

  • Missed Tuesday’s Brew? Here’s a quick refresher: American Olympians earn $25,000 for each gold medal, $15,000 for each silver medal and $10,000 for each bronze.
  • As of Wednesday, American Olympic athletes had medaled in 92 events, around a third of which were gold medals. A staggering 33 of those events were in swimming alone. And it gets better: because of relay teams (which receive added bonuses), American swimmers earned 71 medals total, worth a cumulative $1.5 million (or, in other words, around half of the U.S. Olympians’ cumulative bonus payout).
  • The current record for biggest U.S. Olympic bonus belongs to the 2008 Beijing U.S. Olympic team, which brought home a whopping $5.3 million in bonuses. The Rio U.S. team has around $2 million to go…time to get to work.

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INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY

In light of yesterday’s release of minutes from the European Central Bank’s July policy meeting (sparknotes summary: no policy changes but—surprise!—Brexit worries are top of mind): who is the President of the ECB? (Answer)

BUSINESS PERSON OF THE DAY

Andrew Levy — Mr. Levy is the newly-named CFO of United Airlines, filling a spot that had been vacant for the past year. Levy’s no newcomer to the airline industry—he joins United from discounter Allegiant Airlines. Once an airline industry executive, always an airline industry executive.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Twitter has shut down 235,000 extremist accounts in the past six months. Daily suspensions are also now 80% higher this year than in 2015, as Twitter continues to respond to criticism that it hasn’t done enough to combat pro-terrorism tweets.

LIGHT ROAST

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