It’s Friday, and you know what that means: this week’s Brew quiz is live and ready for you to ace! Remember, answer all five questions correctly and you could win a Brew swag prize, a shout-out in an issue next week and bragging rights! Click to here to fill it out!
“You broke that thing up and what did you get? You got all the phones we’re talking about this morning” — St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard, who advocates splitting up the mega-banks just like 1984’s dismantling of AT&T’s cell phone monopoly, which (according to Bullard) led to the super-phones we enjoy today.
- Thursday’s U.S. stock action was a carbon copy of Wednesday’s, with oil starting off negative (dragging stocks down with it), then rising steeply midday to lead markets to the green
Alternatives to Watch
- So why did oil stage a midday rally? Yesterday, Venezuela announced a meeting in mid-March with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Russia regarding possible production cuts
- Global renewable energy company SunEdison, down a whopping 92% since last July, turned things around Thursday, jumping 36% after Vivint Solar approved a massive $1.9 billion merger deal
Economics for Ailing Superpowers
Does China have a “communications issue”? IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde seems to think so. Top finance officials from the Group of 20 major economies (G20) are meeting in China this weekend to figure it all out. Many G20 officials believe the key to economic prosperity is to promote investment in infrastructure and rebuild struggling economies. China says it’s willing to do whatever it takes, but the ailing superpower will have to convince the world that it’s committed to economic reform. Better communication of policies and intentions would be a step in the right direction, and it starts this weekend.
“Let’s get married. Oh, by the way, I’m in serious debt.” Struggling Japanese electronics giant Sharp pulled a similar move, surprising acquirer Foxconn by releasing a list of $3.1 billion of liabilities that Foxconn would assume if it bought Sharp. This has caused Foxconn—you might know them as the sometimes-controversial iPhone manufacturer—to delay the takeover to study the liabilities more. This comes after Sharp agreed to be bought by Foxconn for $5.5 billion late Wednesday night, an acquisition that would symbolize Japan opening up its long-isolated companies to foreign ownership.
Not the Best Buy
No matter how smart technology is nowadays, people will always demand more innovation, and as a retailer, it’s tough to keep up. Smartphone and tablet sales have gone stagnant, hurting the electronics retail sector—namely, good ol’ Best Buy, which reported a steady revenue decline and projects a similar trend in 2016. Executives have attempted to bring costs down, but to no avail. The bottom line: Best Buy realizes consumers want the newest and flashiest gadget, but it can’t sell what it doesn’t have.
SeaWorld Black Ops
Well, this is embarrassing. Notorious marine theme park SeaWorld admitted to sending spies (that’s right, spies) to infiltrate animal rights organization PETA in an attempt to repair its tarnished image. How it went down: SeaWorld employees posed as animal rights activists and gathered information in hopes of mitigating any future attacks from PETA. To make matters worse, SeaWorld shares fell 11% yesterday following soft quarterly earnings in which it reported a loss. Yikes.
- Islamic State video makes threats against Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey
- Hugo Boss CEO resigns as fashion label comes under duress
- Valeant board debating Pearson’s return as health improves
- U.S. Congress needs to “act now” to save Puerto Rico, Treasury official says
- Monday: Fitbit (-), Allergan (+) Earnings
- Tuesday: Macy’s (+), Office Depot (-), Papa John’s (+), Home Depot (+), DreamWorks (+), First Solar (+), Etsy (+) Earnings; Existing Home Sales (+); Consumer Confidence (-); S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index (+)
- Wednesday: Hewlett-Packard (-), Target (+), Lowe’s (+), Chesapeake Energy (+), Salesforce (+) Earnings; New Home Sales (-)
- Thursday: Best Buy (-), Domino’s (+), Gap (+/-), Baidu (+), Weight Watchers (-), Campbell Soup (+), Herbalife (+), Kohl’s (-), SeaWorld (-) Earnings; Durable Goods Orders (+); Weekly Jobless Claims (+/-)
- Friday: U.S. Q4 GDP (2nd Estimate); Foot Locker, JC Penney Earnings; Personal Income and Outlays
If you want to be a billionaire, consider learning Mandarin. Beijing is now the city with the most billionaires, topping New York City. Four other Chinese cities also made the top ten. Here’s the rest:
- So what’s the winning number? Beijing has 100 billionaires, with New York falling just short at 95.
- China is beating out the U.S. (and all other countries, for that matter) when it comes to the growth rate of billionaires: the country now has a total of 534 billionaires, up 24% from last year.
- How does this compare to the rest of the world? China and the U.S. account for almost half of all the world’s billionaires.
- Finally, what’s with China’s insane growth? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that last year, 220 companies raised a whopping $152 billion through IPOs in China’s stock market.
We asked in yesterday’s issue, and you answered: does the Brew readership side with Apple or the FBI in the iPhone-hacking debate? In a word: Apple. And it’s not even close: nearly two-thirds of you support Apple (way more than the 46% in the Reuters poll), while only a quarter are backing the FBI. Let’s also not forget the 10% who remain undecided.
INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY
Is it possible to label the edges of a cube using the numbers one through 12 in such a way that the sums of the numbers on any two faces of the cube are equal? (Answer)
BUSINESS TERM OF THE DAY
Quadruple Witching: the expiration date of various stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures. All stock options contracts expire on the third Friday of each month and once every quarter—on the third Friday of March, June, September and December—all four asset classes expire on the same day. Because futures and options investors must close out of their positions on those days, they often witness increased trading volume.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Do you know the ideal time to buy a plane ticket? According to CheapAir.com, now we know: the magic number is 54 days before a flight to get the cheapest ticket.
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