Inventory Of Prince’s Estate Shows That The Dude Was Diversified, Plus The Retail Bloodbath Continues

Enjoy your January 9th hand-crafted Brew!


“He’s an entitled creep and absolutely deserves to have his account suspended—perhaps indefinitely” — Freelance reporter Lauren Duca, after being Twitter harassed by the pharma bro himself, Martin Shkreli. Fear not, Twitter already gave Shkreli the boot.

Market Snapshot

  • It’s like the market gods are trolling us now: the Dow came as close as 0.37 points away from 20,000 before pulling back a bit, as investors reacted to Friday’s unemployment data and prepare for earnings season

Not a Stellar Year for the Cincinnati Zoo or Clinton Supporters

…But 2016 was definitely a banner year for the jobs market. First things first: the U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs in December. Tally it all up, and 2016 saw a whopping two million jobs created, with December marking the 75th straight month of added jobs. If you want to get nitpicky, the 156,000 was slightly below expectations, but no one on the Fed is losing sleep. That’s because there’s even better news: wages rose 2.9% in December, a healthy increase that shows how employers are having to raise wages to retain employees in an improved labor market. Let’s keep the good times rollin’, America.

The Retail Bloodbath Continues

…Remember how department store stocks plummeted last week after those dreadful holiday sales? The bad times kept rolling on Friday, and not even J.C. Penney (-3.69%) managed to stay safe this time around. With comparable sales down from the previous holiday season, investors were rightfully unhappy, sending Penney shares to a seven-month low. Welcome to the ranks of the battered and bruised, J.C. Penney—meet Kohl’s, Macy’s and Sears.

And As If Retail Needed More Bad News

…Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus just pulled its planned IPO. Filed back in August 2015, the IPO had been delayed once already. Now, the company has decided going public is “not in its best interests,” declining to comment further. Disappointing, but probably a good call. Like many other retailers, Neiman Marcus has been struggling with declining sales, soft demand and competition from the ever-ruthless Amazon. No rest for the weary.

Uber Gives Back

…And hopes to get back, too. Uber is finally beginning to release access to its plethora of traffic data. The new service, dubbed Movement, will be Uber’s way to help city planners and researchers make better decisions about urban mobility. Don’t worry, though, your individual data isn’t at risk—Uber’s service will anonymize all its passenger data. It’s a win for a lot of groups, not to mention Uber itself. Not only does Uber stand to gain from improved infrastructure in cities, but it could also use a bit of goodwill with city governments after constant legal troubles. Give data, get leniency? Hopefully it’s not that simple.

Apple Misses the Mark

…And takes it out on Tim. That’s right, the historically consistent Apple (+1.11%) missed its annual sales and profit expectations for the first time in over five years in 2016. The result: CEO Tim Cook and other executives collectively lost 9% of their paychecks this year, taking some of the blow for the company. So, is Apple in trouble? Not really. Apple is still the most valuable company in the world. On top of that, demand has been beating out supply for the iPhone 7, and a tenth anniversary iPhone is expected this fall. Also, Tim Cook’s pay decrease doesn’t reflect the $136 million restricted stock grant he received in 2011. Things could be going a lot worse.

Other Stories

Economic Calendar

  • Monday: T-Bill Auctions
  • Tuesday: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey
  • Wednesday: Crude Oil Inventories
  • Thursday: Delta Earnings; Weekly Jobless Claims
  • Friday: JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, BlackRock, PNC Earnings; Retail Sales; Producer Price Index; Consumer Sentiment

An Estate Fit for a Prince

Last April, music icon Prince died at the age of 57. Now, a recently released court document has given us a look inside Prince’s estate—and it’s something to behold. Initial estimates project the estate is worth upwards of $300 million before taxes. That’s not the only takeaway here—the inventory of his assets matched the musician’s eccentric personality. Here’s the list:

  • Prince owned a dozen properties in the Minneapolis area with a total value of $25.4 million. He also had over $110,000 in four bank accounts and cash.
  • Some of the more interesting assets were 67 ten-ounce gold bars worth a total of $836,000. Prince knew how to diversify his assets.
  • And those are just the big things. There’s plenty more that hasn’t even been appraised yet, including his instruments, jewelry, Bentley and motorcycles—and that’s just for starters.
  • So who’s getting all this stuff? It gets juicy: Prince didn’t leave a will, so there’s a hearing scheduled for Thursday to decide who qualifies as an heir—which would make the lucky inheritor a…prince?

Interview Question of the Day

What happens to the U.S. dollar during a trade deficit? (Answer)

Business Term of the Day

As the North American International Auto Show kicks off, tensions between automakers and president-elect Trump remain high over imports from Mexico and a consequential “big border tax.” Exhibit A: the border adjustment tax. Here’s how it works: it levies a tax on goods based on where they are sold and end up instead of where the product is produced. For example, goods that are imported and sold in the U.S. are subject to tax while goods exported aren’t taxed. Effect? Incentivize corporations to produce and export more, and to import less.

Food for Thought

Yum Brands has done well for itself in China, dominating the fast food industry with more KFCs than rival McDonald’s. This time around, it isn’t just fried chicken, it’s Taco Bell. After Taco Bell’s departure from China a decade ago, the company has learned from its mistakes and its customers have changed their tastes. Taco bout a comeback.

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