Driverless BMW Cars in Five Years? Plus Puerto Rico Shocks The World And Defaults Again

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“My political ambition has been achieved” — Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party, resigned from his position yesterday after successfully spearheading the Brexit campaign. Farage clearly enjoys the act of leaving.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

Big Picture

  • Although many might still be sporting rally caps from the massive gains posted last week, European markets finished lower yesterday while U.S. markets were closed for the holiday

Alternatives to Watch

  • While some are fussing over the recent rise in gold prices, silver has quietly jumped to two-year highs with futures gaining 4.4% on Monday
  • Bond yields have dipped to fresh lows leading some analysts to question the longevity of the rally in equities

CORPORATE PRIMER

More Bad News for Elon Musk

…Tesla needs a charge. The past few months have been bumpy for Tesla—to say the least. After revealing last week that a Model S driver died while using Autopilot, the electric carmaker missed its delivery targets for the second consecutive quarter. To boot, Tesla has been criticized for burning through cash and some have questioned the company’s corporate governance especially after it offered to buy SolarCity. Tesla is in dire need of an energy boost, but if anyone were up to the task it would be Mr. Musk.

BMW Promises Driverless Cars

…In the next five years. On Friday, BMW announced it has partnered with Intel and Israeli computer vision company Mobileye in an effort to release self-driving cars by2021. Don’t worry, the German automaker is planning to have steering wheels and pedals in the new vehicles in case you still want to be in full control. Although there are heightened concerns with fully automated driving (just ask Tesla), BMW assures its iNEXT models will be incredibly safe. Well that’s reassuring.

MACRO

Puerto Rico Shocks the World

…By defaulting again. Ok, maybe this doesn’t come as a surprise. Quick refresher: the U.S. territory is currently buried under more than $70 billion of debt. Despite a new restructuring bill, Puerto Rico defaulted on a $2 billion debt payment last Friday. The move comes after a smaller default in May, making it clear that the situation is going from bad to worse. The real kicker? According to the Puerto Rican government, the Treasury’s account is anticipated to fall below the $95 million mark this year. Yikes.

Sticking with the Car Theme

…U.S. auto sales rose 2.5% last month. That’s by no means great, but sales are still expected to set a record in the first six months of the year. Not too shabby. Ford and Fiat Chrysler cruised in June, while GM and Toyota saw sales drop. While many believe that U.S. auto sales are beginning to plateau, low gas prices, new technology and a recovering economy may keep this growth rolling for a bit longer.

OTHER STORIES

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

  • Monday: Markets Closed
  • Tuesday: Factory Orders
  • Wednesday: Greenbrier, Walgreens Earnings; International Trade
  • Thursday: Pepsico Earnings; Weekly Jobless Claims
  • Friday: Consumer Credit

MAKING IT RAIN

We all know that professional athletes in the four major sports make some serious dough. But this offseason some NBA players are seriously raking it in. Timofey Mozgov, who averaged just 6.3 points a game last season, recently agreed to join the Lakers for an unreal $16 million a year. That’s more money than reigning MVP Steph Curry will make next season. Let’s go courtside:

  • The NBA recently signed a new nine-year TV contract worth $24 billion, meaning each team will have an extra $24 million in spending money. Bank shot!
  • This means a lot of teams are upping the salaries for players who might not necessarily be the biggest scorers. For example Mike Conley signed for $153 million over five years, the biggest contract in NBA history, and has a career average of just 13.6 points per game.
  • The biggest news of the Fourth of July weekend? Superstar Kevin Durant will be signing a two-year, $54.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. Did someone say dream team?
  • But the players haven’t popped the champagne bottles yet: the contracts aren’t official until July 8, after an auditing period by the NBA to determine salary caps.

INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY

What is the difference between a merger and an acquisition? Which one is more common? (Answer)

BUSINESS PERSON OF THE DAY

Jack Taylor — the man who built Enterprise Rent-A-Car died Saturday at the age of 94. Taylor started out with just seven cars and the company now has more than 1.7 million vehicles. Taylor also served in the Navy during WWII and named his company after the U.S.S. Enterprise.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Every Fourth of July Nathan’s Famous hot-dog eating contest holds its place as one of the summer’s wildest events. This year, over 40,000 spectators came to watch now nine-time winner Joey Chestnut eat a record 70 hot dogs in ten minutes. Only in America.

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