Enjoy your March 15th hand-crafted Brew!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Blizzard bump” — The official term for increased Tinder activity during snowstorms. Thanks to Winter Storm Stella sweeping through the Northeast right now, Tinder usage is up 11%. Swipe away.
- The energy, materials and industrials sectors led declines as all major U.S. indexes lost ground on Tuesday, mostly due to a drop in oil and hesitant investor sentiment ahead of today’s Fed rate decision
- Winter storm Stella wreaked havoc on airline stocks as investors assessed the damage from nearly 6,800 cancelled flights this past weekend. United
(-4.72%)led the decline, followed by Southwest
(-2.95%), American Airlines
- Hospitals and insurer stocks took a heavy hit after the Congressional Budget Office concluded the GOP plan to dismantle Obamacare would leave 14 million Americans without insurance
Snapchat could be taking on The Bachelor
…With millennial multimedia behemoth VICE to produce a dating show for the app. Action Bronson will curate dates for lucky couples in the eight-episode series and give viewers updates during and after their romantic escapades. Major networks like ESPN, MTV and A&E have already been featured in Snapchat
(+2.42%), but Reuters reports that advertising revenue forecasts have been cut by $30 million for this year, so more diverse content will be especially important. Still, $770 million ain’t too shabby. What do you like or dislike about Snapchat’s entertainment lineup? Let us know! We’ll feature some of what Brewers enjoy watching most…and least. Stay tuned for the results in tomorrow’s Brew.
Can it Be?
…Volkswagen leaves the door open for a merger with Fiat Chrysler
(-0.45%). Huh? Just last week, VW CEO Matthias Müller flatly rejected any talks with Fiat Chrysler. Flash forward to yesterday: Müller says he’s “not ruling out a conversation.” Interesting. The comments come as the embattled German automaker continues to try to convince investors that it will deliver strong earnings following a devastating $25 billion emissions scandal. Additionally, Müller’s comments come as VW faces stiffer competition in Europe after Peugeot-maker PSA Group agreed to buy GM’s
(+0.24%) Opel business earlier this month. What will Müller say next week?
Hudson’s Bay Is Hungry
…For more acquisitions. Earlier this year, the Canadian retailer
(-1.18%) that owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor made moves to buy fellow retail giant Macy’s. While Hudson’s Bay had its eye on Macy’s, the idea of being acquired sparked the interest of struggling high-end retailer Neiman Marcus. Quite the retail love triangle. Now, Hudson’s Bay has shifted its focus to buying Neiman Marcus’ assets without taking on its $5 billion debt load. Talk about having your cake and eating it, too. If the companies strike a deal, Hudson’s Bay could become a luxury retail powerhouse.
A Lesson Ackman Learned the Hard Way
…Don’t try to catch a falling knife. Renowned hedge fund owner and activist investor Bill Ackman finally decided to take the L and bail on his entire Valeant position
(-10.07%), sending shares of the controversial pharma company to a seven-year low. What has investors rattled is that Ackman sold out of his position at just $11 when he entered it at $196 a share. Couple that with his decision to step down from the Valeant board of directors, and Wall Street analysts are putting two and two together, saying “someone so close walking away…is probably not a good sign.”
- Paypal falls after Google announces a rival email feature
- Your credit score could be getting a boost thanks to calculation changes coming soon
- Two U.S. airlines are already calling it quits in Cuba
- More Brexit fallout: Blackstone will move its London staff to Luxembourg
- Monday: N/A
- Tuesday: Rosetta Stone (+), Volkswagen (-) Earnings; Fed Meeting Begins
- Wednesday: Audi, Oracle Earnings; Consumer Price Index; Retail Sales; Fed Rate Announcement
- Thursday: Adobe, Lufthansa, Dollar General Earnings; Weekly Jobless Claims; Housing Starts
- Friday: Progressive, Tiffany Earnings; Consumer Sentiment; Industrial Production
Facebook, The Protector?
In this week’s episode of technology vs. the government, Facebook updated its data policies so that information about users could not be used for surveillance. In doing so, the social media giant is essentially flexing its muscle right in the face of law enforcement. Here’s more:
- The updated policy emerged after an ACLU investigation into the tracking of activists during protests in Baltimore and Ferguson in 2015 and 2014. The report fueled conversation about how third parties access and use data found on Facebook.
- This isn’t the first policy amendment about privacy that Facebook has made in recent years. Last year, Facebook changed its advertising policy to prohibit marketers from targeting groups by ethnicity with certain housing, employment and credit-related ads.
- While Facebook has been fighting privacy lawsuits overseas for years, especially in Europe, these recent moves are making waves on the home front. Just another step in building Zuckerberg’s ideal “social infrastructure.“
Interview Question of the Day
Lavesh, Bolt and Lewis race each other in a 100 meter dash. All of them run at a constant speed throughout the race. Lavesh beats Bolt by 20 meters. Bolt beats Lewis by 20 meters. How many meters does Lavesh beat Lewis by? (Answer)
Startup of the Day
Father and son David and Orion Hindawi made a name for themselves in 2010 when IBM bought their startup, BigFix, to help corporate customers monitor computers. Now the duo is at it again by starting Tanium, a company that simplifies finding hacked and non-updated computers for firms and governments. Definitely a necessity these days, and its $3.5 billion value reflects that.
Food for Thought
Optimism among chief executive officers of some of the largest U.S. companies jumped in Q1 by the most since the economy was emerging from its last recession in 2009. The Business Roundtable’s CEO Economic Outlook Index—a measure of expectations for revenue, capital spending and employment—jumped 19.1 points to 93.3, according to the group’s survey released Tuesday.
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