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“Millennials like not seeing people” — Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s parent company CKE Restaurants. Puzder wants to replace workers with robots so that you can go into a restaurant and literally interact with, well, no one. The American dream personified, folks.
- Let’s be real: it’s been a pretty low-key week for the U.S. stock market, but things managed to pick up yesterday as the materials and energy sectors led U.S. stocks to a strong finish. And the comeback is now complete: the Dow is now positive for 2016 (hooray!)
Alternatives to Watch
- It wasn’t just stocks making moves: oil jumped another 4.5% yesterday to break $40 and hit its 2016 high. For once, though, there wasn’t any news to report—as the dollar weakens (as it did yesterday), oil goes in the opposite direction
Big News From the Bank of England
Forget the Fed, the Bank of England has made an exciting announcement of its own. One day after the Federal Reserve kept U.S. interest rates steady, the Bank of England did the exact same thing, leaving them at a modest 0.5%. The extra-exciting part? Rates have been stuck there for the past seven years. Okay, so perhaps it’s not that exciting. But honestly, why so little movement? Well, England still has fears about global growth and a possible “Brexit” from the European Union, which economists believe would negatively impact business spending, not to mention overall demand. Like Wednesday’s Fed decision, we aren’t shocked—just maybe a little bored.
Time to Move On
At some point down the road, the popular kids decided to stop wearing Aeropostale. It’s sad, it’s true and it’s hitting the teen apparel retailer hard. A recent 16% quarterly sales dip added on to three straight years of losses, which, in addition to the ebbs and flows of teen fashion, have been due to declining mall traffic and supplier disputes. It’s time to say goodbye to the old Aeropostale (cue teary-eyed childhood montage): the company is leaving its past behind and setting forth in a new direction by restructuring its business model. Rumor has it Aero might even look to get acquired.
All About Adobe
Finally, a story that’s close to home. Adobe Systems, the beloved software company you know best for helping you view PDFs (Acrobat, anyone?) is finally enjoying its moment in the spotlight—and with profits tripling over the past quarter, Adobe 100% earned it. Who’s to thank? Adobe’s digital media sector put the team on its back (clearly, Adobe does a lot more than help you open files). Even better news: executives are predicting the positive trend will continue into 2018. So far, they’re right—its stock was up 7% after hours.
Enter the Fray
A newcomer has entered the self-driving race. Baidu, affectionately nicknamed the “Chinese Google,” is planning to test self-driving cars in the U.S., with an aim toward introducing a road-ready model by 2018. It’s not alone: with a load of Silicon Valley-based companies also testing self-driving cars (not to mention big boys like GM and Ford), the race is on to see who will deliver a finished product to consumers fastest. Bottom line: everybody thinks they can make one. The biggest obstacle so far? The U.S. government. These self-driving car makers must first convince Congress that they aren’t a safety hazard. We hope Baidu knows what it’s getting into.
- SeaWorld to end breeding program for killer whales
- Nike launches HyperAdapt 1.0 “self-lacing” sneaker
- YouTube agrees to participate in T-Mobile’s free video program
- Caterpillar profit to miss estimates as energy rout deepens
- Monday: 3D Systems (+) Earnings
- Tuesday: Oracle (+) Earnings; Fed FOMC Meeting Begins; Retail Sales (-); Producer Price Index (+/-)
- Wednesday: FedEx (+) Earnings; Fed FOMC Meeting Ends; Consumer Price Index (+/-); Industrial Production (-); Housing Starts (+)
- Thursday: Adobe (+), Aeropostale (-) Earnings; Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (+/-); Weekly Jobless Claims (+)
- Friday: Tiffany & Company Earnings; Consumer Sentiment
WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE
Day one of March Madness is in the books, and 16 teams were sent packing in yesterday’s opening round games. Of course, you might know that two teams were sent packing before the tournament even began: SMU and Louisville, which were both suspended for postseason play for academic and recruiting violations, respectively. So the Brew asks: what did it cost them?
- The short answer: money, and a lot of it. Each NCAA tournament win earns the victorious school’s conference $260,000. Spoiler alert: SMU and Louisville were well-positioned for deep runs had they been eligible.
- Add it all up, and the NCAA has a roughly $200 million basketball fund that it distributes to conferences in a rolling six-year period, partially determined based on teams’ postseason performances.
- The kicker: if either team made the Final Four, it would have earned its conference…wait for it…roughly $8.6 million.
INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY
Why might one company want to acquire another company? (Answer)
BUSINESS TERM OF THE DAY
Value Chain — Value chain is a high-level model of how businesses receive raw materials as input, add value to the raw materials through various processes and sell finished products to customers.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
$3.6 million: how much disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter made in 2015. Not exactly what we would call money well earned.