Twitter Decides Not Go Over Its 140 Character Limit, Plus U.S. Stocks Rise For Fifth Straight Week
“I like dancing, I like talking to devs. But not at this #GDC16 party. Thanks for pushing me out of this party, Microsoft” — Kamina Vincent, editor for Tin Man Games. At its Game Developer Conference (GDC) after party, Microsoft hired dancers (a conservative term) dressed as schoolgirls. Vincent, along with many others, were not impressed.
- Friday capped off U.S. stocks’ fifth straight week in positive territory, boosted by the Fed’s mid-week announcement that it would lower its projected number of rate hikes on the year
Alternatives to Watch
- It’s still up 50% since February, but oil dropped on Friday after data showed that the U.S. rig count number increased a bit after steadily decreasing to near seven-year lows
- After dropping over 17% to start the year, the finance sector has gained back roughly half of that loss as continued rises in oil and decreases in the chances of upcoming rate hikes help banks get back on their feet
In case you forgot, 2016 was home to the worst-ever start to a year in the history of U.S. stocks. Yes, ever—like in the history of stocks. Yet somehow, the Dow Jones has risen from the ashes to stage a 10% rally since mid-February. FYI, this is the fastest that a retreat of 10% or more has been reversed so early in the year. While the rebound has been welcome news to investors, many remain suspicious. Why? Besides a 50% resurgence in the price of oil, there have been no major economic developments to account for this upswing, and global growth prospects remain low. Dow Jones, the Brew has got its eye on you.
Twitter Keeps it 140
Can you imagine how many hashtags we would see from the Kardashians (and our annoying friends) if Twitter upped its character limit from 140 to 10,000? Lucky for us, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced last week that the iconic 140 limit is here to stay, despite rumors that Twitter’s trademark feature would be nixed. Dorsey did hint, however, that Twitter will be undergoing bold changes over the next few months. Good news, because they’re well past due. Today, Twitter turns 10 years old, but it’s not exactly a time to celebrate. Twitter shares are down 27% in 2016 alone (#ouch) and its struggles to monetize haven’t abated. A midlife crisis, or Twitter’s last breaths? You decide.
Over the weekend, Starwood Hotels signed a deal to set up three hotels in…wait for it…Cuba. It’s been a good week for the U.S.-Cuba relationship (check out the Water Cooler for more), but an even better week for Starwood after it accepted a $13.2 billion bid from China’s Anbang Insurance Group. Yep, it’s definitely happening—with two successful acquisitions in a row, Anbang is heating up. What about ex-suitor Marriott? The hospitality giant decided to drop its pursuit of Starwood, and it’s also making moves to stick the Marriott flag in Cuban turf. In fact, Obama will be joined in Cuba by Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, who just happens to also serve as vice chair of Obama’s Export Council.
Tiffany Could Use a Friend
Yes, it beat earnings expectations, but bit by bit, Tiffany & Co. is losing its luster. Q4 was especially bad: same-store sales clunked 5% for the quarter, and Tiffany went ahead and slashed guidance for 2016 with expectations of a 15-20% earnings decline in Q1. It gets worse: with the jewelry giant already underperforming the S&P by 8% this year, analysts are calling value trap on the stock, and have downgraded it from “hold” to “sell” on the Street—just the stock, you can keep your jewelry.
- General Mills to label GMOs on products across the country
- Tribune loses battle for Orange County Register
- Foxconn lowering offer for Japan’s Sharp
- Sherwin-Williams paint company to buy Valspar for $8.9 billions
- Monday: Carnival Earnings; Existing Home Sales Earnings
- Tuesday: Nike, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Earnings; PMI Manufacturing Index
- Wednesday: General Mills Earnings; New Home Sales
- Thursday: GameStop Earnings; Durable Goods Orders; Weekly Jobless Claims
- Friday: U.S. Markets Closed (Good Friday); U.S. Q4 GDP (3rd Estimate)
USA X CUBA
President Obama just jetted off on a historic trip to Cuba for a spring break over 90 years in the making (since a U.S. president last visited, that is). Obama’s busted open the floodgates for American partiers and business owners alike—but what do the improved relations between America and Cuba mean on an economic level for the actual citizens of Cuba? Excellent question:
- Even in this new era, America has an old rival: China’s trade with Cuba grew by 57% to $1.6 billion in the first three quarters of 2015.
- However, things are looking up for the U.S.—big companies like AT&T (and let’s not forget about Starwood and Marriott, people) have deals in the works involving Cuba.
- One major industry to keep an eye on in Cuba is Wi-Fi: Huawei, a Chinese firm, has a foothold in the country, and Etesca, a Cuban firm, has plans to open up over 30 hotspots in Havana alone. But an hour using one can cost up to $2—a hefty amount when you consider the average income in Cuba is $20 per month.
INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY
How do you calculate the cost of equity? (Answer)
BUSINESS TERM OF THE DAY
Warehouse Lending — A line of credit extended by a financial institution to a loan originator to fund a mortgage that a borrower initially used to buy a property. The loan typically lasts from the time it is originated to when the loan is sold into the secondary market, whether directly or through a securitization.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Hulk Hogan was awarded a massive $115 million through a privacy lawsuit he filed against Gawker over its publication of a sex tape. Hulk Hogan, Gawker and sex tape all in the same sentence—we can’t make this stuff up.