Some Karma Is Hitting Uber In The Face Right Now, Plus FBI Might Not Need Apple’s Help After All
The markets are closed tomorrow for Good Friday, which means this is the last Brew issue of the week. But don’t be sad, because this week’s Brew quiz is here a day early! And one less Brew issue means one less question on the quiz, so if you get all four questions right, you could win some Brew swag and a shout-out in an issue next week! Good luck!
“Millennials should play a big role in deciding who our next president is…Swipe on!” — Yesterday, Tinder launched a new feature called “Swipe the Vote,” which allows users to “match” with a presidential candidate. Solid idea, but let’s see those pics first.
- U.S. stocks finished lower yesterday and the S&P turned negative for 2016 as the energy sector took a hit—dragging other sectors down with it
Alternatives to Watch
- Oil fell 4% after the U.S. government reported stockpile levels of 9.4 million barrels, an insane three times larger than what analysts were expecting (really missed the boat on that one, huh?). Understandably, this rekindled fears of a global supply glut
- Despite gaining 16% this month, Tesla received a rare downgrade, pushing shares down 5%—and just a week before it unveils its new Model 3
- Virgin America shares soared 10% after investors learned that, after going public only two years ago, the company was looking for potential buyers
So Much for the Olympics
As you might imagine, Brazil’s got a lot on its plate right now. A massive corruption scandal has caused violent political protests and the deadly Zika virus has caused a global health crisis. Oh, and all this comes with the Summer Olympics in Rio looming in August. Let’s break it down by the numbers:
- 7th place: Brazil is officially the world’s seventh-largest economy by nominal GDP.
- 2nd place: unfortunately, it’s also the world’s second most unfavorable economy right now.
- 25 years: for some context as to just how bad it is, Brazil is in the midst of its worst recession in, you guessed it, 25 years, with inflation at around 10% and unemployment at approximately 8%.
- $500 million: August 5 is the start date of the Summer Olympics in Rio. With $500 million in funding recently cut from the Games’ budget, getting facilities ready in time will be a tall order. Getting the whole country ready in time? Don’t get your hopes up.
So Much Pizza
Once the crown jewel of its fried, delicious portfolio, Yum Brands is now looking to sell off 19.9% of its Chinese segment. We love Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC, but why sell it off? Because China’s economy is a mess, that’s why. And why 19.9% exactly? Because screw taxes, man. Big private equity suitors are taking an interest, including KKR and Baring Asia, and they’ll be looking at a price tag in the neighborhood of $10 billion. That’s a lot of pizza.
So Much Power
The utilities industry just got interesting (we bet you’ve never read that sentence before). Well, it’s true: regulators up on Capitol Hill just approved a $6.8 billion dollar merger between Pepco and Exelon yesterday, creating the largest publicly-held utility in the nation. It’s a win for business and the public (bet you’ve never read that before either), as the mega-merger has set aside millions of dollars for conservation and energy efficiency projects.
So Much Karmic Retribution
Back in 2014, Lyft accused Uber of 1. Creating fake Lyft accounts, 2. Requesting rides on Lyft, and 3. Quickly cancelling them in an effort to frustrate drivers. Classic prank. Now, in a textbook case of karma, the reverse is happening to Uber—which is suing Ola, Uber’s Indian arch-rival, for doing the exact same thing. And the commitment is admirable—we’re talking 400,000 cancelled Uber requests in India over the past six months. It’s an (alleged) sabotage strategy so sophomoric even kindergarteners wouldn’t be impressed, but it goes to show just how intense Uber’s turf wars are getting as it continues its aggressive expansion. With India a critical growth market for ride-sharing services due to its massive and growing population, don’t expect the competition to die down anytime soon.
- FBI reportedly using forensic firm Cellebrite to open San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone
- Pornhub adds free virtual reality section
- Microsoft unveils chatbot that tweets like a teen
- Amazon says its female workers paid equally as men
- Monday: Existing Home Sales (-)
- 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)
SO MUCH FOR PRIVACY
Well, that was easy. It turns out the FBI might not need Apple’s help after all. A third party has come forward claiming it can help the FBI unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. As it turns out, however, this might be Apple’s fault—unlike most companies (like Google and Microsoft), Apple doesn’t pay a reward when hackers uncover bugs or glitches. Here’s a bit more on this hidden industry:
- Google has already paid hackers upwards of $6 million since 2010 for bringing forward bugs in its software. In fact, it recently increased its “bounty” to $100,000 for exposing vulnerabilities.
- Though Apple doesn’t pay for finding flaws in its system, its enemies do: individuals who find bugs in Apple software can be paid upwards of $1 million. Exhibit A: Washington firm Zerodonium offered a bounty for anyone who could find a flaw in Apple’s iOS 9, with the intention of selling that info to the government.
INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY
An explorer went wandering one day, one mile south, then one mile east, then one mile north, and he was back where he started—what color was the bear that was eating his sandwiches? (Answer)
BUSINESS TERM OF THE DAY
Ladder Option — An option that locks in gains once the underlying reaches predetermined price levels or “rungs,” guaranteeing some profit even if the underlying security falls back below these levels before the option expires.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Did you know that the most active Twitter account is @VENETHIS with an average of 15,000 tweets per day since 2009?