Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Is Trying To Save His Sinking Ship , Plus SolarCity Scales Back
Happy May Day, Brewers. Now is a great time to brush up on the history—and violence—that brought you the eight-hour work day.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“They’ve now locked us in the airport. No rules, just right. Welcome to the Bahamas! (Tell my family I love them)”—A Fyre Festival attendee on the horrid conditions at the “ultra-luxury” music festival in the Bahamas. With ticket prices ranging from $450-$12,000, the debacle had guests extremely fyred up.
- Stocks finished last week on a high note despite less-than-stellar economic figures, with large cap stocks like Amazon and Alphabet reaching new highs.
- Oil was down almost 3% in April, but it was slowly climbing back to $50 a barrel Friday. U.S. treasury yields fell, ending a five-day streak of increases, while German bonds rose slightly.
SolarCity Scales Back
Palo Alto, California-based Tesla
(+1.76%) and its $2 billion acquisition of residential solar energy company SolarCity may not be paying off like CEO Elon Musk expected.
Tesla said late Friday that it would halt door-to-door sales of solar panels in favor of internet and showroom sales (it is 2017, after all). Additionally, a “vast majority” of SolarCity’s 30,000 employees will be reassigned. Ouch.
It might not be Tesla’s fault: In 2015, analysts said residential solar panel installations would to jump by 64%, but those lofty expectations fell to just 3% last year. Not good for an industry still trying to recover from Solyndra.
You do remember Solyndra, right?
In case you’ve you’ve forgoten, Solyndra is the lightning rod for green energy debates in the U.S. After a $535 million loan from the federal government, the Silicon Valley solar panel maker went bankrupt in 2011, casting a shadow on President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package.
Add in SunEdison’s $16 billion bankruptcy last year, and it’s easy to see why people are pretty timid about solar. If Tesla can’t successfully run a solar business… who can?
Death and taxes…
…but mostly taxes. SolarCity and its competitors count on consumer tax breaks to fuel their growth. (Who doesn’t love coupons?) If these tax benefits go away, installing solar panels on your home will get much more expensive.
Federal tax credits for solar installations are locked in for at least four more years. But, once these solar sweeteners expire, it could be the last of them. Investors are looking towards the 2018 midterms—and the to-be-elected 116th Congress—to see how green the future will be.
Avocados: A Story of Supply & Demand
Alligator Pears (order that on your toast next time) have taken the world by storm. Americans have doubled their consumption of avocados in the last decade to almost seven pounds per year. Tragically, weaker crops from Mexico and California this year have stretched supply and blown prices to a 19-year high, over double last year’s price. Happy Cinco de Mayo.
Can Apple Keep the Doctor Away?
(-0.10%) is expected to report a slight profit jump on Tuesday, but the good news comes at a turning point for the world’s largest public company. Here’s what’s at the front of investors’ minds:
- Qualcomm: over the weekend Apple said it is stopping all payments to the chipmaker after more than five years of licensing agreement negotiations. The disagreement has quickly escalated into an “all-out-price-war” and has forced Qualcomm to slash its fourth quarter forecasts.
- Taxes: Apple is expected to report astronomical cash reserves of $250 billion on Tuesday. That’s more than the market cap of Wal-Mart in case you were wondering. A lower corporate tax rate could convince Apple to bring that cash stateside, something both CEO Tim Cook and President Trump have supported. A special dividend is also on the table.
- WWDC: which we, the token Apple-Kool-Aid-drinkers, know stands for Worldwide Developers Conference, an annual event where Tim Cook and Co. show off the latest Apple wares. This is the last earnings report before June’s conference, where a new iPhone could dazzle (or disappoint).
Saving a Sinking Ship
Over the weekend, Twitter
(-0.72%) CEO Jack Dorsey bought back $9.5 million worth of Twitter shares. This marks Dorsey’s second public attempt to reassert his confidence in the struggling social network after a $7 million purchase earlier this year. After a decent earnings report last week, the strategy might pay off for 40-year-old Dorsey. That is, if he can also convince investors of a turn around. So far, Twitter’s stock barely budged. You can’t win ‘em all.
What Else Is Happening…
- At least 200,000 people participated in a climate march to the White House on President Trump’s 100th day in office
- SpaceX postponed a satellite launch this weekend and will try again this morning
- China’s Tencent to open an AI research lab in Seattle
- Time Inc. stock fell more than 18% after the publisher said it would not sell itself after all
- Friday (April 27): Exxon Mobil (+), GM (+) Earnings; GDP (-)
- Monday: CNX Earnings
- Tuesday: Aetna, Apple, Coach, Etsy, Mondelez Earnings; Consumer Confidence, New Home Sales
- Wednesday: Blackrock, Facebook, Fitbit, Sprint, Tesla, Time Warner, Yum! Brands Earnings
- Thursday: LendingClub, Motorola, ShakeShack, Viacom Earnings; Initial Jobless Claims
- Friday: Berkshire Hathaway, Moody’s Earnings; GDP
Why Wasting Time Maybe Isn’t All That Bad…Sometimes
Finals are here for many Brewers, a time of the year marked by stress, little sleep and no time for things like TV binging (even though all of the good shows seem to be coming out right now).
It turns out there are more benefits to “wasting” time than it seems. In addition to letting your mind recharge, zoning out from stressful work is also redeeming in itself.
The catch? It doesn’t quite work if you’re constantly berating yourself for being distracted, one study found. Even things that seem to increase productivity, like Inbox Zero (remember that fad?) can do more harm than good.
So how do you keep from burning out?
- Rule #1: Don’t multitask. It’s not actually helping you to accomplish more things.
- Rule #2: Take breaks. And when you do, make sure you actually put your never ending to-do list out of your mind.
- Rule #3: Clock out. It’s not just a myth, work really does expand to fill the time allotted; set deadlines and stick to them.
Interview Question of the Day
You have eight marbles. Seven have the exact same mass—the other is heavier. Using a balance, how would you find the heaviest marble by measuring only twice?
Stat of the Day
$199.7 million—Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s 2016 compensation, according to regulatory filings released Friday. Not a bad reward for overseeing a 17.8% jump in Google’s ad revenue last year.