We hope you have a better day than the Qantas Airways CEO had yesterday. Here’s your Brew for May 10th.
QUOTE OF THE DAY“I don’t know what brings us out of the doldrums, but I do know this is not a normal resting state” –– Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, commenting on the lack of recent market volatility and stating that we might be in a “bubble of confidence.” The Lloyd has spoken.
- The Nasdaq closed at another all-time high Tuesday, while the Dow and S&P closed slightly down as oil prices fell. We’re into the final few days of earnings reports, whew.
- U.S. Treasury yields continued Monday’s streak, with French and German yields also climbing as volatility stayed near record lows.
Welcome to Google-ville
You probably haven’t heard of Sidewalk Labs. Launched by Google two years ago, the urban design offshoot is led by a former New York City deputy mayor and wants to change the way we live.
Now, the secretive subsidiary wants to scale up to full cities with a “living laboratory” of urban innovations on a dozen acres of Toronto’s waterfront. CEO Dan Doctoroff says a Google-ized city full of green space, energy-efficient buildings and data-driven city services can reduce costs of living by 14%.
Come on down to Toronto, eh?
Canada’s darling BlackBerry may not be the empire it once was (sorry dad), but Toronto is still a major hub for tech and finance.
Innovation, especially in sectors like A.I. and self-driving cars, got a $600 million boost from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau back in March. And, just this week, Uber said it would open a self-driving center in Toronto’s shiny new MaRS Discovery District, one of the largest innovation hubs in the world today.
Wow, Canada looks great. When can I move in?
TBH, probably not for a while. Google has some things to perfect before building the city of tomorrow.
Tech giants didn’t exactly think metropolitan when building their lavish Silicon Valley campuses. They’re far from transit, don’t have enough parking and even their glitzy shuttle busses from San Francisco were protested, attacked and eventually shut down.
With easier-to-get work visas, cheaper healthcare and Justin Trudeau (need we say more?), it’s not hard to see why Canada is looking more and more appealing to companies turned off by President Trump’s policies.
Snap, Crackle or Pop?
(+3.83%) will report its first ever quarterly earnings this afternoon. As Facebook
(-0.38%) continues its all-out feature-copying frenzy, here’s what will be on investors’ minds:
- User growth: Snapchat has already caught Facebook when it comes to teens, despite being an eighth of the size. But, a huge slowdown in user growth has investors worried (they’ve seen what happened to Twitter).
- Revenue: Snap only makes about $2.51 per user from advertising. Facebook, on the other hand, makes almost $20. If it can’t add users, Snap will need to do more with what it has.
- Testing the waters: CEO Evan Spiegel has been pretty quiet these days. Maybe those “poor countries” criticisms taught him a lesson. This afternoon’s call will set a precedent for how Spiegel talks to investors, press and the public.
Wayfair Goes Long, Investors Stay Short
E-commerce furniture retailer Wayfair
(+20.73%) kicked back and relaxed yesterday after handily beating earnings expectations—but not everyone was feeling so comfortable.
Over a third of Wayfair shares are held in short positions, meaning traders are betting against the Boston-based company (long = betting for a stock, short = betting against it. Got it? Good.) When all was said and done, the gamblers had lost around $160 million yesterday alone. No sweat off their backs though, as one prominent short seller has already doubled down. Your move, Wayfair.
No Bits About It
Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Fed and the lone dissenter on March’s rate hike, is looking to the future of money as we know it. You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, a digital currency that needs no government bank in order to function. But blockchain—the tech behind it—could have even more promise, according to Kashkari. Instead of relying on middlemen like banks and clearinghouses, thousands of businesses could communicate directly through the publicly-accessible blockchain.
It’s confusing, we know. But it’s becoming more mainstream, and as officials take digital currencies more seriously, Bitcoin is soaring to new record highs of over $1,700. Looking to invest? Take a page from the Winklevoss’ book (and also check out Coinbase). Check out this Planet Money interview with Kashkari, while you’re at it.
What Else Is Happening…
- Yelp shares plunged 28% after-hours thanks to a slashed earnings outlook
- A techno opera based on Steve Jobs’ life will play in San Francisco
(+0.62%)market cap passed $800 billion, more than the GDP of 183 countries
- First it got eyes, now Amazon Echo has a face (and video calling, too)
- Monday: Marriott (+), Pandora (-) Earnings
- Tuesday: Electronic Arts (+), News Corp (+), Tripadvisor (-), Valeant Pharmaceuticals (+), Walt Disney (-), Yelp (-) Earnings; Job Openings and Labor Turnover (+)
- Wednesday: Snap, Symantec, Time, Toyota, Whole Foods Earnings; Treasury Budget
- Thursday: Macy’s, Nordstrom Earnings; Producer Price Index; Weekly Jobless Claims
- Friday: Baltia Air Lines Earnings; Consumer Price Index; April Retail Sales
Emoji and the Music World
There’s a science behind everything, including emojis. Spotify staff recently posted an analysis of emoji usage on their site. Spotify Insights, the company’s research group, “provides timely, data-driven articles about how people experience music.” Here’s more:
- There are over two billion playlists on Spotify, and nearly 35 million of them have an emoji in their name. Some emojis describe artists, while others represent the theme of a song.
- To measure true relation between emojis and fans, Spotify had to separate distinctiveness from mere popularity. For example, Daft Punk was popularly represented by a smiley with sunglasses––but so were loads of other artists. So Daft Punk gets the robot, instead, because fans gave it the robot more than they did any other artist.
- Lady Gaga is most frequently described with a rainbow emoji, while David Bowie unsurprisingly gets lighting bolt the most.
Interview Question of the Day
What should I know that’s not on your resume?
It’s a tough question to answer after spending hours on that perfect CV. Here’s the best way to frame your weekend hobbies.
Video of the Day
Paella pans are getting fired up for summer barbecues, but do you know how the dish’s signature—and the world’s most expensive—spice is harvested? National Geographic has a mesmerizing look at the life of Saffron.
Stat of the Day
$2.5 billion — How much of Harvard’s endowment the university is preparing to sell. Sound like a lot? It’s actually only about 7% of the $36 billion fund, the largest of any university in the country. But after a negative 2% return last year, it’s now looking to downsize quickly.
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