“I elect to get my 2,600 or 2,700 calories a day from things that make me feel good” — Warren Buffett, at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting. The legendary investor feels that the happiness he gets from drinking Coca-Cola (which Berkshire is invested in) prevails over the benefits of eating more vegetables. Are we going to question the most successful investor in the world?
- Though U.S. stocks finished lower on Friday, both the Dow and S&P had a positive April—for their third and second straight months, respectively. Lonely Nasdaq finished negative for a seventh straight day, despite early gains
- European markets dropped again on Friday to record their biggest weekly drop in over two months, dragged down by declining travel and leisure stocks
Alternatives to Watch
- The yen jumped to an 18-month high against the dollar, as inaction from both countries’ central banks continues to weaken the dollar and strengthen the yen
Eurozone Growth Shocks the World
On Friday, the Eurozone released its first estimate of first-quarter GDP at 0.6%, or 2.2% annualized. The number is sure to be revised, and currently doesn’t include estimates publicly available for Germany and Italy. Nonetheless, the number beat out first-quarter growth both in the U.S. and U.K. Not to jinx it, but things look promising: Eurozone unemployment fell to 10.2% (still not great) in March, down a percentage point from a year ago. However, inflation came in at negative 0.2% for April, and the European Commission remains pessimistic, forecasting just 1% for the year. Now let’s see about those revisions.
FTC Charges Venmo
“Just Venmo me.” We hear and say this phrase all the time. That might be in jeopardy, however: the popular money-transfer service owned by PayPal is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for potentially engaging in “dangerous or unfair practices.” What does this mean? We’ll level with you—we don’t actually know. For its part, the FTC hasn’t given many details, but PayPal has conceded that it might have to pay legal fees and change the way Venmo operates. In the interim, by all means keep charging your mooching friends.
More Classic Valeant
Another Valeant story? You betcha. Remember when Valeant decided to postpone filing its annual report? We barely remember ourselves. Well, the troubled pharmaceutical giant hampered by an accounting scandal and that whole price-gouging controversy finally got around to it. Prognosis? Not that bad, and a debt default no longer seems likely. But Valeant isn’t out of the woods yet, as the annual report showed some predatory pricing on nonstandard revenue transactions. Bonus: Warren Buffett called Valeant’s business model “enormously flawed.” Nope, definitely not out of the woods yet.
Snapchat X Rio
If there’s a time to stay current with your Snapchat feed, it’s this summer. That’s right, Rio is hitting your phone. Snapchat is partnering with NBC and the 2016 Summer Olympics to provide a fresh, mobile perspective to its users. It’ll be like you’re in the middle of the event, all in one Snapchat-curated story. The motive for NBC is clear: it wants to pull in younger viewers (who aren’t watching the Olympics as much as old folks), so what better platform to partner with than Snapchat? It’s also big news for the Snapchat community: free access to the world’s largest sporting event in the palm of your hand? Not too shabby.
- Company behind ‘American Idol’ files for bankruptcy
- Low oil prices pinch Exxon and Chevron earnings
- If Yahoo is sold, Marissa Mayer could walk away with $54.8 million
- TiVo agrees to $1.1 billion acquisition by Rovi
- Monday: AIG, Ferrari Earnings; ISM Manufacturing Index; Construction Spending
- Tuesday: Pfizer, CVS, HSBC, UBS, Estee Lauder, Halliburton, CBS, Sprint, Starwood, Hyatt Hotels, Zillow Earnings; Auto Sales
- Wednesday: Tesla, Kraft, Fitbit, Anheuser-Busch, Whole Foods, Royal Dutch Shell, Priceline, Time Warner, Twenty-First Century Fox, MetLife Earnings; International Trade; Factory Orders, ISM Non-Manufacturing Index; Private Employment Report
- Thursday: Alibaba, GoPro, Merck, Yelp, Time Inc, Kellogg, Activision, MGM Resorts, Square, AMC Networks, SeaWorld Earnings; Weekly Jobless Claims
- Friday: April Jobs Report
PRIVATE SCHOOLS CAN’T GET IT RIGHT
Yes, college tuition is through the roof, but that doesn’t mean colleges are doing well. In fact, many of them across America have increasingly been struggling to make ends meet—even some that have been around for decades. How does that work?
- One cause? Sticker shock. With tuition rates on the rise, families who might typically go for a small private school are increasingly opting for the cheaper, larger alternative: public universities.
- The irony here is that in order to convey a sense of prestige, many private schools feel pressured to keep tuition rates high—if tuition rates go down, so might the appeal of an elite private school education. Another layer of irony for you: these same schools lure top students in with significant grants and scholarships, cutting their cash flow.
- It’s not just the price: some colleges have been burdened by huge debt and a downgrade to junk bond credit rating. For example, Franklin Pierce University has $39 million of debt…and an endowment of just $5.2 million.
- Unfortunately, the trend seems to be worsening: Moody’s predicts that the bankruptcy rate of four-year, nonprofit colleges could triple to 15 per year over the next few years.
INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY
What has four sides and is named after a color, but is completely see-through? (Answer)
BUSINESS TERM OF THE DAY
Cost Of Debt — The effective rate that a company pays on its current debt. A company will use various bonds, loans and other forms of debt, so a company’s cost of debt gives a good idea as to the overall rate being paid by the company to use debt financing. This also gives investors insight into how risky a company is, since riskier companies usually have a higher cost of debt.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Maybe it’s because some of its closest competitors have been killing it recently with star-athlete endorsement contracts (*cough cough* Under Armour and Steph Curry), but Nike isn’t taking any chances with this year’s NFL draft class—it has already signed a remarkable 15 rookies. For comparison, Under Armour has signed only one.
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