DraftKings And FanDuel Join Forces, Plus Volkswagen Cuts 30,000 Jobs

“Zuckerberg has let liars and con artists hijack his platform” — The New York Times. Facebook has recently been plagued with spam and fake information, and the NYT is turning up the heat with some seriously scathing words. Translation: Zuck, get your act together.

Market Snapshot

  • The post-election rally appeared to die down on Friday, as markets closed lower with the financial and tech sectors gaining and healthcare stocks falling
  • Facebook (+0.84% after hours) rose after announcing a $6 billion share buyback program, putting the company on the bandwagon that Apple, Google and Microsoft started up over the last few years

The Merger You’ve All Been Waiting For

…DraftKings and FanDuel join forces. That’s right, the two biggest fantasy sports gambling sites have set aside their differences to join the same team. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins will lead the combined fantasy behemoth, and he hopes to invest in new, innovative ideas that the companies couldn’t pursue alone (#synergies?). The goal: get both companies out of their respective slumps. Yep, slumps: the two companies spent a combined $500 million on ads last year. Pair that with pricey lawyer and lobbyist expenses, and you’ve got trouble. Both companies are months behind on payments to vendors and neither have turned a profit. Online gambling can be a cruel mistress indeed.

Volkswagen Cuts 30,000 Jobs

…*Well, kind of. Over the weekend, Volkswagen (-0.34%) woke up and realized it was falling behind in the race for electric and self-driving cars. So it made an early New Year’s resolution that it wants to double its profit margin from 2% to 4%, and that means eliminating 30,000 jobs to save about $4 billion through 2020. Well, there’s a slight asterisk. Because of the power of German unions, VW can only phase out the jobs through early retirement, and will actually have to create new jobs (9,000, to be exact) for electric car production. Labor negotiation at its finest.

Wells Fargo Can’t Catch a Break

…Not that we feel bad or anything. After all, what do you expect when you open over two million fake accounts? In the aftermath of the fallout from its massive scandal, which included a brutal $185 million settlement in September, Wells Fargo (+0.63%) was slammed with sanctions this weekend by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC regulates federal banks, meaning what it says pretty much goes. Over the weekend, the OCC revised its September settlement with the bank, saying it now has to get approval on major business decisions. Long story short, Wells Fargo’s got a babysitter.

Where Did the Popular Kids Go?

…Abercrombie & Fitch reports uncool Q3 earnings. The ex-retailer of choice for 15-year-olds recorded lower revenues for its 15th (count ‘em) consecutive quarter (-13.76%), as sales fell 6.5%. And with same-store sales down 14%, you have to wonder why. The short story: A&F isn’t alone here. Traditional apparel retailers have been losing business to “fast fashion” players like Zara and H&M. Not all hope is lost, though: Abercrombie said that its Hollister brand improved in the quarter.

Other Stories

Economic Calendar

  • Monday: Tyson Foods Earnings
  • Tuesday: HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dollar Tree, Campbell Soup, Urban Outfitters, Cracker Barrel, Barnes and Noble Earnings; Existing Home Sales
  • Wednesday: Deere Earnings; Durable Goods Orders; Weekly Jobless Claims; PMI Manufacturing Index; New Home Sales; Consumer Sentiment
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving Day (Markets Closed)
  • Friday: International Trade; Markets Close Early

Happy Turkey Week

Perhaps Saturday’s cold front didn’t hit you hard enough, but fall is finally turning into winter. And that also means it’s time for the best holiday of the year (America’s second-favorite holiday): Thanksgiving. Bottom line: we’ve got a big week on our hands. While most Americans love the holiday, it’s not the best for everyone (namely turkeys and tight pants). Here are some Turkey Day facts:

  • The average American will consume 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat at their Thanksgiving feast. That’s roughly double the recommended caloric intake for an entire day, let alone a single meal.
  • Nearly 48.7 million Americans will travel for the holiday, the highest number of travelers since 2007. More than one million will travel more than 50 miles from home, a 1.9% increase from last year.
  • One final tip: the average 16 pound, frozen turkey requires five days in the refrigerator to thaw. If you haven’t already, better get that bad boy in the fridge—and if you haven’t picked one up yet, have mercy.

Interview Question of the Day

How is the market affected by Thanksgiving and Black Friday? (Answer)

Video of the Day

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, check out this heartwarming Amazon commercial about two old friends meeting up for a cup of tea: a priest and an imam. Be warned: it’s a tearjerker.

Food for Thought

This Thanksgiving, consumers will give thanks for holiday meal savings, about $3 for every 10 loved ones. Turkey and ham prices are expected to fall as hog and turkey production have rebounded after last year’s outbreaks of the avian flu and pig virus. Looks like there’s room for one more pumpkin pie.

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