Stifel Bits

December 14, 2022

The Appetizer

“Of course Brazil is the favorite …favorites can also lose.”

  • Croatia captain Luka Modric after his team knocked out Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinals.

Now, on to the numbers. Drum roll, please …

  • 4.17%: The yield on the 2-year Treasury, up 3.44% since the start of the year.
  • -36.92%: The decline in the communication services sector year to date, the S&P 500’s worst-performing sector.
  • 3.7%: The November unemployment rate in the U.S.
  • +$200M: The salary offered to Cristiano Ronaldo by Saudi Arabian soccer team Al-Nassr.
  • 10 billion: The number of baguettes the French eat per year, or about 320 per second, according to France’s Observatoire du Pain (“Bread Observatory” in English).

Dig In
The Robots Are Coming

The labor market has been resilient this year, keeping the economy out of a recession and allowing the Federal Reserve to aggressively tighten monetary policy. So what’s keeping the jobs party going? Well, beneath the surface there may be a structural shift taking place in the workforce.

AC (After-COVID), the labor participation rate is down. Even with hiring slightly cooling from last year, there are still 1.7 jobs for every unemployed worker. This is causing some imperfect job matches and prolonged labor shortages.

Not naming any places, but have you ordered takeout and after an hour the food still wasn’t ready? Retailers, restaurants, and other consumer-facing businesses don’t have enough workers, so they are resorting to robots and automation. A 2021 survey found that 25% of retailers already had robotics solutions in place, and almost half said they “will be involved” with robotics pretty soon.

From surgical robots to at-home vacuum robots, robots are making their way into every aspect of our lives. As we move forward, we’ll be watching for industries able to automate and improve efficiencies while also reskilling their workforces to adopt automation and AI technologies.

Weekly Specials

Are you feeling like you need a mortgage to buy a new car? Blame the global semiconductor shortage, which is even worse in China after the U.S. enacted new export curbs in October. Secondhand and out-of-date semiconductors currently sell at 500 times their original cost, leading one woman to attempt smuggling more than 200 in her “baby bump.”

The “Swifties” are still angry they couldn’t get tickets to Taylor’s upcoming tour, so they’re taking Ticketmaster to court. More than two dozen fans sued the ticket company for anticompetitive and fraudulent behavior, alleging the company blocked them from buying tickets.

If you’re reading this from your bed, with takeout boxes strewn about – you may be in goblin mode. The Oxford English Dictionary announced the term as its word of the year after it received 93% of a public vote.

A dancing guest conductor took a recent concert by New York-based Chelsea Symphony to a whole other level. You’ll have to watch for yourself, but let’s just say that he “kilt” it.

Corporate Lunch

Uber is surely in the “soft landing” camp, as its CEO said the firm does not plan to cut jobs and sees “zero signs of weakness.”

Apple delayed the target launch of its car to 2026. Development of the Apple car began back in 2014 under the name “Project Titan.”

PepsiCo will cut jobs across North America in its snacks and beverage units.

Microsoft signed a 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo gaming platforms.

Toyota continues to go after the value segment of the market by offering 10% off the cost of Prius leases if drivers opt in to receive regular software updates to safety features. The program is an effort to preserve used car values.

A new McDonald’s holiday promotion offers customers the chance to win free food for life.

Delta pilots made a new contract deal and are now getting a 30% raise in pay over four years. Big win for the pilots’ union and aviators across the industry.

SpaceX unveils “Starshield,” a military variation of Starlink satellites.

Twitter is reportedly bringing back GIF profile pictures and working on making available long-form tweets.

drawing of a table setting

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