Stifel Bits

April 12, 2023

The Appetizer

“Obviously to get one was special, but to get the second one was a bit surreal.”

  • Seamus Power, who hit two holes-in-one at the Masters Tournament Par 3 Contest.

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

  • 27,000+ feet: The depth of a recording of a once-unknown snailfish off the coast of Japan, the deepest-swimming fish ever caught on camera. Luckily, it is not as scary looking as the Finding Nemo fish.
  • $2.2 million: The bid for Michael Jordan’s “Last Dance” game shoes on their first day at auction, likely to become the most expensive sneakers ever auctioned.
  • 41%: The percentage of Americans who don’t use cash for regular weekly purchases. Experts recommend carrying no more than three cards (one debit) and $30 dollars. What’s in your wallet?
  • 29 minutes: The average wait time to speak with an IRS representative in 2022, up from nine minutes in 2019.
  • 18%: The share of callers who actually got through to an IRS agent during the 2022 filing season, down from 59% in 2019.
  • 90%: The percentage of voters that backed a referendum to ban e-scooter rentals in Paris.

Dig In
Get ready, moon, here we come!

NASA made headlines last week when it announced its first moon crew in more than 50 years. Unfortunately, the four astronauts of Artemis II won’t actually land on the moon. Instead, they’ll do a flyby late next year to test the new spacecraft and pave the way for a moon landing in 2025.

That’s exciting, but when astronaut Gene Cernan stepped off the moon in December 1972, we didn’t feel the need to go back. What gives?

Part of it is just that: It is exciting, and the challenges have inspired engineers and scientists all over the world. Landing on the moon and establishing a permanent presence there requires a lot of science and innovation – which will hopefully give us a better understanding our solar system, while also producing new technologies and infrastructure that could make deeper space travel possible (Mars, you’re next!) and make our earthly lives better.

Believe it or not, our last moonshot still benefits us today. Things like digital vehicle controls, shock absorbers, and rechargeable hearing aids came out of the Apollo program – just to name a few.

So what’s the Artemis program have in store? We can’t wait to find out!

Weekly Specials

On the fence about having pets around your young kids? A new study found that exposure to dogs and cats during fetal development and infancy may decrease the chance of the child developing a food allergy by as much as 16%. Watch out for hamsters, though: Hamster-exposed kids were twice as likely to develop a nut allergy.

The number of job openings in February slipped below 10 million for the first time in two years. That’s good news for the inflation fight and could be the first step the labor market easing. However, there’s more work to do – 9.9 million openings is still a lot higher than the 7 million open positions before the pandemic.

The good news for Californians is their snowpack is 237% more than normal this year, which should provide some relief for the recent drought. The bad news is that it’s 237% more than normal, which could cause major flooding when it melts this spring. So far, this year is the fourth wettest on California’s record.

Well, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is no longer a family affair. The McMahon family, who controlled the WWE for decades, struck a $9.3 billion deal with Endeavor Group Holdings. Endeavor already runs UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and plans to cross-promote brands to reach an estimated 1.9 billion fans globally.

A couple weeks ago, we noted rising populations in cities across the Sunbelt were causing more traffic jams, so it should come as no surprise that those areas also had the hottest job markets in 2022. Nashville took the top spot, followed by Austin, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida. But here’s a brain twister: Which came first – the people or the jobs?

Corporate Lunch

“To Infinity and Beyond” – That’s the saying right? Well, Bed Bath and Beyond might not even make it to infinity, as it announced another stock offering of $300 million, warning it will likely need to file for bankruptcy protection if it doesn’t work out.

L’Oréal will buy Australian luxury cosmetics brand Aesop for an enterprise value of $2.5 billion, a move to grow its presence in high-end cosmetics with international expansion.

Bakery chain Panera Bread rolled out Amazon’s palm-scanning technology for contactless payment for loyalty members in-store in St. Louis. Customers can now expect personalized recommendations and first-name greetings.

Amazon and Microsoft were accused by UK regulators of limiting competition in the cloud services market, and the country’s antitrust agency recommended an in-depth probe.

Mastercard will require all banks issuing its payments cards to use sustainable materials starting in 2028. Apparently the card can “bend hundreds of times,” so no need to worry.

Twitter is struggling to sell users on its new subscription product, Twitter Blue. Only 116,000 people signed up for the service of 2.6 million people who visited the Twitter Blue sales page in March … Come on, Elon.

Tesla had another record quarter of deliveries … 422,875 to be exact, which is 36% higher than a year ago. Okay, Elon … you’re forgiven.

Walmart outlined its growth strategy, unveiling its next-generation supply chain. Apparently, by the end of fiscal year 2026 Walmart believes ~65% of stores will be serviced by automation and ~55% of the fulfillment center volume will move through automated facilities.

drawing of a table setting

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