Stifel Bits

July 19, 2023

The Appetizer

“Ladies and gentlemen, please, if you are opening a bottle of champagne, don’t do it as the players are about to serve.”

  • Tennis Umpire John Blom in an announcement to fans at a recent Wimbledon match.

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

  • 16: The age of Mirra Andreeva, who reached the last round of 16 at Wimbledon.
  • 11.5%: How much global PC shipments fell by this past quarter on a yearly basis. This follows two consecutive quarters of over 30% declines.
  • 27 minutes: The average wait time at Orlando’s Magic Kingdom this past July 4. It was 47 minutes in 2019.
  • 119 years: How long a book was overdue at a Massachusetts library. It was recently returned after being spotted by a librarian in West Virginia.
  • 1.82%: The yield on 10-year Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) on July 7. This was the highest yield since 2009.

Dig In
Prime Day

It’s that time again! Amazon’s Prime Day wrapped up last week. So did Target’s Circle Week, Walmart+ Week, and Best Buy’s Black Friday in July … In other words, what better time to check in on the consumer than now? Spoiler alert: they’re still spending.

Amazon created Prime Day in 2015 to boost sales during the slower summer months. Since then, it’s become an important date not only for retailers and shoppers, but also for economists and investors looking for insight on the consumer ahead of the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons. Here’s some things we learned right off the bat.

First, the two-day event generated $12.7 billion in sales, beating last year’s record by 6.1% and showing the consumer is still chugging along. We also learned consumers have become more thoughtful, favoring home goods and basics over electronics this year, and they may have been waiting for a sale (appliance purchases spiked 52%!).

We’ve talked about the economy being in the later innings for a while now. But with stronger than expected first quarter growth, falling inflation, and positive consumer spending on Prime Day, we think the economy may still have something left in the tank.

Weekly Specials

The Food and Drug Administration recently gave full approval for the first drug to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. While it isn’t a cure, the medication has shown the ability to slow cognitive decline by 27% over an 18-month span.

Taylor broke Ticketmaster … again! Sales for several European shows halted after Swifties were unable to access the ticket seller’s site to pay for their seats. We’ll say it again … being a Swiftie is hard work!

North Carolina took the top spot for the second year in a row when CNBC released its 2023 list of top states for businesses last week. The Tar Heel State boasts a strong workforce, healthy economic growth, and lots of housing starts. At the opposite end, Alaska took the bottom spot for the third time in five years.

Be careful what you text. A Canadian court ruled that a farmer owes $82,000 for a contract breach after he responded to a photo of a contract with a thumbs-up emoji.

Who knew our old friend the Webb Space Telescope could take baby photos? To celebrate its first year of taking photographs, NASA released Webb’s latest picture showing the birth of 50 stars 390 light-years away.

In case you missed it, the Commerce Department revised its assessment of U.S. economic growth up sharply upward for the first quarter. The revised 2.0% growth rate is still a slowdown from the 2.6% growth seen in last year’s fourth quarter, but shows the consumer continues to spend despite higher interest rates and higher-than-desired inflation.

If you’ve ever been frustrated that it takes so long for payments to hit your bank account, you’re in luck. The Federal Reserve will be launching FedNow later this month that will allow payments made in the U.S. banking system to be available immediately.

Corporate Lunch

Uber, DoorDash, and Grubhub are suing New York City over a minimum wage law which they say could lead to higher costs and reduced service that would impact customers, couriers, and the city’s restaurants.

Domino’s stock jumped more than 10% as the pizza chain partners with Uber for food orders. Do the Uber drivers also have to follow the infamous slogan, “We’ll deliver in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free!”?

Burger King released a sandwich in Thailand that is just 20 slices of cheese on a hamburger bun, sounds like the grilled cheese I make at home.

Twitter threatens to sue Meta over allegations it hired former Twitter employees and stole trade secrets in creating Threads. Either way Meta is happy as Threads hit 100 million users, surpassing ChatGPT as the fastest growing platform to hit that milestone. Wow.

Disney is exploring strategic options to sell or find a joint venture partner for its Star India digital and TV business.

NASA’s crash dummies just orbited the moon, testing the new Orion capsule ahead of the manned Artemis 2 mission in 2024.

The global music industry surpassed 1 trillion streams at the fastest pace, ever, in a calendar year, Luminate’s 2023 Midyear Report has found. Specifically, Spanish and Korean language music are the most popular when taking a look at the top 10,000 most streamed songs.

The New York Times is shutting down its sports desk, but they plan to offer even more sports coverage now via The Athletic.

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