Stifel Bits

August 2, 2023

The Appetizer

“When it gets too hot, people move away from ice cream and buy a cold drink instead.”

  • Unilever chief financial officer Graeme Pitkethly, saying heat waves may not help ice cream sales.

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

  • 170° F: The potential temperature of pavement on a hot day, where even eggs would rather stay sunny-side down.
  • $332 million: The amount that Saudi soccer team Al-Hilal has apparently offered to sign French soccer player Kylian Mbappe from his current team.
  • ~20%: The decline in new EV prices from their peak of $66,390 in June 2022.
  • 5.25%-5.5%: The new target rate for the fed funds rate, a 22-year high.
  • 67,000: The shortfall of workers by 2030 that the U.S. semiconductor industry will face.
  • ~$3.1 trillion: The market cap of Apple – more than the entire Russell 2000 Index market cap of approximately $2.5 trillion.

Dig In
Is Cash Still King?

As we pull on the string of our New Consumer investment theme, one thing is becoming clear: cash may no longer be king. Right now, 41% of Americans say they don’t use cash for any of their weekly purchases, while 70% of our interns – truly new consumers – said they “rarely” or “never” use cash. Instead, they’re using apps.

If you’re still unsure what’s the big deal with Apple Pay, Zelle, or any of the other peer-to-peer payment services, that’s okay! They’re more than just digital credit cards. Much like switching money between your checking and savings accounts, these apps facilitate digital money transfers from your bank account to other people or businesses in real time, making life easier by eliminating the ATM line, remembering PINs, heavy wallets … (ok, let’s not go that far).

Let’s face it: People want their money, and they want it now. Think the Federal Reserve (Fed) has noticed? You bet! The Fed’s new FedNow Service went live a couple of weeks ago, allowing banks to send money to each other instantly, 24/7/365.

So is cash still the king? We think the New Consumer is making waves, and the tide is changing.

Weekly Specials

Leon Marchand, a French swimmer, recently smashed Michael Phelps’ last remaining world record in the 400-meter individual medley by more than a second. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s huge in swimming!

Mustard goes great on burgers, hot dogs, and brats. But Skittles? That’s a stretch. This summer, French’s Mustard has collaborated with Skittles to celebrate National Mustard Day (August 5) with a mustard-flavored Skittle. Don’t worry, they won’t be in the normal packs – you’ll have to catch up to the Mustard Mobile to be (un)lucky enough to try them.

There was good news for online shoppers, and really anyone looking to send and receive packages, when UPS and the Teamsters union reached a deal to avoid a potential strike. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, UPS moves approximately 5% of our country’s gross domestic product ($3.8 billion worth of goods) every day.

Don’t be surprised if you see Floridians trying to poach eggs in the ocean – the water near the Everglades and Florida Keys recently hit a sizzling 100 degrees Farenheit. Ocean temps typically range between 73 and 88 degrees this time of year.

Aretha Franklin’s “couch will” is a fascinating tale! Despite having a formal will, the Michigan court ruled that two handwritten notes found in her couch were her true final wishes. It goes to show that laws vary in each state, so it’s wise to work with trusted financial, tax, and legal professionals to craft a will that secures your financial legacy as you intend. Better safe than sorry!

Corporate Lunch

American Airlines raised its offer for a new pilot contract by more than $1 billion to match the United’s deal. Who knew you could become a billionaire flying planes!

Spotify is raising the price of its premium plan in U.S. by $1 in attempt to offset losses from podcast cuts and higher music royalties.

Reuters suspects more than half of the initial 100 million Threads users have left the platform based on comments made by Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg at an internal company town hall.

GM raised its profit target for the year by at least $1 billion and said second quarter earnings beat on stronger-than-expected U.S. sales. Fun fact: GM’s best-selling vehicle of 2022 was the Chevy Silverado.

The Federal Trade Commission sued Amazon, alleging the company has tricked millions of consumers into signing up for its Prime subscription service.

Kraft Heinz looks to attract younger consumers with Maxwell House brand instant iced latte with foam … the future is now.

Trader Joe’s announced a recall of two types of cookies, stating they may contain rocks … I just told myself the crunch was the almonds.

TSMC, the world’s largest chipmaker, says it plans to invest $2.9 billion to build an advanced chip plant in Taiwan, as it expands production to meet booming demand for artificial intelligence products.

Google is painting the story for a changing advertising market, reporting a standout quarter on acceleration in search advertising growth.

Meta is making its way back, after reporting revenue increased 11% from a year earlier, the first time the company has reported double-digit growth since the end of 2021.

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