Stifel Bits

September 20, 2023

The Appetizer

“I want to make it very clear: Zach is our quarterback”

  • New York Jets Coach Robert Saleh, following social media speculation of who may replace Aaron Rodgers following his injury.

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

  • €14.50: The cost of a liter of beer at this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
  • $135 billion: The estimated amount for jobless benefits paid out by U.S. states during the coronavirus pandemic that may have arisen from fraudulent claims.
  • 580,000: The number of gallons of red wine that rushed down a street in a small town in Portugal after two storage holding tanks burst open.
  • 27%: The percentage of all options activity that came from individual investors as of June 2023, up from 23% in the start of 2020, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
  • 20%: The percentage of U.S college-educated workers who fear being made obsolete by technology, up from 8% two years ago.
  • 2.3%: The decline in the real median household income in America in 2022, ending at $74,580.

Dig In
Three Cracks in the Strong Labor Market

As the Federal Reserve (Fed) continued its rate hikes this year, it’s become apparent that the economy is out of balance. Higher interest rates should cool a hot jobs market and help bring inflation down. Instead, the labor market thinks it’s the Energizer Bunny: It keeps going … and going … and going. But recent data suggest cracks may be forming in the labor market’s strength.

August’s nonfarm payroll report – which excludes farming, private households, proprietors, nonprofit employees, and active military – may show one such crack. While adding 187,000 new jobs is better than expected, it’s much lower than the 289,000 averaged earlier this year. Coupled with downward revisions to June and July’s numbers, it appears there’s a slowdown underway.

Two more cracks we’re watching are the unemployment rate and the number of job openings. August’s unemployment reading jumped meaningfully from 3.5% to 3.8%, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2.4 million fewer jobs in July than at the start of the year.

While a slowdown in the labor market may seem like bad news, it could actually allow the Fed to stop hiking rates. Score! Check out Sight|Lines for a deeper dive.

Weekly Specials

The hunt is on! Since the pound plunged last year, Americans have been snapping up some of Scotland’s most expensive real estate. Must-haves include castles and prime locations near historic golf courses. Americans now represent 4% of buyers compared to just 1% in 2019.

Daylight drama in Venice! Travelers are accustomed to a nightly tourism tax tacked onto their hotel bill, but daytime taxes were unheard of until now! In a move to combat excessive tourism, Venice plans to introduce a new daytime tax of 5 euros for daytrippers starting in 2024.

Gross? Lewis Pugh, a 53-year-old Englishman, just swam all 315 miles of the Hudson River in nothing but a Speedo, swim cap, and googles. He hopes his month-long journey will inspire people to continue to care for the environment, noting that the Hudson had become a dumping ground for New Yorkers until cleanup efforts started in the 1970s.

Aaron Rodgers’s season came to an abrupt end when he suffered an Achilles tear just four plays into his Jets regular season debut. The 39-year-old quarterback’s contract guarantees $75 million for this season and next. So who steps up to replace him? The Jets put any Tom Brady speculation to rest before it even started.

Higher gas prices pushed the consumer price index (CPI) up 0.6% in August, the largest inflation jump in more than a year. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, only rose 0.3%. With the labor market appearing to slow down but inflation ticking upward, we’ll be watching the Fed closely to see if their rate hike pause continues.

Corporate Lunch

Warning: This week’s Corporate Lunch contains a lot of update on food, do not read if you are hungry.

The geniuses who blessed us with Smuckers Uncrustables and the world-famous Twinkie are joining forces to take over snack time. J.M. Smucker is set to buy Hostess for $5.6 billion, a number that sent TWNK stock flying 19% the day of announcement.

Dunkin’ is not holding back for fall 2023. The new Ice Spice Munchkins Drink contains actual pumpkin-flavored donuts in it.

McDonald’s is getting rid of self-serve soda machines … by 2032. The chain is keeping its spicy Sprite in the kitchen since seemingly everyone orders delivery or gets drive-thru now.

Coca Cola’s new soda “from the future” is ironically available right now. The Y3000 beverage was formulated leveraging AI to forecast consumer preferences based on past trends and imagine what “the future tastes like.”

Fresh Apple tech is coming soon. Check it out here! Spoiler: A new feature on the Apple Watch will allow you to tap your fingers together to end a phone call. Science, man. Most importantly, the new iPhone will come in pink!

Ford plans to double output of hybrid F-150 trucks as fully electric vehicle sales have slowed down. This is a strategic move to hedge against consumers’ reluctance to go all electric.

drawing of a table setting

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook YouTube Instagram

One Financial Plaza | 501 North Broadway | St. Louis, Missouri 63102
Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated | Member SIPC & NYSE |

Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against loss.

Indices are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index that is generally considered representative of the U.S. large capitalization market.

Past performance is not indicative of future results.

If you no longer wish to receive Stifel Bits click here. Please note you will still receive electronic communication as it pertains to your account(s).