Stifel Bits

February 1, 2023

The Appetizer

“We could be on the verge of a win-win situation, where we can give workers more free time while not only doing no harm to businesses, but maybe even boosting productivity.”

  • Delegate Vaughn Stewart, representative of Maryland’s 19th district and sponsor of a new bill calling for a four-day workweek.

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

  • $200 million: The amount Justin Bieber made selling his music catalog, the largest sale of any artist in his generation.
  • 37.84%: The percentage of tweets criticizing the J. Edgar Hoover Building’s design, ranked the ugliest building in the U.S.
  • 13.2%: The percentage of remote job postings on LinkedIn last month, down from 20.6% in March 2022.
  • 826,000: The number of people that have been unemployed for 3½ to 6 months in December, up from 526,000 in April 2022.
  • 59.9% and Up to $10,000: The annual increase in egg prices in 2022 and the maximum fine for smugglers sneaking eggs into the U.S.

Dig In
Cicuit Breakers

Stock prices went for a wild ride last Tuesday, when the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) suffered a systems glitch at the opening auction. Turns out, someone forgot to stop Monday night’s routine maintenance in time for the opening bell. The glitch affected around 250 stocks, but volatility was so great for some that it tripped their “circuit breakers” and temporarily halted their trading.

The opening auction is kind of a big deal: It establishes stocks’ official start-of-day pricing. With maintenance still running, the system skipped the opening auction and acted as if trading was already underway … leading to unreliable opening prices and some dramatic price swings.

Fortunately, problems like this are very rare. 1987’s “Black Monday” led to the introduction of circuit breakers that temporarily pause trading following a dramatic decline. Trading is halted for 15 minutes if the S&P 500 drops 7% in a single day and then another 15 minutes if it gets to a 13% decline. Similar rules for single-stock trading came after the “flash crash” in 2010, and there’s been very few problems since then. Even so, investment firms affected by the systems failure can file with the NYSE to have their losses reimbursed. Whew!

Weekly Specials

Large companies’ layoffs have dominated headlines recently, but small and mid-size businesses continue to hire. That’s problematic for markets: A strong labor market may force the Federal Reserve to keep raising rates.

Turducken, meet the Most Oreo Oreo. The cookie brand partnered with Martha Stewart to create its newest limited-edition cookie: an Oreo filled with crème that contains bits of Oreos. There’s more – the package has VR code that grants access to the “Oreoverse,” where consumers can play online games and enter to win prizes.

The war in Ukraine moved the “Doomsday Clock” up to 90 seconds to midnight, the latest it’s ever been. Created by atomic scientists in 1947, the clock shows how close humanity may be to the end of the world. The good news is that time can go backward on this clock.

If you’ve looked up at the night sky and wondered where the stars went, you’re not crazy. A new study found the sky is getting 10% brighter each year – a problem that affects people’s sleep patterns and other animals’ migrations. A major cause of the light pollution growth may be the increased use of LED lights outside.

Corporate Lunch

It’s shaping up to be a weak fourth quarter 2022 earnings season. The estimated earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 is -5.0%. 109 companies are reporting this week.

Microsoft is investing $10 billion (with a B) investment in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.

Google may be sued by the Department of Justice over its digital advertising market dominance. I mean, the term “Google” is already in the dictionary. You can’t take it back.

Amazon announced a new $5 per-month unlimited, generic prescription drug delivery service.

Blackstone is in talks with Bain to sell about half of its stake in Indian REIT Embassy Office Parks in a $480 million deal.

Big Blue (aka IBM for anyone born after 1990) had a pretty good quarter.

Elon Musk put on the Tesla CEO hat and joined the company’s earnings call. He said demand is strong and orders are at almost twice the rate of production.

Bank of America, JPMorgan, and other banks are teaming up to create a digital wallet to rival Apple Pay.

The nation’s largest employer, Walmart, is raising its minimum wage to $14 an hour for store employees. The retail giant employs 2.3 million associates across the globe, jeepers.

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 |

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).