Viral Stories of the Week: September 25
Oct 1, 2023
What’s up tastynation! Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekly Dose! Each week, I recap the top stories from Daily Dose. If you missed any eps, you can catch up on them here.
Let’s get to this week’s recap.
Republicans appeal to far right to avoid shutdown : With just a week before Washington runs out of money to keep the federal government operating fully, warring factions within the Republican Party in the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday showed no signs of coming together to pass a stopgap funding bill. Update: as of Friday, it appears the House was no closer to reaching a resolution. The government shutdown will have broad effects on all aspects of the economy, but it will be especially painful for people dealing with multiple financial crises. Look, the only way we can fix this is to get Taylor Swift to start dating House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Then fans will care enought to buy America “merch,” aka bonds, ushering in a new era of prosperity.
Arm and Instacart add to losses : Shares of Arm (ARM) and Instacart (CART) deepened their recent losses after analysts gave lukewarm ratings to the two companies that recently held highly anticipated IPOs. The weak performances of Arm and Instacart's stocks since their market debuts add to doubts about whether a hoped-for revival in IPOs will materialize after a drought of more than 18 months. All future IPOs will be on hold if the government goes into shutdown mode. That caused the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to release a hilarious memo, advising businesses to move their IPOs to Friday—the last working day before the possible shutdown. Birkenstock may be taking not because it was slated to be the next up for an IPO. But i’s not like catching a plane to Tampa, SEC. You can’t just move up your IPO the way you can move up your flight.
Amazon is bringing ads to Prime Video : Amazon (AMZN) announced its streaming video service—which costs $14.99 a month—will now show a limited number of ads shown during its TV shows and movies. Viewers can opt out by paying an extra $3.99 a month to Amazon, a company that literally makes a billion dollars a minute.
Bye bye Bird-e scooters: Bird (BRDS), the scooter company once valued at over $2.5 billion dollars, announced itssac stock was being delisted from the NYSE because of its inability to lift its market cap to $15 million. Bird went public in 2021 through a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that has lost 80% of its valuation. Man, what a crappy end to a wild story. You can’t swing a cat (please don’t do that, the cats hate it) without hitting a discarded scooter from a multitude of companies. Honestly, I have never ridden one of these scooters. They scare the crap out of me, and that’s coming from someone who owns two motorcycles.
Tinder wants you to find love, for $500: Tinder (MTCH) has made finding your special person a little bit easier and a lot more expensive. Tinder has rolled out a new ultra-premium VIP subscription model that enables users to literally search for love for a measly $499 a month (or about $6,000 annually). Yes, the new feature will allow you to “shoot your shot” at anyone who has ever used the app. You can literally holler at people you never even matched with. So here’s your chance to try out your subpar pickup lines on anyone on the planet. I have used Tinder, and I can say with certainty that nothing on the entire app is worth $500. But shooters shoot, so good luck!
SEC cracks down on WhatsApp usage by Wall Street: Man, the SEC really hates it when they’re not included in the group chat. The SEC has collected thousands of staff messages from more than a dozen major investment companies, escalating its probe into Wall Street's use of private messaging apps, said four people with direct knowledge of the matter. The firms are pushing back on the probe, calling the crackdown onerous and frivolous. The firms have been fined $99 million in penalties. The investigation focused on private texts using apps like WhatsApp from Meta (META).
Amazon invests in AI: E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN) on Monday said it will invest up to $4 billion in the privately held artificial intelligence firm Anthropic and take a minority ownership position in the company. The two companies said Monday they are forming a strategic collaboration to advance generative AI, with the startup selecting Amazon Web Services as its primary cloud provider. Amazon has realized that the only way to keep your stock from moving sideways forever is to mention the word AI every fourth word during your next earnings call.
ChatGPT can now 'speak': Privately held OpenAI’s ChatGPT can now “see, hear and speak,” or at least understand spoken words and respond with a synthetic voice and process images. The update to the chatbot enables users to opt into voice conversations on ChatGPT’s mobile app and choose from five synthetic voices for the bot. "Papa, can you see me? Papa, can you hear me?" We are in a chatbot arms race as companies like Meta (META), Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOGL) work to provide updates to an ever-evolving technology.
Costco to offer healthcare: Costco (COST) is now offering members online health checkups for as little as $29. The retailer is providing the new service in partnership with Sesame, a direct-to-consumer health care marketplace that connects medical providers nationwide with consumers. Costco reported earnings this week, as well announcing it is inexplicably selling gold bars. Update: they are all sold out. I love being able to buy a 10-lb bag of frozen smoothie mix, a lifetime supply of cat food and some gold bars all in the same trip.
FTC sues Amazon: Amazon (AMZN) is facing its first set of antitrust charges from the U.S. federal government after the Federal Trade Commission filed its long-anticipated lawsuit against the e-commerce and cloud giant. The litany of complaints accuses Amazon of wielding its “monopoly power” to raise prices artificially, degrade quality for shoppers and stifle competition. You can hear Tom Sosnoff and Dylan Ratigan tackle the topic on Truth of Skepticism here.
Vegas hospitality workers authorize a strike: Tens of thousands of Las Vegas hospitality workers fighting for new union contracts voted to authorize a strike that could affect more than three dozen casinos and hotels—the city’s economic backbone. The Culinary Workers Union hasn’t gone on strike in more than three decades. A few major Las Vegas resorts are still recovering from a major cyberattack. The hospitality workers would join the United Auto Workers, who are currently on strike. Teamsters working for United Parcel Service (UPS) were on strike earlier this year, and Hollywood’s screenwriters resolved their several-hundred-days-long-strike this week.
The new iPhone is hot ... literally: iPhone owners have had Apple’s (AAPL) latest release in their hot little hands for a week now, and their hands are getting, well, hot. iPhone users are reporting the phone's supercomputing power means the device sometimes gets too hot to the touch. Especially when using the mobile gaming features or filming video in high-res 4K. Others report the phones get hot just from charging. Apple has promised software updates will address the issue.
Adidas tests the limits of the shoe market with $500 sneaker: Adidas (ADDYY) and rival Nike (NKE) are locked in a “supershoe” war. The latest shot across the bow is from Adidas. Its newest running shoes, worn by Ethiopia's Tigist Assefa to set a new women's marathon world record in Berlin, went on sale this week with an eye-watering price tag of $500. It's called the Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 and costs $225 more than Nike's equivalent Alphafly 2, raising the question of how many amateur runners will swallow the extra expense. Looks like you can say Adizero Adios to your money. Idk who needs to spend $500 on shoes but running is the worst hobby of all time. Fight me.
Exotic stock trade brought to the masses: An under-the-radar options trade beloved by hedge funds pouncing on stock dislocations is entering the mainstream. The Cboe S&P 500 Dispersion Index (DSPX), created to capture the difference in prices of options between the equity gauge and its underlying constituents, made its debut this week. Go forth and disperse!
America wants to tap that ... but can't: America’s emergency oil stockpile has plunged to 40-year lows. The shrinking Strategic Petroleum Reserve is limiting Washington’s ability to shield consumers from the fallout of Saudi Arabia’s aggressive supply cuts, according to Goldman Sachs. The Oil market was all over the place this week on the news. Goldman Sachs expects oil prices to stay high, averaging $100 a barrel this time next year.
Marijuana legislation—puff, puff—passes a crucial step: A new bill aimed at establishing a safe harbor for financial institutions serving legal marijuana businesses cleared a big hurdle in the Senate. The Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation Banking Act was introduced by a bipartisan group of senators last week. If passed, the bill paves the way for the sector to secure greater financing. Pot stocks like Tilray (TLRY), Chronos (CRON) and the Pure US Cannabis ETF (MSOS) had small moves this week.
Peloton shares surge on Lulu merge: Peloton (PTON) and Lululemon (LULU) have announced a five-year strategic partnership. Peloton will develop digital fitness content for Lululemon, while Lululemon will become Peloton’s primary athletic apparel provider. Peloton is one of the former pandemic darling stocks that has struggled since the pandemic. Earlier in the week, Peloton was downgraded, but the Lulu news sent the stock up to end the week. According to suburban moms everywhere this deal is a total slam dunk.
Happy Last Trading Day of the Quarter: All eyes are on the market as we near the end of Q3. A $16 billion JP Morgan (JPM) fund, expected to reset its options positions on Friday, is drawing traders' attention as a potential source of additional volatility at the end of the worst month for U.S. stocks this year. We don’t hold much weight in this one fund moving the market, but we are waiting with baited breath to see who will win the tasty Q3 guess the SPX contest.
GameStop names Ryan Cohen as CEO: Ryan Cohen was appointed GameStop’s (GME) CEO, president and chairman this week. He won’t receive compensation for his work. The move comes more than three months after GameStop fired then-CEO Matthew Furlong. Cohen, who founded the popular pet company Chewy (CHWY), is a bit of an internet Meme King and his bets in GME during the meme stock frenzy of 2021 helped cement his legacy.
Coked-out pilot causes controversy: A British Airways pilot snorted coke off a topless woman’s chest while partying hard in South Africa before he attempted to groggily fly a jam-packed flight to London, according to a report. This is the single greatest lede to a story I have ever read. The pilot had one night to lose his damn mind in Johannesburg which apparently involved booze, babes and a bunch of cocaine. He then texted a coworker, “I’ve been a naughty boy.” The flight was canceled and he was fired. I mean if you're gonna go, go out like Tony Montana.
Taylor Swift puts Travis Kelce on the map: Swift mania has swept the nation into becoming seriously invested in the romantic relationship between the most famous pop star in the world, Taylor Swift, and some dude in Missouri who catches a ball, Travis Kelce. Swift is so powerful that people are willing to pay for New York Jets tickets. News that the star is rumored to be attending this Sunday’s game to see Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce has sent prices soaring more than 40%—from $83 to $119—according to TickPick, an online marketplace. Heinz (KHC) is also cashing in on the trend with the release of a new sauce.
WARLORD: Warlord is the hottest Chicago restaurant you’ve never heard of. Get the lowdown on this new dining spot.
That’s it for this week! See ya next week!
Vonetta Logan has more than a decade of markets experience and has been a trader for five years. She is an on-air personality, creative writer and news correspondent at tastylive, She appears Monday-Friday on Daily Dose and contributes to Luckbox Magazine. @vonettalogan
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