Trump Does Nothing for Twitter; Take That Trump! Tequila Goes Public; Whole Foods Whole Lotta Trouble

(Sigh…)

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The good news from Twitter’s latest earnings report is that its monthly active users increased by 2 million to 319 million accounts.  Although forecasts were for 319.6 million. Just saying.   Revenue also grew 10% to 717.2 million. However, that’s about all the good news there was, because the company missed estimates for revenues of $740.1 million, as ad revenues were lower, falling about .5% from last year’s $710 million to $638 million. In fact, Twitter experienced its slowest quarterly revenue growth since its IPO in 2013. To make matters infinitely worse, shares fell almost 12% on the news, and Twitter can’t afford to lose any more value from its shares. But CEO Jack Dorsey asked for patience, as the company he heads is making some investments into machine learning and figuring out exactly how to engage its advetisers. Seems like a prudent plan. But the bigger story is that President Trump’s tweeting did absolutely nothing for the company. Zero. Nil. Nada. Sure, the world got to see the kind of havoc that can be wreaked with just 140 characters. Unfortunately, that’s about all it did as his tweeting as Twitter reported that it actually experienced slower growth in the quarter that included the election.  According to Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer, Anthony Noto, you can’t expect a “single person to drive sustained growth.” Meaning, Trump had no effect, President or not. The one bright spot – if you can call it that – is that Twitter earned 16 cents a share when estimates for 12 cents.

 Mas tequila, por favor!

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Image courtesy of Searick1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mexico had its first IPO since President Trump won the election back in November. The lucky IPO was tequila maker Jose Cuervo. The world’s biggest tequila company raised $900 million, with shares priced toward the top of the range at 34 pesos. That translates to roughly $1.67 per share. It’s pesos. What did you expect? The IPO had actually been put on hold twice, thanks to Trump, because his anti-NAFTA ambitions and wall-building enthusiasm kept weakening the peso. Interestingly enough, unlike other products, demand for tequila is not based on price. However, its price could get higher if Trump gets his way by slapping some major tariffs on the lime-friendly beverage. A move like that could put a major dent into Jose Cuervo, which gets 64% of its’s $1.165 billion in sales from the United States and Canada. At least Jose Cuervo always had the luxury of enjoying strong dollar-base earnings. That’s got to count for something, right? Problem is that the new expected U.S. protectionist measures could end up hurting that $1.165 billion. But maybe not. Because, after all, this is tequila we’re talking about. So maybe Americans will be willing shell out a few extra dollars.

 

A Whole lotta nothing…

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Whole Foods is looking anything but with its announcement that it will be closing nine stores. It’s the first time in almost a decade that the company had to resort to such measures as this quarter saw sales drop 2.4% when analysts only predicted a drop of 1.7%. Yikes. Whole Foods initially had a plan to open over 1,200 stores, but alas it was not meant to be as increasing competition and higher food prices led to the company’s sixth straight quarter of decreasing same store sales. The chain gained 39 cents per share which is was about what analysts expected, but as for its forecast, things aren’t exactly looking up. Whole Foods still operates 440 stores and believe it or not, six new stores are still expected to open, with another 80 stores in the planning stages.

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Pier 1’s Costly Errors; Twitter CFO Gets Hacked; Apple’s Powering Up

Taking a long walk off of a short pier…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Heads rolled at Pier 1  – or rather one head – as earnings were released and stunned everyone – just not in a good way. The numbers were so unexpectedly bad that shares took a heady nosedive of about 33%. It seems the company was just a bit too generous when it came to forecasting sales for itself this past year. Following a bunch of storms that wreaked fiscal havoc on the home decor chain and its 1000+ stores, Pier 1 figured, though apparently not in a mathematical kind of way, that it would recoup all that and more. It didn’t. CFO Charles Turner also was unable to adequately explain some supply-chain expenses and why those expenses are expected to go on and on and…I’m sensing a LinkedIn workshop in Mr. Turner’s future as he was replaced by Laura Coffey who will become the interim CFO. The company originally forecasted that it would pull in between 95 -$1.05 for the fiscal year, but not anymore. As those numbers took a dip, Pier 1 is now looking to gain between 80 – 83 cents per share.

Be-twittered…

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re amongst the Twitter followers of CFO Antony Noto – and no one is judging you if you are – you might have noticed some of the hundreds of tweets he sent out – within a span of about eight minutes –  trying to get unsuspecting followers to click on some dubious links. In fact, he was not trying to out-tweet the Kardashians. He’s got a way better excuse than that – his account was hacked. No word yet on whether he used the two-step verification process, though, he really ought to since his own company does offer it and the fact that his account was hacked shows he’s a regular person, just like you and I. But a Twitter spokesperson wouldn’t comment either way if he did use the verification option. Hmmm. That might be because if Mr. Noto did use the verification option and still got hacked, it’d mean there are holes in the option allowing for pesky hackers to get into not just Mr. Noto’s account but everyone else’s too. Or maybe it was just a bug, some say. Incidentally, this was not Mr. Noto’s first time with a Twitter issue. Back in November the CFO tweeted a message to a colleague that was presumably meant to be a private message about acquiring a company. It wasn’t private at all. Oops. This, by the way, comes on the heels of another hacking into Newsweek Magazine’s Twitter account.

Is there a coupon for that?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apple is about to out-green even the greenest amongst us as it announced its plans to buy about $850 million worth of solar energy. In case you were wondering, that’s enough energy to power 60,000 homes. The tech giant is looking to supply its “spaceship” facility in Cupertino, which is still under construction, with all that energy. But that’s not all, folks. It will also be used to power all of Apple’s California retail locations, of which there are 52, by the way, its data center and its offices. First Solar is the lucky recipient of this 25 year contract and the ever-indutsrious Tim Cook said, “We are doing this because it’s right to do, but you may also be interested to know that it’s good financially to do it.” Warms the heart, no?

Is Justin Bieber Set to Become Silicon Valley’s Newest Titan?; Microsoft Has “Taxing” Scuffle With Chinese; Not Thankful for Jobless Claims Number

Smile and say Bieber!

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like Twitter is going shopping this holiday season. It also looks like Twitter CFO Anthony Noto could use a comprehensive tutorial on how his company’s platform works. The social media exec publicly tweeted about a potential acquisition, which judging by the context, was actually meant as a private message. Of course, the internet universe went into overdrive speculating which company was the subject of the accidental tweet. The mystery was solved when CNBC reported that the company in question is none other than Shots, a selfie app backed by Justin Bieber. How convenient for him. And while it may be difficult for some (many) to stomach that Justin Bieber stands to make a fortune from an industry dominated by geniuses, know that the app already has 3 million users, 2/3 of whom are women under the age of 24.

Taxed out…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Microsoft is in really big trouble. Like $150 million worth of trouble. According to a report by the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency, Microsoft, while not specifically named, but rather referred to as “Corp. M”  has to pay $150 million in back taxes and interest. A source, who is not officially allowed to speak about it publicly, (but spoke about it anyways, presumably in private, to someone who then made it public) confirmed that Corp. M is indeed Microsoft. Along with car manufacturers, GlaxoSmithKline, other tech companies – the list goes on, that have had actions taken against them, Microsoft is being accused of tax evasion because its China subsidiary reported losses while other players in the field did not. Hmm. China says Microsoft was moving the profits offshore. Of course, Microsoft disputed all this and says the settlement actually has to do with a “bilateral advanced pricing agreement” and not back taxes. By the way, back in May China banned Windows 8 from being installed on public computers. Just saying.

Thanksgiving downer…

Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not that I’m trying to put a downer on your holiday weekend, but jobless claims are up. If you think that sucks, be thankful that you’re not among the jobless. And if you are, my apologies. The number of claims increased by 21,000 to 313,000 claims, according to the always-good-for-a-downer Labor Department. That’s the highest number in three months. Analysts actually predicted a drop to about 288,000 claims. The number of people, however, receiving jobless claims dropped by 17,000 to 2.32 million people. So it’s not all bad. Besides, there really is no need to freak out, just yet, anyways, since the holiday season has just begun and for some reason that means those gosh-darn numbers aren’t as ominous as they would be at other times during the year.