Big apple launch

MARKETS

  • U.S. markets: On Friday, stocks closed out their best month since June. Q3 earnings season was better than expected, and both the U.S. and China hinted a phase one trade deal was in its final stages.
  • India: Economic growth in the country has halved over the past three years, new GDP numbers show.

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FOOD

The Produce Section Will Never Be the Same

The biggest innovation in fruit since the Watermelon Oreo hit shelves in the U.S. yesterday. A new variety of apple—the Cosmic Crisp—is now on sale for $5 a pound, more than triple the cost of a standard apple.

This is not a standard apple

The Cosmic Crisp, or more technically WA38, has been in development in Washington State for 20+ years. And depending on who you ask, its rollout is either “unprecedented,” a “game changer,” or “the largest launch of a single produce item in American history.” What makes it special:

  • The Cosmic Crisp, a crossbreed of Honeycrisp and Enterprise varieties, can allegedly last in a refrigerator for up to a year.
  • It’s got the potent combo of sweet flavor and firm texture, with a crunch you can hear from the International Space Station.

The numbers: are big. More than 467,000 40-lb boxes are projected to ship in 2019, increasing to 5.6 million by 2021. $10.5 million was spent on marketing to generate pre-launch buzz.

The industry was looking for a hero

For decades, Red Delicious ruled the orchard. In 1988, it accounted for 70% of apple production in Washington, the biggest apple-growing state.

But then people caught onto the fact that Red Delicious was not, in fact, delicious, and sales have plummeted. Production of Red Delicious fell 11% from 2017 to 2018, per the U.S. Apple Association. And for the first time in 50 years, it was overtaken by Gala as the most-grown apple in America.

Zoom out: Under a unique licensing agreement, Washington farmers have been given the exclusive rights to grow the new variety until 2027. Those who’ve historically leaned on Red Delicious are hoping their investments in Cosmic Crisp (12+ million trees planted) will bear fruit.

RETAIL

Cyber Friday and Black Monday

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Who really knows the difference anymore? Online sales on Black Friday hit $7.4 billion, per Adobe Analytics. That’s a 19.6% increase from last year and the second largest online shopping day ever.

  • More online shopping means less circling the mall parking lot. ShopperTrak found a 6.2% decrease in store traffic on Black Friday from 2018.
  • There was an uptick in people visiting stores on Thanksgiving Day.

But as Black Friday gets bigger, so do the criticisms

Activists around the world used Black Friday as a symbol of everything that’s wrong with modern capitalism, reports the AP.

Amazon workers in Germany went on strike, some French lawmakers proposed banning the event, and a South African newspaper penned an opinion piece decrying Black Friday as reflective of a “vicious, violent, repressive and exploitative system that crosses borders and dominates all our lives.”

Shoppers don’t seem to mind. They’ll spend a record $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday today, Adobe predicts.

CLIMATE

Saving the World Over Tapas

Today, world leaders are working off their sangria hangovers by hammering out the details of 2015’s Paris Agreement at the UN’s 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) meeting in Madrid. What’s on the agenda for the next two weeks:

  • Defining a set of rules for international carbon markets, which many countries use to offset emissions.
  • That includes discussing the accord's thorny Clean Development Mechanisms, which are intended to incentivize clean energy investment and development.

Why it’s important: We’ve known about climate change for a generation. But emissions are still on the rise and the UN Secretary-General has blasted the global response as “utterly inadequate."

The guest list: 25,000 delegates, including over 50 high-ranking authorities and some heads of state. Plus, teen activist Greta Thunberg is headed to Spain on a catamaran.

A delegation from the U.S. is also heading across the Atlantic (not on a catamaran). That could get awkward, considering the Trump administration has given formal notice that the country will leave the Paris Agreement.

ENERGY

The U.S. Makes Oil History

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The U.S. became a net exporter of crude oil and refined petroleum products in September, the first full month it’s done so since the 1940s, according to the Energy Information Administration.

  • As a net exporter, the U.S. shipped out more of those products than it imported—89,000 more barrels to be exact.

Why it matters: The U.S. has sprinted to the top of the oil food chain thanks to a boom in shale drilling. Just one decade ago, imports topped exports by 12 million barrels.

Looking ahead...oil prices will be in focus as the top producers meet in Vienna for the OPEC meeting on Thursday and Friday.

CALENDAR

The Week Ahead

Hope your computer has a chimney. Here's what's coming up in the first week of December...

Monday: ISM Manufacturing Index; European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde testifies to lawmakers; President Trump heads to London for NATO summit

Tuesday: Light vehicle sales; Giving Tuesday; earnings (Salesforce)

Wednesday: Viacom-CBS merger is expected to close; National Cookie Day; Rockefeller Center 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony in NYC; earnings (Campbell Soup, Royal Bank of Canada, Slack)

Thursday: Trade balance report; earnings (TD Bank, Dollar General, Kroger, Tiffany, Zoom)

Friday: November jobs report; The Who will release their first album in 13 years

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Fiat Chrysler has reached a tentative four-year labor contract with the United Auto Workers union.
  • Frozen 2 scored a record $124 million at the domestic box office over the Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Apple is reviewing its policies over disputed borders after it labeled the Crimean Peninsula part of Russia in its Maps and Weather apps for the Russian market.
  • Legal pot arrived in the Midwest this weekend.

APPLE TRIVIA

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How many of the top 10 apple varieties produced in the U.S. can you name?

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APPLE TRIVIA ANSWER


Gala, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Rome, Cripps Pink/Pink Lady, Empire

 

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