Decisions, decisions

Quote of the Day

We are reminding clients that when everyone is acting greedy, it's time to be fearful."

Jordan Edwards-a concerned financial advisor keeping his clients level-headed during the market run-up. The narrative for investors has shifted from one of caution in 2017 to one of FOMO in 2018.

Market Snapshot

  • U.S. indexes cooled off in the face of a potential government shutdown.
  • Bitcoin rallied back to ~$11,500.
  • OPEC reported that Venezuela's cumulative oil output last year was at a 28-year low.
  • IBM fell 3% after hours despite ending a streak of 22-straight quarters of revenue declines.



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Handicapping Amazon's Short List for HQ2

Jeff Bezos is one step closer to finding the (second) house of his dreams.

Amazon (-0.13%) whittled its list of potential candidates for a second headquarters down to 20 cities in the U.S. and Canada, and now the search for HQ2 gets really interesting.

But before we take stock of the finalists, let's rewind to…

September 2017

Amazon declared it had outgrown its original HQ in downtown Seattle and was on the lookout for another city from which it could terrorize every industry.

The news sent city officials across North America into a frenzy, dialing up recruiting pitches from sidewalk chalk campaigns to much wackier stunts. Like Stonecrest, GA, where the city council voted 4-2 in favor of naming a section of the city "Amazon" if the retailer chose to locate there.

And it makes sense why cities are bending over backward for Bezos. For places looking to boost economic development, the stakes are huge, because Amazon is huge.

Amazon expects to contribute:

* 50,000 jobs with an average salary of $100,000+
* $5 billion in capex
* Significant spillover effects-Amazon estimates it boosted Seattle's economy by $38 billion from 2010-16.

And now, the Brew's officially unofficial handicapping of the 20 finalists

As you go through the list, keep in mind Amazon's criteria: a metro area of at least 1 million teeming with tech talent, plus generous tax incentives and easy access to an international airport.

The top contenders

* Washington D.C.
* Boston
* NYC
* Dallas
* Atlanta
* Chicago

Thought process: We're going to play it safe here. Most of the major east coast cities have exactly what Amazon is looking for, while Dallas and Chicago anchor the middle of the country.

The second-tier

* Austin
* Denver
* Raleigh
* Toronto
* Pittsburgh
* Philadelphia

Thought process: These smaller cities don't have the international prestige of many of the "top contenders." What they do have is burgeoning tech-centric economies.

The outsiders

* Northern VA
* Montgomery County, MD
* Newark, NJ

Thought process: These more suburban locations could offer Amazon cheaper up-front costs while still drawing from the talent clustered in the nearby urban centers of D.C. and NYC.

The underdogs

* Miami
* Nashville
* Indianapolis
* Los Angeles
* Columbus

Thought process: With respect to the Rust Belt, we don't see Amazon heading there while it's still in recovery mode. It's telling Amazon snubbed Detroit, which many thought was a dark-horse.

Did your hometown make the list? Is Amazon coming to town something you'd be excited about or dreading?

Airbus' A380 Program Lands A Deal With Emirates

"If we can't work out a deal with Emirates, there is no choice but to shut down the program."

It looks like everything worked out for Airbus sales chief John Leahy, as Emirates Airline locked in a $16 billion deal for up to 36 more A380 superjumbos-the only suitable name for the company's 600-seat airborne behemoth.

It's not that Airbus wanted to shutter the program, it just had (emphasis on had) no choice. The French airliner's dependence on the Dubai-based Emirates made the deal a necessity...although waning interest from other customers unable to fill seats certainly didn't help.

Picture

With the deal, Airbus extended the A380's runway for "at least another 10 years." And while that'll give it some breathing room, current production (~6 planes per year) is a far cry from initial estimates (60).

Airbus is learning: the problem with making so many seats is you have to fill them.

HuffPost Writes Obituary for Its Unpaid Contributors

HuffPost is getting real-news, that is.

One of the trailblazers of unfiltered amateur journalism, the site-which has relied heavily on unpaid contributors-announced it's immediately discontinuing its self-publishing contributors platform. The 2005 Opinion Bloggers program (so named for the year and not quantity of opinions) included over 100,000 writers covering the gamut of investigative pieces to personal essays. It also drove 10-15% of HuffPost's web traffic.

Then why the move?

In this golden age of misinformation, Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen wants the 13-year-old publication to take a page out of Marie Kondo's book and declutter. Polgreen's focus on quality reporting should minimize the prevalence of unconfirmed stories. The site will now vet paid contributors (who will work with staff editors) for its new HuffPost Opinion and HuffPost Personal sections.

Guess we'll have to shop around our gif-listicle of "14 Reasons Why You Should Read Morning Brew"...

A Hyper-Serious Problem for Venezuela

Pull out a dollar. Look at it. That'll buy you three cups of coffee in Venezuela. Look at that dollar again-it'll now buy you three coffee shops in Venezuela.

No, it's not magic: it's hyperinflation. And now-on an annualized rate-hyperinflation has crossed 440,000%. Years of the government excessively printing money devalued the country's domestic currency, the bolivar, nearly 98% since last year.

It's led to a humanitarian crisis, consisting of extreme poverty and an economy that occasionally denies basic priveleges...you know, like pulling money out of a bank. If you're lucky enough to do so, you might cash out 10,000 bolivars, which...carry the 3...is about 6 cents.

Don't worry, you can wait another day to collect 10,000 more bolivars. Combined, it'll be enough to buy you a CLAP bag: subsidized bags of toiletries and food the Venezuelan government now hands out to the country's poorest citizens.

But Venezuela isn't close to claiming the crown for "worst period of hyperinflation" yet (and it might never)-that distinction belongs to post-WWII Hungary at a whopping monthly rate of 41,900,000,000,000,000%. Sometimes it's better to not be No. 1.

What Else Is Happening…

  • Four nonprofit hospital groups are teaming up to create a generic drug company.
  • With the deal closed, SoftBank is now Uber's largest shareholder.
  • The new head of the CFPB, Mick Mulvaney, requested a grand total of $0 in funding this quarter.
  • American Express (-2.29% after hours) is suspending its share buyback program for the time being.

Economic Calendar

  • Monday     Earnings: No Events (Markets Closed)
  •                     Economic Events: No Events (Markets Closed)

  • Tuesday    Earnings: Citigroup (+), CSX (-), UnitedHealth (+)
  •                   Economic Events: Empire State Mfg Survey (-)

  • Wednesday    Earnings: Alcoa (-), Bank of America (+), Goldman Sachs (+)
  •                         Economic Events: Industrial Production (+), Housing Market Index (+)

  • Thursday   Earnings: American Express (+), Morgan Stanley (+), IBM (+)
  •                    Economic Events: Jobless Claims (+), Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook (-)

  • Friday       Earnings: SunTrust
  •                  Economic Events: Consumer Sentiment

Taking Inventory: Stock Symbols

Isn't That Clever
These days most companies are laser-focused on innovation and disruption. But what about good old-fashioned creativity? And since brevity is the soul of wit (according to some guy named Shakespeare), we scoured the U.S. exchanges for the stock tickers that tickled us most. Here are our 10 favorites:

1. PZZA - Papa John's
2. TAN - Guggenheim Solar
3. SICK - Daily Healthcare Bear 3X Shares
4. FIZZ - National Beverage
5. MMM - 3M Co.
6. ZZ - Sealy Corporation
7. BID - Sotheby's
8. MOO - Market Vectors Agribusiness
9. HOG - Harley Davidson
10. ZEUS - Olympic Steel

The takeaway: Z is the funniest letter of the alphabet and guarantees financial success.

The Breakroom

Question of the Day

Heidi went to the hardware store to get stuff for her new house. She needed 5 items - a stereo, a cooker, a TV, a washing machine, and a tumble dryer. Each item was priced exactly to the dollar and no two items cost the same. If Heidi had only 349 dollars to spend what is the maximum price of the cheapest item?

(Answer located at the bottom of newsletter)

Business Trivia

The Dow is up 31% in President Trump's first year in office. That's a big gain, but it's only good for second place. Can you name the president who oversaw the Dow's best performance during his first year? Hint: this is not a close race.

(Answer located at the bottom of newsletter)

China Fact of the Day

China used more cement in three years (2011-13) than the U.S. used during the entire 20th century.

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Breakroom Answers

Question of the Day: 67 (Explannation)

Business Trivia: FDR

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