Keep on truckin'


"We're a money-losing company. This is not some situation where, for example, we are just greedy capitalists who decided to skimp on safety." - Tesla CEO Elon Musk on the spate of injuries at the company's Fremont, California factory. Ouch.



Market Snapshot

  • Stocks rebounded from the worst selloff of the year on Thursday with a stronger dollar and solid weekly jobs numbers.
  • Political crisis in Brazil sent the country's Ibovespa Index down 8.8 percent. U.S. treasuries were flat while French and German bonds fell slightly. Refreshing, after the huge swings earlier this week.
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Uber Freight Is Here

And it's just like the Uber we've grown to know (and love?), except instead of summoning that heavily air-conditioned Toyota Prius, commercial shippers can hail a truck driver on-demand-hell, even schedule a week out.

Just like it did for black cars, Uber Freight connects drivers and riders (ER...shipments) and gives them a platform to do business. There's no more haggling over prices, and in true uber fashion, there's surge pricing too.

It's not exactly groundbreaking.

Ironically, Uber's first foray into the $700 billion trucking industry is by no means the first 'Uber for trucking.' And the trucks still don't drive themselves.

But at least it's a start. Uber hopes this launch sets the stage for Otto, the self-driving truck startup it acquired for $680 million last summer.

That is, if Otto can come out unscathed from its intense lawsuit with Alphabet's (+0.88%) Waymo over stolen documents.

If it does, one of America's largest industries will be decimated

A lot of people drive trucks-1.7 million Americans, to be exact. It's the most common job in 29 states.

Their jobs have been pretty safe. Especially considering a worker in China can't drive a truck in Iowa. But as robots expand beyond the factory floor, even safe jobs are on the chopping block.

It's not all bad news-3,852 people died in truck accidents last year. Anything that can decrease that number is a good thing in our books. Just don't come for our jobs, robots…

Wal-Mart Bucks the Retail Trend

It's still chasing Amazon, but Wal-Mart's (+3.22%) closing in. The company said yesterday that online sales have grown 63%, with total sales up 1.4 percent to $117.5 billion.

So how does Wal-Mart plan to compete as a brick-and-mortar store in the digital world?

By using its massive network of warehouses and distribution centers (the same ones behind those "always low prices"), to expand the number of products available online-and shipping them quickly to anywhere.

Wal-Mart says the online growth was organic, but that $3.3 billion acquisition of definitely didn't hurt. With sweet order-pickup deals, more products available online and robotic warehouse improvements, Wal-Mart might just be able to hold out against Amazon.

Still Gotta Takata?

Four auto-giants forked over $553 million as the Takata (-1.50%) airbag-inflation mishap-AKA the largest auto safety feature recall ever-finally comes to an end.

16 deaths and 180 injuries worldwide. No, we're not talking car accidents, we're talking shrapnel-yes, shrapnel-being shot by faulty airbags into unsuspecting car passengers, all since 2008. So much for "life-saving" device.

Toyota (+0.93%), NBC's Biggest Loser in Thursday's settlement, will shell out $278.5 million. Honda, Ford and Nissan are still waiting to hear back. As for Takata, it looks like its story is just beginning.

Come Fly With Me

The Pope's favorite airline, Alitalia, is up for sale for the second time in less than a decade after workers said "hell no" to management's restructuring efforts.

Those interested will have 'til June 5th to place bids, but Europe's once number 3 airline now comes with plenty of extra baggage. It's set to report $600 million in operational losses last year and has $3 billion stockpiled in "IOU's."

But Pope Francis doesn't need to put those summer flights on-hold quite yet. The Italian airline will stay airborne on $668 million in government funding as it awaits its inevitable landing.

What Else Is Happening…

  • IBM (-0.10%), which pioneered the work-from-home trend, is calling workers back to the office
  • The FCC has begun rolling back net neutrality-a full vote could come in months
  • SiriusXM (+2.75%) is reportedly in talks to acquire Pandora (+5.49%)
  • Luxury carmaker Aston Martin is reportedly mulling an IPO as early as next year
Economic Calendar

  • Monday: Housing Market Index (+)
  • Tuesday: Dick's Sporting Goods (-), Home Depot (+), Jack in the Box (+), Staples (-), TJX (+), Urban Outfitters (-) Earnings; Housing Starts (-) Industrial Production (+)
  • Wednesday: American Eagle (-), Cisco (-), L Brands (+), Target (+) Earnings
  • Thursday: Alibaba (-), Autodesk (+), Gap (+), Perry Ellis (+), Ralph Lauren (-), Salesforce (+), Wal-Mart (+) Earnings; Weekly Jobless Claims (+)
  • Friday: Campbell Soup, Deere & Co, Foot Locker Earnings


VC Isn't Blind-and That's a Problem

Female entrepreneurs in the U.S. receive just 2.7% of all venture capital. Researchers in Sweden (where that stat is marginally better) observed 36 hours of meetings (which generally occur behind closed doors) to see how a founder's gender affected the conversation.

Their 205 pages of transcriptions reveal a ton about the state of funding, language and gender.

  • Males tended to be described as "assertive, innovative, competent, experienced and knowledgeable," while VCs questioned females' credibility, trustworthiness, experience and knowledge.
  • "Young and promising" was a phrase men heard often, while women heard "young, but inexperienced." Men were praised as cautious and sensible, while women were chided for the same caution.
  • At the end of the day, women were only awarded about 25% of the amount they applied for, while men received over half.
  • There is hope, though. First Round Capital analyzed 300 companies in its portfolio over 10 years and found female-ran companies performed 63% better on average than their male-ran counterparts. Now, just to get investments to reflect this.


Interview Question of the Day

Three prime numbers add up to 100. Of the three numbers, one of them is more than a third but less than a half of another. Find the three numbers...if you dare.

(Answer - it's #4 on the page)

Where People Actually Want to Work

Ever looked for a job on LinkedIn? You aren't the only one. The Microsoft-owned (+0.34%) network pulled data from its 500+ million members' activities to see which companies get people the most excited.

Some usual suspects top the list, like Google, Apple and Amazon. But others like Lyft, Booz Allen Hamilton (the next Snowden?) and TimeWarner also made the list. Full results and methodology here.

Stat of the Day

$65,000 - That's how much a pair of 70-year-old IKEA chairs sold for at auction recently. Demand for vintage furniture from the Swedish maker is skyrocketing, so hold on to those dressers!

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May 21, 2017 - 6:20pm
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