Alibaba Singles’ Day Crushes $30 Billion; Elon Goes After Mr. Unicorn
Happy Veterans Day
Now for a quick history lesson: Today, as many of you know, is Veterans Day. It’s set on November 11 because “the Great War” officially ended on this day back in 1918. It’s when the armistice with Germany went into effect — hence its original name, Armistice Day.
In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Actually, Congress changed the name — and Eisenhower established it as a national holiday.
This is an important day to me — and I’m sure to many of you as well.
I lost my great-uncle on the shores of Iwo Jima, Japan, in World War II. I had several uncles serve tours in Vietnam.
My father-in-law also served in Vietnam, was stationed in Korea and was a master sergeant in the U.S. Army. Both my sister-in-law and brother-in-law served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
But not everyone is cut out to serve.
Personally, I have a big mouth and issues with authority figures. While this is the MO for many leading roles in the ’80s military movies I grew up watching (Maverick from Top Gun, I’m looking at you), I would have never made it in any of the armed services.
The thought is kind of humbling … the fact that my freedom rests in the hands of those who can and will serve in the U.S. armed forces. I’m sure there are many readers out there just like me. OK, maybe not just like me … you aren’t all degenerates, are you?
The fact is, we owe our very way of life to the men and women who serve in the U.S. military.
The only takeaway I’ll leave you with today is this: Thank a veteran for their service in whatever way you can.
It doesn’t have to be much. Despite an overabundance of patriotism in the U.S., many veterans remain underappreciated.
Finally, a heartfelt “Thank you for your service!” from all of us here at Great Stuff.
For the gift of freedom and security, you deserve way more than words alone can convey.
The Good: Singles Day
Am I the only one who finds it exceedingly weird that the biggest capitalist day of the year takes place in a communist country? Not only that, but it’s a day that celebrates the independence of being single.
Singles Day — which got its name because November 11 is written as four singles, “11/11” — routinely puts the entire Black Friday holiday shopping season to shame. This year, Singles Day shoppers dropped more than $1 billion in the first minute of shopping.
By 6 p.m. (5 a.m. EST), Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) had raked in $31.7 billion — blowing past last year’s record $30.8 billion. Clearly, having Taylor Swift kick the event off with a concert at Shanghai Stadium was the clincher.
Meanwhile, JD.com Inc. (Nasdaq: JD) said it pulled in $25.6 billion by midafternoon.
The Bad: iSexism?
I hope you like your Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) with a side of sexism.
Intentional or not, Apple and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) find themselves in a bit of hot water this morning. An algorithm designed to set credit limits for Apple Titanium card applicants is apparently using gender to set those limits — and women are getting the short end of the stick.
The issue came to light following a storm of comments on Twitter that included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
And this is not just a social issue anymore, but a legal one. Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, reminded everyone in a blog post on Saturday: “Any algorithm that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women — or any other protected class — violates New York law.”.
Goldman Sachs, the card issuer, denied the allegations, stating: “In all cases, we have and will not make decisions based on factors like gender.”
Given that this debacle is still in the early stages of a social media backlash, it may yet turn out to be nothing … at least from a legal standpoint. Either way, Apple has a bit of a PR issue on its hands for now.
The Ugly: Short Shorts
Who wears short shorts? Why, according to Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, none other than Mr. Unicorn — aka David Einhorn.
Einhorn, the CEO of hedge fund Greenlight Capital, has made it no secret that he’s no Tesla fan. In a recent letter to investors, Einhorn (not Finkle, or is he Finkle?) blasted Tesla’s accounting methods and raised questions about the company’s profitability.
This is particularly notable because other major Tesla short sellers threw in the towel following Tesla’s surprise profit last month.
As you might suspect, Musk didn’t take the slight lying down.
In a tweet on Friday, Musk laid into Mr. Unicorn. He called out Greenlight Capital’s “sharp drop in assets under management” and its “desire to feel somehow relevant with your Tesla short position” — and offered to send Einhorn a “small gift of short shorts to help you through this difficult time.”
Leave it to Elon to come off with a great “burn.” That said, I’m sure most TSLA investors would prefer if he just shut up on occasion.
Because some of you won’t believe me when I said that Singles Day is bigger than the entirety of Black Friday weekend, here’s today’s Chart of the Week:
For four of the past five years, the cash raked in by a single company (Alibaba) on Singles Day — a capitalist holiday in a communist country — has more than doubled the entirety of Black Friday weekend.
Maybe there are just that many lonely, wealthy single people in China. Who knows?
Great Stuff: Cannabis Week
Many of the big players in the cannabis market are coming out to play this week.
With the cannabis market down about 50% from its March highs, many investors are beginning to wonder if investing in pot stocks is still worth it.
But Banyan Hill’s own pot expert, Anthony Planas, has the goods you’re looking for. In a recent article, Anthony highlighted the three different cannabis markets and identified a subsector that has been firing it up despite the sector’s decline.
To read Anthony’s article, go here: “The $4 Billion Industrial Extractor Market Crushes Cannabis Slump.”
Or click below to watch Anthony’s latest “potcast”:
Until next time, good trading!
Great Stuff Managing Editor, Banyan Hill Publishing