It (Still) Sucks To Zuck; Ford’s Af-Ford-ability; Buffett’s Printer Buffet?
A Token Crypto Investment
How much does a digital dollar really cost?
The question is detrimental, paralyzin’ my thoughts — parasites in my social media keep me with a gut feeling, y’all…
Oh, oh, I know this one … nah, I’ve got nothing.
I don’t think Kendrick Lamar was talking about digital dollars as much as, you know, the metaphorical ones. But I sure know he wasn’t talking about the newest digital disgrace to grace these virtual pages.
Great Ones, it is with intense dismay (and much internal cringing) that I must inform you: Meta’s (Nasdaq: FB) next digital currency project is something called … sigh … the Zuck Buck.
Wow. That’s, umm. That sure is something.
The Zuck Buck is a proposed virtual currency to be used within the metaverse.
Much like gamers in the Roblox (NYSE: RBLX) ecosystem use Robux for in-app purchases, Zuck Bucks will be a non-blockchain-based crypto … the new virtual dollar and the dawning of a new metaverse age. Supposedly.
Anyone remember Facebook’s — er, Meta’s previous foray into the cryptocurrency waters?
Zuck and co. were laughed off the digital face of the Earth over the Libra/Diem digital cryptocurrency debacle, least of all by the regulators who vetoed the ordeal. And that’s when the Facebook crew did have a semi-hashed-out plan for the project.
Now you wanna talk Zuck Bucks? Man, this is a different virtual can of currency worms. According to company memos and those infamous people close to the plans:
Meaningful contributions? In Facebook groups? Have … have y’all ever looked in a Facebook group? (Oh, duh, I forgot: “Meaningful” in Facebook-speak means “marketable.” Carry on.)
So these are basically redeemable tokens that Meta believes will strike up user engagement and also maybe hopefully bring in some cash. Much in the same way that Chuck E. Cheese tokens keep you coming back for cheap, plastic disco lights and gel sticky hands, I guess?
It wouldn’t be the first time the platform has hatched up some kind of token rewards program. Any of you OG Facebook folks remember Facebook Credits? No? Perfect, because you might be interested in Facebook Credits 2.0.
If y’all thought seeing a stream of likes and other emoji-based reactions was a dopamine-booster, imagine the hype (albeit artificial) over Zuck Bucks! Why, Zuck Bucks were literally made for you. Or because of you. Same thing, really.
I see someone took that Black Mirror episode as inspiration instead of a satirical warning.
So, Great Ones, what’s this all about? Why are we even talking about Zuck Bucks to begin with?
If this is about using Zuck Bucks to hedge against inflation, I swear…
No, no, don’t give anybody any bright ideas. But the quiet part that the Zuck himself is all but saying out loud?
Meta needs to reverse its downward engagement and revenue trends. Stat. And it is firing off every revenue-generating shot in the dark it can, like a wound-up stormtrooper on steroids that still just … misses.
I almost hate to wonder: What other moneymaking schemes does Meta have up its sleeves, virtual or otherwise? Well, let’s see. Meta is also reportedly looking into:
• Traditional financial services, providing small-business loans “at an attractive rate.” Because y’all know how much Facebook loves small businesses.
• More NFT integration on Instagram, plus a program to post and share NFTs on Facebook. Since obviously that’s something y’all want … right?
• Monetizing said NFTs with “fees and/or ads” in the future. Because remember, this monetization is all about the Benjamins — erm, Zuck Bucks.
• Facilitating payment processing across WhatsApp and Messenger. I’m surprised Meta hasn’t pounced on this already.
Oh, and don’t forget about all that virtual “metaverse real estate” stuff, either. Can’t forget how much Meta wants to sell you your own lil patch of nonexistent digital land, or at least the dream of it.
I don’t care how real the metaverse real estate market might be in Zuck’s imagination, because I … just … no.
So not only does Meta want to birth the virtual, omnipresent metaverse itself, but Meta thinks it can actually be the digital currency dealer and the payment processor for the metaverse? And in return, that’ll save the company’s waning engagement, revenue and brand optics?
It’s a bold strategy — let’s see how it plays out for ‘em. After all, he who controls the Zuck Bucks controls the metaverse.
Sorry, Zuck Bucks. I hardly knew ye. So what actually has the Wall Street talking heads, you know, talking this week?
It’s this “bio-chip” that Elon Musk calls “amazing.” A former Apple CEO says “[it will] have a far bigger impact on humanity than the internet.” One Harvard Ph.D. says it could “surpass the space, atomic and electronic revolutions in its significance.”
And here’s the most exciting part:
One small company has a patent on this new “bio-chip” — and you can take up an early position in its stock if you act right now.
Ford’s (NYSE: F) business has fallen out of focus for Barclays Analyst Brian Johnson, who downgraded the car company from buy to hold whilst slashing his price target on F stock from $23 to $17.
According to Johnson, rising interest rates and inflation have simply made Ford’s profit margins untenable, as higher costs are going hurt consumers’ willingness to buy new cars.
And while I don’t disagree … isn’t that the case for every car company trying to stay competitive right now? What makes Ford so special?
Yes, Ford did just post first-quarter sales that came in lower than the year-ago period … just like most of the other big car manufacturers this quarter.
I say if Johnson wants to slash his rating on Ford, he might as well slash his expectations for all car companies across the board … ‘cause no one’s getting out of this inflation nation unscathed.
I’d say if you’re invested in the automotive market, prepare to feel some pain over the next couple of quarters. But remember, whatever rationale you had for investing in said carmaker — Ford or otherwise — chances are that reasoning will hold true once we’ve driven through this inflation roadblock.
Of course, thanks to the Russia/Ukraine war, companies that still only make gas guzzlers are gonna have a harder time than their electric vehicle (EV) making counterparts. Which is why I’d be remiss not to mention this:
One startup’s new technology is poised to disrupt the $2 trillion car industry.
Its light, inexpensive, powerful and quick-charging “Forever Battery” could be the tipping point that finally makes EVs affordable for everyday Americans.
What is this secretive battery tech company? Get the inside details here.
Word on the Street is that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has an 11.4% stake (worth $4.2 billion) in personal computer and printer-maker HP (NYSE: HPQ) … which is literally the only reason HPQ climbed more than 17% today.
In the financial don’s defense, HP’s done pretty well for itself post-pandemic. The company’s Personal Systems business — which sells things like notebooks, desktops and smaller workstation equipment — posted $12.2 billion in net revenue back in February, up 15% year over year.
Meanwhile, HP’s Printing segment saw more modest growth, climbing 4% year over year on $4.8 billion in net revenue. I guess at-home printing is still somewhat blasé these days … score one point for the back-to-office overlords.
What? You thought you were the only one to print a 45-page personal document on your company’s dime?Pshh…
And speaking of post-pandemic labor liberation, HP is clearly banking on some form of hybrid work becoming the new norm. The company recently announced that it would purchase Plantronics — better known as Poly (NYSE: POLY) — to build out its video conferencing business.
While that’ll cost HP some dough in the short term, Buffett’s backing should help to alleviate any fears investors might’ve had over the $3.3 billion buyout.
There’ll be no catching denim distributor Levi Strauss (NYSE: LEVI) with its pants down — at least not if the clothing company’s fiscal first-quarter financial results are anything to show for it!
While I would have to be cattle-prodded into a pair of blue jeans this far into post-pandemic life, clearly someone out there is buying these skin-tight trousers … and many someones, by the sound of it.
Revenue rocketed 22% higher year over year, reaching $1.59 billion versus the consensus estimate for $1.55 billion. Earnings also beat expectations, coming in at $0.46 per share versus analysts’ $0.42 per share postulation.
Better still, Levi says that many of its sales came from its own brick-and-mortar stores and website, rather than third-party retailors like Target (NYSE: TGT) and Macy’s (NYSE: M) — two stores Levi’s levied partnerships with.
Not only does more money go into Levi’s lint-ridden pocket this way, but it also gives the company more insight into consumer shopping habits. And from what I can gather, those shopping habits say: “Pajamas are out — and jeans are back, baby!”
In fact, Levi’s Chief Financial Officer Harmit Singh said: “The denim category is growing in the low-double-digit [rate] relative to where it was before the pandemic [as] the world continues to become a lot more casual.”
Basically, while some white-collar workers are now heading back into the office a few days a week, the stiff suits that used to make up the corporate world are going out of fashion … and I’ve gotta say, I’m here for it.
Boeing’s (NYSE: BA) cloud confidence knows no bounds, Great Ones. The airplane-maker just announced that it’s moving a big portion of its business into the cloud, like many of its competitors.
Wait… I thought Boeing was already in the clouds?
No, not those clouds, silly. I’m talking about the global network of remote servers that keep the internet humming along and all your data backed up … somewhere out in the ethereal ether. (Tech mumbo-jumbo, do you speak it?)
Anyway, Boeing’s turning to each of the Big Three cloud competitors to update its business infrastructure and move further away from data center reliance. Can you guess who’s up to bat?
No? Let me help you out. We’ve got:
• Google’s parent company, Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOGL), which will give Boeing access to Google’s analytics tools.
• Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), whose Amazon Web Services will help to strengthen Boeing’s manufacturing processes.
• And Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), whose AI applications will outfit Boeing’s “mission-critical applications with intelligent new solutions that are data driven.”
Sounds neat! So, is Boeing up big today after announcing all these premier partnerships?
Well … no. This is Boeing we’re talking about, after all. You just can’t buy a big bounce for this company, even when it’s well deserved. As such, BA stock slid 1% on the day (same as it ever was).
And that about wraps us up for today! As always, if you have more to share, hit us up at GreatStuffToday@BanyanHill.com. We’re still looking for one or two more emails to round out this week’s collection of questions, rants and longwinded rambles.
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