It’s over. It’s finally over.

Game of Thrones, the most-watched (and most-pirated) TV show of all time, came to an end this past Sunday night. The show won awards, made stars out of directors and actors alike … and made it okay to sit on the couch with your significant other for an hour or so and not say a word.

So, what now? Sunday Night Football doesn’t start for another few months.

What are we supposed to do now that Game of Thrones is over?

Suffer through 60 Minutes?

Watch Friends reruns?

Talk to each other?

Luckily, I still have my smartphone to fall back on.

HBO and parent company AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) don’t have those luxuries, however. (OK, maybe they could just play Friends reruns … I hear the show is leaving Netflix this year. It’s an opportunity, HBO!)

The world of online streaming isn’t that far removed from the power struggle in Game of Thrones. Most U.S. viewers have three streaming subscriptions: Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) for $8.99 per month, Amazon Prime Video (Nasdaq: AMZN) for about $10 per month and Disney’s Hulu (NYSE: DIS) at $5.99 per month.

HBO does have some really good series out there, like WestworldBig Little Lies and the miniseries Chernobyl. But none of these shows have the same impact or the same cultural relevance as Game of Thrones. As a result, HBO’s lofty $14.99 per month subscription fee is low-hanging fruit for anyone looking to trim a little on their monthly budget.

And if the following chart is any indication, HBO could be headed toward a subscriber “Red Wedding.”

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good: A Sprint to T Finish Line

We’re in the last mile of the $26.5 billion T-Mobile US Inc. (Nasdaq: TMUS) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) merger. The finish line is in sight! In the last mile, U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai was seen handing out water bottles and encouraging the duo to keep going. Pai announced this morning that he would recommend approval of the merger, but only if certain assets were sold and rural services guaranteed.

So, the deal is a go … at least as far as the FCC is concerned. The Department of Justice has yet to officially weigh in. The combined company is sure to have considerable leverage in the wireless market. If you’re looking for a ground-floor entry on T-Mobile/Sprint, start preparing your moves now.

The Bad: A Game of Thirst

Speaking of water bottles … HBO’s Game of Thrones had another faux pas this weekend. During a key scene, water bottles can be seen by the actors’ feet. Hydration is important, but this is the second such incident.

Remember the coffee cup?

Many viewers are now extremely fed up. One viewer even went nuclear in an online message board: “That’s it! I’m never watching this show again!”

While viewers are incensed, investors clearly favor actor hydration. Shares in HBO parent AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) rose more than 2% today (likely due to the Sprint/T-Mobile news).

The Ugly: The Tech Cold War

It’s Trump’s way, not the Huawei. A slew of U.S. tech companies have begun to cut ties with Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies, including Google, Xilinx, Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom. All have decided to cut ties with Huawei following President Donald Trump’s decree that the company be added to the “Entity List.”

For investors, the impact is clear: Stay away from semiconductor stocks for now. (What? There’s not always a funny takeaway. This one is serious.)

Great Stuff’s Monday Chart of the Day

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The Boss called it. Way back in 1992, Bruce Springsteen crooned: “There were 57 channels and nothin’ on.” Apparently, though, it took another 20 years or so for consumers to be fed up enough to act.

In the first quarter of 2019, paid TV subscribers fell by more than one million. The biggest loser was AT&T, shedding 544,000 subscribers in U-verse and DirecTV — just wait till it hears about the water bottle.

In 2018, some 3.2 million people cut the cord. As you can see from the chart, it’s getting worse for the industry. What’s most concerning, however, is the rise in “cord nevers.” It’s clear that traditional paid TV is dying and that online streaming is the future, especially for investors [Note: link to PRL “Living Tech” promo].

Craft Cannabis Is Happening … at the Indy 500, No Less

CBD is coming to Indy. A leading producer of CBD products just struck a landmark deal with the Indy 500 to sponsor a race team — the first of its kindin a major professional sport.

Craft 1861, a New Mexico-based CBD products maker, signed on as a sponsor for the Carlin race team. Carlin’s cars will sport the Craft 1861 logo during one of the biggest and most prestigious races in the U.S.

No, we aren’t talking about stoned IndyCar drivers … though that would be rather amusing, albeit dangerous. We’re talking about cannabidiol, a hemp extract that reportedly has a myriad of health benefits, including dealing with pain, anxiety, cognition and more.

Let’s make this clear: CBD is not pot. You’re not going to get high off CBD. It’s nonpsychoactive, meaning that it does not alter its user’s state of consciousness.

So, make all the pot jokes you want … like IndyCar drivers creeping along at 20 miles an hour, only to surge to 200 miles an hour when they finally stop laughing about their funny helmets and the shifters being on the wheel.

The bottom line is that there’s money to be made here. CBD is a $1.65 billion industry, after all.

If you want to ease the pain the market has put on your portfolio recently, Banyan Hill guru Anthony Planas has a plan for you. Check out his video below:

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Until next time, good trading!


Joseph Hargett
Great Stuff Managing Editor, Banyan Hill Publishing