WELCOME BACK TO APRIL SHOWERS
Welcome back to a new edition of The Weekender… where March prices affected inflation, and now inflation is impacting American businesses. Also, for the first time, the NFL’s out-of-market-games package will be offered to fans on Youtube TV… but at a price. Plus, hackers have found a new way to steal people’s information at free charging ports. Find these stories and more below. Don’t be shy; scroll down and dive into The Weekender.
Keep an Eye Out for Inflation
Inflation has been under a watchful eye for a while, leaving people anticipating its next move. While the U.S. inflation was at its lowest in nearly two years in March, underlying price pressures are now pushing the Federal Reserve to consider another rate hike in May. The consumer price index (CPI), a closely watched inflation gauge measuring the cost of goods and services to consumers, dropped to 5% last month, the lowest gain since May 2021. The drop pushed the stock market up and drove Treasury yields down, renewing investors’ inflation decline confidence and light at the end of the interest rate hike tunnel. Consumer prices increased for daycare, airfare, and lodging but decreased for groceries, gas, and medical care. Core prices, an underlying measure that excludes volatile food and energy, accelerated slightly from the prior month. Core inflation, which economists see as a better gauge of future inflation, has stayed high in part because of the inflationary pressures from housing costs, which is one of the biggest sources of inflation. Meanwhile, job openings dropped and weekly jobless claims increased from historic lows. This workforce measure is signaling that the demand for workers is softening. Rate pauses will ease pressure on consumer spending and business profits while sending confidence back into the market. The core CPI figure is still high enough for the Fed to consider an increase. They could consider inflation decrease hold steady. Overall, the job market is slowing, unemployment is rising, and core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) are down. The odds of accurately predicting the Fed’s next move in May are as good as asking the Magic 8 Ball, but a pause in base interest rate hikes could be the stimulus the stock market needs to restore confidence. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.
Small Businesses Under Pressure
Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, the rising inflation rates over the past few years have caused constraints for businesses and Americans on a local level. The rising interest rates and the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank are restraining small businesses from borrowing money. The small and midsized banks that serve small businesses have been forced to tighten credit further to retain capital since they see an outflow of deposits. Banks are generally more cautious due to uncertainty about the economy. According to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index released in February, the approval rates of small business loan requests at big banks have fallen for nine consecutive months. The Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index shows that small banks approved about half of all requests before the pandemic, granting loaners more than the big banks. An overall tightening of credit will help slow down the economy and ease inflation, which is the objective of the Fed’s interest rate hikes. The rate hikes could leave small businesses behind in the dust. These same small businesses are economic drivers, significant job creators and strong sources of innovation. To help small businesses (including ours!) thrive, check out some ways to support them. Read more at The Associated Press.
Sundays are for Streaming
Football fans can now watch their favorite team during their out-of-market games on YouTube TV. Previously, if the game was not being played on universal in-market channels, such as ABC or FOX, fans were typically not able to catch the game. Now, if they are willing to pony up, they can watch. According to experts, Google’s YouTube TV will have exclusive rights to the “Sunday Ticket,” allowing fans to tune in to every Sunday game, regardless of market rights. Current subscribers must opt-in for an additional $449 (for the base plan) to gain access to the games, which is reoccurring every season. The good news? YouTube TV subscribers will get $100 off… if they sign up by June. Others must pay the $79 monthly fee if they are not a user already. The up-charge is the National Football League (NFL)’s latest move from traditional TV to streaming, as last year, all Thursday night games were hosted by Amazon Prime. Don’t panic—the games will still be shown at local restaurants, bars, and commercial venues. So, head to a local establishment to catch the game and avoid the costs. Read more at CNBC.
The Future is Electric (Vehicles)
A poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows the electric vehicle (EV) surge is here, with four in 10 people saying their next car may be an EV. This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the toughest auto emissions rule yet that could require as much as 67% of all new vehicles sold in America by 2023 to be all-electric, surpassing President Joe Biden’s last declared commitment to have close to half of all cars sold be electric by 2023. The Biden administration hopes the new proposed tailpipe emissions limit will help dramatically boost EV sales. With less than 10% of U.S. adults owning or leasing an electric vehicle, the biggest barrier for many is the price. New EVs cost around $57,000, which is 33% more than the average non-electric car. The government is attempting to mitigate the cost with a $7,500 tax credit for new buyers; though, obtaining a full credit has proven challenging. Furthermore, manufacturers like Ford and Cheverolet can face challenges gaining EV government approvals. Will the new emission rules move the U.S. from the world’s third-largest market to the number one spot, beating China and Europe? The race is on. Read more at The Associated Press.
Juice-Jack: Not What You Think
Hackers are targeting people in a new, sinister way by stealing data from free charging ports and USB ports in airports, malls, and bedside hotel lamps. In what the FBI is calling “juice-jacking,” hackers are praying on those just looking to charge their phones. The Federal Communications Commission has dedicated a webpage to the scam, noting that “malware installed through a dirty USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to the perpetrator.” A simple way to avoid the juice-jack is to plug in the device with a traditional prong rather than using the USB option. Also, consumers must work harder to protect their information because credit card companies and websites are also selling the data. When someone swipes their card, or clicks accept all to the terms and conditions, it is likely that information will be sold to a third party. Arguably, it can be their biggest cash crop. Remember to stay vigilant, back up your data, and use secure networks to best protect business and personal information. Read more in TechNave.
First Time Since the Cold War, Russia Arrests an American Journalist
More news out of Russia this week, where U.S.-Russian relations are once again being put to the test. The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested last month on espionage charges—making it the first of its kind since the Cold War. Since his arrest, the Biden administration has vehemently denied the charges. Fellow journalists and the National Press Club called on President Biden to do more than deny the charges publicly, urging for negotiations and a speedy resolution. Gershkovich is currently being held by Russia’s Federal Security Service. Their judicial process is historically held in secret, meaning the U.S. and Gershkovich himself will likely not see or be presented with the evidence brought against the journalist. While the world is watching, Russian leaders have since responded they do not care what outside pressures are telling them to do. A GoFundMe page has been set up to free Gershkovich from imprisonment in Russia. To support the cause, click here. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.
- $2.24 million: The price that a pair of signed Air Jordan XIII Breds was sold for, which were worn by Michael Jordan in the 1998 NBA Finals. It’s the highest price ever paid at an auction for sneakers.
- $750,000: The cost of the NYPD’s new robotic canine unit called Digidogs that was purchased with money seized from criminals. The robotic dogs are designed to work in situations that may pose a threat to humans and may be used in life-threatening situations.
- $377 million: The amount The Super Mario Bros. Movie grossed globally over the past weekend, surpassing Frozen II as the largest opening weekend for an animated film. The film brought in more than $140 million at the domestic box office following its release date.
- $1.25 million: The projected cost of King Charles III’s Coronation next month, which Prince Harry plans to attend. The prince famously stepped back from his royal duties in 2020 due to the “toxic” press environment in Britain that he said was destroying his mental health.
- $215 million: The amount Edtech venture capital firm Reach Capital has raised to invest in tech startups focused on addressing gaps in education. The firm has funded 120 EdTech startups in total, and some have since been acquired by larger companies or have billion-dollar valuations themselves.
- 40.5%: The percentage that Apple’s worldwide computer shipments fell year over year in the first quarter of 2023 amid a broader contraction in consumer demand. All global shipments of personal computers have dropped compared to a year ago, with Apple experiencing the largest of the drops.
- 51%: The percentage of tech workers who are changing jobs and landing new roles outside of the tech industry amid a shifting market. Last year, the number of tech workers who moved to non-tech industries when changing jobs started rising as many are pursuing new jobs that align with their passions.
- 15,000: The number of eggs collected every Easter to make a massive omelet in Bessières, a small town in Southern France. It is an Easter tradition in its 50th year run by the members of France’s World Brotherhood of the Knights of the Giant Omelet or the Confrérie Mondiale des Chevaliers de l’Omelette Géante de Bessières.
Elon Musk tells the BBC that owning Twitter has been "quite painful"
He also said he would sell the company if the right person came along https://t.co/IFLfqrePk3
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 12, 2023