Tweety Bird, Looney Tunes

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Market Scorecard

Yesterday, US stocks flipped in a late-day turnaround and closed higher. Traders scooped up cheap growth stocks ahead of a busy few days for big-tech earnings.

In company news, Twitter shares rose 5.6% after the social media company accepted Elon Musk's $44 billion takeover deal. Elsewhere, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) rose 1.2% after the company logged higher sales for its latest quarter, despite price increases.

The JSE All-share sank by 3.48% earlier, but thanks to a surge to the closing bell the S&P 500 rose 0.57%, and the Nasdaq tacked on 1.29%.

One Thing, From Paul

Twitter is in the news right now because Elon Musk is one step closer to buying them for $54.20 per share. Why he wants to do that is not clear! Why would he want to tie up a quarter of his (considerable) net worth in a company that is beloved by its users but really tricky to run and not very profitable? He should stick to electric cars, solar panels, cyborgs, and space rockets.

Musk says he wants to promote "free speech", but is certain to learn some hard truths about the thankless task of content moderation on social media.

I'm both a current Twitter shareholder and a devoted user. I follow an array of clever people on "FinTwit" (that's the short name for the finance Twitter community). I use an RSS reader app called NetNewsWire to organize the tweets into categories like US markets, SA markets, market memes, finance journalists and business leaders.

Frederik Gieschen of the blog NeckarCap put this well: "Twitter helps to surface the new thing. Figuring out whether a new idea is important and gaining traction gets increasingly difficult as you age. You have to find ways to connect with people who are still at the bleeding edge."

"Twitter is not perfect but at least it's a start. Plenty of smart and weird people on there, even on weekends. Twitter's real power is the ability to connect based on shared ideas and learning."

Michael's Musings

Tomorrow is another public holiday. Then we return for two days of work before heading off for another long weekend. How will we get through a normal work week after having four 4-day weeks in a row?

My family runs a bearing business in Nelspruit; April is a mess for them. All the public holidays mean fewer trading days for the month, and the lost trading days don't result in higher sales on other days. It seems tractor breakdowns take a holiday too?

A BDO study in 2011 found that each public holiday costs our economy around R7 billion in lost output. Obviously, not all sectors are the same. The tourism and hospitality industry does really well when we have more time off. Interestingly, during the 2020 post lockdown slump, there were some suggestions to add another public holiday to help boost the economy.

If we are trying to build a large tourism sector, maybe we should get a 'travel South Africa' long weekend sometime in October, breaking up the public holiday dry spot?

Have a good Freedom Day tomorrow.

Bright's Banter

Gaming company Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI ) reported earnings and revenues last night that missed expectations. This was largely due to poor performance of the latest installment of Call of Duty. Revenues slumped by 28% to $1.48 billion, falling short of the $1.81 billion analysts had expected. These numbers are important to us because Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) will own the company soon.

Call of Duty Vanguard is a WWII single shooter game that had mediocre reviews due to competition from titles like Halo Infinite, Battlefield, and Apex Legend. Interestingly, the Call of Duty installments based on World War II tend to underperform titles set during the Cold War or modern-day.

Call of Duty is a huge franchise in the gaming fraternity, having sold more than 400 million copies since its inception in 2003 and topped the sales chart in most years. At some point, gamers will outgrow the franchise and I'm afraid that time is nearing slowly.

I'm looking forward to Activision's upcoming titles like Diablo Immortal, maybe it has a fighting chance.

Signing Off

Asian markets are in the green this morning, finally. The Asia-Pacific index rose for the first time in four sessions as technology shares in Hong Kong rebounded more than 5% from yesterday's plunge. Tencent (HK: 0700 ) is up almost 4%

Now for the big ones! This evening Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ), Microsoft, and Visa (NYSE: V ) will be releasing their respective earnings reports.

US equity futures are up in early trade, maybe we'll enjoy the second day of market gains. The Rand is trading at R15.69 to the US Dollar.

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