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Money & Finance

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Money & Finance last won the day on November 16 2018

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  1. This week, the L.A. Times released its official french fry rankings. Take a good look... It rated Five Guys and McDonald’s as the two best and In-N-Out and Sonic as the two worst. We can do better: We have over 1 million readers and we’d much rather trust your collective taste buds than one writer’s hot take Which fries do YOU think are best?
  2. Nigeria: Africa’s largest economy and most populous country is scheduled to hold presidential elections today. Current President Muhammadu Buhari is facing off against Atiku Abubakar, a wealthy businessman. Whoever wins will have to confront the oil-dependent country’s growing challenge of extreme poverty.
  3. Maybe three ways... India: The government’s new proposal to force internet giants to remove content it views as harmful is drawing comparisons to China’s strict censorship system. Platforms affected could include Facebook, Google, TikTok, and more. The result? “A splintering internet, where a onetime unified information superhighway has become increasingly restricted in certain areas,” writes the NYT.
  4. The NFL and Colin Kaepernick have reached a settlement. The former 49ers QB is reportedly getting a payout in the “$60 million to $80 million range.”
  5. In the price war being waged by U.S. brokerages, the biggest battle looks to be that for ETF (exchange-traded fund) dominance. Just this week, both Fidelity and Charles Schwab announced they would each expand commission-free trading to hundreds more ETFs. Why are ETFs so important for brokerages? Much like your student council elections in middle school, this is a popularity contest—and low-cost ETFs have become popular enough to attract about $3.3 trillion in assets as of the end of December (plus 91% of millennials said ETFs were their choice investment vehicles last year). But that’s where the fun ends and the Hunger Games begin, according to Bloomberg’s Barry Ritholtz. “New [ETFs] must endure a brutal Darwinian struggle for attention and assets...new ETFs need a good investment idea and a catchy marketing approach,” he wrote. One example is the VanEck Vectors Agribusiness ETF (symbol MOO). It’s attracted about $765 million since its 2007 introduction. Zoom out: The average ETF lifespan is 3.4 years, per Bloomberg Intelligence. Do you have any ideas for a catchy ETF?
  6. Deutsche Bank’s Got Issues "At this point, Deutsche Bank's biggest problem may simply be how many problems it has." Don't sugarcoat it, Bloomberg. So what are all those problems? Germany's top bank has suffered a prolonged spell of declining revenues, growing expenses, crumbling credit ratings, and misconduct fines to the tune of $17 billion in the last decade. Paired with outdated technology and difficulty attracting top talent? Well, maybe the memes say it best—is DB still a BB? Its shares lost more than half their value in 2018. The bank has tried to turn things around. CEO Christian Sewing brought DB its first annual profit in four years last year, and he's cut costs even morethan he pledged. But cost-cutting can only get you so far when you were one of the slowest banks to remedy your balance sheet and c-suite post-2008 crisis. That's why some have called for a German government-brokered merger between DB and Commerzbank—the country's two biggest private sector lenders. + While we're here: DB allegedly denied then-candidate Donald Trump a loan during the 2016 campaign, per the NYT. Why? His "divisive candidacy" made it too big a risk.
  7. Hopefully by the time Q1 earnings begin in April, your memories of sub-zero temps will be long gone. Not so for c-suites. That's because weather repeatedly pops up as one of two unwanted guests for earnings season. The other? Currency market woes. The ICE Dollar Index jumped 4.4% last year, the most since 2015. And for multinationals that sell products overseas, that dollar strength (paired with the ongoing trade war) presents a major challenge, reports Bloomberg. Quantifying that challenge? Every 7% to 8% change in the dollar results in a 1% move in the opposite direction for U.S. corporate profits, per Credit Suisse. Who's worried? Already, IBM took a larger-than-expected revenue hit. Johnson & Johnson's international growth was next to nil thanks to currency fluctuations. And United Technologies called foreign exchange a headwind in Q4. This isn't new, though. North American firms reported a collective $11.8 billion hit in the third quarter of last year c/o negative currency impacts—which was itself nearly 12x the hit a quarter earlier. Morning Brew
  8. When Microsoft went public in March of 1986, co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, two friends from high school who bonded over their mutual love of computer science, became multi-millionaires. Gates, then 30, remained CEO and rose to prominence as one of the richest people in the U.S. The shares he sold made him $1.6 million, and the 45 percent stake he retained gained a market value of $350 million. The young CEO celebrated his newfound wealth by making a very sensible decision: He paid off his $150,000 mortgage, he told Fortune in 1986. "I bought one thing that was a tiny bit of a splurge," Gates told David Rubenstein during a 2016 Bloomberg interview. "It was used, but it was an incredible car." Gates first purchased a Porsche 911 Turbo in 1979 and rumor has it that he was pulled over quite a few times in the blue sports car. This 911 has since been auctioned off for $80,000. Gates didn't let the car sit around gathering dust: The CEO loved to put its speed to the test in drives around the New Mexico desert, near where Microsoft was headquartered at the time. After one particularly raucous night, he even had to call Allen to bail him out of jail, according to a Time profile from 1997. "Sometimes when I would want to think at night, I would just go out and drive around at high speed," Gates told Rubenstein. "Fortunately, I didn't kill myself doing that." Gates's wealth continued to balloon after Microsoft's IPO and he became a billionaire in 1987 at age 31. At the time, he was the youngest person ever to reach the milestone. And by 1995, his fortune had grown to $12.9 billion, making the then 39-year-old the world's richest man, a title he held for years afterward.
  9. According to the 2018 Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse Research Institute, you need a net worth of $871,320 U.S. Credit Suisse defines net worth, or "wealth," as "the value of financial assets plus real assets (principally housing) owned by households, minus their debts." More than 19 million Americans are in the 1 percent worldwide, Credit Suisse reports, far more than from any other country, while "China is now clearly established in second place in the world wealth hierarchy," with 4.2 million citizens among the world's top 1 percent. To be among the top 10 percent worldwide, you don't even need six figures: A net worth of $93,170 will do it. And even if you have just $4,210 to your name, you're still richer than half of the world's residents.
  10. When it finally does go one day this is the part I will need to order:
  11. I found a $99 Chromebook last night and I am wondering if I could share it with others if need be?
  12. Airbnb booked "substantially more" than $1 billion in revenue during the third quarter, the company said yesterday in a memo. That means this fall was Airbnb's strongest quarter since it launched in ‘08. Feels like a few things were missing from that memo, no? All Airbnb disclosed was a loose revenue stat. But according to CNBC's insiders, Airbnb... 1) Is on track to be profitable for a second straight year 2) Reportedly posted $2.6 billion in revenue during 2017 3) Is worth about $31 billion All that without a permanent CFO since February. Not to mention, this marks the first time Airbnb released its revenue...scheduled conveniently ahead of its proposed 2019 IPO. Sound familiar, Uber? + While we're here: In-law guest rooms are being swapped for industrial chic lofts in record numbers this Thanksgiving. Airbnb said it expects one million guests to stay at its U.S. listings during the holiday.

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