Greed is back on Wall Street, and 4 other business stories you need to read
Forty years ago on this day, a global, 24-hour news channel was born. Happy birthday, CNN — you don’t look a day over 39.
“Now,” as Lois Hart said in CNN’s very first broadcast, “here’s the news:”
GORDON GEKKO VIBES
2020 just keeps piling on. This weekend’s riots erupted against a backdrop of a global pandemic that’s killed more than 100,000 Americans. Unemployment hasn’t been this high since the Great Depression. A presidential election looms. The world’s two largest economies are teetering on the brink of another trade war.
But on Wall Street, investors haven’t seemed to notice. For the first time since February, markets on Monday tipped into “greed” territory on CNN Business’ Fear/Greed Index, which looks at a mix of indicators to get a read on how investors are feeling, on a scale of fearful to greedy.
Basically, investors are signaling they’re not afraid of this turmoil. It’s a greed buffet and investors are loading their plates.
TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE BURGER
This is bad news for my new veggie startup “Indubitable Burger.”
A court in Europe ordered Nestlé to stop marketing “incredible” burgers because the word infringes on an Impossible Foods trademark. Inconceivable!
Instead of “Incredible,” Nestlé is going to rebrand as “Sensational Burger” in the European market. In the US, the meatless patty goes by “Awesome Burger.”
(Psst, Nestlé: Throwing a thesaurus at your products isn’t the only way to name them.)
READ THE ROOM, ZUCK
Facebook employees on Monday made a rare show of dissent as they staged a virtual walkout in protest of their CEO’s inaction on President Trump’s posts.
Mark Zuckerberg has said (before Congress, no less) that posts inciting violence would not be tolerated on Facebook. And yet the company has done nothing about posts from President Trump in which he threatened that “looting” would lead to “shooting.”
(By contrast, Twitter slapped a warning label on the same message, saying it glorified violence.)
Zuck did acknowledge on Sunday that “Facebook needs to do more” to support equality and said the company would pledge $10 million to groups working on racial justice.
But this hands-off approach has gotten Facebook into hot water before, and Zuck’s measured, almost clinical, Sunday night post on the issue suggests he’s simply not reading the room, even the (virtual) rooms within his own office.
BIG PICTURE THOUGHTS: This say-nothing approach could seriously threaten Facebook’s bottom line if advertisers and partners start to pull out. Already on Monday, Talkspace’s CEO announced it had ended talks with Facebook, saying, “We will not support a platform that incites violence, racism, and lies.”
ICYMI: A GIANT LEAP FOR COMMERCIAL SPACE TRAVEL
SpaceX made history on Saturday with the successful launch of its crewed space mission. The world cheered — it was a rare spot of positive news in a weekend marked by pain and anger. The news was so good it made other companies’ stocks rise (SpaceX is not publicly traded, so investors had to pour their excitement into Virgin Galactic).
For Elon Musk — the CEO who’s either an eccentric visionary who’ll take us to Mars one day or a hot-headed liability, or both, depending on who you ask — it couldn’t have gotten much better. Until it did. Just to cap things off, he also got 1.68 million stock options that provided him with a $770 million payday.
EXTREMELY 2020 NEWS
Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining companies, blew up a 46,000-year-old sacred indigenous site with dynamite to expand an Australian iron ore mine.
The site in Western Australia featured two cave systems that contained artifacts indicating tens of thousands of years of continuous human occupation.
“We are sorry for the distress we have caused,” the company said.
The metaphor here feels a little heavy-handed, tbh.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Necco Wafers, an apparently beloved snack that one CNN Business editor described as “like Tums without all the delicious flavor,” are making a comeback two years after the factory that made them closed.
- Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine announcement set off a frenzy on Wall Street. Now some are calling for an investigation.
- Wondering how to invest during a pandemic? Buy boring stocks