Buying time might be the best to hope for Tesla Inc. and Elon Musk as SEC swift and tough.action surprises experts. See full story.
Republican leaders agree to delay final Kavanaugh vote to allow for FBI probe
Senate Republican leaders agreed Friday to delay by as much as a week the final vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, to allow for an FBI probe of allegations of sexual assault. See full story.
Snap and Tesla are for sale, and here’s who will buy them
Evan Spiegel and Elon Musk, your companies are gone, writes Scott Galloway. See full story.
Homeowners are sitting on a record $6 trillion in equity. Why aren’t they using it?
The amount of home equity that American households can withdraw from their homes hit a new high in the spring even as the amount actually taken out fell, according to data from Black Knight. See full story.
With fresh payroll report will come more scrutiny of wage data
Another jobs report, another close look at wages. The upcoming report could show a meaningless bump in hourly wages due to the impact of Hurricane Florence. See full story.
As China becomes more active in artificial intelligence, the U.S. should double the amount it spends on research in the field, says investor and AI practitioner Kai-Fu Lee, who has worked for Google, Microsoft and Apple.
The comments come after various parts of the U.S. government have made AI announcements, even as the U.S. overall lacks a formal AI strategy. Meanwhile, China introduced its plan last year: it’s aiming to be No. 1 in AI innovation by 2030.
“Double the AI research budget would be a good start, given that all other countries are so much farther behind U.S., and we’re looking for the next breakthrough in AI,” said Lee.
Doubling funding could double the chances that the next big AI achievement will be made in the U.S., Lee told CNBC in an interview this week.
Lee, , whose book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order” was published this month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is CEO of Sinovation Ventures, which has invested in one of the most prominent AI companies in China, Face++. In the 1980s at Carnegie Mellon University he worked on an AI system that beat the highest-ranked American Othello player, and later he was an executive at Microsoft Research and president of Google’s China branch.
Lee acknowledged previous U.S. government technology competitions like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotics Challenge and asked when the next one would be, in order to help identify the next visionaries.
Researchers in the U.S. often have to work hard in order to win government grants, Lee said.
“It’s not China that is taking away the academic leaders; it’s the corporates,” Lee said. Facebook, Google and other technology companies have hired luminaries from universities to work on AI in recent years.
Lee said immigration policy changes could also help the U.S. bolster its AI efforts.
“I think green cards should automatically be offered to PhD’s in AI,” he said.
China’s State Council issued its Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan in July 2017. China’s National Natural Science Foundation provides funding to people at academic institutions similar to the way that the National Science Foundation and other government organizations dole out money to U.S. researchers, but the quality of academic work is lower in China, Lee said.
“The last three years have been great and a lot of Americans have gone back to buying big SUVs,” he said. “But when gas prices start to go up, and they are already starting to, a lot of those people who made those decisions a few years ago are going to pay for it. And I would say to anyone who is buying a car expect prices to move back up over $3.00 a gallon for quite some time.”
So far, fuel prices have not seemed to scare buyers away from muscle cars, including Challenger, Drury said. His data suggest that in 2018 just under half of all buyers of Challengers, Mustangs and Camaros have opted for the larger (and less efficient) 8-cylinder engine, despite the fact that all three brands sell smaller, more efficient engines.
And many of these cars are bought by enthusiasts, who are passionate about driving and are not as sensitive to fuel prices, Brinley said. The Dodge Hellcat Widebody, which at a starting price around $70,000 is a top of the line version of the car, has a supercharged V8 engine that pumps out an almost unthinkable 707 horsepower. In the city, it gets 12 miles per gallon.
“Someone who buys a vehicle like this is knows why they are getting 12 miles per gallon,” Brinley said. “Where it gets to be a concern is when they can’t afford the fuel.”
Automakers have already responded to jumps in fuel prices in the past, including in the “muscle car” segment. The base model Challenger gets a more modest, but still plenty powerful 305 horsepower and 19 miles per gallon in the city. The higher-end Hellcat gets 12 miles per gallon in the city and 19 miles per gallon on the highway.
Dodge has no plans yet to make a hybrid version, as Ford plans to do for the Mustang.
The question remains if the Challenger can continue to captivate the mind’s of buyers. The Challenger name is an old one that has been resurrected by its manufacturer several times over the years, something also true of the Camaro. Only the Mustang has been in continuous production since it was first introduced in the 1960s. It is a reminder that selling sports cars can be tough and that a product’s future is never secure.
Trade-in data for the segment suggests about a quarter of all buyers end up buying another similar car, Drury said. Contrast that with trucks, which have a loyalty rate closer to 75 percent.
To keep interest, Dodge has introduced several limited editions and added various performance packages on the vehicle. The 2018 model year offers 16 different versions of the Challenger, and Dodge is introducing new versions of the car in 2019.
That will include a 797-horsepower version called the Hellcat Redeye, which in terms of performance nips at the heels of the almost unthinkable 808-horsepower limited edition Challenger Demon the brand made for 2018.
Dodge is also changing the way it sells the car. It plans to introduce more ways for buyers to customize their cars both in terms of appearance and performance. This will give customers the option of putting high-end features, such as brake packages, on a car without having to spend the $70,000 they would normally have to buying one of the lineup’s highest performing models.
The sheer range of options and the ability to customize the vehicle are part of why consumers are drawn to the Challenger, said Kevin Hellman, who is brand manager for the car.
“We try to talk to as many customers as we can and we constantly get narratives like ‘I love my Challenger because I barely ever see another one like it on the road,'” he said. “That is one piece that really resonates with customers out there in this market. The less of it you see out there the more you feel like it is special to you.”
The car is also meant for people who care deeply about driving and care about America’s automotive heritage.
“These vehicles still soldier on,” Drury said, “and it is because they represent something no fast performance version of an SUV can represent. These cars are impractical from day one, so everyone knows they are in for a lot of compromise, but there is something there that other segments can’t touch.”
The Murdoch family won big for steering the sale of most of 21st Century Fox for steering the sale of most of 21st Century Fox to Disney.
A new government filing reveals just how big of a win they achieved.
Rupert Murdoch, the family patriarch and executive chairman of Fox(FOXA), made $49.2 million during the latest fiscal year, a big chunk of which was in stock awards. That’s about $20 million more than he made last year.
Murdoch’s sons, executive chairman Lachlan and CEO James, made about $50 million each -— about $30 million more than what they each made last year. Roughly $36.7 million of their shares were stock awards.
The document, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, makes clear that the awards were related to Disney’s purchase. It calls Fox’s executive officers “critical” to the deal’s completion.
The filing noted that the transaction also resulted in a significant windfall for stockholders, with stock prices spiking 75% in the 2018 fiscal year.
Disney spent $71.3 billion to acquire most of the company, including the Fox movie studio, after a prolonged bidding war with Comcast. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year.
The Murdochs aren’t letting everything go. A “New Fox” company will include the company’s major TV channels, including Fox News, Fox Business Network, Fox broadcasting and the sports cable networks FS1 and FS2.
Fox announced earlier this year that Lachlan Murdoch will become chairman and CEO of that new company, while his father serves as co-chairman. James is expected to leave Fox.
Two former executives of LendingClub mishandled investors’ money and fudged the returns of funds that they oversaw, the SEC charged Friday.
Ex-CEO Renaud Laplanche, former finance chief Carrie Dolan and a LendingClub subsidiary will pay a combined $4.2 million to settle the charges. The settlement also bars Laplanche from the securities industry for at least three years.
Regulators had already accused the company of deceiving customers about fees and taking money from their accounts without authorization. LendingClub connects borrowers directly to investors without banks serving as a middleman.
LendingClub’s advisory arm and Laplanche directed one of the private funds LendingClub worked with to purchase interests in loans that looked like they could go unfunded, according to the SEC.
This served “to benefit LendingClub, not the fund,” the SEC said in a statement. Laplanche, Dolan and the advisory unit also inflated returns for funds they managed, it added.
“Investors depend on fund advisers to give them the straight scoop on performance so they can make informed investment decisions,” Jina Choi, director of the SEC’s San Francisco office, said in a statement. “Advisers who adjust their valuation processes to boost results are in breach of their duties to investors.”
Laplanche, Dolan and the subsidiary agreed to the settlement without admitting to or denying the SEC’s findings.
In a statement, Laplanche said he was “pleased to have worked out a settlement with the SEC to put to rest any issues related to compliance lapses that might have occurred.” Dolan’s current employer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
LendingClub(LC) has been in legal limbo since 2016, when the company’s board began an investigation into Laplanche that culminated in his resignation as CEO and chairman. Multiple federal investigations into his behavior followed.
The SEC said it did not recommend charges against LendingClub as a whole, as the company “promptly self-reported its executives’ misconduct” after the board investigation and provided “extraordinary cooperation” during the investigation.
A Justice Department investigation into LendingClub is ongoing, but a settlement is expected soon, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the discussions.
The company is also continuing to work toward a resolution with the Federal Trade Commission, the person said.
In April, the FTC charged LendingClub with misleading customers, who were said to have been falsely told that loans came with “no hidden fees.” In reality, the company deducted hundreds or even thousands of dollars in secret fees, the regulator said.
LendingClub chairman Hans Morris said in a statement Friday that the company is “pleased to have resolution and closure” on the SEC front.
“The findings of the SEC further support the Board’s decision to take swift and decisive action” against Laplanche, Morris said. “We have full confidence in our new management team and we are a better company today.”
The fintech company has struggled since it went public in 2014. Since its IPO, LendingClub shares have fallen more than 70%. On Friday, its stock rose 1%.
The allegations of sexual misconduct at CBS have drawn the attention of the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
The network which forced out Chairman and CEO Les Moonves three weeks ago has received subpoenas about those allegations from both the district attorney and the New York City Human Rights Commission, the company disclosed in a filing late Friday. The company said it is cooperating with the subpoenas. A spokesperson for CBS declined to comment about the filing.
The filing does not say exactly who is being investigated, the company or individuals. The district attorney has the power to bring criminal charges against individuals. A spokesperson for the office declined to say whether Moonves or any other individual is a subject of investigation. A spokesperson for Moonves could not be reached Friday evening.
The company had disclosed on August 1 that it had hired two outside law firms to conduct an investigation into allegations against Moonves, executives at CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS. Its filing Friday said that probe is ongoing.
Despite the earlier allegations and the probe, Moonves remained atop the media company until September 9, when The New Yorker published a follow-up story in which additional women made allegations of either physically forced or coerced oral sex. Moonves admitted to consensual relations with three of the women named in the article but denied what he called the “appalling accusations” in the report.
In May, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office charged movie producer Harvey Weinstein with rape in the first and third degrees and committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree. The New Yorker was one of the publications that broke the story of allegations against Weinstein. Weinstein, who has maintained that he has never engaged in non-consensual sexual behavior with anyone, pleaded not guilty in the case.
The news has already caused Tesla shares to drop sharply in after-hours trading. Musk could pay the price for his tweets, too: The SEC is looking to have him removed as Tesla’s CEO and to ban him from holding a corporate officer or director position at any public company. Depending on the case’s outcome, Musk may also be required to pay large fines and restitution to investors harmed by the tweets.
Musk said in a statement he was “saddened and disappointed” by the SEC’s choice to file a suit against him. “I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors,” Musk said.
This is far from the first time that a celebrity or popular business figure has caused a company to incur a significant loss with a tweet. In February, Kylie Jenner, star of E!’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and a fashion empire mogul in her own right, tweeted that she was over
“Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad,” Jenner tweeted to her 24.5 million Twitter followers. Jenner, regarded by her fans as an arbiter of what’s hot and what’s not, was heard. Her tweet was liked 320,000 times. The following day Snapchat stock dropped 6%, or $1.3 billion in market cap, also in part over its decision to redesign its interface.
While Twitter can be a powerful social-networking and marketing tool, hasty or erroneous posts on the site sometimes get pretty expensive. Misfired tweets have ended careers, led to huge fines, and even impacted the stock market. When the Associated Press account was hacked in 2013, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
plunged 145 points. A tweet appeared around 1 p.m. on April 23 of that year saying: “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” The AP deleted the post and suspended the account.
Photos are not included in the character count. That also cuts both ways. In 2016, University of Mississippi offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil — who was widely expected to be one of the top draft picks this season — slid to 13th at the NFL Draft after a video of him smoking a substance from a bong appeared on his Twitter profile just moments before the draft. He quickly deleted his account, but it was too late.
Based on the 2016 NFL projections, that tweet likely cost him as much as $10 million, making it possibly the costliest Tweet ever: No. 1 could earn $28.65 million for a four-year contract versus $12.45 million for 13th (although the position plays a role in the contract value too). There was also a $10 million-plus difference between first and 13th place in 2016. Tunsil was picked by the Miami Dolphins. (His agent said his account was hacked.)
The problem with Twitter, aside from such obvious security issues, is that immediacy and informality — the site’s greatest strength — are also its greatest dangers. And in many cases, there’s no turning back once you hit “tweet.” Attempts to delete tweets are often too late. Millions more of these brief musings will live on for posterity when screenshots are taken and posted online, and, yes, retweeted too. “Public tweets are a public and permanent record,” says Daniel Post-Senning, great-great grandson of the grand dame of etiquette Emily Post.
Here are five more regrettable tweets — and the estimated hefty price tags that came with them:
Anthony Weiner tweets away his career
Price tag: $174,000 salary, dreams of being mayor
Anthony Weiner, the former Democratic congressman for New York, last year began a 21-month prison sentence for sexting with a minor. But he first resigned in June 2011 after sending a sexually explicit photo of himself to a college student over Twitter. At first, Weiner claimed that his Twitter account was hacked, telling reporters he was the victim of a “prank.” While he lost his $174,000-a-year job — the standard salary for members of both the House and the Senate — he also walked away with the equivalent of around $1.2 million in retirement benefits after just a dozen years in office. Before his prison sentence, Weiner worked as a media pundit, political analyst and blogger, and had an unsuccessful run for mayor of New York. His Twitter account @repweiner hasn’t been active since July 13, 2014. His bio reads: “This here thing is dormant. Sleeping. Maybe dead.”
NBA fines tweeting team owners
Estimated price tag: $525,000
The National Basketball Association has fined team owners thousands of dollars for tweets. In November 2011, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison was fined a reported $500,000 for commenting on the player/trade union bargaining process, which is a no-no for a team owner, according to NBA rules. In 2009, it fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $25,000 for using Twitter to publicly criticize officials after the Mavericks lost a game against Denver. The Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks did not comment. A spokesman for the NBA, says both parties were fined, but declined to confirm the specifics. “You’re accountable for what you do on Twitter just as if you put up a sign in the main street of your town,” Post-Senning says.
tweeted about $9 one-way tickets from Los Angeles in June 2011, but failed to mention the additional taxes and charges in its brief 140-character ad blast. In November 2011, the Transportation Department fined the Florida-based airline $50,000 for deceptive advertising practices. The taxes and fees were disclosed on the airline’s website, but only after clicking on a second link. (Spirit did not respond to requests for comment.) At the time, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement: “Consumers have a right to know the full price they will be paying when they buy an airline ticket. We expect airlines to treat their passengers fairly, and we will take enforcement action when they violate our price advertising rules.”
Fired for tweeting an opinion
Estimated price tag: Future earnings
Everyone is just one tweet away from being fired. In 2010, a 20-year CNN veteran, Octavia Nasr — then a senior editor covering the Middle East — was fired after sending out a tweet saying she had respect for Shiite Cleric Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. It read: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot. #Lebanon” During his lifetime, Fadlallah was a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy and supported suicide bombings against Israel. Nasr apologized for her tweet and said it was an error of judgment. She further defended Fadlallah because she said he took a contrarian and pioneering stand among Shia clerics on women’s rights. (CNN
Time has given Nasr perspective on how fast people react to tweets. “The respect I expressed towards a cleric for his contrarian stance on women and for his openness to dialogue with the west, was a professional opinion based on years of in-depth coverage of the region and in my capacity as a Middle East expert and analyst for CNN,” she told MarketWatch. “The tweet was taken out of context by an extremist group that waged a hate campaign against me.” In such circumstances, journalists often can’t respond or fight back until it’s too late, Nasr added. “Nowadays, everyone wants to play judge as soon as something surfaces on social media. Reporters and media executives must not jump to conclusions, and they must not fan the flames of hatred or sensationalize stories.”
She is founder of Bridges Media Consulting, “a firm that helps businesses and media organizations synchronize traditional and digital strategies,” according to her website.
Fired for tweeting ‘satire’
Estimated price tag: Six months of earnings
In December 2013, Justine Sacco, a PR executive for InterActiveCorp , which runs dating websites Match.com
and OkCupid , was fired after tweeting offensive comments about AIDS in Africa, before stepping on a plane to go there. The company said at the time: “The offensive comment doesn’t reflect the views and values of IAC.” Sacco later apologized “for being insensitive to this crisis — which doesn’t discriminate by race, gender or sexual orientation.” Sacco later said the tweet was intended to be satirical. She spoke to Jon Ronson for his 2015 book, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed,” about becoming the subject of a global hashtag #HasJusintineLandedYet. “Of all the things I could have been in society’s collective consciousness,” she said, “it never struck me that I’d end up a brutal nadir.” She resumed working in communications for a fantasy sports site in August 2014.
This story was updated on Sept. 27, 2018.
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The decline in U.S. life expectancy and rise in “deaths of despair” have been widely attributed to the growing opioid crisis, but new research says there are many more factors at play, including immigration and income inequality.
The psychological well-being of Americans has been dwindling for the last 40 years, affecting all groups and regions of the country, but opioids only tell part of that story, according to a report released Friday by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. “The opioid epidemic is sitting on top of a much longer, and more poorly understood, decline in the health and well-being in the United States,” said Peter Muennig, professor of health and management at Columbia School of Public Health and a co-author of the paper.
So-called “deaths of despair” have typically been associated with drug-related causes, especially opioid overdoses. Drug overdose-deaths soared by 21% in 2016, mostly because of widespread distribution of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The life expectancy for Americans born in 2016 has fallen to 78.6 years, from 78.7 and 78.9 in the two previous years, the CDC reported. There’s been a notable increase in the mortality rate of white, middle-aged men and women with no high school education.
But the new Columbia report says drugs are only a part of the problem. “The increase in mortality and decline in health of Americans affects all people and started way before the opioid epidemic,” Muennig said. Earlier smoking among white women could also be producing “lagged mortality effects” that are surfacing in middle and older ages, he added.
Expensive health care is likely the most important factor, the study found. Medical costs have risen 34% in the last decade, outpacing income growth, which rose 20% during the same timeframe, according to an analysis from personal-finance site NerdWallet. People sometimes delay seeking treatment until they have the funds.
About 27 million adults pay for their health care on credit cards, the report found. Some Americans wait until they get their tax refunds to either pay off those bills or go to the doctor or pharmacy for check-ups and medicine.
The U.S. faces another health-related epidemic: obesity. The U.S. topped one list of the most obese nations in the world, just ahead of Mexico, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Income inequality is growing in the U.S.
The U.S. has fallen behind other countries in several key areas, including education, income equality, environmental protection and private gun ownership regulation, the Columbia researchers said. American students rank somewhere in the middle for science, mathematics and reading, compared to other advanced industrial nations, behind Singapore, Taiwan and the Netherlands, a 2017 Pew Research Center analysis found.
As for income inequality, it’s worse. The top 1% of Americans earned 26.3 times as much as the bottom 99% in 2015, a jump from 2013 when they made 25.3 times the bottom. In fact, the top 1% hasn’t controlled that much wealth — 22% of total income in 2015 — since right before the Great Depression. “The attention that has been given to whites as the primary victims of declining health is distracting researchers and policymakers from much more serious, longer-term structural problems that affect all Americans,” Muennig said.
Income has stagnated for millions of Americans
Incomes aren’t growing to keep up with families’ spending needs, or their growing debt, according to economists Barry Cynamon of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Steven Fazzari of Washington University in St. Louis.
The middle class has shrunk dramatically in the last few decades, and income for those households grew only slightly (6% from $74,015 in 2010 to $78,442 in 2016) compared to upper-income households (9% from $172,152 to $187,872 between the same time frame). Lower-income households’ income grew 5% from $24,448 to $25,624.
The good news: The U.S. economy is doing well, said Paul Ashworth, chief economist of Capital Economics, and should continue to do well this year and next because of a range of tax cuts introduced by the Trump administration. While interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve may put pressure on economic growth in the next couple of years, he expects that to be a “modest downturn that’s quickly reversed.”
A slowdown in immigration affects the status of all Americans’ health, as studies suggest that immigrants are healthier than native-born U.S. citizens, at least when they first arrive in the U.S. “Almost all of our growth in health and life expectancy since the 1980s have been from immigration,” Muennig said. “Immigrants have been boosting life expectancy.”
Immigration also raises average wages slightly for the country, partially because U.S.-born and immigrant workers are not competing for the same jobs, and when they’re in the same industries, they complement one another, according to the Hamilton Project, an economic research group within Washington, D.C.-based think tank Brookings Institution.
“Deaths of despair” is part of a problem that has recently received a good deal of attention because whites were identified as the primary victims, the latest report concludes, “but it is a problem that is more extensive and more enduring than the white despair narrative can fully explain.”
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Unknown attackers accessed 50 million Facebook accounts this month, and executives said Friday that any potentially compromised accounts had been logged out of the service as an investigation continued.
In a blog post, Facebook executive Guy Rosen said that the social network’s “view as” feature, which lets users see their profile page as a specific user would, allowed access to that other account’s “token,” or identification. The hackers found that a video uploader coughed up a friend’s token within a “Happy Birthday” option that was not supposed to be active in “view as” mode, and then would use the trick against more friends of the accounts they accessed.
“These access tokens enabled someone to use the account as if they were … the account holder themselves,” Rosen said in the second of two conference calls Facebook held with the media about the breach on Friday. “This does mean they could have accessed other third-party apps that were using Facebook Login.”
Facebook actually logged off 90 million users Friday, executives said: The 50 million affected accounts and another 40 million that had used the ”view as” feature since a July 2017 update caused the security hole. Users who were logged out were promised notifications with more information at the top of their pages when they regained control of their account.
On the morning conference call, Facebook assured the media that credit-card numbers could not have been accessed, but repeatedly stressed that it was early in the investigation when questioned about other parts of a user’s accounts, such as private messages. Facebook began investigating on Sept. 16, after noticing unusual account activity, and discovered the vulnerability on Tuesday. By Thursday evening, they had patched it and begun forcing users out to require a password for entry.
“Since we’ve only just started our investigation, we have yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed,” Rosen wrote in the blog post. “We also don’t know who’s behind these attacks or where they’re based.”
Facebook said the vulnerability is fixed, law enforcement has been notified and the breach has been disclosed to the Irish Data Protection Commission to satisfy a GDPR requirement to notify within 72 hours. The company will turn off the “view as” feature temporarily.
“While I’m glad we found this, fixed the vulnerability, and secured the accounts that may be at risk, the reality is we need to continue developing new tools to prevent this from happening in the first place,” Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook account, which was reportedly one of the 50 million affected.
took a hit directly after the breach was announced, and closed down 2.6% on the day. Shares have declined 6.8% so far this year amid other data scares, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the increasing costs Facebook is facing to confront its issues. The S&P 500 index
The breach is likely to increase pressure on Facebook, which has already faced blowback from politicians for earlier privacy issues. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, called the breach “deeply concerning” in an email statement Friday.
“Today’s disclosure is a reminder about the dangers posed when a small number of companies like Facebook or the credit bureau Equifax
are able to accumulate so much personal data about individual Americans without adequate security measures,” he wrote. “This is another sobering indicator that Congress needs to step up and take action to protect the privacy and security of social media users.”
The third quarter is wrapping up, September is coming to a close, and CNBC’s Jim Cramer can finally breathe.
“The third quarter’s in the bag and it’s been a good one — best in five years. Even September was good, and historically, that tends to be a rough month,” the “Mad Money” host said on Friday. “In fact, the market’s been so robust that you have to think long and hard about stocks that have lagged behind here.”
But barring the currently slumping stocks of Tesla and Facebook, Cramer was pleased with how the quarter turned out. With that in mind, he turned to his weekly game plan, which includes a market-critical report on Friday.
Online shopping service Stitch Fix, a new Cramer-fave, kicks off the earnings flow on Monday. The company is already profitable and rapidly growing its revenues, so Cramer expected a good result.
“One look at their website tells you exactly how powerful this story is,” he said. “Stitch Fix has that rare ability to convert users of the service into buyers of the stock — like Tesla, except it’s making money.”
While shares of Stitch Fix have fallen in the last several weeks on worries about competition from Amazon, Cramer saw the decline as an opportunity.
“You have my blessing to buy some Stitch Fix both before and after the quarter,” he told investors.
“When you read the complaint about what Musk did — basically fabricating this bid to take Tesla private out of whole cloth, precisely in order to smash the people betting against his stock — the thing that stands out is his hubris,” Cramer said. “He tried to destroy the shorts, and in the process, ended up destroying himself.”
What made matters worse, in Cramer’s view, was Musk’s reported refusal to agree to a no-guilt settlement with the SEC — a “slap on the wrist” that would have required Musk to pay a fine and step down as chairman of the board, but keep his role as CEO.
“The man is his own worst enemy,” Cramer said, noting that Tesla’s stock dropped nearly 14 percent on the news.
John Donahoe’s cloud company may be focused on transforming work, but the ServiceNow chief draws a lot of inspiration from some of the world’s top consumer-facing apps, he told CNBC on Friday.
“Over the last 10 years, in the consumer mobile revolution, technology has transformed our lives at home with cloud-based applications like an eBay or a PayPal or a[n] Uber on our mobile phones,” Donahoe, who spent 10 years at eBay, told Cramer in an exclusive interview.
“But technology today at work is complex, frustrating, and with cloud-based platforms like ServiceNow, over the next five to 10 years, there is no reason why we can’t have the same kind of experiences at work as we have at home,” the CEO said.
Donahoe admitted that he’s “taking lessons” from his time at eBay and using “analogies in the consumer world” to drive improvements in the way companies use technology.
As a data center pioneer, VMware has had a rich and “profound” history building value in the cloud, Chief Operating Officer Sanjay Poonen told Cramer in an exclusive interview.
“Studies have shown that a dollar spent on VMware resulted in $10 of economic value,” Poonen said on “Mad Money.” “So over our 20-year lifetime, we’ve accumulated about $50 billion of revenue, maybe a half a trillion worth of value.”
Poonen said that VMware’s embrace of the public cloud via its partnership with Amazon two years ago “was a turning point for the company.” Until then, VMware had been a key player in the software-defined data center, but with the rise of the public cloud, its core business was on track for heightened competition and possibly decline.
“We moved those headwinds of the public cloud to become tailwinds for us, and now, we’re beginning to see the future of VMware,” the COO told Cramer. “Now, ironically, customers are not just spending on cloud, mobile, security, but also on our traditional on premise business, which is great.”
To watch Sanjay Poonen’s full interview, click here.
As the Chief Philanthropy Officer and Executive Vice President of Salesforce.org, the cloud giant’s philanthropic arm, Ebony Frelix says she has “the best job at Salesforce” — or at least “one of the best.”
“My title and my role is really responsible for engaging the 30,000 Salesforce employees who want to give back and make a difference in their communities,” she told Cramer in an exclusive interview at Dreamforce. “We’re also responsible for the grant-making, all those resources that go back into the community to give back to the nonprofits that we care so deeply about.”
On Tuesday, Salesforce.org announced an $18 million contribution to its local communities, with $15.5 million going to San Francisco and Oakland’s public schools, $2 million going to battle homelessness and hunger and $500,000 going to San Francisco parks.
“Nineteen years ago, Salesforce was founded, and the 1-1-1 model was an integral part of that. So that meant 1 percent of our company’s equity, 1 percent of our employees’ time and 1 percent of our technology was going back into the community,” Frelix said. “So giving back is a part of our DNA. And out of that, our model evolved. It’s grown into so much more.”
To hear more about Salesforce’s philanthropic vision and Frelix’s mission, click here.
Bojangles: “I totally understand why someone might think that [Bojangles is set up for a buyout or a sale], but the stock was up so much today that we can’t come on top of it. Because what’ll happen is I’ll recommend a stock and it’ll be up there on a takeover basis and on a fundamental basis it’ll end up hurting us. So I’m going to take a pass right here, but I understand the thesis.”
FedEx: “I think FedEx is terrific. I think that I’m not as worried about world trade as other people. They just don’t seem to be able to understand that FedEx is incredibly well-run, and I liked the last quarter despite the fact that others didn’t.”
Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Facebook, Amazon and Salesforce.com.