09/17/2020

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Monday,
October 5, 2020

Market recap

Dow Jones

27,682.81

-134.09

S&P 500

3,348.44

-32.36

Nasdaq

11,075.02

-251.49

Levi Strauss & Co

$14.15

$0.21

Uber

$37.72

$0.58

Pool Corp.

$322.79

-$5.49

Amid evolving news + uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, your financial needs are our top priority. For more information on COVID-19 and your finances click here.

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Top Story

The Week Ahead on Wall Street

Economic Data

Today, look for the September ISM Services Index and September Markit services PMI. PMI stands for purchasing managers’ index. This metric is based on monthly surveys of US companies about the state of their businesses and the economy. Service reports generally track transport and communication firms, financial intermediaries, business and personal companies, information technology and computing, hotels and restaurants. Along with manufacturing data, these readings contextualize underlying trends in the economy.

Tomorrow, August job openings and August trade deficit data will be released. Trade deficit measures the difference between a country’s imports and exports. Between June and July, the US trade deficit rose from $53.5 billion to $63.6 billion.

On Wednesday, be on the lookout for Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes and August consumer credit. Consumer credit measures debt that people take on to buy goods and services. In July, consumer credit climbed by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.5%.

On Thursday, initial jobless claims will be released. First-time jobless claims released last week came in at 837,000, marking a 36,000 decline from the prior week. Continuing claims were down by almost 1 million, hitting 11.8 million. Though recovery for the job market is still gradual, these numbers showed a somewhat encouraging trend. That said, there is still a long way to go to get back to pre-pandemic levels of jobless claims.

To round out the week, August wholesale inventories will be released on Friday. This metric measures how much stock wholesalers have that they cannot sell. A high amount of inventory means retail demand is depressed while a low amount of inventory means demand is high. From June to July, wholesale inventories climbed by 4.6%, showing that demand for retail goods fell as some states rolled back reopening measures in July due to rising COVID-19 cases.

Earnings Reports

Third quarter earnings season will begin this week. Investors will be eager to see how companies are adjusting to what some see as a “new normal.”

Tomorrow, Levi Strauss &Co (LEVI) will report its latest results. The pandemic has been hard on most clothing companies due to store closures. Jeans makers have had a particularly difficult time as many people are choosing to wear leggings or sweatpants while working from home. Due to decreased revenue, Levi Strauss cut 700 corporate jobs, or about 15% of its corporate workforce over the summer.

Paychex Inc. (PAYX) a company that provides payroll systems, human resources help, and other services to small and medium-sized businesses, will also report earnings tomorrow. The company facilitates payment for one out of every 12 American private sector employees. It recently created new systems to help employers deal with the pandemic, including COVID-19 leave tracking and screening.

On Wednesday, Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. (LW) hands in its report card. The Idaho-based company supplies frozen potatoes, vegetables, and other food products to restaurants and grocers. It is likely that the company’s restaurant business has been hampered by the pandemic, but its grocery store business saw growth. This report will give insights into how well the company was able to alter its supply chains over the last quarter.

On Thursday, look out for an earnings report from Domino’s Pizza (DPZ). Domino’s is the world’s largest pizza company by sales and has 17,100 locations in more than 90 markets. Domino’s has been at the forefront of online ordering and delivery for some time, and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it stepped in to fill a surging demand for food delivery. Their digital strategy has driven sales which has continued to push the company’s stock price higher.

Delta Airlines (DAL) is also expected to report earnings on Thursday. Along with other air carriers, Delta has faced severe hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the Treasury Department extended loans to seven major US airlines, but Delta and Southwest (LUV) both decided to opt out and stick to funding from private markets.

The Week Ahead at SoFi

This week’s lineup of virtual events will help you get centered while you continue to make progress on your career and your financial independence. Reserve your spot today in the SoFi app!


Business School Applications Spike

MBA Applicants Are Undeterred by the Pandemic

MBA programs are seeing a record number of applications this cycle. This is a change from the past five years, when business school applications dropped due to a strong job market and high tuition costs. Now, however, programs like the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Columbia Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and others are seeing their application numbers climb by double-digit percentages.

Some schools anticipated falling international student numbers because of coronavirus-related restrictions entering the country as well as the possibility that classes would not meet in person. Indeed, this year, many students chose to defer.

Reasons for the Surge in Applications

The number of people applying for business school and other graduate programs tends to swell during economic downturns as people look to bulk up their resumes when the job market is difficult. This is part of the reason for the spike in MBA applications.

Additionally, this year a number of business schools waived or loosened standardized testing requirements and pushed back application dates because of COVID-19. This spurred many who might not have otherwise applied this year to submit b-school applications.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Current MBA Students

For some already in business school, the pandemic is presenting difficulties. Some business school students are paying $80,000 per year or more for remote classes. One big appeal of going to business school is that it provides opportunities to connect with other students and start building a valuable network. Some students are feeling frustrated that their schools have not lowered tuition even though their business school experience is fully or partially online.

Additionally, some business school students are concerned about entering a murky job market that appears to be much different from when they started school. Some companies are not even going through with their typical fall recruiting efforts. Though circumstances are challenging for business students at the moment, dealing with the current economic uncertainty may be good training for the difficult situations they may face later in their careers.

SoFi Stadium: Behind the Scenes with the #1 Fan

To celebrate the opening of SoFi Stadium and showcase the VIP perks that await our members, we sent one lucky SoFi member on an exclusive tour with LA Rams fans Rob Lowe and Danny Trejo. Check out the official #1 Fan video for a sneak peek of what SoFi Members can experience once it’s safe to welcome fans into the stadium.


Pacaso’s Unique Idea for Meeting Suburban Housing Demand

Pacaso’s Spin on the Timeshare Model

Many people who are feeling cramped at home are searching for more space to work and practice social distancing. This, and other factors, have led to a spike in demand for suburban housing. Pacaso, a startup created by two former Zillow Group (ZG) employees, has come up with a creative way to fill that demand.

Pacaso is using the timeshare business model to sell partial ownership in homes. While traditional timeshares give buyers the opportunity to stay in homes by the beach or the mountains, Pacaso plans to offer stays in more ordinary suburban neighborhoods outside of cities such as Austin or Detroit.

Launching During a Pandemic

The idea for Pacaso was sparked before the pandemic. The company’s founders, though, made some adjustments to the business model in response to people’s unique needs at the moment and see now as an ideal time to launch. Pacaso, named for the artist Pablo Picasso, will target people who want to keep their homes in urban centers and are not ready to buy second homes, but want the opportunity to escape somewhere with more space on a regular basis. Pacaso will aim to offer homes within a two-hour drive from customers’ main residences.

Looking Ahead

Pacaso has secured $17 million in venture funding from investors including Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks (SBUX) CEO, and Jeff Wilke, an Amazon (AMZN) executive. The timeshare model is a notoriously difficult way to turn a profit, both for operating companies and buyers. However, Pacaso’s unique take on the business model could change this.

Pacaso launched last week with four homes, and has plans to be operating in 25 US markets with hundreds of homes by next year.

Not-So-Breaking News

  • President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19. When the president tweeted the news, Dow futures fell more than 500 points. Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence have tested negative for the virus.
  • Walmart (WMT) announced it will sell its UK grocery store chain, Asda, to Issa Brothers and TDR Capital, a private-equity group. The deal values Asda at $8.8 billion net of debt and cash. Walmart will hold on to an equity investment in the company and will have a seat on its board.
  • Uber Freight (UBER) secured a $500 million investment from Greenbriar Equity Group. Uber Freight uses a different business model than Uber’s ride-share and food-delivery branches. The logistics arm of Uber’s business serves as a middleman connecting truckers with shippers and is valued at $3.3 billion post-money.
  • The Irish Supreme Court has ruled that Subway’s bread contains too much sugar for it to qualify as bread under the country’s VAT regulations. Because of the ratio of sugar to flour in the bread, the court said it is legally closer to cake.
  • Pool Corp. (POOL) will join the S&P 500, replacing E*Trade Financial (ETFC), which was acquired by Morgan Stanley (MS). Pool Corp. is the largest wholesaler of swimming pools and related products in the world.
  • We believe that investing is for everyone—which is why we’ve created a hub with info for beginners and experts alike. Start exploring SoFi's Investing 101 Center to get investment education, advice, resources, and more!

Financial Planner Tip of the Day

"Before you start investing, it is important to understand your goals. Selecting an investment strategy depends on your goal amount, the time horizon, and your risk tolerance."

Brian Walsh, CFP® at SoFi

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