# 674 – 🚗 Tesla drives off the cliff – The Average Joe

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    # 674 – 🚗 Tesla drives off the cliff

    victorlei

    April 16, 2024

    Good morning. As western boot sales surge 20%, retailers owe thanks to “the Beyonce bounce.” The pop star’s country album, Cowboy Carter, has only been out for a few weeks, but already LVMH ($LVMUY) has launched an American Western line, Levi Strauss ($LEVI) says denim is “having a moment,” and Boot Barn ($BOOT) stocks keep climbing.

    Looking ahead, the BeyHive predicts her next era will be rock ’n’ roll — so investors may want to start diversifying their portfolios accordingly.


    SPORTS

    Golf Was Doomed, But The Pandemic and Topgolf Ended the Industry’s Gloom

    This weekend, golf fans across America flocked to Augusta, Georgia, to witness legends like Tiger Woods, John Rahm, and Rory McIlroy compete in the Masters Tournament. While Scottie Scheffler secured his second Masters Tournament win in three years by claiming the coveted green jacket, the real winner was the golf industry.

    On the upswing: Golf, once considered a costly and time-consuming sport for older white men, is once again booming — with the pandemic helping reverse a decades-long decline in active players and industry revenue. And although golf courses booked a record 531M rounds last year, surpassing levels not seen since 2000, analysts are crediting off-course driving ranges like Topgolf ($MODG) for converting young people and skeptics into golfers.

    • Last year, 32.9M people visited off-course golf experiences, marking a 41% increase since 2019 and surpassing on-course visits.

    • Topgolf, the largest of the off-course golf driving range, reported over $1.76B in revenue in 2023 — a 14% increase from 2022.

    Aiming for the green

    Golf’s resurgence raises questions. Its newfound popularity owes a lot to the pandemic, which revitalized golf courses and clubs, but the sport’s sustainability without COVID remains uncertain. Additionally, TV viewership for major tournaments is declining — with PGA Tour ratings down ~20% last year, according to Rory McIlroy. To remain relevant, golf must continue to evolve.

    • New apps are helping golfers improve their swing — and with tournaments, whether on the course or watching from home.

    • Plus, lifestyle-oriented gear, including watches, electric bikes, and clothing, is increasing golf’s touchpoints with popular culture.

    Scoping the course: Even if America’s appetite for golf wanes slightly, global sales are taking off — with golf equipment sales up 40% and apparel sales up 21%, according to Golf Datatech. This suggests that the next destination for the fast-rebounding sport could be overseas, particularly in countries like Korea, Japan, and the UK.


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    LARGECAP RECAP

    🚗 Tesla to cut 14K jobs in largest layoff since 2020

    Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for the S&P 500’s worst-performing stock… they do. EV giant Tesla ($TSLA) announced it would lay off ~10% of its global workforce to be “lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth phase cycle,” according to CEO Elon Musk. This 14K job cut represents the single worst layoff event since 2020 — even surpassing individual layoffs at Google ($GOOG), Meta ($META), and Amazon ($AMZN).

    • The move comes after a year of falling Tesla sales, prompting the automaker to drop prices on virtually all of its models — while punting plans for an affordable EV.

    • While layoffs have generally been lauded by investors, Tesla’s stock fell more than 5% on Monday — bringing the company’s year-to-date decline to 35%.

    No rest for the wicked: Investors were warned that 2024 would see slower sales as the company wrestled with higher interest rates and prepared for 2025. Meanwhile, attempts to enthuse investors by teasing a new Robotaxi business have been overshadowed by concerns. According to Wedbush’s Dan Ives, Tesla is now facing a “Category 5 demand storm” — and “an unexpected delay” in the company’s electric pickup deliveries is making investors even more nervous.

    Read: After A Surprising 2023, Tesla Warns 2024 Will Be Slower — And Investors Have Reason to Worry

    ⚠️ Markets remain calm amid rising Israel-Iran tensions

    On Saturday night, Iran launched 300+ drones and missiles toward Israel in retaliation for an attack on an Iranian consulate earlier this month. Israel’s cutting-edge Iron Dome defense system largely intercepted the barrage of projectiles — leading to a state of “uneasy calm” in the markets. World leaders are urging Israel’s war cabinet to show restraint.

    • Oil prices dropped over 1% yesterday as investors bet against a wider conflict erupting in the Middle East.

    • Despite the tension, oil prices have stayed steady since Hamas invaded Israel in October — partly due to the US and Canada producing more oil than ever before.

    All eyes on Israel: Although Iran claims the recent attack was a one-and-done, Israel has vowed to “exact a price” — with its war cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss options. If Israel does retaliate, President Biden has stated the US won’t participate — in hopes of de-escalating tensions and avoiding chaos in markets.

    Read: A $10T Military Modernization Could Be Coming For Western Countries — Here’s What It Means


    JOE’S MARKET PULSE

    🔗 Encore Wire / Informatica

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    Markets & Economy

    Trump Media ($DJT) shares keep dropping: After last week’s brutal stock performance and the auditor’s resignation, Trump Media stock fell even more yesterday after announcing plans to issue more shares. [Read]

    March retail sales smash expectations: Even as inflation sticks, retail sales rose 0.7% — well above the 0.3% expected. Online sales saw the largest growth (+2.7%) — while clothes and electronics actually saw declines. [Read]

    Goldman ($GS) posts strong first quarter: The bank’s profit jumped 28%, beating estimates due to increased investment banking fees and higher fixed-income trading. Revenue in the asset management division — a key focus area — rose 18% but fell short of expectations. [Read]

    Business & Wealth

    Ranking the world’s busiest airports: If you’re flying into Atlanta, brace yourself — it remains the world’s busiest airport. Tokyo and London airports climbed the ranks due to a busy year of international travel — while LAX, O’Hare, and Denver were less hectic than in years past. [Read]

    Nike ($NKE) CEO says remote work is slowing innovation: As Nike loses ground to upstarts like Hoka and On Running, its CEO says it’s not easy developing “bold, disruptive shoes” over Zoom — though its focus on direct sales has also played a role in the brand’s recent downturn. [Read]

    So when will AI overtake human intelligence? If you ask tech’s best and brightest, you’ll get a range of answers — from Elon Musk’s 2025 prediction to cognitive scientist Gary Marcus, who predicts artificial general intelligence (AGI) “possibly before the end of this century.” Sam Altman suggests AGI could arrive in “the reasonably close-ish future.” [Read]

    *Thanks to our sponsors for keeping the newsletter free.


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    CHART


    DIGIT OF THE DAY

    Apple Loses Smartphone Crown To Samsung As iPhone Shipments Dip 10%

    An Apple ($AAPL) a day may keep the doctor away, but it couldn’t keep the competitors at bay. The tech giant slipped from its position as the world’s top smartphone seller in Q1 — with its global market share dropping to 21%. As a result, South Korean goliath Samsung reclaimed its throne as the No.1 smartphone maker worldwide, edging Apple with a 23% market share after briefly forfeiting the spot to Apple last quarter.

    • iPhone shipments declined by 10%, contrasting with a 7.8% uptick in global smartphone shipments — while Samsung phone sales saw a modest 1% decrease.

    • Low-cost Chinese competitors like Xiaomi and Transsion gained market share and grew faster than the two phone giants — with impressive sales increases of 33.8% and 84.9%, respectively.

    Can AI save $AAPL? Apple's announcement to integrate AI technology into its iPhone and Mac products sparked a $112B rally — driving its stock up by 4.3% for its strongest showing in a year. These innovations are Apple’s bet to tackle sluggish growth, with Bank of America’s Wamsi Mohan expressing confidence in a potential comeback, stating to Bloomberg, “Investors have historically underestimated Apple’s gross margins and it appears that it is happening again.”


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