The Week's Top Stories: Barnes & Noble Goes Private, Beyond Meat Soars

June 7, 2019

From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.

  • JOBS, JOBS, JOBS The May employment report was, by any stretch, a disappointment. Non-farm payrolls grew by 75,000 ー a far cry from the estimate of 175,000 jobs added for the month. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.6 percent, though average wages grew by just 6 cents compared to April. The employment news followed a shockingly dismal private payroll report from ADP earlier in the week, which found just 27,000 jobs were added in the private sector. The employment data joins other recent disappointing data points, from factory output to existing-home sales, which point to a gathering concern that a slowdown is accelerating. For that reason, stocks actually jumped following the jobs report as investors bet the Fed is now more likely to cut interest rates this summer ー something Fed Chair Jerome Powell alluded to this week. See more.

  • BARNES & NOBLE GOES PRIVATE The nation's largest brick-and-mortar bookseller is packing it in as a publicly traded company. Barnes & Noble ($BKS) was bought by the hedge fund Elliott Management for $683 million, including debt. That represents about a 43 percent premium from where the shares opened Thursday before reports came out that the deal was in the works. Barnes & Noble has struggled for years trying to compete with Amazon and even discount booksellers like Walmart. The company lost more than $1 billion in market cap over the last five years.

  • APPLE'S ANNOUNCEMENTS As expected, Apple ($AAPL) used its annual developer conference to announce it is officially killing off iTunes ー arguably one the most influential software programs in history ー in favor of separate apps for music, video, and podcasts. Apple also revealed new privacy upgrades to iOS, a new operating system specifically for the iPad, an App Store specifically for the Apple Watch, and a new high-end, $6,000 Mac Pro desktop computer, which many immediately panned on social media for resembling a giant cheese grater. Apple shares have been under pressure over the trade war with China, but got some relief when CEO Tim Cook told CBS News he wasn't worried about China potentially singling out the company for retaliation. See more.

  • BEYOND MEAT EARNINGS Shares of Beyond Meat ($BYND) touched a new high in the wake of the plant-based-meat maker's first earnings report as a public company. Revenues doubled this year as the alternative-meat trend took on mainstream notice, with the company's flagship Beyond Burger now being sold in grocery stores and restaurant chains around the country. Of all the IPOs so far in 2019, Beyond Meat stands out: the stock is up more than 400 percent since it went public a month ago. See more.

  • AMAZON DRONES Amazon ($AMZN) has been promising delivery by drone for years. Now the company says the day is almost here when some customers will get their next Prime order by air. The Prime Air delivery drone will be deployed in “a matter of months,” Amazon announced at its re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, though it did not say where the first drones will be deployed. The goal for the hybrid aircraft ー which can take off and land vertically ー is to deliver small packages that weigh under five pounds to customers within 15 miles in under 30 minutes. Amazon says 75 to 90 percent of items purchased are under that weight limit.

ーby Carlo Versano