The Week's Top Stories: Tensions in the Gulf of Oman, IPO Fever

June 14, 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.

  • ** IPO Fever:** It was a hot streak for IPOs, with three major companies debuting over the course of the week and all of them seeing significant upside after their offerings. First up was the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike ($CRWD), which soared 71 percent on its first day of trading in an indication of how much investors are valuing business-software startups. Next came Fiverr ($FVRR) an Israeli-based platform that connects freelancers with businesses, which also more than doubled from its IPO price. Rounding out the week: Chewy ($CHWY), the e-commerce platform of pet-retailer PetSmart. That company also took off after its Friday IPO, jumping more than 50 percent when it opened for trading. Uber ($UBER) and Lyft ($LYFT) are now the only notable IPOs from this year consistently trading below their offer price.

  • Tensions in the Gulf: The price for a barrel of crude oil jumped following a pair of coordinated attacks on tanker ships in the strategically important Gulf of Oman. The U.S. says Iran is behind those attacks. The sabotage ー apparently by mines ー of the two tankers raised concerns that oil supply could be disrupted as it moves through the choke point at the Strait of Hormuz, especially if shipping companies suspend new bookings for fear of attacks. Before this week's aggression, crude prices had been near five-month lows thanks to a supply glut in U.S. production that has outweighed American sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, as well as OPEC supply cuts. See more.

  • Alternative Meat Madness: One of the country's biggest meat suppliers is now hedging its bets and getting into the plant-based protein market. Tyson Foods ($TSN) will introduce a new brand called Raised & Rooted that will debut in stores this summer. The first product under that brand will be plant-based nuggets. That announcement sent Tyson shares higher, while sending shares of Beyond Meat ($BYND), the darling of the nascent alternative-meat industry, lower. Beyond was also hit with a pair of analyst downgrades, including one from its lead IPO underwriter, who cited the stock's rich valuation and increased competition from the likes of Tyson and others. See more.

  • Athleisure Reigns: Lululemon ($LULU) continued its streak of beating the street's expectations and delivering for its investors. In its latest earnings report, Lulu raised its outlook for the year thanks to its e-commerce business and sales of its core leggings product. Net revenue jumped 20 percent year-over-year, while online sales increased by 33 percent. Lululemon aims to double revenues from men's apparel and digital sales over the next five years.

  • Facebook's Reputation: Mark Zuckerberg was aware of Facebook's ($FB) lackadaisical privacy enforcement and didn't move aggressively to stop a third-party app from collecting user data regardless of those users' privacy controls, according to leaked internal emails cited by the Wall Street Journal. Those emails were surfaced as part of Facebook's response to a federal privacy investigation by the FTC, which the company is in the process of settling ー potentially for a record $5 billion. Meanwhile, adding to Facebook's reputational woes, Standard & Poors booted it from the ESG Index, which tracks a basket of stocks that S&P picks based on the company's record of engaging in socially and environmentally responsible corporate governance. See more.

ーby Carlo Versano