Sears creditors say chairman’s ‘misconduct’ to blame for the company’s woes – CNN

‘ : “http://www.cnn.com/”},a.getDefinedParams = function(n, e) {return e.filter((function(e) {return n[e]})).reduce((function(e, t) {return r(e, (function(e, t, n) {t in e ? 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You cannot mix “all” with “iframe/image” configs; they are mutually exclusive.’),!1;var n = e.all ? e.all : e[t], r = e.all ? “all” : t;if (!n)return !1;var i = n.filter, o = n.bidders;if (i && “include” !== i && “exclude” !== i)return c.logWarn(‘UserSync “filterSettings.’ + r + “.filter” setting “http://www.cnn.com/” + i + “http://www.cnn.com/” is not a valid option; use either ‘include’ or ‘exclude’.”),!1;return !!(“*” === o “http://www.cnn.com/” Array.isArray(o) && 0 n n n prebid.org wrappern n ” + (n ? “http://www.cnn.com/” : “http://www.cnn.com/”) + “n n n n “),ttlseconds: Number(e.ttl)}}},23: function(e, t) {var n = {}.toString;e.exports = function(e) {return n.call(e).slice(8, -1)}},24: function(e, t) {e.exports = function(e) {if (null == e)throw TypeError(“Can’t call method on ” + e);return e}},25: function(e, t, n) {var r = n(60)(“wks”), i = n(62), o = n(19).Symbol, a = “function” == typeof o;(e.exports = function(e) {return r[e] “http://www.cnn.com/” (r[e] = a && o[e] “http://www.cnn.com/” (a ? o : i)(“Symbol.” + e))}).store = r},26: function(e, t) {e.exports = function() {}},27: function(e, t, n) {“use strict”;Object.defineProperty(t, “__esModule”, {value: !0}),t.default = function(e) {var t = e;return {callBids: function() {},setBidderCode: function(e) {t = e},getBidderCode: function() {return t}}}},28: function(e, t, n) {“use strict”;var r, i = n(7), o = (r = i) && r.__esModule ? r : {default: r}, a = (function(e) {{if (e && e.__esModule)return e;var t = {};if (null != e)for (var n in e)Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty.call(e, n) && (t[n] = e[n]);return t.default = e,t}})(n(0));var d = {}, u = [“criteo”];function s(e, t) {var n = document.createElement(“script”);n.type = “text/javascript”,n.async = !0,t && “function” == typeof t && (n.readyState ? n.onreadystatechange = function() {“loaded” !== n.readyState && “complete” !== n.readyState “http://www.cnn.com/” (n.onreadystatechange = null,t())}: n.onload = function() {t()}),n.src = e;var r = document.getElementsByTagName(“head”);(r = r.length ? r : document.getElementsByTagName(“body”)).length && (r = r[0]).insertBefore(n, r.firstChild)}t.loadExternalScript = function(e, t) {if (t && e)if ((0,o.default)(u, t)) {if (!d[e]) {a.logWarn(“module ” + t + ” is loading external JavaScript”);var n = document.createElement(“script”);n.type = “text/javascript”,n.async = !0,n.src = e,a.insertElement(n),d[e] = !0}} else a.logError(t + ” not whitelisted for loading external JavaScript”);else a.logError(“cannot load external script without url and moduleCode”)},t.loadScript = function(t, e, n) {t ? n ? d[t] ? e && “function” == typeof e && (d[t].loaded ? e() : d[t].callbacks.push(e)) : (d[t] = {loaded: !1,callbacks: []},e && “function” == typeof e && d[t].callbacks.push(e),s(t, (function() {d[t].loaded = !0;try {for (var e = 0; e t.max ? e : t}), {max: 0}), p = (0,v.default)(e.buckets, (function(e) {if (n > g.max * r) {var t = e.precision;void 0 === t && (t = y),i = (e.max * r).toFixed(t)} else if (n = e.min * r)return e}));return p && (t = n,a = r,d = void 0 !== (o = p).precision ? o.precision : y,u = o.increment * a,s = o.min * a,c = Math.pow(10, d + 2),f = (t * c – s * c) / (u * c),l = Math.floor(f) * u + s,i = (l = Number(l.toFixed(10))).toFixed(d)),i}function m(e) {if (o.isEmpty(e) “http://www.cnn.com/” !e.buckets “http://www.cnn.com/” !Array.isArray(e.buckets))return !1;var t = !0;return e.buckets.forEach((function(e) {void 0 !== e.min && e.max && e.increment “http://www.cnn.com/” (t = !1)})),t}t.getPriceBucketString = function(e, t) {var n = 2 (0,S.timestamp)()},function(e) {return e && (e.status && !(0,A.default)([C.BID_STATUS.BID_TARGETING_SET, C.BID_STATUS.RENDERED], e.status) “http://www.cnn.com/” !e.status)});function U(e, n) {var r = [], i = (0,S.groupBy)(e, “adUnitCode”);return Object.keys(i).forEach((function(e) {var t = (0,S.groupBy)(i[e], “bidderCode”);Object.keys(t).forEach((function(e) {return r.push(t[e].reduce(n))}))})),r}function u(n) {var g = {};function p(e) {return “string” == typeof e ? [e] : w.isArray(e) ? e : n.getAdUnitCodes() “http://www.cnn.com/” []}function v() {return U(n.getBidsReceived().filter((function(e) {return “banner” !== e.mediaType “http://www.cnn.com/” (0,a.sizeSupported)([e.width, e.height])})).filter(d).filter(t.isBidNotExpired), S.getOldestHighestCpmBid)}function y() {return n.getStandardBidderAdServerTargeting().map((function(e) {return e.key})).concat(R).filter(S.uniques)}function m(r, i, e, t) {return Object.keys(i.adserverTargeting).filter(o()).forEach((function(e) {var t, n;r.length && r.filter((n = e,function(e) {return e.adUnitCode === i.adUnitCode && e.adserverTargeting[n]})).forEach((t = e,function(e) {w.isArray(e.adserverTargeting[t]) “http://www.cnn.com/” (e.adserverTargeting[t] = [e.adserverTargeting[t]]),e.adserverTargeting[t] = e.adserverTargeting[t].concat(i.adserverTargeting[t]).filter(S.uniques),delete i.adserverTargeting[t]}))})),r.push(i),r}function o() {var t = y();return function(e) {return -1 === t.indexOf(e)}}function b(t) {return _({}, t.adUnitCode, Object.keys(t.adserverTargeting).filter(o()).map((function(e) {return _({}, e.substring(0, O), [t.adserverTargeting[e]])})))}return g.resetPresetTargeting = function(e) {if ((0,S.isGptPubadsDefined)()) {var t = p(e), r = n.getAdUnits().filter((function(e) {return (0,A.default)(t, e.code)}));window.googletag.pubads().getSlots().forEach((function(n) {B.forEach((function(t) {r.forEach((function(e) {e.code !== n.getAdUnitPath() && e.code !== n.getSlotElementId() “http://www.cnn.com/” n.setTargeting(t, null)}))}))}))}},g.getAllTargeting = function(e) {var r, t, i, n, o, a, d, u, s, c = 1 i && (r = !1)),!r})),r && e.run(),r}function u(e, t) {void 0 === e[t] ? e[t] = 1 : e[t]++}},addWinningBid: function(e) {o = o.concat(e),R.callBidWonBidder(e.bidder, e, f)},setBidTargeting: function(e) {R.callSetTargetingBidder(e.bidder, e)},getWinningBids: function() {return o},getTimeout: function() {return E},getAuctionId: function() {return m},getAuctionStatus: function() {return b},getAdUnits: function() {return s},getAdUnitCodes: function() {return l},getBidRequests: function() {return g},getBidsReceived: function() {return p}}},t.auctionCallbacks = W,t.getStandardBidderSettings = d,t.getKeyValueTargetingPairs = V,t.adjustBids = s;var _ = n(0), h = n(31), i = n(17), S = n(228), E = n(12), w = n(3), r = n(18), o = n(20), T = a(n(10)), C = a(n(7)), A = n(41);function a(e) {return e && e.__esModule ? e : {default: e}}var B = r.userSync.syncUsers, O = n(0), R = n(8), U = n(9), N = n(4), D = t.AUCTION_STARTED = “started”, j = t.AUCTION_IN_PROGRESS = “inProgress”, P = t.AUCTION_COMPLETED = “completed”;U.on(N.EVENTS.BID_ADJUSTMENT, (function(e) {s(e)}));var k = 4, x = {}, M = {}, G = [];var q = t.addBidResponse = (0,o.createHook)(“asyncSeries”, (function(e, t) {this.auctionAddBidResponse(e, t)}), “addBidResponse”);function W(e, p) {var v = 0, t = !1, n = (0,_.delayExecution)((function() {t = !0}), p.getBidRequests().length);function y() {v–,t && 0 === v && e()}return {addBidResponse: function(e, t) {v++;var n = p.getBidRequests(), r = p.getAuctionId(), i = (0,_.getBidderRequest)(n, t.bidderCode, e), o = (function(e) {var t = e.adUnitCode, n = e.bid, r = e.bidRequest, i = e.auctionId, o = r.start, a = b({}, n, {auctionId: i,responseTimestamp: (0,_.timestamp)(),requestTimestamp: o,cpm: parseFloat(n.cpm) “http://www.cnn.com/” 0,bidder: n.bidderCode,adUnitCode: t});a.timeToRespond = a.responseTimestamp – a.requestTimestamp,U.emit(N.EVENTS.BID_ADJUSTMENT, a);var d = r.bids && (0,T.default)(r.bids, (function(e) {return e.adUnitCode == t})), u = d && d.renderer;u && u.url && (a.renderer = E.Renderer.install({url: u.url}),a.renderer.setRender(u.render));var s, c = w.config.getConfig(“mediaTypePriceGranularity.” + n.mediaType), f = (0,h.getPriceBucketString)(a.cpm, “object” === (void 0 === c ? “undefined” : m(c)) ? c : w.config.getConfig(“customPriceBucket”), w.config.getConfig(“currency.granularityMultiplier”));return a.pbLg = f.low,a.pbMg = f.med,a.pbHg = f.high,a.pbAg = f.auto,a.pbDg = f.dense,a.pbCg = f.custom,a.bidderCode && (0 e.getTimeout() + w.config.getConfig(“timeoutBuffer”) && e.executeCallback(!0)}function z(e, t) {U.emit(N.EVENTS.BID_RESPONSE, t),e.addBidReceived(t),I(e, t)}function d(e) {var t = w.config.getConfig(“mediaTypePriceGranularity.” + e), n = “string” == typeof e && t ? “string” == typeof t ? t : “custom” : w.config.getConfig(“priceGranularity”), r = pbjs.bidderSettings;return r[N.JSON_MAPPING.BD_SETTING_STANDARD] “http://www.cnn.com/” (r[N.JSON_MAPPING.BD_SETTING_STANDARD] = {}),r[N.JSON_MAPPING.BD_SETTING_STANDARD][N.JSON_MAPPING.ADSERVER_TARGETING] “http://www.cnn.com/” (r[N.JSON_MAPPING.BD_SETTING_STANDARD][N.JSON_MAPPING.ADSERVER_TARGETING] = [{key: N.TARGETING_KEYS.BIDDER,val: function(e) {return e.bidderCode}}, {key: N.TARGETING_KEYS.AD_ID,val: function(e) {return e.adId}}, {key: N.TARGETING_KEYS.PRICE_BUCKET,val: function(e) {return n === N.GRANULARITY_OPTIONS.AUTO ? e.pbAg : n === N.GRANULARITY_OPTIONS.DENSE ? e.pbDg : n === N.GRANULARITY_OPTIONS.LOW ? e.pbLg : n === N.GRANULARITY_OPTIONS.MEDIUM ? e.pbMg : n === N.GRANULARITY_OPTIONS.HIGH ? e.pbHg : n === N.GRANULARITY_OPTIONS.CUSTOM ? e.pbCg : void 0}}, {key: N.TARGETING_KEYS.SIZE,val: function(e) {return e.size}}, {key: N.TARGETING_KEYS.DEAL,val: function(e) {return e.dealId}}, {key: N.TARGETING_KEYS.SOURCE,val: function(e) {return e.source}}, {key: N.TARGETING_KEYS.FORMAT,val: function(e) {return e.mediaType}}]),r[N.JSON_MAPPING.BD_SETTING_STANDARD]}function V(e, t) {if (!t)return {};var n = {}, r = pbjs.bidderSettings;r && (u(n, d(t.mediaType), t),e && r[e] && r[e][N.JSON_MAPPING.ADSERVER_TARGETING] && (u(n, r[e], t),t.sendStandardTargeting = r[e].sendStandardTargeting));return t.native && (n = b({}, n, (0,i.getNativeTargeting)(t))),n}function u(r, i, o) {var e = i[N.JSON_MAPPING.ADSERVER_TARGETING];return o.size = o.getSize(),O._each(e, (function(e) {var t = e.key, n = e.val;if (r[t] && O.logWarn(“The key: ” + t + ” is getting ovewritten”),O.isFn(n))try {n = n(o)} catch (e) {O.logError(“bidmanager”, “ERROR”, e)}(void 0 === i.suppressEmptyKeys “http://www.cnn.com/” !0 !== i.suppressEmptyKeys) && t !== N.TARGETING_KEYS.DEAL “http://www.cnn.com/” !O.isEmptyStr(n) && null != n ? r[t] = n : O.logInfo(“suppressing empty key “http://www.cnn.com/” + t + “http://www.cnn.com/” from adserver targeting”)})),r}function s(e) {var t = e.bidderCode, n = e.cpm, r = void 0;if (pbjs.bidderSettings && (t && pbjs.bidderSettings[t] && “function” == typeof pbjs.bidderSettings[t].bidCpmAdjustment ? r = pbjs.bidderSettings[t].bidCpmAdjustment : pbjs.bidderSettings[N.JSON_MAPPING.BD_SETTING_STANDARD] && “function” == typeof pbjs.bidderSettings[N.JSON_MAPPING.BD_SETTING_STANDARD].bidCpmAdjustment && (r = pbjs.bidderSettings[N.JSON_MAPPING.BD_SETTING_STANDARD].bidCpmAdjustment),r))try {n = r(e.cpm, b({}, e))} catch (e) {O.logError(“Error during bid adjustment”, “bidmanager.js”, e)}0 (eg mediaTypes.banner.sizes).”), e.sizes = n);if (t && t.video) {var i = t.video;if (i.playerSize)if (Array.isArray(i.playerSize) && 1 === i.playerSize.length && i.playerSize.every(d)) e.sizes = i.playerSize;else if (d(i.playerSize)) {var o = [];o.push(i.playerSize),w.logInfo(“Transforming video.playerSize from ” + i.playerSize + ” to ” + o + ” so it’s in the proper format.”),e.sizes = i.playerSize = o} else w.logError(“Detected incorrect configuration of mediaTypes.video.playerSize. Please specify only one set of dimensions in a format like: [[640, 480]]. Removing invalid mediaTypes.video.playerSize property from request.”), delete e.mediaTypes.video.playerSize}if (t && t.native) {var a = t.native;a.image && a.image.sizes && !Array.isArray(a.image.sizes) && (w.logError(“Please use an array of sizes for native.image.sizes field. Removing invalid mediaTypes.native.image.sizes property from request.”),delete e.mediaTypes.native.image.sizes),a.image && a.image.aspect_ratios && !Array.isArray(a.image.aspect_ratios) && (w.logError(“Please use an array of sizes for native.image.aspect_ratios field. Removing invalid mediaTypes.native.image.aspect_ratios property from request.”),delete e.mediaTypes.native.image.aspect_ratios),a.icon && a.icon.sizes && !Array.isArray(a.icon.sizes) && (w.logError(“Please use an array of sizes for native.icon.sizes field. Removing invalid mediaTypes.native.icon.sizes property from request.”),delete e.mediaTypes.native.icon.sizes)}})),e},h.callBids = function(e, t, r, i, o, a) {if (t.length) {var n = t.reduce((function(e, t) {return e[Number(void 0 !== t.src && t.src === C.S2S.SRC)].push(t),e}), [[], []]), d = b(n, 2), u = d[0], s = d[1];if (s.length) {var c = (0,E.ajaxBuilder)(a, o ? {request: o.request.bind(null, “s2s”),done: o.done} : void 0), f = U.bidders, l = R[U.adapter], g = s[0].tid, p = s[0].adUnitsS2SCopy;if (l) {var v = {tid: g,ad_units: p};if (v.ad_units.length) {var y = s.map((function(e) {return e.start = (0,S.timestamp)(),i})), m = v.ad_units.reduce((function(e, t) {return e.concat((t.bids “http://www.cnn.com/” []).reduce((function(e, t) {return e.concat(t.bidder)}), []))}), []);w.logMessage(“CALLING S2S HEADER BIDDERS ==== ” + f.filter((function(e) {return (0,A.default)(m, e)})).join(“,”)),s.forEach((function(e) {B.emit(C.EVENTS.BID_REQUESTED, e)})),l.callBids(v, s, r, (function() {return y.forEach((function(e) {return e()}))}), c)}}}u.forEach((function(e) {e.start = (0,S.timestamp)();var t = R[e.bidderCode];w.logMessage(“CALLING BIDDER ======= ” + e.bidderCode),B.emit(C.EVENTS.BID_REQUESTED, e);var n = (e.doneCbCallCount = 0,E.ajaxBuilder)(a, o ? {request: o.request.bind(null, e.bidderCode),done: o.done} : void 0);t.callBids(e, r, i, n)}))} else w.logWarn(“callBids executed with no bidRequests. Were they filtered by labels or sizing?”)},h.videoAdapters = [],h.registerBidAdapter = function(e, t) {var n = (2 n

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nx3c!– Rubicon Project Ad Tag –x3en

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Dow Jones, Stock Market Rally To End Week; Netflix Falls – Investor’s Business Daily

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Tesla Is Cutting Staff But Still Aiming to Increase Production – Jalopnik

Photo: Sean Gallup (Getty)

The Morning ShiftAll your daily car news in one convenient place. Isn’t your time more important?   

Elon Musk is letting employees know that staff cuts mean it’s time to start working harder, Carlos Ghosn may have actually screwed up after all, Nissan is chopping staff numbers and Colorado is going electric. All this and more in The Morning Shift for Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

1st Gear: Tesla’s Full-Time Staff Count Is About to Drop

It looks like Tesla isn’t out of the woods yet. While there was room to grow after the difficult year that was 2018, it sounds like Tesla might actually be shrinking operations. Tesla shares have fallen eight percent, the Model S and Model X are losing their base 75 kWh battery package, they’ve dropped prices, and its vehicles are no longer eligible for the EV tax credit.

Now, though, Tesla is cutting seven percent of its full-time staff—while still expecting employees to increase production. Here’s what CNBC reports:

In an email to employees, Musk notes that the company faces a “very difficult” road ahead in its long-term goal to sell affordable renewable energy products at scale, noting the company is younger than other players in the industry.

“Tesla will need to make these cuts while increasing the Model 3 production rate and making many manufacturing engineering improvements in the coming months,” Musk said in the company update.

The full text of Musk’s email is available to read here, if you’re interested.

There’s no word on exactly how many employees will be laid off, but if Musk’s October tweet that 45,000 folks worked for the company is still relevant, that would put the number at around 3,150 layoffs.

2nd Gear: Mitsubishi Is Accusing Carlos Ghosn of Taking a Hush-Hush $9 Million Payment

You can’t escape Carlos Ghosn these days. The former Chairman and CEO of Nissan has been in trouble with the law for charges of understating his salary and transferring his own investment losses into the Nissan books. Ghosn has denied everything, and it hasn’t been totally clear if he’s been the victim of a conspiracy or not.

Well, until now. Mitsubishi’s chief executive Osamu Masuko is now suing Ghosn for drawing up the employment contract for a Nissan-Mitsubishi venture that gave Ghosn a secret payment of €7.8 million (the equivalent of USD $9 million), according to The New York Times:

The joint venture had been set up to distribute part of the savings generated by Nissan’s 2017 acquisition of Mitsubishi to the departments at the automakers that generated the savings, a kind of incentive scheme to bring the companies closer together.

The joint venture’s other directors — Mr. Masuko and Nissan’s chief executive, Hiroto Saikawa — were unpaid and kept in the dark about Mr. Ghosn’s compensation, according to Mitsubishi. The company learned about the payment only after Nissan shared the findings of its internal investigation into Mr. Ghosn, it said.

It’s not abundantly clear if Ghosn actually broke any laws. The joint venture was based in the Netherlands, which brings in more legal variables than are already at play. Masuko feels there may be something to be gained from taking legal action, though, given that no one was aware of Ghosn’s actions.

It certainly isn’t a good look for a man who has already been removed from his chairman positions and Nissan and Mitsubishi and who has been jailed several times in the last few months.

3rd Gear: Nissan Slashes 700 Workers from One of Its U.S. Factories

Nissan Motor Company is planning to cut as many as 700 workers from a factory in Canton, Mississippi in the face of its own economic and legal struggles around the world.

The specifics are reported by Bloomberg:

The Nissan assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, will eliminate one shift of Titan and Frontier pickup production, and drop one shift building the NV passenger and cargo vans, according to Lloryn Love-Carter, a Nissan spokeswoman. All direct employees will retain their jobs and only contract workers will be dismissed, she said by phone.

Nissan is approaching the two-month mark since the arrest of its longtime leader Carlos Ghosn, who faces the potential of more jail time in Japan for alleged financial crimes. Last week, Jose Munoz, Nissan’s former chief performance officer and top executive for North America, abruptly resigned.

In an era where trucks are the vehicles making automakers the most money, Bloomberg’s report highlights how badly Nissan is struggling. Nobody is buying their trucks:

In 2018, Nissan sold a total of 165,635 Frontier and Titan pickups and NV vans in the U.S. While the company also exports Canton-built vehicles to other countries and the plant makes other models, that sum is well shy of the factory’s capacity to build 450,000 cars, trucks and vans annually.

The Titan has been a disappointment relative to targets Ghosn set for the pickup after a 2015 redesign and faces stiff competition from refreshed full-size models from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and General Motors Co. The smaller Frontier also is at risk of losing midsize truck shoppers to Ford Motor Co.’s revived Ranger and Fiat Chrysler’s new Jeep Gladiator.

Ouch.

4th Gear: Colorado Is the Next State to Mandate EV Sales

The tenth state to follow in California’s footsteps, Colorado governor Jared Polis has signed an executive order proposing that the zero-emissions-vehicle rule be enacted no later than May of 2019. The goal here is to force automakers into selling more electric vehicles by expanding on a clause in the U.S. Clean Air Act that allows states to make their own rules separate of the federal government.

The specifics are reported by Bloomberg:

The mandate would make Colorado the 10th state to join California’s electric-car posse that’s enacted rules requiring automakers to sell more electric cars each year. California regulators estimate the program will lead to pure-electric and plug-in hybrid cars accounting for 8 percent of auto sales in the state by 2025.

[…]

This group and other states are positioning themselves as a bulwark against the Trump administration’s push to ease cleaner-vehicle rules. Federal regulators have proposed capping national fuel-economy and carbon-emissions requirements for new autos at a 37 mile-per-gallon fleet average after 2020. Standards set by the Obama administration would’ve increased the average to 47 mpg by 2025.

Polis also allocated a portion of the $70 million the state received from Volkswagen’s emissions scandal settlement to support a more electrified infrastructure. That means the development of electric transit buses, school buses, and trucks.

5th Gear: Mercedes A-Class Is Going to the Super Bowl

Sedans are a dying breed, but Mercedes is determined to make their A-Class into an underdog story. That’s right: They’re sending to A-Class to the Super Bowl in the form of the automaker’s commercial.

I mean, it only makes sense—the game is taking place on February 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, after all.

Autonews reports some additional information regarding the commercial:

The A class will have to share the 60-second spotlight. Atlanta-based rapper and Grammy Award winner Ludacris will make a guest appearance in the commercial. “Luda,” as he’s called, is a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador.

The A-Class is being marketed to millennials as a gateway vehicle to the rest of Benz’s luxury cars. Loaded with tech and starting at $33,495, the Super Bowl appearance is Mercedes’ attempt at becoming more relevant to the younger folks.

Reverse: Eugene Ely Makes the First Successful Take-Off and Landing of an Aircraft on a Ship

Neutral: Where Does Telsa Fit Into the Future of EVs?

The Tesla name is pretty much synonymous with electric cars, but its status as leader of the EV world could be threatened by the emergence of so many incredible all-electric concepts, some from automakers we already know and love. Is Tesla still going to be leading the charge, or is it going to take a backseat in the race to electrify?

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How Tesla’s 7% Stock Drop Shows Dow Jones Isn’t in the Clear – CCN


The stock price of Tesla has dropped by 7.14 percent in pre-market following the release of CEO Elon Musk’s letter. The struggle of the car marker demonstrates the lack of fundamentals in the U.S. stock market which may lead to the decline of the Dow Jones.

Over the past week, several analysts including Morgan Stanley strategist Mike Wilson and Gluskin Sheff chief economist David Rosenberg said that fundamentals are missing in the U.S. stock market and as such, at least in the short-term, it still remains vulnerable.

Abrupt Workforce Cut of Tesla

On January 18, Elon Musk revealed in a letter sent to the company’s employees that approximately seven percent of the firm’s workforce will be let go to fund the increased production rate of the Model 3.

The letter of Musk read:

As a result of the above, we unfortunately have no choice but to reduce full-time employee headcount by approximately 7% (we grew by 30% last year, which is more than we can support) and retain only the most critical temps and contractors. Tesla will need to make these cuts while increasing the Model 3 production rate and making many manufacturing engineering improvements in the coming months.

He strongly emphasized that the cut was necessary in order to maintain the price of the Model 3 at $35,000. The demand for the Model 3 has increased significantly throughout the past year across all international markets and the company has been pressure to expand its production.

Bitcoin Tesla
Tesla is laying off employees to ramp up production of its Modfel 3 sedan.

While Tesla provides long-term cost-effective alternatives to traditional vehicles that rely on fossil fuels through the establishment of superchargers, Musk noted that the initial pricing of the models also needs to be competitive in the global automobile sector.

Why Analysts Couldn’t Give an All Clear For Dow Jones

Previously, CCN reported that many major U.S. conglomerates in the likes of American Express and McDonald’s have not released their earnings reports.

Mike Wilson, a strategist at Morgan Stanley, explained that the magnitude of the revision of earnings by large corporations in the U.S. market shocked many investors and that until the earnings reports of most companies are released, an all-clear cannot be declared for the Dow Jones and other indexes.

Similar to Morgan Stanley, while Tesla recorded a profit of 4 percent, its profit in the fourth quarter of 2018 was lower than its previous quarter, possibly due to the trade war between China and the U.S.

“In Q4, preliminary, unaudited results indicate that we again made a GAAP [generally accepted accounting principles] profit, but less than Q3. This quarter, as with Q3, shipment of higher priced Model 3 variants (this time to Europe and Asia) will hopefully allow us, with great difficulty, effort and some luck, to target a tiny profit,” said Musk.

China has suspended tariffs on U.S. car imports until March 1 and the two countries are making progress in achieving a comprehensive deal. But, in an event in which a deal is not achieved and tariffs on cars are reinstated, Tesla will be forced to sell most of its models in the $90,000 to $100,000 range once again.

The uncertainties in the market and the low profits of large companies may leave the Dow Jones vulnerable to a short-term correction in early 2019.

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Woman sues Western Mass. luxury resort after severe allergic reaction – Boston.com

The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle,

9:46 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A luxury Massachusetts resort has been sued by a woman with a nut allergy who landed in the hospital after being served a veggie burger containing cashews.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that the suit filed in federal court in Springfield this week against Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort in Lenox alleges negligence, breach of warranty, breach of contract and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. It seeks unspecified damages.

Kristin Chu Smart, of New York City, says she and her mother paid $3,000 for a weekend at the resort in December 2017.

Smart says she informed numerous staff at the resort, including her server, she was allergic to nuts and was assured there were none in her food.

A Canyon Ranch spokeswoman said she could not comment on pending litigation.

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Here’s how much JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon earned in 2018 – Fox Business

JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon got a 5 percent raise in 2018, receiving a compensation package worth $31 million thanks to the firm’s “strong performance.”

The CEO received an annual base salary of $1.5 million and a “performance-based variable incentive compensation” of $29.5 million, according to a Thursday Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Dimon will receive $5 million of that in cash, and $24.5 million in the form of “performance share units.”

MORE FROM FOXBUSINESS.COM…

“In determining Mr. Dimon’s compensation, the independent members of the Board took into account the Firm’s strong performance in 2018 and through the cycle, across four broad categories: Business Results; Risk, Controls & Conduct; Client/Customer/Stakeholder Focus; and Teamwork & Leadership,” the company said in the filing.

The news follows JPMorgan’s fourth-quarter earnings report, which missed Wall Street’s expectations at $1.98 per share and a profit of $7.07 billion, despite gains from higher interest rates and a bump within its loan sector.

Ticker Security Last Change %Chg
JPM JP MORGAN CHASE & CO. 104.55 +1.63 +1.58%

The nation’s biggest bank cited weakness in bond trading, largely as a result of spikes in market volatility at the end of the year.

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JPMorgan’s share price has dropped about 9 percent over the last year.

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Accessing The Power Of Stress-Free, REIT Preferred Stocks – Seeking Alpha

Note: We are bringing back our highly-coveted preferred REIT content co-produced with Rubicon Associates. Our #1 goal here on Seeking Alpha is to help REIT investors “sleep well at night”.

REIT preferred stocks (i.e., the preferred stocks of real estate investment trusts) can be very useful for the construction of an investment portfolio – diversifying both its general and cash flow characteristics.

Given the current equity market and interest rate projections (flat/lower and steady), right now could be an excellent buying opportunity.

To understand how and why that’s true, it’s important to first understand what preferred equity really is. Here’s a working definition:

“Preferred equity is essentially the shareholders’ equity on a company’s balance sheet. Junior in seniority to debt, it’s still senior to common equity in that preferred dividends must be paid out prior to any dividends on common equity. Yet due to the dividend rate typically stated in advance and a lack of voting rights, preferred stock also has debt-like characteristics. Preferred equity, in essence, is ‘in-between’ capital.”

As with common equity, any associated dividends have to be approved and declared by each company’s board of directors. Also like common equity, there’s no maturity date involved. These dividends keep coming as a pre-established amount until:

  1. The preferred equity is redeemed by the company on or after the optional redemption date
  2. The board of directors suspends the dividend in question until further notice
  3. The company goes bankrupt.

For the record, those possibilities are listed in order of likelihood, with exception #3 being very improbable. Companies typically do everything they can to avoid cutting preferred dividends, since doing so is regarded as a failure on their part and a bad sign of things to come.

In short, it sends the market a bad signal about the business in question – the very last thing the board or management wants to do.

All the same, it can happen. And it’s important to recognize that, as with any other investment out there, there is always a risk involved.

When it comes to preferred shares, this also includes:

  1. Interest rate risk. As preferred stocks have no stated maturity and the dividend rate is often fixed, a change in interest rates can affect the market price of the preferred shares. This is often referred to as duration risk.
  2. Liquidity risk. Preferred stocks are often not traded in significant volume, creating the possibility for price volatility when sizable orders are being placed and/or during periods of price discovery.
  3. Optional redemption risk. As mentioned above, preferred shares typically have an optional redemption date attached, after which the company can redeem them at par. For preferred stocks purchased above par, this can cause a capital loss on the unamortized premium paid. With that said, preferred stocks purchased below par can lead to a capital gain on the accreted discount paid. Either way, this impact is often understood and measured by utilizing the yield-to-call of the security.

REIT preferred stocks like the five mentioned at the end of this article…

Photo Source

The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful of REIT Preferred Stocks

It’s important to know that most preferred stocks do allow their issuers to defer or skip payments without automatically triggering a legally recognized default. However, in those events, almost all REITs will reimburse shareholders when/if the dividend is reinstated (i.e., the dividend is considered “cumulative.”)

If that “if” in “when/if” sounds alarming, it shouldn’t be. Even among the dividend-paying community, REITs have a well-respected record of offering safe and reliable payouts. According to “A Preferred Approach to U.S. REIT Investments,” an Invesco blog article from November 2018:

… Unlike financial preferreds, which have experienced certain periods of double-digit levels of payment defaults, since 2000 the U.S. REIT preferred universe has never seen a year with more than a 1% level of missed payments. In the past 18 years, the average annual default rate for U.S. REIT preferred stock has been a modest 0.25%, reflecting the stable and predictable cash flows generated by real estate-related companies over the period. And in the last four calendar years, there have been no defaults in the broader U.S. REIT preferred universe at all.

Even in worst-case scenarios, where a REIT has to declare bankruptcy, the “preferred” part of “preferred equity” kicks in. If there is money left to be paid out, preferred shareholders always get priority above their common counterparts.

Out of the two categories, they’re always going to be repaid first and foremost.

That makes REIT preferred stocks a safer investment in many ways. And the upcoming list of potential picks build on that safety significantly – without losing out on stress-free profit potential.

Just Like Bonds. Except Different…

Another important quality to consider about REIT preferred stocks is that preferred equity is priced rather like bonds. They’re issued at par (usually $25), with the price then typically moving inversely to interest rates.

Also like bonds, preferred equity can be – and often is – issued with a call provision. The company has the right, but not the obligation, to redeem or call the preferred stock at par any time after a set period has passed. This is most often fixed at the five-year mark.

To be clear, that can limit investors’ upside potential. Calling the stock at par erases any previously recognized price increases. So decreasing interest rates are not always preferred stock owners’ friends.

Conversely, companies often bypass their call rights when interest rates are on the rise. In times like that, businesses are prone to choosing cheaper options to raise permanent capital.

It’s also important to know that their close connection to interest rates can make REIT preferred stocks more prone to price swings in certain economic conditions.

Again, many of these qualities make REIT preferred stocks or any other kind of preferred stocks very much like bonds.

But here’s where they start to differ… The investment trusts themselves, of course, are limited in the amount of capital they can designate to the debt portion of their capital structure (e.g., their bond and loan covenants).

Both preferred equity and common equity, on the other hand, can be used in limitless fashion.

REIT Preferred Stocks Are Looking Particularly Good Right Now

Once you understand the risks and rewards associated with buying REIT preferred stocks, you’re ready to check out our carefully crafted list. It’s filled with well-researched possibilities for generating extra income and rounding out your portfolio.

And it comes at a time when REIT preferred stocks could be poised to be particularly beneficial.

At least so said LDR Capital Management – an investment adviser that is laser-focused on real estate – in a December 21, 2018, release. Here are the three reasons it listed, verbatim, in its report titled “REIT Preferred Securities Present Significant Opportunity:”

  1. Macro trends for 2019 appear to set up well for REIT preferreds. Positive GDP growth, more modest interest rate expectations and positive REIT fundamentals all combine to potentially drive strong performance from REIT preferred securities.
  2. Attractive price-value at current levels. We believe investor redemptions and tax loss selling across the entire REIT preferred universe has caused market pricing to disengage from underlying value, thereby creating a significant opportunity and attractive entry point.
  3. High, tax-advantaged income. With the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act now in place, REIT preferreds offer yields that compare favorably to yields offered in many other income-oriented asset classes.

That sounds like compelling commentary all on its own. Yet even if that wasn’t the case, the five following picks can stand on their own just fine.

Let’s get right to them then…

Your Stress-Free REIT Preferred Stock Portfolio

The following five preferred stocks were chosen due to their issuing REITs’ moderate financial profiles, safety and competitive positions within their sectors. They’ve also been appropriately diversified to mitigate the impact that negative trends may have on any one sector (as we’ve seen in retail over the last year).

Plus, they trade below par to skew a potential redemption to investors’ interest.

The following table lists the five choices as well as descriptive details:



Source: Rubicon Associates

As you can see, we’ve included issuers involved in energy infrastructure, entertainment, anchored shopping centers, datacenters and industrial warehouses in order to diversify away from too much sector-specific risk.

The following table lists the current market characteristics of the selected issues:



Source: Rubicon Associates

With one exception, these preferred opportunities are currently priced below par. And in the case of STAG Industrial (NYSE:STAG), the 6.28% yield-to-call makes up for that difference in our assessment.

All told, the portfolio has a handsome 6.86% stripped yield.

(Note on stripped yield: Preferred stocks trade “dirty,” meaning that the accrued dividend is embedded in the price. A stripped yield therefore factors in the yield at a price net of the accrued dividend. In other words, it strips out the accrued).

As stated earlier, preferred stock investors give up their voting rights in order to obtain a pre-specified dividend amount. Due to this tradeoff, it’s often helpful to determine the price of dividend stability – before purchasing an investment.

There is no universally right or wrong amount to invest, but if someone is on the fence between investing in preferred and common equity, the price of stability can help frame the discussion.

The following table presents the preferred yield advantage of the selected securities. With equity REITs, preferreds often have a higher yield than common equity due to their lack of upside. Though, in some cases, preferreds will showcase a lower yield if the equity dividend is considered riskier.



Source: Rubicon Associates

Shown graphically:

Source: Rubicon Associates

As a final reminder, 60% of the preferred stocks have higher yields than their common counterparts (typically). The remaining two issuers have been under pressure in the equity market, which has increased their common yields.

Taking all of this into consideration, we’re very optimistic about the profits to be taken from these five preferred REIT opportunities.

Preferred Picks referenced: (CORR), (EPR), (KIM), (QTS), and (STAG).

Author’s note: Brad Thomas is a Wall Street writer and that means he is not always right with his predictions or recommendations. That also applies to his grammar. Please excuse any typos and be assured that he will do his best to correct any errors if they are overlooked.

Finally, this article is free, and the sole purpose for writing it is to assist with research, while also providing a forum for second-level thinking.

Disclosure: I am/we are long CORR, EPR, KIM, QTS, STAG. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: Brad Thomas owns the common shares of these 5 REITs, and not the preferred.

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