🏛️ Corporate America and abortion

Thursday, May 5, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
American boardrooms can’t hide from abortion politics (Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

American boardrooms can’t hide from abortion politics (Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

American boardrooms can’t hide from abortion politics (Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

American boardrooms can’t hide from abortion politics (Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
34,061 (+2.81%)
S&P 500
4,300 (+2.99%)
Nasdaq
12,965 (+3.19%)
Bitcoin
$39,709 (+5.26%)

Hey Snackers,

What Great Resignation? A centenarian in Brazil just broke the world record for longest time working for the same company: 84 years. When he started at his textile job, WWII hadn’t broken out yet.

Stocks had their best day in two years after the Fed raised interest rates by half a point — the biggest hike since 2000. Investors were expecting that, but were happy to hear Fed Chair Powell take an even bigger future rate hike off the table.

Roe

1. As abortion takes center stage at the Supreme Court, corporate America is (mostly) staying silent

History unwritten... Earlier this week, a leaked draft opinion revealed that the Supreme Court appears ready to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that made abortion a constitutional right. Some companies, including Apple and Amazon, are responding by proactively offering financial support for women who need access to reproductive healthcare. But most companies have so far been silent.

  • Fortune magazine reached out to 30 of the biggest US companies for a reaction to the leak, but almost all gave “no comment.”
  • The Chamber of Commerce declined to comment, and the Business Roundtable (think: a group made up of 200+ top CEOs ) did “not have a position.”

Social issues and corporate activism… are becoming increasingly intertwined, including over abortion. Last year Bumble, Yelp, and others helped form the "Don't Ban Equality" coalition following Texas' abortion law banning the procedure after six weeks. But other major recent social issues and movements have spurred companies to respond, too:

  • After a police officer murdered George Floyd in 2020, dozens of leading companies pledged a collective $50B to combat racism and increase diversity in their ranks.
  • Disney recently found itself caught between its employees and Florida’s Republican governor over its stance on the state’s controversial laws for schools regarding LGBTQ rights.
THE TAKEAWAY

Now abortion looks set to become a bigger boardroom issue… Should Roe be reversed when the court gives its decision next month, companies will face increasing pressure to take a stand on a highly polarizing topic (right before an election season), whether that means issuing public statements or making access to reproductive healthcare a standard corporate benefit. Whatever positions they take, the risk will be ostracizing customers, employees, or states where they do biz.

Aisle

A pasta promise… European shoppers are getting help in the grocery aisle. Consumer price increases in Europe hit another record last month as Russia’s war on Ukraine dragged on, straining price-sensitive shoppers. So Leclerc, France’s largest supermarket chain, plans to put popular products under a “price shield” to make them more affordable. UK markets also lowered prices of essentials, and others across the EU are considering cuts.

  • How the shield works: Leclerc will freeze prices of 120 top products through July. The desired result: predictable ketchup, coffee, and pasta prices.
  • A pricey plan: Leclerc may pay more to stock its shelves, since suppliers like Unilever plan to keep hiking prices to offset rising costs (think: wheat and corn). But Lecelerc hopes the shield stops shoppers from fleeing to rival supermarkets.

The shields haven’t made it across the pond… Instead, we get #shrinkflation. Food prices are spiking even more sharply in the US, but supermarkets haven’t done much to keep them in check. Instead, food producers have found ways to mask rising prices with creative ’flation: Frito Lay took a few chips from each bag of Doritos, Mondelez rebranded Oreos as “limited edition,” and Pepsi shrank its Gatorade bottles.

THE TAKEAWAY

Price guarantees build customer loyalty… but they’re also expensive. US retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target use price-match guarantees to keep shoppers coming back. Yet persistent inflation is making that harder, forcing McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King to downsize their dollar menus as their own costs rise. Even if Leclerc’s price shield keeps shoppers coming back for a while, it’ll be hard to keep up in the long run.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Fine: TurboTax parent Intuit has agreed to shell out $141M to customers who paid for tax prep that should’ve been free. As part of the settlement, TurboTax must shelve its “free, free, free” ad campaign.
  • Spike: Moderna crushed earnings on higher-than-expected sales of its Covid vax (the only product it has on the market). The biotech company is working on new vaccines, including an Omicron-specific booster.
  • Sniffles: The pandemic helped boost CVS’s sales, too, thanks to demand for at-home test kits during the Omicron surge. Customers also stocked up on OTC and prescription meds as cold and flu season came roaring back.
  • Ridin’: Uber reported strong growth and sales last quarter, led by a rebound in its core ride-hail biz. But a bullish outlook didn’t keep shares from falling 5% on rival Lyft’s disappointing earnings a day earlier.
  • Poach: Apple has reportedly hired a longtime Ford exec who worked on vehicle development and engineering. The hire signals that Apple is pushing forward on its own car project, after years of stalled efforts.

Snack Fact of the Day

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, but a celebration of a key Mexican army victory during the Franco-Mexican War

Thursday

  • Weekly jobless claims
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Earnings expected from Allstate, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Block, Shopify, DoorDash, Lucid Group, Nio, Live Nation, Kellogg, Royal Caribbean, Planet Fitness, and AMC

Authors of this Snacks own: shares of Block, CVS, Uber, Moderna Walmart, Amazon, Disney, Ford, and Apple

ID: 2186884