đź’¸ The dollar intensifies

Monday, October 3, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
Pieces of the dollar puzzle (John Lund/Getty Images)

Pieces of the dollar puzzle (John Lund/Getty Images)

Pieces of the dollar puzzle (John Lund/Getty Images)

Pieces of the dollar puzzle (John Lund/Getty Images)

Last Week’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
28,726 (-2.92%)
S&P 500
3,586 (-2.91%)
10,576 (-2.69%)
$19,452 (+0.86%)

Hey Snackers,

It’s not just you: “holiday creep” is realer than ever — from early holiday sales at Walmart and Amazon, to your neighbor cranking out the inflatable ten-foot skeleton (do less).

New month, same red: US stocks closed out the quarter with their third-straight weekly decline, as major indexes slipped into a bear market. The S&P 500 was down 9% for the month and 5% for the quarter. Apple plunged 8% last week after being downgraded by Bank of America on demand worries, dragging down the broader market.


Great to be a greenback… When you exchange US dollars for euros, you’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck — literally. The USD is the strongest it’s been in two decades relative to other currencies. The British pound hit a record low against the USD last week, and as of Friday the dollar was stronger than the euro (which had been more valuable for decades).

  • Driving dollar domination: The Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes have made the USD even more attractive to hold, since investors can earn higher returns.
  • The USD's stable rep means it’s historically been viewed as a safe haven, especially during tumultuous times (cough, like now).

Two sided-coin… The USD has long been used as the world's reserve currency for international purchases (~40% percent of transactions are done in $$). That’s why its strength has global implications:

Good for…

  • American tourists: Europe is “on sale.” It’s cheaper for Americans to frolic around Rome, London, and Bali. On the flip side, a strong dollar discourages tourism to the US.
  • US importers: Foreign imports are "on sale” for American companies (think: cheaper Chardonnay in Kansas). Lower prices on Chinese imports are starting to help cool US inflation. On the flip side: it’s bad for US exporters (pricier Pop-Tarts for Paris).

Bad for…

  • Multinationals: S&P 500 companies earned 29% of their sales abroad last year — now foreign earnings are worth less in USD. S&P tech giants earn ~60% of their revenue from abroad (for Apple, it’s nearly two-thirds of sales). Last quarter, IBM , Netflix, J&J, and Philip Morris together lost billions in revenue on the strong dollar.
  • The rest of the world: It’s raising the cost of imported food, medicine, and fuel — hitting emerging economies like Nigeria and Somalia especially hard. It’s making debt pricier (since many countries have to pay back IOUs in USDs). Debt-laden Argentina and Egypt are closer to default.

A strength can cause weakness… While the dollar’s strength is helping tamp US inflation, it’s feeding global inflation and raising the likelihood of financial crises. Still, most economists say the global pain would be worse if the Fed failed to cool inflation at home.


Skinny jeans are out… But Levi is in (thanks, Gen Z). Last quarter, the denim dynamo’s sales jumped 15% as shoppers added more casual fits to their office wardrobes. Demand was also strong for Levi’s khaki-focused Dockers brand and its athleisure-centric Beyond Yoga banner. But despite loose-fit love, inflation could distress earnings: Levi’s profit fell last quarter. The blue jean baby expects to post higher sales Wednesday, but profits may get skinnier.

Hot potatoes… Frozen foods are on a sizzling streak: shares of potato powerhouse Lamb Weston and broccoli behemoth ConAgra have outperformed the market this year as cost-conscious shoppers embrace the frozen food aisle over pricier fresh foods and restaurant fare. Lamb Weston fried up record sales last quarter thanks to price hikes coupled with healthy demand. Conagra plans to continue bumping prices to defrost margins as inflation bites into corporate earnings. We’ll see if frozen demand stayed hot when they report this week.

Zoom Out

Robo-guac… Siri and Alexa may be smart, but Chipotle’s new robot can cook. Next month, the burrito chain will test a kitchen bot named Chippy that makes (and seasons) tortilla chips. The robot is made by Miso Robotics, which has also designed kitchen bots for White Castle and Buffalo Wild Wings. As restaurants continue struggling to fill positions, fast-casual giants like Starbucks, Panera, and McDonald’s have begun automating operations. That may lead to fatter profits for companies long-term, but fewer jobs for workers.

Feeling lucky… Casino stocks like Wynn and Las Vegas Sands popped last week as China’s gambling capital prepared to ease Covid restrictions. Last week, Macau (the world's largest gambling hub) said it would start accepting mainland Chinese tourists as soon as next month. Back in 2019, Macau earned 6X the annual revenue of Vegas and accounted for over half of business from US casino giants. Global gaming revenue this year is expected to be just 14% of pre-pandemic levels, but Macau’s reopening could boost the recovery.

  • Tried: Biogen said its experimental Alzheimer’s drug slowed cognitive decline in a large trial, boosting the drug’s likelihood of snagging FDA approval (which could lead to blockbuster sales).
  • Range: Rental-car staple Hertz is partnering with oil titan BP to install thousands of EV chargers. The infrastructure could help address the top EV barriers: price and range anxiety.
  • Verch: Walmart launched two “digital lands” on Roblox as brands like Nike bet on the Meta competitor. Meta's Horizon Worlds had 300K monthly users as of February versus Roblox’s 60M daily actives.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Protest: Iran is detaining journalists and blocking internet access as the government intensifies its violent crackdown on women-led protests, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in custody of Iran’s morality police.
  • Devastation: Hurricane Ian left a trail of destruction after pummeling through Florida. On Friday it was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone after barreling through South Carolina, but the National Hurricane Center warned the danger isn’t over.
  • Wealth: From Bezos to Brin, tech billionaires have lost a combined $315B this year as stocks plunged. But many are still richer than they were pre-pandemic (the Nasdaq is still up from late 2019).

Snack Fact of the Day

Hurricane Ian could be Florida’s costliest storm ever

This Week

  • Monday: Earnings expected from Legend Biotech
  • Tuesday: Paris Fashion Week wraps. Earnings expected from Acuity Brands
  • Wednesday: Earnings expected from Lamb Weston and Helen of Troy
  • Thursday: Jobless claims. Earnings expected from Constellation Brands, McCormick, ConAgra, and Levi Strauss
  • Friday: Monthly employment data. Earnings expected from Tilray

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Netflix, and Starbucks

ID: 2453979