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Vested Shorts: Live concerts are relevant, HSBC’s gold tokenization, Affirm’s Amazon Deal, and Starbucks is expanding

by Parth Parikh
November 4, 2023
3 min read
Vested Shorts: Live concerts are relevant, HSBC’s gold tokenization, Affirm’s Amazon Deal, and Starbucks is expanding

In today’s edition

  • Live Nation reports record earnings
  • HSBC ventures into tokenizing of gold assets
  • Affirm expands BNPL services
  • Starbucks stock soars

Market Snapshot

The U.S. stock market concluded the week strongly, with the S&P 500 marking a 6% rise, its most significant weekly surge in 12 months, spurred by a jobs report hinting that the Federal Reserve might halt interest rate hikes, alleviating worries about inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite also finished on an upbeat note, recording weekly increases of 5.1% and 6.6%, respectively.

Looking ahead, the earnings season is set to hit its stride with more than 1,500 companies, including Gilead Sciences and Uber Technologies on Tuesday, Honda and Walt Disney on Wednesday, and AstraZeneca on Thursday, slated to report their financials. Investors will be closely watching these releases for further market direction.

Market close data for the week of Oct 30th to Nov 3rd, 2023

News Summaries

Live Nation Entertainment, the parent company of Ticketmaster, has reported a record-breaking revenue surge of 32%, amounting to $8.2 billion in the third quarter, driven by a historic number of ticket sales reaching 140 million. Despite criticism over high prices and wait times, particularly during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour ticket sales, the company has seen substantial success with major tours by artists like Harry Styles and Coldplay, each grossing around $300 million. With an average ticket price of approximately $120 for the top US tours in 2023, Live Nation is poised for continued growth in 2024, having already secured two-thirds of its bookings, half of which are for large venues.

HSBC, a global banking giant with approximately $3 trillion in assets, is pioneering in the financial industry by tokenizing physical gold reserves located in its London vaults. The bank will leverage distributed ledger technology to create a digital representation of gold, allowing institutional clients to trade these assets on its proprietary HSBC Evolve platform. This innovative move taps into the tokenized gold market, already worth around $1.1 billion, positioning HSBC as a formidable player among financial institutions delving into the digitalization of real-world assets, and signaling a trend worth monitoring as tokenization gains traction.

Affirm is rolling out its buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) services to Amazon Business, targeting sole proprietors initially, with plans for full availability by Black Friday. This collaboration offers small business owners on Amazon’s B2B platform flexible repayment terms ranging from three to 48 months, with annual percentage rate (APR) between 10% to 36%. The service, which assures customers a fixed payment amount upfront, presents an alternative to soaring credit card interest rates and has been available on Amazon’s consumer site for purchases over $50 for over two years. The expansion of this partnership has resulted in a 30% surge in Affirm’s stock price over the past five days.

Last week, Starbucks saw its shares surge after reporting a fiscal fourth-quarter that outperformed analysts’ forecasts, with net earnings climbing 39% to $1.22 billion. The boost was primarily due to a robust 8% increase in same-store sales within North America, showcasing the coffee giant’s resilience amidst high inflation as Americans continue to patronize their stores. In contrast, consumer caution in China, Starbucks’ second-biggest market, led to a decline in average spending per visit. Alongside these sales dynamics, Starbucks aggressively broadened its global reach, opening 816 stores and expanding its total count to over 38,000 outlets worldwide. CEO Laxman Narasimhan remains optimistic about ongoing growth despite prevailing economic uncertainties, and this positive financial disclosure has helped the company’s stock recover from earlier declines within the year.

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