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Wall Street Brunch- December 14

Dec. 14, 2020 7:15 AM ET44 Comments
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  • Happy Monday to everyone. Make it a great day!

Let's start with a little history, shall we?

On this day in 1911, Norwegian Roald Amundsen becomes the first explorer to reach the South Pole, beating his British rival, Robert Falcon Scott. Amundsen, born in Borge, near Oslo, in 1872, was one of the great figures in polar exploration. In 1897, he was first mate on a Belgian expedition that was the first ever to winter in the Antarctic. In 1903, he guided the 47-ton sloop Gjöa through the Northwest Passage and around the Canadian coast, the first navigator to accomplish the treacherous journey. Amundsen planned to be the first man to the North Pole, and he was about to embark in 1909 when he learned that the American Robert Peary had achieved the feat. Amundsen completed his preparations and in June 1910 sailed instead for Antarctica, where the English explorer Robert F. Scott was also headed with the aim of reaching the South Pole. In early 1911, Amundsen sailed his ship into Antarctica’s Bay of Whales and set up base camp 60 miles closer to the pole than Scott. In October, both explorers set off—Amundsen using sleigh dogs, and Scott employing Siberian motor sledges, Siberian ponies, and dogs. On December 14, 1911, Amundsen’s expedition won the race to the Pole and returned safely to base camp in late January. After his historic Antarctic journey, Amundsen established a successful shipping business. He later made attempts to become the first explorer to fly over the North Pole. In 1925, in an airplane, he flew within 150 miles of the goal. In 1926, he passed over the North Pole in a dirigible just three days after American explorer Richard E. Byrd had apparently done so in an aircraft. In 1996, a diary that Byrd had kept on the flight was found that seemed to suggest that the he had turned back 150 miles short of its goal because of an oil leak, making Amundsen’s dirigible expedition the first flight over the North Pole. In 1928, Amundsen lost his life while trying to rescue a fellow explorer whose dirigible had crashed at sea near Spitsbergen, Norway. (My maternal grandfather was Norwegian and according to my wife, I would make a good Viking. Not sure what means exactly.)

On this day in 1900, German physicist Max Planck publishes his groundbreaking study of the effect of radiation on a “blackbody” substance, and the quantum theory of modern physics is born. Through physical experiments, Planck demonstrated that energy, in certain situations, can exhibit characteristics of physical matter. According to theories of classical physics, energy is solely a continuous wave-like phenomenon, independent of the characteristics of physical matter. Planck’s theory held that radiant energy is made up of particle-like components, known as “quanta.” The theory helped to resolve previously unexplained natural phenomena such as the behavior of heat in solids and the nature of light absorption on an atomic level. In 1918, Planck was rewarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his work on blackbody radiation. Other scientists, such as Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Louis de Broglie, Erwin Schrodinger and Paul M. Dirac, advanced Planck’s theory and made possible the development of quantum mechanics–a mathematical application of the quantum theory that maintains that energy is both matter and a wave, depending on certain variables. Quantum mechanics thus takes a probabilistic view of nature, sharply contrasting with classical mechanics, in which all precise properties of objects are, in principle, calculable. Today, the combination of quantum mechanics with Einstein’s theory of relativity is the basis of modern physics. (My maternal grandmother was from Germany. She would speak German when she did not want us to know what she was talking about!)

On this day in 1799, George Washington dies at his estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. He was 67 years old.

Now for some stock and investing news-

Futures looking bright enough for shades today. Time will tell how the day shakes out.

Credit Suisse lifts estimates on FedEx (NYSE:FDX) after taking into account accelerating e-commerce trends and a peak season that could prove to be stronger and longer than anticipated. Shares of FedEx are up 2.25% in premarket action to $295.99.

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Tencent-backed China Literature (OTCPK:TCEHY), and Shenzhen Hive Box Technology were each fined 500,000 yuan ($76,463) by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) for not making the proper declarations to authorities about past acquisitions. The SAMR also recently published draft rules looking to stop monopolistic practices by internet platforms in one of the most wide-sweeping proposals in China to regulate large tech companies. 

Shares of Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) opened down 14% in premarket trade after a highly-anticipated weekend test flight ended prematurely as the engine of its SpaceShipTwo vehicle 'Unity' did not fully ignite. The spaceflight attempt was the company's first with the vehicle in nearly 22 months, with its previous mission reaching an altitude of nearly 90 kilometers on a test launch from the Mojave Desert in California. It was also the first of three remaining spaceflight tests the company plans to conduct to complete development of its spacecraft system as it looks to usher in an era of space tourism. Virgin Galactic has about 600 customer reservations on its books, most of which were sold at a price of $200K to $250K per ticket several years ago. Another 400 have expressed an interest in booking tickets to the edge of space when sales fully reopen in 2021.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) informed employees at its Fremont factory that high-end Model S and X production lines will close from December 24 to January 11. Tesla delivered just 15,200 Model S and X units in the third quarter of 2020 out of a total 139,300 cars, representing around 11% of vehicle deliveries during the period. You can't spell S3XY without the S and the X. Cute little bit that Elon put together, S3XY, but cute doesn't sell cars.

Cinemark (NYSE:CNK) is circling theater locations currently belonging to the top U.S. movie-theater chain, AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC), in case of a default. With AMC owing hundreds of millions in back rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Cinemark has "recently signaled" to industry execs that it would like to step in and take over locations if AMC defaults.

Shares of Burger King India soared almost 88% in their market debut today. The franchise operator opened at 112.50 rupees after the IPO was priced at 60 rupees per shares. The company had a market valuation of 42.94B rupees at the opening price. The company's franchisee deal with Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR) allows the company to use the Burger King brand in India until Dec. 31, 2039 and requires Burger King India to open at least 700 restaurants by the end of 2025.

Where is Jon Corzine and will MF Global be buyers of Burger King today?

Where is Marissa Mayer and will her app change the app industry?

Where is Elizabeth Holmes and did she really send Jelly-of-the-Month Club subscriptions to Theranos employees for Christmas?

Have a great day everyone. Stay safe out there.

This is the day The Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.



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