Pizza Delivery

A reader cries foul on Friday’s issue about Americans’ need to save:

“Just the facts, please!

“800,000 government workers were out of work because of the shutdown.

“55,000 applied for unemployment.

“That means over 93% of these workers were obviously not living paycheck to paycheck and were able to weather the shutdown on their own.

“Another example of hyped fake news.”

First, we were unable to find the stat about 55,000 government workers applying for unemployment benefits during the shutdown. Second, that wasn’t even remotely the main point of Friday’s issue.

We mentioned the need for an emergency fund — in light of the government shutdown — in two short sentences. That’s it.

And unless government workers are in a league of their own when compared to the rest of Americans, we think the research would indicate many are, indeed, living paycheck to paycheck.

According to the Federal Reserve Board’s 2015 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED), 4 out of 10 Americans would not be able to cover a $400 emergency.

Not only that, even without missing paychecks, 20% of Americans say they’re not able to pay their monthly bills in full.

Then there’s this: the Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017 indicates 36% of Americans would not be able to scrape together $2,000 in a month’s time to cover a moderate financial emergency.

With that in mind, reader, what are you doing to save more money in 2019? (That’s not rhetorical; we’d like to hear your feedback.)

Your Rundown for Monday, February 4, 2019:

Papa John’s Clean Sweep

If you watched the Super Bowl last night, perhaps you missed those once-ubiquitous Papa John’s commercials with “Papa” himself and Peyton Manning…and a lucrative NFL sponsorship.

Or not.

The NFL dropped its partnership with pizza chain Papa John’s last summer when John “Papa” Schnatter reportedly used a racial slur on a conference call.

Schnatter — who owns 30% of the company — resigned as chairman in July but has since threatened to sue.

And the drama’s not just reserved for the boardroom: “Sales have been falling for over a year as the company battles for market share with larger rival Domino’s Pizza and Yum Brands’ Pizza Hut,” says Reuters.

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But on news this morning that hedge fund Starboard Value’s investing $200 million in the pizza chain, Papa John’s shares — which have fallen almost 40% in the last 52 weeks — jumped 9% to $42.

“Furthermore, Starboard’s CEO, Jeffrey Smith, will become chairman of the Papa John’s board,” says Forbes.

If history repeats (or even rhymes), Starboard’s investment in the company might be outstanding for Papa John’s.

Starboard did something similar in Oct. 2014 when Smith took the helm of Darden Restaurants (DRI); within 17 months, Darden’s market value increased by 40% to a $10-billion company.

Papa John’s might be poised to stage a comeback.

Market Rundown for Mon. February 4, 2019

S&P 500 futures are down 1.52 to 2,705.01.

Oil is down $1.56 to $53.70 for a barrel of West Texas crude.

Gold’s down $5.80 to $1,316.30 per ounce.

Bitcoin is down $13.68 to $3,436.35.

Have a good day. We’ll talk tomorrow.

For the Rundown,

Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler

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Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler is the publisher of Seven Figure Publishing. He is also the editor of The Rundown and has been with Agora Financial / Seven Figure Publishing since 2005. He's been covering technology and markets for over a decade.

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