Just How Stupid?

As for Samsung’s robot Ballie, a reader says:

“Great! A little personal spy that follows you around and reports everything you say and do, and you get to pay for it. Just how stupid are people?”

Indeed, it will take a credulous person to welcome the bot into his home, but it’s not unprecedented.

As for the outcome of the standoff between Iran and the U.S., a reader says: “There will be a lot of sabre rattling and anti-American sentiment, but things will settle down.”

This written before Iran’s missile attacks on two military bases in Iraq yesterday? The president is holding a press conference at 11 a.m. We’ll see if things escalate.

Last, a reader defends MEK — a group formed in 1965 with a Marxist/Islamic bent that wants to overthrow Iran’s current government…

“Every one of our allies has removed the terrorist label from MEK. The MEK has undergone much transformation in it’s long and checkered history.

“In 2019, MEK leader Maryam Rajavi called for ‘democratic governance, free elections, gender equality, separation of church and state, and a nuclear weapon-free Iran.’ If we can get this in… Iran, that sounds like a huge step forward to me.”

More on that tomorrow. In the meantime — just throwing it out there — what’s your opinion on U.S. involvement in regime change? Particularly in the Middle East.

Your Rundown for Wednesday Jan. 8, 2020

Mall Meltdown

According to Business Insider: “More than 9,300 store closings were announced in 2019, smashing the previous record of roughly 8,000 store closures in 2017.”

And there’s more where that came from in 2020…

Real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield estimates as many as 12,000 major chain stores might be shuttered this year.

Most notably…

  • Pier One Imports: 450 stores
  • Gap: 230 stores
  • Walgreens: 200 stores
  • Forever 21: 178 stores
  • C. Moore: 145 stores
  • Sears: 51 stores
  • Kmart: 45 stores
  • Macy’s: 15 stores

Sad to think of all the employees affected by store closures… and malls drained of their lifeblood.

For investors, you should probably pivot away from these companies (if you haven’t done so already) unless a company has a genius idea for a comeback.

As for retailers we actually like: Wholesale retailer Costco (COST), up 1.5% this morning; discount retailer Dollar General (DGX), also in the green; and able-to-adapt Walmart (WMT), slightly in the red… but we don’t predict for long.

Market Rundown for Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020

S&P 500 futures are up 5 points to 3,242.

Oil’s down 36 cents to $62.34 for a barrel of West Texas crude.

Gold is up $4.60 per ounce to $1,578.90.

Bitcoin’s broken through resistance — up $150 to $8,322.75.

Have a great day! We’ll catch up 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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