A Popeyes Chicken Sandwich and a Tactic to Set Off a Twitter Roar – The New York Times

The first Popeyes tweet seemed innocent enough — a photograph of the chain’s new fried-chicken sandwich (chicken breast, brioche bun, pickles, sauce) beneath an artfully garbled caption: “So. Good. Forgot. How. Speak.”

But as a social media battle has captivated the internet this week and generated long lines at Popeyes locations across the country, that tweet from last week now has the feel of an opening salvo. Things grew heated on Tuesday, when Chick-fil-A tweeted what appeared to be a coded response to the Popeyes announcement, extolling the virtues of its “original” chicken sandwich.

Popeyes replied a few hours later: “…ya’ll good?”

Soon, the “passive-aggressive chicken sandwich debate,” as one news article put it, had escalated into a Twitter battle royal, as other fast-food companies started promoting their own sandwiches. Shake Shack tried to rise above the fray, promising a chicken sandwich “without the beef.”

As the Twitter commotion intensified, the Popeyes chicken sandwich reportedly sold out at some locations.

“Look at how much attention they’re getting — it’s impressive,” said Jonathan Maze, the executive editor of Restaurant Business Magazine, a trade publication. “All this is really going to do frankly is embolden other chains to do similar things when they introduce new products.”

In the chicken wars this week, fast-food rivals seemed intent on stirring up trouble. Take this exchange between Wendy’s and Popeyes:

Wendy’s: “Y’all out here fighting about which of these fools has the second best chicken sandwich.”

Popeyes: “Sounds like someone just ate one of our biscuits. Cause y’all looking thirsty.”

Wendy’s: “lol, guess that means the food’s as dry as the jokes.”

To some, these Twitter antics may seem juvenile. But many brands have discovered that one easy way to cut through the social media noise is to poke fun at the competition. In fast food, Wendy’s has arguably the sassiest corporate Twitter account in the country. Now, Popeyes is starting to catch up.

“If you’re a fast-food brand,” Mr. Maze said, “you have to have a strong social media game.”

In a statement, Felipe Athayde, the Popeyes president for the Americas, declined to reveal how many chicken sandwiches the chain has sold. But he said the response from customers had been “extraordinary.”

“We noticed a lot of organic conversation about the sandwich and we decided to have a little bit of fun along with our guests,” he said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for our brand.”

Chick-fil-A did not respond to requests for comment.

Fast-food companies are not the only major brands eager to kick up some dust. After the snack-bar company Clif took out an advertisement in The New York Times in March calling on its competitors to use organic ingredients, its main rival, Kind, responded with a television commercial. There was also a lengthy back-and-forth on Facebook.

Asked in a recent interview whether he regretted the social media spat, the Kind chief executive, Daniel Lubetzky, struck a defiant tone. “We are not going to not defend our baby and our honor,” he said. “They picked the wrong fight.”

When it comes to chicken sandwiches, the battle has political overtones. Some critics of Chick-fil-A are hailing the Popeyes sandwich as a socially responsible alternative. Since 2012, Chick-fil-A has been widely criticized for its chief executive’s derogatory comments about same-sex marriage. But Mr. Maze said he doubted the Popeyes sandwich, however aggressively marketed, would pose much of a threat to Chick-fil-A, whose sales grew by 16.7 percent last year, making it the third-largest restaurant chain in the United States.

“The chicken sandwich is their base, it’s what they’ve done forever and it’s a very good product,” he said. “I can’t imagine Chick-fil-A’s customers are suddenly going to abandon the chain and go to Popeyes. They’ve been kind of unstoppable for a long time.”

Still, at the Popeyes on West 40th Street in Manhattan, a line stretched down the block as die-hard fans and curious first-timers waited to sample the sandwich. Kurwyne Gayle was in line for his fifth sandwich in a week.

“I had it on Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” Mr. Gayle said as he chatted with a group of friends outside. “It’s really good. That’s why I’m here standing in line.”

Melissa Guerrero contributed reporting.

MoviePass confirms it may have exposed customer credit card numbers – CNN

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Now three decades later, text messages can move money around the globe.”,”descriptionText”:”The first text was sent in 1992. Now three decades later, text messages can move money around the globe.”},{“title”:”Everything to know about the Apple credit card”,”duration”:”00:54″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/08/05/apple-credit-card-launch.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2019/08/05/apple-credit-card-launch.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190805141631-20190805-apple-credit-card-gfx-main-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2019/08/05/apple-credit-card-launch.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-tech/”,”description”:”The Apple Card will work in the iPhone Wallet app to let users see the interest they’re paying, map transactions and avoid hidden fees. 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Now, they are finalists in the largest “Fortnite” tournament in the world and have the chance to win millions.”,”descriptionText”:”Two years ago, FaZe Dubs and FaZe Megga were just teens playing video games in their bedrooms. 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Gameboys. Alarm clocks. All these things are technically outdated, yet plenty of people still use and love them. CNN Business explains the trend of retro tech.”,”descriptionText”:”Record players. Gameboys. Alarm clocks. All these things are technically outdated, yet plenty of people still use and love them. 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Here’s what Trump really wants from the Fed when he calls for a 100 basis-point rate cut – Yahoo Finance

100 basis points worth of cuts.’ data-reactid=”16″>With economic growth tapering a bit, economists and the market have increasingly priced in the odds of another two rate cuts, 25 basis points each. Thought nothing is for certain. Meanwhile, Trump has been calling for 100 basis points worth of cuts.

YFi AM.” data-reactid=”17″>“I actually think Trump is trying to yell and scream for a percentage point in the hopes that they’ll do 50 instead of 25 basis points,” Optimal Capital’s Frances Newton Stacy, tells Yahoo Finance’s YFi AM.

Either way, monetary policy stimulus may only delay the inevitable.

”There’s always going to be another recession, it’s just when,” Stacy says. “If we have problems in the credit market, let’s say we have massive defaults and corporate bonds, student loans and subprime auto, some of the sensitive areas, some of the covenant light areas of the market, I see a recession.”

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn,YouTube, and reddit.‘ data-reactid=”35″>Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn,YouTube, and reddit.

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.‘ data-reactid=”37″>Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.

Kinder Morgan to Sell KML Stake, Cochin Pipeline – Market Realist

Kinder Morgan (KMI) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Pembina Pipeline (PBA) to sell the US portion of its Cochin Pipeline. It also announced a plan to sell its 70% stake in Kinder Morgan Canada Limited (KML.TO) to Pembina.

These transactions are valued at approximately $2.5 billion. This total includes approximately $1.5 billion in cash and about 25 million shares in Pembina. The company noted that the closing of the two transactions is “cross-conditioned upon each other.” The company expects the transactions to close in Q4 2019 or Q1 2020.

Rationale

Kinder Morgan was evaluating suitable options for its stake in KML since the company sold its top asset, Trans Mountain Pipeline, to the government of Canada last year. The company used the proceeds of that transaction to reduce its debt.

Similarly, Kinder Morgan plans to use the proceeds from its latest asset sale to reduce its debt. The company targets to maintain a net-debt-to-adjusted-EBITDA ratio of approximately 4.5x. Additionally, it plans to use the remaining proceeds in growth projects or share repurchases.

According to the company, the $1.5 billion in cash proceeds from the sale of Cochin Pipeline would improve its debt-to-EBITDA ratio to 4.4x. The company earlier projected a ratio of 4.6x at the end of 2019. Kinder Morgan has been working to reduce its leverage for some time.

Discussing the benefits of these transactions, Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean noted, “It enables KMI to reduce leverage and gives us the flexibility to create additional value for shareholders through share buybacks, project investments, or both.”

Kinder Morgan’s KML transaction

For the stake sale in KML, Kinder Morgan would receive 0.3068 shares of Pembina for each of its shares in KML. In total, Kinder Morgan would hold slightly less than 5% of Pembina’s common equity after the transaction. Eventually, the company plans to convert these shares into cash. However, it plans to do this opportunistically while not disrupting Pembina’s stock price.

KMI stock reacted positively to the news and was up 1.2% in early morning trading today. The stock has risen around 32% in 2019, outperforming the broader markets.

For the latest coverage on energy stocks, please check out Market Realist’s Energy and Utilities page.

Editorial: Do the math on jobs numbers – TribLIVE High School Sports Network

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Splunk acquires cloud monitoring service SignalFx for $1.05B – TechCrunch

Splunk, the publicly traded data processing and analytics company, today announced that it has acquired SignalFx for a total price of about $1.05 billion. Approximately 60% of this will be in cash and 40% in Splunk common stock. The companies expect the acquisition to close in the second half of 2020.

SignalFx, which emerged from stealth in 2015, provides real-time cloud monitoring solutions, predictive analytics and more. Upon close, Splunk argues, this acquisition will allow it to become a leader “in observability and APM for organizations at every stage of their cloud journey, from cloud-native apps to homegrown on-premises applications.”

Indeed, the acquisition will likely make Splunk a far stronger player in the cloud space as it expands its support for cloud-native applications and the modern infrastructures and architectures those rely on.

2019 08 21 1332

Ahead of the acquisition, SignalFx had raised a total of $178.5 million, according to Crunchbase, including a recent Series E round. Investors include General Catalyst, Tiger Global Management, Andreessen Horowitz and CRV. Its customers include the likes of AthenaHealth, Change.org, Kayak, NBCUniversal and Yelp.

“Data fuels the modern business, and the acquisition of SignalFx squarely puts Splunk in position as a leader in monitoring and observability at massive scale,” said Doug Merritt, president and CEO, Splunk, in today’s announcement. “SignalFx will support our continued commitment to giving customers one platform that can monitor the entire enterprise application lifecycle. We are also incredibly impressed by the SignalFx team and leadership, whose expertise and professionalism are a strong addition to the Splunk family.”

Nordstrom misses quarterly revenue estimates – Yahoo Finance

By Nivedita Balu and Melissa Fares

The Seattle-based company, which sells everything from apparel and footwear to home decor, said digital sales rose 4% for the second quarter ended Aug. 3, although weaker sales at both its full-price department stores and off-price Nordstrom Rack stores dragged total revenue down 5% to $3.87 billion.

It has invested heavily in both its e-commerce business as well as its loyalty programs, and said it was on track to open its first store selling only women’s merchandise in New York City this October.

Other ways it is trying to engage millennials and other shoppers include concept stores such as ‘Nordstrom Local,’ which holds no stock but serves as a pickup center for online orders while also offering personal styling and tailoring services.

It has also worked on inventory management and is offering more on-trend product assortments as part of a turnaround plan to boost profit.

“We exited the quarter in a favorable inventory position and made important strides in productivity,” Nordstrom co-President Erik Nordstrom said.

Inventory was down 6.5% over last year, the company said.

Nordstrom net earnings fell to $141 million, or 90 cents per share, in the quarter from $162 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts were expecting Nordstrom to report revenue of $3.93 billion and a profit of 75 cents for the quarter, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

On Wednesday, its shares were up about 10% at $29.10 in extended trading, after rising about 5.5% in regular trade.

Nordstrom forecast net sales for the year falling by about 2%, at the lower end of its previous estimate.

The company also cut the upper range of its annual adjusted profit forecast and now expects to earn between $3.25 per share to $3.50 per share from a range of $3.25 per share to $3.65 per share, excluding any share repurchases.

“While second quarter profits exceeded expectations, sales came in on the low end and Nordstrom’s downward revision of guidance again following a sharp guidance cut in the first quarter suggests that the retailer’s challenges run deep,” said CFRA Research analyst Camilla Yanushevsky, adding “we expect shares to cool in trading tomorrow morning.”

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Rosalba O’Brien)

San Francisco International (SFO) airport bans plastic water bottles – Vox.com

Since the advent of air travel, airlines and airports have provided passengers plastic-wrapped items to be used once and tossed away. Rather than make the switch to sustainable goods and packaging, which tend to be heavier than plastic, the aviation industry has kept at this — and annually generates millions of tons of plastic waste.

In recent years, however, sustainability has grown into a larger talking (and selling) point for customers, who care about green travel options. On Tuesday, the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) started banning plastic water bottles smaller than one liter from being sold at concession stands, lounges, restaurants, or vending machines. It’s the first major airport in the US to issue such a policy, a step toward its goal to be a zero-waste hub by 2021.

Each guest that comes through the airport produces roughly half a pound of trash, an airport spokesperson told CBS News, and around 10,000 bottles of water used to be sold daily. San Francisco International already requires vendors to provide certified compostable utensils, food service accessories, and reusable cups.

As progressive as that sounds, there is a caveat: The plastic bottle policy only applies to water (not other beverages like seltzers, juices, or sodas), and doesn’t affect how airlines independently serve passengers. Airport vendors will still be able to sell water in presumably single-use aluminum and glass containers, which are arguably not much better for the environment.

Plastic water bottles have a notorious reputation in our waste-obsessed world: They’re flimsy, disposable, and most likely won’t be recycled, since research shows that only 9 percent of plastic waste ever generated are reused. They’re also manufactured from petroleum, which is extracted by oil drilling.

While glass and aluminum certainly seem more sustainable (both can be recycled again and again), manufacturing cans and bottles out of these materials, not to mention shipping them, requires lots of fuel, according to Grist’s Umbra Fisk. Completely banning single-use disposables — or even all plastic bottles, in this instance — would be a radical step for the airport, but could lead to a number of problems. It could cause confusion for passengers not aware of the policies, and according to SFO’s spokesperson, there are not enough non-plastic alternatives for teas, juices, or sodas.

Various airports, including SFO, have designed facilities to fit the approving standards of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Last year, LEED updated its list of airport spaces that could be certified, which includes terminals and rental car centers. The Boston Logan International Airport received the honor in 2006 for one of its terminal’s design and construction features, and installed wind turbines and solar panels years later. SFO also received an award for its terminal in 2011.

The move towards eco-friendly design choices might offset the amount of energy required to keep an airport running, but travel hubs still accumulate a lot of waste daily. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, almost 20 percent of an airport’s total municipal solid waste (trash or garbage) comes from deplaned waste after flights.

As Jasmin Malik Chua wrote for Vox about zero-waste flights: “In a single year, airlines toss 9,000 tons of plastic, enough aluminum cans to build 58 new Boeing 747s, and enough newspapers and magazines to engulf a football field 230 meters deep.”

Curbing inflight waste, then, becomes crucial for any airport looking to achieve zero-waste. But these sustainable initiatives are typically driven by airlines, not the airports themselves.

Chua reported that a United Airlines flight on June 5 offered passengers compostable and recyclable tableware, which reduced its waste from an average 65 pounds to 14. Qantas Airways, an Australian airline, also boasted about its zero-waste flight in May. These efforts are not the norm for airlines, and appear to largely be marketing stunts or events tied to a holiday, like World Environment Day.

In comparison, San Francisco International’s push to completely ban plastic water bottles seems positioned to actually reduce waste. (Now if only it could do the same for plastic Coca-Cola bottles or aluminum La Croix cans!) But conscious change, especially in a space thousands of transient people pass through daily, happens slowly.

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Target stock soars on heels of blowout quarter; raises outlook – Chain Store Age

FINANCE

Target Corp. hits the bull’s eye in its second quarter, with results that beat the Street on nearly every metric as the retailer’s investments in its stores, online channel and private brands continue to reap benefits.

The discounter’s shares surged 20% on Wednesday, closing at a record high of $103. The company’s market value was put at $52.67 billion, up from $43.819 billion at the end of Tuesday’s trading session.

Net income rose to $938 million, or $1.82 a share, in the quarter ended Aug. 3, from $799 million, or $1.49 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings per share of $1.82 easily topped analysts’ estimates of $1.62.

Total revenue increased 3.6% to $18.42 billion, better than the $18.29 billion analysts had expected. Same-store sales rose a better-than-expected 3.4%, driven by 2.4% traffic growth. Target’s comp sales have grown approximately 10% during the past two years — its best performance in more than a decade, the discounter said.

Comparable digital sales grew 34%, contributing 1.8 percentage points to the quarter’s comparable sales growth. Target’s same-day fulfillment services (order pick up, drive up and Shipt) accounted for nearly 1.5 percentage points of the company’s overall comparable sales growth.

In comments, analyst Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, noted that one of the most impressive aspects of Target’s growth is that it has been driven by both the digital channel and physical stores.

“Although many in the investment community were skeptical, Target rightly understood the importance of the store to the health of its whole operation,” said Saunders. “This is why store refurbishments have been such a vital component of the success story. Our own data show that refurbishment has a positive impact on visit frequency, conversion and average ticket – and that this outpacing effect does not disappear after the first year.”

In a statement, Target chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said that the chain’s second-quarter performance demonstrates the “strength of our strategy and the durable financial model we’ve built over the last several years.

“By appealing to shoppers through a compelling assortment, a suite of convenience-driven fulfillment options, competitive prices and an enjoyable shopping experience, we’re increasing Target’s relevancy and deepening the relationship between our guests and our brand,” Cornell said. “Traffic and sales continue to grow while our EPS reached an all-time high, driven by the strength of our team’s execution and their focus on delivering for our guests. Because of our outstanding performance in the first half of the year and our confidence moving forward, we are increasing our guidance for full-year earnings per share,” he said.

For full-year 2019, Target now expects GAAP EPS from continuing operations and adjusted EPS of $5.90 to $6.20 compared with the prior range of $5.75 to $6.05.


Bond market yield curve inverts, signaling Fed may be too slow to cut rates, risks recession – CNBC

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reacts during a press conference in Washington D.C., the United States, on July 31, 2019.

Liu Jie | Xinhua | Getty Images

Market moves were modest after the Fed released minutes of its last meeting, but the message was clear — the market still fears the Federal Reserve will not be aggressive enough in its rate cutting to save the economy.

Soon after the Fed’s 2 p.m. ET release of its minutes, the curve between the 2-year note and the 10-year note flattened. It then briefly inverted later Wednesday afternoon, with the 2-year yield rising above the 10-year yield. That also occurred briefly last week, but did not hold on a closing basis. Other parts of the yield curve have inverted and remain that way, but the 2-year-to-10-year spread is the most widely watched.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell speaks Friday, and the pressure is on him to clarify the central bank’s current stance on policy. Market pros are looking for Powell to resolve a debate within the market, over whether the Fed is going to cut just a few times or is embarking a longer running rate cutting cycle.

Powell speaks at 10 a.m. ET at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole, Wyoming, symposium.

An inverted yield curve, if it stays inverted for awhile, is considered a strong recession warning.

“Looks like the Fed is going to be stubborn, and the yield curve is starting to price that in,” noted Andy Brenner of National Alliance.

The Fed, in the minutes of its last meeting, called its first rate cut in more than a decade a “recalibration,” emphasizing it is not on a “pre-set course” for future cuts. The Federal Open Market Committee cut rates by a quarter point on July 31, and following its meeting, Powell called the cut a “midcycle adjustment,” a term also used in the meeting minutes.

“If midcyle adjustment is not in the Jackson Hole speech, people will interpret that as opening the door for more cuts as opposed to two or three,” said Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barlcays. Since the Fed’s last meeting, bond yields, which move opposite price, have dropped or moved deeper into negative territory.

The U.S. 10-year was at 2.07% ahead of the Fed’s last meeting, and was at 1.58% Wednesday afternoon. The 2-year was at about the same rate, but was fluctuating, having hit a high of 1.58%.

“If the FOMC doesn’t indicate strong urgency to cut very aggressively, we’re back to that world of slowing growth, weak inflation and a Fed that’s running the risk of not providing as much support as needed, which is the recipe for yield curve inversion,” said Jon Hill, rate strategist at BMO. “However, some of the economic data has shown green shoots … and there are concerns of financial stability which are reasonable. Cutting this early in the cycle before economic data turns could lead to excessive risk taking.”

Fed officials were clearly split on the vote, with two seeking a 50 basis point cut, and several opposing it, including two dissenters. The Fed is expected to cut interest rates by a quarter point at its September meeting.

“This lowers the expectation for Jay Powell on Friday, which could make a dovish tilt more explosive,” noted Brenner.

Correction: The yield curve briefly inverted later Wednesday afternoon. An earlier version misstated the day.