Choppy markets 📈
HUL's warning, Meta got plans, and Amazon makes a full circle.
Market summary: 📊
Turning out to be a painful week. Both India and US receded another percent plus yesterday as global markets prepare for liquidity drying up.
S&P 500 - down 1.13%
Nasdaq - down 1.34%
Nifty 50 - down 1.01%
Sensex - down 1.06%
Weekend shot of Espresso ☕
😷 HUL’s unusual warning — Hindustan Unilever, one of the largest consumer goods companies in India, which reaches into the nation's remotest parts, is warning GOI that the economic state of the rural consumer is a lot weaker than imagined. HUL says the pace at which it sells goods has slowed down, buying power of consumers is softening, and that we may be at the beginning of a brutal downturn. Management suggested GOI keep or even up its COVID-related economic incentives for some rural regions. 🤷♀️
Bajaj misses the target 👀
What happened — higher production costs and weak demand is crippling Bajaj’s 2 wheeler business, who finished the last quarter with a drop in profits.
Bajaj managed to sell 1.2 million bikes for the Oct-December period, up 3.2% QoQ — but well below estimates. Exports grew like 7%, which mostly carried the business’ weight. Profits meanwhile compressed 5% compared to last quarter.
What problems — prices of 2 wheelers have shot up recently as parts become expensive and GOI keeps burdening automakers with duties and emissions compliance, which deters folks from walking into the showrooms! Also, a buzzing used car market is giving people options.
Anyway, Bajaj Auto stock is down like 5% over the past week.
While we’re on Autos, ☝️
Meanwhile, Ola is learning the auto game the hard way. After multiple revisions to delivery dates for its electric bikes, customers are now being told Ola is halting production of the most basic model of its scooter, the Ola S1, and instead focusing on making only Ola S1 Pro, the upgraded model.
Folks who booked the basic bikes have to wait a year more, or will be asked to pay more for the Pro model.
Big fintech raises are back again 💰
StockGro raised a $32 million round from Bitkraft, General Catalyst, and a few others to build a social investing platform.
StockGro gamifies investing, letting people invest without putting real money on the line, learning the business before they step in with real dough. There’s also functionalities to run communities and social groups.
The company started in 2020 and has managed to scale up to 10 million+ users already. Fresh funds will go to fuel hiring and fund new products.
Then looking at enterprise software real quick, ☁️
SaaS Labs, a holding company that builds multiple enterprise SaaS products, closed a $42 million Series B from Sequoia.
SaaS’ current products focus mostly on marketing automation and outbound communications — For example, one of the products is a phone system for marketing calls, there’s another that tracks calls, recording and managing inbound comms, and such. The startup has over 6,000 customers globally, with majority clients based in the US.
FB got big plans before the Metaverse 🕶️
2 major updates coming out of camp Zuck over the past few days.
🙋 first, Meta will allow creators to charge subscriptions for exclusive content on Instagram — opening whole new possibilities for creators. Just like followers, people will now have “subscribers”, and Meta says it won’t be charging any fees until 2023.
Based on what creative tools they are allowed access to, we could possibly see a whole set of original creator-led shows, interviews, and other exclusive content. Like a Netflix and YouTube packed into one.
Second, Zuck has caught the NFT bug. ❤️
Financial Times says Facebook is going to allow users to showcase NFTs that they own on their Instagram profile — just like photos, in a completely separate tab. Not just that, users will also eventually be even allowed to mint NFTs and even trade them with each other, all inside the app!
In no time, NFTs have become a $40 billion annual business, but the process still remains complicated for everyday folks. Instagram’s 2B+ users could be a force of mass consumer adoption, bringing more liquidity and truly defining the market.
Bottomline — Meta’s “other” revenue is almost a billion dollars a quarter business now, which will be a HUGE driver of growth going ahead.
Closing out — paint yo homes, its wedding season 🖌️
What’s poppin’ — pent up demand and the festive season helped paints-giant Asian Paints make an absolute killing, growing its profits by like 70% QoQ for the last 3 months!
Asian sold ₹8,530 crores worth of paint, a jump of 23% YoY. Investors loved to hear that the company picked up significant market share from unorganized players, while price increases were also received positively.
The joyful party was a bit dented by rising raw material prices though — which ate into margins. But that’s the story everywhere these days!
What else are we Snackin'🍿
✈️ Ready to fly - Air India will resume its international travel legs to the US. The FAA had stopped 320+ aircrafts from coming into the US over some technical interference with old-school gear.
🛒 Disruption they said – Amazon is becoming a clothing retailer, opening an Amazon Styles store in Los Angeles later this year. Who buys Amazon clothes tho?
👏 Its over - Peloton crashed another 25% yesterday after the company disclosed it’s halting production of its hardware as demand stalls. FML.
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