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Today in the Market (1/23/2023)

Good Evening! Monday was a positive day for U.S. equities as investors prepared for a busy week of corporate earnings reports and pondered the Federal Reserve’s next rate move before their meeting later this month.

The S&P 500 increased by 1.19%, and the Dow Jones gained by 0.76%. The Nasdaq Composite led the advance with a 2.01% climb.

ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER LAYOFF

Music streaming giant Spotify (SPOT) announced intentions to lay off 6% of its staff, or around 600 people. The decision follows a difficult year for the company in 2022, during which Spotify stock lost more than two-thirds of its value.

That’s not all! In addition to employee reductions, Spotify announced a reorganization of its executive team, with Gustav Söderström and Alex Norström becoming co-presidents. Söderström will also serve as chief product officer, while Norström will assume the job of the chief business officer. Dawn Ostroff, chief content officer, and advertising business officer, will resign.

What is the answer to hopefully help Spotify? Podcasts. Over the last four years, Spotify has invested $1 billion in the podcast business, signing up celebrities such as the Obamas, Prince Harry, and a Kardashian. In 2019, the firm spent $230 million to purchase the podcast studio Gimlet. Then, Spotify reportedly paid $200 million to get Joe Rogan exclusively to the platform, and another $200 million in 2020 for The Ringer.

DO YOU WANT POPCORN WITH THAT?

Time for an update! This weekend, Avatar: The Way of Water surpassed $2 billion at the box office, becoming the sixth film in history to do so. Cameron is responsible for three of the six films, including Avatar, Titanic, and Avatar 2. (the others are Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Avengers: Infinity War).

In the coming days, Avatar 2 should ascend from No. 6 to No. 4, leapfrogging over Infinity War and The Force Awakens as it enters its seventh week in cinemas. This means… by becoming the third or fourth highest-grossing film of all time would finally achieve breakeven.

Cinemas are not in a good position right now: Regal (whose parent company went bankrupt) announced the closure of 39 sites in the United States last week, and AMC has lost all of its meme-stock energy. However, Cameron plans to release three more Avatar installments in the next five years.

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