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Today in the Market (2/28/2024)

Good Morning! On Wednesday, U.S. equities declined due to trepidation before significant inflation data comes out on Thursday. The Dow Jones almost recovered but came up short by 0.06%, while the S&P 500 fell by 0.17%. The NASDAQ fell the most by 0.55%.

THE SURGE THAT HURT

Beyond Meat Inc. (BYND) surged up to 61% during midday trading on Wednesday, marking its most significant one-day increase since 2019. The increase is causing significant distress for traders who have taken short positions on the stock

But why the distress? Well… according to data by S3 Partners LLC, short sellers have incurred around $74 million in unrealized losses. Here is a quick finance lesson on short selling! Traders who took positions against Beyond Meat face the danger of a short squeeze, which occurs when short sellers feel obliged to repurchase the stock to close their unprofitable holdings. On top of that, short covering is pushing up the company’s stock price, increasing the challenges for contrarian traders.

But why are investors excited about Beyond Meat? The company declared plans to significantly reduce operational costs to increase profit margins, which had suffered as a result of price cuts made to entice budget-conscious American consumers to buy its plant-based beef products. Projected gross margins for 2024 are expected to range from the mid-to-high teens, in contrast to the negative 24.1% in 2023.

 

TIME TO TIME YOUR MEALS

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Wendys (WEN), the fast-food company currently the priciest in the market, announced plans to implement “dynamic pricing,” similar to Uber’s surge pricing, for menu items at certain times of the day starting next year.

So how will Wendys do this? Wendy’s CEO Kirk Tanner announced a plan to invest around $20 million by the end of 2025 to implement digital menu boards in U.S. restaurants. These boards would enable surge pricing at peak times, such as lunch rushes.

However, it might not stop there… Wendy’s use of surge pricing may influence other fast-food companies and restaurants to embrace the practice, especially since digital menus make it more possible than when menus were traditionally printed. Ride-hailing apps and ticketing companies such as Live Nation have faced criticism for implementing markups due to surge pricing on their services.

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