Boeing’s 777 Grounded After Engine Failure Over The Weekend

Plus, bitcoin dropped on a tweet from Elon Musk, Democrats are pushing to pass stimulus before March 14, Kohl’s shares are up after a group of activists nominated new members to the retailer’s board, and Taco Bell just unveiled its entry to the crispy chicken sandwich wars.

Stocks were lower to start Monday with the Dow dropping 113 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 slid 0.5%, while the Nasdaq sank 1.2%.

Boeing is in trouble again. The plane manufacturer’s shares opened nearly 3% lower this morning after United Airlines said it was temporarily removing 24 of its Boeing 777s from service following the engine failure of one such plan over the weekend. United Flight 328, a Boeing 777-200 powered by the PW4077 Pratt & Whitney engine bound for Honolulu, was forced to make an emergency landing at Denver International Airport shortly after takeoff Saturday afternoon after its right engine failed, dropping debris into a Denver suburb. Following the failure, the FAA said it will order inspection for some Boeing 777s powered by the same Pratt & Whitney engine. Japan’s aviation regulator has ordered all airlines to suspend flights of the aircraft until further notice, Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines have idled their 777s, and the U.K. has banned the jets from flying in its airspace. Pratt & Whitney owner Raytheon Technologies’ shares are also down nearly 1% on the news.

Bitcoin dropped as low as $50,623 this morning after surging to a new all-time high of $58,332 over the weekend. What caused the drop? Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the price of bitcoin and ether “seem high.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also warned this morning that bitcoin is a “highly speculative asset,” adding that “it’s an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions, and the amount of energy that’s consumed in processing those transactions is staggering.”

Democrats begin their final push to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill this week in an effort to have it passed and on Biden’s desk for signature before the prior round of benefits runs out next month. “The Senate is on track to send a robust $1.9 trillion package to the president’s desk before the March 14 expiration of unemployment insurance benefits,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “We will meet this deadline.” Republicans still oppose the plan, calling it too expensive, though Biden said to reporters on Friday, “Critics say my plan is too big. Let me ask them: What would they have me cut? What wold they have me leave out? Should we not invest $20 billion dollars to vaccinate the nation?”

Kohl’s shares are up more than 9% this morning after a group of activist investors confirmed it has nominated nine directors to the retailer’s board in a bid to turn the business around and boost its stock. The group consists of Macellum Advisors, Ancora Holdings, Legion Partners Asset Management, and 4010 Capital, which combined own 9.5% of Kohl’s. The activists said in a note that Kohl’s has “chronically underperformed against its peers and relevant indices because the Board has failed to help develop and oversee a strategic plan to respond to a rapidly-changing retail landscape.” A Kohl’s spokeswoman said in a statement, “We remain open to hearing new ideas. Kohl’s is deeply committed to enhancing shareholder value.”

And Taco Bell is jumping into the chicken sandwich wars. The Yum Brands chain is at least the fourth fast-food brand to announce a chicken sandwich in the last month following the success of Popeye’s version and the expansion of Chick-fil-A across the nation. Taco Bell’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos will be served in flatbread with a piece of crispy tortilla chicken and chipotle sauce, and will sell for $2.49 each. The Mexican-inspired chain will be tested in Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina starting on March 11. 

Stocks We’re Watching

Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ: TTD): Trade Desk shares rose nearly 9% on Friday after the advertising tech company reported fiscal fourth quarter results. “While 2020 was a uniquely challenging year, it was also a turning point for our industry and our company. We won more share in our fastest growing channels such as CTV and Audio, which helped drive record ad spend of $4.2 billion on our platform in 2020,” said Co-Founder and CEO of The Trade Desk, Jeff Green. “Perhaps just as important, in 2020 we saw several years of advertising disruption and innovation compressed into a few months. Marketers are being more deliberate and data-driven in everything they do, and as a result, they are gravitating to the advertising opportunities of the open internet. With CTV now offering a data-driven alternative to linear, with brands seeking a scalable and brand-safe alternative to user-generated content, and with new identity tools that provide a common currency for the open internet as well as enable better cross channel measurement, the industry is gravitating to the open internet and standardizing on our platform.”

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