Walmart's Big Cryptocurrency Bet

Today is Tuesday, August 17, 2021.

Why Walmart Wants to Hire a Crypto Expert

Walmart (NYSE: WMT), the world’s largest retailer, posted a job listing late Sunday for a digital currency and cryptocurrency product lead.

Now Hiring: The job listing calls for someone to develop the digital currency strategy and product roadmap, drive the vision for the product and capabilities roadmap, and provide the leadership to identify tech and customer trends.

Monday: Walmart’s stock went up 0.82% on Monday, the day before it reports earnings. Despite the job listing news, crypto stocks such as Coinbase Global (Nasdaq: COIN) and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTCMKTS: GBTC) were down Monday. Most major cryptocurrency prices were also down.

History: This isn’t the first time Walmart has flirted with crypto. Two years ago, Walmart applied for a patent on a price-stable coin. The company also uses blockchain for tracking product movements.

Context: A few weeks ago, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) also posted a job listing for a similar cryptocurrency role.

Final Thoughts: The job listings for Walmart and Amazon are proof that even the largest retailers and tech companies recognize the growing importance of cryptocurrency.


Notable Earnings Today: Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Home Depot (NYSE: HD), Applied Industrial Technologies (NYSE: AIT),  La-Z-Boy (NYSE: LZB), Krispy Kreme (Nasdaq: DNUT).

Notable IPOs Today: RenovoRx (Nasdaq: RNXT), International Media Acquisition (Nasdaq: IMAQ).

Notable Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns Ending Today: Naboso (StartEngine).

Notable Economic Events Today:  Retail sales (8:30 a.m.), NAHB Housing Market Index (10:00 a.m.).

Tesla Stock Slips Amid Government Investigation

Shares of Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) fell more than 4% Monday after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said it was investigating 11 crashes since 2018 that involve the use of autopilot.

Possible Outcomes: If investigators find safety issues, Tesla could issue a recall or it could go to court.

History: Tesla’s autopilot has been a source of controversy. Last year, a German court found that the use of the word “autopilot” was misleading. And even the company said previously that drivers who use the autopilot mode must stay engaged while behind the wheel.

Tech: The solution might involve technology, such as an update to the cars to prevent autopilot crashes.

Final Thoughts: If you were bullish or bearish on Tesla before Monday, this news probably won’t change your views.

Could Direct Indexing Threaten ETFs?

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are among the most popular passive investing options today. But the rise of direct indexing, which is when the investor owns some of the underlying assets of an index in order to get a similar return, could take market share away from ETFs.

ETF Popularity: ETFs are generally low-cost, tax efficient and usually outperform active funds most of the time. It’s no wonder many investors favor ETFs.

Direct Indexing’s Bad Side: Unlike ETFs or index funds, direct indexing could be more costly. It also requires some degree of active investing.

Direct Indexing’s Good Side: Unlike ETFs or index funds, direct indexing allows the investor to directly own the underlying assets. Combined with the right strategy, direct indexing could allow for tax harvesting (which means selling losses to lower taxes owed). A direct indexing portfolio can be customized to fit the needs of the investor.

Final Thoughts: Some asset managers and robo-advisors will offer both ETFs and direct indexing, thus capitalizing off both trends and satisfying the needs of retail investors.

Trends to Watch

Good Use of Blockchain: Microsoft wants to use Ethereum blockchain to fight piracy (Cointelegraph)

When the Music Starts to Play: Tencent Music Reports Strong Quarter Before Regulator Crackdown (Billboard)

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