📈 Game on, Roblox

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Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for March 11th in 3:11 minutes.

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Today's big stories

  1. Game platform Roblox hit the stock market via a direct listing
  2. There are a few stocks that could do particularly well if you think inflation’s set to climb – Read Now
  3. Earnings updates from fashion house Inditex and sportswear giant Adidas proved just how importance ecommerce is

New Kid On The Blox

New Kid On The Blox

What’s Going On Here?

Roblox isn’t just keeping the kids entertained: the gaming platform listed on the stock market on Wednesday, and excitable investors couldn’t wait to start playing (tweet this).

What Does This Mean?

Roblox was supposed to go public last year, but the company hit pause after Airbnb and DoorDash’s stock prices jumped following their initial public offerings (IPOs), suggesting they’d sold their shares too cheaply. Then, in January, the company announced it’d instead let investors themselves set its share price via a “direct listing”. So when Roblox debuted on the stock market on Wednesday, investors initially priced its shares at just under $70 apiece – much higher than the so-called “reference price” of $45, and potentially vindicating the company’s decision.

Why Should I Care?

For markets: Direct listings might not work out for everyone.
In an IPO, it’s banks that set the starting price of a stock. If investors think that price is too low, they’ll pile in and cause an early – and nowadays much-expected – spike in the share price. A direct listing, meanwhile, allows investors to make their own decisions about the price they’re willing to pay up front, which typically means a smaller day-one rise (if any at all). That could work against Coinbase when its direct listing arrives, mind you: drama-hungry cryptocurrency investors might be hoping for more fanfare around one of the leading crypto exchanges.

For markets: … but they’re only going to get more popular.
Direct listings give retail investors a way to buy newly listed shares at the same time as institutional heavy-hitters, and there might be a lot more to come. See, companies haven’t historically been allowed to raise money from a direct listing, forcing those that wanted to shore up their bank balances to opt for an IPO. But that rule’s just changed: companies can now list directly and raise money – and if Roblox’s success is anything to go by, plenty more will.

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2. Analyst Take

The Winners And Losers Of Surging Prices

What’s Going On Here?

As Europe and the US cast off coronavirus-induced restrictions, talk of inflation is now well and truly back on the agenda.

And it’s easy to see why: all the combined central bank and government stimulus flowing into the all-important US economy could push prices higher and higher.

But while inflation is clearly toxic to bonds, its impact on the stock market is more nuanced: certain industries may be hit hard, while others will do just fine.

In fact, Invesco recently looked into how different sorts of stocks have historically behaved during periods of rising inflation expectations.

And the fund manager found there were a handful of stocks – many of which are tracked by dedicated, inflation-geared ETFs – that did surprisingly well out of the inflation situation.

So that’s what we’re looking at today: the potential winners of a surge in prices, and how you can adjust your stock market holdings to benefit.

Read or listen to the Insight here

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Clickbait

Clickbait

What’s Going On Here?

Sportswear giant Adidas and fashion firm Inditex reported annual results on Wednesday, and you won’t believe what happened to their ecommerce businesses…

What Does This Mean?

It’s no secret that Inditex – owner of Zara and Bershka – has had plenty of shuttered stores to deal with in the last year. So the fact that revenue and profit fell so far short of investors’ expectations – the latter by over 20% – suggested something else was going on, though it’s not certain what. And since sales haven’t improved much this year either, annual profit looks like it’ll fall short again.

Still, it could’ve been worse: Inditex’s ecommerce segment looked strong, growing almost 80% compared to the year before and now representing a third of total sales. That was true of Adidas too, which saw its online sales climb 53% – bringing them to a fifth of the sports brand’s total sales.

Why Should I Care?

Zooming in: Direct to consumer means direct to profit.
A strong ecommerce setup has enabled Adidas to sell directly to consumers, rather than via third-party retailers that take a cut of the profits. It comes with extra costs along the way, sure, but investors won’t mind if that’s offset by additional sales and increased profitability. Just look at Nike: ecommerce already accounts for a third of its sales, and its stock is up over 50% over the last year compared to Adidas’s 33%. Swoosh.

For you personally: There’s no dressing up weak sales.
Lockdown-bound shoppers are opting for sweats over fashion these days, and that could leave slow-moving retailers – some of which take nine months to get new clothing into stores – in a bind. So when you’re trying to spot at-risk retailers, look at whether their inventory is rising faster than sales: it might suggest the retailer’s been too slow to adapt to customer demands and will need to start offering big discounts to clear unsold stock.

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💬 Quote of the day

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

– Susan Jeffers (an American psychologist)
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🌎 Finimize Events

💉 This won’t hurt a bit

Whether your vaccination’s on the way or already in your system, your portfolio could always do with an extra shot in the arm. And there might be no better sector to administer it than healthcare, which has been on the up and up – for obvious reasons – over the last twelve months. So our event on March 16th, Investing In Healthcare, might be just what the doctor ordered.

🏦 The Next Decade in Banking: 6pm UK Time, March 11th
💰 The Evolution Of Crypto: 6pm Dubai Time, March 12th
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📚 What we're reading

  • You’re chatty when you’re asleep (NPR)
  • The 30 condiments that will transform your life (The Guardian)
  • Happiness isn’t a checklist (The Atlantic)
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