😮 Alibaba finally makes a loss

Alibaba's slap on the wrist leaves a mark | Xpeng ousts Tesla |

Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for May 14th in 3:08 minutes.

🐴 What’s next for the US economy? Get the answer on May 18th straight from the horse’s mouth – or rather, celebrated American economist Steve Hanke’s mouth – and find out how to prepare for America’s next economic chapter. Get your ticket

Today's big stories

  1. Alibaba posted better-than-expected quarterly sales, but its recent fine from regulators weighed on its profitability
  2. Twitter’s favorite “risk-free” bitcoin strategy isn't foolproof, but there's definitely something in it – Read Now
  3. Xpeng reported strong quarterly results, despite an increasingly competitive Chinese electric vehicle market

Glutton For Punishment

Glutton For Punishment

What’s Going On Here?

China’s Alibaba posted better-than-expected quarterly sales on Thursday, but a record-breaking fine for the very, very naughty ecommerce platform gave its profitability a spanking.

What Does This Mean?

Shoppers might not have been able to head to the mall during the pandemic, but virtual stores like Alibaba’s were bustling. That resulted in an expectation-beating 64% surge in quarterly revenue for the company. And it seems to think that trend’s only going to keep going: its sales forecast for the next 12 months beat analysts’ estimates too.

Too bad, then, that it fell into loss-making territory for the first time since 2012. That was mostly down to the $2.8 billion slap on the wrist it received last month from Chinese regulators for “monopolistic behavior”. Throw in the turbulent time tech stocks are facing these days, and investors steered well clear.    

Why Should I Care?

For markets: Alibaba isn’t out of the woods yet.
The fine – the biggest of its kind in history – marks the end of a four-month probe into Alibaba, but the threat of further action could cast a shadow over its shares for some time to come (tweet this). Regulators, after all, are still hassling payments giant Ant Group, in which Alibaba holds a roughly 33% stake. That might be why Alibaba’s US-listed shares have underperformed the tech-heavy Nasdaq by 4% since the fine was announced, even as the index suffers from an exodus of inflation-nervous investors.

The bigger picture: Coupang misses the mark.
South Korea’s ecommerce frontrunner Coupang admitted at its first update since its stock market debut that it was struggling with profitability too. Coupang reported growing losses despite the online sales boom, in part because it’s been spending more on hiring drivers and expanding its network of fulfilment centers. And as long as it prioritizes growing its market share by lowering product prices and delivery fees, some analysts reckon those losses aren’t about to reverse anytime soon.

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2. Analyst Take

Twitter’s Favorite “Risk-Free” Bitcoin Strategy, Explained

What’s Going On Here?

Twitter’s been ablaze lately with an easy-to-execute strategy that promises a guaranteed, risk-free annual return of over 15%.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, actually, there is some truth to it. Whether the value of bitcoin goes up or down, this strategy would virtually guarantee you a return.

Trouble is, to make it truly risk-free, you’d need to stump up so much cash up front that you might just be better off just investing in bitcoin outright.

But here’s the thing: there are two ways to use this strategy to make the sort of returns they’re touting – as long as you’re flexible on the whole “risk-free” bit.

That’s today’s Insight: Twitter’s new favorite “risk-free” bitcoin trade, and why it might not actually be too good to be true.

Read or listen to the Insight here


Tax Day is just a weekend away

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Fresh Start

Fresh Start

What’s Going On Here?

Xpeng reported strong quarterly results on Thursday, and the Chinese automaker is hoping drivers never have their fill of that new electric car smell.

What Does This Mean?

Investors came into this update already aware that Xpeng – one of three US-listed Chinese electric carmakers – delivered more than 13,000 electric vehicles (EVs) last quarter. That ticked off a laundry list of achievements: it was a company record, a 3% uptick from the quarter before, and five times more than the same time a year before. So it wasn’t exactly a surprise when Xpeng posted a third-straight quarterly increase in sales on Thursday. What was a surprise was its smaller-than-expected loss, as well as the more-than 600% leap in revenue from the same time last year.  

Why Should I Care?

The bigger picture: China’s EV market is cutthroat. 
EVs are booming in China, even if the country did have to hand over its title of world’s biggest EV market to Europe last year. So it must’ve come as a disappointment to Tesla to see that it suffered a serious drop-off in sales last month, according to new data from Chinese authorities. That must be especially annoying considering its rivals didn’t, and the cars it did produce were mostly shipped overseas – both of which raise questions about how much the country really wants them. And as Chinese tech giants spend big on carving out space for themselves, this battlefield’s only going to get more brutal.

Zooming out: The battle isn’t just for customers, it's for materials too. 
Cobalt is a key material used in the lithium batteries for EVs, and China has managed to get its hands on long-term supply agreements with DR Congo, the biggest producer of the metal. But the US and Europe haven’t, and mining giant Glencore has warned that it could leave Western carmakers lagging a long way behind their Chinese counterparts.

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💬 Quote of the day

“I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.”

– Frances Willard (an American educator, temperance reformer, and women's suffragist)
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How to maximize your investments

It’s Tax Day on Monday, so it’s a good thing you have TurboTax Premier to help you file your investment taxes with confidence.

You might be surprised how much you learn when you do – like how to maximize your tax outcome and get every deduction you deserve.

That’s the beauty of TurboTax: you don’t need to be an expert or have any tax knowledge to file your own taxes.

You can just answer simple questions about your life, auto-import your tax documents (including your investment financial transactions), and leave TurboTax to take care of all the rest.

It’s the smartest way to get your taxes done: just don’t forget to do it by the tax deadline on May 17th.

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📚 What we're reading

  • Drag Racing costs serious cash (Vice)
  • The savings and investments app of the future – Capital at risk (Chip)*
  • RIP, all-you-can-eat buffets (Fast Company)
  • Good dog parents only, please (Outside Online)

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🌎 Finimize Live

🔮 Study the past, predict the future

There’s a common refrain you’ll see spouted by investing and trading businesses: past performance is not an indicator of future results. But there are things you can learn about a market by looking into the past. Join futurist and economist Bronwyn Williams for How To Do Your Due Diligence On A Stock, and find out what the hasbeens can tell you about the will-bes.

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📚 How To Do Your Due Diligence On A Stock: 6pm UK time, May 20th
💪 Investment Opportunities In The Circular Economy: 5pm UK time, May 25th
🌍 Why You Should Broaden Your Investing Horizons: 6.30pm UK time, May 25th
🚨 How To Keep Your Crypto Safe: 12pm NYC time, May 26th
🛍 How To Protect Yourself From Rising Prices: 2pm UK time, May 27th
📲 How To Profit From The AI Industry: 6pm UK time, May 28th
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🤔 How To Understand Fundamental Analysis: 5pm UK time, June 8th
😎 How To Make Your Own Investing Rules: 5pm UK time, June 9th
💰 How To Get Yield From Crypto: 12pm NYC time, June 14th
💡 How To Design Your Portfolio To Suit The Current Climate: 5pm UK time, June 15th

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