The Capitalist Investor

Super Bowl Economics & Shrinkflation, Ep. #216

February 15, 2024 Strategic Wealth Partners
The Capitalist Investor
Super Bowl Economics & Shrinkflation, Ep. #216
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to another episode of The Capitalist Investor, where your hosts Derek, Tony, and Luke dissect this week's financial happenings with a keen investor's eye. Today's episode is jam-packed with insights and discussions that tackle everything from shrinkflation and Super Bowl ad economics to the unexpected inflation rates shaking up the markets. We even dive into the unusual territory of dating apps and their financial thresholds for love.

Optimism Amidst the Earnings Season
The market is abuzz with an 11% expected earnings growth for the year—a target it's on track to meet in the initial quarter. In this episode, the hosts discuss what this projection means for investors and how to position oneself to capitalize on this growth. They delve into whether these numbers reflect genuine growth or are a byproduct of factors such as shrinkflation and misleading corporate strategies.

The Shrinkflation Phenomenon and Its Impact
Shrinkflation—the tactic of reducing product size while maintaining prices—is put under the microscope after a Super Bowl ad by Timu spotlighted the issue. President Biden's critique of corporations using shrinkflation as a means to sneak in price hikes hits hard for the middle class. The hosts share their own run-ins with this sneaky pricing strategy and mull over its long-term psychological effects on consumer behavior.

Super Bowl: A Cultural and Economic Touchstone
Beyond the game—which, by the way, attracted a record number of viewers as discussed—the hosts remarked on the quality and exorbitant costs of Super Bowl ads, including a political ad that stirred the pot, and the pervasive gambling adverts from platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel. Luke emphasized how these gambling ventures signaled economic desperation and hinted at broader societal issues. Add to this a spotlight on a controversial ad for a Chinese shopping app whose associations warrant caution.

Navigating Inflation and Interest Rates
Facing an unexpected inflation rate of 3.1%, markets are bracing for corrections. The episode discusses the Federal Reserve's possible maneuvers, such as rate cuts, in pursuit of balance and the search for high returns in shaky times. Speculations about future rate hikes and potential credit events color the conversation, offering investors insights to consider as they plan their next moves.

Credit Scores and Love: Financial Knowledge in Relationships
In a quirky twist, the hosts debate a dating app’s policy requiring a credit score over 650 for matchmaking success and ponder whether this trend points to an overemphasis on finance over romance. Additionally, they consider Tinder's rumored $500 monthly subscription, drawing parallels to high-end social clubs and what these trends say about the modern dating economy.

Remember to like and subscribe for the latest episodes, and drop a comment below to share your thoughts on the topics discussed today. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with all our financial insights. Happy investing!

#CapitalistInvestor #FinancialPodcast #EarningsGrowth #Shrinkflation #SuperBowlAds #Inflation #FedRates #CreditScores #LyftStock #ValentinesDay #TinderElite #InvestmentTalk #StockMarket #ConsumerBehavior #CelebritiesCommercials #Economics #RelationshipFinance

Hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the Capitalist Investor. As always, you have me, diamond hands D. We got Luke sitting to the side, Lloyd and Tony the tiger. What's going on, guys? What's up, man? Luke's sitting to the side. Luke's working on the camera. It's a game of angles here after. The Super bowl and this whole weekend, I'm kind of bloated, so I found if I lay back, sit back a little bit, you. My arms look good. My chest looks good. My gut looks kind of skinny. So that's a good posture. I should do this all the time. All right, let's run with that, I guess. All right. Don't look as chunky as usual. All right, so we're going to hit four topics today. Anna canceled four topics. Negligence. Over at Lyft, some stuff happened after the bell. Wild stories, some crazy stuff there. Somebody got fired. Shrinkflation. The Super bowl. We'll talk about who the winners and the losers of the dream team here picks on their picks. We'll talk about everything that was fun of the Super bowl and maybe not so fun. Inflation coming in hot the other day, and market didn't like that. And we'll talk about why and then canceled. Is love canceled? Yes. Is love canceled? We'll talk about. We're taping this on Valentine's Day, so we're going to talk about canceling. I'm in trouble. You probably put yourself there. I always do. Probably. Men put themselves there all the time. I just need to be better. Anyway, first one, negligence. Negligence. I don't know. That's the first thing I noticed. So yesterday, after the bell, after the market tanked and all that fun stuff, we had Lyft stock soar. I don't know. It was up like 65, 70% after the bell. And then the CEO came out, said, yeah, we posted some numbers wrong, and the stock went. Crashed. It still was up after hours, like 10%, but not 70 or 80. Like, holy cow. How does that happen? Well, the question you have to ask is, is it on purpose or is it actually just some CPA messed up in the reporting and some financial. The financial department just messed up by putting the decimal in the wrong place, whatever it be. Right? Because they were supposed to report 0.5%, which is 50 basis points. Instead they reported 5.0% margin growth. So that's a ten times bigger number than what was supposed to be reported. So my whole thing is, I love this actual take I saw on Twitter or X, whatever you want to call it. If you are worried about shorts in the stock market, if you go long, that means you're buying a stock. If you go short, that means you're betting against the stock and you're going to sell the stock without owning the stock. Right. There's a lot of shorts in, like Lyft because they think Uber is going to take over the world and Lyft's going to be nothing. So Lyft does have a lot of short interest. So if you're worried about shorts controlling your stock and beating down your stock, one way to destroy the shorts is to report a ten times larger number than what was supposed to be reported. Destroy all the stop losses on the upside for the shorts to cover, then that way you just covered them. The shorts got destroyed. I don't know. It's very illegal. If you actually do that on purpose in the SEC, you're fine, you're delisted. That's bad, of course, but you never know. Nefarious. I don't know this number, but how much options trading is taking place after hours? You can't trade options. That's what I figured. So they got destroyed, and then they kind of came back, but they still got destroyed because the stock, at the end, when the dots settled, they were up, what, 10%? But there's 13% short interest in the stock. That means there's 13% of the shares outstanding in Lyft are shorted. That's a lot. Yeah. It's wild to think about, but, yeah, it totally worked. If somebody had a game plan on that, it worked. All right, we'll move on to shrinkflation. I believe what the Bidens are. President Biden's coming out and yelling at corporations for raising prices on people and not actually raising prices, but shrinking the products. I love. Yeah, keep on leaning, Luke. First thing is videos now on camera. And we got to look good. So what do you guys think? I mean, is this a corporation thing? Is this a stimulus thing? Is this printing? What do we print? $10 trillion or $7 trillion that had nothing to do with inflation? Well, let's clarify this so people think sometimes shrink because it's been used in the retail side of things as theft. Shrink. Fllation is when you get a bag of Doritos, and there's half the Doritos in there, so there's not as much bang for your buck, per se. Right. I've experienced this firsthand. Everyone knows I love my french pressed coffee. Right. And the place I usually buy it from online, they got me they've always been selling a bag for $15, but it was always 16oz. And then I saw that the website still said 16oz and I get the bag and it's 12oz. That's a huge. Yeah, that's a huge 25%. That's crazy. I guess people would have an inclination of like, well, if I went from rather pay the $3 and get the more get than my four more ounces. I don't know. But what's. I experienced it firsthand. It's very distraught. Like, it's got me thinking. And I'm looking for a new french press coffee. Not going to get a Starbucks or Dunkin's. No, not my game. Not my game. I think. Here's my take is all you need to do is understand a little bit about the financial world, the financial markets, and understand that shrinkflation truly isn't really going on because earnings per share, like earnings aren't really. That earnings are good from the revenue side of things and stuff, but the actual EPS earnings per share, it's not growing a lot over the past year, especially. We had flat earnings growth last year. Right. So there's flat earnings growth. That means there's really not more shrinkflation going on to where they're crunching numbers and corporate America is making more profits. That's not the case. So, I mean, all you need to do is understand a little bit about the financial markets to understand that earnings aren't growing, which means earnings didn't. They're adjusting to whatever inflationary wholesale prices they're buying stuff from. Think about how the market is priced for perfection because we had no earnings growth and the market was up 20% last year. Now they're expecting 11% earnings growth this year. And actually we are like, we're on pace to hit that this first quarter. I live at nine or 10% right now. Yeah. What were you going to say? I talked about this on Maria. She asked me about shrinkflation on Monday. Yeah. And I thought my take on the Timu Super bowl ad kind of was kind of interesting, little different. Which one? So Timu was the chinese company and they advertised shop like a billionaire on their thing, right? Middle class America is not shopping like a billionaire because of inflation, because everyone's getting hurt from inflation. But all we're kind of doing is making the chinese company other countries rich because we're taking money from the middle class. Biden is, bidenomics is truly taking money from the middle class average person and giving it to somebody else, whether it's another country or the top 1%? All we've seen is the top 1% get richer here in America. That's bidenflation, shrinkflation, whatever you want to call it. Yeah. I mean, save that hot take for the Super bowl section we got coming up. Your favorite ad. True. Your favorite ad. I know what it is already, but no, it's like shrinkflation. I think it's just psychology. Would you rather see a higher price or less product? And I don't think people look at you buy a bag of chips and you aren't looking like, how many ounces are in this for the $3 that I'm buying. They don't do that. At least at Costco. They'll tell you, like, the unit price. I'm a big fan. Big fan of the unit price. Right. But I think the psychology is where corporate America is getting good because people aren't looking. Buy a bag of chips. I don't know if I bought a twelve ounce bag or a 16 ounce bag of chips. Right. So I don't know. They're messing with your psyche, Luke. Tired of it, Derek. Oh, yeah. Messing with, brainwashing that they won't get me. All right. Super bowl. All right. So I think I was the big winner. I picked the Kansas City. I went with the experienced quarterback. I did win a Super bowl. Square final score would have never figured. I'm not going to talk about what it paid out, but it was a nice chunk of change. But who would have thunk, like, how those numbers would have played out with five minutes left in the entire game? No one in a million years would have said, oh, yeah, that's going to be the final. But your boy did. I'm like, man, if this happened and this happened, is that the first time. That scores ever happened in history, that score? Yeah, probably not, because you could have bet on that. I saw that as like a prop bet. I think it's called score Agami on Twitter. So every time there's a new final, they post. So I see it every once in a while. But no, I think that score has been hit before. One of the records that was broke was the longest kick, the longest field goal. It was like only 55 yards. I was actually surprised by that. It was broken twice in the same game. It was actually. All right, so I think, Luke, you said, like, what, there's 123,000,000 people watch the Super bowl? Yes. Record breaking record, 23 million. Was that because of Taylor? People are bored. There's nothing now with football over. Yeah, this first Sunday is going to be rough. 25% of people watch the game. Not for football. They watch them just for the ads. That's an interesting take. That is interesting at this point in time, because the Super bowl ads haven't been good in 15 years, probably. Yes. The average Super bowl ads, roughly $7 million. I thought last year was decent for the ad. The average, what, 30 seconds? 32nd. 7 million? Yeah. Really? Wow. Well, I was somewhat surprised from what I saw, based on what I was kind of, I was watching majority of the game, like, there was only one political ad, and that was for Kennedy. Yeah. RFK. Right. And he did, what do they call that? A reboot of his? Wasn't him. It was his super pac that did it. He had apologized afterwards. Oh, yeah, I did see that. Because he apparently did not know anything about the ad. Someone else ran it for him, essentially. Wow. Must be nice. 7 million land around. Right? Just throw that out there. 24 million or so was roughly gambled on the game. 24 or 25. 24 billion was gambled on the game. Roughly. What was it? Was it 17 billion or 18? 18 billion was spent economically. So bars, restaurants. Shrinkflation on chips. Yeah. You want to talk about shrinkflation? Remember when you used to order wings and you used to get a dozen? Now you get like five or it's. $20 for twelve wings or something. $18. I mean, I remember going, and it's like a quarter a wing. Do you know why? I think so. Wings used to be, like, the most disgusting thing in the world for some reason, like bdubs and other people, like other companies, changed their perspective on wings, and now it's perceived as more of a luxury and, like, a sporting thing. Right. So that's one of the reasons we've seen wings go up in price. They're now, like a luxury. I've always looked at wings as a luxury. Me, too. How do you get through college, man? You go to wing night. 25% of Americans adults had gambled on the game. So 24 billion. I want to hit on that real quick. How many people do you think how much was spent? Maybe like last year? Yeah, it was like 16, 50% higher. Gambled on the game. So two things. There, obviously more legalized kind of things than I know in Ohio, sports betting is legalized now. So that obviously has something to do with it. But gambling, in my opinion, is actually not a sign of strong economic data. It's not like a strong signal. It's a weak signal, meaning that people are desperate for money. Obviously, gambling is not a way to make extra. It's not. You shouldn't gamble to make extra money, but it's a way to kind of perceive that people are desperate, they want more money. I think that's a sign that there's some underlying economic issues, especially from the middle, lower class. From a gambling perspective on the Super. Bowl, I would believe that. I believe that. I believe that one of my family's guilty pleasures, maybe not particularly mine, I'll dabble. But, like, instant lottery tickets, scratch offs, there's a reason why they're in convenience stores. I don't think Jeff Bezos is walking. Into, like, a convenience $20. So I do believe that. I believe that gambling is geared towards the middle and below classes. Right. And it is what it is because they can work so hard, but maybe they don't have the means to get a job that's going to pay higher or whatnot. So how do you do it? $10 can turn into a million overnight parlays. Three leg parlay pays five to one. That's right. But the biggest winners out of this, though, is like, draftkings and fanduel. Because now that legalization on an app is becoming more mainstream and there's so many commercials for it, I mean, it's just beating you over the head over it. Oh, yeah. I think like ESPN, they had an entire 30 minutes section from DraftKings, and all they were doing was talking about their app and how easy it is to hit a parlay and all this stuff. And I'm like, holy cow. Like a 30 minutes infomercial on ESPN for DraftKings. This over this weekend. It blew my mind, actually. I will say I am a dunking. I am a dunk. So favorite, favorite commercials. That's right. Yeah. That was pretty good. And I think the best part of that whole Duncan commercial was Matt Damon. And then he hit us with that goodwill hunting. Yes. What did he say? How about that cup of coffee or something? I'm sorry. And you know what the funny part is? I'm not too into celebrity dating game. I forgot that JLo and Ben Affleck were married. I thought they were broken up. That wasn't Beyonce. She looks good. Yeah. Blonde hair now, right? She does not look 40. Sometimes I saw. Can't be talking like that on Valentine's Day. Beyonce and JC got put up there on the old television during the Super bowl. And did you see who else was in the box? No. Jack. What's his last name? The former? Dorsey. Yeah, Dorsey. There you go. Just looking all weird with, like, a bitcoin t shirt on. That's why bitcoins have 52,000 right now. Is it 52 now? Yeah. Wow. Should have picked some up. Yeah. I mean, like, last week it was 42. Yeah. Was it not? Pretty much. Wow. People must be buying those ETF. Bitcoin, ETFs support. Yeah. Too much money out there, which is why inflation came in hot. Right. But now, hang on a second, though, like, really quick, though, the worst ad, and you hit on it that I didn't even know what that app was. So Timu is a chinese app, kind of like the Alibaba, I think it's owned by PDD is the publicly traded company that owns Timu. The majority stake in Timu, essentially. There's concerns and there's political takes around this, too. Like Timu and PDD spacked by the CCP, right? Yeah. $15 million essentially being spent. I think they ran two or three ads. So roughly $15 million being spent on these Timu ads. And one of the biggest chance, and frankly, it looked kind of cheap in my eyes for being spending $15 million. But there were several ads and just tell people what they do. My interpretation of what this app and. This, it's like an Alababa. Well, even more granular is more like you can go and buy a pair of jeans for $5. It's super cheap items that you can buy on an app. So the next thing you know, you got a cart full of ten things and you're spending$40. And I heard some people told me, like, oh, yeah, you can use these apps. Well, people say it's so cheap because they're using slave labor still. Plus, if you buy it, you can get a refund, and then you don't even need to send it back because it's going to cost you more to send it back than what you actually spent on the product. It's just head scratching to me. I just hate the whole shop, like a billionaire thing, because, I don't know, it rubs me the wrong way. America in general, we've had a symbiotic relationship, I think that's the term with China, where we've helped each other grow, but we've helped make China rich, essentially. We've helped China shop like billionaires. Right. And just, I don't. Especially things backed by possibly slave labor, possibly backed by CCP, like communist China. I don't necessarily like that. Getting involved in our american Super bowl politics and us supporting all the things that are happening over just. It rubs me the wrong way. Yeah. But people in America can't shop like a billionaire because we're so worried about affording our daily groceries, rents, and things like mean. But the visibility in China right now is very difficult to see because they're communists. They can lie. But if you read, you got some of their biggest real estate companies going out of business, and they're talking about going in the recession and stuff like that. I guess this is a way to stimulate their company or their country is by having ads on the Super bowl where every american is watching. I don't know, maybe it's a form of highly sought after marketing. Like, it's smart marketing by them. I know I'm not going to download the app and go mess around, but. My girlfriend was talking about it. She's, like, into crafting and stuff. So she was like, hey, I love Timu ad. I'm like, shush, stop. I got to educate you a little bit. It's out loud in this household. Get spied on, on TikTok and Timu through her apps or whatever. I don't know. All right, inflation. So inflation came in, quote unquote, hot yesterday. So the analysts were expecting a 2.9% inflation rate, and it came in at 3.1. Therefore, the market corrects 2% or one and a half or whatever it did yesterday. But it was all over the map. It started off, started off at one, went to minus two, down to minus one and a half or something like that. But you know who got, like, the mid caps? The Russell 2000 got hit the hardest. Yeah. Down about three and a half. And now that's got to put them. That puts the S and P 500 at around a 4% positive for the year. That puts the mid caps at about -3% for the year. What a disparity that is. And think about the psychology of that. My take would be that lower, the mid cap and small cap type of companies just have more debt than larger companies, and their margins are probably already tight. And when interest rates are not going to go down and debt starts refinancing, or they just need to get more debt to excel their business, it's at a higher rate. It's not low single digits anymore. It's mid to high single digits. And that's a huge margin compression. And that is why the mid caps are going to possibly struggle. I like that take. I mean, you can think even broader and bigger. It's all about the Federal Reserve rate, obviously, like you kind of hit about on the initial reaction in the bond market pricing, in the rate cuts, beginning of this year, it was six rate cuts being priced in. Then it went to like five or four after the JPAL went hawkish on 60 Minutes, like two weeks ago. Now it's down to like three again, which is where the Federal Reserve wants to be. It's like, what happens next month, two months? Are we going to be down to two 10? Are we going to have any rate cuts this year? It's like, what's actually happening? The thing is, again, this is what. We talked about before. Rate cuts are actually not necessarily a great thing. If this is the long term terminal rate, to have inflation drift around the two and a half, 2% level, then this is the rate to stay at, right? I call it instant gratification. It's just like having a gambling app, like a DraftKings app. Like, I need to win $10 right now. Well, the market saw historic rate hikes last year, and now they're like, okay, well, that was fun. Now what? And they don't like the pause. No one likes the pause because there's no quote unquote action. You hit the nail on the head. It's gambling market is now a gambling tool. Everyone wants 20% rate of returns every year. So if they don't get the 20%, they're going to be upset and that is going to get a lot of people. And even 20%, sometimes people are like, that's not enough. Seriously? Yeah. I mean, if I get 20% pop on a stock in my personal account, it's because it's a low position and it was highly speculative. You just don't roll out of bed and get 20% on a stock market. At least people should understand that. I keep on thinking about this, what would happen? And I talked to the investment team and they laughed at me. What if we had a hike before a cut? Could we? Sure. I mean, anything's possible, right? But I guess inflation would probably have to really start soaring. Like get up into the fours. I see 3.1, go to 3.3 and then 3.5. I mean, you start seeing it accelerate again. I guess it would be the rate of acceleration. Like, if it goes to 3.1 to 3.3 to three point. I think if you saw a 3.1 to go to 3.6, it would really rattle. I kind of like Michael Gade. People say, talk good and bad about him both. I know Mark's been on his podcast, but he's very outspoken about a credit event is still going to come. And his philosophy is the only cure to the interest rate, high interest rates. The only cure to inflationary pressures is some sort of credit event like Silicon Valley bank, but probably in a bigger level. Yeah. All right, well, we got to get wrapped up. So let's talk about canceled. Is love canceled? Because the reason that our generation. Yes. And this ties into your generation, there is now a dating app that the only way for you to mingle and get a date is that you have to have a credit score over 650, which is pretty low, bar. It is kind of 650. I don't know. I just needed a credit card for that. And not miss a payment. Exactly. You could have $100,000 in debt and probably still have a great credit score based on maybe how much money you make and stuff. But if you don't miss payments and you're not upside down on missing payments and stuff like that, your credit score should be okay, I would assume. Yeah, I'd say love is dead. I understand where they're going. Right. You want to have sound financial knowledge and things like that. But I think people, look, you can have a good credit score and it not even be your fault, right? Especially when you're young. You can just have parents that are paying off your credit card for you. It doesn't necessarily mean, like, you're a good person if your credit score is over 675 or even know anything about money. Right. You just have a credit score. I like that. Like, hey, my parents have been paying my credit card forever. I got great credit. Mommy and daddy are sending me two g's a month. My credit crashed after mommy and daddy cut me off. Honestly, I think people would rather have that, though, than actual love. Because if mommy and daddy actually has the money to support you, that means your family is pretty wealthy. And frankly, my take is younger generations, they care more about the money factor than they do actual about the love. The love is dead. Money is not dead. Well, I think the statistic is 25% to 40% of all problems in a relationship are related around money. Right? So, yeah, I guess a good credit score is a good launch pad. But here, do you see this, though? Tinder wants to have an app. They want to have a section of their app where it's $500 a month to subscribe. Now, my mind went in a completely different direction on this, but think about who's going to be on there. You're going to have affluent people and not affluent people. What would you do if you were single? But, dude, there's other apps for this kind of stuff. I don't know. It's like social clubs. You could join a cigar club, social club. Usually there's a fee membership. Country club. There's a reason why they have fees. It's not necessarily to make money or necessarily to give you all these services. It's to filter out other people, social groups. Right, sure. This is another way to do that. Yeah. I mean, if you belong to a golf course, like a country club. I do belong to a country club. I'm very passionate about golf. That's like one of my, what do you call that? Vices. Yeah. I'm not vices, but like guilty pleasure. Guilty pleasure. But man, I can have a round of golf done in three and a half hours. If I go to a public course, it might be six. Right. And it just takes away an entire day. I'm just saying. Love. Yeah. I think today's generation would be willing to pay, if they have the money.$500 for a dating app. It is no longer you pay $500. You meet someone else also willing to pay $500, they must have some money. So therefore, in long term you just join forces and hopefully you just made profits. You guys can read between the lines, but that is not a dating app. That is something else. It is something else. I don't know, but my girlfriend's mad at me. I'm going to New York again this upcoming week. I'm filling in for Mark again. I'm Maria next week, on Monday. And she's coming with me because she's able to work from home and she also keeps me in check when I'm out there. She kind of helps me out getting place a to point b. Point a to point b. And kind of like it's nice to have someone out there because I get kind of lonely out there sometimes. Anyway, so she's coming out. I'm going to take her out to dinner for Valentine's Day this upcoming weekend out there. That's nice. So we're not going to do anything today and she's kind of upset about know again, it's birthdays, it's not a day. Then it goes into the weekend, then it's like a month. It's like relationships nowadays, you have to have like Valentine's month, not a weekend or day, whatever it be. So I think we're grabbing wings tonight. Talking about wings, I don't know if that's a good Valentine's date or not. I'll bring flowers. I'm kind of in trouble. My little girl loves spaghetti. Loves it. So we're going italian tonight. Nice. How about you? Wings not wings. I think we're just going to grab something at our local restaurant that we like. Okay, so just grab a quick dinner. My kids are four and six, so anytime we can eat out, there's not a giant disaster on the floor. Encounters. It's a 20 minutes clean on process just for them. So, yeah. Looking forward to it. Yeah. All right, well, love may be dead, it may be alive. Lou. For us. I don't know, man. Maybe you're looking through the wrong lens, man. Maybe you're looking through the wrong lens. I'm just such a pessimist. I need to stop. All right, everybody. Take us home, Derek. All right, well, thanks, everyone, for listening. If you have any questions, hit us up at and we'll talk to you next week. The opinions expressed in the podcast are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any investment, legal, financial, or tax strategy. It is only intended to provide education about the financial industry. Please consult a qualified professional about your individual needs.