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Top 5 stories of the week: Thomas Cook barbecued and impeachment incoming?

Ben Weiss, Friday, 27 September 2019

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Travel chaos has once again hit the airports, and one unfortunate hotel where guests were locked into their rooms, but this time it’s not because of strike action. The oldest travel firm in the world has gone bust leaving thousands stranded. Elsewhere, Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament was deemed unlawful and could a presidential impeachment be incoming?

R.I.P Thomas Cook (1841-2019)

It’s always sad when long-lasting companies cease to exist – Woolworths still cuts deep to this day – but Thomas Cook is perhaps even more pressing. The 178-year-old company has flown its last flight, but unfortunately has not had the respectful bow out that it deserved.

On the contrary, the catastrophe has left many of its workers and passengers with bitter tastes in their mouths. Thousands were unable to fly home with all Thomas Cook flights cancelled, and one rather angry hotel in Tunisia even solicited guests into paying fees they assumed they were no longer getting from Thomas Cook by locking them inside their rooms.

The firm ended trading at just under 3.5p, despite just 14 months ago being at 146.1p. When its price first plummeted, backers had been hopeful that they were getting a well-renowned company at a very cheap price, with great potential to rise in future. However, as the months dragged on it became alarmingly clear that this was one to stay clear of.

Impeachment incoming?

Donald Trump might very well be on his last legs according to bookies, who have him at less than evens to be impeached in his first term. So, what has he done? Before he took office, impeachment seemed likely to many people, but the kind of impeachment that succeeds Trump starting another World War, or for sending the Statue of Liberty back to France to replace it with a 400-foot, golden sculpture of himself (while getting the Mexicans to pay for it!).

Trump impeachment odds

Source: PaddyPower

In reality, the President had a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, earlier on in the year, and it has since caused a bit of a stir. He is being accused of using his power to intimidate and manipulate Zelensky to provide him with information on election rivals Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

It’s played havoc with the Dow, as equities deliberate the impact of what could be the first impeachment of a US president since Bill Clinton in 1999. The last week Wall Street has seen frequent 100+ point swings in very short spaces of time.

27 SEP Dow

Proroguing loathing

Boris Johnson has predictably been back in the news, but not specifically because of the B word. His decision to prorogue Parliament was deemed unlawful at the start of the week, hurling his position as PM into a sea of doubt. Comments on going ahead with Brexit to ‘honour the memory of (remainer) Jo Cox’ (killed in 2016 in a politically motivated attack) added fuel to the fire.

Many, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn for one, have now called for Johnson to resign, and even his own sister heavily condemned him for his words about Cox. Yet the rhetoric that he wants to deliver Brexit on the 31 October at all costs still remains. It must be said, despite stiff opposition off the back of the ruling, his rugged stance on Brexit and determination to honour the 2016 EU Referendum result has earned him strong support among those who voted to leave. Were this rhetoric to abandon him, Johnson may lose those supporting his determined stance on Brexit – leaving him with dangerously few on his side.

Cable has been pushed down over the week as a result, and will continue to be dictated to by Brexit proceedings.

27 GBPUSD

Peloton plummet predictable?

We get it, the concept of a peloton is for a number of people to follow one another, but we didn’t think it referred to the company following in the footsteps of previous IPOs as well. Peloton went public on Thursday and (predictably?) it didn’t go well.

Like Lyft, Uber and Pinterest, to name a few, before it, Peloton has followed the trend by grossly overestimated its value. The firm sell specially designed exercise bikes giving any rider the chance to join a live workout with others across the world from the comfort of their own home. It’s a great concept, but so too is Uber and Pinterest and their IPOs were somewhat of a failure too.

The issue here isn’t that these companies don’t have great concepts, it’s that they are overestimating the demand for their stock at the price they’re offering. WeWork falls into the same category, though, at least it’s realised the overvaluation prior to going public – they can now rectify.

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Neumann not working for WeWork  

Adam Neumann has stepped down as CEO of the company he created after recent criticism over the way he ran the WeCompany. The firm was gearing up for an IPO this year, but that has since been delayed after questions over its profitability as well as Neumann’s dodgy decisions as CEO came to light.

Not only did he secure loans by offsetting company stock, he also rented out his own properties to the company and notoriously sold the ‘We’ trademark for $5.9 million. Recent cut downs on his power as CEO, as well as rectifications such as repaying the sum received for the sale of the trademark back to the company were not enough to avert attention away from Neumann, who decided stepping down was in the best interests of the company. ‘I’ve decided it’s in the best interest of the company to step down as chief executive,’ Neumann said.

As for WeWork, it’s still likely to have its IPO, but it’s now expected to be in 2020

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