Stocks were higher at the open on Wednesday with the Dow adding nearly 27 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 gained just under 0.2%, while the Nasdaq rose by 0.6%.
Dollar General has hired its first chief medical officer, Albert Wu, M.D., and will soon add products like cold and cough medicines and dental supplies as it strives to become a health care destination. CEO Todd Vasos said the push is inspired by customers’ desires for more convenient and affordable health products and services. “Our goal is to build and enhance affordable healthcare offerings for our customers, especially in the rural communities we serve,” Vasos said in a press release. “We’re excited to welcome Albert to our team and to put a greater emphasis on wellness in the communities we serve. His impressive experience brings a unique perspective to our operations and will be critical as we look to develop our health care services offering.”
Walmart has tapped an American Express veteran to run its Walmart+ membership program. Chris Cracchiolo, a senior executive who spent 19 years at AmEx, will take over as senior vice president and general manager of Walmart+, replacing David Echegoyen who left last month to join a private equity firm. The retailer unveiled the $98-a-year Walmart+ membership program last September but has since said little about how the service is performing. Morgan Stanley said it estimates the program has nearly 12 million members and is growing “at a modest and somewhat inconsistent pace.”
Visa said that more than $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency was spent by consumers globally on goods and services through the company’s crypto-linked cards in the first half of 2021. “We are doing a lot to create an ecosystem that makes crypto currency more useable and more like any other currency,” Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu said. “People are exploring ways in which they can use cryptocurrencies for things they would use normal currencies for. …There are lots of issues in terms of volatility, etc. But that’s up to the owners of cryptocurrencies to manage and track.”
The DiDi saga continues… The ride-hailing company’s main app has been removed from Tencent’s WeChat messaging service and Ant Group’s Alipay. The moves come after Chinese regulators opened a cybersecurity review of DiDi just days after its $4.4 billion public listing in the U.S. Also hurting the company’s stock today is news that China is considering closing a loophole used by companies that list their shares abroad. “The Chinese government has made it very clear that they act in what they believe to be their own best interests,” said Steve Sosnick, chief strategist at Interactive Brokers. “This doesn’t rule out the idea that one could or should invest in China, it just changes the risk premium that is required.”
Satellite imagery and data specialist Planet Labs is going public via a SPAC merger with dMY Technology Group IV. The deal gives the company a $2.8 billion equity valuation and is expected to close in the fourth quarter. “Planet is a data company… we’re a mature business and have a massive new and unique data set of our 190 satellites, the largest Earth imaging fleet every, and more than 10 times anyone else,” Planet Labs co-founder and CEO Will Marshall said. “I’m really excited by having such quality partners as we go into this important milestone for Planet. We’re doing this for the long haul.”
Stocks We’re Watching
PFSweb Inc (NASDAQ: PFSW): PFSweb shares jumped nearly 56% yesterday after the company announced that it has agreed to sell LiveArea, its global customer experience and commerce agency business unit, to Merkle Inc. “Over the past year and a half, we have worked diligently to return LiveArea to sustained growth, with our strengthened leadership and sales teams driving greater organizational efficiency and record sales pipeline activity,” said Mike Willoughby, CEO of PFSweb. “We believe this transaction with Merkle, a fellow high-touch, technology-enabled customer experience management company, will allow LiveArea to more fully realize its growth potential, create significant value for our LiveArea strategic partners and position LiveArea to better serve our world-class clients. The Merkle team not only recognizes our improved foundation, but also shares our dedication to innovative, data-driven solutions and exceptional client service. Under Merkle’s ownership, we believe LiveArea is well-positioned for the road ahead.”