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Weekly Recap: WarnerMedia, $BABA and Retail

The Good:

WarnerMedia

After getting a lot of flack for announcing that WarnerMedia would bolster its freshly-released streaming service, HBO Max, by releasing its 2020 and 2021 blockbusters in theaters and online at the same time, the results of the first experiment are in: Wonder Woman 84 is a smash. Not only did the superhero sequel set box office records during a truly dire year, WarnerMedia announced that half of all subscribers watched Wonder Woman 84 on the first day of its release. The success of the sequel has guaranteed a third film, which is being fast tracked.


The Bad:

Alibaba and Ant Group

Chinese e-commerce mega-corp Alibaba’s woes continue to deepen over the Ant Group, and some analysts are starting to consider the stock oversold. Facing recent skids, with the stock slipping some 12%, analysts are concerned that the Ant Group is starting to serve as something of an albatross around the corporation’s neck. The price fall reflects official tensions surrounding three related and distinct entities: Alibaba, the sister financial company Ant Group, who saw their blockbuster IPO canceled at the last minute in November, and their joint founder Jack Ma. Alibaba’s problems look the least severe of the three. But now the company is facing the ire of the Chinese government, which should impact Alibaba lightly. The real trouble is with Ant, who saw its IPO pulled after the company was found to be shirking compliance standards and enacting questionable loan practices. Analysts expect Alibaba to rebound after cutting some of its fat.


The Ugly:

Retail

In reviewing a unique year, which saw the entire economy upended in ways that would have seemed like a nightmare in 2019, one thing was apparent: the decline of brick and mortar was accelerated dramatically. 10 major retailers went bankrupt this year, with Neiman Marcus and JP Penny joining the ranks of some of the biggest retail bankruptcies on record. Of course, some of this was buoyed by a rise in digital sales, but this has mainly benefitted already booming retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Target. The time will tell if this holiday season was able to rescue ailing brick and mortars.

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