All posts by James Cannon

James Cannon

About James Cannon

James Cannon is an experienced hedge fund analyst. He has served on the advisory boards for various different Fortune 500 companies as well as serving as an adjunct professor of finance. James Cannon has written for a variety of Financial Magazines both on and off line. Contact James at james[at]businessdistrict.com

Amazon Opens Grocery with Auto Checkout

Consumers no longer need to worry about the long lines at the checkout counter, or if they have over 10 items, or cash or credit. Amazon is making buying groceries almost as easy as opening the door to your own pantry, where even the need to open your wallet has been annihilated.

The cashier-strapped supermarket opened this week in Seattle, the birthplace of Amazon. The store bodes well for an enormous disruption in the $800 billion grocery store industry.
Shoppers enter the store and scan their smartphone app. A myriad of cameras and sensors pay careful attention to what comes off the shelves and charges it all to the consumer’s Amazon account.

The new store, named Amazon Go Grocery, is an expansion of Amazon’s two-year-old chain of 25 Amazon Go convenience stores, which are only one-fifth the size of the 10,400 square-foot full-size grocery and stock mostly soft drinks and sandwiches.

Dealing with produce was a special challenge. Consumers like to squeeze their tomatoes and avocados before purchasing, which makes it difficult for the sensors to keep track of what’s what. Nothing is weighed at Amazon Go Grocery. The fruit and veggies are per item, with oranges going for 53 cents apiece, and bananas 19 cents.

Another type of grocery store is in the planning stages by Amazon to open in the Los Angeles area later this year. Amazon says it will not be a cashier-free store, but what it will be is still a secret. The company has also not said whether more Amazon Go Grocery stores are being planned for other locations, and they also say they are not planning to bring autonomous shopping to their 500 Whole Foods groceries, which they purchased in 2017.

Not everything about Go Grocery is an improvement. Shoppers must bag their own groceries as they shop. Also, Amazon has eliminated the friendly butcher, baker, and deli-counter worker. Instead, these items are found pre-packaged in refrigerated shelves.

Helping fellow shoppers can lead to trouble. If someone needs help with an item on a high shelf, if you are taller and get the item down for that person, you will be charged if the person you helped leaves with that item.

With all-new technologies come a few bumps. But overall, this seems to be a positive move forward for the grocery sector.

Dubai International Airport Largest in World

Photo courtesy of Raihan S.R. Bakhsh from Kuwait

Beating out the world’s second-largest airport by over 6 million passengers, Dubai International Airport says it welcomed 86.4 million travelers during 2019. The world’s next in line is London’s Heathrow.

The middle east’s star airport was able to maintain its position despite closing one of its runways for repairs and the additional problem of Boeing’s 737 Max, further reducing the number of flights and people on them.

Dubai airport had fewer passengers overall in 2019, by 3% from 2018, accommodating a total of 89.1 million passengers. The decline in airport use is attributed to the three following issues: one of its runways was closed for about 6 weeks; India’s Jet Airways filed for bankruptcy; and the ban on flights of the Boeing 737 Max.

Last year marked the 6th year in which Dubai International Airport was ranked first for the number of international passengers flying through. The world’s busiest airport overall, however, is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Data Shows US Businesses Growing

According to a report, the beginning of the year 2020 has seen a burst of growth in US business activity. This contrasts with slowing growth in many other major economies around the world.

Photo courtesy Isabel Alarco

Japan also saw a rise in business activity, helping pick up for the weak performance at the end of 2019. Europe was showing signs of slow growth in January, with exports from Europe stabilizing after a long decline. The service sector was still languishing.

The US economy is doing better than either Japan or Europe, and the prediction is that for the near future at least it will stay this way. The cooling down of the trade war between the US and China should also add a little boost to the economies of both countries and countries connected to them through trade.

IHS Markit, a data-gathering company, reported that its composite purchasing managers index in the US had reached 53.1 in January, up from 52.7 in December, the highest it has been in 10 months.

IHS also stated that, according to surveys, businesses in Europe and out will most likely remain slow and weak. Surveys of CFOs discovered confidence in the US market, but not as much confidence in the European and other markets. Some are expecting a stall in the 2020 economy.

Some Out-of-the-Box Reasons to Bet on Netflix

Netflix is a great company that seems destined to continue as such in the foreseeable future. They are adding customers consistently; they have lots of new, quality content; and lots of people seem to make time in their time to watch.

Netflix added 8.76 million new subscribers across the globe in the fourth quarter of 2019, exceeding all of the most optimistic predictions. Also, binge-watching was reported up during Q4, despite the belief that viewers were going to turn to the competition, Apple and Disney who have entered the streaming marketplace. People are still getting their binging needs met by Netflix. What’s to account for the loyalty of Netflix viewers? The great content, of course. Netflix’s third season of the acclaimed show “The Crown” experienced a 40% growth in viewership over the previous year’s second season. Another Netflix show, “The Witcher,” took away first place as the world’s most-watched TV show from “Mandalorian.”

But there are other than those easy-to-Grok reasons for investors to add Netflix to their portfolios, and you will probably never guess what those reasons are: the Wuhan coronavirus; global warming; and of course, Tesla. (Only because Tesla seems to be the answer to a lot of questions right now.)

Did I hear you say huh?

This is why one analyst thinks the Wuhan coronavirus will feed the binging behavior of viewers around the globe.

“Netflix inc. could find itself the unusual benefactor to an outbreak of a SARS-like virus in China if moviegoers in the region opt to break the tradition of going to theatres during the lunar new year and binge-watch Netflix instead.”

And what about climate change? As the weather gets hotter and rainier, people will most likely spend more time indoors. And when they are indoors, well, the TV is always calling. Binge!

You’ve probably already figured out how autonomous cars will help Netflix stock climb. You’ve guessed it! While your car is driving itself, you can relax and enjoy another episode of “You,” “Stranger Things,” or “Orange Is the New Black.” All I can say is: “Netflix for president!”

Delta Announces Best Year Ever

Photo courtesy of TJDarmstadt

Things really took off for Delta Airlines in 2019. The fourth quarter of last year was one of record earnings, surpassing expectations. They also flew by their competitors to become the world’s biggest airline.


One component of Delta’s success was the unfortunate story of the grounded Boeing 737 Max fleets, which only affected Delta’s competitors, American, United and Southwest, never having purchased those suspicious airplanes. As a result, Delta could grab 7.5% revenue growth, partially due to better efficiency. One important airline metric, revenue per available seat mile (RASM) was up by 2.4%.


When Delta is high, so are its employees. The company is going to pay its 90,000 workers their highest ever profit-sharing bonus: $1.6 billion. That comes out to about 16.66% of each employee’s yearly salary, or about 2 months’ worth of pay.


“2019 was the best year in our history,” CEO Ed Bastian said. “These results simply would not be possible without the incredible work of our Delta team.”


The company was smart as well as lucky in 2019. Avoiding the Boing 737 Max could have been a combination of luck and smarts; while avoiding angry labor disputes was certainly smart. Having good weather at their hubs, of course, is simple luck.