Dow Falls After GM and Lululemon Announce New CEOs

Dow Falls After GM and Lululemon Announce New CEOs

While the MarketSnacks team has been busy playing around with this cool new website that gives personalized whiskey recommendations, Wall Street dealt with a hangover. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 52 points Tuesday after Monday's gain, as investors fear the Federal Reserve will slow down its stimulus policy earlier than expected.

1. General Motors announces next CEO
The times, they are a changin' at General Motors , where the boardroom could be a museum of American corporate bureaucracy and machismo. Well, move over, Jack Donaghy, and make room for Mary Barra, the first ever woman to lead a big car company. She will take over in January.

On Monday, the Treasury Department sold its last shares of GM that were given in exchange for the government bailout of 2009. On Tuesday, GM announced a new CEO. GM is excited about the rebirth and rebranding of the company as a progressive and modern automaker: no more red tape, no more U.S. government ownership, and a woman as CEO.

Mary Barra is a 33-year veteran of the company and will be replacing the former Naval officer (who happens to have the best power dome in the business). The hallmark news for women in corporate America was on front pages everywhere Tuesday. And GM stock trickled down 1.2% on the news.

2. Lululemon founder exits on controversy; new CEO named
Apparently it's no longer in style to be Chip Wilson. The founder of lululemon athletica announced that he's stepping down as chairman (but will stay on the board), after violating the first rule of management: Don't offend everybody. He recently claimed that "some women's bodies just actually don't work" in Lululemon yoga pants.

So who's wearing the pants now? None other than Laurent Potdevin, the president of Tom's Shoes and former CEO of Burton Snowboard. Not only did Wilson quit as chairman, but Lululemon also announced that Potdevin will take over as CEO in January, replacing current Lulu CEO Christine Day -- who's had a stressful, anti-yoga 2013.

The takeaway is that it's been a downward-dog year for Lululemon. Last spring, the company lost $60 million recalling yoga pants that were too see-through when stretched. The stock has fallen more than 7% this year, but Wall Street's been waiting for a major change to turn things around up north at its Canadian headquarters. Namaste.

3. Starbucks sales not hot enough
Unfortunately for Planet Earth's biggest coffee chain, the legendary red-holiday-cups-everywhere aren't paying off. Starbucks fell nearly 4% midday and finished down 2.7% Tuesday as sales rose by 6% last quarter -- slightly below the previous two quarters' growth.

So what's the problem? That 6% growth is impressive -- but shareholders have extremely high expectations for Starbucks and its 19,700 stores (half of which are in a three-block radius of you). The company's been adding new juices and brands, including Teavana, but the lower consumer spending that's affecting retailers is finally catching up with Starbucks.

4. Regulators approve "Volcker Rule"
There's one more thing I-banks aren't allowed to do anymore, after five regulatory agencies approved the "Volcker Rule" Tuesday. This rule forbids banks from gambling with customers' deposits that are federally insured. It's been written and rewritten for over three years since the Dodd-Frank reform was passed in 2010, but now it's finally going to happen.

Paul Volcker is a legendary former Fed chairman who thinks it's insane to let banks make risky investments with money that belongs to customers. Politicians agreed, and now we have the rule banning the profitable trading business that used to generate as much as 10% of Wall Street banks' total profits. The law is supposed to protect taxpayers from banks' risky business, but it's terribly complicated and the rule is more than 1,000 pages long. We hope banks finish reading it by 2015, when it begins to be enforced.


  • The Treasury reports its monthly budget.

MarketSnacks Fact of the Day: How good are your perceptions of world geography? South America is 3 times the size of Europe, Australia can fit inside Brazil, and more than 400 Monacos can fit in New York City.

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