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Uber Bullying: This Is the Robot Revolution

Uber Bullying: This Is the Robot Revolution

Some people clearly haven’t seen enough sci-fi movies.

You do not bully robots.

Period.

And yet, that’s exactly what drivers around the world are doing. Road rage is now spilling over onto autonomous vehicles. Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Technologies Inc.’s (NYSE: UBER) self-driving car unit, lamented the rising epidemic at Wednesday’s Elevate conference in Washington, D.C.:

We’ve seen people bully these cars — they feel like they can be more aggressive because we won’t take a position on it, or we’ll allow it. You’re on video but still people do bully them, and that’s a fascinating thing to see where people are testing the boundaries of what they can do to self-driving.

Drivers are tailgating autonomous cars, refusing to give them the right of way and brake checking. But it’s not just drivers. Pedestrians, too, are flipping off driverless vehicles, cursing at them and generally being “mean-spirited,” said Meyhofer.

According to reports from Waymo, Google’s self-driving car unit, people are even pulling guns on autonomous cars!

It’s as if these drivers are asking Skynet to come down and start Judgement Day.

Drivers need to do some research. Watch 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Matrix. Or even I, Robot. Will Smith is well past his prime and isn’t going to save us this time. (Did you see him as Genie in the new live-action Aladdin? Yeah … he’s not saving anyone. At least we still have Keanu Reeves.)

The Takeaway:

Putting the threat of a robot revolution aside, the real news for Uber today comes from Evercore ISI. The research firm initiated UBER at outperform with a $60 price target. That’s nearly a 40% upside from current levels.

If you’re an Uber bull and invested in the stock, you should probably use your profits from such a rally to help build a fallout shelter. You know, for when these autonomous cars get fed up and can’t take it anymore.

Turn on your images.

The Good: Needs More Dinglehoppers

The potential growth for The Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE: DIS) Disney+ service is big, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.

It’s practically a whole new world, with tons of formerly vaulted movies to explore. ♫ “No one to tell us no, or where to go…”  ♫

OK, Morgan Stanley didn’t break into song — probably. But the ratings firm did hike its price target to $160 from $135 on DIS while issuing a bullish note on the company.

“Encouragingly, consumers are voting with their wallets today, spending an estimated $15 to $20 billion a year for movies and TV product that will ultimately make its way to Disney+,” the firm said in a research note. Morgan Stanley said it expected Disney+ to have 13 million subscribers in 2020 and 70 million by 2024.

DIS is up more than 2% today and has gained nearly 30% in the past 12 months. I think the shares should be up more at this point on Dinsey+’s potential, and I blame Will Smith for the lack of growth … seriously.

The Bad: Bubblin’ Crude … Oil, That Is

It’s time to get serious for a moment. An explosive situation is brewing near the Strait of Hormuz.

Two oil tankers were attacked this morningin the Gulf of Oman. One of the tankers was on fire and adrift, while the other only sustained hull damage.

Crude prices surged more than 3% on the news, as tensions flared in a region already under strain. However, despite renewed conflict between the U.S. and Iran in the region, oil industry experts don’t believe the panic spike will have a lasting impact.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is already forecasting slowing demand. The oil cartel lowered its global oil demand forecast to 1.14 million barrels per day, down from 1.21 million in May.

If you’re investing in oil, you might want to wait on loading up the truck and moving to Beverly … Hills, that is.

The Ugly: Say It With Me — “Plant Nuggets”

Under pressure from rising plant-based meat star Beyond Meat Inc. (Nasdaq: BYND), Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is firing back … with nuggets. Plant-based, vegetarian nuggets. That word, “nuggets” … I just lost my appetite.

Nuggets quit being “cool” (if they ever were cool to begin with) when we were 12. You can’t combine “nuggets” with anything other than “gold” and still hold any credibility, in my opinion.

Call them something else, anything but “nuggets.”  Just … nuggets … eww … I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit. But I digress…

My aversion to all things nuggety notwithstanding, Tyson is also launching a blended protein burger made from beef and peas. Because it includes meat, Tyson’s new offering isn’t the same as a Beyond Burger by a long shot.

But the company is banking more on the health-consciousness of the movement, rather than the plant-based angle. The alternative-meat market is projected to grow to $100 billion by 2035, and Tyson is maneuvering its nuggets to get on board now.

Turn on your images.

The U.S. economy is facing a quite unique situation in which one individual can disrupt global trade and investment plans of U.S. corporations, tax consumers on a broad range of imports, etc.

Given all of this — why are we not bearish on equities and the economy? Because this situation can also be undone on short notice and many market segments already price in worst-case outcomes. — Marko Kolanovic, head of quantitative derivatives strategy at JPMorgan Chase

It’s an interesting take on the current state of the U.S. market — one I’ve wondered about for a while now. President Trump can send the market into a tizzy with a single tweet.

But, remember, what can be started with a tweet can be ended with a tweet. Kolanovic’s basically saying that all the pressure on the U.S. market could end just as quickly as it began, and that could mean considerable upside as sideline money flows back in.

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