Weekly Briefing No. 180 | How Tech Will Play a Role in a Looming Bear Market

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Welcome to The FR, where it’s summertime and the livin’s easy.

In this edition:

  • Can Tech Help Out During a Bear Market

  • Why Investor Pessimism Can Be a Good Thing

  • How the Mobile Wars Were Won

  • The Next Big IPO is Upon Us

  • The (Bodily) Transformative Power of Tech

Two truths and a lie, in anticipation of the upcoming 4th of July holiday here, in the U.S.:

  • The FR will extend our celebrating and take a one-week hiatus Saturday, July 6, resuming publishing with the July 13 edition

  • The 4th of July is the second most popular holiday for American beer sales

  • Hawaii is the state with the most interest in fireworks based on Google searches during the past year

(Answer: #2 is the lie. It’s actually the most popular. Cheers!)

Can Tech Help Out During a Bear Market?

It’s no secret that technology has commoditized many aspects of financial services. Any bank, no matter how big or small, allows its customers to conduct transactions digitally. Most every insurer lets consumers submit claims and track them via a mobile device. 

In investment management, algorithms can pick stocks automatically for investors. It’s why the industry has transitioned more to holistic advice and comprehensive financial planning.

Why Investor Pessimism Can be a Good Thing

The stock market continues to hover at record levels, yet investor sentiment for the future remains pessimistic. This may seem like a strange dichotomy, but investors have their reasons. Some of the common ones given for this bearish outlook include the U.S. trade war with China, general political uncertainty going into an election year and concerns over the global economic outlook, according to a survey conducted by the American Association of Individual Investors. 

How the Mobile Wars Were Won

Despite the history of mobile smartphones being relatively recent, it is nonetheless already littered with a trail of failed operating systems. From BlackBerry OS to Windows Phone to WebOS, a number of them came and went before the market calcified into two dominant players: Android and Apple. And according to Bill Gates, his biggest mistake at Microsoft has been missing the boat in the mobile OS wars. Perhaps no company is as synonymous with desktop operating systems as Microsoft, but the software giant has now all but conceded the mobile marketplace to others. It just goes to show you that in tech, even the biggest companies can get left in the wake of fast-moving innovation.

The Next Big IPO is Upon Us

We have previously touched upon how, despite lackluster starts for Uber and Lyft, the overhyped unicorn IPO will not suddenly become a thing of the past. Investors (and the media) still can’t help themselves from salivating over the potential next big thing. The latest to take up that mantle is The RealReal, a digital marketplace for luxury goods. The start-up plans to sell 15 million shares at an expected price of $17 to $19 a share, which at the high end could give them a market valuation of nearly $1.6 billion. After several of the aforementioned hyped IPOs failed to meet expectations, we’ll be watching this one closely to see how the market reacts.

The (Bodily) Transformative Power of Tech

We’ve all heard of the myriad ways that our addiction to smartphones can have negative effects; from ruining interpersonal relationships to causing sleep loss to changing the way our brains function. Well, here’s another: researchers have found that “extensive screen time” can lead to people growing horn-like structures on their skulls. The study of 400 people found increased presence of bone spurs on the base of the skulls of those examined. Bone spurs “often form from repetitive motions. One type of repetitive motion is tilting the head forward, perhaps to look at a smartphone,” notes CNBC. Just another example of how tech is transforming our lives in a multitude of ways. 

Quote of the Week

“Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like.”

–Will Rogers