A news summary, focused on big employers; updated 4:12 p.m.
AMAZON shares notched a record $724.23 intraday high before closing moments ago at $722.79, up 1.5%; U.S. markets overall were weak (Google Finance). The online giant announced at least a dozen original video series for Amazon Japan, less than a year after entering the video market there (Deadline). More fresh Amazon news.
BROWN-FORMAN‘s stock is now looking pricey after a decade of 12.5% average annual returns that beat the Standard & Poor’s 500 index by five percentage points, according to financial weekly Barron’s. Class B shares closed at $98 on Friday and are now trading at 27 times forward earnings forecasts vs. a 10-year average of 21. The culprit: Revenue growth at the spirits and wine giant has slowed on currency swings, a problem that could soon fix itself. But by then, the company will face tough comparisons in a market that’s already crowded. Only one or two things must go wrong for shares to fall 10% or more (Barron’s). B shares were trading modestly lower 90 minutes into trading; the voting Class A shares were flat. About Brown-Forman.
PIZZA HUT and KFC are charging ahead with expansions in the former pariah nation of Myanmar after the U.S. Treasury’s easing of sanctions over human rights abuses. Pizza Hut opened one outlet last year; plans another three this year, and 20 over the next five years. KFC opened two locations on top of five others — including one at Yangon International Airport that was blessed by monks during an opening ceremony April 6 (Global Meat News).
TACO BELL is planning three more urban-focused Cantinas, in Atlanta; Fayetteville, Ark., and Austin — areas with lots of coveted millennial college students attracted to the alcoholic beverages on menus; these newest locations follow another already in the works in Berkeley, Calif. (Eater Atlanta). Launched last year with locations in Chicago and San Francisco, Cantinas also rely heavily on technology: Every part of ordering is made easier through digital menu boards, TV monitors and Taco Bell’s mobile ordering and payment app pick up (press release). Also, 300 junior and senior high school students from 38 states who’ve won $1,000 scholarships from the Taco Bell and Get Schooled foundations will get their photos featured on a six-story digital billboard June 8 in the nation’s No. 1 tourist attraction: Times Square. This is the Graduate for Más Times Square Yearbook’s second year (Magnolia Reporter).
In other news, KMAC has postponed its reopening until July 1 because of construction delays. The $3 million renovation of the arts and crafts museum will streamline 20,000 square feet of exhibition space and 6,000 square feet of public area at its historic location at 715 West Main St. (press release). KMAC was to open June 4, with admission free for a year, underwritten by a gift from Dental Dental of Kentucky.
U.S. stocks zig-zagged, with major indices closely lower as traders looked for fresh clues on whether the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in June (Google Finance). Shares in the 11-employer Boulevard Stock Portfolio tanked, too; Churchill Downs was the biggest loser, closing down 2% at $125.51.
And Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence’s newest entry in the “X-Men” franchise, “Apocalypse,” took the top box office spot with an estimated $80 million sales over the four-day holiday weekend. But that was a big decline from “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which opened to $110.5 million on Memorial Day weekend in 2014 (WMDT). Watch the trailer: