Economists say that the government shutdown is unlikely to have a major effect on the U.S. economy as long as it is resolved in a matter of days. However, a lengthier furlough could be harmful as the first quarter’s economic growth will be reduced by a tenth of a percentage point for each idle week.
Several companies were making headlines over the weekend due to upcoming changes in their storefronts and what they have to offer, including Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT).
Here’s what went down:
Alphabet Inc (GOOG, GOOGL)
Alphabet announced that it is rolling out a new product in its store.
The Google Play Store will soon include audiobooks, as the company told 9to5Google that it will dedicate one of the sections on its digital store solely to audiobooks in the near future.
The store already has a number of audiobooks that are available in its music section, but it lacks organization and the selection of audiobooks is very limited. Plus, many of these items are already available in competitors’ websites.
Alphabet has yet to make an official statement regarding the release of audiobooks, but the news was reported by insiders. Both the Play Store online and the mobile app now contain a banner ad for Google Play Store audiobooks.
If you click on those banners now, you will find a 404 error page that says the requested URL could not be found.
GOOG stock has surged 8.7% year-to-date, while GOOGL shares are up 8.6% over the same span.
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)
Amazon Go is finally coming.
The e-commerce retailer said that it will be rolling out the automated grocery stores to the public on Monday morning, offering a shopping experience that has “no lines, no checkouts, no registers.”
The store could help to define what grocery and retail stores look like in the future as the jobs of humans in these stores becomes easier to automate. However, some are still raising concerns regarding how efficient and effective Amazon Go is.
In early 2017, the company attempted to use the automated check-out technology, but it didn’t work as well as shoppers wanted it to. Nevertheless, Amazon says the automated experience is an incredibly quick and easy one.
AMZN stock has soared 10.7% YTD.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT)
Walmart may be selling part of its business overseas to Advent.
The private equity firm is reportedly in talks with the retail giant over the possibility of acquiring 50% of Walmart’s Brazil unit. The company operates in 18 states in Brazil.
All in all, it has about 471 stores in the South American nation, according to the company’s local website. The Walmart Brazil unit raked in roughly 30 billion reais ($9.39 billion) in 2016.
The news was reported by O Globo, which did not mention who the source is or any details on how far talks may be, or how much the Walmart Brazil unit could be sold for.
WMT stock has gained 5.9% so far in 2018.
As of this writing, Karl Utermohlen did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.