Today’s business headlines: S&P starts the week at 5,000, the best and worst Super Bowl ads, and a conversation with Lululemon’s CEO


S&P 500 sets a landmark record: The S&P 500 closed above 5,000 for the first time ever on Friday, meaning that the markets will open at a new high-water mark next week. Big Tech companies including Nvidia, Microsoft, and Amazon are driving the rally as buzz around AI technology continues. The new record high comes despite signs from the Fed that national interest rates are unlikely to drop as soon as traders had hoped—pointing to a steady sense of economic optimism on Wall Street. “A less emotional market is a positive sign, though investors must fight against the complacency that is a natural reaction to such a strong and steady bull run,” said Mark Hackett, Nationwide’s chief of investment research. Full story.

The best and worst Super Bowl ads: Fast Company editor Jeff Beer weighs in the marketing winners and losers from last night’s 25-22 Chiefs victory over the 49ers. In his view, Paramount+, Dunkin, Uber Eats, Hellmann’s, Bud Light, and Kawasaki are Super Bowl ad winners while Michelob Ultra disappointed. Read his 2024 Super Bowl ad scorecard here. What’s more, Jeff takes a look back at the biggest Super Bowl advertising flops in recent history—and they’re pretty bad. From a cringe-worthy attempt to make Mr. Peanut culturally relevant to a tone-deaf truck ad featuring a voice-over from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., these examples serve as cautionary tales for marketing professionals everywhere. Full story.

Ozempic and Mounjaro are just the beginning: Weight loss and diabetes drugs have been exploding on the market (and in the public consciousness) for years, spearheaded by the pharmaceutical giants Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly. Now, other companies want in. To meet growing demand and offer more accessible alternatives, lesser-known players like Viking Therapeutics are forging ahead with their own drug development. There are 486 active studies of GLP-1 drugs and their effects currently listed in the federal database, and researchers from JPMorgan predict that the global market for obesity drugs could reach $71 billion by 2032. Full story.

The office communication gap is widening: New studies from Preply and Let’s Grow Leaders have revealed that workplace miscommunication is only getting worse. The results point to an increasingly fragmented multi-generational workforce using too many different communication platforms as a source of conflicts. Full story.

EV sales poised to grow: Pessimism about the EV market has been on the rise, with many naysayers citing Ford’s drop in EV sales this January as a bad omen—but analysts predict the market will actually improve in 2024. U.S. automotive forecasts from AutoPacific, Cox, and S&P Global Mobility show increases in EV sales ranging from about 20%, from AutoPacific, to more than 30% from the others, compared to the prior year. While EVs will still have to overcome significant hurdles, like the current lack of charging infrastructure, the numbers should pick up after the auto industry’s slow season comes to a close. Full story.

Self-care for CEOs is more important than ever: The coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which has been tracking CEO exits since 2002, found that 2023 marked the highest turnover rate they’d seen since they started collecting data. Last year, 1,914 chief executive officers left their posts, and 19 of those died on the job. According to Stephanie Mehta, CEO of Mansueto Ventures, these concerning numbers show just how serious CEO burnout can be—and demonstrate the growing necessity of leaders embracing self-care. Full story.

An exclusive interview with Lululemon’s CEO: Since signing on as the CEO of Lululemon five years ago, Calvin McDonald has tripled the activewear giant’s revenue and quadrupled its international footprint. But within the last few months, his company has come under fire following reports that its corporate culture was unwelcoming of Black people and a statement from its founder, Chip Wilson, that Wilson didn’t like the company’s “whole diversity and inclusion thing.” McDonald sat down with Fast Company to discuss the impact of Wilson’s remarks, plans to make Lululemon’s culture more inclusive, and the company’s impressive growth. Full story.

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