Major benchmarks fell on Monday morning, reacting negatively to rising concerns of a potential second wave of COVID-19 cases in several major cities across the nation. Investors have been counting on a full restart of the U.S. economy, but further concerns about new outbreaks could cause state and local governments to reverse course. As of just after 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 288 points to 25,318. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) lost 24 points to 3,018, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) gave up 21 points to 9,567.
Yet even with much of the market giving up ground, there was plenty of good news among individual companies. Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) has done well throughout 2020, and a new collaboration promises to be a game-changer for the e-commerce specialist. Meanwhile, Genius Brands International (NASDAQ:GNUS) made a smart move in bringing a well-known celebrity into the fold just in time for its big network launch.
Shopify goes big
Shares of Shopify rose more than 5% Monday morning. The company is well known for helping small and midsize businesses build out a presence on the internet, but Shopify showed today that it could land the biggest of whales as well.
Shopify and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced that they would work together to help Walmart with its marketplace platform. Under the terms of the deal, Walmart will open its platform up to Shopify's client base, which includes more than 1 million small and midsize businesses.
Walmart sees the arrangement as a win-win. For Shopify's business clients, full access to Walmart.com will give them an additional vehicle for capturing new customers and boosting their sales. The retailer's online portal has grown dramatically since Walmart made major investments toward building out the platform more effectively, and the results have shown up in higher e-commerce sales. Meanwhile, for Walmart, having so many new sellers will broaden its product assortment, making the platform more attractive and helping it compete with Amazon.com.
With the COVID-19 pandemic having forced businesses of all sizes to rely more heavily on e-commerce channels, Shopify found itself in the right place at the right time. By forging a link to Walmart, Shopify will be able to woo new business clients of its own with the promise of an even longer reach -- something that's highly appealing to struggling small businesses right now.
Genius Brands lands the Terminator
Elsewhere, Genius Brands International's stock soared 14%. The kids' cartoon media upstart is launching its Kartoon Channel today, but the big news came from the company signing on some unexpected talent.
Arnold Schwarzenegger will join Genius Brands as a "significant investor" and co-executive producer of the upcoming show Stan Lee's Superhero Kindergarten. The show will use the former California governor's voice and likeness, and Schwarzenegger will help to launch and promote the series for the company.
Schwarzenegger also agreed to take payment in Genius Brands warrants rather than cash. However, missing from the letter that CEO Andy Heyward wrote to shareholders were specifics about exactly how many warrants Schwarzenegger will get and at what exercise price.
For Genius Brands, it's essential that its new network get started on the right foot, and landing a celebrity as well known as Schwarzenegger is a solid move in that direction. For Genius Brands shareholders, however, the company's growing habit of handing out warrants to attract talent poses a potential threat to just how much upside there'll be left for them even if the media specialist is successful with its launch.