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Ms. Monopoly is supposed to empower women. Critics abound.



Ms. Monopoly game.

Source: Hasbro

The typical 8-year-old probably doesn’t know much about the gender pay gap. Now the topic could come up if she or he plays the new game, Ms. Monopoly.

Some critics are skeptical, however, of how helpful those conversations will be.

Toymaker Hasbro announced this week the rollout of the board game in which female players receive $1,900 at the beginning of the game, compared with $1,500 for male players. Girls also get $240 each time they pass “Go” on the board, while boys get just $200. Instead of a real-estate mogul, Ms. Monopoly invests in female entrepreneurs. The front of the box is adorned with a woman in a sassy stance and steel-colored blazer, gripping a to-go coffee. It reads: “The first game where women make more than men.”

Detractors say the rules of Ms. Monopoly may be well intentioned but gloss over the troubling forces behind the fact that women in the U.S. earn 80% of what men earn.

“A more apt version of the game would have male players face the penalties women face in the workplace,” said Jennifer Borda, an associate professor specializing in feminist studies at the University of New Hampshire.

In the real world, women ask for raises just as often as men but are less likely to get them. Men are more frequently promoted into manager-level roles and of the CEOs who lead the companies that made up the 2018 Fortune 500 list, just 24 were women.

“If money can solve a problem, it’s actually a really small problem,” said Amy Peng, an associate professor in the department of economics at Ryerson University. “There are a lot of barriers that face women.” As an indicator of the problem’s insidiousness, by some estimates the gender wage gap could persist for at least another 50 years.

“We believe this game and its content embody a positive message about female empowerment that we hope is embraced by a wide variety of audiences,” said Kristina Timmins, a spokeswoman for Hasbro.

Since Ms. Monopoly doesn’t address the causes of the gender wage gap, some critics say it suggests women need a head start simply because they’re, well, women. “Are you doing this because you think women are not as productive as men and need to be overcompensated?” Peng said.

“It’s unhelpful to portray women as needing special advantages,” said Christine Sypnowich, head of the philosophy department at Queens College and a feminist scholar. “What women need is to be treated as equals with respect.”

The toymaker could have opted for a more meaningful way to tackle the wage gap, said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

“Hasbro can look at the opportunities they provide for women in the company, versus men,” Gould said. “Who’s in leadership? Who’s getting promotions? They can take a hard look at their own personnel issues and use that as an example for the real world as opposed to the game world.”

Hasbro’s executive management team, for instance, has seven men but just one woman.

Timmins, the spokeswoman for Hasbro, said women make up more than half of the company’s workforce. “We continually evaluate new ways to support the growth and development of all employees, including women,” she said.

Although Hasbro’s new game is supposed to empower women and girls, it fails to recognize the woman behind the invention, said Mary Pilon, author of “The Monopolists.”

“It’s a glaring omission,” Pilon said.

Pilon has extensively documented how Lizzie Magie received a patent in 1904 for an invention she called The Landlord’s Game, and which set the rules for modern-day Monopoly, including corners labeled “Go to Jail” and chances to buy up railroads, collect money and pay rent.

There’s now a consensus among many historians that Magie was the creator of Monopoly, but still, Pilon said, Hasbro cites the narrative that an unemployed man named Charles Darrow invented the capitalistic game as a distraction from the hopeless days of the Great Depression. Iterations of Magie’s game were played by Quakers living in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Darrow came into contact with it. He copied the game and sold it to Parker Bros. in 1935, according to Pilon.

It’s unhelpful to portray women as needing special advantages.

Christine Sypnowich

feminist scholar

Magie sold her patent to Parker Bros. that same year for $500, but would never benefit from any of the tremendous financial success of Monopoly. In the 1940 census, Magie describes herself as a “maker of games,” with an income of $0.

Timmins told CNBC that “the Monopoly game as know it was invented by Charles Darrow.” However, she added, there have been many property trading games throughout history and “Elizabeth Magie – a writer, inventor, and feminist – was one of the pioneers of land-grabbing games.”

Still, it’s disingenuous of Hasbro to make a game highlighting the gender wage gap and women entrepreneurs and fail to mention the feminist history of the game, Pilon said. (Just 1% of patent filers were women when Magie applied for hers in 1903.)

“To have the company deny the creator was a female in 2019 is pretty surprising, to say the least,” Pilon said.

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Roku could fall another 30% before finding a bottom, chart suggests




The streaming wars may have claimed a new victim.

Roku shares plummeted nearly 30% last week, its worst weekly performance stretching to its 2017 IPO.

The streaming platform stock was pummeled Friday after Pivotal Research slapped a sell rating and $60 price target on it, fearing a rush of competition in the space. It was crushed days earlier after CNBC owner Comcast announced it would offer a free streaming box to its internet customers.

It could get even worse, according to Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Jaffray.

Roku has “violated the uptrend support line off those April lows of this year. You’ve got some support that comes in at $113. But purely based upon the charts, your best support comes in all the way back down at the 200-day moving average. So you can see the stock trade back down to $81, maybe even $75,” Johnson said Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”

A move down to $75 marks 30% downside from current levels. It has not traded at that price since May.

“The risk/reward isn’t favorable. Even though the stock is up, it has sold off quite a bit in here recently. I still think you got about 30% downside and maybe a relief rally of 7% upside, so I’d be selling into this move,” said Johnson.

Quint Tatro, founder of Joule Financial, does not see Pivotal’s note on Roku as the stock’s death knell.

“Obviously, the stock got way overheated, trading 25 times sales, but [Pivotal’s] rationale regarding losing market share I don’t agree with. You have to understand, this is a cord-cutting product so their whole rationale is that the cable companies are going to offer their own device for free in order to compete. I’m a Roku user. I own six of them in our home and office. I have not had cable for years so I would not switch to a cable device,” Tatro said on the show.

Tatro says a pullback in Roku’s share price to 14 to 15 times sales, around $100, would make him a buyer. Roku would need to fall 7% from Friday’s close to get to that level.

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and


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The market rotation this month may have been driven by a technicality




A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

Wang Ying | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

What exactly happened during the “once in a decade” stock market rotation earlier this month that rocked investors? It might’ve just been a one-off technical move and not based on fundamentals.

A huge rotation out of momentum into value names took place suddenly last week. Many read the phenomenon as a warning sign as stocks with superior growth have led the market’s bull run in recent years and said a rebound in interest rates was the catalyst. However, the reversal in momentum, which seemed to abate this week, could be explained by a sudden stop in tax loss harvesting, some on Wall Street said.

The idea is that investors often sell losing stocks to lower their tax bill from the capital increases, a technical move that’s quintessential of a momentum trade — chasing winners and dumping losers. The amount of such activity might have decreased significantly last week due to speculations the Trump administration would pass a bill to reduce capital-gain taxes, therefore reducing the incentive to sell their losers.

“It’s quite possible some of the dominant robo advisors could have assumed that the U.S. administration would indeed follow through with its proposal on Sept. 9, and decided to change their optimization to take this into account,” Barclay’s head of equity derivatives strategy Maneesh Deshpande said in a note on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump earlier this month floated a proposal to tie capital gains taxes to the inflation rate, which could lower the taxes investors pay on profits from selling assets. He eventually ruled out such a plan on Sept. 11. But the discussion around the proposal last week coincided with the change in stock leadership that shocked many investors.

Tax loss harvesters might have stopped selling losers and adding winners on the prospect that capital-gains taxes would go down, which could make tax loss selling less beneficial. Such a change could have caused the downturn in momentum due to less selling of falling stocks and less buying of rising names.

The amount of active tax loss harvesting has ballooned over the years as robo-advisers, which automatically allocate assets in a tax efficient way, gained popularity on Main Street. Robo-advisers now manage about $1 trillion assets, up from $240 billion in 2007, according to Barclays.

“Of course, it is also entirely possible that some other investors would have put on the trade in anticipation of such a proposal,” Deshpande said.

The iShares S&P 500 Value ETF hit its highest level since January 2018 on Sept. 11 as the rotation hit its pinnacle.

Value, cyclical companies with low prices relative to earnings and book values tend to be sensitive to economic growth. However, embracing the group without a material change in the economy doesn’t make a lot of sense, analysts warned.

“Absent an improvement in underlying economics, we believe that the recent shift in leadership is unlikely to persist,” Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at Credit Suisse said in a note Monday.

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‘Game of Thrones’ ends run with best drama award, 59 total Emmy Awards




D. B. Weiss (C, speaking), David Benioff (3rd L) and cast and crew of ‘Game of Thrones’ accept the Outstanding Drama Series award onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Kevin Winter | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Despite mixed fan and critic reactions to the final season of “Game of Thrones,” the eight-season epic took home the top prize in the drama category at the Emmy Awards on Sunday.

Closing out the 71st annual television awards ceremony, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss thanked creator George R. R. Martin for entrusting his book series to the young producers more than a decade ago and praised the cast and crew for their work on the program.

Since 2011, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has garnered 160 Emmy nominations and taken home 59 prizes for everything from acting and editing to special effects and sound mixing.

On Sunday, the program earned two Emmys, one for outstanding supporting actor, which went to Peter Dinklage for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister, and one for outstanding drama.

Earlier in the month, “Game of Thrones” won 10 additional awards during the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony.

“Game of Thrones” final award tally falls short of the 67 Emmys that “Saturday Night Live” has accrued over its 44 seasons. “SNL” earned two statues on Sunday, one for outstanding variety sketch series and one for outstanding directing.

The final season was widely criticized by fans who felt the pacing and its treatment of previous character developments were not up to par. Still, the show continued to have record-breaking viewership.

Each episode, save for one, topped viewer counts from the season seven finale, which was the series high prior to season eight’s release.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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