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    He paid over $170,000 to climb the Seven Summits — despite being ‘terrified of heights’

    Vivian James Rigney is no casual traveler.
    The executive coach and speaker has visited more than 80 countries and lived on three continents.

    He’s also climbed the highest mountains on all seven continents, the so-called Seven Summits.
    It’s a feat that took him 14 years — one, he estimates, that fewer than 1,000 people have completed.
    And he did it despite being “terrified of heights,” he said.
    In an interview with CNBC Travel, Rigney talked about what he learned — and how much it cost him — to reach some of the highest points on earth.  

    The cost to climb

    Rigney estimates he’s paid between $170,000 and $180,000 to climb the Seven Summits, he said.

    “Everest is, by far, the most expensive,” he said, adding that he paid about $80,000 when he climbed it in 2010.
    “You have to save and build a plan,” he said. “That’s why it took me years. I started, then I went to business school, all my money was gone into that, then I started again, got a new job … Piece by piece, I gradually got through it.”

    But there’s another cost — the time away from work, said Rigney. Luckily, he said his employers supported his goals.
    “If you have a good employer … they can see [personal goals] as something which can help lift the spirits of the company,” he said.

    From ‘easy’ to ‘excruciatingly painful’  

    In addition to costs, the Seven Summits vary considerably in terms of climbing difficulty, said Rigney.  
    He said Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro is “easy,” calling it “technically not challenging at all.”
    But it is high enough to feel altitude sickness, he said, which stops some climbers from reaching the top.
    Kilimanjaro can be climbed in a week, he said. Antarctica’s Vinson Massif can take two weeks — “if you’re lucky” — and North America’s Denali three to four weeks.
    But Mount Everest is a “massive logistical operation” that takes about two months, he said. It’s by far the most difficult and dangerous climb, he said, calling the experience “excruciatingly painful.”  
    “Every cell in your body is saying you shouldn’t be here,” he said. “Your intuition is going nuts.”

    Rigney climbed Mount Everest for about four to five hours a day. The rest of the time “you’re recovering in your tent alone … no devices, no internet … nothing.”
    Courtesy of Inside Us LLC

    He said he arrived “bulked up and super fit.” Despite consuming 7,000 to 8,000 calories a day — mainly potatoes, pasta and dry food — he said he lost 20 pounds during the Everest climb.
    Staying warm takes a tremendous amount of energy, he said. Everything freezes, he said, including LCD camera screens.
    “We have what we call a pee bag. You pee in this bag, and you seal it and you put that into the sleeper bag with you because it’s warm.”
    There are only about three to five days in the climbing season that climbers can reach Everest’s summit. If they do, it’s a quick victory, said Rigney.
    “People don’t hang around the summit for hours,” he said. “You get the heck off the mountain as quick as you can.”

    From climbing to coaching

    Rigney is now an executive coach and speaker, teaching corporate executives lessons he learned from pushing himself, mentally and physically, to the limit.
    He’s also the author of “Naked at the Knife’s Edge,” a book about how he’s used some of the most harrowing moments from his Everest climb for professional success.

    Climbers don’t stay long once they reach Mount Everest’s peak, said Rigney. “You get the heck off the mountain as quick as you can.”
    Courtesy of Inside Us LLC

    He said he helps “overachievers… [with] tons on their mind” achieve balance and break habits “which pull us along … as though we’re on a conveyor belt.”
    For example, fear — whether it’s of public speaking or his own fear of heights — can be overcome using tricks of the mind, he said.
    And leaders must learn to accept things that are out of their control, be it an injury or a pandemic, he said.  
    He said he still laughs when he thinks about arriving at a small airplane hangar in Kathmandu one hour before he was scheduled to fly to the foothills of the Himalayas.

    After climbing the “Seven Summits,” Rigney said he is deliberately choosing travel experiences that are less risky. He said several years ago, he found a hobby that is both challenging and fun: scuba diving.
    Courtesy of Inside Us LLC

    “I remember going up to this gentleman … and I said ‘Hey… what time do you think we’ll be leaving?'” said Rigney. “He said: ‘Maybe today, hopefully by tomorrow, likely by the end of the week.'”
    Ten minutes later, another climber, who got the same answer, exploded with anger, he said.  
    “Eventually this guy looks over, red with steam coming out his ears, and we are just howling. I think it finally clicked — like this is where you are. This is about weather in the Himalayas!”
    It’s just one of a long list of “things we can control and things we cannot,” said Rigney. More

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    Cramer’s lightning round: GXO Logistics is a buy

    Monday – Friday, 6:00 – 7:00 PM ET

    It’s that time again! “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer rings the lightning round bell, which means he’s giving his answers to callers’ stock questions at rapid speed.

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    Axsome Therapeutics Inc: “They’re trying to cure pain. … We know who didn’t do it well, and we’re not even going to mention it.”

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    nCino Inc: “As much as I like nCino, I like its product, it’s losing money. So, we can’t buy it.”

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    Showtime chief’s departure signals Paramount is moving forward on its plan to merge streaming services

    David Nevins’ departure helps give Paramount Global more flexibility to potentially merge Showtime into Paramount+.
    One idea under consideration is putting Paramount+ movies and originals on Showtime, effectively turning the linear Showtime into a mirror for Paramount+, sources say.
    Showtime may be more useful to Paramount Global as a way to prop up Paramount+ subscribers than as an independent offering.

    Damian Lewis as Bobby Axelrod in the original series “BILLIONS” airing on Showtime.
    Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

    Paramount Global executive David Nevins, who joined Showtime in 2010 and has run the premium network since 2016, is leaving the company at the end of the year.
    Along with his departure, Paramount Global is restructuring Showtime in ways that could give the company flexibility to effectively end Showtime as it’s existed for decades — as an independent premium cable network churning out prestige hits such as “Dexter,” “Weeds,” “Billions,” “Homeland” and “Yellowjackets.” 

    Paramount Global announced Thursday that it’s moving Showtime’s network business under the leadership of Chris McCarthy, who runs other linear cable networks such as MTV and Comedy Central, and the streaming service under Tom Ryan, who runs Paramount Streaming.
    The moves come as the company is considering the idea of merging Showtime into Paramount+ and using the network’s hit programming to fuel Paramount+ subscriptions, according to people familiar with the matter. The company’s goal is to have Paramount+ be one of the five largest global streaming services, along with Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max, Amazon’s Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.
    No decisions about Showtime’s future have been made, and no changes are imminent, the people said.
    “We are always exploring options to maximize the value of our content investment by giving consumers access to great Paramount content — including the iconic, groundbreaking and premium content offerings of Showtime — across an array of services and platforms,” a Paramount Global spokesperson said.
    “This change has also given us the opportunity to more closely align our studios, networks and streaming operations as we execute on our vision and strategy for the future,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Bakish said in the statement.

    Showtime’s hazy future

    Paramount+ has 43.3 million global subscribers and expects to hit 100 million by 2024. The company hasn’t detailed its number of Showtime subscribers but last reported about 64 million subscribers across all of its streaming services — Paramount+, Showtime, Noggin, BET+ and some other smaller products. Bakish also said earlier this year that Showtime lost 500,000 subscribers in the first quarter as millions of people cancel linear pay TV each year.
    Paramount Global announced a bundled promotion in August, allowing Paramount+ subscribers to watch Showtime’s content within the Paramount+ app for $7.99 per month with advertising or $12.99 per month without commercials. That offer was the first step toward potentially making Showtime a tile within Paramount+, fully merging the two services, the people said.
    One obstacle to pushing Showtime together with Paramount+ is existing pay TV distributor agreements. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Paramount has discussed simply shuttering the standalone Showtime streaming service with at least one pay-TV partner.
    Another idea under consideration by Paramount Global executives is to move Paramount+ originals and movies to Showtime, effectively making Showtime a mirror to Paramount+’s content that doesn’t appear on other TV networks, two of the people said. That could assuage pay-TV providers, who could adjust pricing against the merged streaming product.
    Showtime’s potential evolution into Paramount+ reflects a larger trend in media and entertainment. HBO, Starz, Showtime and Epix — premium cable networks that have long existed as add-ons to basic cable — don’t have the scale to survive against the biggest streaming services. As a result, they’re looking for ways to add content and broaden their audiences. HBO content is featured on HBO Max, which will merge with Discovery+ next year. Starz is looking to separate from Lionsgate so it can potentially merge with other content providers to gain scale.
    Eliminating Showtime as an independent entity would also come with cost savings from head count reductions, such as Nevins’ departure, and technology and marketing duplications.
    WATCH: CNBC’s full interview with Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish

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    Adidas says its relationship with Kanye West is under review

    Sneaker and apparel maker Adidas said Thursday it is reviewing its relationship with the outspoken Kanye West.
    West cemented his relationship with Adidas in 2016 to manufacture and distribute items from his Yeezy clothing line.
    He’s recently been publicly critical of the company and its CEO.

    Sneaker and apparel maker Adidas said Thursday it is reviewing its relationship with the outspoken Kanye West.
    “After repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review. We will continue to co-manage the current product during this period,” the company said in a statement.

    Adidas announced its partnership with West in 2013. The rapper cemented his relationship with the German brand in 2016 to manufacture and distribute items from his Yeezy clothing line.
    He’s recently been publicly critical of the company and its CEO, accusing the sportswear brand of not giving him enough control over the line and telling CNBC “they were copying my ideas.”
    In the past few months, West has gone on a social media tirade against the company, calling out CEO Kasper Rorsted and posting pictures of board members. In early September, Kanye posted a doctored image of a New York Times front page falsely claiming Rorsted had died.
    West responded Thursday to CNBC’s story on the latest Adidas statement in an explicit Instagram post, saying “F——– ADIDAS I AM ADIDAS.”
    The company has said the partnership with Yeezy is one of the most successful collaborations in the history of the industry.

    “He’s had a tremendous impact globally for us,” Rorsted told CNBC in August. “Kanye is our most important partner worldwide. We have a very, very good relationship with him. We communicate with him on a very ongoing basis. And we’re very proud of that relationship.”

    Last month, West’s Yeezy terminated its partnership with retailer Gap. That partnership saw Yeezy clothing sold at Gap stores and online. But West similarly claimed he wasn’t given enough control over the items, including color selection and price point.
    “Yeezy notified Gap of its concerns in August and gave the company a contractually-designated 30 days to cure its breaches,” Nicholas Gravante, a lawyer for West, told CNBC at the time. Gravante said Gap took no action on the concerns, so Yeezy ended the relationship.
    Gravante didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday on the Adidas update or West’s response.
    West’s sneaker and apparel business with Adidas AG and Gap was recently valued at between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion by UBS Group AG, according to a private document reviewed by Bloomberg.

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    Cannabis company Canopy applauds Biden’s marijuana pardons as stock surges

    Canopy Growth Corporation shares jumped 22% Thursday after President Joe Biden announced he’ll pardon thousands of people for federal marijuana offenses.
    The Canada-based cannabis company applauded Biden’s decision.
    Earlier Thursday, Constellation Brands, which owns a large chunk of Canopy, recorded a $1 billion writedown related to the cannabis venture.

    Canopy Growth applauded President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday that he will pardon thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession.
    “Today represents action from the Administration that we have been waiting for – an acknowledgement that cannabis prohibition has failed and that too many lives have been significantly impacted as a result,” David Culver, vice president of government relations Canopy, said in a statement.

    Shares of the Canadian-based cannabis company, the world’s largest, jumped 22% after the news, closing at $3.75. Shares of fellow cannabis firm Tilray Brands gained over 30%. Tilray couldn’t be reached for comment by CNBC.
    “President Biden, in keeping with his campaign commitments, has set into motion the actions needed to heal the harms of the past and chart a course for responsible, legal cannabis markets in the future,” Culver said.

    Canopy Growth operations in Smiths Falls, Ontario.
    Tom Franck | CNBC

    The move could be a step toward a broad loosening of the federal classification of the drug. More than 6,500 individuals with prior convictions for simple marijuana possession were impacted by the pardons, according to the White House. This includes thousands more through pardons under D.C. law. 
    “There are thousands of people who have prior federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions,” Biden said in a statement announcing the pardons.
    Biden urged governors to issue similar pardons for cases regarding state offenses of civil possession of marijuana.

    In an earnings report Thursday morning, Constellation Brands, which owns 36% of Canopy’s outstanding shares, said it took a $1 billion writedown related to its stake in the cannabis company.
    Canopy’s stock has fallen more than 70% in the last 12 months amid slowing sales across the cannabis industry. The stock is more than 90% off its all-time high of $56.89.
    –CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.

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    Jim Cramer says economic data can’t capture one huge driver of inflation

    Monday – Friday, 6:00 – 7:00 PM ET

    CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday said that a huge driver of inflation is consumers’ desire to spend money in the reopening economy.
    Investors are eyeing the nonfarm payrolls report release on Friday to gauge the size of the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate hike. 

    CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday said that a huge driver of inflation is the consumer’s desire to spend money in the reopening economy – a fact that isn’t reflected in the data that the Federal Reserve and Wall Street are poring over.
    “They don’t care about higher rates. They have savings because they did nothing for two years,” he said. “My biggest worry right now is that the aggregate data can’t capture the nature of this … one-time-only euphoria.”

    Stocks slumped on Thursday after a strong start to the week that fizzled out by Wednesday. Investors are eyeing the nonfarm payrolls report release on Friday to gauge the size of the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate hike. 
    If job and wage growth is stronger than expected, the Fed is likely to stay the course on its aggressive campaign.
    While a surge in travel this summer showed that Americans were eager to engage in revenge travel after Covid restrictions loosened, some are also now experiencing “recession fatigue” – waning motivation to continue making smart financial choices to prepare for tough economic times ahead.
    Cramer noted that he expects consumers’ need to spend to wind down eventually, though it might not happen anytime soon.
    “A year from now, there probably will be no euphoria. It’ll be over. They’ll have spent their excess savings. And that’s exactly when interest rates will likely be at their max,” Cramer said.

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    Wall Street praises Costco as ‘best-in-class’ retailer following strong September sales

    Wall Street responded favorably to Club holding Costco ‘s (COST) September sales figures, proving yet again why the company is the Club’s top retail pick. Costco on Wednesday reported net sales of $21.46 billion for September, a 10.1% increase year-on-year. Unlike other publicly traded companies, Costco releases monthly sales reports in addition to quarterly earnings results, providing a regular metric on how the company’s global business is performing. Costco’s stock closed up 0.45%, at $482.49 a share, on Thursday. Analysts were largely encouraged by Costco’s accelerating revenue for September, a sign it continues to deliver consistent top-line growth. “Costco in particular has been outperforming with consumers. They basically are a great way to save money for the middle-, upper-income consumer. They’ve won a lot of traffic and members the last few years and they seem to be sticking with Costco now as things start to slow,” Greg Melich, an analyst at Evercore ISI, told CNBC . The Street view Costco’s total company comparable sales, also known as same-store sales, were up 8.6% in September, excluding the impact from gasoline- and foreign exchange price changes. In a research note Wednesday, Stifel said that sales figure was a beat on the consensus estimate of a 7.2% rise, calling Costco a “best-in-class” retailer. In a separate note, Baird analysts described this growth as “healthy,” albeit below the retailer’s prior 6-month average growth rate of 9.6%. Meanwhile, analysts at DA Davidson said Costco’s strong U.S. comparable sales rise of 8% in September beat their forecast of a 6% uptick. As a result, DA Davidson said it expects total company comparable sales for the fiscal first quarter of 2023 to now increase by 7.1%, up from a prior estimate of 6.5%. The strong sales results come amid inflationary pressures that have contributed to rising retail prices for consumers. But Costco has largely been able to manage inflation without passing on too much of the burden to consumers. Inflation for food and sundries in September was mostly consistent with that of August, while fresh food inflation was down on a year-on-year basis, analysts at JPMorgan wrote in a note Wednesday. That’s a testament to Costco’s business strategy of partnering with vendors to mitigate price increases. CEO Craig Jelinek even called the retailer the “price police” in a recent interview with CNBC. For September, global traffic to Costco stores increased 4.7%, while climbing just 2.6% in the U.S., given a slight negative impact from Hurricane Ian, according to the analysts at Baird. This was a moderation from August’s uptick in traffic, at 5.6% globally and 2.9% in the U.S. But this metric remains solid when compared to the retail sector overall, the analysts argued. At the same time, the retailer’s membership trends “have never been stronger,” according to Baird. Costco’s membership renewal rate came in at an all-time high of 92.6% in its fiscal fourth quarter . Management has opted out of increasing membership fees for the time being, which allows the company to attract new customers and take more market share in the competitive retail space. The Club take We continue to see Costco as a high-quality, recession-resistant retailer that can deliver earnings in a tough market. We think Costco will be a standout retailer in varying economic climates, but especially now as the retailer looks to pass along value to customers through competitive pricing in a period of heightened inflation. Contrast this with other big retail players that are struggling in a weaker macro environment with bloated inventories. Costco has several competitive advantages compared to its retail peers that allows it to keep prices down, including control over its inventory through its own production channels and partnerships with vendors. Furthermore, unlike other retailers, Costco sells fuel. Gasoline sales were one of the stronger business segments last quarter. Costco benefitted from higher gas prices earlier this year, which helped offset foreign exchange headwinds. Costco’s gross margins have been under slight pressure due to inflation, but this has been offset by the retailer’s strong membership numbers and durable top-line growth. We continue to be impressed by Costco’s loyal customer base, as renewal rates exceed expectations and are at record-high levels. Principally, Costco has maintained its profitability and a strong balance sheet, two fundamental characteristics we look out for in high-quality companies. Shares of Costco are down 14% year-to-date but are outperforming the S & P 500, which is down 20%. We rate Costco a 1, which is a buy at current price levels. Costco’s October sales will be announced Nov. 2. (Jim Cramer’s Charitable Trust is long COST. See here for a full list of the stocks.) As a subscriber to the CNBC Investing Club with Jim Cramer, you will receive a trade alert before Jim makes a trade. Jim waits 45 minutes after sending a trade alert before buying or selling a stock in his charitable trust’s portfolio. If Jim has talked about a stock on CNBC TV, he waits 72 hours after issuing the trade alert before executing the trade. THE ABOVE INVESTING CLUB INFORMATION IS SUBJECT TO OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND PRIVACY POLICY , TOGETHER WITH OUR DISCLAIMER . NO FIDUCIARY OBLIGATION OR DUTY EXISTS, OR IS CREATED, BY VIRTUE OF YOUR RECEIPT OF ANY INFORMATION PROVIDED IN CONNECTION WITH THE INVESTING CLUB. NO SPECIFIC OUTCOME OR PROFIT IS GUARANTEED.

    A shopper loads a car with bottled water at a Costco Wholesalers in Chingford, Britain March 15, 2020.
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    Mercedes-Benz CEO says luxury drivers will help spur the transition to electric vehicles

    ESG Impact Events

    Mercedes CEO Ola Kallenius told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that the company’s plan to switch to electric vehicles is the right thing — even from a business perspective.
    Kallenius said that while Mercedes plans to sell internal-combustion models for a while longer, he expects luxury-car shoppers will increasingly choose EVs.

    A charging port is seen on a Mercedes Benz EQC 400 4Matic electric vehicle at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 13, 2019.
    Mark Blinch | Reuters

    Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that while he thinks there will be a market for vehicles with internal combustion engines for a while longer, consumers – particularly in luxury segments – will insist on purely electric cars and SUVs sooner rather than later.
    In fact, he said, it’s already starting to happen.

    “Step by step, we see the market turning,” Kallenius said in an interview as part of CNBC’s ESG Impact conference on Thursday. “I really believe that in this decade, we will flip from being based upon high tech internal combustion engines to going dominant electric, if not all electric, in the luxury segment.”
    Mercedes’ corporate goal is to be carbon dioxide neutral by 2039. The company has said that it will have fully electric versions of all of its models by 2025, and that all of the new vehicle architectures it develops after that date will be electric-only.  
    “We’ve all realized that climate change is real, the CO2 problem needs to be solved,” Kallenius said. “And where does that problem end? It ends on the desks of our engineers.”
    It’s a somewhat surprising message from the company that literally invented the internal-combustion car over 130 years ago.
    “We do it because we think it’s right,” Kallenius said. “But we also do it because we think it’s going to be the better business. I don’t think there’s any question for a modern company, a forward-thinking modern company, that we need to decarbonize.”

    Mercedes plans to sell its electric vehicles alongside internal-combustion models for at least several more years.
    But Kallenius expects that most of Mercedes’ affluent customers will favor the electric versions in time.
    “As long as you give the customer a superior product to what they had before, they’re open minded for a switch” to electric models, he said. “The experience for the customer in terms of the torque, the performance, everything is fantastic.”
    In the very near term, making that switch might be a challenge. Although Mercedes is ramping up EV production as quickly as it can, Kallenius acknowledged that “pretty much everything is sold out” for the year right now.
    Mercedes delivered about 31,000 EVs in the first half of 2022.
    “I think maybe it’s a good problem to have,” he said. More