# 648 – 😈 Apple goes dark mode – The Average Joe
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    # 648 – 😈 Apple goes dark mode

    victorlei

    March 8, 2024

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    Good morning. Folks in NYC, Chicago’s suburbs, Sacramento, and other places aren’t thrilled about the idea of cricket stadiums popping up in their neighborhoods. Yep, cricket. But while the stadiums could cause traffic (and cricket isn’t exactly a national pastime in the US), it could actually be a cool opportunity for Americans to get to know the sport before it comes to LA’s 2028 Olympics — the first time since 1900.


    TECH

    Apple Won’t Let Its App Store Monopoly Go Down Without A Fight (Even If It Costs Them Billions)

    Apple ($AAPL) has fallen far from the tree that gave it life. The company has been tangled in a long battle with Fortnite creator Epic Games, who sued the tech giant in 2020 — charging that Apple’s 30% commission on app sales was anti-competitive.

    The US Supreme Court decided not to hear appeals from Epic Games and Apple regarding their dispute. Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) passed the Digital Markets Act (DMA) — forcing Apple to allow third-party app stores. And that’s where things get heated.

    Apple goes dark mode: Epic Games had plans to launch one of the first third-party iOS stores, circumventing Apple’s fees. However, right before the EU’s new DMA rules came into force this week, Apple terminated Epic Games’ developer account, saying it represents a “threat” to its ecosystem. Epic alleged that the ban was retaliatory and represented a “serious violation of the DMA” — prompting an investigation by EU regulators.

    • According to Bloomberg, potential fines for breaching the DMA could reach up to 10% of a company’s global revenue — doubling for repeat offenders.

    • As part of compliance, Apple unveiled plans to make switching from iPhone to Android products easier.

    While Apple’s stock is shining red

    Investors have heard no shortage of negative Apple news in recent weeks. iPhone sales have slowed dramatically in key markets like China, top talent has departed, and the US Department of Justice is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit this month. But two missteps stood apart for their significance (and cost):

    • Apple scrapped its Apple Car project, a decade-long effort to build an electric vehicle — costing over $10B.

    • The company has also experienced a slow launch with its mixed reality Apple Vision Pro headset, its first new product since the Apple Watch in 2015.

    Buffett of bad news: $AAPL is down 8% year-to-date, but Mizuho analyst Jordan Klein warns that things could worsen if Warren Buffett, the company’s largest non-ETF shareholder, decides to sell more of his $AAPL holdings. Apple hasn’t been this oversold in years, and Klein thinks Buffett could sell billions in stock as Apple continues to underperform. Now, how much further will Apple roll from the tree?


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    The Two Letters That Could Send Silver Prices Soaring

    AI servers and switches will grow by double digits in the next few years and create strong demand for precious metals — which includes parts made from silver and gold, according to independent research consultancy firm Metals Focus.

    Reports are claiming that a silver breakout could be “quite significant,” noting that “the lack of price movement is puzzling given that demand is outpacing supply; last year there was a market deficit of 238M ounces.”

    • Meaning: If demand is outpacing supply, silver could be vastly undervalued — especially if AI growth is going to be coupled with a transition to green technology, another demand driver.

    • What’s the next move? Learn more about silver’s potential with your free 2024 Gold & Silver Kit — and find out if you qualify for up to $10K IN BONUS SILVER, while supplies last.


    LARGECAP RECAP

    24-hour trading is booming on Robinhood

    To trade or to snooze? For crypto enthusiasts, it’s always been about trading — but stock investors are also shifting from counting sheep to building their portfolios. Last year, Robinhood ($HOOD) “crypto-fied” the stock market by becoming the first major brokerage to offer overnight trading — from Sunday 8 PM ET through Friday 8 PM ET. So far, it’s been a massive hit with retail investors.

    • CEO Vlad Tenev said up to 25% of Robinhood’s daily trading volume comes from overnight trading on busy days — totaling over $10B since its launch in May.

    • Over the past year, $HOOD has surged nearly 75% as trading activity rebounded, and the company broadened its focus beyond day traders to include long-term investors with 401(k) dollars.

    Twilight trading: With a 24-hour market, Robinhood can make money while most of its employees sleep. Extending trading hours could further boost the company’s earnings from trades. Accessibility is crucial — Robinhood offers overnight trading on 900+ of the most popular stocks and exchange-traded funds, although this is just a fraction of the 8K securities traded on US stock exchanges.

    💊 Novo Nordisk teases the future of weight loss drugs

    Wegovy wasn’t enough for Novo Nordisk ($NVO)… so it’s back for seconds. The company announced results from a promising early-stage trial for a new oral weight loss medication, outperforming its blockbuster drug, sending shares soaring 10% in trading yesterday.

    • In trials, amycretin resulted in a 13.1% weight loss after 12 weeks — surpassing Wegovy’s 6% weight loss over the same time span.

    • It’ll be years before the drug comes to market — Phase II results are not expected until early 2026.

    Competition heats up: With weight loss drugs wowing investors, more companies are plowing cash into the space — hoping for a miracle drug of their own. Last week, Zealand Pharma ($ZLDPF) saw its stock pop after its drug, survodutide, succeeded in clinical trials. And this week, Viking Therapeutics ($VKTX) shared midstage data on their weight loss medication, demonstrating a 13.1% weight loss in 13 weeks — nearly matching Novo’s latest breakthrough.


    JOE’S MARKET PULSE

    🔗 New York Community Bancorp / Netflix

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    Markets & Economy

    The US national debt grows by $1T every ~100 days: With the national debt now at $34.4T, its rapid rise is outpacing usual trends. As long as interest rates remain high, debt will remain expensive to finance, causing those trillions to keep adding up. [Read]

    We just had the hottest February on record: 2024 is surpassing 2023’s record warmth, with February’s global average surface temperature 3.2°F above average. Last month also saw record-high sea temperatures, possibly influenced by El Niño. [Read]

    California faces home insurance crisis: As wildfires rage in the state, insurers of “last resort” are taking on trillions of dollars in risk. These insurers fill the void when private insurers leave the state — an increasingly common outcome as risks and costs skyrocket. [Read]

    Business & Wealth

    Texas utility company possibly involved in Texas wildfire: Xcel Energy ($XEL) denies negligence but acknowledges that their equipment may have been involved. An ongoing lawsuit claims they failed to inspect utility poles, which may have led to Texas’s worst wildfire ever. [Read]

    SpaceX eyes Starship rocket launch on March 14: The massive rocket did a “dress rehearsal” last weekend, signaling they might be close to getting FAA approval. SpaceX hopes to improve on the past two Starship flight tests, which both ended in mid-air explosions. [Read]

    Microsoft staffer raises concerns over company’s AI image generation tool: Engineer Shane Jones wrote a letter to the FTC explaining how Copilot Designer doesn’t have guardrails in place to prevent the generation of harmful images, including sexually explicit to politically biased imagery. [Read]

    *Thanks to our sponsors for keeping the newsletter free.


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    This AI Startup Is Riding the Massive Growth of Airbnb and the Entire Travel Industry

    Every year, the Hospitality industry spends $355B per year on labor costs alone. But like most industries, AI is completely changing the game.

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    In 2023, they grew their customer base by over 5x, processed $35M+ in bookings, and booked $2.2M in annual recurring revenue.

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    DIGIT OF THE DAY

    IMF Doubles Egypt’s Bailout Loan to $8B To Ease Economic Crisis

    It’s rough seas over in Egypt as the Israel-Hamas war and Houthi militants’ attacks on Red Sea cargo ships continue to ravage key industries such as tourism, leading to halving revenue from the Suez Canal — two crucial income sources.

    • To assist Egypt, the IMF has decided to increase the country’s rescue package to $8B, up from the previously announced $3B in Oct. 2022.

    • Egypt’s Central Bank devalued the currency by over 35% to curb inflation and hiked interest rates by 6 percentage points to 27.25%.

    Global trade is still a mess: The Suez Canal makes up 15% of global maritime trade, but in the first two months of 2024, shipping volume fell 50% compared to the previous year. And 13 days after being attacked, the sinking of the Rubymar carrier ship last week marked the first vessel to sink since the attacks started last November. Severe droughts at the Panama Canal have also contributed to reduced shipping volumes since the end of last year. So, if you’re wondering why your interest rate cuts aren’t coming as soon as you expected, blame it on the global trade that’s stalling inflation.


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