💘 Love at first credit – The Average Joe
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    💘 Love at first credit

    victorlei

    February 17, 2024

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    Good morning. If you’re spending this Valentine’s Day swiping, we get it. Dating apps are demoralizing… so why not make it even worse by matching based on credit score? That’s the dystopian sales pitch for Score, a new dating app that limits membership to users with excellent credit scores. Those with scores under 675 need not apply.

    And before you ask, no, you can’t lie about it. Score requires you to pass a credit check through Equifax. (But don’t worry, you can still lie about your height, your job, your interests, and everything else.)


    BIG TECH

    AI Helped Make Microsoft the World’s Most Valuable Stock. Staying There Relies On a $30/Month Subscription.

    Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has a message for the market: we are so back. Over the last year, the tech giant overtook Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world’s most valuable company — fueled by a $10B investment in OpenAI and breakneck growth in its Cloud business.

    After talking the talk, analysts will want to see it walk run — and CEO Satya Nadella hopes that the key to scaling AI could be its AI companion, Copilot. The product plugs OpenAI’s GPT-4 into popular Microsoft products like Windows, Word, and Teams — and can write emails, organize information, and summarize meetings.

    Not ready for takeoff: Despite supposedly strong demand for Copilot, Microsoft is struggling to convince AI-skeptical companies to shell out for its new and unproven AI companion, which RBC Capital analyst Rishi Jaluria says “has to be a success” for Microsoft’s recent stock boom to stand up (WSJ).

    • While Microsoft claims it saves the average user 1.2 hours per week, Copilot is still in testing — and frequently makes errors in apps like Excel and PowerPoint.

    • Companies have reportedly pushed back against its required minimum of “300 subscriptions” and $30/mo per user price.

    AI-infused products are becoming the standard

    Although analysts previously projected Copilot to contribute an extra $10B in annual revenue for Microsoft, nearly 5% of its total in 2023, competition is heating up — and it’s uncertain whether businesses can justify paying an AI tax to access AI features across hundreds of different software subscriptions.

    • Last week, Google announced.) its Google One Premium AI Plan, a $20/mo subscription with 2TB of storage, access to its new Gemini Ultra model, and Gmail, Drive, and hardware device compatibility.

    • Yesterday, Nvidia announced a free Chat with RTX desktop app, enabling users to interact with AI models to find information in files on their computers.

    Worth the price? As more players enter the AI market, businesses and analysts may be overestimating the immediate benefits of AI compared to what it could do for them in 20 years. Copilot’s $30/mo subscription price might alienate it from the cheaper competition, which could leave Microsoft with no choice but to either pack more value into the product or drop the price.


    PARTNERED WITH DREAM GIVEAWAY

    You Could Drive Away With Two High-End Cadillacs In This Giveaway

    Get ready for a double dose of insane luxury, performance, and power — without making a single car payment. With one lucky entry, you could drive away with this 668hp Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing AND 682hp Cadillac Escalade V with a price tag of $300K.

    These are no ordinary cars and this is no ordinary giveaway.

    • All giveaways hosted by Dream Giveaway are donations which are 100% tax-deductible. Tickets start at $3.

    • Proceeds will help eight charities including New Beginning Children’s Homes, 4KIDS and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

    To cover the taxes, Dream Giveaway is even throwing in $80K so all you have to worry about is which Cadillac V you'll drive first.

    Get 3X TICKETS on any $25 donation when you use promo code AVERAGEJOE at DreamGiveaway.com.


    LARGECAP RECAP

    🎈 The good, bad, worse, and great news with inflation

    With inflation, it feels like we’re in a never-ending cycle of good and bad news. On a positive note, America’s star measure of inflation, the consumer price index (CPI), fell to an annual rate of 3.1% in January — its lowest point since November. The not-so-good news is that monthly inflation accelerated, rising 0.3% in January, higher than the expected 0.2%, giving bulls reason to worry. The worst news (depending on which side of the trade you’re on) is that this could delay the first interest rate cut.

    • Once again, the blame falls on high shelter costs (+0.6% in January) — making up a significant portion of the increase, with food prices climbing 0.4% for the month.

    • That sent the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 falling 1.55% and the S&P 500 below 5K.

    Here’s some great news: While inflation remains stubborn, American wage saw their fastest growth in 50 years, as  the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. After accounting for inflation, the average American earns 3.4% more than in Feb. 2020.

    🥓 America has a pork problem. Record production is making it worse.

    The US pork industry is more efficient than ever, with pork production up 25% versus two decades ago. The problem? Demand declined 9% in that time, with more Americans choosing chicken over pork Now farmers are losing $30 per pig, while meat processor Tyson (NYSE:TSN) reported a loss of $139M from its pork operations last year.

    • China used to be a reliable market for US pork producers, though they’re having similar demand issues — now the pork industry is turning to Mexico and other overseas markets.

    • Meanwhile, state regulations ono pork production have sowed confusion and increased costs for hog farmers.

    Bacon to the rescue? Processors think bacon could be the convenient option that gets people eating pork again. Smithfield Foods is launching new quick-cook bacon that promises crispiness in  10 minutes, while Tyson just poured $355M into a new “high-tech bacon plant.” Now let’s just hope all those “epic bacon” memes from the 2010s don’t make a comeback.


    JOE’S MARKET PULSE

    🔗 TripAdvisor / Biogen

    Profitable, 540%*  growth and $300+ million in revenue since 2019**,  … Now what? Time to take the company to the next level. ConsumerDirect has helped 250K active subscribers save an average $8.8K per member** and now it’s time to bring their product to the masses. ConsumerDirect is raising a round of investment and here’s how you can invest →*

    Markets & Economy

    Carl Icahn boosts JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU): The activist investor reported a 10% stake in the struggling airline. Despite a blocked merger with Spirit and struggles with profitability, Icahn says JetBlue is undervalued — and now he might angle for board representation. [Read]

    Paramount (NASDAQ:PARA) lays off 3.6% of workforce: The entertainment giant is in turmoil amid a potential sale, and now CEO Bob Bakish is “streamlining costs” as the company vies to return to earnings growth and keep pace with high-tech rivals like Netflix. [Read]

    Senate passes $95B aid package to Ukraine and Israel: It’ll face pushback in the House, where Republicans are upset about the bill’s lack of border provisions, though Democrat Chuck Schumer seems confident it will pass. How the bill adds to the mounting national debt remains a sticking point. [Read]

    Business & Wealth

    Super Bowl 58 was a ratings monster: It marked the most-watched televised event ever, topping SB 57 by 13% (the previous most-watched telecast ever). Overall, the state of football is strong, with CBS Sports seeing its best postseason viewership since 1998. [Read]

    Rideshare, delivery drivers striking today: Thousands of ****drivers for Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash from the US and UK will be off the roads for a few hours as they demand higher compensation for the work they put in each day. [Read]

    Tiger Woods and TaylorMade team up for sports apparel deal: They’ll work together on a new sports brand called “Sun Day Red” (a nod to Woods’ tendency to wear red on Sundays) — which has big shoes to fill following his lucrative 27-year partnership with Nike. [Read]


    CHART


    DIGIT OF THE DAY

    Risk-Loving Investors Plow $6.2B Into Biotech Companies In The Latest Sign of a Biotech Turnaround

    After years of struggling, biotech companies are back and ready to innovate. Their stocks are trading at the highest levels since 2022 — attracting funding at a rate we haven't seen since the pandemic frenzy. Rebounding stock prices, a rise in mergers and acquisitions, and a surge in biotech IPOs have breathed new life into the sector.

    • The iShares Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) is up ~18% from its October low, while biotech IPOs like ArriVent Biopharma (NASDAQ:AVBP) and CG Oncology (NASDAQ:CGON) have jumped 22% and 36% since their debut.

    • As stock prices climb, drug developers are taking advantage by selling shares and raising funds. In January alone, they collected $6.2B in new equity, with most contributions coming from existing publicly traded companies.

    What’s causing the boom? CRISPR and cancer therapies have ignited a surge in biotech innovation — while looming patent expirations have prompted large pharma to seek acquisitions in search of their next blockbuster drug. Still, experts like portfolio managers Andy Acker and Daniel Lyons believe a “return to the heady days of the pandemic,” when biotech stocks thrived regardless of company fundamentals, isn’t in the cards.


    EXTRA JOE

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    All content provided by The Average Joe is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be taken as trading or investment recommendations.

    *Based on an Internal financial statements evaluation of growth revenue calculated between 10/19-09/23.

    **Based on Internal Reports, Based on unaudited 2023 financials.

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