Stifel Bits

March 29, 2023

The Appetizer

“It is our commitment to this committee and all our users that we will keep (TikTok) free from any manipulation by any government.”

  • TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew in a testimony before Congress

Now, on to the numbers. Drum roll, please …

  • 150 million: The number of U.S. monthly TikTok users.
  • 1 million+: How many plastic water bottles are sold globally every minute.
  • $3.2 billion: The amount UBS is paying for the embattled Credit Suisse.
  • 3: The number of athletes who finished this year’s Barkley Marathons, a near-impossible annual race held in the mountains in Tennessee.
  • $796: The average daily cost of a four-star travel day in NYC, making it the priciest city for business travel.
  • 131: Consecutive months that the median existing home sale price rose on a yearly basis. February 2023 was the first month that it fell.
  • 10 years: The length of the new NHL-Fanatics jersey deal, replacing Adidas. This is the first time Fanatics branding will appear on official player uniforms in professional sports.
  • 13.3%: Apple and Microsoft’s combined weighting in the S&P 500, the highest level on record.

Dig In
Not a Typical Month for Banks:

How many of you picked No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson to upset No. 1 Purdue? Then again, how many also expected three U.S. banks to fail so quickly. March madness, right?

As we discussed last week, the federal government stepped in quickly to calm fears about the banking sector. The excitement didn’t stop there: JPMorgan and a group of major U.S. banks stabilized First Republic Bank, while the Swiss government ultimately orchestrated the sale of Credit Suisse to UBS. With these disruptions in the background, all eyes turned to the Federal Reserve (Fed)’s interest rate decision, which resulted in a 0.25% hike, as expected. Interestingly, the Fed’s follow-up statements noted it “may” continue raising rates, implying that actually, it may not. If there’s silver lining in the bank troubles, they may have cooled the economy and job market enough to help in the Fed’s rates/inflation balancing act.

In our 2023 Outlook, we laid out expectations for higher volatility in the first half of the year as the lag effect of tighter monetary policy catches up. Markets have settled down for now, but the odds of recession have increased meaningfully. Check out Sight|Lines for more on this topic.

Weekly Specials

Wanted: Strong hiking endurance, the ability to trust co-workers, and the courage to crawl in bear dens. The job? Professional bear hugger.

We’ve noted before that electric vehicles have a ways to go before becoming truly climate friendly. It turns out that minor fender benders are one of the biggest hurdles.

When astronauts return to the moon, they’ll be looking sharp. NASA awarded Axiom Space a $228 million contract to design new moonsuits that will be sleeker and more flexible than the old Apollo program suits. They’ll even come in different sizes.

With all the ticket lines to wait in and the lawsuits to join, being a Swiftie is a lot of work. Now fans who scored tickets for Taylor’s upcoming tour must strategically plan their outfits and bathroom breaks ahead of time – the reported set list features 44 songs and will run for more than three hours.

Remember SlamBall? For the first time in 20 years, a pro league is set to launch for the alternative sport that mixes basketball and football on a trampoline. We remember playing it on the neighbor’s trampoline back in the day … and it probably wasn’t our best decision. Don’t tell Mom we said that.

Corporate Lunch

Tech Company Baidu announced it can now operate Robotaxis in Beijing … with no human staff inside, what about turning the AC up?

With the Dunkaccino, coffee mixed with hot chocolate, being pulled from the menu at Dunkin’ Donuts, what do indecisive people order now?

Ticketmaster had to give partial refunds to U.S. fans of the band The Cure after charging more in fees than the actual cost of the ticket … the cost of two $20 tickets came out to $75.25.

Dollar Tree is ditching eggs, as they no longer can afford selling them at $1.25 due to inflation.

In a move to expand its flavored whiskey offerings, Pernod Ricard will buy a majority stake in peanut butter-flavored U.S. whiskey maker Skrewball.

Google is seeking users and feedback as it begins its rollout of its ChatGPT competitor, Bard. “Bard wrote my final paper,” has a better ring to it.

If you’re still drinking White Claw, it’s about to get stronger – after the hard seltzer fad hit its ceiling, the brand is now entering the vodka market. Hopefully the flavor is a little stronger.

drawing of a table setting

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