Stifel Bits

April 19, 2023

The Appetizer

“He’s got a black turtleneck, what more do you need?”

  • Elon Musk when referring to his dog being the CEO of Twitter.

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

  • $693.1 million: The total amount of global ticket sales that the Super Mario Bros. Movie has brought.
  • 65: The number of wins the Boston Bruins have this season, setting an NHL record for most wins in a single season.
  • 68%: The percentage of parents with children aged 18 or older that have made, or are currently making, a financial sacrifice to help their adult children.
  • 47%: The percentage of U.S. adults that said they are not likely to switch to an electric vehicle (EV) for their next car purchase.
  • 2,995 days: The number of days in a row a 50-year-old California man visited Disneyland between 2012 and 2020, earning him a new Guinness World Record for most consecutive trips to the theme park.
  • 11%: How much the average tax refund has fallen so far this year compared with 2022.

Dig In
Spies! In the Headlines

Most of the time, we read more about espionage in a good spy novel than we do in the mainstream headlines, but 2023 is proving to be a different story.

First (to hit the news, anyway … ) was the Chinese balloon that passed over the U.S. in February. Then in March, Russia’s Federal Security Bureau detained and accused a Wall Street Journal reporter of espionage. Now most recently, a number of highly sensitive Pentagon documents leaked – which, authentic or not, put the military and government in damage control mode.

Now, let’s be honest: Governments spy on each other. Companies spy, too.

In fact, the FBI reports that economic espionage costs the economy hundreds of billions of dollars every year. And while you may not personally feel the impact of a Chinese airliner that closely resembles a 737, the security issues surrounding everyday apps like TikTok certainly hit close to home.

For our part, we’re watching the heightened global rivalries closely, and we expect more headlines to appear as countries and companies get caught trying to gain an advantage. The competition is really heating up! Check out our Geopolitical Dashboard for a deeper dive.

Weekly Specials

The Environmental Protection Agency put on the full-court press for electric vehicles (EV)s last week when it proposed the strictest emissions limits ever imposed on new vehicles. The proposed standards would affect the 2027 to 2032 model years with the goal of pushing EVs to make up two-thirds of all new vehicle sales. Doable? Well, it’s certainly ambitious.

There’s hope for humanity: Babies are still smarter than artificial intelligence! A new study pitted the abilities of 11-month-old babies against AI and found that infants can easily make inferences about what drives another person’s actions, whereas AI struggled. A key difference between the two? Common sense.

It’s over!? Congress showed some bipartisanship to end the nation’s three-year pandemic state of emergency. President Biden signed the bill last week after the Senate passed the measure by a 68-23 vote in March. The emergency status gave the government sweeping authority to deal with the virus and help the economy.

Remember when the 60-40 portfolio didn’t work last year for the first time since 1977? Hopefully you listened to us and didn’t give up on it: A portfolio investing 60% in U.S. stocks and 40% in U.S. bonds is up 5.9% so far this year after falling 16% in 2022.

Corporate Lunch

Amazon plans to release 10-12 movies a year in theaters before moving them to Prime.

Apple PC shipments plunged 41% last quarter, Lenovo’s and Dell’s each fell over 30%, and HP’s fell 24.2%.

Chipotle unveiled a sustainable restaurant design to help it cut its carbon footprint in half by 2023. Don’t get too excited, it just a building with solar panels.

TheJack Daniels case against a dog toy that we called the trial of the century a few weeks ago just reached the Supreme Court.

Samsung could replace Google with Bing as its default search engine. Bing is gaining popularity with the addition of OpenAI’s technology to the platform.

YouTube’s baseline “Sunday Ticket” package will cost $349 for YouTube TV subscribers or $449 for nonsubscribers.

Merck and Moderna said adding an mRNA cancer vaccine to Merck’s drug Keytruda kept more melanoma patients in remission in a midstage trial.

Twitter is no longer an independent company but now part of X Corp. Mr. Musk, what are you playing at here?

JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo beat expectations for earnings in the first quarter, despite the drama in the banking sector in March.

drawing of a table setting

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