Stifel Bits

June 28, 2023

The Appetizer

“And if he [Elon Musk] wants to design a Cybertruck for Silicon Valley people, fine. It’s like a cool high-end product parked in front of a hotel. But I don’t make trucks like that. I make trucks for real people who do real work, and that’s a different kind of truck.”

  • Ford CEO Jim Farley on the Tesla Cybertruck.

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

  • 56: The number of signers of the Declaration of Independence.
  • 2.5 million: The estimated number of people living in the newly independent United States in July 1776.
  • 32: The number of states where corn was rated by people as their favorite veggie, according to a recent survey. Despite being the country’s largest corn producer, Iowa, yet again, rated broccoli its favorite.
  • 3.13 seconds: The time it took U.S. speed-cuber Max Park to solve a Rubik’s Cube, setting a new Guinness World Record.
  • 55%: The rate at which study respondents could successfully identify AI-generated content.

Dig In
Long-Term Themes

Semiconductors, e-commerce, millennials & … Ever wonder where some of our Bits topics come from? Well, the inspiration is closer than you might think – we simply look to our long-term investment themes.

Ok, ok … we hear you. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of what’s trendy.

And yes, investors have been chasing hot topics for a long time. For instance, way back in 1948 the Television Fund aimed at cashing in on the TV boom.

But let’s face it, being able to anticipate the megatrends influencing the economy and markets is the golden ticket all investors dream of. The challenge, however, lies in parsing through all the noise to figure out which trends are here to stay.

At Stifel, we’re not looking to chase hot topics – themes are just one input into our investment management process. So what are some of our long-term investment themes? Obviously by now you’ve heard of artificial intelligence (AI), which is part of our Fourth Industrial Revolution theme. We’ve also talked about precision agriculture. Not as flashy, but it’s a theme that emerged from the megatrends we closely follow. Who knew farming could be so high tech?

Want to know more? Check out “From Vision to Value” to learn about the five long-term investment themes we’re thinking about right now.

Weekly Specials

In an attempt to entice you to remote islands, the Irish government is now offering up to $92,000 to relocate there. It’s like winning the lottery, except instead of cash, you get breathtaking landscapes and a touch of Irish charm.

New York City is getting serious about plastic waste. Last week, the city recommended fining restaurants $50 to $250 for providing items like utensils and ketchup packets that customers didn’t ask for. Next time you order takeout, make sure to specify that you only need the essentials.

Remember when we were warned against using Huawei and ZTE phones? Turns out the U.S. government caught workers from these Chinese telecom companies visiting suspicious spy facilities in Cuba. Both companies deny it, but the news highlights the rising geopolitical tensions and resulting productive competition between nations.

Despite rising interest rates, housing starts jumped 21.7% from April to May this year. That’s the biggest increase in starts since January 1990. Most of the growth comes from multifamily units (28.1% growth), but single family turned in a solid 18.5% growth.

Think jet lag is tough? Try recovering from a six-month space voyage. A new NASA-funded study shows that the human brain changes after extended time in microgravity, and it can take up to three years for astronauts to recover from space trips longer than six months. Yikes!

Do you have frozen fruit in your freezer? Better check it … again. Yet another recall is underway due to possible listeria contamination. This time it’s not just strawberries, but a whole variety of frozen fruits from blackberries and cherries to mangoes and pineapple. Freezer roulette, anyone?

Corporate Lunch

FedEx announced that it is facing demand challenges in the current macro environment. In response, it will be cutting costs more aggressively, cutting more jobs, and parking more planes.

Google Cloud is leveraging AI for its new Anti-Money Laundering AI tool for banks. Remember Robocop? This is the Robo-IRS, way scarier.

Novo Nordisk is suing spas and clinics for allegedly selling unauthorized compounds with its hot weight loss drug, Ozempic.

Spotify plans a premium subscription option that’s expected to include high-fidelity audio in an effort to drive more revenue. Your friends who listen to vinyl will still knock it.

Domino’s says it can deliver pizza to your exact location if you drop a pin on their map. With “pinpoint” delivery, no specific address is needed, just in time for summer! Get your two medium two-topping pizzas sent to the beach, your jetski, or boat!

Pixar’s “Elemental” pulled in $29.5 million at the box office, the worst opening in Pixar’s history. To be fair, it’s going up against a new Little Mermaid and a Spider-Man in the box office.

Could a breakup be in Google’s future? That’s what European Union regulators called for when they brought new antitrust charges recently. Despite a recent slump in ad sales, Google brought in more than $60 billion in ad sales during the first quarter of this year.

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