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January 10, 2024

The Appetizer

“Working long hours, being responsive, blending work and life, is not anything to shy away from. There is not a lot of history of laziness being rewarded with success.”

  • Niraj Shah, CEO of Wayfair, in a note to employees in December.

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

  • 26.29%: The S&P 500’s total return for 2023.
  • 7.6: The magnitude of a major earthquake that struck Japan last Monday. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was the strongest earthquake in the region in more than four decades.
  • 49%: The percentage of U.S. restaurants that reported lower check averages in 2023, according to a restaurant-focused nonprofit.
  • 28: The length of the longest single-season losing streak in NBA history, achieved recently by the Detroit Pistons. Their record stands at 3-34.
  • $51: The average amount workers who returned to the office spent a day on commuting, meals, coffee, and parking in 2023, according to a recent company study.

Dig In
No Crystal Ball – But We’ll Try Our Best

Last week, we released our views for the year ahead, Outlook 2024: Embracing Change. Before we point out the obvious, predicting the future isn’t exactly our forte. So, we create “base,” “bear,” and “bull” case scenarios because, well, market predictions aren’t exactly crystal ball material. So, please hold off on the “I told you so” for now.

Turning our attention to the numbers ... Our base case sees inflation decelerating further, the Federal Reserve (Fed) cutting rates in the second half, company earnings growing around 6.5%, and the S&P 500 up single digits. The bear case, as you can imagine, is a little less rosy and sees the potential for a correction or even a bear market. Interestingly, the bull case is not one we are rooting for this year. Find out why in the report.

As long-term investors, we are constantly looking for opportunities in our rapidly changing world. The report discusses areas of focus as a result of artificial intelligence (AI) advancements and our other long-term investment themes, higher debt and higher rates, changing supply chains, and geopolitical tensions. For an in-depth exploration, check out our Outlook 2024: Embracing Change. There’s also a video summary and a replay of a recent webinar.

Weekly Specials

After 95 years of copyright protection, Steamboat Willie, the animated short featuring the earliest version of Mickey Mouse, is now in the public domain. It’s only been a few days and the iconic mouse has already appeared in a horror movie, video game trailers, and a few memes.

The American Kennel Club welcomes a new furry friend! The Lancashire Heeler, a small dog with a charming smile, reminiscent of a corgi and standing at just one foot tall, has joined the ranks. Originally farm helpers, they can now compete in numerous U.S. dog shows.

What was thought to be a publicity stunt turned into a new Guinness World Record. A Ghanaian media personality sang for 126 hours and 52 minutes with brief 20-minute breaks every five hours. At the end of the singing marathon she was unsure what day of the week it was. She hopes to inspire women to embrace new opportunities.

In a major city in Brazil last November, a 37-year-old legislator passed the country’s first law that was written entirely by ChatGPT. Under normal circumstances, this would have taken a six-person team, several hours, and multiple drafts. AI did it in 15 seconds. The question of whether ChatGPT should have a seat in our Congress will undoubtedly come up.

Corporate Lunch

Tesla put in a great effort last year, delivering 1.8 million EVs. BYD said “challenge accepted“ and shipped 3 million EVs in 2023, beating Tesla for a second straight year. I have never seen a BYD in my life, where are they hiding them?

You know what’s scarier than a jack-o’-lantern? A lawsuit. Hershey is getting sued for selling Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that don’t have “cute pumpkin faces” as shown on the packaging.

Starbucks will let customers bring cups from home. The max cup size is 40 ounces, conveniently the same size as a Stanley cup. Please don’t actually fill a Stanley at Starbucks … that would be like 775 milligrams of caffeine.

United failed to deliver on its promise of passengers on a flight from Guam to Honolulu being able to celebrate New Year’s Eve twice because the plane was more than six hours late taking off.

Boeing said 2024 would be a key year for its turnaround, then the panel of an Alaska Airlines flight blew out mid-flight. Thankfully no one was hurt. Do lemon laws apply to planes?

drawing of a table setting with a fork on the left, plate in the middle, and a knife and spoon on the right

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