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February 14, 2024

The Appetizer

“All you need is love.”

  • The Beatles

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

  • 719: The number of trading sessions it took for the S&P 500 gain 1,000 points to reach 5,000, an all-time high.
  • 20.38x: The S&P 500’s 12-month forward price-to-earnings multiple, the highest level in two years.
  • $2.5 billion: The total sales for plant-based milk in 2023, versus $15.8 billion for dairy milk.
  • 1.28%: The U.S. music streaming market share for Taylor Swift’s music in 2023, higher than entire jazz (0.8%) and classical (0.9%) genres, according to Luminate.
  • -57%: The decline in college financial aid applications as of late January compared with the same time period last year as a result of tech glitches and delays in the government’s latest FAFSA rollout.

Dig In
From Ancient Rome to Modern Romance

Ever wonder why today, of all days, you find yourself buying flowers or chocolate? Let’s delve into the roots of Valentine’s Day. One legend takes us back to ancient Rome, where Emperor Claudius II banned marriage, believing single soldiers made better warriors. But fear not, in swooped St. Valentine, who continued to perform marriages in secret. You can’t deny love!

Another tale tells of an imprisoned St. Valentine, who supposedly sent the first “valentine” greeting after falling in love. Before his demise, he penned a letter signed “From your Valentine.” Sound familiar? Truthfully, no one is 100% sure, but we can all agree it’s a day to celebrate with those we love.

Here’s a kicker, for those who participate in this celebration (only 52% of consumers, by the way), the average American shells out roughly $185 on this day — that spans from roses and chocolate to trips and engagement rings. Speaking of rings, while estimates vary, Valentine’s Day still remains the most popular day to get engaged… no pressure.

This day continues to gain traction, as who doesn’t love an excuse for a special dinner? According to a survey, Valentine’s date night at a restaurant now costs $121 on average, up more than 75% in five years. Regardless of your relationship status, there are always others you can treat on this special day. Pet lovers spend big (over $1 billion in 2022) on their fur babies for Valentine’s Day. Remember, today is about anyone you love!

Weekly Specials

The daily ritual known as fika is hitting pause on your work day to enjoy some coffee, munch on cake, and enjoy the company of your coworkers. In Sweden, it is the secret ingredient for happy, productive, and creative workers. Forget the usual coffee run — here, it is all about ditching screens, sipping coffee, and even playing a few games.

TFormer U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley opted for the primary election in Nevada over the caucus, but it didn’t quite pan out. She ended up losing Nevada’s Republican presidential primary to the unusual choice of “none of these candidates,” with Haley and “none” being the only two options.

FIFA has revealed the official dates and host cities for every game in the 2026 World Cup, with the final set to take place at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where fans from around the world can experience the iconic wonder that is the Meadowlands. As host nations, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will all automatically qualify.


Corporate Lunch

Lululemon is taking a bold step into men’s footwear for the first time, chasing growth in an already crowded athletic apparel space.

Target is toying with the idea of a new paid membership program — a Starbucks inside the store was enough for me, but I’ll take it.

Ford revved up its sales at the start of the year, with its hybrid vehicle sales picking up the slack for the EV decline

Uber toasted to its first-ever annual profit since going public, after powering an average of nearly 26 million trips daily last year.

Meta is set to label images from outside tools as “AI generated” to fight misinformation before the presidential election — even bots need a reality check.

Coca-Cola may have individuals treating the 137-year-old soda as a “treat.” Their response? A new permanent flavor — Coca-Cola “Spiced”. Interesting choice.

ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery are joining forces to launch a joint sports streaming platform this year. Talk about a dream team.

Pizza Hut launches its “Goodbye Pies” campaign, inviting you to send a free pizza to your ex with a customized message. Do they review them first?

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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