DHUnplugged #681: Diverging Outcomes

Up Up Up – Santa will be pleased.

Diverging outcomes.

Interesting M&A activity and a blast from the past.

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Warm Up
- AND it is LIVE - CTP Cup for 2024

- Deals - opened and closed - M&A
- Two outcomes - same datapaoints - Diverging Outcomes
- Caught Red handed - Guess the Bank (again)
- Gamestop's new strategy

Market Update
- Bitcoin Update - Boom and Busting - Just as everyone getting back in
- Big News for CRISPR - Big price too!
- Gas prices -LOW
- OIL - keeps going lower
- VIX - 5-year LOW

History: Jan. 5, 2022: The Dow hit its all-time high of 36,952.65.
Today's Close: 36,577.94


- Sub 13 print -
- Lowest since 2018!
- No Fear - no hedging

- Soft landing - not much different than a vibrant economy
- How do yo have a vibrant economy when Fed trying to slow down?
- Data supports hard and soft landing
- Diverging outcomes - which is it?

Caught AGAIN
- Wells Fargo was snared in an industrywide probe into mortgage bankers' use of loan discounts last year, CNBC has learned.|
- The discounts, known as pricing exceptions, are used by mortgage personnel to help secure deals in competitive markets. At Wells Fargo, for instance, bankers could request pricing exceptions that typically lowered a customer's APR by between 25 to 75 basis points.
- The practice, used for decades across the home loan industry, has triggered regulators' interest in recent years over possible violations of U.S. fair lending laws. Black and female borrowers got fewer pricing exceptions than other customers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found.

More Competition
- AMD!
- Meta, OpenAI, and Microsoft said at an AMD investor event last week they will use AMD's newest AI chip, the Instinct MI300X.
- If AMD's latest high-end chip is good enough for the technology companies and cloud service providers building and serving AI models when it starts shipping early next year, it could lower costs for developing AI models, and put competitive pressure on Nvidia'
- NVDA slid for a hot second - then buying happened again....
- AMD stock up to $137 (about 10% from comments)

- Bitcoin hit $44,000 last Tuesday, its highest in almost a year and a half, fueled by bets that U.S. regulators will soon approve stock-market traded bitcoin funds.
- Bitcoin down $4200 on this money...
- Jamie Dimon thrashes out about crypto -
---"I've always been deeply opposed to crypto, bitcoin, et cetera,"
--- "If I was the government, I'd close it down,"

- U.S. health insurer Cigna has ended its attempt to negotiate an acquisition of rival Humana after the pair failed to agree on price
- Instead - Cigna announced plans to buy back $10 billion worth of shares
- Shares rallied 12% on the news

More M&A
- An investor group consisting of Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital has made a $5.8 billion offer to take department store chain Macy's private, according to a person familiar with the matter on Sunday.
- Is this for real or just pump and dump stunt?
- Stock is up 70% in last 30 days - you think anyone knew about this?
- WHY would someone buy a dying department store? Real Estate?

New Strategy
- Ganestop - OH MY
- In its quarterly report released last Wednesday night, GameStop announced two changes to its corporate investment plan:
1) company cash can now be used to buy equities instead of just short-term debt,
2) and that Cohen is in charge of the investments.

Blast from the Past
- Picard, is the lawyer working on collecting for Madoff claims
- Total fees over the 15 years - $1.5 billion
- 17% of all fee revenue for firm of 1,000 lawyers
- Lastest request is $37 million for 68.000 hours of work from April - July for 190 attorneys ($544/hour)
- 3,578 Hours each attorney
- 80 hours/ week * 5 days*  4 month that is 1,600 hours.
- -SOOOOOOO, each attorney worked 125 hours per week (17 hours per day... 5am to 10pm exclusively on this case)
- Picard's and Baker & Hostetler's fees are paid by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, a nonprofit that Congress created in 1970 to assist investors with accounts at failed brokerage firms.
- The fees come from assessments paid by SIPC's member broker-dealers, not from Picard's recoveries, said Josephine Wang, SIPC's president and CEO.

Gas Prices
- AH saw $2.63 in Palm Beach Florida this past weekend
- For about a 1 mile stretch of road - then when to $3.10 - $3.30

- 50% reduction of F150 EV production
- Could this pave the way for more firing?
- What is the story with this - demand so weak?

Gene Therapy - CRSPR
- Waiting for this for a long time
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved a pair of gene therapies for sickle cell disease, including the first treatment based on the breakthrough CRISPR gene editing technology.
- The agency approved Lyfgenia from bluebird bio and a separate treatment called Casgevy by partners Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics.
- The Vertex/CRISPR gene therapy uses the breakthrough gene editing technology that won its inventors the Nobel Prize in 2020.
- One time lifetime treatment
- Cost - $2.1m - $3.1m
- Shares of Bluebird down 40% on announcement - CRSP down 15%

Europe on the Charge - AI Regulation
- Europe on Friday reached a provisional deal on landmark European Union rules governing the use of artificial intelligence including governments' use of AI in biometric surveillance and how to regulate AI systems such as ChatGPT.
- High-impact foundation models with systemic risk will have to conduct model evaluations, assess and mitigate systemic risks, conduct adversarial testing, report to the European Commission on serious incidents, ensure cybersecurity and report on their energy efficiency.
- Governments can only use real-time biometric surveillance in public spaces in cases of victims of certain crimes, prevention of genuine, present, or foreseeable threats, such as terrorist attacks, and searches for people suspected of the most serious crimes.

- Nearly 1,000 seals and sea lions in southern Brazil have died from bird flu outbreaks, say authorities, who are scrambling to isolate the deadly virus from commercial poultry flocks.
- The southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul has confirmed an unprecedented 942 sea mammal deaths following infection by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which was reported for the first time ever in the South American country this year.
- Scientists have also found some sea mammals convulsing along local beaches, as the virus attacks their nervous system. Under government health regulations, animals have to be euthanized to spare "a very painful death," Botta said.

NAZ100 Reshuffle
- DoorDash Inc. will be joining the Nasdaq 100 Index while Zoom Video Communications will be removed as part of the annual makeover of the tech-heavy benchmark.
- Splunk Inc., MongoDB Inc., Roper Technologies Inc., CDW Corp. and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Plc will also be added to the index.
- Meanwhile, Align Technology Inc., eBay Inc., Enphase Energy Inc., JD.com Inc. and Lucid Group Inc. will be removed from the Nasdaq 100.

What is this? CosMc's
- McDonald's will open the first location of its new spinoff brand CosMc's this week in Bolingbrook, Illinois.
- The name for the new brand comes from CosMc, a McDonaldland mascot who appeared in advertisements in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
- With a menu that includes old favorites like Egg McMuffins and M&M McFlurries, and new items like Churro Frappes and pretzel bites, McDonald's is positioning CosMc's as a fast, convenient way to grab a pick-me-up snack or coffee.

Announcing the Entries for the 2023 - DHUnplugged CTP Cup
- Matheau Phillips (2022 Winner)
- Anson Brady
- Taylor Rivera (2)
- Jeff Salcedo
- Jen Devall
- Mike Kazmierczak

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Al Irving

There once was a Fed quite spry,
Led by Powell, sharp-eyed and sly.
Interest rates danced,
Inflation's wild prance,
A financial waltz 'neath the economic sky.


Anthony Irante

In the realm of crypto so grand,
Bitcoin and Ethereum took a stand.
With blockchain they play,
In a decentralized way,
To reshape finance's command.

JCD Score ()

See this week’s stock picks HERE

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