DHUnplugged #683: Grab Bag of Phrases

Apple watch ban – stock unaffected.

A surprise with housing prices.

A grab-bag bull phrase being dusted off.

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Warm Up
Slow volume - boring market (you know what they say)
- China is testing some market moving ideas
- New Year Coming - markets Closed Monday
- Another GRAB-BAG Phase - Dusted off....

Market Update
- The real Santa Claus rally - the final days
- House prices - what?
- Boosting Buybacks  - One Company
- China wrecks markets - for a day

Home Price Index
- October S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index 4.9% vs 5.0% consensus
- Prior reading was +3.9%

Grab-Bag - Bull Phrase
- Cash on The Sidelines
- The stock market is set to see a significant boost next year, thanks to a record $6 trillion and a growing cash pile in money market funds - according to FundStrat
-- (UBERBULL Shop)
- - Fundstat's logic: If the Federal Reserve starts cutting interest rates next year, this would hold more true as the risk-free interest rate on money market funds will also fall. This would make holding cash in money market funds less appealing as compared to putting it in the stock market.

China - Gamming
- Latest:
-- China approved 105 domestic games on Monday, the latest indication that Beijing is softening its stance after its move to tighten industry restrictions led to a $80 billion rout last week.
--- The titles included those operated by Tencent Holdings Ltd. and NetEase Inc., China’s two leading game publishers that have been pummeled by Beijing’s new rules. Monday’s approvals show the Chinese authorities support the development of online gaming, an industry association said in a post on WeChat republished by the official Xinhua news agency.
- What happened a few days earlier
- - On Friday, Chinese officials announced new draft rules aimed at limiting how much gamers could spend and restricting rewards that encourage them to spend more time online.
- The announcement was a surprise and ended up spooking investors and sending markets into a tailspin.
- Games giant Tencent saw its share price drop as much as 16% while the stock of its rival NetEase tumbled a record 28%. Shares of the social-media service Bilibili, which is popular with gamers, tanked 14%.

Consumer Sentiment!
- December Consumer Confidence 110.7 vs. 104.0 Briefing.com consensus; prior revised to 101.0 from 102.0
Look at this chart and look at a chart of equity markets - pretty much identical. Wealth Effect is real and will play a significant role in how inflation/disinflation/deflation plays out.

Spending Report
- Mastercard Spending Pulse reports sales increased 3.1% YoY during the holiday season (Nov 1 trhu Dec 24); NRF predicted spending would increase 3-4% in 2023
- Restaurants (+7.8%), Grocery (+2.1%), and Apparel (+2.4%) had the best performance.
- Jewelry (-2.0%) and Electronics (-0.4%) were laggards.

China Car Announcement
- Nio launched the ET9 EV
- The company also confirmed the launch of a low-priced brand called Alps.
- Nio will focus on the European market in 2024.
- High end is supposedly in competion with the Porche Panarama and the Maybach
- The ET9 executive sedan, positioned in the same class as Mercedes Benz’s Maybach and Porsche’s Panamera series, is expected to start delivery in the first quarter of 2025 at an estimated price of 800,000 yuan (S$152,355),

Apple Stops Selling Watch
- Stock barley budges
- Apple on Tuesday appealed a decision to ban imports of its watches based on a complaint from medical monitoring technology company Masimo, after President Joe Biden's administration declined to veto a government tribunal.
--- It appears that investors thought that Biden would VETO and/or appeal will favor Apple
- Masimo has accused Apple of hiring away its employees, stealing its pulse oximetry technology and incorporating it into the popular Apple Watch.
- The U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) order bars imports and sales of Apple Watches that use technology for reading blood-oxygen levels. Apple has included the pulse oximeter feature in its smart watches starting with its Series 6 model in 2020.

More Apple - The Big Short?
- Apple has announced that it is closing its Infinite Loop retail location next month.
- - -The store will close for good on January 20, 2024 and invites customers to visit the nearby Apple Park Visitor Center and other locations instead.
- Notably, this is the second Apple Store closure to be announced in the last several weeks. Apple also recently announced that its Apple Royal Hawaiian retail store in Honolulu, Hawaii will permanently close on January 20, 2024.

More Buybacks - Desperate or Smart?
- FedEx +2% delivers a modest boost to its share price today after announcing a $1 bln accelerated share repurchase agreement this morning
- It looks like management sees its post-earnings pullback last week as a buying opportunity.
- Last week, FedEx reported its first EPS miss in several quarters. Market conditions in the US remained soft, with Q2 (Nov) demand being lower than FDX had anticipated.

In Elon News
- Snuck this one in on Christmas:
- Hyperloop One, the futuristic transportation company building tube-encased lines to zip passengers and freight from city to city at airplane-like speeds, is shutting down, according to people familiar with the situation.
- Once a high-profile startup, Hyperloop One raised more than $450 million since its founding in 2014, according to PitchBook.
It built a small test track near Las Vegas to develop its transportation technology, and for a time took the name Virgin Hyperloop One after Richard Branson’s Virgin invested. Virgin removed its branding after the startup decided last year to focus on cargo rather than people.

In other Elon News
- According to a stucy by Lending Tree
- - Tesla drivers in the U.S. were involved in accidents at a higher rate than drivers of any other brand of vehicle over the past year.
- With 24 accidents per 1,000 drivers during the period from mid-November 2022 to mid-November 2023, Tesla drivers clocked in with the worst accident rate in the U.S., followed by Ram drivers who were involved in about 23 accidents, and Subaru drivers who were involved in about 21 accidents per 1,000 drivers during the year.
- AND ->BMW drivers were the most likely to engage in driving under the influence, the researchers found. They were involved in about 3 DUIs per 1,000 drivers in a year, about twice the rate of DUIs among Ram drivers, who were the second worst drivers in this regard.
- For driving incidents overall, which included not only accidents but also DUIs, speeding, and other citations, Ram drivers had the highest incident rate,

JCD Uncovers
- Warner Bros. Discovery and rival Paramount Global are in early merger talks, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC.
- Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Paramount CEO Bob Bakish met Tuesday to discuss the contours of a possible deal
- That all we really know right now.

Govy Feeling Bad - But Wants $$ back
- The IRS has unveiled a "voluntary disclosure program" for businesses that claimed a pandemic-era tax credit in error and want to pay the money back.
- The IRS unveiled a "special withdrawal process" for companies with pending claims in September.
--- The new voluntary disclosure program offers applicants the chance to repay credits received at a 20% discount to cover third-party promoter fees.
--- So, Government  gets less money back as they are covering the promoter fees?

One More For Global Warming
- China's capital Beijing has broken its record for hours of sub-zero temperatures in December dating back to 1951, after a cold wave swept swathes of the country and brought blizzards in its wake, sending temperatures towards historic lows.

 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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