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Davos, Dimon, Chip Sales, Retail Fails and the Week's Funniest Stories

By:Vonetta Logan

Vonetta Logan's weekly recap of the big business, news, markets, political, cultural and viral trending stories featured this week on Daily Dose

What’s up tastynation? Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekly Dose! Each week, I recap the top stories that I covered on Daily Dose. If you missed any eps of Daily Dose you can catch up on them here

I received an air fryer for Christmas from my parents and have become low-key obsessed with it. If someone had told me years ago that you could straight up stick some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in there and literally five minutes later you have hot, soft cinnamon rolls, I would have slapped them in the face and called them a filthy liar.

So this week’s blog is being powered by cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Make sure to leave your feedback on the new website design. The team did an awesome job creating the new look and now all of our great blogs are even more prominent. Please click on our stories. I need to keep myself in the cinnamon roll lifestyle to which I have become accustomed. 

Let’s get to this week’s recap. 

Davos, drive-ins and dives 

The 54th annual World Economic Forum convened this week in Davos, Switzerland. The world’s elite flew their private jets to the idyllic mountain locale to discuss this year’s theme of “Rebuilding Trust.” That totally sounds like the marriage counseling sessions you are adamantly trying to avoid.

Nonetheless, the hot topic at this year’s conference is artificial intelligence. Corporate bigwigs are feeling better about the global economy, but a growing number don't think their companies will survive the coming decade without a major overhaul because of pressure from climate change and technology like AI, according to asurvey of CEOs by one of the world's largest consulting firms, PwC.

In fact, the shift can be felt on the quaint plaza that hosts the event. In the past, the main topic of conversation was cryptocurrency, but this year it's AI. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon was interviewed at the conference and had plenty to say. (Please stop sticking a mic in front of this guy).

A famously vocal critic of crypto, Dimon has called bitcoin a “hyped-up fraud” and “worthless.” In the interview he seems unimpressed with the new crop of Bitcoin ETFs but does seem to be a proponent of blockchain technology. If for some inexplicable reason you want to read more about what he said, you can read it here

Chip mania 

It was a great week to be in the chip industry. Computer chips, Chocolate chips, guys named Chip. Everyone is getting an upgrade this week. The semiconductor industry got hot this week. AMD (AMD) stock got upgraded this week and hit its highest level since 2021.

Rival chip company Nvidia (NVDA) also surged this week with another round of analyst upgrades. Nvidia had more good news to end the week after Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta (META) will likely spend billions of dollars on chips to fuel Meta’s AI efforts.

I know when you hear the words“super” and “micro” you think of the Bass Pro Shop guy, but I’m talking about Super Micro Computer (SMIC). The company expects to report fiscal second-quarter results vastly better than the consensus view. Super Micro issued preliminary quarterly figures this afternoon that call for $3.6 billion to $3.65 billion in net sales, ahead of the $2.8 billion FactSet consensus. The stock was up over 30% on Friday.

Also surging this week was Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM). Shares of the world’s largest foundry have rallied 12% from a September low, adding $59 billion to its market value, as investors bet on a recovery in the global chip industry.

The news was not as good this week for Baidu (BIDU) because its AI chatbot, Erniebot, seemingly got linked to *checks notes* the Chinese Industrial Military Complex. Oh my! But there’s good news on the education front if you are looking to use AI to help with school. Microsoft (MSFT) is now offering a $20 subscription and OpenAI announced they are partnering with Arizona State University. 

Retail Therapy 

What better way to beat the winter blues than with a little retail therapy? Retail sales numbers for December were released this week, and spending rose 0.6% from the prior month, according to the Commerce Department. That was a much stronger pace than November’s 0.3% gain, and it also beat economists’ expectations.

While sales may be gaining momentum, one particular potential merger is not. Supermarket chain Kroger (KR) has proposed the $24.6 billion dollar acquisition of rival Albertsons (ACI) and is now expected to close in the first half of Kroger’s fiscal year 2024 instead of early this year. Ongoing discussions with federal regulators delayed the deal’s close, the companies said.

On the other side of the grocery aisle, Walmart (WMT) announced a planned wage increase for store managers. Walmart said it is boosting the average pay of its store managers from $117,000 to $128,000 a year. Excuse me, I need to pack my bags to leave for Arkansas to attend new manager training.

Meanwhile, Costco (COST) is cracking down on scofflaws. The store is trailing ID scanners at one of its Washington locations. All anyone cares about though, is the guy who managed to subsist on nothing but Costco hot dogs for an entire week.

In other retail news, Macy’s (M) announced it was laying off 3.5% of its workforce, or 2,300 employees. Online retailer Wayfair (W) also announced it was laying off 13% of its workforce—but only after a memo from its CEO admonishing them to work harder somehow went viral.

Vacuum cleaner and covert house mapping company iRobot (IRBT) saw its shares sink on Friday after the European Union seemingly put the kibosh on the planned $1.7 billion merger of iRobot and Amazon (AMZN).

And finally, the retail annihilation concluded this week with Birkenstock (BIRK) releasing its very first earnings report, after its IPO. It did not go well. People are seemingly realizing that wearing the quirky shoes is repellent to the opposite sex. Birk shares slumped after the company issued its 2024 outlook.

Random Chicanery 

These are my favorite funny stories of the week


That’s it for this week! See ya next week! 

Vonetta Logan has more than a decade of markets experience and has been a trader for five years. She is an on-air personality, creative writer and news correspondent at tastylive. Vonetta  appears Monday-Friday on Daily Dose and contributes to Luckbox Magazine. @vonettalogan

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