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November 12: Elon Musk Drops New AI Grok, McDonald’s Closes San Francisco, Cyber Attacks Increasing (Recap ep252)

In today’s recap, Marcello talks about Grok, the new AI that Elon Musk unveiled. After thirty years, McDonald’s is being forced to close due to an implosion in downtown San Francisco. US Treasury trading was interrupted by an unanticipated cyberattack.

U.S. wheat shipments dropped to the lowest ever, interrupted by a shrinking Mississippi River & competition from ample global grain supplies. Drought has dried up the Mississippi, where roughly 2/3 of US grain exports historically have been shipped on barges to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The water levels have improved slightly from last month’s record low, but the world’s crop buyers have already been purchasing more supplies from elsewhere. It is limiting demand for U.S. grain & has contributed to the country losing its status, as the shipper of choice as U.S. wheat exports plunge to a 20 year low.
Stockpiles of premium coffee beans on world’s biggest arabica exchange have plummeted to lowest levels since 1999, as some sellers race to take advantage of a closing loophole. Although falling inventories held in global warehouses monitored by Intercontinental Exchange Inc. would normally signal soaring demand or a dip in supplies, the +20% plunge seen appears to be a strategic move ahead of a crucial Dec. 1 rule change. Some sellers, looking to avoid an age penalty meant to discourage lengthy coffee storage have pulled older beans off the exchange to resubmit them for a new round of certification, making the coffee appear fresh.
The U.S. based trading platform Robinhood stock fell -14.29% on Wednesday at $8.36 after missing revenue estimates in Q3 even after rising +29%. Robinhood posted $467M in the quarter, below analysts’ estimate of $480M. Revenue was hurt by a 13% decline in 3rd quarter transaction revenue tied to stock trading, compared with the same period last year. Robinhood also reported fewer monthly active users, which fell -16% to 10.3M in the 3rd quarter from the same period last year. Shares are down -22.04% in the past 3 months, but up +2.76% in 2023. The stock is down -9.76% y/y, with a market cap of $8.89B.
Crude production in the U.S. this year will still rise, but by slightly less than previously expected. US crude oil field production is at a current level of 13.20M. Data from China, the world’s biggest crude oil importer, showed its total exports of goods & services contracted faster than expected, fueling worries about the energy demand outlook. In the Eurozone, data indicated falling retail sales, also underscoring weak consumer demand & the prospect of recession.
Shares of Disney rose +6.91% on Thursday at $90.34. The multi media conglomerate expanded its cost cutting measures by $2B & reported stronger-than-expected adjusted earnings for the fiscal 4th quarter. However, revenue fell short of expectations. Disney said its net income jumped +63% to $264M in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, up from $162M a year earlier. Its adjusted earnings per share, excluding items largely related to the amortization of Disney’s acquisitions of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets & Hulu, more than doubled to $0.82 in the quarter. Analysts had been expecting $0.71 a share.
Shares of U.S. based Virgin Galactic Holdings rallied +19.23% on Thursday, at $1.86, a day after the company announced its cost savings initiative, which included pausing spaceflight operations next year. It also laid off 185 employees (18% of its workforce). The firm has been spending heavily to expand its fleet beyond the current sole VSS Unity spacecraft. It posted a net loss in Q3 of $104.6M, or -$0.28 a share, vs a loss of $0.43 a share expected. It generated $1.7M in revenue during the quarter, up from $767K from a year prior.The stock is still down -46.55% in 2023 & -66.18% year on year , with a market cap of $572.73M.

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