Stock investors are feeling somewhat relieved after the Federal Reserve yesterday delivered an as expected +25-basis point rate hike.

The trade is now bracing for a trifecta of big tech earnings after the market closes by Alphabet, Apple, and Amazon. Bulls were happy to hear Fed Chief Jerome Powell in his follow up press conference acknowledge that the “disinflation process has started". However, he also stressed that it would be "very premature to declare victory" over inflation at this point. Powell also argued that the risk of not lifting rates enough to tackle inflation was greater than that of tightening too much.

Many bulls are also pointing to language in the the Fed's policy statement that acknowledges that higher interest rates tend to have a delayed impact and that the Fed will let economic data determine how much further lifting needs to be done.

Keep in mind, the Fed doesn't meet again until March 21-22, meaning almost two more months of data before the next interest rate decision. Bears on the other hand are pointing to language in the Fed's policy statement that highlights the same ongoing inflationary factors of “modest growth in spending and production,” “robust” job gains, and a low unemployment rate.

Those "negatives" were also reinforced by employment data yesterday that showed the number of available jobs in December shot back above +11 million, up from 10.4 million the previous month. It was the largest gain in new jobs since July 2021. Bears also point to Powell's insistence that the Fed has "a lot of work left to do," which they take to mean that the central bank will follow through on lifting rates to its projected target of around +5% and hold them there indefinitely if need be to battle inflation.

It's also worth noting that the policy decision was unanimous, indicating that not even the most dovish Fed officials think the inflation fight has gone far enough.

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank announce their policy decisions today which could impact US investor sentiment if either starts talking about ending rate hikes.

Key US economic data due today includes Productivity and Costs and Factory Orders.

The main highlight today will be big tech earnings with Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple all scheduled to report after markets close this afternoon. Many tech bulls are nervous that poor results from one or more of these behemoths could quash the optimism that has recently helped boost the tech sector. Somewhat surprisingly, Meta is providing a bit of optimism after reporting better-than-expected results, including a +4% increase in daily active users.

Keep in mind Meta stock has doubled over the last three months.

Beyond big tech, earnings are due today from Bristol Myers Squibb, CNH, ConocoPhillips, Deckers Outdoor, Eli Lilly, Ferrari, Gilead Sciences, Harley Davidson, The Hartford, Hershey, Honeywell, Merck & Co., Qualcomm, Shell, Skechers, SnapOn, Stanley Black & Decker, Starbucks, and Trane.

Super Bowl Party Foods Get Cheaper in 2023: Even though t he price of food has increased 10.4% compared with a year ago, there may be good news for those planning a Super Bowl party centered on the big game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, your food costs could actually be lower than they were in 2022. Or at least that’s the assessment from Wells Fargo, which does an annual survey of several key game-day food items. The reason party planners may experience some relief is that the prices for chicken wings and avocados, two of the most popular offerings at any Super Bowl bash have dropped considerably. Wings are down by -22% and avocados by -20%. It's worth noting that not all game-day items are lower. If you want something to drink while enjoying those wings, steaks, and guacamole, be prepared to pay up for a beer, whose prices are up by 11% and soda prices by 25%. Source MarketWatch

ARK’s Cathie Wood's Big Ideas 2023: To enlighten investors on the long-term impact of innovation, Cathie Wood's Ark began publishing Big Ideas in 2017. This annual research report seeks to highlight the technological breakthroughs evolving today and creating the potential for super-exponential growth tomorrow. Cathie Wood believes that innovation is taking off now, corroborating her team's original research and boosting their confidence that ARK’s strategies are on the right side of change. Hypersonic flight, 3D printed humanoid robots, groceries delivered by drones, molecular biomarkers for early detection of malignant tumors – these are just some of the many goods and services that could revolutionize marketplaces in the course of this decade, according to Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest. You can read more here.

OpenAI Launches ChatGPT Plus, Starting at $20 Per Month: Aiming to monetize what’s become a viral phenomenon, OpenAI today launched a new pilot subscription plan for ChatGPT, its text-generating AI that can write convincingly human-like essays, poems, emails, lyrics and more. Called ChatGPT Plus and starting at $20 per month, the service delivers a number of benefits over the base-level ChatGPT, OpenAI says, including general access to ChatGPT even during peak times, faster response times and priority access to new features and improvements. ChatGPT Plus might be the first of several plans to come, OpenAI hints. In the blog post, the company says that it’s “actively exploring” options for lower-cost plans, business plans and data packs in addition to an API. ChatGPT has proven to be a publicity win for OpenAI, attracting major media attention and boasting over a million users as of early December. But it’s a pricey service to run. According to OpenAI co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, ChatGPT’s operating expenses are “eye-watering,” amounting to a few cents per chat in total compute costs. Source TechCrunch

Visualizing the Scale of Global Fossil Fuel Production: Fossil fuels have been our predominant source of energy for over a century, and the world still extracts and consumes a colossal amount of coal, oil, and gas every year. This infographic visualizes the volume of global fossil fuel production in 2021 using data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. In 2021, the world produced around 8 billion metric tons (MT) of coal, 4 billion MT of oil, and over 4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Most of the coal is used to generate electricity for our homes and offices and has a key role in steel production. Similarly, natural gas is a large source of electricity and heat for industries and buildings. Oil is primarily used by the transportation sector, in addition to petrochemical manufacturing, heating, and other end uses. For coal, China produced 50% or more than four billion metric tons of the world’s supply in 2021. It’s also the largest consumer of coal, accounting for 54% of coal consumption in 2021. As for oil production, the US, Russia, and Saudi Arabia were the three largest producers, respectively. OPEC countries, including Saudi Arabia, made up the largest share of production at 35% or 1.5 billion metric tons of oil. Natural gas production in 2021 was 4,036 billion cubic meters. The US was the largest producer, with Texas and Pennsylvania accounting for 47% of its gas production. Source Visual Capitalist

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JP Morgan Just Bought a Massive Forest: Investing in woodland conservation isn’t just for wealthy environmentalists anymore. The investment arms of massive banks are getting into the game too, as interest mounts for nature-based solutions to remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. Timber, wood that is grown to use for carpentry or to build homes, may be one of the lesser-known backable assets out there. It has long been considered a reliable investment, and has even held up well against inflation as demand and pricing for the commodity tends to benefit as inflation rises. It’s part of the reason JPMorgan Chase’s asset management arm has had timber in its portfolio for years, and why it now plans to double down.The bank announced on Wednesday it had bought 250,000 acres more of timberland across three sites in the Southeastern U.S. for $500 million. “The properties will be continuously managed for both carbon capture and timber production to meet growing demand for sustainable building products and other uses,” JPMorgan wrote Source Fortune

Netflix Reveals How It Will Prevent Password Sharing: Netflix (NFLX) has revealed the first details of its password sharing crackdown. According to the streaming giant's help center, which updated its FAQ pages for countries currently in the midst of the crackdown (Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru), Netflix accounts will remain shareable but only within one household. (The U.S. may be next up in the first quarter.) As a result, Netflix will require users to identify a "primary location" for all accounts that live within the same household. Users will need sign into the home wifi of the primary location at least once every 31 days to ensure their device is not blocked. The company said it will use information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity to determine whether a device signed into the account is connected to the primary location. Netflix warned in the its quarterly letter to shareholders it will be intensifying its push to combat password sharing Yahoo Finance

GoodRX Fined for Sharing Health Data with Facebook & Google: The FTC on Wednesday filed a court order against GoodRx for failing to notify users that it shared their personal, identifiable health data with Facebook and Google and said it would permanently ban the company from sharing such information for ads, should the court order be federally approved. The court order is the first FTC action under the Health Breach Notification Rule, which requires companies to notify users when their health data is infringed upon, and includes several safeguards aimed at protecting consumer data. The order must be approved by the federal court to go into effect. Per the complaint, the company collects data from users themselves and from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that confirm when someone buys a prescription drug using one of its coupons. Since January 2017, more than 55 million consumers have visited or used GoodRx’s website or mobile apps, the complaint says.Source Axios

Would-Be Homebuyer's May Have Unrealistic Expectations: For the fifth year in a row, many Americans (83%) say buying a home is a priority. But in the Harris Poll's latest survey with NerdWallet, high mortgage rates and a seller-friendly housing market prove to be obstacles. The survey reveals that many buyers may have unrealistic home price expectations. Over ten percent (11%) of Americans plan on buying a home next year. This rate has been steady, ranging from 9-11% of the population, since Harris Poll first asked in 2019. And as with years past, the numbers reflect an unrealistic optimism. For instance, prospective buyers hope to spend $269,200 on average. However, according to the National Association of Realtors, this is significantly lower than the typical home price as of December 2022 was $366,900. About one-third (32%) of Americans feel worse about their ability to purchase a home in 2023 than in 2022 (a 7%-pt increase from last year). The top reasons include a worsening economy (58%), higher mortgage rates, and higher home prices (57%). Three in 10 (30%) Americans who had plans to purchase a home in 2022 (as of January 1, 2022) were successful — they either purchased or were in the process of doing so at the time of the survey. That leaves 70% who were not. 26% of that group postponed or canceled those plans because they couldn’t afford the available homes. Source Nerdwallet

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