Morning Reads


  • CSX (CSX) train derailed in South Carolina. Fox News
  • NBC (CMCSA) wants to get NBA rights. CNBC
  • US Labor Board accused Starbucks (SBUX) of illegally terminating employees. Bloomberg
  • UAE has more concerns about oil supply than demand (USO, XLE, XOM, CVX, BP, SHEL, OXY, DVN). Bloomberg
  • New study shows adolescent girls have record levels of sadness and high levels of suicidal thoughts. Pandemic and social media use are being cited as factors (METASNAPGOOG). NY Times
  • Super Bowl 57 was watched by 113 million viewers, the third highest rated TV program in history (FOXA). CNN
  • Wal Mart (WMT) will close three technology hubs. WSJ
  • Apple's (AAPL) plan to increase production in India is running into snags. FT
  • Tesla (TSLA) workers at New York plant want to unionize. Bloomberg
  • Paramount (PARA) aiming to sell Simon & Schuster. Reuters

Todays Open Interest Change




Economics professor Kazuo Ueda has been nominated as the Bank of Japan's next governor, ending weeks of speculation among global investors. He's set to succeed Haruhiko Kuroda, who will step down in April after overseeing a decade of policies that aimed to shake off a deflationary environment by keeping interest rates at ultra-low levels. Ueda is known as a soft-spoken pragmatic academic, but was also a former member of the central bank's policy board and kept close ties to the BOJ since leaving the position in 2005.

Why it's important: The BOJ is the last major central bank on the globe to maintain an ultra-loose monetary policy stance. However, questions have swirled over how long that could last in the wake of inflationary pressures, especially with regards to the Bank of Japan's signature yield curve control - which has become increasingly difficult to defend in the current environment. Many previously thought that the top spot at the BOJ would go to a seasoned central banker like Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya, but the surprise nomination of Ueda could mean that things may be changing in terms of direction (Amamiya was one of the key architects of monetary policy over the past decade).

Putting a spotlight on the economy, Japanese inflation hit a multi-decade high of 4% in December, which is double the BOJ's longstanding 2% target. Earlier today, the country's Q4 annualized GDP growth expanded only 0.6%, which was much less than expected amid slumping business investment. SA contributor Hunting Alpha still calls the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ) the sumo wrestler of ETFs in a recent technical analysis (it's up 6.2% YTD).

Speaking of monetary policy: The U.S. Federal Reserve will be closely watching today's release of the Consumer Price Index for January, which will gauge how well the central bank is faring in its fight against inflationWall Street Breakfast subscribers are also weighing in on what kind of landing is in store for the American economy with over 1,000 responses received in the latest poll. Most expect that a "soft landing" is now in the works, but explore a full breakdown of the results here. (13 comments)

Ways to play Cupid

Valentine's Day spending by consumers is forecast by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights to rise 8.4% to $25.9B in 2023, to become one of the highest spending years on record. The top gifts expected to be doled out include candy (57% of respondents), greeting cards (40%), flowers (37%), an evening out (32%), jewelry (21%), gift cards (20%) and clothing (19%). Some stocks traditionally associated with getting an extra sales boost from Valentine's Day include (FLWS), Hershey (HSY), and OpenTable, which is owned by Booking Holdings (BKNG). See the rest of the list here.

Getting physical

Amazon (AMZN) CEO Andy Jassy is planning to double down on the company's struggling brick-and-mortar business, with the retail behemoth ready to "go big" on physical stores in 2023. Blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for ongoing struggles, Amazon has yet to disrupt the grocery sector since scooping up Whole Foods for $13.7B in 2017. The "Just Walk Out" technology of Amazon Fresh grocery stores and Amazon Go convenience shops have also only seen limited traction, while locations have been closed down and a related $720M impairment charge was recorded in Q4 results. Also check out recent SA contributor commentary, like Ironside Research's Looking Ahead: Why Amazon Must Execute Flawlessly In 2023. (10 comments)

Charged up

Ford (NYSE:F) has confirmed plans to invest $3.5B to build a lithium iron phosphate battery plant in Michigan with the aid of Chinese battery giant CATL. The new facility will employ 2,500 people when production begins in 2026 (though the automaker just announced thousands of layoffs elsewhere overnight). In a call with the media, Vice President of EV Industrialization Lisa Drake addressed the political risk of working with the Chinese battery giant amid elevated Sino-American tensions. Meanwhile, cross-town rival General Motors (GM) reportedly scrapped plans to construct a fourth battery plant alongside LG Energy Solution in January, though it's unclear if the automaker has selected a new company to replace its South Korean partner. (35 comments)

Today's Economic Calendar

In Asia, Japan +0.6%. Hong Kong -0.2%. China +0.3%. India +1%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +0.6%. Frankfurt +0.5%.
Futures at 7:00, Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.4%. Crude -1.5% to $78.93. Gold +0.3% to $1868.40. Bitcoin +0.6% to $21,836.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -3 bps to 3.69%

Today's Economic Calendar

6:00 NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
8:30 Consumer Price Index

Companies reporting earnings today »

What else is happening...

First profitable quarter: Palantir (PLTR) blasts off on beat and forecast.

Super Bowl ratings are in at Fox (FOX), with a bump from Rihanna.

Microsoft (MSFT) rolls out ChatGPT functionality for desktop users.

Twilio (TWLO) next tech company to cut 17% of its workforce.

Meta's (META) chief business officer is leaving after 13 years.

Chevron (CVX) may extend CEO Wirth past mandatory retirement age.

Report: U.S. to sell 26M more barrels from Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Why is Fastly (FSLY) surging? A double upgrade from BofA.

Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard set to head National Economic Council.

Amazon (AMZN) completes robotaxi test with passengers on public roads

Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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