Squiz Today / 01 February 2024

Squiz Today – 1 February 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10.15 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Things that weren’t on my 2024 bingo card: meeting Jannik Sinner in Dubai Airport security as we both sorted out our hand luggage.”

Posted ordinary traveller Katie Bevano who witnessed the Australian Open champ lugging his trophy through the airport in what can only be described as a laundry bag. Sinner’s been welcomed home a hero in Italy – greeted by none other than PM Giorgia Meloni…

Big tech makes some big gains

The Squiz  

As the Australian news cycle is dominated by stories of managing the ongoing cost of living crisis, some big American companies talked about some big bucks yesterday. Tech giants Microsoft (the most valuable company in the world) and Google (the fourth most valuable) delivered their financial updates yesterday. And Tesla (the world’s most valuable automotive company) is talking about its financial affairs for a different reason. It’s good to stay across these things, so let’s get into it. 

Give me the low down…

Microsoft is riding a high after it recently overtook Apple with a market valuation of over $3 trillion. That’s down to its foray into artificial intelligence with a massive investment in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. Its purchase of gaming company Activision also helped the company rake in a total of US$62 billion of revenue in the last 3 months of 2023 – up 18% year-over-year. Market researcher Jeremy Goldman says “while peers like Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Meta navigate the AI landscape, Microsoft is firmly establishing itself as a frontrunner in the AI race”. Speaking of… Alphabet/Google pulled in $86.3 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 13%. That’s a record in the company’s 26-year history, but it wasn’t rewarded with its share price falling 6.5% overnight. For one thing, investors aren’t convinced it’s far enough advanced with AI compared to its peers. 

And what’s happening with Tesla?

Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company has hit a few road bumps this year, with its share price dropping 26% since the start of January… To put a dollar figure on that, it means the company’s value is down $300 billion, and it’s down to “notably lower” growth projections. Experts say that’s down to the demand for electric vehicles falling as silent as their engines. And it might be why Tesla shareholders are a bit happy about a US judge rejecting Musk’s $84 billion pay package… Musk had testified he’d use the money for “a way to get humanity to Mars”, but Delaware Court of Chancery Judge Kathaleen McCormick said it was “an unfathomable sum”. In response, Musk took to his social platform X to advise people to “never incorporate your company in the state of Delaware”.

Business & Finance Technology

Squiz the Rest

Inflation falls as hope rises

Mortgage holders may breathe a sigh of relief next Tuesday as finance boffins predict the Reserve Bank will leave interest rates on hold following a significant fall in inflation reported by the Bureau of Stats yesterday. Prices rose by just 0.6% in the October-December quarter – the smallest rise in nearly 2 years. That’s helped to almost halve inflation from a peak of 7.8% a year ago to 4.1%. Before you break open the bubbly, analysts say the Reserve Bank will likely leave the current 4.35% interest rate where it is, with a cut later this year – maybe in August. And it’s expected that rents, house prices, insurance and electricity costs will all remain high. That’s a problem Reserve Bank Governor Michele Bullock referred to as “homegrown” – that is, local economic/market issues rather than external factors like blocked global supply chains.


A couple of world news updates…

Israel has proposed a 6-week pause on fighting in the Gaza Strip as the death toll passed 26,700, according to the Hamas-led health ministry. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has confirmed he will travel to Cairo to discuss the ceasefire proposal, which would see more Israeli hostages exchanged for Palestinian prisoners and the resumption of widespread food and medicine deliveries to Gaza. But Haniyeh says that the group’s priority is to secure a permanent ceasefire and the full withdrawal of Israel from Palestine – 2 things that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out

And Imran Khan – Pakistan’s former PM/legend cricketer – has copped his second lengthy jail sentence in as many days. Late yesterday, he and his wife were sentenced to 14 years in prison for illegally profiting from state gifts. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to 10 years for leaking classified state documents. He is currently in jail after being found guilty last year of corruption.

World News

The puzzle of the century

A US underwater exploration company reckons it’s cracked one of aviation’s greatest mysteries and found the missing plane of flying legend Amelia Earhart. Earhart and her navigator vanished in 1937 after taking off from Papua New Guinea during their round-the-world attempt. Deep Sea Vision boss Tony Romeo reckons he’s found the wreck of her plane about 5km underwater near Howland Island – which was meant to be Earhart’s destination. He reckons that “you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that it’s not an airplane and further – that it’s not Amelia’s plane.” The plan is to head back to the site to gather more images. If the plane is in good nick, they hope to bring it to the surface, restore it and put it in the Smithsonian in Washington. Some doubters think the angle of the wings means it’s far from certain it is Earhart’s plane. What a mystery…

World News

Elmo starts an existential crisis

There is a universal rule that if you ask the internet a question, you will get a swift and often brutal answer – even if you are a well-meaning puppet… It started on Monday when Sesame Street fave Elmo innocently asked “How is everybody doing?” on X (aka Twitter). The question transformed the fluffy red character into the world’s therapist as thousands of users piled on with their tales of woe and “staring into the abyss”. Even celebrities got in on the trauma dump… Actor Rachel Zegler said she was “resisting the urge to tell Elmo that i am kinda sad.” Cue countless memes of emotional bin fires… But in true internet style, the trend quickly flipped into offers of support. The red guy followed up with a tweet saying he learned that “it is important to ask a friend how they are doing”. Solid advice from the puppet psychologist…


Apropos of Nothing

Mitch Marsh has taken out the Allan Border Medal – the prize for the men’s cricketer of the season. Thanking coach Andrew McDonald and captain Pat Cummins, Marsh said “I’m a bit fat at times and I love a beer, but you see the best in me always.” And taking out the Belinda Clark Award for the women’s player of the year was Ash Gardner. The spin bowler had an epic season… 

If you’re still desperately clinging to ‘coastal grandma’ chic even though it’s tres passé, the good news is the latest fashion trend might also be up your alley… Step up ‘eclectic grandpa’ – think sweater vests and flat caps. Time to raid Pop Pop’s closet…

A US animal shelter is offering a Valentine’s Day gift with a twist. For a fee of $50 they’ll let you name a feral cat after your ex – then neuter or spay the poor puddy cat. “Because some things shouldn’t breed”, according to the cheeky promotional post…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.00am (AEDT) – The Australian Electoral Commission releases the annual financial disclosure returns from MPs and Senators 

ABS Data Release – Building Approvals, December 2023; International Trade Price Indexes, December 2023 

Beginning of Ovarian Cancer Month 

Start of African-American History Month in the US 

World Hijab Day

A birthday for Harry Styles (1994)

Anniversary of:

  • the arrest of Martin Luther King Jr and 700 protestors in Selma, Alabama (1965)
  • the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster killing all 7 astronauts aboard (2003)
Squiz the Day

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