MARKET RECAP → US stocks pulled back for a third day in a row on Wednesday as investors mulled ADP’s November private payroll data, indicating a weaker job market and raising renewed concerns of a recession. Rates continued to move lower, with the US 10Y Treasury now yielding 4.12%, while Bitcoin (BTC) held on to its recent gains despite fresh criticism on Capitol Hill.
DIMON SLAMS CRYPTO … AGAIN → 💸 JPMorgan’s (JPM) Jamie Dimon blasts cryptocurrencies at a Senate hearing, advocating for a shutdown over criminal use concerns, despite his bank’s blockchain involvement. In previous statements, Dimon has called Bitcoin (BTC) a “hyped-up fraud” and likened it to a “pet rock” .
PHONE NOTIFICATION SPYING ALERT → Senator Ron Wyden uncovers that foreign governments are forcing Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) to surrender push notification data, potentially spying on users, sparking calls for greater transparency in data requests.
MCDONALD’S EXPANSION PLANS → McDonald’s (MCD) sets ambitious targets to open over 8,800 new outlets and grow its loyalty program by 100 million members by 2027, aiming for a global footprint of 50,000 locations amid increased capital spending.
GOOGLE UNVEILS GEMINI AI → Google (GOOG) debuts Gemini, its most advanced AI model yet, with capabilities spanning text, code, and multimedia, set to revolutionize products like Bard and Search Generative Experience.
💬 JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon, speaking at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, vehemently criticized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). He argued that their only real use is for illegal activities such as money laundering, drug trafficking, and tax avoidance, and suggested that if he were in charge, he would shut down the crypto industry.
🚫 Despite his harsh stance on cryptocurrencies, Dimon’s bank, JPMorgan Chase, is actively involved in blockchain technology, which underpins the $1.6 trillion crypto industry. Dimon has previously called bitcoin a “hyped-up fraud” and likened it to a “pet rock,” though he later retracted these comments.
🤝 The hearing, which included other major bank CEOs, found common ground with Senator Elizabeth Warren on the need for crypto companies to adhere to the same anti-money-laundering regulations as traditional financial institutions. Warren emphasized the importance of preventing terrorists, drug traffickers, and rogue nations from using cryptocurrencies for harmful activities.
PHONE NOTIFICATION SPYING ALERT
🔍 U.S. Senator Ron Wyden revealed that foreign governments have been compelling Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) to hand over push notification records, potentially spying on smartphone users. This data includes details like news alerts, emails, and social media notifications.
📱 The push notifications, which travel through Apple and Google’s servers, can provide unique insights into individual app usage. Governments can legally demand these records, just as they can request other user information, though such demands are not publicly disclosed in the U.S.
📢 Wyden urged transparency from Apple and Google regarding these legal demands, especially from foreign governments. Both companies have expressed commitment to user notification about government data requests, with Apple planning to update its transparency reporting to include these types of requests.
MCDONALD’S EXPANSION PLANS
🍔 McDonald’s (MCD) aims to open over 8,800 new locations and add 100 million members to its loyalty program by 2027, as part of its long-term strategy to grow sales across its global restaurant footprint.
💵 For 2024, the fast-food giant projects a 4% net new restaurant growth, with nearly 2% of systemwide sales growth coming from these additions. Post-2024, McDonald’s plans to grow its restaurant count by 4% to 5% annually, contributing about 2.5% to systemwide sales growth.
🌐 With a goal of reaching 50,000 locations globally by 2027, McDonald’s anticipates increased capital expenditures, rising from $2.5 billion in 2024 to an additional $300 million to $500 million each year through 2027. The expansion will focus mainly on the U.S. and international operated markets, including France, Canada, and Australia.
GOOGLE UNVEILS GEMINI AI
🤖 Google (GOOG) launched Gemini, its largest and most capable AI model, in three sizes: Gemini Ultra, Gemini Pro, and Gemini Nano, for various applications including mobile devices.
💻 Gemini Ultra outperformed human experts in MMLU (massive multitask language understanding) and will power Google’s Bard chatbot and Search Generative Experience. Gemini Pro and Nano will be accessible to developers and enterprise customers through Google AI Studio and Google Cloud Vertex AI.
🌐 CEO Sundar Pichai described Gemini as multimodal, capable of processing text, code, audio, image, and video. The model represents a significant advancement in AI, with Gemini Ultra set to enhance Bard’s capabilities in early 2023.
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US fines PwC $7 million for allowing cheating in audit exams in China (CNN)
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Klarna freezes hiring because AI can do the job instead (Mashable)
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And if you want more, be sure to check out the MoneyLion blog for tips, hacks and all things money. (MoneyLife)
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