From Nvidia's climb to the top to "doom spending" – Here are today's Headlines

Nvidia has officially outpaced Google's parent company, Alphabet, in market value.

From Nvidia's climb to the top to "doom spending" – Here are today's Headlines
NVIDIA HGX AI Supercomputer on display during the annual Foxconn Tech Day in Taipei, Taiwan October 18, 2023. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

Nvidia beats Google in market cap

The backstory: As you might recall, back in 2022, OpenAI's ChatGPT caused quite a stir in the tech world, pulling heavyweights like Google and Microsoft into the quickly developing artificial intelligence (AI) scene. This AI excitement also boosted tech stocks, especially for companies like Nvidia. Nvidia's graphics processing units (GPUs) are some of the best chips used to train AI, and they became hot commodities as the demand for deep-learning AI models surged.

More recently: Last year, Nvidia dove headfirst into AI under CEO Jensen Huang's leadership. The company rolled out various AI innovations and teamed up with Foxconn to create "AI factories" for crafting smart technologies like self-driving cars and large language models.

The development: Nvidia has officially outpaced Google's parent company, Alphabet, in market value. Click the link here for more.

Chinese chipmakers are a buy?

China chip semiconductor
A Chinese flag is displayed next to a "Made in China" sign seen on a printed circuit board with semiconductor chips, in this illustration picture taken February 17, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo

The backstory: Semiconductor chips are used in most of our everyday technology, from mobile phones to refrigerators and cars. And with the recent boom in artificial intelligence (AI), chips used for training AI are in super-high demand.

In 2022, under the Biden administration, the US introduced the CHIPS and Science Act, which was legislation that aimed to invest in domestic scientific innovation and tech, including chipmaking. The US also introduced new export rules around the same time to restrict the sales of advanced chips and the tech used to make them to China, including anything made abroad using US equipment.

More recently: In July last year, China announced restrictions on exports of key materials needed to make chips and other electronics, which it said was because of national security concerns. Although many saw this as a response to the US chip export rules. But afterward, a lot of top executives from US chip companies met with US officials to urge the government not to introduce any more restrictions as it was causing challenges when doing business with China. 

The development: China has put over US$100 billion into boosting domestic chip manufacturing to get past some of these hurdles and become more self-reliant. So, analysts from Wall Street firms like Barclays and Sanford C. Bernstein are now telling clients to invest in Chinese chip companies. Click the link here for more.

Uber's US$7 billion buyback

The Uber logo is shown on the building in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 14, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The backstory: Uber, the global company famous for its ride-hailing and food delivery services, has been a major player in transportation since it started in 2009, changing the game for traditional taxis with its easy-to-use app connecting riders directly with drivers. But it's also made big changes under CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's leadership since 2017. The company moved beyond just offering rides, doubling down on its restaurant delivery and expanding into things like grocery delivery and advertising to be more profitable. This helped Uber make it through the pandemic when lockdowns meant people needed food delivery more than they were looking for rides. 

After expanding into Uber Eats and offering other services, Uber went public on the New York Stock Exchange in May 2019. Last December, Uber even hit a big milestone by joining the S&P 500 Index, which represents 500 of the largest companies on Wall Street.

The development: Uber is now kicking off its first-ever share buyback program, aiming to buy back US$7 billion of its own shares after a solid financial performance in 2023. Click the link here for more.

To end, we'll look into:

What is “doom spending?”

For older generations, the dream of home ownership, two-and-a-half kids and that white picket fence was the vibe. But now, with rising home prices, a cost of living crisis, wars and climate change – the world we’re living in seems a lot gloomier than it used to. So, that’s why Gen Z and millennials are turning to something being called “doom spending.”

Younger generations are spending more and more on luxury goods these days rather than saving for long-term goals like buying property or a retirement nest egg. It could take years to save up a down payment on a home – but that Birkin bag is a treat you can have today. Why work towards a goal that seems like it’s slipping further and further out of reach? Click the link here for more.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks closed at a record high on Thursday, making a recovery from earlier losses.
  • In Hong Kong: Hong Kong stocks went up on Thursday, following Wall Street's lead, driven by good earnings and expectations for new US inflation data.

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In the US: Shake Shack saw a jump of over 26% in premarket trading after a strong Q4 report. 
  • Tripadvisor shot up by 9.2% after it did better than expected in revenue and profit.
  • Coinbase rose more than 3% after JPMorgan upgraded it, mentioning climbing cryptocurrency prices.
  • In Hong Kong: Nio jumped almost 4%, and XPeng rose 1.7% 
  • climbed 2.4%, and Xiaomi, Bilibili and Baidu each gained over 1%.

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In the US: January's advance retail sales took a hit, declining by 0.8%, surpassing economists' expectations of a 0.3% decrease.
  • Also, initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to 212,000, down 8,000 from last week and below the estimate of 220,000.
  • In Hong Kong: No specific events or data are expected in China due to the Lunar New Year celebration.

📅To check out our economic calendar for this week, click here.

More headlines ...

📰Middle East update: Since October, when the Israel/Gaza conflict broke out, Lebanon-based group Hezbollah and Israel have been fighting almost daily. Hezbollah launched a rocket attack against Israel on Wednesday from Lebanon, and Israel retaliated with a fighter jet attack later that day. Israel also launched an airstrike that killed 10 civilians, and Hezbollah politician Hassan Fadlallah told Reuters that its "enemy will pay the price for these crimes." 

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that Israel will advance its offensive on the southern Palestinian city of Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering, despite warnings and advice against the move from many in the international community. 

🚀Nuclear weapons in space?: The US House Intelligence Committee chairman, Mike Turner, has said that Congress was warned about a "national security threat" related to a "destabilizing foreign military capability," asking for the information to be declassified and discussed openly. Reportedly, this has to do with the country's security concerns over a Russian space-based nuclear weapon designed to target US satellites. But, Russia dismissed these reports, calling them a "malicious fabrication." 

💬North Korea and Japan relations: Japanese PM Fumio Kishida has said he was open to exploring the possibilities of a summit with North Korea to resolve the matter of Japanese civilians abducted in the 1970s and 1980s. In a statement to the Korean Central News Agency on Thursday, Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, responded positively to this, saying she sees potential for the two countries to improve their relations.  

💰The UK and Japan slip into recession: Yesterday, we reported that Germany had taken Japan's spot as the world's third-biggest economy. New data has shown that both the UK and Japan have fallen into recession after their economies shrunk for two quarters in a row. The UK recession was caused by people spending less, doctors' strikes and a fall in school attendance. Meanwhile, Japan has seen its yen weaken alongside an aging population and low birth rate.

✈️Return ticket shortages in China: Because of a surge in visitors to China's popular tourist island, Hainan, there's been a shortage in return plane tickets, leading to increased prices. This has left many people stranded and unable to go home before the end of the longer Lunar New Year holidays on Saturday. A lot of people are saying that the travelers are to blame for poor planning. 

🚢Tobago oil spill: A little over a week ago, a vessel capsized in the Caribbean Sea and leaked fuel on Tobago's coastline. Now, the oil spill has spread to Grenada's waters and could also impact Venezuela. Authorities in Grenada, Panama, Aruba and Guyana have been contacted by Trinidad and regional group Caricom, as they can't plug the leak without more info about the vessel. 

🍜Carcinogens in instant noodles: study published by Hong Kong's Consumer Council on Thursday found that almost 90% of a range of instant noodles it tested contained potentially cancer-causing chemicals and were also very high in sodium and fat. The consumer watchdog is urging the industry to use better ingredients with fewer contaminants to protect public health.

🫰Bali's new entry tax: Travelers entering Bali, one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, must now pay a tax of US$10, as Indonesian authorities are aiming to protect the island's environment and culture. The entry tax was announced last year and went into effect on Wednesday.

🏳️‍🌈Greek LGBTQ+ vote: Greece has become one of the first Orthodox Christian countries to legalize same-sex marriage, with its Parliament voting on the bill late on Thursday. Ahead of the vote, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Parliament to "say yes to equality."

⚡India talks to join IEA: India has plans to begin talks with the International Energy Agency, a watchdog of energy-consuming nations, about becoming a full member. India's membership "would mark a huge, consequential change in international energy governance," a joint statement read. "In the next three decades, India is poised to see the largest energy demand growth of any country."

🚀Nova-C launch: It seems like everyone is trying to land on the moon these days, and the US is no exception. On Thursday, private company Intuitive Machines partnered with Elon Musk's SpaceX and launched its Nova-C spacecraft in an effort to land the first intact US craft on the moon since 1972. If successful, Intuitive Machines will be the first to land a privately-built spacecraft on the moon's surface. It's scheduled to touch down near the moon's south pole on February 22.

🙀Taylor Swift-Ye Super Bowl rumors: Remember when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift on stage while she was accepting a VMA award, grabbing the mic and saying Beyoncé was better? Well, rumors are swirling that Swift got Ye kicked out of the stadium after finding out he'd bought Super Bowl seats right in front of her suite. Former football pro Brandon Marshall said on his Paper Route podcast that "she boom-boom makes a call or two … He gets kicked out the stadium." Maybe karma is her boyfriend. West addressed this and other topics in a lengthy Instagram post, saying he was not kicked out of the Super Bowl; he and his wife left the seats to hang out in a different box.

👗Met Gala theme announced: Vogue announced on Thursday that the dress code for this year's Met Gala on May 6 will be "The Garden of Time." Anna Wintour, Vogue's editor-in-chief, will have co-chairs that include Zendaya, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Lopez (J.Lo) and Bad Bunny. 

Quiz Time!

What tech giant just beat Google parent Alphabet in market value this week?

  1. AMD
  2. Microsoft
  3. TSMC
  4. Nvidia

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Written and put together by Joey Fung, Alisha Khan and Christine Dulion

**The answer to the quiz is [4]