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Cash Is King

Berkshire Hathaway, Hedge Funds, xAI

Good Morning!

Monday magic unleashed 🧙

👉 Berkshire’s revealing quarter 💵

👉 Bond demand shifting 📈

👉 Musk’s Grok turns heads 🤖

Off we go!

BERKSHIRE: Cash Is King

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported its financial results on Saturday, revealing a strategic position amid a challenging investment landscape. The company's operating profits showed a robust increase to $10.76 billion in the recent quarter, marking a significant 40.6% rise from the $7.65 billion earned in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. This performance is driven by earnings from its array of subsidiaries, which span industries like insurance, railroads, and utilities.

At the same time, the Omaha-based giant is sitting on a mountain of cash, having reached a historic high of $157.2 billion by September's end, topping its own previous record from the third quarter of 2021 by nearly $8 billion.

While the conglomerate's stock price soared, reaching unprecedented levels, its share buyback program decelerated, with only $1.1 billion spent on repurchasing shares in the third quarter. This is part of a more conservative buyback spend of about $7 billion over the first nine months.

Source: CNBC

Amidst these developments, the "Oracle of Omaha" has been strategically purchasing short-term Treasury bills, drawn by yields of at least 5%. The value of these investments climbed to $126.4 billion by the third quarter's conclusion, up from approximately $93 billion at the end of the last year, showcasing a tactical move in an environment of rising bond yields.

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BONDS: Hedge Funds Go Short

Before a surprising rally triggered by lower-than-anticipated US bond auctions and disappointing employment figures, hedge funds increased their bets against US Treasury bonds to unprecedented levels. Data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, dating back to 2006, shows that as of October 31, hedge funds had significantly expanded their net short positions on Treasury futures. This increase in short positions occurred despite a rise in the price of the actual bonds the previous week.

Source: Bloomberg

Since reaching a high of 5.02% on October 23, the interest rates on 10-year US Treasury bonds have decreased by 43 basis points, indicating a shift in sentiment among traders in the $26 trillion bond market to anticipate a halt in interest rate increases. This shift may have been prompted by a mix of factors, including reduced US government borrowing requirements, employment figures that fell short of expectations, and indications that the Federal Reserve may be adopting a less aggressive stance, which likely led to a broad unwinding of short positions.

GROK: Musk’s AI Odyssey

Elon Musk's xAI Corp. debuted its first AI model, challenging leading tech entities like OpenAI, Google, and Meta. This fresh AI solution, dubbed Grok, is outfitted with the unique feature of "real-time access" to the stream of data from X, the vast social network Musk secured for $44 billion a year prior. Musk emphasized in an announcement on Saturday evening that Grok's direct access to up-to-the-minute data from X offers a notable advantage, setting it apart from other AI models that generally rely on more static and historical internet data.

Source: Bloomberg

Firms specializing in generative AI have secured billions in funding this year. This influx of capital comes from investors eager to back what supporters claim could be a significant technological shift as the advent of the internet. Yet, there are concerns from some quarters that this rush of enthusiasm may fuel a tech bubble, especially since the commercial application of such technology is still in its nascent stages.

The recent success of xAI in rolling out a sophisticated model after merely two months of development indicates how new players are starting to chip away at the considerable headway made by OpenAI, which launched its landmark ChatGPT chatbot nearly a year ago.

Headlines You Need To Know: 🎙

  • Google is set for a second anti-trust lawsuit in two months

  • Across thousands of retailers, Christmas spending outlook is cautious

  • Starbucks to raise wage for US workers

  • Mark Zuckerberg tears ACL while training

  • SEC rule to speed traders puts $1 trillion at risk

  • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos announces move to Miami

  • Biden rewards $16 billion+ to boost Northeast rail projects

  • Kai Fu-Lee builds $1 billion startup in eight months

  • Hiring is slowing-slowly

Apple Drive

There’s a big rumor going around that the Apple car will be available soon with some WILD features. In 2014, Apple took on a secret project called “Project Titan,” which was to build the ultimate fully autonomous driving car that featured the best technology. They recruited thousands of the top engineers in the automobile space. However, in 2020, rumors were going rampant that the Apple car was no longer a project until 2022 when we found out that the project was still moving forward, but it was much smaller. The creator and head of the Apple Watch has recently taken over the project. They decided it would not be fully autonomous but semi-autonomous like their competitor, Tesla.

Source: Shacknews

Rumors are swirling that we could have an Apple car sooner rather than later. Apple has been in talks with car manufacturers like Hyundai to produce the Apple Car and has met with suppliers for state-of-the-art sensors. Apple’s plan for the car is to have a battery that blows Tesla out of the water along with the best chip in the business. The key features of the new Apple car will be exciting innovative functionalities that link to the iPhone. 

Chart of the Day

High Yield Spreads Spike Before Recessions

Some economists consider this a leading indicator.

Source: Bloomberg

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Source: @wallstbets

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