Shoot low and sell high

  • Market Overview

Market scorecard

The S&P 500 concluded a fourth consecutive week of gains on Friday, accompanied by a decline in the VIX (Volatility Index), often referred to as Wall Street's "fear gauge." It fell to its lowest level since January 2020, suggesting a diminished level of market fear and increased stability. All three major indices are on track for their best monthly returns in over a year.

In corporate news, the biggest winner on the S&P 500 on Friday was fertiliser maker CF Industries, which rose 2.6%. The weakest performer on the day was First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR ) which dropped 3.3%. Locally, Vodacom (JO: VODJ ) is looking to launch a virtual card with Visa (NYSE: V ) as it continues to push into financial services.

On Friday, the JSE All-share closed up 0.36%, the S&P 500 rose by a tiny 0.06%, and the Nasdaq was 0.11% lower

Byron's beats

I like to compare trading the market to playing golf. There are maybe 40 people on the planet that can get really rich and famous from it. Another few thousand can make a very good living and thousands below that level who get by. Then you have a large base of people who end up losing money and time trying to pursue a very difficult career.

I have been following markets for 15 years now, and I have never been tempted to trade. I know it is just too hard, and I am far better suited to long-term investing. If my golf game is anything to go by, I would most likely lose all my money trading stocks.

Michael's musings

Aitana Lopez, is the pink-haired 25-year-old pictured below. She has over 124 000 followers on Instagram and charges a very reasonable EUR 1 000 per advert feature. Oh, and she is an AI-generated picture. The influencer was created by Barcelona-based modelling agency, The Clueless, because it was tired of human influencers 'who have egos'.

Looking at the picture below, can you tell that it is AI-generated? I can't. It doesn't have the AI-generated errors that usually accompany human pictures, like weird fingers or an ear merging into the neck. Is that a problem? Unsurprisingly, AI-generated models are rapidly appearing on adult content sites.

Next question. As a consumer, do you mind having an AI-generated picture advertising to you? I think that humans and computers both have their roles to play. For example, AI will never be able to sell Nespresso pods like George Clooney.

I understand why content creators would want to work with AI. The computer can do exactly what you want, it works 24/7 and it doesn't come with an ego or social baggage like humans. Are you ready for this new "reality"?

Bright's banter

The recently released movie "Napoleon", directed by Ridley Scott and starring Joaquin Phoenix, hit cinemas on 22 November. The historical biopic tells the story of Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French military general who became the Emperor of France in 1804.

While the film has faced criticism for factual inaccuracies and its bombastic style, its performance at the box office remains to be seen. In comparison, the chart below provides insight into the most successful historical biopics in terms of worldwide box office revenue.

"Oppenheimer" leads the list with over $950 million, followed by "Bohemian Rhapsody" (about Freddie Mercury) with roughly $911 million, and "American Sniper" (about Chris Kyle) with around $548 million.

You will find more infographics at Statista

Signing off

Asian markets are in the red this morning as the MSCI Asia-Pacific index lost its gains seen at the open. Benchmarks fell in Hong Kong, Japan, mainland China and South Korea.

US equity futures edged lower in early trade. The Rand is now fetching R18.83 to the US Dollar.

This week we'll see earnings reports from the likes of Crowdstrike, Salesforce (NYSE: CRM ), Dell, and Snowflake.

Stay hydrated out there. It looks like it will be a toasty week around the country.

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