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ResearchThree Things (11/6)

Three Things (11/6)

Nov 6, 2023

"Life is too short for long-term grudges." -  Elon Musk


New sheriff in town

xAI, Elon Musk’s artificial-intelligence startup, showed off its first product: a bot named Grok that rivals ChatGPT. In a series of social-media posts over the weekend, Musk said Grok will be designed for tasks including information retrieval and coding assistance, part of an effort to create AI tools “that assist humanity in its quest for understanding and knowledge.” Musk said Grok would be made available to X’s Premium+ subscribers after beta testing with a limited group of users.

“The pace of AI is faster than any technology I’ve seen in history by far,” Musk said on Thursday in a conversation with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. “On balance I think AI will be a force for good most likely, but the probability of it going bad is not zero percent, so we just need to mitigate the downside potential.” (WSJ)

October declines

U.S. stock markets all lost ground in October, the third consecutive month of declines and the longest losing streak since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The S&P 500 slid by 2.2% during the month, the nasdaq composite by 2.8% and the Dow Jones industrial average by 1.4%. 

Investors are adapting to a world of higher interest rates, which reduce the present value of future earnings. The future remains uncertain as fears loom large over the sell-off in the bond market, oil prices, and the tight labor market.

iPhone fears

Apple’s fiscal fourth-quarter results late Thursday indicate that its newest iPhones aren’t off to a fast start. iPhone revenue for the quarter rose 3% year over year to about $43.8 billion, in line with analysts’ forecasts. But that compares with a 10% gain in the previous year’s fourth quarter and a 47% surge in 2021, when the iPhone 13 family launched to surprisingly strong demand.

Compared with its big tech peers inflated by artificial-intelligence hype, Apple seemed to have the lowest bar to clear in the current earnings season. We aren’t so worried about the weakness out of China but we are paying attention to the weakening consumer and its impacts on the upgrade cycle (and the overall economy, for that matter) heading into year end.


Disclosures:

As of writing, AAPL is a holding in Titan's Flagship strategy. Twitter (X Holding) is a 1.92% holding in the ARK Venture Fund.

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