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MARCH 1, 2024

SOL SHINES

This week, Solana’s cryptocurrency (SOL) hit a 22-month high of $136, following Bitcoin’s price surge to $64,000, which lifted the entire cryptocurrency market. Solana’s value jumped 11% in the last 24 hours and is now at its highest level since April 2022, marking a 33% increase in just the past week. In addition, it is worth noting that Solana has shown impressive growth recently, bouncing back after dropping to almost $8 in December 2022 due to the FTX collapse, with a rise of over 500% in the past year. Moreover, while Bitcoin has seen a small drop in the past day, it has still risen by 19% in the last week, and Ethereum is currently trading around $3,438.30 after increasing by 16% in the week. Furthermore, in terms of market capitalization, Dogecoin is leading the way, surging by 53% to nearly $0.13 this week. This meme coin trend has extended to the Solana ecosystem, with meme coins like Bonk (BONK) more than doubling in price over the past week, reaching $0.000025. Another dog-themed meme coin, Dogwifhat (WIF), also saw significant gains, jumping 198% this week to $0.9.

GOLD REACHES HIGH

Gold prices have increased to a one-month high and seem to poised for a second consecutive week of gains due to the recent U.S. data that suggested that inflation is slowing, which has raised investor expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate cut in June. As of 8:00 AM CST, spot gold increased by 0.25% to $2,059.80 per ounce – its highest level since February 2. In addition, analysts believe that the latest inflation figures and the potential rate cut could result in increased demand for gold. However, the largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust’s holdings, decreased in February and year-to-date. Meanwhile, spot silver increased by 0.2% to $22.72 per ounce, but looked set to extend declines for a second straight week, while spot platinum remained steady at $876 per ounce, while palladium gained 0.8% to $949.39. Nonetheless, both platinum and palladium recorded a weekly decline.

EARNINGS SUCCESS

Dell Technologies Inc. experienced robust growth in its fiscal fourth quarter, buoyed by a surge in demand for information technology equipment used for artificial intelligence operations. The company reported a remarkable revenue increase of $9.33 billion in its infrastructure unit, driven primarily by AI-optimized servers, resulting in a significant rise of 21% in the company’s shares. Dell further projected a revenue range of $91 billion to $95 billion by February 2025 and disclosed that they had delivered $800 million in AI-optimized servers in the previous quarter, while also revealing plans for a 20% increase in its annual dividend. However, these favorable financial developments occurred during an 11% revenue decline in the quarter, reflecting ongoing struggles in the PC market, as sales of personal computers dropped 12% to $11.7 billion. Regarding market recovery, Dell noted that the PC market is expected to remain soft in the near-term, with hopes for recovery in the second half, as enterprise and large customers remain cautious about their spending. Furthermore, while experiencing robust growth, the company also faces challenges, such as the shortage of advanced computer chips that is constraining its business, a situation mirrored by its competitor, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

BANKING STRUGGLE

New York Community Bancorp’s shares experienced a drop of 30% after the bank disclosed “material weaknesses” in its internal controls relating to loan reviews, escalating existing investor concerns about its exposure to commercial real estate. The revealed weaknesses were attributed to “ineffective oversight, risk assessment and monitoring activities” by the bank. As a result, NYCB’s market value has continued to dwindle after reporting an unexpected loss for the fourth quarter and reducing its dividend to adhere to rigorous regulation. Moreover, the concerns encompassed the wider regional banking industry, as the KBW Regional Banking Index declined by nearly 9% following NYCB’s announcement. The downward spiral continued with B Riley Financial, which witnessed a 14% drop in premarket trading after decreasing its quarterly dividend by half and considering restructuring its appraisal, valuation, and retail, wholesale, and industrial solutions divisions.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Chinese stocks experienced a sudden 9% surge in February, prompting confusion due to the absence of support from earnings growth. Consequently, many market participants are uncertain about the future of Chinese stocks and are proceeding with caution. Sudarshan Murthy, a fund manager at GQG Partners LLC, attributes this confusion to the complex policy measures implemented by the Chinese government, creating a challenging environment for investors amidst weak earnings growth. Despite this, Murthy’s firm, GQG, has achieved impressive returns without heavy investment in Chinese equities, signaling caution and uncertainty among global investors. Meanwhile, UBS Global Wealth Management has adopted a defensive approach, and other investors, including hedge funds, have taken short positions in response to the market rebound. This reflects the widespread caution and uncertainty surrounding the recent surge in Chinese stocks.

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