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Today in the Market (12/15/2023)

Good Evening! On Friday, driven by a cautious and accommodative stance from the Federal Reserve, the Dow Jones Industrial Average concluded the week at an all-time high, with US equities achieving their longest consecutive weekly period of gains since 2017.

The Dow Jones and the Nasdaq increased by 0.15% and 0.35%, respectively, while the S&P 500 finished barely under 0.01%.

STRONG EARNINGS!

Costco (COST) reported strong profitability for its first quarter of fiscal year 2024, leading to an increase in its stock price during Friday’s trading session.

  • Revenue: $57.81 Billion vs. $57.71 Billion Expected
  • U.S. Same Store Sales: 2.0% vs. 2.77% Expected
  • Earnings Per Share: $3.58 vs. $3.41 Expected

With the surge in gold prices… Throughout the quarter, the business successfully sold more than $100 million worth of 1 oz. gold bars, which were priced at roughly $2,000 online only for members of the wholesale club. This surge in sales may be caused by customers seeking other investment opportunities.

Still no sign of a price increase on memberships. Although there is currently no explicit sign of a price increase, it is possible that one may occur in the near future. If you don’t know, the corporation increases prices at an average interval of five years and seven months. Costco’s most recent increase in membership fees occurred in June 2017, with the announcement of this adjustment made in March of the same year.

SURPASSED AFTER 20 YEARS

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China has surpassed the U.S. to become the nation with the highest number of branded coffee shops worldwide. The World Coffee Portal, which has been keeping track of this data, reported that this change in ranking occurred for the first time in at least two decades. According to the industry platform, the quantity of chain coffee shops in China increased by 58% in the previous year, surpassing the number of U.S. outlets by more than 9,000 stores.

So what made this possible? Luckin Coffee, a Chinese firm that overcame a fraud scandal and bankruptcy, has emerged as China’s leading coffee chain brand as of June. This achievement was made possible via the strategic use of franchising, cost-effective scalability, and the adaptation of regional recipes. This made the company surpass Starbucks, which does not franchise and considers China its second-largest market.

Will Starbucks fight back? Starbucks allocated $200 million this year towards the establishment of a new Chinese campus, which the firm declared to be its most substantial investment in a coffee production and distribution facility outside of the U.S. Starbuck’s present number of shops in China is around 6,500, compared to Luckin’s approximate 11,000. The firm aims to expand its presence to 9,000 sites by 2025. This might assist the brewer in maintaining its dominant position in the East Asian coffee industry, especially as local brands continue to expand.

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