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Today in the Market (4/25/2024)

Good Morning! On Thursday, U.S. equities fell sharply with Q1 U.S. GDP coming in significantly below expectations (1.6% vs. 2.5% expected). The Dow Jones fell the most by 0.98%, followed by the NASDAQ with a decrease of 0.64%, and the S&P 500 down 0.46%.

GOOGLE MAKES HISTORY

Alphabet, the parent company of Google (GOOG, GOOGL), had a significant increase of over 12% in after-hours trading on Thursday, driven by an exceptional quarter where they surpassed expectations for both sales and profitability. However, investors were shocked to hear the announcement of a first-ever cash dividend, which would provide a payout of $0.20 per share. On top of that, the board of directors has also authorized a share buyback.

  • Revenue: $67.59 Billion vs. $66.07 Billion Expected
    • Ad Revenue: $61.66 Billion vs. $60.18 Billion Expected
    • Cloud Revenue: $9.58 Billion vs. $9.37 Billion Expected
  • Earnings Per Share: $1.89 vs. $1.53 Expected

It wouldn’t be earnings without AI rivalry updates! Given that Microsoft (MSFT) was one of the first companies in the IT industry to capitalize on the cultural buzz around consumer AI chatbots, Google has been seen as playing catch-up in AI. However, management stressed that the business is in a strong position to help lead the transition to an AI-centric digital industry and that it’s dedicated to making investments that will support the creation of innovative technologies.

PAY UP OR GO SOMEWHERE ELSE

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Starting Today, day-trip visitors to the ancient city of Venice are required to pay a little more than $5 as an entry fee, making it the first major city to implement a fee of this kind. But why? The imposition of the levy follows repeated warnings about the city’s insufficient capacity to handle the overwhelming influx of tourists. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) even issued a warning to include Venice on its list of endangered cultural sites unless local authorities implemented the necessary changes.

Why single-day visitors and how do people feel about the change? The newly implemented tax specifically aims at single-day visitors, who represent around 75% of all tourists in the city but contribute less than 20% to the overall tourism money spent. While some argue that the tax infringes on Italy’s fundamental right to freedom of movement, others argue that it falls short since the tiny 5-euro cost will not deter the over 30 million tourists who flock to Venice annually.

It’s not just Venice… Other popular tourist destinations are also making efforts to restrict the number of visitors. Several other tourist sites have implemented increases in visitor levies, while Barcelona has taken the further step of removing a popular bus route from map apps to ease congestion caused by tourists using public transportation.

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