It’s been an eye-opening week for earnings over in the US.
The general result, and consensus, seems to be surprising. A lot of big stocks are faring better than many expected.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean the threat of a downturn is behind us…
The choppy markets of late aren’t going to go away until we have more certainty on inflation and interest rates. As for when that may happen, your guess is as good as anyone’s. The only thing more volatile than markets nowadays are central bankers.
But despite all this, the big winner has clearly been big tech.
After all the layoffs, all the cost cutting, and all the speculation, big tech continues to thrive. You can see this in the huge earnings beats for Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), and Meta (Facebook).
All three of these tech titans are proving why they dominate US markets.
And when it comes to these three stocks, all of them pinpointed artificial intelligence (AI) as the main driver of their growth to come…
Talk of the town
In both Microsoft’s and Google’s conference calls, it was clear that AI was the focus. As Reuters reports, AI was mentioned an astounding number of times by both companies:
‘Google used the term 52 times on its first-quarter call on Tuesday, up from 45 in the fourth quarter. Microsoft said it 36 times, versus 20 — not including references to its partner OpenAI.’
It was a similar story for Meta too. Here’s what Zuckerberg had to say on Meta’s AI development:
‘At this point, we are no longer behind in building out our AI infrastructure,
‘And to the contrary, we now have the capacity to do leading work in this space at scale.’
Let’s be real though, none of this is really that surprising. If we were to put our cynical hat on for a moment, we could argue that AI is just the latest buzzword fad for tech to latch onto.
After all, it was around this time last year that ‘Metaverse’ was doing something similar. Today, almost all interest in that technology has dried up, despite some exciting developments in the sector.
My point is the market has a short attention span. And big tech companies are notorious for trying to dazzle with short-lived excitement each and every year.
Personally, I’m taking the cynical hat off for good when it comes to AI.
I don’t believe it will be short-lived, and I think that is being made clear by the discussions beyond tech. For example, it wasn’t just the FAANG stocks discussing their AI capabilities and ambitions this week…
The biggest AI surprise this week came from both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
Yes, two of the biggest names in beverages and snacks spent a good amount of time discussing AI. Here is what Coke’s head of Global Creative Strategy had to say on the topic:
‘I was the one who launched our first NFT for Friendship Day in 2021 and it worked very well, and after that we launched multiple different digital collectibles,
‘But I think AI is a more approachable technology. I can collect NFTs if I’m a big fan, but then I don’t use it every day. [AI] is available to you — you use it you can turn that into your profession, your marketing efficiency machine, you can create and it’s happening now.
‘So I feel the utility value of this technology is much higher.
‘I’m telling everyone…please learn to prompt, it’s going to be useful and it’s fun,’
You can clearly see how much Coke’s main marketer believes in AI’s potential. Not just for the brand he represents, I might add, but as a tool for all of us.
In contrast, PepsiCo was a little coyer about its AI plans. CFO Hugh Johnston did note the company is experimenting with AI’s potential, but with a caveat:
‘I think we also need to be responsible with how we use AI. We have actually filed with NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology] a responsible AI framework, and we need to make sure that we protect employee data, we need to make sure we protect consumer data.
‘So we are using it, but we’re using it in a controlled environment so we learn about all of this,
‘The potential is huge, which is why w e are certainly fully involved in it, but we are trying to do this in a very, very responsible way.’
As a side note, Johnston is also on the board of Microsoft. For that reason, he is certainly no stranger to the tech sector and its developments.
What you should really care about, though, is what all these executives are saying. It’s one thing for a handful of ‘tech bros’ to talk up their latest and greatest development. It’s another matter entirely when a new technology begins to spread to other sectors.
That’s why, as investors, it’s time to take AI seriously…
The AI advantage
As I discussed last week, now is the best time to start learning to work with AI.
In terms of using a tool like ChatGPT, you might be mistaken in thinking it can’t offer investors much use. After all, the chatbot itself is limited in terms of the available data it has. It isn’t using real-time information, and therefore can’t provide up to date financial figures, for example.
But what you can use ChatGPT for is learning about an industry, a business, or even a product. After all, understanding what a listed company sells is just as important as understanding how much it sells. That’s why a balance sheet, as important as it is, can’t provide the full picture.
Having a full understanding of a stock requires a level of knowledge that few investors are willing to commit to. A tool like ChatGPT can help you bridge that gap.
Like I also said last week, AI is more than just ChatGPT…
My colleague, Callum Newman, has developed his own AI trading solution.
This sophisticated algorithm, built by software developers and tested via Cal’s vast trading knowledge, is offering a glimpse of the future of investing. It’s something I expect will become just as integral to every trader’s toolbox as charts, balance sheets, and technical or fundamental analysis are today.
As Cal himself puts it:
‘They [AI] are not going to “replace” human work or judgement.
‘They are going to compliment them and take care of repetitive, low-value work and free us to focus on creative ideas and higher-level tasks.
‘AI is a massive positive for productivity growth…and trading stocks!
‘That’s why I’m so excited about the share market right now.’
It’s also how Cal is able to offer his readers high-potential trades in tougher market conditions. Because as he explains here, his machine-assisted trading strategy is designed for times like these.
So, if you’re looking for the best way to get in on the AI boom, this is likely it.
Make sure you’re one step ahead of the masses by tuning in to Cal’s presentation, ‘The MAT Advantage’, this evening. Secure your spot here before 7:00pm AEST tonight.
Editor, The Daily Reckoning Australia
PS: As of tomorrow, The Daily Reckoning Australia will have a reduced publishing schedule, coinciding with the launch of our brand new free e-letter, Fat Tail Commodities. You’re next article from The Daily Reckoning Australia will be on Saturday 27 April.