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Target overshot everyone's expectations | Car sales kept climbing in Europe |

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Today's big stories

  1. Target overshot expectations, even with consumers tightening their purse strings
  2. Here’s why everyone’s suddenly talking about AMD – Read Now
  3. April’s car sales kept climbing in Europe

Trade Carefully

Trade Carefully

What’s going on here?

Target's results on Wednesday showed that stores were chock full of shoppers – but there were still a few warning signs dotted about.

What does this mean?

Navigating the retail world might not have been a walk in the park last quarter (looking at you, Home Depot) – but it seems that discount retailer Target managed to hold its own despite the headwinds. Sure, the firm’s barely-there sales growth didn’t set the world on fire, but there were positives given the grim backdrop. After all, while nice-to-haves were out of style, the firm saw customers flock to its stores for groceries and household offerings – with store traffic actually up compared to last year. What’s more, gross profit margins climbed too, thanks to dipping transportation costs and less overstocked inventory in need of discounting. That meant the savvy firm took a well-earned bow, with revenue and profit both overshooting expectations.

Why should I care?

Zooming in: Decline and fall.

Target’s sales trajectory showed the truth of the consumer spending environment right now: starting decently in February, the numbers dipped in March, and then took another nosedive in April. And although Target’s no stranger to adapting to customers’ habits – it’s already leaning into the popularity of cheap essentials – that dropoff could spell trouble. The firm, then, is keeping expectations in check, warning that the quarter ahead could be a slow one and maintaining its pretty conservative full-year outlook. But hey, better safe than sorry…

The bigger picture: Penny-wise and dollar-foolish.

Target’s outlook might send shivers down the spines of investors concerned about weakening consumer spending – something that makes up a hefty chunk of the US economy, and one of the only factors standing between the US and looming economic shrinkage earlier this year. And those all-too-valid worries might explain why Target and Walmart’s shares have been struggling lately, trailing behind the S&P 500 so far this year.

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Analyst Take

Why Advanced Micro Devices Just Might Be The Next Big Thing In AI

Why Advanced Micro Devices Just Might Be The Next Big Thing In AI

By Paul Allison, Analyst

Investors have been buzzing about artificial intelligence (AI) all year.

And for the most part, that’s meant swarming around Microsoft, the software titan that’s bringing OpenAI’s ChatGPT into its suite of products, and Nvidia, the semiconductor behemoth that’s been designing the stuff that’ll power this new tech.

But lately, another name’s been popping up that you might want to pay attention to: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

So that’s today’s Insight: why everyone’s suddenly talking about AMD – and what you need to know about it.

Read or listen to the Insight here


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Good Carma

Good Carma

What’s going on here?

Patient European carmakers were rewarded with jumping sales again last month.

What does this mean?

Carmakers have been wrestling with supply shortages for quite a while now – but with supply chains finding their feet at last, they might have finally broken free from that pesky chokehold. After all, overcoming those snags helped clear through some pesky order backlogs, letting VW, Renault, and Stellantis sell 32%, 40%, and 8% more cars respectively in April than at the same time last year. That saw European car sales overall climb 16% in April, marking a stone-cold nine-month winning streak. But there’s a catch: despite that year-on-year headway, deliveries during the first four months of the year are still about 20% below pre-pandemic levels. And with a faltering economy threatening to dent demand, reaching those heights again could be a long uphill slog.

Why should I care?

Zooming in: Carmageddon.

Carmakers are facing a double whammy. They’re bracing for demand dips just as supply chains revive and a wave of new vehicles (including high-tech electric offerings) hits the market – a supply-demand picture that could erode any pricing power carmakers have managed to cling onto. And maybe call it a “triple whammy” – because Tesla’s price war is sending shockwaves across the industry too. That tough, three-punch combo could push customers to hold off on buying cars – creating a vicious cycle of falling sales for carmakers. Any way you slice it, then, there seems to be trouble up ahead.

The bigger picture: Ad astra.

Tesla is cranking up the pressure on competitors in a surprising way: launching ads for its EVs. See, while the car industry is notorious for splashing out on advertisements, Tesla’s typically swerved away, relying on word of mouth and referrals instead. This about-face suggests it’s ready to throw down the gauntlet and snatch market share from rivals – meaning that we could be entering a new era of fierce auto competition.

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💬 Quote of the day

"Only the shallow know themselves."

– Oscar Wilde (an Irish poet and playwright)
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