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Hermès made a fashion and financial statement in one | OpenAI joined an exclusive club |
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Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for February 10th in 3:15 minutes.

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Today's big stories

  1. Hermès released results that suggest the luxury brand’s stock might never go out of fashion
  2. Not all portfolios are created equal – here’s how six of the most popular ones stack up – Read Now
  3. OpenAI raced toward a $2 billion annual revenue, a feat few firms have achieved

The Might Of Luxury

The Might Of Luxury

What’s going on here?

Hermès delivered lust-worthy results on Friday, even while leaving most of the luxury brand’s waiting list empty-handed.

What does this mean?

Hermès’s signature bags have graced the forearms of movie stars for decades. So with the power to bestow timeless style through rare exotic leather, the Paris-based brand has no shortage of fashion fanatics willing to devote some $20,000 to the cause. Thing is, Hermès’s limited-edition runs mean anyone willing to forfeit a mortgage for accessories joins a guarantee-free waiting list. So Hermès has been able to make the luxe bags and scarves more expensive, confident that shoppers will pay up when status and bragging rights are on the line. And pay up, they did: sales were a more-than-expected 18% richer last quarter from the same time the year before. Hermès returned the favor by granting investors a one-time $10 dividend, enough to afford a small piece of wrapping paper from one of the chic stores.

Why should I care?

Zooming out: Hermès is always in Vogue.

Hermès is in an enviable position – and we’re not talking about the beautiful streets of Paris. Realistically, any rich competitor with the right connections could rival the firm’s craftsmanship. They won’t have the Hermès name tag, though, which carries nearly 200 years of pedigree. So unless the height of fashion falls out of fashion, the world’s richest will want a piece (or three) of that heritage. No wonder Hermès’s stock commands a price almost as punchy as its Birkins, especially after scrubbing up by 15% this year.

For markets: Your mascara’s running.

Mind you, not every high-end brand has the prestige of Hermès. Cosmetics companies like Estée Lauder and L’Oreal usually lean heavily on the luxury-loving Chinese market to bring home the guanciale. So now that the country’s shoppers are on drugstore budgets, wary of the second-biggest economy’s financial problems, L’Oreal was forced to report less-than-desirable quarterly results on Thursday.

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Analyst Take

From Warren Buffett To The Ivy Leagues: Six Simple Portfolio Strategies, Ranked

From Warren Buffett To The Ivy Leagues: Six Simple Portfolio Strategies, Ranked

By Theodora Lee Joseph, CFA, Analyst

There are hundreds of portfolio strategies out there, from the very simple to the extremely complex.

Whether you’re looking to get started investing or just want to give your portfolio a refresh, I’ve pulled out six simple approaches that are well worth a look.

And to make it easier for you to decide, I’ve compared them head-to-head.

That’s today’s Insight: six simple portfolio strategies, ranked.

Read or listen to the Insight here

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And with the technology’s capabilities expanding exponentially, the number of workers, companies, and whole industries relying on the tech is only going in one direction.

But that’s the obvious stuff. It’s not just healthcare and carmakers using AI to change their businesses: the tech is revolutionizing the behind-the-scenes production of computer chips too.

So unless you have the net worth of Bill Gates, making you able to invest in just about every company that touches the tech, you might struggle to pick the few with the highest potential.

Luckily, IG has found the needles in the haystack: check out the round-up of the best AI stocks and ETFs to watch now.

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One In A Billions

One In A Billions

What’s going on here?

OpenAI’s December revenue put it on course to bring in $2 billion a year, a major milestone that puts the ChatGPT creator in the history books – and not for destroying humanity (yet).

What does this mean?

OpenAI is, ironically, not the most forthcoming with information. But on Friday, two loose-lipped sources pushed back the veil of ignorance, as head honcho Sam Altman would say. They revealed that OpenAI’s “run rate” – the amount a firm would make if every month was the same – was $2 billion based on December’s figures, making it one of only a few tech firms to hit the $1 billion-plus mark in their first five years. That adds up: plenty of the biggest US firms already rely on OpenAI’s ChatGPT service to save time, make more money, and plan vacation itineraries. A cozy relationship with Microsoft, the biggest company in the world, won’t have hurt either.

Why should I care?

For markets: The chips are up.

Big Tech’s recent results were essentially marketing campaigns for AI’s money-making abilities. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google all made more from their cloud businesses than the year before, with their customers pouring money into super-smart solutions. Nvidia hasn’t announced its results yet, but with semiconductor companies like ASML and Arm already benefiting from the AI sector, last year’s market standout will be expected to stick to the tone. Mind you, with OpenAI floating ambitions of producing next-level chips itself, competition might be heating up.

The bigger picture: Chuck the Versace glasses.

When they’re not checking out the price of underground bunkers, AI skeptics are warning that the furor looks eerily similar to the tech bubble of 1999. There’s one key difference, though. Back then, investors snapped up anything with “dot-com” in its name, regardless of sales or profit. Today’s runaway companies, in comparison, are practically bleeding profit. So while 1999’s vintage was chronically unstable, today’s tech firms really have legs.

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💬 Quote of the day

"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month."

– Theodore Roosevelt (an American politician)
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🎯 On Our Radar

1. Bard, we hardly knew you. Google introduced the world to Gemini.

2. Super Bowl Sunday, sorted. Here’s every dip recipe you need before you crack open a cold one.

3. There’s power in numbers. 40 iconic women turned up at Vogue’s doors.

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💰 The Inevitable Future of Cryptocurrency: 5pm, February 20th
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🔮 Future-Proof Your Portfolio With Artificial Intelligence: 5pm, February 27th

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