Axios Closer

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February 21, 2024

Wednesday ✅.

Today's newsletter is 629 words, a 2½-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed up 0.1%.

  • Biggest gainer? EQT Corp. (+10.6%), the energy company, as natural gas prices jumped by the largest one-day percentage in two years.
  • Biggest decliner? Palo Alto Networks (-28.4%), the cybersecurity company, after delivering disappointing guidance after yesterday's closing bell.

1 big thing: Nvidia talks of AI "tipping point"

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Nvidia's stock popped more than 10% after the bell as its latest earnings report showed the AI boom is still booming, Hope writes with Pete Gannon.

By the numbers: Revenue from the chipmaker's data center unit, which fuels AI efforts for thousands of organizations, reached $18.4 billion in its fourth quarter compared to analyst expectations of about $17.1 billion.

  • That's up more than 400% from the $3.6 billion generated last year in the same period.
  • Total revenue for the fourth quarter was $22.1 billion, up 22% from the previous quarter and up 265% from a year ago.

What they're saying: "Accelerated computing and generative AI have hit the tipping point," CEO Jensen Huang said in a statement. "Demand is surging worldwide across companies, industries and nations."

Context: Nvidia made more this quarter from data center revenue than it did in the entirety of its previous quarter.

The big picture: Nvidia stock, treated as a proxy for AI demand, is now the most traded by value — dethroning Tesla for the title.

  • The company, before a sell-off earlier this week, was the third most valuable company by market cap behind Microsoft and Apple.
  • More than $1.2 trillion of its market cap has been added in the past 12 months.

What others are saying: Goldman Sachs' trading desk has called it "the most important stock on planet earth," per Bloomberg.

What we're watching: Commentary from Huang on how much more growth the company is expecting from Big Tech, as well as clues to any supply constraints.

2. Bonus chart: Data center revenue explodes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

3. What's happening

✍️ HSBC wrote down $3 billion last quarter on its stake in BoCom, one of China's largest lenders. (WSJ)

🍔 Beyond Meat is launching a new, "healthier" version of its plant-based burger to combat slowing sales. (CNBC)

⚠️ Goldman Sachs' One Million Black Women initiative survey shows barriers still exist on the path to generational wealth. (Axios)

4. Boeing makes change atop MAX program

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9. Photo: NTSB via Getty Images

Boeing has replaced the head of its troubled 737 MAX program, according to a memo sent to employees and seen by multiple media outlets on Wednesday, Axios' Jacob Knutson writes.

Why it matters: The executive's departure comes after a federal watchdog said last month's near catastrophe involving one of the aircraft during an Alaska Airlines flight was likely caused by missing bolts.

  • The National Transportation Safety Board said earlier this month that preliminary findings indicated quality control issues were also behind the door plug blowout.

Details: Ed Clark, the executive who left the company, has been replaced by Katie Ringgold, who was previously Boeing's vice president of 737 delivery operations.

  • She also replaces him as manager of the company's production facility in Renton, Washington, which is the final assembly site of 737 MAX airliners, according to Reuters.

Go deeper

5. Reddit stock rewards

Photo illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Reddit plans to reward its most loyal users during its upcoming IPO, Hope writes from a WSJ report.

Zoom in: 75,000 of the platform's "redditors" will be able to buy shares at Reddit's IPO price before the stock starts trading — an opportunity generally reserved for money managers.

Why it matters: It's an unusual move that could introduce volatility in the stock, but it could also help build more loyalty, WSJ notes.

  • The meme stock frenzy, after all, began on Reddit and proved the power of the platform to mobilize retail investors.
  • Reddit declined to comment on the report.

Zoom out: Reddit separately announced today that it's setting aside 1% of its common stock over 10 years to fund community-related programs through the Pledge 1% nonprofit.

What to watch: The company is reportedly set to go public next month.

6. What they're saying

"[I]f you've been paying for a decade, you've done your part, and you deserve relief."
— U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement announcing that the White House would forgive $1.2 billion in student loans across nearly 153,000 borrowers.

Today's newsletter was edited by Pete Gannon and copy edited by Sheryl Miller.

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