Top Stock Market News For Today February 24, 2022

Stock Market Futures Tumble After Russian Forces Invade Ukraine 

U.S. stock futures are sinking even after yesterday’s massive downturn for markets in general. This is following an official announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the country’s ongoing issues with Ukraine. In particular, Russian forces are now entering Ukraine. Not too long after the announcement, reports of explosions in the capital city of Kyiv are already popping up. While geopolitical concerns may be stealing headlines, analysts are debating about how much of this is actually weighing on stocks.

Speaking on this is Commonwealth Financial Network’s chief investment officer, Brad McMillan. He argues that “So far, it looks like Ukraine is not the reason for the drop, despite the fears.” McMillan continues explaining, “The most likely candidate—one which makes both fundamental and mathematical sense — is higher interest rates.” With economists over at JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) currently expecting nine consecutive rate hikes through March 2023, this is not surprising. While investors continue to process the current slurry of updates, there remains plenty of stock market news as well. As of 5:54 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading lower by 2.16%, 2.10%, and 2.70% respectively.

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: FB) does not appear to be slowing down on the operational front now. Via its Meta AI: Inside the Lab event yesterday, the company announced several key investment plans. All of which it hopes will help to further build out Meta’s vision for immersive internet experiences. Notably, the company highlights two key focus areas. They are its ongoing investments in speech and language artificial intelligence (AI). Through this event, Meta is essentially revealing its base plan for laying the groundwork of its Metaverse. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “The key to unlocking a lot of these advances, is AI.

To begin with, the company is currently working on a digital voice assistant (DVA) for user interactions with its hardware. This would include its Portal communication tech alongside its virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) hardware. Think of this as an iteration of Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) Siri but for devices that connect a user to the metaverse. Additionally, the CEO also introduced Meta’s “Builder Bot” via a demo. In essence, Builder Bot is an AI tool capable of creating and importing items in a virtual world via voice commands. As you can imagine, the integration of these two AI solutions could provide some exciting use applications in the metaverse.

Not to mention, Meta is considering language barriers as well. This involves the inclusion of real-time AI-powered speech and translation capabilities. Through Meta’s No Language Left Behind system, a Universal Speech Translator will, theoretically, provide instant speech-to-speech translations across varying languages. While Meta looks towards the future, FB stock continues to decline year-to-date. Even so, this current downturn alongside Meta’s latest announcements could attract long-term investors towards FB stock now.

FB stock
Source: TradingView

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Goldman Sachs CEO Sees Major Payoff From Digital Consumer Platform Through 2024

In other news, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) CEO David Soloman seems confident in its consumer venture unit, Marcus. Namely, the CEO notes that Goldman will likely make good on investments into its digital consumer platform. In his own words, “I put out a target at the end of 2024 of over $4 billion of revenue for that business.” For reference, this is versus revenue of $1.5 billion in 2021. Simply put, Goldman is now expecting its consumer platform to more than double in revenue over the next two years. To achieve this, Soloman adds that the firm is actively expanding its addressable markets and product variety. With this in mind, investors could be considering GS stock today.

Now, a bit of background on Marcus. It is essentially Goldman’s digital-only consumer banking arm and has been around since 2016. Since its launch, Marcus has now handled over $100 billion in digital deposits from over 10 million clients. Through partnerships with Apple Card, General Motors (NYSE: GM), and Mastercard (NYSE: MA), Marcus brings plenty to the fintech table. While all that is great, Soloman highlights that it is just the beginning for Marcus. With the current “build portion” done and dusted, the CEO notes that Goldman has a “good runway to really expand the platform.” With consumers using digital banking services more than ever now, we could be looking at busy times ahead for Goldman.

GS stock
Source: TradingView

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Block (SQ) Set To Report Earnings After Closing Bell: What To Look Out For

On the earnings front, investors will likely be looking ahead to Block’s (NYSE: SQ) upcoming quarterly update. After today’s closing bell, the fintech goliath will be reporting its fourth-quarter earnings figures. As it stands, consensus estimates on Wall Street currently point towards quarterly earnings of $0.22 per share on revenue of $4.1 billion. In this case, it would translate to a year-over-year decline of about 31% for earnings per share. On the flip side, a revenue of $4.1 billion would indicate a sizable year-over-year gain of 28% for Block. Seeing as this is versus a quarter where demand for Block’s Square offerings was at a high, this is understandable.

More importantly, a key metric that will likely be in focus for investors is Block’s gross payment volume (GPV). Overall, GPV would, arguably, be among the most telling measures of the company’s operational momentum. For the quarter, Wall Street is expecting a GPV of $46 billion. This would mark a solid year-over-year jump of 43%. Of course, GPV would encompass actions such as peer-to-peer payments and transactions with merchants on its payment apps. Moreover, the measure also considers Block’s general user count as well. Should the company perform on this front, it would suggest that demand for its fintech solutions remains strong now. As such, I could see SQ stock being in the limelight later today.

SQ stock
Source: TradingView

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Notable Earnings To Consider In The Stock Market Today

At the same time, there are numerous other heavy hitters reporting earnings today as well. This includes a fairly diverse spread of companies across both the pre-and post-market hours. For the earlier, we have Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), Nikola (NASDAQ: NKLA), and Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE: NCLH). Adding to that, companies such as Wayfair (NYSE: W), DigitalOcean (NYSE: DOCN), and Six Flags (NYSE: SIX) are also on tap.

Meanwhile, tech-focused investors will likely be tuning in to Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN), Etsy (NASDAQ: ETSY), Zscaler (NASDAQ: ZS), and Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) during after-market hours. Furthermore, Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND), Opendoor (NASDAQ: OPEN), and Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) are other names worth mentioning. Amidst the supposed chaos in the stock market today, investors certainly have much to consider.

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Midam Ventures, LLC | (305) 306-3854 | 1501 Venera Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33146 |

Midam Ventures, LLC | (305) 306-3854 | 1501 Venera Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33146 |