February 23, 2023

Top stories today: 1) FOMC minutes show some favored 50 bps, 2) U.S. home value falls 5% to $45T, and 3) Putin talks nuclear.

Hi, and welcome to today's Bay Area Times daily newsletter. Top stories today: 1) FOMC minutes show some favored 50 bps, 2) U.S. home value falls 5% to $45T, and 3) Putin talks nuclear.

0. Data and calendar

All values as of 3 AM PT / 6 AM ET, other than S&P500 close (1 PM PT / 4 PM ET).

All times are ET.

1. FOMC minutes show some members favored 50 bps in February

  • "Almost all" supported 25 bps, "a number" 50 bps: "Almost all participants observed that slowing the pace of rate increases at the current juncture would allow for appropriate risk management as the Committee assessed the extent of further tightening needed to meet the Committee’s goals. Several of those participants observed that risks to the economic outlook were becoming more balanced. A number of participants observed that a policy stance that proved to be insufficiently restrictive could halt recent progress in moderating inflationary pressures." - FOMC minutes, WSJ

  • Odds of a 50 bps hike in March slightly up, to 27%: Powell has made no nudges in that regard, and we would expect a whisper to WSJ's Nick Timiraos if and when that happens.

Three 25 bps hikes still priced in

2. Total value of U.S. homes falls 5% from June high, to $45.3T

Suburban homes outperform, representing $25T

Bay Area is the biggest loser, Sunbelt cities the winners

  • Trend should continue, as home prices are usually momentum-driven, meaning a good predictor of next month's performance is the past month's performance.

  • Miami still lacks a top-tier university. It already has better taxes and climate than the Bay Area, NYC, and Boston (the current top-3 in terms of innovation), but the lack of top-tier universities leads to talent shortages. This could change, but it likely takes decades, not years. - Redfin, Bloomberg

Mortgage applications continue to fall, at 28-year low

3. Putin talks of new nuclear, hypersonic weapons; to start military exercises with China on Friday

Bay Area Times.

  • Putin talks nuclear triad and hypersonic systems: "As before, we will pay increased attention to strengthening the nuclear triad. We will continue mass production of air-based hypersonic Kinzhal systems and will start mass supplies of sea-based Zircon hypersonic missiles." - Reuters

  • Exercises to start in South Africa: This was already known since at least January, but it goes to show how the world is returning to a bipolar order: Allies v. the new Axis of Evil, to use the Bush term, which now adds China and Russia. - CBS

  • Less globalization should slow down global growth. Less trade means less global GDP, all things equal. U.S. growth is different, as it's more dependent on innovation and, therefore, on microeconomic factors, such as healthy capital formation and regulatory friendliness.

U.S. considering releasing intelligence on China potentially selling weapons to Russia

  • China doesn't deny it, deflects: "It is a known fact that NATO countries including the U.S. are the biggest source of weaponry for the battlefield in Ukraine, yet they keep claiming that China may be supplying weapons to Russia." said Wang Wenbin, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman. - WSJ

4. Earnings roundup: Nvidia, Intel, Ebay, Lucid

Google Finance, Bay Area Times analysis.

  • Nvidia's revenue falls 21% to $6.05B in Q4, forecasts AI boom.

  • Intel cuts dividend by 67%, will invest $100B in factory expansions.

  • Ebay's revenue falls 4% to $2.51B in Q4; GMV falls 12%.

  • Lucid's revenue underperforms at $258M, vs exp. of $303M; lowers guidance.

5. Military authenticates China spy balloon picture

U.S. Air Force.

  • $1.5M+: cost of the 4 missiles used to shoot down the 3 flying objects in February. - WSJ

6. Other headlines


  • Microsoft introducing New Bing to mobile, Skype; waitlist still required.

  • Apple could bring glucose monitor to Watch in 3-5 years.

  • Copyright Office: AI-generated images should not have been granted copyright.

  • Section 230 unlikely to be changed, after Twitter v. Taamneh SCOTUS hearings.

  • Stripe adding Tap to Pay to NFC-equipped Android devices.

  • "AI PowerPoint" Tome raises $43M at $300M, pre-revenue, 1M users.

  • Samsung launching AI-powered text-to-speech for calls.

  • Artifact, personalized news app from Instagram co-founders, opens to the public.

  • Spotify launches AI-powered DJ feature.

  • Tesla announces engineering HQ will be in CA, after moving corporate HQ to Texas.

  • Baidu's Chat AI to be released to the public in March.

  • China tech companies are ready to copy their American counterparts in AI.

  • Alexis Ohanian gets Forbes profile.

  • Klarna's GMV grows 71%, U.S. now its biggest market by revenue.

  • Google asking some employees to share desks, in another sign of cost cutting.


  • Yellen says "outlook has improved" in India speech.

  • China urges state companies to drop Big 4 auditors.

  • Fed Vice Chair top contenders: Karen Dynan, Janice Eberly.

  • Insider's Henry Blodget in talks to purchase Daily Beast.

  • NPR to cut 10% of workforce, around 100 employees.


  • Binance, Voyager $1B bankruptcy deal objected by the SEC and state regulators.

  • NBA Top Shot NFTs might be securities: federal judge ruling.

  • CoinEx exchange sued by NY, who alleges AMP, LBC, LUNA, and RLY are securities.

  • Canadian regulators will require stablecoin registration, banning algo stablecoins.

Washington and more

  • Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump subpoenaed in Jan 6 investigation.

  • Pence says GOP has "better choices" than Trump, entitlements on the table.

  • Trump visits East Palestine, Ohio.

  • Arizona's top prosecutor hid records debunking election fraud claims.

  • Jan. 6 rioter who threatened AOC sentenced to 38 months in prison, after guilty plea.

  • European gas reserves at high, but wholesale cost is still 2x+ pre-war.

  • Zelensky faces corruption allegations, political competition in domestic politics.

  • Life expectancy of Ukraine frontline soldier is 4 hours": retired Marine.

7. Interesting tweets, memes, and visuals

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