Join us in this riveting episode as host Andrew Brill and Nicole Webb, Senior Vice President & Financial Advisor at Wealth Enhancement Group, recap what happened this week in the economy and markets. Discover how AI is reshaping investment strategies, the implications of economic shifts, and strategies for wealth-building in today’s financial landscape. Nicole shares her expert insights on the challenges and opportunities facing investors, offering valuable guidance for navigating through uncertainty with confidence.
Andrew Brill 0:05
Welcome to Wealthion and thanks for joining us. I’m your host Andrew Brill. Our mission here at Wealthy on is to help investors achieve prosperity. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or a novice like myself, you’ll benefit from our expert interviews that unravel and simplify the dynamic landscapes of economic trends, markets and investments. And remember, wealth, Ian’s not just a channel, but a conversation with our vibrant community. So keep the feedback coming. And remember, we’re trying to bring you information that’s going to help you achieve your financial goals. To that end, we’ve put together a list of registered investment advisors that we vetted, you can head on over to wealthy on.com and sign up for a free no obligation consultation to see if your finances are in the right place. And now let’s dive into today’s episode. It’s our weekly market recap and I’d like to welcome Nicole Webb Nicole is a Senior Vice President and financial advisor and wealth enhancement group. She opened and runs and serves the the New York office which serves the Northeast. She’s a frequent contributor in financial media appearing on CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg TV and radio. And now well, Theon. Her insights have appeared in print in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. And Nicole is gracious enough to spend time with us to help us understand what is going on in the world of the economy and the markets. Nicole, thanks so much for joining us.
Nicole Webb 1:30
Yeah, thank you. I’m excited to be here. Excellent.
Andrew Brill 1:33
So Nicole, we like to start by asking people, what keeps you up at night?
Nicole Webb 1:40
Oh, man, what a doozy. I mean, I have to just put the plug in there as the mother of a toddler, generally my toddler. But, you know, from a markets perspective, I mean, not too terribly much. I think the most, the most well known thing about markets is they’re anticipatory. And they’re always attempting to price in knowns. And so in terms of things, keeping me up at night markets specific, I would say it’s the next unknown, the next kind of pull the rug out from underneath you, you didn’t expect it to happen 2022 and 2023. We’re kind of systematically almost like the beginnings of a small recession, that never happened. And it happened across many sectors. So we had the banking crisis with SVB, you had the ripple effect of what is what pressures are going to happen as a result of commercial real estate. So you kind of have all these mini stories play out. And those ones we all dodged. And so it’s kind of waiting for that next unknown catalyst. When we think about policy and economics, I would say that the backdrop of D globalization is something that I spend a lot of time thinking about and sorting through as it applies to markets. So when you think about globalization, as the backdrop of earnings growth and margin expansion, you would think the counter about D globalization, so onshoring more here in the US and the costs of labor and inputs going up? So that’s rather curious. And then I think we’re all still kind of sorting through business post COVID. How do we kind of re accelerate the energy of people working together work versus so much remote work, work from home hybrid work? Because we do know that a lot of creativity comes from human interaction and continuing to watch that play out through productivity.
Andrew Brill 3:42
What’s interesting is that the jobs numbers came out talking about people at home and people working online and stuff. And the interview we’re doing online, and they’ll stream online. So there’s, there’s obviously that that component to it. But jobs numbers come out. Jobs, numbers seem to be very good. For the time being, there didn’t seem to be a January Effect, which everybody, you know, everything that I read, so maybe there’s a January Effect, there’ll be people laid off from the holiday rush of people getting hired, but that didn’t seem to happen. But now we’re getting reports of the giants, you know, Eve from the financial sector, from the services sector, people laying people off. Yeah. Is the Fed rate working? Is there is there tightening working because people are laying people off? Or, you know, the very general question, are we going to rely too much on AI to do people’s work?
Nicole Webb 4:36
Yeah. So I think the jobs report is a mixed bag of really interesting data. And so, you know, this jobs report really showed one thing that stuck out which is kind of weak growth or deterioration in total hours worked. And that’s really interesting. So you could look at total hours worked through a glass half full and Say, Okay, well, this signals improved productivity, which means that unit labor costs are going down. And that’s going to be great for companies that are experiencing this because unit labor costs going down helps with profitability. On the flip side, you’re likely going to hear the argument as more people sort through the job status say, Okay, well, if we have weak growth in total hours worked, that is a classic late cycle signal, where hours are being reduced before layoffs come through. And so what’s likely happening is both where you’re having productivity increases at some companies, and where you might have kind of future layoff signals coming. A couple of examples of that would be Amazon coming forward and saying, we were able to reduce repetitive code input at AWS by 20%. Thanks to AI, that is a straightforward productivity increase in that mega cap sector. On the flip side, though, you hear about layoffs at UPS. And some of that is just kind of the shoring up of what is the new normal post core COVID. So you know, bringing in so many new jobs at UPS during that time, and now kind of finding their balancing act and in the new, normal. And then I think, also, there was a bit of a surprise in December, in terms of consumers really showed up and spent a lot of money through the holiday season. And that really wasn’t the expectation. And so we might see lighter layoffs in that area, just simply because we didn’t ramp up seasonal work as much as you know, we had in prior years. So we believe that jobs is going to continue to be a mixed bag of signals. Probably on the pro side, again, productivity on the negative side, some of kind of this more late cycle, traditional way of thinking that, you know, we’re cutting before we’re laying off. And so it’s a data point that we’ll continue to watch closely.
Andrew Brill 7:02
I just want to touch on something you asked about consumer spending, and the reports about consumer confidence, not my confidence, but consumer confidence, I guess, in the economy, with a lot of people spending money over the Christmas holidays, and a little bit into this year, do you think that people are going to start cutting back or do the numbers indicate that people might cut start cutting back because interest rates didn’t come down or don’t appear to be coming down. And the guidance doesn’t seem that it’s going to happen in March, but I would assume that consumer confidence is going to kind of wane a little bit because of some of the data that’s coming out, or some of the reports that are coming out that we’re going to start laying people off, there’s gonna be fewer people to spend money out there.
Nicole Webb 7:46
Yeah, you know, the consumer is so, so interesting right now. And there’s kind of this strong bifurcation between people who are dependent on employment today. And then the concentration of wealth in just the wealthy individuals in this country, and then this entire population of baby boomers. And that’s a little bit of the underlying data there. So when we think about the baby boomers as a general population, they act very interestingly that their generation loves owning two homes. This, you know, coined term of Snowbird, people from the northeast, also on the east coast of Florida, people from the Midwest, also in Texas, Arizona, and then the west coast of Florida. And so you’re seeing Baby Boomers were just really not interest rate sensitive at all. They’ve continued to travel, they’ve continued to buy second homes, they’ve continued to do home improvement projects. And then there’s the consumer confidence in all of us that are still working. And we always think a weak labor market plays into that. And we also believed that the consumer in that sector, the still working era, was going to be more interest rate sensitive than they’re playing out to be. And so, you know, we saw just a slight pullback in mortgage rates and a real acceleration of, you know, activity in the real estate market. And so the consumer continues, you know, to be one interesting data point, but that the consumerism is sending a lot of mixed signals, we’re still seeing strong credit card data, we’ve seen that most debt is secured long term debt. And so we’ll continue to watch for erosion there. But as long as we’re seeing such good headline numbers from the jobs reports, we believe that the consumer will likely continue to spend kind of across the board.
Andrew Brill 9:50
Are we kind of redefining what the middle class is? I mean, you talked about the baby boomers, with two homes, and then what I would consider the one percenters that are just not having the issues that some of the people that are in the middle and lower middle class having? Are we redefining that? Because it seems that the separation is becoming greater?
Nicole Webb 10:14
Yeah, I think this question is meaningful. And it’s important as one kind of navigates their own just economic thesis, you know, there’s, like I mentioned, the baby boomer population, and the wealth creation, even just in the last decade is meaningful. And then those who were not interest rate sensitive in terms of needing debt to operate, or who had the luxury of, you know, gas prices, not really holding them back, because they’re not in their commuting years, or mean, you can, you can think about this in so many different pockets. So you have this unaffected group of people with a high concentration of wealth in this country, who are really not interest rate sensitive. And then you have people who, really the last four years and a little bit pre COVID, and then certainly escalated by COVID, were in real need of some of the stimulus that was pushed through, and then have fought hyperinflation through the last couple of years, and it’s left them in a trickier position. And then you have the whole other group of people, which I think you would generally put at least kind of when we’re talking in an election year about, you know, groups of people would be in that middle class, and, you know, we’re seeing them have a lot of employment confidence, you know, if they were able to switch jobs in the last couple of years, they accepted, kind of unprecedented, you know, pay raises for that. And many of them locked in really low rates on their existing home purchases. And so they’ve been able to kind of well navigate. And so this is it’s this tale of not all consumers are created equal. And I think, more so right now in the data, then, then, then commonly,
Andrew Brill 12:09
so let’s get into the interest rates and the people who do rely on that. And you know, the Fed comes out, they’re still trying to tighten their belt, they see inflation still over the 2% level where they’d like it, they leave rates the same, how is this affecting the market? And how is it going to affect the market going forward? Do you see us getting to that? 2%?
Nicole Webb 12:34
Yeah, I think one of the most interesting things that’s come out of disinflation, is that, you know, the Fed held off. And a lot of people will say, you know, they were really late in kind of this tightening cycle. And what we’re seeing now is, they were partially right, a lot of inflation was, in fact, transitory. It just took longer to transition through. And so disinflation has been strong. I think there’s concern, as Powell said, around the stickiness of disinflation, so, you know, they have to continue to navigate data, and it’s messy data around, you know, not wanting to re accelerate inflation and, and what pockets would be most sensitive to that. I think, when you think about markets, right now, it’s really important to focus on the fact that it’s not necessarily when I think there’s a lot of consensus that the when is in the year 2024. And to really focus on the y, which is the dual mandate of the Fed. And you know, that the Fed cutting rates is really specific action to, you know, maintaining low unemployment, and maintaining stable inflation. And so as growth continues sideways, or as on a sideways trajectory, and inflation continues to ease, you know, then policy becomes overly restrictive. And I think that, in and of itself is helpful in how one continues to navigate investing. And really, right now, the focus from an investing perspective is you know, you want to be thinking about the structure of debt within the companies that you are investing in, and then managing to the expectation of how interest rates affect those businesses specifically.
Andrew Brill 14:42
Are we looking at interest rates properly, you know, Sherrod Brown, the Democrat from Ohio said, you know, the word being too restrictive and we’re relying too much on interest rates, is that the right metric to try and control inflation and the economy
Nicole Webb 15:00
Gosh, I think is that the right thing when you think about the levers available? You know, that is, you know, this is a complex question and maybe even a bit above my paygrade in terms of, you know,
Andrew Brill 15:24
way above mine for sure.
Nicole Webb 15:27
You know, one of the things in Neel Kashkari has been vocal about this within the Fed. And, you know, I think, to my earlier points, interest rates only do so much. And, you know, you can highlight going back to Neel Kashkari comments, you know, immigration policy, and the jobs report will continue, and does continue to kind of highlight this. So we’re all acutely aware of, you know, the issues we have at our borders. And yet, we’ve been really kind of reliant on non born, you know, work as part of the, as part of the labor pool. And so, you know, some of that policy intersection, I think, is where people who think we’re too, you know, singular in our conversations about rates exist, I think from, you know, a markets perspective rates are really important in terms of how you value a company. And so I do believe we should still focus on rates when it comes to how we think about earnings per share growth of the companies that we are investing in, I think there’s a whole other side to this, which is policy, and we really believe that our job is to look at existing policy as it exists today, and make conscious investing decisions based on it. And then, you know, as policy changes over time, one then applies those changes to their investment thesis and how businesses will operate. So I think it’s just this distinction of we invest in companies, we don’t necessarily invest in, you know, what policymakers are doing day to day,
Andrew Brill 17:16
Right, and want to just go back to interest rates and how they relate to certain things like, you know, there are there are obviously things that are coming down prices, some prices are coming down. But for some reason food doesn’t come down is food and stuff like a gas prices have come down, or the used car prices have come down. So it is easing a little bit. But why does food lag so far behind? Because food prices are still
Nicole Webb 17:46
I mean, this is foods really interesting. I tell clients this story, often I have this very like visceral inflation, memory of going to target to buy groceries, and I reached for chicken and was in just couldn’t even believe that it was 1299 A pounders, it just something it’s incredible like that. And I felt like spending $20 for chicken just seemed astronomical. And we’ve seen some of those prices come down. And that’s were kind of going back to my comments earlier about inflation being transitory. So you have that, and then you have the geopolitical pressures that have affected food as well. So on one hand, you know, you have meat distributors, where the plants are open again, and you’ve seen those prices come down. And that’s an element of that transitory inflation, we were able to fully staff and be at full operating potential again. And then you have some of the other sides, you know, wheat as an example, where geopolitical pressures have continued to make that less transitory in nature, because you have new pressures that didn’t necessarily stem from COVID related issues. And so food continues to be, you know, challenging. And I think going back full cycle to something I said earlier, which is, there is this backdrop, whether you’re talking about food, or energy, or the manufacturing of semi, you know, semi chips, all of this D globalization and onshoring, you know, to kind of control more of those pressures that became exacerbated as a result of COVID.
Andrew Brill 19:25
Are we and I know that there’s the big debate, recession, not recession where we in one, are we going into one, but it seems like there’s certain sectors, like you mentioned, that are doing really, really well. Can we now look at this as kind of sector specific, you know, people, you know, some companies struggling some companies just going bonkers.
Nicole Webb 19:47
Yeah, I think it’s a really interesting moment in time there is. So if we look back at 2023 What you saw was great. growth above expectation, and that simply did not translate into earnings per share growth. So again, staying kind of markets focused, when we think about 2024. And embedded into expectations for the s&p 500, you know, you’ve baked in kind of a 10% plus earnings per share growth number. And at the same time, nine out of 11 sectors that make up the s&p, you know, have reduced expectations for their 2024 outlook. And so, you know, I don’t believe that it’s kind of a sector specific recessionary story, I think, what you’re seeing more is just the unique challenges. And I’ll just take com services and technology, which have actually increased their expectations for 2024, where the other nine have not, and what you’re seeing is kind of this, this resilience, this, the digitization, the technology advancements, you know, really happening in the short term, and then kind of the necessity of some stabilization of rates or rate cuts, some of kind of these labor costs. Last year, we were still faced with, you know, high labor expenses, and then that backdrop of deep globalization, and so the broadening of the market may take longer than was had, you know, that was expected initially, for 2024. Were at the end of 2023, everyone was kind of okay, it’s going to be the broadening check, trade and 2024. That’s the setup. And instead, what you’ve seen in the first trading month of the year, is technology continue to be both with what, you know, pushed us ahead in 2023. And what’s taking off so far in 2024.
Andrew Brill 21:52
So let’s get to some of those tech companies that have gone bonkers. I mean, you know, I guess, early in the week, Wednesday or so, you know, alphabet and Google and Microsoft come in and, you know, beat expectations have went down a little bit have recovered nicely, but you did go down. What, first of all, why that swing? I mean, I guess some of the profit was built in, and people like, oh, great, and then people were like, Okay, I’m gonna take some profit, I’m gonna get in a little bit lower, and then write it out. So you know, those two in particular, and I know, Microsoft, you know, really put a charge on towards the end of the week. So how about those two to start with?
Nicole Webb 22:35
Yeah, well, I think overarching, whether you are talking about Amazon alphabet, you know, Apple Mehta, yeah. You know, it’s all, it’s all kind of the same story to me, one of the analysts on our team, and he’s just exceptional. And he said it so well. He said, There’s a scarcity premium in the mega cap names right now. And that scarcity of scarcity premium is related to AI. Everyone wants to participate in what we believe AI can do. And the early benefactors are the creators and the early adopters. And it’s those who have the ease of deployment, because they already are technology companies where we’re seeing the most flows. And so when you think about, again, you know, what I said earlier, AWS risk, you know, had a 20% increase or decrease in repetitive coding that individuals had to do as a result of AI. That’s massive shift to productivity, meta meta declaring its dividend meta saying our free cash flow growth is through the roof, even though we’re continuing to invest in, you know, future stage technologies. And again, part of that growth that free cash flow growth is coming from these the AI applications, you can move down the list to alphabet and the way it’s using AI to increase advertising sales and what they charge per advertisement. So, you know, it’s again, this the scarcity premium in how do I participate in AI and right now, mega tech is the way that most people are comfortable doing it, because they can see it happening already. A lot of AI companies are still held in the private sector. And so you know, it, it might take a while for, you know, more participation or more of the names involved in AI to come public. And until then, you’ll probably continue to see, you know, flows, you know, at the active low level into these technology names.
Andrew Brill 24:51
Do you see more of those private companies doing an IPO I was reading about, you know, IPOs might be back? Yeah, I would assume it’s a Great way to raise cash, especially when interest rates are high.
Nicole Webb 25:04
Yeah, you know, the nifty thing about private companies is they don’t really have to tell us their plan. So, but those those that operate in, you know, the investment into those, into those names, have said the runway is probably somewhere between one to three years and have likened this moment in time to that of 1995, that we would be sitting in 1995. Not just because we anticipate the market to be at all time highs and the Fed to start strategically shaving rates lower, which we also did see in the 90s. But also in in 1995, you still didn’t really have a lot of these.com companies that had gone public yet. And so it wasn’t until you know, 9697 98, that you started to see more of that move to the public markets. And so there is, you know, a sect of people who believe that we are just in the beginning, it you know, the beginning stages of what AI will look like inside of our markets, in terms of public investment, and that it’ll, it’ll take a year or two to kind of start to move its way in.
Andrew Brill 26:20
So we’re looking at the AI bubble, as opposed to the.com bubble at this point.
Nicole Webb 26:24
Yeah. And I mean, we forget to talk about other bubbles. I mean, there was the application technology bubbles, think about all the app names that we know, Uber, Lyft, bumble, I mean, I can keep going and, and so we also want on my phone, every app on your phone that we watched move public skyrocket, higher, come back down, because they’re tough to value in the beginning, what is the stickiness of that business? And how do we properly value it and, and we’ll probably watch that play out in AI as well. What’s interesting, though, is that some of these private companies lit a fire under the feet of the names that we know so well. So when you think about chat, GPT as a large language model, you better believe that that put pressure on the people at alphabet as an example for Google to build out its large language model and then move it into its enterprise systems to make it applicable to business everywhere. And so, you know, you’re gonna start to hear more of kind of the rolling out of how do some of these large companies take what they’ve built internally to increase increase productivity, and hopefully, you know, net margin net profitability for lots of businesses, and, you know, that then can play out in that broadening trade as well,
Andrew Brill 27:42
almost get the sense that, like you say that you kind of have to get on board. Otherwise, you’re going to be left behind in with the AI stuff
Nicole Webb 27:52
And I think it’s stuff is actually the perfect word. You know, I think about this all the time. And when application technology came around, and we think about all the apps on our phone, the last thing that we would we ever would have thought was that it was going to create rideshare. I mean, we didn’t really think that that technology was going to alleviate the need for caps like that was that wasn’t on anyone’s radar. We also didn’t believe that social media would move out of the blog sphere into apps and then create this massive commerce environment for ad sales for influence. I mean, it’s fascinating when you think about it. So I don’t think we really even know what the stuff is yet, that AI packages up that we all are going to be consumers of and so I actually think stuff is the right word. And you know, AR and VR are kind of being left to the wayside to in this conversation. But augmented reality and virtual reality. There’s a reason Mehta spent, I think it was $16 billion last year in r&d in the metaverse and I think we should all really start to conceptualize that. All that is possible from that as well. And so yes, you got to get on board. And then all of it is going to be is run you know, by quantum by computers, you can go as far as a quantum computing and the storage necessary and then the data storage facilities and so there’s just a lot of robust growth there. And yes, you’re seeing that play out in valuations right now. And yet at the same time, you know, I don’t think we even know how far it’s going to take us
Andrew Brill 29:50
want to touch on you talked about meta and declaring a dividend a 50 cent dividend. And look, everybody who owns meta obviously very happy Look, I’m gonna get a little extra money, that’s great. They’re also going to increase their capital expenditures for the for this year, as, as is Amazon, there’s a lot of companies that talked about increasing their capital expenditures, but with meta with interest rates where they are, do they just have all that extra cash to pump into, you know, capital expenditures?
Nicole Webb 30:24
And yes, and I think that what you saw actually was just incredible shore up free cash flow growth and a proof point in the declaration of the dividend. And, you know, I’ve had a lot of conversations in the last few hours, you know, just around the meta dividend. And, and what I think it comes down to is, it’s a proof point that they can do both and I think a lot of that is why you saw the the stock price take off, you know, 14% I think it was and, and all of that comes down to they were they were probably overly brutalized for expenditures, just overspending. overspending, this belief that, you know, Mark Zuckerberg was he was too immature, the landscape changed, he needed to grow up and you saw them reduce headcount, you know, expenses, that were maybe fluffier and instead, really pour that into capex expense. And, and so, I think the dividend is a proof point of being able to do both and their own belief system in kind of where they’re going to be able to take free cash flow going forward. And I think all of that’s really interesting, and then that’s even more substantiated by their increase in their shack share buyback program. So, you know, I think all of that speaks volumes to where they believe the company is headed.
Andrew Brill 31:54
I think Mark Zuckerberg was also brutalized in Congress this week. That’s a different story.
Nicole Webb 31:59
Totally different story. I don’t you know, yeah, that you didn’t you didn’t not ask me to be here to come talk to you about it
Andrew Brill 32:08
Oh no, no, it was I’m just making a comment.
Nicole Webb 32:10
Oh no, no, no, I know. And I was about to give you my opinion, which I don’t I don’t think that’s what everyone listening is here for.
Andrew Brill 32:17
But the meta dividend obviously, things are going well at meta things are going well at Amazon, The Magnificent Seven Nvidia going bonkers. Does the divot does meta declaring a dividend put pressure on these other companies to keep up the ones that don’t give a dividend?
Nicole Webb 32:39
I don’t think I mean, I don’t necessarily think so. I mean, you’ve had Microsoft paying a dividend for a long time. And that didn’t necessarily put pressure on Apple or Mehta to do it anytime sooner. I think, you know, for meta, specifically, the things that have been called into question about the operation of the business and the value of the business made the declaration of dividend and the increase in the share buyback meaningful for that company. You know, I don’t necessarily think it’s going to be a ripple effect, or it’s going to move flows away from one versus the other. You can’t deny Apple its free cash flow numbers, you can’t deny Apple, its stickiness. Its pricing power, just, you know, all the things that Apple brings forward. I think what will be really interesting is watching for there to be competition, do the big just keep getting bigger? Or do we introduce more names into the mix, where you instead start to see new flows move into, you know, different technology companies. And to your point, I think that might just take a series of IPOs before we really start to see their competition for flows, and then we also can never forget just the passive investing element. Most investors on the retail side and then also on the institutional money manager side, the the flows into passive cap weighted ETFs that represent the s&p 500. Those flows will continue, you know, to help these mega mega cap names and so you know, you can’t, can’t turn a blind eye to that. So when we think about money in cash sitting on the sidelines, I’m not certain that you know, enough is going to be so thoughtful and being part of only the broadening trade, right, the 493 as we talked about all through 2023. And so again, yes, there’s Yes, there is concentration. Yes, these companies are crowded and expensive. And yes, they’re still moving in momentum to the upside.
Andrew Brill 34:56
Is there a concern that these companies are just too big and there’s just not enough room for someone to get in?
Nicole Webb 35:04
I, I don’t know. Because I think it’s a narrow view to think that I mean, we’d all pretty much given up on Microsoft until not that many years ago. So I think what will be really interesting is to see what does make its way into the public market, and then how that story is told. And I also am a firm believer that we still don’t know, to the extent, you know, in which technology advancements help the top and bottom line of the 493. Other companies we haven’t talked about, you know, in our conversation today. And so I think, you know, there’s room there’s room for more, there’s room for many. And for but for right now, the momentum is certainly in these household names, you know, and what they’re bringing forward in terms of clarity in the story around AI and its impact to their business.
Andrew Brill 36:05
I want to touch on Apple, you had mentioned Apple earlier, and obviously, a company is doing well. But globally, they announced that they were having problems with their iPhone in China, not the iPhone itself, but people weren’t buying the iPhone, is that, in your opinion, is that tied to the Chinese economy? Because people aren’t spending as much on a new iPhone? Look, I get I get alerts all the time, you’re due for an upgrade? It’s like, yeah, my phone’s working just fine.
Nicole Webb 36:33
Yeah, I’d love to put my boots on the ground in China in the coming months, because it is the data is such a mixed bag, and never super helpful or transparent. There’s two things there. One, the COVID story in China is very different than the narrative for Americans. And you know that reopening trade in China really is not even a year old now. And we’re just seeing that there’s more issues post pandemic, China, then was necessarily assumed or expected. And so, you know, we saw consumerism not picked back up in the same way that we had expected. And so I certainly do think that that has an impact. There’s also been just a little bit of strife, whether it was with Apple or, you know, Chip purchasing, you know, I think China is just in a weaker position. And we saw that trickle through in the numbers. The thing about Apple though, is, we do know that their intent is to really try and ramp up their services side of the business, and that’s going to take some time. And so, yes, it’s going to be highlighted when they don’t hit on the product spot side, especially X us. And at the same time, I think a lot of people are betting on Apple’s ability to move away from, you know, being so product focused and bring more of that services orientation into the business mix.
Andrew Brill 38:08
So my last question is, I guess I have two questions. Okay. Where can this market go? I you know, we’re we’re setting records on the Dow, the s&p, NASDAQ all the time, I assume today record new highs? Yeah, how far can this go?
Nicole Webb 38:25
Yeah. I mean,
Andrew Brill 38:28
I know you don’t have a crystal ball.
Nicole Webb 38:30
No I know. I think it’s, um, there’s so much opportunity in markets today, I am a huge believer that that there’s room for this to run. And at some future date, the market today will look cheap. I don’t know if that’s at the end of this year. Or if it takes years for us to look back and think that the market was cheap today. What I do know is that last year, you really did have a distinct market until really November, whereby many names on the s&p were at the same share price that they’d been in 2021. And, you know, justifiably we dodged a global recession, you know, supply chain came back online. We’re also seeing that inventories aren’t holding up, you know, that the consumer demands actually been stronger in many pockets than expected. And so at some point, we have to rebuild inventories, which then, you know, brings manufacturing numbers back or re accelerates, you know, pockets and, and then at the same time, there’s certainly headwinds against cost and, you know, navigating that on a business by business perspective, and so right now what we’re really focused on On is who are the quality companies inside of each sector. And then from, you know, a sector perspective, then you know, sub sector those out and really looking at who has the highest likelihood of navigating shareholder return. And it’s staying really focused on that. Because not all companies are created equally. And we are, like, like I said, we believe that the data will be a little bit messy as you navigate, you know, fiscal and monetary policy. You layer on the volatility of an election year. And, and the sensitivity of the consumer, should we have any, you know, unexpected moves. So, all of that makes it a year to just really focus on quality of company.
Andrew Brill 40:49
Oh Nicole, thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate your insights. Where can people find you on social media if you’re on social media, so they can gain more insights?
Nicole Webb 40:59
Yeah, I love followers. So you can follow me on LinkedIn at Nicole Webb, I’m pretty active there. And I would say that is the best place to find me. Otherwise, you can Google Nicole web at wealth enhancement group.com. And you’ll find my direct email address there. So if anybody ever wants to have a conversation, it’s my favorite thing to talk about.
Andrew Brill 41:20
Cool. Thanks so much. We really appreciate you coming on.
Nicole Webb 41:22
Andrew Brill 41:23
That’s a wrap on another episode of the Wealthion show. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover, or guests you’d like to hear from, please reach out via our email, social media, or head over to our website Wealthion.com. Thank you for watching and until next time, stay informed, stay empowered, and may your investments flourish.