Your Weekly Financial Roundup Issue No. 65

Here’s the latest on the economy, tech, and the world, including rising optimism among Americans, Twilio’s acquisition woes, new antibiotics by Harvard researchers, and more.

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Your Financial News Roundup

February 21, 2024


  1. Economy: Wall Street predicts the S&P 500 stock index will reach bigger year-end highs than previously thought; while new data suggests Americans are feeling better about the economy despite hardships.
  2. Tech: Twilio’s investors want the company to sell off analytics firm Segment to improve its share price; meanwhile, Microsoft is creating a network card to reduce its dependency on Nvidia and enhance AI usage.
  3. World: Harvard researchers are creating new antibiotics to combat drug-resistant superbugs, and Australia will spend $35B+ to expand its navy and regional security.

Personal Finance Concept [Part 3/4]: Financial Advisors — Humans vs. Robots


📈 Stocks, Up And To The Right Only: The S&P 500 soared to a new record high of 5,000, surpassing its projected year-end target in less than 2 months! Now, Wall Street brands like UBS and Goldman Sachs are raising their year-end targets for the index, with UBS calling for 5,400 and Goldman for 5,200. Rosy corporate profit outlooks and economic forecasts are the main drivers of stock growth this year. Their earnings are predicted to grow 3.2% in Q4, while the index will rise 10.9% for the year. The Magnificent 7 tech stocks (Apple, Google, Tesla, Nvidia, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft) will lead the rally. Meanwhile, the rest of the S&P 500 companies are estimated to see a 3% dip in their earnings. (Yahoo! Finance)

Our Take: Sticky inflation remains a concern for investors, who fear that the Federal Reserve may take its time to cut interest rates. But, high inflation also means more returns and profits for corporations, potentially leading to higher stock prices.

↗️ Things Are Looking Up For Biden: Since taking office, Joe Biden has dedicated significant effort to persuade Americans that the economy is improving. For years, most voters harbored doubts about his claims due to the rising cost of living. However, new data suggests a shift as Americans grow more optimistic about the US economy. This trend could give Biden an edge ahead of November’s presidential election, where he will likely go head-to-head against Trump and his Republican allies. Meanwhile, the GOP is expected to attack Biden and the Democrats on the issues of rising inflation and the flow of undocumented immigrants. (The Guardian)

Our Take: A more positive perception of the economy will reflect well on the Biden administration, potentially translating into electoral support for Biden and the Democrats. To capitalize on this trend, Biden must ensure voters’ priorities get adequately addressed as the GOP will likely pounce on any economic weaknesses.


🛒 Buyer’s Remorse at Twilio: Back in October 2020, Twilio, a customer engagement platform, acquired Segment for a staggering $3.2B. At the time of the acquisition, Twilio had a market cap of $40B+, while Segment had raised a $175M Series D the year prior. However, with Twilio facing slowing growth and Segment struggling with customer churn, it’s unclear if Twilio can recoup its high acquisition cost anytime soon. As a result, investors are lobbying hard for Twilio to sell off Segment to boost its share price.

Our Take: Selling off Segment could help Twilio refocus on its core business or redirect resources to more promising ventures. However, giving up Segment could also mean sacrificing potential strategic gains in the customer data platform (CDP) industry.

👥 New Player Incoming: Tech giant Microsoft is developing a new network card to improve the performance of its AI computing chip, Maia, and reduce its reliance on famed chip maker Nvidia. CEO Satya Nadella has tasked Pradeep Sindhu (co-founder of network device maker Juniper Networks) to lead the network card effort, who will create one similar to Nvidia’s ConnectX-7. Though this card will take over a year to create, OpenAI will significantly reduce the time and costs needed to train its models on Microsoft’s servers. Microsoft has invested billions into OpenAI while integrating its AI into Office products and Maia. (Reuters)

Our Take: Microsoft’s early investment into OpenAI enabled it to be the first to sell AI-enabled software and to understand the pain points of large-scale AI use. Coupled with its growing AI product business, Microsoft’s entry into the hardware side of the AI supply chain enables it to create a closed ecosystem, much like Apple’s, but with more control over hardware design and production. This move would allow the company to secure its competitive advantage in the AI space with faster model training cycles and product releases at a lower cost.


🦠 Antibiotics – 1, Superbugs – 0: Researchers at Harvard are creating an antibiotic that can treat drug-resistant infections, which are slowly becoming a global health issue. The new compound, cresomycin, is highly effective at killing antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” like Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Luckily, it’s only one of several promising antibiotics the team has created to combat superbugs. Research lead Prof. Andrew Myers said the new molecule has a better ability to bind to and disrupt ribosomes with shielding that prevents existing antibiotics from working. As a new compound, cresomycin is fully synthetic and modified via human means — differing from prior ones of natural origin. (GNN)

Our Take: With existing antibiotics losing to superbugs, the development of new ones is key to preventing mass public health issues. Coupled with Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS) testing, doctors can get a comprehensive picture of infectious microbes to arrive at a precise diagnosis and personalized treatment plan — enhancing antibiotic stewardship and the use of these valued medicines.

🚢 Australia Announces Its Navy Buildup: Australia plans to allocate $35B+ to bolster its fleet of warships over the next decade. According to Australian Chief of Navy Vice Adm. Mark Hammond, the goal is to ensure the country can adequately navigate growing strategic challenges in the region. No specific country was named in the announcement. But, analysts believe the Australian government is concerned about possible threats from China, which has been building up its navy and asserting territorial claims in disputed waters in the South China Sea and Northeast Asia. (CNN)

Our Take: The Australian government believes these plans will create 3,700 jobs in the next 10 years while defending its national interests. However, the opposition Greens party argues that the navy may face a manpower challenge and underdelivering on its promises.

The World of Digital Transactions [Part 3/4]

Robo-Advisors vs. Financial Advisors

In the third installment of our series, we confront a pivotal question in modern finance: Should you trust your investment strategies to the algorithms of robo-advisors or the experienced hands of financial advisors?

Robo-advisors are digital platforms that provide automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services with minimal human intervention. They are known for their efficiency, lower fees, and the ability to handle straightforward investment portfolios. On the other hand, human financial advisors offer a more personalized service, accounting for the nuances of your financial situation and providing comprehensive advice and emotional support.

Robo-Advisors Pros and Cons


  • Cost-Effectiveness: Robo-advisors typically have lower fees than human advisors, making them an affordable option for many investors.
  • Efficiency and Accessibility: Available 24/7 online, they provide immediate financial management services.
  • Objective Advice: Algorithms do not have any emotions, potentially leading to more rational decision-making.


  • Limited Personalization: They may not account for complex nuances in your unique financial circumstances.
  • Lack of Human Interaction: Robo-advisors cannot provide the emotional support that a financial advisor can, especially in economic stress.

Financial Advisors Pros and Cons


  • Personalized Service: They usually offer customized advice tailored to individual financial goals, needs, and circumstances.
  • Holistic Approach: Financial advisors can address a wider range of financial planning needs, including retirement planning, tax strategies, and estate planning.
  • Emotional Guidance: They can offer reassurance and emotional support, which is especially important during volatile market periods.


  • Higher Costs: Personalized service comes with higher fees than those charged by robo-advisors.
  • Potential for Bias: Human advisors may have their own biases or be motivated to push the products and services their firms promote.

Making the Right Choice For You

Choosing between a robo-advisor and a human financial advisor depends largely on your personal financial situation, investment goals, and how much value you place on human interaction and advice. For those with more straightforward financial needs or a smaller investment portfolio, a robo-advisor could be an efficient and cost-effective choice. However, if your financial situation is complex or you value personalized advice and emotional support, a human advisor may be more suitable.

What Else Is New?


Personal Finance Resources

🚀 Check out our collection of personal finance resources on Gumroad, featuring both free and paid options:

Stay tuned for updates! In the meantime, if there’s any other product you’d like to see, feel free to suggest it here.


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We are not financial advisors. The content on this website and our YouTube videos are for educational purposes only and merely cite our own personal opinions. In order to make the best financial decision that suits your own needs, you must conduct your own research and seek the advice of a licensed financial advisor if necessary. Know that all investments involve some form of risk and there is no guarantee that you will be successful in making, saving, or investing money; nor is there any guarantee that you won't experience any loss when investing. Always remember to make smart decisions and do your own research!

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