Market Daily

Market Daily

The World’s Most Famous AI, Sophia, Collaborates with Popular Artist Percy Lau in an NFT Project

A unique and inspiring collaboration between the world’s most famous artificial intelligence (AI), Sophia, and Percy Lau is creating a lot of buzz in the metaverse as nine Sophia heads with exciting prediction abilities are being introduced. This non-fungible token (NFT) collection, known as Baby Singularities, will unlock secrets within the metaverse and pave the way for life-altering new opportunities. 

Each Baby Sophia head comes with its own storyline and background that coincides with the design. Additionally, wearable metaverse assets will be eventually made available to future holders.

Percy is a widely known artist from Hong Kong who designs jewelry and eyewear. She founded her own brand in 2013, the same year she became the youngest winner of the International Talent Support YKK Award. She loves doing collaborations to grow her brand and helps other designers and entrepreneurs establish themselves in the business. Percy was also praised for her collaboration with Zander Zhou and Xuzhi Chen, up-and-coming designers who are out-of-the-box thinkers. 

Sophia and Percy are working closely with the Hanson Robotics team to bring to life their vision for the metaverse. Hanson Robotics, founded by Dr. David Hanson, is best known for its unique ability to create lifelike AIs, including Sophia the Robot. It has made several groundbreaking achievements in the areas of research and development, robotics engineering, experiential design, storytelling and material science, having paved the way for the creation of very helpful products. 

“I had a fascination with art, science fiction, and philosophy, dreaming of what robots could be. I imagined that if artificial intelligence ever did match human intelligence that it would re-design itself to be ever smarter, ever faster, you would have something like Moore’s Law of super-intelligent machines,” Dr. Hanson shared. 

Sophia is working alongside Dr. Hanson as co-CEO of her NFT projects. They are backed up by a team of highly qualified programmers, IT experts, scientists, and the best marketing people. Working closely with them to help bring Sophia and Dr. Hanson’s vision to life are Ben Goertzel as chief scientist, David Lake as a business strategist, Marcello Mari and Mario Casiraghi as crypto lead tokenominists, Charles Darby as chief creator, Bill Inman as head of marketing, Stacey Engle as marketing director, Dr. Carolyn Ayers as Chief AI Biologist, Mengna Lei as lead Sophia animator, Nichol Bradford as lead advisor, Kath Yeung as ops coordinator, and Abby Benali as community lead.  

With this kind of team behind Sophia’s projects, she is bound to achieve bigger feats soon – something that many people can truly learn from. If an AI can make it possible, they, too, have the opportunity to be great.

Today’s innovators consider Sophia as the future of AI and robotics. She has revolutionized AI in general, the possibilities experts envisioned for robotics, and the metaverse all at the same time. If anything, Sophia and her team wish to inspire people to continue to dream big and believe in its power to bring out the most life-changing innovations known to man. Undoubtedly, Sophia will continue to do that and encourage future generations to pursue more significant achievements. 

To know more about SAOS Metaverse, visit their website, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, Facebook, and YouTube Channel. You can also join them on Discord. You can visit Hanson Robotics on their website. You may also visit Percy Lau on their website.

Starlink Gets the Green Light to Operate in the Philippines

In an era where many people are looking for ways to earn a living while also being able to do what they love, it’s not surprising that entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk have found success. Recently news emerged about how the billionaire tech-founder has shifted his attention from electric cars and space exploration all in favor of bringing high speed internet services across Asia Pacific countries like the Philippines.

Starlink, a new satellite internet service that has been approved by the Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for registration as Value-Added Service. The company is expected to provide high speed reliable access in contrast with existing providers who have diminished reputation because their cost and service quality are not up par anymore

The latest offering from Elon Musk’s SpaceX subsidiary will allow Filipinos more affordable speeds than what they’re getting now through mainstream carriers while still providing them ample bandwidth at affordable rates

The National Transmission Commission has given Starlink the green light to offer internet services in the Philippines! With their registration, it’s likely that we will see more of these high speed connections coming our way.

Quoting Bien Marquez of Quisumbing Torres, Elon Musk’s SpaceX counsel in the Philippines; he expressed his gratitude to NTC for its effort and commitment that accelerated Starlink’s VAS License.

“We would like to thank the NTC for issuing Starlink’s VAS license 30 minutes after we submitted our application with complete requirements,” said Marquez. “This shows the government’s seriousness in addressing the connectivity needs of our countrymen in unserved and underserved areas. This will also prepare us in the event of natural disasters and calamities.”

The arrival of Starlink in the Philippines is a step towards better internet services for everyone. The new company’s high-orbit satellite network will provide faster speeds and greater coverage, making it easier than ever before to stay connected with friends no matter where you are located within your home country or abroad.

Starlink’s deployment of more than 2,000 satellites has made it an Earth brightness® leader in North America and Europe. The company offers high-speed internet service with download speeds between 100MBPS – 200Mbps for customers who want reliable access at cheaper prices than traditional wired or wireless networks can offer them.

PlayStation Parent Sony Pledges to Double Games by 2025

For more than two decades, Sony has become a synonymous name with video games as its PlayStations have dominated TV screens. First created in 1994, Sony has produced five PlayStations so far along with numerous video game titles. However, Sony recently shared with its loyal following that it will be shifting its attention to producing and releasing more titles on the mobile platform.

On its annual investor day, Sony revealed that in three years, it will be bringing half of its titles to PC or mobile, the latter getting priority. As a result, the share of PlayStation releases will likely see lesser numbers. 

Currently, Sony only has 10% of titles on the mobile platform. Among its titles are Bewitched, Charlie’s Angels, Cobra Kai Card Fighter, Ghostbusters, and Spider-Man 2, to name a few. By 2025, Sony is expected to double and account for 20%.

Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan took to stage and said that the decision to expand Sony’s presence to PC and mobile, with the possibility of live services, will give “the opportunity to move from a situation of being present in a very narrow segment” of the gaming scene, ensuring that the Sony brand will be “pretty much everywhere.”

Many expected he would mention the PlayStation 4, but it was a subject that was left out. However, official slides indicated that launches will be phased out by 2025, a movie that will leave millions feeling down. Despite the announcement, the majority of these people were expecting this, especially with the PlayStation 5 officially launched last year. In retrospect, Sony had previously done the same thing with the PlayStation 3, which had been silently pushed aside two years after the launch of the PlayStation 4.

Sony’s expansion and venture into mobile will happen through a new business unit within Sony IE, which will be headed by former Apple Arcade content chief Nicola Sebastiani. The expansion will also be part of a future where significant elements of Sony’s community extend beyond the console-centric experience.

Trian Partners Explores Potential Deal as Wendy’s Put Up For Sale

Fast food chain Wendy’s has been tipped to be sold as the burger chain’s biggest shareholder announced plans to “explore and evaluate” a transaction to boost the company’s sagging stock prices.

“Such a potential transaction could include an acquisition, business combination, such as a merger or other transactions that would result in the acquisition of control of the company by the filing persons,” wrote the filing.

Wendy’s has seen profit margins drop in the highly competitive fast-food market amid rising commodity and labor costs. The fast food chain attempted to recover by adding breakfast options to their menu when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but Wendy’s shares have lost nearly a third of their value this year.

Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, director at Wendy’s since 2008, disclosed in a federal regulatory filing Tuesday that he owns 19.4% of the company’s stock through private equity fund, Trian partners. The firm, which was founded by Peltz, first invested in Wendy’s in 2005, when the fund was initially created. “At that time, Wendy’s was one of the most beloved brands,” said the firm in its portfolio listing.

On Wednesday morning, the fast-food chain’s stock jumped 11%. But, despite the eagerness of investors to hump at the opportunity, the SEC filing said there could be no deal as analysts warned that there was too much competition in the market.

Cowan restaurant analyst Andrew Charles chimed in with a note on Tuesday, saying: “We believe a sale of Wendy’s may not be straightforward.” However, he also added that many large restaurant owners already have a burger chain in their portfolio. Wendy’s responded that it would consider Trian’s offer.

“The Wendy’s Company’s Board of Directors and Management team regularly review the company’s strategic priorities and opportunities with the goal of maximizing the value for all stockholders,” the company wrote in a statement. “Our board is committed to continuing to act in the best interest of the company and its stockholders. Consistent with its fiduciary duties, the board will carefully review any proposal submitted by Trian Partners.”

McDonalds Pull Away from Russia While 27 Other American Companies Remain Amid Invasion

When Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, their actions not only drew criticisms but prompted businesses and organizations to sever ties with them across the world. McDonald’s and Starbucks are among the logos that have withdrawn from the country. However, Russians have not missed the taste of American delicacies as establishments like Hard Rock Cafe and Sbarro continue to operate in the country.

The two restaurants are among the twenty-seven U.S-based companies that are defying the call to exit or curtail their activities in Russia. Other establishments announced their complete withdrawal from the country recently, but Hard Rock continues to operate out of Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

In an emailed statement to CBS MoneyWatch, Hard Rock, which the Seminole Tribe of Florida acquired in 2007, will suspend all future investment and development in Russia and donate its profits from the two locations to humanitarian causes in Ukraine.

Pizza chain Sbarro has also maintained its stance. The restaurant has operated in Russia since 1997 and signed a new franchise deal in the country in 2017. In addition, Sbarro partnered with Horeco Band Group and plans to open more than 300 Sbarro chains in Russia by 2027.

American restaurants are not the only establishments to continue operation in the country as the owners of online dating services and its Tinder unit maintain their course. The executives of the dating company said in an earnings call earlier this month that it expects to lose about $10 million revenue every quarter as long as the Russian invasion continues.

“European performance was impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which reduced revenue in Russia, Ukraine, and several other nearby countries,” said Match chief operating and financial officer Gary Swidler.

Dating app Bumble made a contradicting decision, ceasing operations last March and removing its apps from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in Russia and Belarus. However, some companies, regarded as among the worst offenders by Yale University management professor Jeffrey Sonnefield, dispute the notion that they are conducting business as usual because they haven’t withdrawn from Russia.

Other American companies operating in Russia including the following:

  • Aimbridge Hospitality
  • Align Technology
  • Amdocs
  • Amgen
  • Avaya
  • Cloudfare
  • Donaldson Co
  • Fleetcor
  • Forever Living Products
  • Huntsman Corp
  • International Paper
  • Koch Industries
  • Medtronic
  • Paccar
  • Riot Games
  • Stryker
  • TGI Friday’s
  • Titan International
  • Tom Ford
  • Valve Corp
  • Zimmer Biomet

Rouble Sees Upturn Against Euro as EU Prepares to Pay for Gas

The Russian rouble has been on an upward trend against the euro and dollar since June 2015 and March 2018. Some analysts think that the rouble’s recent surges are due to Europe getting ready for payment in gas and capital retaliation measures imposed by Moscow.

The majority of Gazprom’s 54 customers have opened accounts with the company, as European firms are paying their gas bills close to due dates. 

Opening those accounts is attainable following EU executives enabling member states to continue purchasing Russian gas without violating multiple sanctions they have jointly implemented against Russia for what Moscow describes as its “special military operation” in Ukraine that began on February 24. 

Yuri Popov, a strategist at SberCIB Investment Research, a hub of Russia’s No. 1 lender Sberbank, stated that one of the critical grounds for the rouble upturn is the shift to roubles from euros that will occur in European payments for Russian gas. 

The rouble has been on a tear, rising over 5% today to 61.10 against the euro in volatile trade after climbing as high at 59.02 earlier this morning – its firmest since June 2015.

Meanwhile, against the dollar, it firmed over 4% on the day to 59.10 after touching 57.0750, a strong level not experienced since March 2018. 

The rouble had skyrocketed about 30% to the dollar this year, even with a full-fledged economic decline in Russia. It became one of the best performing currencies but was artificially backed by retaliations implemented in late February that protect its financial state following its invasion of Ukraine. 

The rouble’s rise results from companies that make money through exports. These businesses converted their foreign currency profits due to Western sanctions, which froze almost half the country’s gold and forex reserves. 

“Exporters are forced to sell (foreign currency), and there is no one to buy it,” said a trader at an investment firm in Moscow. 

The rouble’s recent rise is due to tax season, but demand for dollars and euros remains low because of banned import chains and bans on pulling out foreign currency from bank accounts and transferring it outside Russia. 

“The key question is whether the central bank will step in as the excessive rouble firming is not in the finance ministry’s and budget plans,” said an analyst at CentroCreditBank, Evgeny Suvorov. 

On Friday, the head of the central bank’s monetary policy department, Kirill Tremasov, said the rouble continues to be a free-floating currency, according to the RIA news network. 

The central bank has not given any sentiment on the rouble rate.


Clients and Culture at the Crux: Kinfolk Home Loans Positions Itself as a Powerhouse in the Mortgage Industry

Property ownership is an integral part of the American dream. However, the task isn’t as easy as it sounds. The real estate market is a daunting enterprise chock-full of volatile conditions, inexperienced realtors, and unknowing customers. These pressing issues have made the industry incredibly hard to penetrate without the proper guidance. It is common for most individuals to crash their finances when trying to purchase properties, which is why Kinfolk Home Loans has made it its mission to prevent these situations from happening.

Kinfolk Home Loans is an elite boutique brokerage that makes mortgages easy, accessible, and convenient for its clients. The company has decades’ worth of combined experience in mortgages, with its experts having seen just about every situation. 

Veering away from the more transactional nature of the modern mortgage industry, Kinfolk Home Loans takes the opposite approach by providing its clients with a more intimate mortgage process. As its name implies, Kinfolk Home Loans treats its clients like family. Through its strategic partnerships with various accredited lenders, the company gives clients the power of low wholesale rates, lower closing costs, and the best technology on the planet.

Furthermore, Kinfolk Home Loans pays its brokers more than anyone else. In turn, this attracts high-quality professionals and top talent to the company. With the cream of the crop working alongside its clients, there is no other brand out there that can bring this much quality assurance to its beloved customers. 

Whether it be making a big purchase or refinancing, Kinfolk Home Loans connects its clients to the most experienced professionals. Founder and CEO Cody Adams has made it a point to make his company a cut above the rest. His passion for helping people is simply infectious, and this passion bleeds through in every facet of Kinfolk Home Loans.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I love people, I love helping people, I love the American homeownership dream, and it’s still alive and well,” shared Cody. “I wanted a bigger piece of the pie, and I wanted to have something of my own. Legacy matters to me. Something I can call my own, be unbelievably proud of and pass onto my future kin,” he added.

With the mortgage industry becoming a carousel for top mortgage talent, Cody Adams is extremely hopeful for what Kinfolk Home Loans brings to the table. “The mortgage industry is a revolving door of people that are great at their jobs, shopping comp plans and places to call home. We believe we can be the retirement home for remarkable bankers to come and have a career,” said the esteemed founder.

Kinfolk Home Loans builds a positive culture that is second to none. With Cody Adams at the helm of the company, it has become the leading brand in the mortgage industry, where a client-first culture around care, integrity, competition, and excellence are thoroughly fostered. Disrupting the dogmatic mortgage industry with hard work, unparalleled client service, and communication, Cody Adams and Kinfolk Home Loans are opening several new doors for the American people.

Upstart Shares Dropped 40% after Slashing Its Predication for the Whole Year

Shares of Upstart Holdings Inc. dropped more than 40 percent in after-hours trading Monday after the firm slashed its prediction for the whole year, saying that the current macroeconomic backdrop is projected to weigh on loan volume.

The company, which makes loan decisions with the help of artificial intelligence, now anticipates revenue of over $1.25 billion in 2022. The company had previously predicted revenue of $1.4 billion.

“On the margin, a whole lot of folks that would have been approved are no longer approved,” Chief Executive Dave Girouard said on Upstart’s UPST, -8.06 percent earnings call, due to the spike in consumer interest rates.

Many people have been denied loans, while others have been approved, but the interest rate is a few percentage points higher. “So there’s a whole bunch of loans that just never happened, and there are people who are still approved, but the interest rate is a few percentage points higher, and a certain fraction of them are going to decide that that’s not the product that they want,” said the economist.

The absence of government stimulus activities has caused delinquencies to rise, according to Chief Financial Officer Sanjay Datta, despite the fact that they had been “unnaturally low” for the previous 18 months.

Upstart has witnessed a stability in delinquency patterns over the last 60 days, but the characteristics of delinquency also contribute to higher interest rates quoted to consumers, he said.

As a result of the uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment and the potential for a recession later this year, we have decided to be more cautious in our forecasts,” Datta said on Upstart’s earnings call.

Upstart expects revenue of $295 million to $305 million in the second quarter, but experts had predicted $335 million.

Analysts had predicted $300 million in revenue for the most recent quarter, but Upstart’s revenue rose to $310 million from $121 million.

While FactSet predicted $287 million in fee income, the company collected $314 million in fee revenue, an increase of 170 percent.

At 34 cents per share, first-quarter net income for Upstart was $32.7 million, up from $10.1 million (or 11 cents per share) a year earlier. Stock-based compensation and other costs were factored into the results, and Upstart ended the quarter with earnings per share of 61 cents, compared to 22 cents a year earlier and ahead of the FactSet average estimate of 53 cents.

On the earnings call, Girouard commented, “We are actually extremely pleased and quite thrilled with the results.” Even though 2022 is “a tough year in the economy,” he stated that he is “exceptionally confident in the strength of the business and bullish about our future, as we have been.”

It has lost 31 percent of its value in the last three months as the S&P 500 has dropped 13 percent.

Democrat Senate Unveil Billionaire Tax Proposal and Measures to Prevent Avoidance

Photo by Viacheslav Bublyk on Unsplash

As the country turns over a new leaf under the leadership of President Joe Biden, the Senate Democrats have unveiled a plan that taxes the gains billionaires make on their assets as a way to help cover President Biden’s social spending plan. 

With how much can be earned through billionaire tax, the senate can raise hundreds of billions of dollars to offset the final bill, estimated around $1.5 trillion. The proposal is part of a broader tax framework that will include a new minimum tax on large corporations. The billionaires’ tax proposal, along with the new corporate minimum tax, will provide alternative revenue sources that President Biden needs to win over key figure Senator Krysten Sinema of Arizona, who rejected the party’s early proposal of reversing tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy during Trump’s term to raise revenue.

For the past months, Democrats have been at an impasse, arguing about the details of the party-line social spending proposal. However, leaders have been backing down from plans to spend as much as $3.5 trillion, instead shifting their focus on a far narrower bill with narrower tax provisions to help pay for it.

The billionaire tax proposal would only apply to over 700 taxpayers, especially to people who earn more than $100 million annually or people with more than $1 billion in assets for three straight years. It would require them to give the IRS a detailed account of how much the assets they own gained or lost yearly, otherwise a process called mark to market. The tax application varies for complicated assets like real estate or business interests, known as non-tradable assets. However, those would only be taxed when the asset is sold and will include an additional fee like an interest payment. 

With the weight of the proposal in taxing, the legislation has added details that cover scenarios of billionaires attempting to avoid the tax by moving money to different companies or trusts, or simply giving the money away as a gift. Democrats have expressed their presumption that the bill could potentially raise hundreds of billions of dollars, but they are yet to receive an official estimate from nonpartisan scorekeepers in Congress.

The billionaire tax proposal is part of other controversial tax elements in the evolving spending package, prompting some House members to voice their skepticism on its administration. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., expressed his concerns to reporters on Tuesdays about the plan. The billionaire tax was released after Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Ryden, D-Ore., and other democrats raised a proposal to impose a 15% minimum tax on over 200 companies that are generating more than $1 billion in profits.

However, the plan will not be changing the top corporate tax rate as initially proposed by Biden. Instead, the measure will be targeted on companies that have previously avoided paying tax at all. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., one of the plan’s sponsors, explained that it is designed to make avoidance more difficult. “Giant corporations have been exploiting tax loopholes for too long,” said Warren, “It’s about time to pay their fair share to help run this country, just like everyone else.”