March 31, 2024

Today's Topics

It’s March 31st, which means we’re already a quarter of the way through this year, with just 275 days, or 6,600 hours, or 156 Chartr newsletters until 2025! So, join us as we take a chart-packed whistle-stop tour of the year so far.

P.S. We’d like to wish a wonderful EasterSunday to all who celebrate from the Chartr team.

Before we dive into a few of the biggest stories, here are some charts you might have missed from Q1:

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The year of the Bull

Although the Chinese calendar technically ushered in the year of the dragon, it’s a bull that investors have been channeling in 2024. Indeed, stock markets around the world have continued their relentless upward march this year, seeing record highs for Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, India’s Nifty 50, Europe’s closely-watched STOXX 600, and, of course, America’s flagship S&P 500, which is up 11% this year.

Win some, lose some

Much has been written about how the “Magnificent 7” have driven the market almost on their own this year, but it hasn’t just been big tech driving markets higher. Indeed, more than 70% of the stocks in the S&P 500 have made gains in 2024, with just 138 of the index’s constituents losing ground.

None more so than Tesla. Indeed, at the time of writing, TSLA is the worst performing stock in the entire index, having lost 28% of its value so far this year, shedding some $240 billion in market cap, as the wider EV market slows down. That’s just marginally ahead of Boeing, which has been grounded after multiple mechanical failures and a mounting PR crisis that saw the CEO announce his departure last week.

At the green end of the performance spectrum are the companies benefiting from the ongoing AI hype — a trend that’s turned Nvidia into a market colossus, worth some $2.27 trillion after rising 82% this year. Ironically, Nvidia isn’t actually the best performing AI-exposed stock in the S&P 500; that honor falls to Super Micro Computer Inc, which has notched off-the-charts growth (literally, since we didn’t have space to plot it above) having gained more than 250% this year.

Other winners: Disney enjoyed an uplift as it turned the tide on streaming service losses and CEO Bob Iger gained support in the ongoing showdown with activist investor Nelson Peltz. Uber, after hitching a ride to its first-ever profitable year, has also seen its shares zoom up by 32%.

Other losers: Paramount Global and Warner Bros shares have sunk 18% and 25%, respectively, after the potential merger between the two was scrapped at the end of February.

Super Bowl goes super well

On the evening of February 11th, two entertainment worlds collided as an average of 123.4 million people tuned in either to watch the Kansas City Chiefs narrowly defeat the San Francisco 49ers… or to see if Taylor Swift would make it in time to witness Travis Kelce's eventual triumph.

Extra points

Indeed, Super Bowl LVIII gained such a large audience that it's only eclipsed by the Apollo 11 moon landing in the annals of the most-watched US broadcasts, surpassing viewership figures for all previous NFL championship showdowns. According to Nielsen, more than 202 million people watched at least part of the game — with the Swiftie Army undoubtedly playing a huge part as female viewership reached an all-time high.

Getting in front of all of those eyeballs demanded a heavy price tag, with brands forking over a staggering $7 million for a mere 30 seconds of airtime. And, when the game kicked into overtime for only the second time ever, CBS was able to air the extra insurance slots it secured during the unexpected commercial breaks, translating to an extra $60 million in sales for the network.

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Energy independence

While artificial intelligence dominates the headlines of business and tech newspapers around the country, America’s energy industry has been quietly thriving. Indeed, 3 weeks ago the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the US had produced the equivalent of 12.9 million barrels of crude oil and condensate per day last year, 28% more than the world’s previous top producer, Russia, and 33% more than even the oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

And, it’s not just oil.

Thanks to hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), a wave of previously inaccessible, or at least uneconomical, oil and gas reserves are now being extracted at record speed. Indeed, as recently as 2015, America’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) never left the country: now it’s a key component of one of the country’s most geopolitically important exports.

Uncomfortable truth: While America’s fossil fuel output is breaking records, sensors in the world’s oceans are also reading temperatures that we’ve never seen before, leaving researchers and scientists “astounded”.

More charts you might have missed:

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