🐭 Disney dances, PayPal cries

and funding your child's education

Good morning investors! The S&P Index is very close to hitting new highs as we welcome a mixed bag of earnings.

Today we cover:

  • Disney and more announce earnings.

  • Bitcoin back above $44K.

  • Funding your child’s education.

Follow us on Twitter for more.

🔈 Audio version: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube

📊 Economy and News 

Russian economy growing faster than the US and EU

The January 2024 World Economic Outlook Update shows that real (inflation-adjusted) US GDP growth is 2.5%, while the Russian economy grew by 3.0%. According to Eurostat, the EU economy grew by 0.1% adjusted for inflation in 2023.

These numbers have surprised experts as they show the resilience of the Russian economy despite sanctions.

The US economy has proven to be strong and most experts do not see a recession. However, companies still look worried about an economic shock.

Stocks are hitting new highs and the US trade gap has narrowed in 2023 to smallest in three years. Furthermore, the country's GDP is expected to hit the $7 trillion mark over the decade, mainly due to immigration.

Global hits:

📈 Stocks

S&P 500 4,995.06 (+0.82%)
DJIA 38,677.36 (+0.40%)
NASDAQ 17,755.07 (+1.04%)
BRENT CRUDE 79.82 (+0.77%)
* Prices as of Feb 8th, 12:20 AM UTC

More earnings are here

Some more big names announced earnings yesterday, here’s what you need to. know:

  • As expected, Disney (DIS, +7.44%) had a great day yesterday. The company reported EPS of $1.22 vs $0.99 est. Revenue also came higher than expected ( $23.5 billion vs $23.8 billion). More importantly, the company is preparing for a great 2024. It’s entering a new zone by taking a $1.5 billion stake in Fortnite’s parent company, Epic Games. This will be its largest jump into the gaming world yet. Moreover, the platform will offer an 'exclusive' version of Taylor Swift's Era's Tour movie, which experts believe will help boost subscribers.

  • PayPal (PYPL, -8.68%) is down before the bell after a good earnings report but poor guidance. It beat revenue with 8 billion versus 7.88 billion estimated and EPS came out at $1.48 vs $1.36 estimated.

  • Alibaba (BABA, -5.77%) missed market expectations for revenue in the December quarter but announced it is increasing the size of its share buyback program by $25 billion.

Some other companies that reported earnings include Siemens that profited ahead of forecast despite digital sector orders fall. On the negative side, Yum Brands disappointed as Middle East conflict weighs on sales growth.

Buy back: Unilever has announced a $1.6 billion buyback as the CEO demands improvements. On the other hand, Shipping giant Maersk has suspended share buybacks amid Red Sea disruption causing the stock to slide -13.5%.

More to know: ESPN will launch its own streaming service in fall 2025, alongside the joint venture with other big names. Also, GM to spend $19 billion through 2035 to source EV battery materials from LG Chem.

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🔐 Crypto

Bitcoin $44,815 (+1.88%)
Ethereum $2,424 (+0.02%)
Total market cap $1.7T (+2.33%)
* Prices as of Feb 8th, 12:20 AM UTC

BTC is back above $44,000

The price of bitcoin is back above $44,000 for the first time since the ETF roar.

The cryptocurrency last traded above $44,000 on Jan. 12 after hitting a 52-week high of $48,000 due to the ETF noise.

There is no specific catalyst behind this market move, but some attribute it to data that indicates BlackRock's spot ETF’s success as it has now made it into the top five of this financial asset class in terms of year-to-date flows.

The coin is on its way to hitting the $45,000 mark. This move, however, has triggered a spike in short liquidations. The volatility has led to the liquidation of over $44 million in Bitcoin positions over the past 24 hours, with the majority consisting of short positions.

Reminder: You can use Bitcoin to Buy anything on Amazon with Zellix.com.

💵 Personal Finance

How to fund your child’s education - Part I

Education is expensive, especially in countries like the US where the average cost of attendance for a student living on campus at a public 4-year in-state institution is $26,027 per year or $104,108 over 4 years.

Did you know you can get free education in countries like:

  • Germany

  • Italy

  • Finland, and

  • Norway

Some of these will even pay you to get enrolled. 💰

The situation is better in countries like China and India. However, parents often struggle to save for their kid’s education.

So, ready for some tips? Let’s start:

Start with a savings account

Consider government-sponsored savings accounts that offer tax advantages, such as the 529 Plan in the US. You will enjoy offers great benefits like:

  • Tax-free earnings (when money is used for college).

  • Tax-free withdrawals (when money is used for college).

  • It is possible to change the beneficiary.

  • There are usually no income limits or restrictions based on age, which means you can even use it to fund your own education.

However, there is usually a penalty for withdrawing funds for any other purpose. Moreover, there is a gift tax when more than $17,000 is contributed in 2023 by a single person.

You can put money into your own state's 529 or any other state's plan. Plans differ from state to state, so pick the one you like the most.

In addition, there are some other great savings accounts such as Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) or Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA). Also, a Roth IRA can be used to save for your child’s education.

Warning: Stay away from student loans. The average borrower takes 20 years to repay their student loan debt. Trust us, you do not want to be in debt.

💰 Be a Better Investor

“It's nice to have a lot of money, but you know, you don't want to keep it around forever. I prefer buying things. Otherwise, it's a little like saving sex for your old age.”

Warren Buffett

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