TOPLEY’S TOP 10 May 31 2024

1. Will Nvidia Become the Largest Company in the World?

@Charlie Bilello
That question would’ve seemed absurd just a few years ago.

For at the start of 2020, Nvidia had a market cap of $144 billion.

Fast forward to today and it’s market cap stands at $2.82 trillion, over 19x higher.

The only companies in the world with a bigger market cap than Nvidia: Microsoft ($3.19 trillion) and Apple ($2.92 trillion).
If you think that’s an incredible stat, how about this one: Nvidia’s market cap is now over $1 trillion higher than all of the companies in the S&P 500 Energy sector … combined.

2. Stock Market Concentration at Multi-Decade Highs

Digging further into the S&P 500’s concentration, one of the reasons today’s environment is so different than that of other periods of high concentration is its top-heaviness. According to data from J.P. Morgan, the weight of the largest 11th-50th stocks in the S&P 500 is still near multi-decade lows while the weight of the 10 largest stocks is the highest it’s been since the early 1970s. The weight of the 10 largest stocks in the S&P 500 is 32.1%, but as mentioned earlier, the weight of the five largest stocks is over 25%. Therefore, most of the exposure of the 10 largest stocks comes from just five stocks. Breaking it down further, the average year-to-date performance of the largest 6-50th stocks in the S&P 500 is 6.90%. That’s better than the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index but is still lagging the SPX by a considerable margin. This is all to say that the market is truly being led and carried by just a handful of stocks.

3. Concentrated Returns Leaves Market Breadth Lagging

4. Why 10-year Treasury yields should fall into year end, based on 60 years of history

Joy Wiltermuth Marketwatch

5. Consumer Discretionary Stocks Underperforming

Consumer Spending ETF XLY vs. S&P ….Breaking below 2023 lows.

6. Same Store Sales Growth of Big 3 Retailers

Jack Ablin Cresset


7. Salesforce Chart-Negative 1-Year Return After Yesterday

CRM closed below 200-week moving average on long-term chart….

8. DELL -14% Pre-Market

DELL $35 to $170 since 2023

9. Global Private Debt Update


10. Who’d Want to Give a Commencement Speech Anymore?

Sarah Kessler

Tim Cook has delivered at least seven commencement addresses since becoming CEO of Apple. Superstar Taylor Swift, whose concerts have been credited with lifting local economies, addressed New York University’s graduation ceremony in 2022. Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Dimon — they’ve all given graduation speeches more than once.

They’re obviously not doing it for the money (and typically there isn’t any). Instead, speakers have long seen graduation ceremonies as offering something increasingly rare: a stage where a large group of people gather to hear speakers impart wisdom, advice or whatever else they want to talk about.

The appeal of being a commencement speaker, however, seems to be waning.

Just three Fortune 50 CEOs appear to be commencement speakers this year, as colleges have faced campus protests over the war in the Gaza Strip and student arrests, and wealthy alumni threatening to break ties with their alma maters over antisemitism.
“The idea of CEOs going out aggressively and speaking anywhere near this environment on campuses, it just doesn’t seem like the moment for them to be doing that,” said David Murray, executive director of the Professional Speechwriters Association.

CEOs are tired of talking. At a recent meeting of executive speechwriters, Murray said one takeaway stood out. As one presenter put it, “Less is more in ’24.”

Murray highlighted the sentiment in the Professional Speechwriters Association’s May newsletter: “Folks will increasingly keep their leaders out of the spotlight,” he wrote, describing the current moment as one in which “even formerly anodyne messages encouraging employees to vote” sound partisan to some.

That approach marks a drastic change from when executives made statements in droves after the death of a Black man, George Floyd, in police custody in 2020.

“They didn’t get rewarded for it,” Murray said. “They got called woke. One group said they didn’t go far enough, one group said they went too far, and now they’re definitely in a phase of ‘We comment on things that absolutely have essential bearing on our company and our business.’”

Campuses reflect an era of division. Before the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, the war in Gaza and the campus protests that followed, the City University of New York School of Law announced that it would have no commencement speaker. The school had faced a backlash when speakers at previous commencements focused on their support for Palestinians.

After protests on campus related to the war, and the ensuing controversy over how school administrations handled them, Columbia University announced that it would cancel its main commencement ceremony altogether. And across the country, as many ceremonies carried on without disruption, several have been interrupted by protests and walkouts, some targeting the school’s choice of speaker.

Speechwriters are increasingly preparing for disruption, said Michael Franklin, executive director of the industry association Speechwriters of Color.

“A new part of the package this year, in addition to the remarks that they would deliver, is also having some alternative transition remarks in the event of a disruption,” he said.

Some executives prefer chats to speeches. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella accepted an honorary doctorate at Georgia Tech this year but did not give a commencement speech. Instead, at a special ceremony in January, he delivered a five-minute speech, left the stage to remove his graduation robe and returned for a “fireside chat” with the school’s president, Ángel Cabrera.

“They love fireside chats,” Murray said of executives. “They want to sit down, have a chummy conversation, look charming, be charming, say short things, kind of stick to their key messages.”

Kate Linkous, an executive vice president in Edelman’s corporate reputation practice, said she’s also noticed more conferences replacing their keynote speeches with fireside chats.

“The commencement speech is one of our last few brilliant examples of a long-form speech,” she said.

Will the commencement address as we know it survive? One potential outcome is that the address just becomes boring, as speakers focus on avoiding controversy.

“Whenever you’re in a position of trying to sand something down, you end up appealing to no one and saying nothing,” said Ben Krauss, a former speechwriter for Joe Biden and other politicians and CEO of Fenway Strategies, a speech writing and strategic communications firm. His advice?

“People have been protesting commencements for as long as there have been commencements,” he said. “If someone interrupts, someone interrupts. That’s just kind of a natural feature of human communication.”

c.2024 The New York Times Company

Who’d Want to Give a Commencement Speech Anymore? (