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“I hear ya, Ton’, but that was before inflation” – Christopher Moltisanti

Morning stock market summary

Below is a snippet of commentary from today’s Morning Lineup.  Start a two-week trial to Bespoke Premium to view the full report.  

Futures are modestly low this morning, but it could be worse given the stronger-than-expected CPI reading for December where both headline and core CPI topped consensus forecasts. Jobless claims, meanwhile, showed strength with initial claims falling to 202K from last week’s level of 209K and continuing claims falling to 1.843 million from 1.855 million in the prior week.

“Did you see The Sopranos last night?” 25 years ago today, if someone asked you this question at work on Monday morning, you probably had no idea what they were talking about. With each passing week, though, The Sopranos became a show Americans planned their Sunday nights around, and by the time “Made in America” aired eight years and five months later, 12 million people made sure they were in front of their TVs at 9 o’clock eastern to watch it. It seems so arcane now, but this was a time when there were no DVRs, and the term binge-watching didn’t exist. The Sopranos, like Seinfeld, Friends, and a host of other shows before it, was “Must See TV”. If you weren’t in front of your TV to watch them, you missed them, and the next morning you were in the dark. Raise your hand if you remember desperately trying to get home from wherever on a Sunday night only to get stuck in traffic or delayed by a train or bus and missing the first half hour.

Just for kicks, we were curious to see which current members of the S&P 500 have been the best-performing stocks since the first episode of The Sopranos on January 10, 1999. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this analysis is that 30% of the index’s components didn’t even exist in their current form back in January 1999. Of the ones that did, the list below summarizes the 25 top performers. It’s also worth noting that 25 stocks in the index are down since the first episode of The Sopranos, including AIG, Ford (F), Citigroup (C), and Carnival Cruise (CCL).

Looking at the list of winners, there are a lot of unexpected names. With a gain of over 46,000%, Apple (AAPL) has been the second-best performing stock (and probably the most expected name) in the index, but its gain has been less than half of Monster Beverage’s (MNST) rally of over 108,000%. Then, at number three, shares of Old Dominion Freight (ODFL) have gained over 40,000%. Given all the trucks that Tony and his crew jacked over the years, ODFL must have been paying quite a substantial pizzo to avoid any trouble!

What’s also interesting about the list below is the names that aren’t on it. While mega-cap stocks like Meta (META), Alphabet (GOOGL), and Netflix (NFLX) weren’t public yet, Amazon.com (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT) were, but with gains of ‘only’ 3,700% and 920%, respectively, they didn’t make the list. Ironically enough, Nvidia (NVDA) wasn’t public yet either as its IPO wasn’t until 12 days after the Sopranos premiere. “Oh, poor baby. What do you want, a Whitman’s Sampler?”

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