CHRIS VERSACE: Good morning, Action Alerts Plus members. As we head further into the shortened trading week and wait for the fed to publish the minutes from its last monetary policy meeting this afternoon, I wanted to discuss a few stocks outside of the portfolio that are catching my attention and share what it means for some of our AAP holdings. Before we begin, be sure to read the opening comments we published this morning about this latest round of rethinking and recalibration that's unfolding in the markets as well as how we're prepared for it and our plan for the days ahead.

Now let's start with one of the retailers that helped drive yesterday's broader market sell-off. I'm, of course, referring to Walmart. Now even before Walmart reported, we have been concerned about the consumer given rising debt levels, especially credit cards and overall consumer buying power that's been sapped by the persistent inflationary environment, excuse me. Now Walmart hammered that home sharing, quote, "Balance sheets are running thinner and saving rates are declining relative to previous periods." And so that's why we take a pretty cautious outlook on the rest of the year.

Now as I pointed out to you yesterday in a note discussing some of this, we also have to factor in that VF Corp, Capri holdings, Under Armor continue to talk about excess inventory issues. We also have forthcoming price increases from the likes of Unilever, Procter and Gamel, and Nestle. In my view, Walmart summed all of this up purposely when talking about the consumer with one word. That word being choiceful.

Now when we step back and think about all of these comments together, it tells us that the retail pain simply isn't over yet, and we should be patient before making any moves with the portfolio into that sector. It also reinforces why we like Costco's membership model and the predictability that it brings compared to other retailers. Now let's move over to Palo Alto Networks, a holding in the cyber ETF. The company reported last night and it was a good quarter with great guidance for the coming year.

One thing that stood out in particular to me was the fact that its billings for the quarter rose 26% year over year. This simply confirms that even though companies may be cutting back on overall spending, they continue to open their wallets to protect themselves and their crown jewels. Now we've heard similar comments in recent weeks from other companies. And taken together, it just simply reaffirms our thesis behind owning cyber shares in the portfolio. As we have said with members, we would look to round out the portfolio's position with cyber shares below the $41 level.

And finally, with the market focused on inflation and the tight labor market, let's end today's rundown on a name that we haven't talked about before-- ZipRecruiter. On its earnings call last night, the management team shared something that really caught my ear, quote, "Employers have been decreasing their willingness to pay for hires, and many companies are executing layoffs as they tighten budgets." Now this does simply confirm what we've been seeing on the layoff front as well as, again, more choiceful spending, to borrow words from Walmart.

Zip also went on to say, quote, "Rather than showing a more typical seasonal rebound from the lows of the December holiday period, online job postings in our marketplace remain depressed." As a result, January revenue was down approximately 15% year over year. Now notice the words there-- online job posting. This just tells us that companies are continuing to roll back digital advertising and digital spending.

However, what zip had to say was a very different picture than what was presented in the Flash February PMI report that was published yesterday. That report said that during the month of February, employment remained, quote, "Buoyant." These mixed messages explain why we need to take a multifaceted approach when examining what is or isn't happening with the labor market.

As we see it, Zip's comments confirm prospective employers are being more selective on where they are spending. We also can't rule out the simple possibility that ZipRecruiter may be losing market share. To me, all of those comments that I just mentioned are going to put an even greater focus on the upcoming February ISM data and what it says about the pace of hiring. And, of course, it also means taking a very deep dive on the February jobs report that will be out before too long.

The key here, just like we do when we assess price targets for either existing positions or prospective positions for the portfolio, is triangulation. By looking at several different perspectives on the employment front, we can get a much clearer picture as to what is really unfolding and what that could mean for the economy, what that could mean for the Fed. Now at 2:00 PM, again, we'll get the latest Fed policy meetings to chew through. And after the bell, I'll also be keeping an eye on earnings from NVIDIA.

With NVIDIA, even though we don't have any exposure in the portfolio, we're going to want to hear what it has to say about the consumer electronics landscape as well as prospects for data center markets and overall spending. Now that will do it for today. JD and I will be back tomorrow to answer some of your questions regarding companies like AMN, ChargePoint, McCormick, and much more.