CHRIS VERSACE: Good morning, Action Alerts Plus members, and Happy Thursday. As you can see, I'm in a different location today. And let's just say that I'm dealing with our aging of the population investment theme first hand. Now, let's get today's rundown.

We'll kick off today with a look at the consumer after earnings out of retail giant, Walmart, which delivered top and bottom-line beats relative to what Wall Street was looking for. But to us, it was the company's comp stores figure for the quarter that really stood out, not only at Walmart proper, where the comp sales' strong, but also at Sam's Club as well.

And as we think about it, let's remember that Walmart is the largest US grocer. And Sam's Club, like our own Costco, has leaned into grocery as well. We point this out not only because it positions them well when consumers are looking to fend off higher food prices, like they are now, but it also drives greater return frequency for the companies. That holds true for Costco as well.

And we'll have more in-depth comments once we've digested Walmart's earnings call. But we suspect we're going to hear some positives for our shares of PepsiCo and Cody, just like we did when Target reported its quarterly results yesterday.

Now, before we move on, comparing Walmart's comp sales against those from Target, which declined around 5.4%, let's think about this for a second. Walmart, where consumers are looking to stretch their disposable spending dollars, great comp sales. Target, on the other hand, not exactly where you go to stretch your dollars, contracting. This reaffirms our view that consumers are indeed looking for ways to extend the dollars they do have. And for us, we continue to like our exposure for that with Costco and newly rated-- two rated, I should say, Amazon shares.

Now, staying with the portfolio, by now, you've probably seen this morning's addition to our position in Trinity Capital. As we've been sharing with you, our intention with the portfolio is to opportunistically pick up shares on our shopping list of stocks at favorable prices. With Trinity shares, we're doing just that. But we're also really adding to the portfolio's dividend income stream as well. That's this morning.

Now, let's shift gears and talk about what we want to look for this afternoon. We have earnings from Applied Materials on deck. Now, semi-cap competitors, the companies that compete with Applied Materials, have already reported good quarterly results and issued favorable guidance. We see that happening at Applied as well as the company reporting solid margin expansion due to the combination of pricing that had put in place over the last few quarters as well as continued year-over-year improvement when it comes to supply chains.

Now, with chip reshoring activity in the US, Europe, and Japan all picking up in the coming quarters, we expect Applied will be speaking to those opportunities on a longer-term basis as well as those tied to Cloud, AI, mobile, and other long-term drivers of chip demand that drive spending for its products and solutions. Now, we would remind you that Applied shares are on our shopping list. And depending on what we learn in the company's earnings and guidance tonight, we will act as warranted.

Finally, tomorrow we have quarterly results out from Deere. Now, many of the comments I just mentioned for Applied apply here as well. What are they? Strong competitor results that point to continued strength in the ag equipment cycle, farmer income prospects remain favorable, solid prospects for precision ag to help farmers contain costs, then drive productivity. Pricing and supply chain improvements should drive margin expansion for Deere.

And let's be honest here, though, folks, with Deere shares having moved from around $350 to the current share price, odds are, as we head into Deere's earnings reports, expectations could be running a little high. Now, we do expect solid earnings and guidance out of Deere. But could we see some share price weakness? It's going to depend on what Deere has to say. I would argue the shares here are arguably almost priced to perfection.

Now, if the shares sell off in response to the report and the fundamentals remain favorable, that could bring an opportunity for members that have previously missed out on Deere shares. Again, we'll have a lot more comments when we break down that report. And you'll want to watch what we do with Deere shares in the portfolio as well.

That's today's rundown. Thanks for watching. JD will be back tomorrow with a look at the charts of Qualcomm, McDonald's, and more with AAP team member, Helene Meisler.