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Brian Belski on where Canadian markets are heading

 On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, makes a case for why he’s bullish about the year ahead in markets.  

What to do this weekend

Japan breaks its 34-year stock market curse

Perhaps Canadian NHL teams looking to win the Stanley Cup could learn something from Japan’s stock market about breaking decades-long curses. 

What happened: This week, the Nikkei 225, Japan’s largest stock market index, rose to a record high for the first time in more than 34 years. It’s become the world’s best-performing major index so far in 2024, rising about 17.5% this year, and 42.4% over the past 12 months.

Israel releases a post-war plan for Gaza

Nearly five months into a war between Israel and Hamas, officials in Israel, Egypt, the U.S., and Qatar are struggling to move towards a solution. 

What happened: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put forward a post-war blueprint for Gaza that calls for an indefinite Israeli security presence in the enclave.

Explain It Like I'm Five: AI tokens and context windows

What are AI tokens?

The smallest units of information that AI breaks words and sentences into to make them easier to process. How many tokens an AI can process at once is called a “context window,” and it can include multiple prompts and requests, letting a system consider several things you might have told it at once.

Reddit is (finally) ready to make its IPO

TL;DR: Reddit is coming to the stock market.

The AI boom is getting more specialized

You know what they say: bot of all trades, master of none.

Menthol bans bolster the global fight against smoking

Menthol cigarette bans are helping make the phrase smoke ’em if you got ’em obsolete. 

Driving the news: A new study on the effects of menthol cigarette bans in Canada, several U.S. states, and certain EU countries found that 24% of menthol smokers quit smoking entirely within two years of a ban, with national menthol bans being even more effective.

Google’s new AI model has an image problem

Google’s newest AI model may be the company’s “most capable” yet, but it might need to re-take some history classes. 

What happened: Google has paused its Gemini AI model from generating images of people after it produced inaccurate gender and racial depictions of historical figures — a flaw the company says was an unintended consequence of prioritizing diversity in the model’s training. 

There’s no end in sight for Canada’s oil pipeline glut

Like us trying to do spreadsheets while also taking a Zoom call, Canada’s pipelines are at full capacity.

Driving the news: Sure as the sun rises in the east, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion hit yet another delay, this time due to technical issues. The long-awaited expansion is now unlikely to meet its April start date but is still on track to begin operations next quarter. 
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