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What a Democratic Senate means for the next two years...
November 14, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop 10% Off

Morning Brew

Masterworks

Good morning. If you’re looking for a distraction from these endlessly dark evenings, make sure to catch the tail end of Jeopardy!’s Tournament of Champions, which has been a blast so far. The final round begins tonight featuring certified brainiacs Amy Schneider, Andrew He, and Sam Buttrey.

You probably don’t have to guess the format of today’s Brew trivia…

Neal Freyman

MARKETS: YEAR-TO-DATE

Nasdaq

11,323.33

S&P

3,992.93

Dow

33,747.86

10-Year

3.819%

Bitcoin

$16,371.13

Apple

$149.70

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 2:00am ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Beaten-down tech stocks were the stars of last week’s rally, staging their biggest two-day pop since the financial crisis after inflation numbers came in cooler than expected. Investors still caution that this might be a classic case of a “bear market rally,” or a brief glimpse of the sun before the storm clouds return. Corporations haven’t exactly been lighting it up with profits right now.
 

GOVERNMENT

Democrats keep the Senate

Chuck Schumer celebrates the passage of the IRA Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democrats pinned the tail on the donkey this weekend, securing the 50th Senate seat required for control of the chamber for the final two years of President Biden’s term. The clincher came in Nevada, where incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Republican challenger Adam Laxalt in a tight race.

And while midterm elections are typically a big letdown for the ruling party, Democrats could even pick up a Senate seat this surprising election cycle. Georgia’s race between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker is headed to a runoff in December—if Warnock wins, Democrats will have 51 Senate seats, giving them some extra breathing room.

Over in the House, which has yet to be decided, the path to victory looks much easier for Republicans than it does Democrats right now. Of the 19 current undecided races, the GOP needs to win just six.

So what does a Democratic Senate/GOP House mean?

For legislation…it means Dems will have their hands tied. Due to pushback from a GOP-led House, they will likely not be able to enact major new progressive programs like they did in the past two years (such as the Inflation Reduction Act). But the threat of their wins being reversed by Republicans is significantly diminished.

For the judiciary…having control of the Senate, where judges and executive nominees are confirmed, is crucial for Democrats, who will get to work filling the 118 open federal judicial vacancies with their judges. Plus, were a Supreme Court justice position to open up, they’d be in the driver’s seat to confirm their preferred nominee.

For issues of immediate concern…it means Dems and Republicans will have to work together to solve pressing issues facing the government. The two that are top-of-mind are a) literally funding the government to prevent a shutdown and b) raising the debt ceiling so the Treasury doesn’t default.

While were here...some fun midterms stats:

  • When Pennsylvania’s Sen.-elect John Fetterman heads to Capitol Hill in January, exactly 10% of the Senate will have the first name of Jon or John.
  • If Democrats can hang onto their lead in two House races, it’ll be the first time Republicans won’t represent a single district touching the Pacific Ocean, according to Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman.
        

TOGETHER WITH MASTERWORKS

Calling you about your extended warranty investment losses

This is one call you don’t want to send to voicemail (sorry Grandma—text next time?). Because with personal portfolios dropping a whopping 44% this year, this is a call to renew your investing plan.

With Masterworks, the unicorn investment platform that lets everyday people invest in museum-quality artworks by names like Picasso and Banksy. Not only has contemporary art outpaced the S&P by 131% over the last 26 years, but it’s also remained resilient through downturns like the dot-com bubble and 2008 financial crisis.

But every offering is limited, and shares can sell out fast. Which makes sense when six of Masterworks’ last seven exits realized a net return of +21.5%.* Six?! That’s even more than the number of spam calls we get daily…

Fortunately, Morning Brew readers can skip the waitlist with this exclusive link.

WORLD

Tour de headlines

Local residents gather to celebrate the liberation of Kherson, on November 13, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. AFP via Getty Images

Celebrations pop off in Kherson. Ukrainians rejoiced after their forces liberated the provincial capital from Russia in the southern part of the country—a momentous victory in Ukraine’s effort to reclaim territory that had been seized and illegally annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the celebrations belie the dire conditions in Kherson: There is no water or internet access, and the city is laced with booby traps.

FTX update: It’s not getting any better. Like vultures pecking at a carcass, hackers apparently looted more than $600 million from FTX’s crypto wallets—just hours after the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy on Friday. Meanwhile, authorities in the Bahamas, where FTX is headquartered, said they’re investigating whether any “criminal misconduct occurred.” Finally, in the most unsurprising news ever, the Miami Heat are not going to be playing at FTX Arena for much longer.

Wakanda Forever had a huge debut. The biggest ever in November, in fact. The Black Panther sequel earned $180 million this weekend at the North American box office, good for the second-best opening of the year. That’s a relief for Disney, whose shares took a tumble last week after stoking fears about profitability at its streaming unit. The next blockbuster on the company’s theatrical slate: a December release of the Avatar sequel. The first Avatar remains the highest-grossing movie of all time.

MANAGEMENT

Musk’s astronomical pay package challenged in court

Tesla CEO Elon Musk talks to media as he arrives to visit the constructi... Odd Andersen/Getty Images

Twitter combusting isn’t the only threat to Elon Musk’s world-beating bank account. A trial that begins today challenges his gargantuan pay package at Tesla that’s made him the world’s richest person.

The backstory: In 2018, Tesla’s board approved a compensation plan that awarded Musk stock grants tied to Tesla’s valuation and business achievements. It’s worth ~$52 billion even at Tesla’s drooping share price, per the WSJ.

But one Tesla stockholder, Richard Tornetta, said this pay package, which he called “the largest in human history,” was the result of Musk bulldozing the board with his influence, and the board subsequently misleading shareholders around their approval of the award. So Tornetta filed a class-action lawsuit to scrap Musk’s pay plan.

Big picture: Unlike in the called-off Twitter trial, Musk has the upperhand in this case, as business-law court rarely meddles in affairs of executive pay. Even so, the buzzy trial could spur more legal challenges to CEO comp, which was 324x the median pay at S&P 500 companies last year.

Fun fact: The court where this trial is taking place, Delaware’s Chancery Court, is the same one where Musk v. Twitter would have happened.

        

CALENDAR

The week ahead

President Biden speaks with Xi Jinping of China Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Biden meets Xi. President Biden is holding his first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping today at the G-20 summit in Indonesia. Jeff Bezos would not be happy with how this casual meeting is being run, because there are no “specific deliverables,” according to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Elizabeth Holmes will find out how much time she’s spending in prison. The Theranos founder will be sentenced on Friday after being found guilty of fraud for lying to investors about her blood-testing startup. Prosecutors want 15 years.

NASA tries to launch Artemis…again. After months of being thwarted by tech and weather problems, NASA is going to try to launch its massive rocket early Wednesday morning. It’s an uncrewed flight, but if all goes well this will be the rocket that eventually returns humans to the moon.

Everything else:

  • Former President Trump, whose preferred candidates largely flopped in the midterms, is expected to announce he’s running for prez in 2024.
  • Retail companies, including Target and Walmart, highlight this week’s earnings slate.
  • The World Cup begins next Sunday. Get pumped by reading up on the USMNT roster.

TOGETHER WITH MCKINSEY & CO

McKinsey & Co

The titanium economy: Meet the US industrial-technology companies driving innovation and sustainable, inclusive growth. They’re creating millions of high-quality American jobs and have seen an 11% to 15% return on invested capital over the past decade, rivaling Silicon Valley’s top performers. Simply put: They’re redefining the future of US manufacturing. Learn more.

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the man who lived in an airport for 18 years Alexis Duclos/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Stat: Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian man who spent 18 years living in Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport, died in the same airport where he spent nearly a quarter of his life. If his story rings a bell, it’s because Nasseri’s saga inspired the 2004 film The Terminal, which starred Tom Hanks. For his first 11 years living in the airport, Nasseri wasn’t allowed to leave due lack of proper documentation—but even once he was granted entry to France in 1999, he stayed in the terminal for another seven years. Nasseri returned to the airport a few weeks prior to his death.

Quote: “I learned that there are two words in the English language that you should never say together in sequence. And those words are ‘the’ and ‘Jews.’”

Comedian Dave Chappelle gave Kanye West some life advice when hosting SNL this weekend. But Chappelle, who in recent years has hosted the show the Saturday after an election, did not address his own 2021 Netflix special that sparked an uproar for being homophobic and transphobic.

Read: Is this mountain biking’s greatest uphill achievement? (Bicycling)

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • At least six people were killed and 81 injured in an explosion in central Istanbul. No one has claimed responsibility, but authorities are pointing to a terrorist attack.
  • Two World War II-era planes collided into one another at a Dallas air show, killing six people.
  • SpaceX, which is led by Elon Musk, bought a major advertising package on Twitter, which is led by Elon Musk.
  • The Space Force’s secretive X-37B spacecraft landed back in Florida after spending 908 days in low-Earth orbit.

BREW'S BETS

Dive back into the week:

Timely video breakdown: Why you’re wrong about Black Panther.

Gain financial wisdom: Become a personal finance expert with Money Scoop—the free newsletter that makes you smarter about your money. Check it out.

GAMES

The puzzle section

Turntable: A total of 31 words await your discovery in today’s Turntable. Play it here.

Final Jeopardy

Are you smarter than a Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions contestant? This was the Final Jeopardy clue given to contestants on the Nov. 8 Tournament of Champions game. Only one got it right. Remember, you must phrase your answer in the form of a question.

Question from a final jeopardy round last week

AROUND THE BREW

Fixing your credit the easy way

Fixing your credit the easy way

Boosting your credit score can be a challenge. We spoke with author and money expert Nicole Lapin to help you learn the best tips and tricks for improving your credit score. Watch here.

Whether you’ve finally mastered VLOOKUP or crafted the most useful pivot table in the world, it’s officially time to reward yourself. Shop the Excel Collection now and celebrate those spreadsheet skills.

Want to attend the Marketing Brew Summit tomorrow, but can’t get out to NYC? Join us virtually to hear from the masters of marketing.

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ANSWER

What are Einsteinium & Europium?

✢ A Note From Masterworks

*See important Regulation A disclosures.

         

Written by Neal Freyman

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