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Morning Brew


Good morning and Happy April Fools’ Day. If you’re having trouble thinking of a simple prank today, just go with the classic: Fake your own death and swap lives with the twin sister you just discovered, who is royalty.

Sam Klebanov, Jamie Wilde, Matty Merritt, Abby Rubenstein, Neal Freyman














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 3:00am ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks climbed higher yesterday to end the quarter with a bang after the Fed’s favorite inflation gauge came in lower than expected.
  • Stock spotlight: It’s too soon to say what impact the indictment of Donald Trump will have on his campaign, but it has already given a boost to Digital World Acquisition Corp., the SPAC that plans to merge with the Trump-founded Truth Social. Its shares popped after Trump used Truth Social to respond to the big news.


If you invested in tech stocks last quarter, congrats

Stock lines on a chart banking and tech going different directions Francis Scialabba

With the first quarter of 2023 behind us, we now know that if you’d visited a good tarot card reader on New Year’s Day, they would’ve told you to park your cash in tech stocks and avoid bank shares (and probably spilled that scalding Vanderpump tea).

Despite wild fluctuation due to continuous rate hikes from the Fed and an unexpected bank panic, stocks and bonds managed to turn in a pretty, pretty, pretty good performance for the quarter. The S&P 500 gained 7%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4%.

But if the market’s metaphorical report card is impressive, tech companies were indisputably the honors students.

Top of the class

Wall Street rewarded tech companies’ layoffs and other cost cutting measures, giving tech stocks a resurgence. And with ChatGPT becoming a household name, investors have their money on generative AI as the next big bet. As of last night:

  • The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index rose a whopping 18% since January 1, its largest quarterly gain in two years.
  • Stocks of the tech giants leading the charge in AI-powered search, Microsoft and Alphabet, are up 20% and 16%, respectively.

And in an I-told-you-so triumph for your crypto-obsessed cousin, Bitcoin has surged 72%.

Meanwhile, the second- and third-largest bank collapses in US history happening within 48 hours hurt *drumroll please* banks.

The remedial bunch

Bank stocks were a delight for short sellers, who made $2 billion betting against the sector in the past three months.

  • Smaller institutions were most badly injured by the bank panic: The SPRD S&P Regional Banking ETF, which consists of non-behemoth banks, had more than a quarter of its value wiped out in Q1.
  • Large banks are feeling the pinch of rising interest rates: Global merger and acquisition deals suffered the biggest first-quarter decline since 2001, according to data analyzed by the Financial Times.

Looking ahead: While Q1 proved just about anything can happen, it’s safe to bet that the market’s future performance largely hinges on what Jerome Powell and his central bankers decide to do next.—SK



Tell us how you really feel


Obvious statement alert: Stress is a part of life. But being able to identify those everyday stressors makes them much easier to manage.

Get 24/7 stress monitoring with the all-new Stress Monitor feature from WHOOP. Stress Monitor gives you a real-time stress score between 0 and 3 by measuring your heart rate and HRV and comparing that to your baseline. You can then choose a science-backed breathwork session to help you better manage those stressful moments.

Oh, and you won’t need to be hooked up to a bunch of wires for it to work. The slim, stylish WHOOP wearable slips onto your wrist and immediately begins measuring your heart rate variability, sleep, recovery, daily activity, and now stress levels.

Commit to your best, less-stressed self.


Tour de headlines

Donald Trump Shane Bevel/Getty Images

Your Trump indictment update: The criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump remains under wraps, but information about the unprecedented situation keeps trickling out. So, here’s what we know: Trump is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday afternoon in New York. He’s said to be facing more than 30 counts related to the alleged payment of hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels. Many prominent Republicans have decried the case against the ex-commander-in-chief, but one statement struck some as a little lackluster: Ivanka Trump said on Insta, “I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both.”

Dominion gets an edge in its $1.6b case against Fox. The judge overseeing the defamation suit over claims the 2020 election was stolen ruled yesterday that the case should proceed to trial on April 17. He also handed Dominion an advantage going into that trial, finding that the evidence showed it was “CRYSTAL clear” that none of the statements made on air by Fox News personalities about the company’s equipment were true and that the company’s reputation was damaged. To win, Dominion will still need to prove that Fox knew the statements were false or recklessly disregarded the truth.

New rules will make many EVs ineligible for tax breaks. If you were counting on a tax credit to push an electric car into your price range, you might want to hit the Tesla dealership before April 18. That’s when new Treasury Department rules aimed at getting EV-makers to source critical minerals and battery components from the US and its allies (rather than China) will take effect. Because most do currently rely on supplies from China, very few EVs will remain eligible for the full credit.


Italy gives ChatGPT the boot

A cancel symbol in the Italian flag's colors over the OpenAI logo Francis Scialabba

Yesterday, Italy’s data protection authority temporarily banned ChatGPT—and not because the AI chatbot may have told one user he could slather his pasta in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos salsa.

The regulator is primarily concerned that ChatGPT collects and stores Italian users’ personal data without their permission. It also called out the chatbot’s lack of age verification.

AI chatbots *do* have a lot of data in their trunk

The ban stems from a recent accidental leak of user conversations with ChatGPT. But things could get even thornier if the regulator also decides to delve into the other kind of data the system stores. AI systems like ChatGPT make huge sweeps of the internet and feed all that info into their underlying algorithms. Determining what data out of that info glut belongs to Italian citizens if necessary would be…complicated.

And other regulatory authorities may soon secondo similar demands:

  • The EU and UK are working on plans to regulate AI.
  • US regulators were urged this week to investigate ChatGPT’s creator, OpenAI, by an advocacy group.

Not only regulators are concerned about AI’s new-found popularity: More than 1,000 tech leaders and experts signed a controversial open letter this week calling for a six-month pause on sophisticated AI projects.

Looking ahead…OpenAI has already pulled ChatGPT out of Italy and has 20 days to present a plan for a fix—or it could face a fine of ~$22 million.—JW



The Motley Fool

Play the long game. Time travel may not be an option (yet). But The Motley Fool has the next best thing: 5 market pullback stocks that have hit some low prices but still show solid potential signs for future success. Sign up for Stock Advisor to get the deets on these stocks.


Twitter says no more free rides

Hand cutting twitter verification badge in half. Illustration: Hannah Minn

RIP to your free blue check mark and all the perks that came with it (i.e., more reply guys). Today Twitter will start phasing out the verification badge for anyone unwilling to pay $8 a month for Twitter Blue.

And that monthly fee is a relative bargain: Larger institutions will have to pay at least $1,000 a month for verification. Additionally, Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted that as of April 15, your For You feed will only recommend content from paid accounts and people you follow.

  • There is an exception for the site’s top 500 advertisers and 10,000 most followed organizations (including YouTube, NASA, CNN, ESPN, and the New York Times), which will get to keep their checkmarks without paying up.

Other big accounts are out: Notable figures and outlets, from LeBron James to the White House, have said they won’t be paying for verification. That should make for an interesting feed: One researcher found that roughly half of the 220,000 Twitter Blue subscribers have less than 1,000 followers.

But Musk needs a win. And Twitter needs cash: The company’s value has been halved from the $44 billion he bought it for in October.—MM



Key performance indicators

Three graves, each smaller than the last with an arrow pointing down Francis Scialabba

Stat: Living in the US has many benefits, including access to stunning national parks and pizza with cheese baked into the crust, but a long and healthy life isn’t one of them. A Financial Times data journalist crunched the numbers and found that the average American now has the same “healthy life expectancy” (the measure of years lived in good health) as someone born in Blackpool—a depressed seaside town with England’s lowest life expectancy. Eschewing British understatement, he also noted that it’s a particularly bad look for the US since the UK doesn’t even have the best life expectancy in Europe.

Quote: “I gave my whole salary to because we were down.”

Matt Damon has finally revealed why he ended up in that commercial. In the movie star’s telling, it was for the good of humanity: Damon took the gig to get money to hand over to his water microfinance charity. And here we thought he just really believed that fortune favors the brave.

Read: Inside Dot Swoosh, Nike’s big bet on Web3. (Retail Brew)


What else is brewing

  • Dangerous tornadoes impacted at least 3 million people yesterday as they tore through Arkansas and other parts of the South and Midwest.
  • Virgin Orbit, Richard Branson’s satellite company, has failed to secure a deal to save itself and will cease operations and cut most of its staff.
  • Rust assistant director David Halls pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in the on-set death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and was sentenced to six months probation.
  • Oscar Pistorius, the former Paralympian convicted of murdering his girlfriend, was denied parole in South Africa.
  • A Miami aquarium plans to release Lolita, an orca whale who has lived there for 50 years, back into the wild.


Saturday To-Do List graphic

At least she said yes: This proposal at Dodger Stadium did not go as planned.

Dream fodder for bibliophiles: Photos of the world’s most beautiful libraries.

This is your brain on ASMR: Here’s what the science says those videos do.

Warning, it’s addictive: The object of the game is simple—name that thing.

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*This is sponsored advertising content.


The only career where your hand might be more precious than a hand model’s

Jim from the Office doing jazz hands The Office/NBC via Giphy

​​Inside Jobs, our series on unconventional careers, is back.

Michelle Marquis is a professional calligrapher. That’s right, she not only still remembers how to write in cursive, but she gets paid to do it with style—full time. Marquis majored in science, but shortly after graduating took a calligraphy class and started writing as a hobby. It didn’t take long for people to ask her to take on projects, and she turned it into her career.

Now, her most popular service is engraving wine bottles for special occasions, but she also creates wedding invitations and even performs calligraphy in person for customers at luxury boutiques like Guerlain. We asked her all about her loopy career.

Check it out here.


The puzzle section

Brew crossword: Contemplate what your baseball “walk-up song” would be as you solve today’s walk-up song themed crossword. Play it here.

Open House

Welcome to Open House, the only newsletter section that is done with big city livin’. We’ll give you a few facts about a listing and you try to guess the price.

3 bed, 3 bath in Peoria, IllinoisZillow

Today’s home is in Peoria, IL, the hottest place for young people, according to one popular TikTok account. This 1,985-square-foot house kinda gives off Pizza Hut vibes from the front, but the giant porch makes up for it. Amenities include:

  • 3 beds, 3 baths
  • Retro kitchen
  • Stunning collection of hardwood floors

How much for a charming li’l Illinois home?


Be EXCELlent

Be EXCELlent

Knowing Excel shortcuts is one thing—remembering Excel shortcuts is a whole different animal. This Excel Mouse Pad is the life hack you didn’t know you needed. Shop now.

It feels like AI is being implemented into everything these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. Check out our tracker of the latest lawsuits around artificial intelligence.

The most successful shopper journeys prioritize convenience and ease while encouraging loyalty. Level up your game with these tips from Retail Brew.




Written by Neal Freyman, Matty Merritt, Abigail Rubenstein, Jamie Wilde, and Sam Klebanov

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