Morning Brew - ☕ Schmoozefest

How much climate change costs the US...
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Good morning. We come bearing exciting news for anyone planning a road trip this Thanksgiving: You’re going to spend a lot less on gas. Thanks to plummeting prices at the pump, US drivers will save a collective $1.2 billion this Thanksgiving travel period compared to last year, according to GasBuddy. The average price per gallon is down nearly 46 cents from a year ago, and more than 50,000 stations now show gas prices at $2.99/gallon or less.

So, go ahead—treat yourself to the name-brand kettle chips at the Kwik Trip.

—Sam Klebanov, Cassandra Cassidy, Matty Merritt, Neal Freyman, Adam Epstein












Home Depot


*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 12:00am ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Tuesday was a good day to be a stock. The Dow rallied 500 points, and the S&P 500 enjoyed its best session since April following the release of new data that showed US inflation is slowing down. Though the tech sector led the way, Home Depot had one of the day’s biggest gains, thanks to better-than-expected sales driven by home improvement projects.


SF plays host to high-stakes US–China schmoozing

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

World leaders have been training their quads in preparation for the annual Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in hilly San Francisco this week.

President Biden and China’s leader Xi Jinping are flexing their diplomatic muscles, too, as they’re set to meet in person today for the first time in a year. They have lots of catching up to do…

  • When the two last huddled at the G20 summit in November 2022, China’s economy was expected to pull a massive post-Covid rebound.
  • Instead, the country has been dogged by an aging population, a sputtering real estate market, an exodus of foreign investment, and the declining value of its currency.

What might go down?

China’s economic pains could make Xi more inclined to defrost its relationship with the US. The two leaders will try to reestablish military communication, and they’ll announce a deal for China to curb the illicit exports of the deadly opioid fentanyl.

There are signs that both sides want to ease economic tensions as well. Yesterday, Biden suggested that he might be open to expanding trade under certain conditions, while Beijing recently made a symbolic gesture by ordering a bunch of American soybeans.

Though APEC rarely produces breakthroughs, according to Bloomberg, companies in both countries are hoping that Xi and Biden rubbing elbows might reduce trade restrictions. US multinationals like Apple and Tesla, which rely on Chinese suppliers, producers, and customers, want China to be less harsh in regulating foreign businesses. A legion of American execs, including Elon Musk and Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, are attending the summit, with many reportedly trying to get on the list for a schmoozefest dinner with Xi.

APEC is a big deal for SF, too, as the Golden City struggles with its post-Covid recovery. In the lead-up to the summit, local officials beautified the streets, ramped up law enforcement, and moved some unhoused people into shelters.—SK



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Now’s the perfect time to rack up rewards on your purchases, so go ahead—turn your gift-giving into a $300 bonus.

PS: Offers like this won’t last forever. Learn more about applying here.


Tour de headlines

Graphic of the Wall Street bull in an ice cube Francis Scialabba

🧊 Inflation is as cool as the other side of the pillow. The consumer price index slowed to a cooler-than-expected 3.2% year over year in October, down from 3.7% in September. Meanwhile, the “core” inflation gauge, which does not include food or gas prices, rose at the slowest pace since September 2021. That led some on Wall Street to declare victory in the fight against inflation, and markets have reacted accordingly. Stocks surged across the board amid renewed optimism that easing inflation will likely put an end to the Fed’s interest rate hikes.

The House passed a funding bill to avert a government shutdown. More than two-thirds of the House voted in support of new Speaker Mike Johnson’s unique two-step plan to fund the government for the next few months. Johnson needed Democrats’ help since the GOP’s right-wing Freedom Caucus—which helped orchestrate the ouster of previous Speaker Kevin McCarthy—came out against the bill for not including spending cuts. Luckily, Dems gave their okay for that exact reason. It’s not a done deal yet: The short-term funding bill now heads to the Senate, where it must pass by Friday to prevent a shutdown. Senate leaders in both parties have said they’ll support it.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai took the stand in an antitrust trial. The tech executive was grilled on a range of topics, including the company’s record-keeping practices, as part of Fortnite-maker Epic Games’s lawsuit against Google. Epic alleges that Google created an illegal monopoly on Android devices by stifling competition and forcing developers to pay artificial fees dubbed the “Google tax.” Google says it’s just good at business and can’t have an app store monopoly because it competes with Apple. One of the issues complicating the trial is Google’s policy of auto-deleting chat histories, which Pichai admitted he did not change, meaning some evidence has not been preserved for the case.


Climate change is expensive

Graphic of US dollar bills in the shape of smoke stacks Francis Scialabba

Girl math isn’t gonna help here: A major government climate report released yesterday shows that climate change costs the US around $150 billion a year.

More than 750 experts worked together to compile the latest National Climate Assessment, and this fifth installment was the first to include a dedicated chapter on the economic fallout of climate change. It warned the impact will become even more severe without intervention, noting that…

  • A $1 billion environmental disaster now happens every three weeks, compared to once every four months in the 1980s. This year alone, the US has suffered through 25 such emergencies, most of them due to the warming climate.
  • Besides threatening local industries that rely on certain climate conditions—such as ski resorts, farms, and fisheries—climate change also adversely affects individuals by driving up the cost of food, home insurance, and healthcare bills of people affected by extreme heat or pollution.

The good news: The economy could benefit from transitioning away from fossil fuels by creating clean-energy jobs and saving the billions of dollars that would have been spent in the aftermath of disasters, according to the report.

Looking ahead…the report comes a month before the international climate summit COP28 kicks off in Dubai.—CC




Put the “i” in investing. Maybe you’re new to investing, or maybe you’ve got a strategy for every wave. Whatever your investing vibe might be, check out our 5-question financial personality quiz to get matched to a financial persona and receive episode recs of Fresh Invest, our investing podcast with Fidelity.


Wall Street bonuses shrink again

Wall Street street sign falling off pole. Francis Scialabba

Wall Street workers may have to hold off on putting in that pool. For the second straight year, bankers should prepare for smaller bonuses this holiday season, according to a report from consulting firm Johnson Associates. Cash bonuses for investment bankers in particular could shrivel up to 25% compared to 2022.

This doesn’t just mean barren “Thank you!” fudge baskets this year: Bonuses often account for a huge share of bankers’ total compensation. In some cases, they can be double their salary. That adds up to tens of billions of dollars in Wall Street’s bonus pot, which hit an all-time high in 2021.

But two years later, the economy looks a lot different. IPOs have slowed, interest rates are up, and we’re down a few banks. Investment bankers aren’t the only ones feeling the effects:

  • Regional bankers are likely to see bonuses fall 10%–20%.
  • Workers in asset management and sales could get 5%–10% less this year.
  • The only groups expected to receive bonus bumps this year are wealth managers and retail or commercial bankers at major global banks. Goldman Sachs is also reportedly considering bigger (but still unspecified) bonuses to keep top traders.

Big picture: You might not hear much grumbling about smaller bonuses, as five of the biggest US banks (excluding JPMorgan Chase) have cut at least 20,000 positions so far in 2023.—MM



Key performance indicators

Graphic of gravestones in descending height order Francis Scialabba

Stat: The gap in life expectancy between men and women is widening, and Covid is primarily to blame. In 2021, women’s life expectancy was 79.3, while men’s was 73.5—the largest gap since 1996, according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine. Covid contributed to 40% of the difference, as men are more likely to work in industries with high rates of exposure, like transportation (and women are more likely to be vaccinated). But the opioid epidemic was also a major factor: Drug overdoses, which are more common in men than women, accounted for about 30% of the life expectancy gap.

Quote: “Sit down. Sit down. You’re a United States senator!”

When he woke up Tuesday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) probably didn’t think he’d have to become a boxing referee in the middle of a Senate hearing. But that’s pretty much what happened when Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) repeatedly challenged Teamsters president Sean O’Brien to a fight after the two exchanged insults. The verbal spat went on for a few minutes, but Sanders was able to prevent a physical altercation by reminding Mullin of his job title. And that wasn’t even the only near-fisticuffs in Congress yesterday: Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) claimed Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) elbowed him with a “clean shot to the kidneys” in a Capitol hallway.

Read: What I learned getting acquired by Google. (


What else is brewing

  • Israel said it carried out a “targeted operation” at Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, where its leadership and US intelligence accuse Hamas of operating from. In recent days, doctors at Shifa have warned that patients are dying as a humanitarian crisis unfolds within the hospital.
  • ByteDance revenue grew to $29 billion in the second quarter, putting the Chinese owner of TikTok within striking distance of Meta.
  • Rolex and Patek Philippe prices fell to two-year lows amid waning demand for expensive watches.
  • SpaceX will receive clearance this week to launch its Starship rocket, CEO Elon Musk said.
  • YouTube announced it will begin cracking down on AI-generated deepfakes of musicians.


Wednesday to-do list

Stargaze: A mindblowing interactive of images from the new James Webb Space Telescope.

Travel: Expedia’s annual set-jetting forecast predicts Romania will be a popular destination in 2024 because of the Netflix series Wednesday.

Relax: Eight hours of a cozy, crackling yule log in 4K resolution.

Look what you made them do: “Kelce” is allegedly America’s hottest-trending dog name this year.

Invest in innovation: Innovation stocks beat the market by up to 8%.* And now OPTO has mapped out the world’s most innovative companies, as well as their respective themes. We’re talkin’ AI, uranium, and blockchain. Download OPTO.**

**A message from our sponsor.


The puzzle section

Word search: Desert environments are home to some of the cutest critters around. See if you can pick them out in today’s Word Search.

Time traveler: Vocab edition

Merriam-Webster has this neat website that shows you the first time a word was used in print. In one column, we’ll give you some words and, in the other, we’ll give you years. Your job is to match the word to the year it was first used in print.






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Wokeness = 2011

Ambulance = 1825

Prototype = 1552

Oligopoly = 1895

Bridezilla = 1995

Artisanal = 1939

Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day is: fisticuffs, meaning “a fight with fists.” Thanks to Katelyn from Wisconsin for only suggesting the word and not going through with it. Submit another Word of the Day here.

✳︎ A Note From Fidelity

Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.

Fidelity and Morning Brew are independent entities and are not legally affiliated.

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

✤ A Note From CMC Markets

*GlobalData Disruptor Intelligence Centre, GlobalData Patent Analytics, Refinitiv Eikon


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