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Why the Baltimore bridge disaster will disrupt trade...
March 27, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

It’s Skinny

Good morning. Talking about money can be awkward, especially when the person you’re chatting with has…a lot of it.

For transparent conversations around money with successful entrepreneurs, check out our new show, MoneyWise with Sam Parr. Sam is the co-founder of Hampton—a membership community for entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs—and co-host of hit podcast My First Million. On MoneyWise, Sam and his guests reveal the personal finances and lifestyles of founders who have navigated life-changing business achievements. You can find MoneyWise on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your shows.

—Sam Klebanov, Matty Merritt, Molly Liebergall, Adam Epstein, Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

16,315.70

S&P

5,203.58

Dow

39,282.33

10-Year

4.234%

Bitcoin

$69,862.58

Truth Social

$57.99

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 10:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks were headed for a great Tuesday before investors pulled out their Uno reverse card, sending indexes back down and leaving the Dow largely unchanged. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s social media company, Truth Social, surged 16% in its first day of trading, just as the former president must pay $175 million as part of his civil fraud trial.
 

ECONOMY

The Baltimore bridge disaster will disrupt trade

Cargo ship Dali is seen after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

At least six people were missing in Baltimore yesterday after a container ship lost power and rammed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, destroying it. The Sri Lanka-bound vessel stayed afloat, but much of the 1.6-mile bridge rapidly collapsed, throwing nighttime construction workers and vehicles into the Patapsco River.

Given the bridge’s location along the path of a major maritime trade route, the disaster could have a sweeping impact on the local economy and international supply chains.

Bridge barrier

Aside from acting as a major transportation artery that carried a section of the I-695 highway, the bridge separated the waters near the Port of Baltimore from the open sea. Until debris is cleared, shipping traffic will have to be rerouted away from the bustling cargo port.

Though it handles less cargo than some other ports on the East Coast, and was only the 17th busiest port in the country as of 2021, per the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, it’s an important trade conduit for specific industries.

  • Baltimore has long been the biggest port for car imports and exports in the US; almost 850,000 vehicles passed through its waters last year. Some car companies said they’ll use alternate ports, but delayed parts deliveries could threaten the auto industry’s particularly time-sensitive supply chains.
  • The closest East Coast port to the Midwest, it’s also the biggest port for farm machinery and agricultural products in the country, according to Reuters.

The port’s closure could also damage the livelihoods of the 15,000+ people working at its facilities, and endangers the 140,000 jobs in the area indirectly supported by port activity.

Looking forward: The bridge could take years to rebuild—a costly construction effort that President Biden wants the federal government to pay for, he said yesterday.—SK

     

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WORLD

Tour de headlines

Abortion demonstrators gather in front of the Supreme Court Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images

The Supreme Court seems likely to preserve access to abortion pills. In oral arguments yesterday, SCOTUS justices appeared skeptical of the efforts of anti-abortion doctors to curb access to the widely used abortion medication mifepristone. Those doctors challenged FDA rulings that expanded access to the drug, claiming that they’ve been harmed by its availability even though the medical community has deemed mifepristone both safe and effective. Justices across the ideological spectrum questioned the challengers’ argument, saying they’re free to object to prescribing mifepristone without imposing a nationwide ban. The ruling, expected in June or July, will be the biggest on abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022.

Visa and Mastercard agree to $30 billion deal to cap swipe fees. After a nearly 20-year legal battle, the credit card behemoths said they’ll slightly reduce the 2% fees that they charge retailers every time a consumer uses one of their cards. Retailers will also be able to adjust prices at checkout depending on the type of card used. The banks that issue cards—like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America—will likely bear the brunt of the changes, as they typically receive most of the revenue from swipe fees.

Julian Assange’s extradition to the US is on hold. The Australian WikiLeaks founder, who’s being held in the UK while he awaits extradition to the US on espionage charges, will not be handed over immediately, a UK court ruled, giving the US three weeks to make assurances that his First Amendment rights would be protected and he would not face the death penalty. The court said Assange would be permitted to appeal his extradition in May if the US fails to make the assurances. Assange has been fighting his extradition to the US since 2012.

WORK

BlackRock CEO warns of the retirement crisis

Hands holding $100 Francis Scialabba

Larry Fink is saying exactly what your friends have been casually tossing into the happy hour chat for years: Younger generations are never going to retire. In his annual investor letter, the billionaire BlackRock co-founder and CEO focused on how the government and corporations need to fix the burgeoning retirement crisis.

Fink, who heads the largest asset manager in the world, criticized his own generation (baby boomers) for focusing on “their own financial well-being to the detriment of who comes next.” He cited the 2022 Census Bureau survey, which said about 50% of people in the US between 55 and 65 reported they didn’t have any money saved for retirement.

Fink’s solution: The businessman encouraged private companies to match employee 401(k) contributions and make it easier for workers to roll over retirement accounts when changing jobs. Fink also questioned the current retirement age of 65, suggesting it should be higher.

Big picture: Conversations around bumping up the retirement age are cropping up more and more as the US approaches 2034, the year when the Social Security Administration says it will not be able to pay out full benefits unless Congress fixes the program. Last year, France raised its retirement age despite massive pushback.—MM

     

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FOOD & BEV

Krispy Kreme is coming to McDonald’s

Krispy Kreme original glazed donut Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The world’s largest fast-food chain is making it easier to construct your own donut burger (not that you should). In its latest bid to boost breakfast and snack sales, McDonald’s will soon sell three of Krispy Kreme’s most popular donuts all day at restaurants across the US, the companies announced yesterday.

Following a successful pilot program at some McD’s locations in Kentucky, Krispy Kreme’s original glazed, chocolate iced with sprinkles, and chocolate iced with cream filling will start joining some Golden Arches menus later this year. By the end of 2026…

  • McDonald’s plans to offer the donuts at all of its ~13,500 US locations, which could also lift its coffee business.
  • The deal will more than double the locations where Krispy Kreme donuts are sold, the company’s CEO said.

Pretty sweet: Krispy Kreme’s stock (aptly named DNUT) soared nearly 40% yesterday, reaching its highest point in two years and doing donuts around the company’s previous single-day gains record. The pastry purveyor had been down 20% this year amid investor concerns that weight-loss drugs might negatively affect the snack space.

Breakfast is in. Wendy’s recently partnered with Cinnabon on a sugary morning menu item, and other fast-food giants like Taco Bell and Burger King are also sprucing up their breakfast offerings.—ML

     

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

Armando Bacot of the North Carolina Tar Heels Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Stat: If March Madness feels a little less mad this year, that’s probably because the tournament is chock-full of wily vets. Per the WSJ, nine of the tourney’s top 10 scorers are seniors, while 296 players are in their fourth, fifth, or sixth years of school—the most since 2008. Strangest of all, the average age of North Carolina’s starting lineup is 22.2, about the same as that of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder (22.6). Why is a college basketball tournament loaded with borderline decrepit athletes, you ask? Now that they’re allowed to earn NIL (name, image, and likeness) money, many are content to stay in school longer. The NCAA also granted players an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic, and some, like UNC’s Armando Bacot, are using it.

Quote: “You wouldn’t hire a wiseguy, you wouldn’t hire a made man like a mobster to work in a DA’s office, right? You wouldn’t hire a pickpocket to work as a TSA screener.”

Ronna, we hardly knew ye. Former Republican National Committee Chair and 2020 election denier Ronna McDaniel is reportedly out as an on-air contributor at NBC News after just a few days, following a revolt from numerous current and former employees across the company. One of the mutineers was liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who essentially compared McDaniel to Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. McDaniel is seeking legal representation, Puck News reported.

Read: Elon Musk’s Starlink terminals are being traded on the black market. (Bloomberg)

NEWS

What else is brewing

  • Adam Neumann bid upward of $500 million to acquire WeWork out of bankruptcy.
  • The NFL will play two games on Christmas Day this year (a Wednesday) in a reversal of the league’s initial stance.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning children under 14 in the state from having their own social media accounts.
  • Disney+ changed its logo to make it look more like Hulu’s as the two streaming services prepare to merge.
  • Nadeem Anjarwalla, a Binance executive detained in Nigeria, reportedly escaped custody using a fake passport.

RECS

Wednesday to-do list

Watch: 19-year-old Ilia Malinin wins the world figure skating title in one of the best routines you’ll ever see.

Trip: What it feels like to take ketamine to treat anxiety.

Read: Silent Spring, the renowned 1962 environmentalist book by Rachel Carson, is No. 1 on Amazon thanks to its role in the new Netflix series 3 Body Problem.

Burn: How to prevent your candles from forming those annoying wax memory rings.

Boost prostate health: With this doctor-recommended prostate vibrator. The bendable Molto is designed by urologists for targeted stimulation, AND it’s eligible for FSA/HSA. Does a vibe a day keep the doctor away? Save 25% now.*

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GAMES

The puzzle section

Word Search: In honor of the Sweet 16 coming up, here’s a mega Word Search featuring all of the logos of the men’s basketball teams that remain in the tournament. Play it here.

Timeline trivia

Here’s a list of events that happened on March 27, but in different years. Your job is to put them in the correct chronological order.

  1. The FDA approved Viagra.
  2. Grey’s Anatomy debuted on ABC.
  3. Marlon Brando declined his Best Actor award for The Godfather in protest.
  4. Mariah Carey was born.
  5. The first section of the Washington, DC, metro system opened to the public.
  6. Nikita Khrushchev becomes premier of the Soviet Union.

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ANSWER

  1. Nikita Khrushchev became premier of the Soviet Union (1958)
  2. Mariah Carey was born (1969)
  3. Marlon Brando declined his Best Actor award for The Godfather in protest (1973)
  4. The first section of the Washington, DC, metro system opened to the public (1976)
  5. The FDA approved Viagra (1998)
  6. Grey’s Anatomy debuted on ABC (2005)

Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day is: decrepit, meaning “weakened by old age.” Thanks to Shantanu from Mumbai, India, for the robust suggestion. Submit another Word of the Day here.

✢ A Note From It’s Skinny

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