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Argentina’s Milei meets with Zuck and other tech CEOs...
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May 29, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

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Good morning. Sometimes less is more—it’s true of seasoning on a steak, and it’s also true of newsletters.

After hearing your feedback from a recent survey, we’ve decided to tweak the Key Performance Indicators section to include just an eye-catching stat while dispersing the other stuff (Quote, Read) to other parts of the newsletter. The goal is to make that section more digestible and keep the Brew a breezy scroll during your busy mornings.

—Cassandra Cassidy, Dave Lozo, Sam Klebanov, Adam Epstein, Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

17,019.88

S&P

5,306.04

Dow

38,852.86

10-Year

4.542%

Bitcoin

$68,309.75

DraftKings

$36.61

Data is provided by

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 4:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks were mixed in the first session after Memorial Day weekend, though Nvidia powered the Nasdaq to a record close. Meanwhile, DraftKings dropped like an anvil on Wile E. Coyote’s head after Illinois passed a bill that hikes taxes on sports betting companies.
 

INTERNATIONAL

Milei’s plan to help Argentina: leave Argentina

Javier Milei and Elon Musk Getty Images

Javier Milei either really likes apple pie or doesn’t have a comfy bed at home. The sideburn-donning, chainsaw-wielding libertarian president of Argentina landed in San Francisco last night for a week of schmoozing with America’s elite tech crowd, marking his fourth trip to the US as president in five months at a time when his own country is in distress.

Milei, who was elected last year with a promise to fix Argentina’s economy and sky-high inflation, will meet with the CEOs of Meta, Google, Apple, and OpenAI this week as part of a foreign tour planned to “position Argentina in the world once again,” according to his spokesperson. It’s far from his first rodeo:

  • Milei will have completed eight foreign tours in his first six months in office by the end of June, a record among Argentine presidents, according to the Financial Times.
  • In April, Milei came to the US to meet with Elon Musk, boosting his public image and garnering some celeb status.

But…opponents are critical of his extensive itinerary, and some young voters wonder whether his going full Around the World in 80 Days will bring foreign investment into Argentina, which is dealing with its worst financial crisis in 20 years.

How’s that going?

So-so. Milei is apparently as good at slashing spending as he is at growing facial hair: After enacting drastic spending cuts, Argentina reported that inflation rose at a rate of 8.8% for April, the first single-digit rate rise in six months.

The bad news: Cost-cutting measures have negatively affected Argentines, who are getting squeezed as their money loses value while the cost of goods goes up. Work on 2,000 public works projects including daycares, major highways, bridges, and housing projects has stopped.

It could backfire. Experts say that falling inflation can also signal a recession, and Milei has made little progress with long-term reforms in the Argentine government.—CC

   

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WORLD

Tour de headlines

A graphic of dollar bills with smiley faces on them Alex Castro

Consumer confidence rose for the first time in four months. Americans are unexpectedly feeling better about the economy this month: Per the Conference Board’s monthly index, US consumer sentiment rose from 97.5 in April to 102 in May, smashing economists’ estimates. Meanwhile, the expectations index, which measures the short-term outlook for income and other labor market conditions, increased the most since July. However, the report showed that Americans remain worried about inflation and interest rates. Despite their mixed feelings about the economy, Americans continue to spend vigorously on travel. The TSA set a record for most travelers screened in a single day last Friday.

T-Mobile bought most of UScellular for $4.4 billion. The third-largest mobile carrier in the US now owns what was the fifth-largest, giving T-Mobile 4 million new customers and access to UScellular’s wireless operations. T-Mobile aims to improve coverage in rural areas, where many of UScellular’s customers live. The deal, which follows T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint in 2020, could kick off another round of consolidation in the telecommunications industry, analysts say, as the number of major players dwindles. T-Mobile’s latest purchase is expected to close next year.

iPhone sales in China are rebounding. Sales of Apple smartphones in the country jumped 52% in April, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, showing that Apple’s decision to slash prices is paying off. Sales ticked up 12% in March after falling in January and February as Apple lost ground to Huawei and other Chinese brands. As a result, Apple cut prices, hoping to regain the top spot in China’s smartphone market. Huawei launched a new series of high-end devices last month and is opening more flagship stores.

AUTO

Toyota is betting on alternative fuel engines over EVs

Toyota executives reveal a new combustion engine Toyota

There may have been electricity in the air at Toyota’s press conference yesterday, but it was absent from its announcement about its prototype engines.

The world’s largest auto manufacturer aims to add a new element to the industry’s pursuit of reducing carbon emissions: compact internal combustion engines capable of running on cleaner biofuels while still being compatible with electric motors in hybrids.

The new engines align with Toyota’s “multi-pathway” approach that focuses on hybrids and treats EVs as an afterthought. That strategy faced much initial criticism but proved to be a winning one over the fiscal year ending in March 2024.

  • Toyota’s operating profit was $32 billion (5 trillion yen), making it the first Japanese company to reach the 5-trillion-yen plateau.
  • It sold 3.59 million hybrids, a 32% increase over the previous year.

Start your engines: No timetable was given for when these engines would be available—but the clock is ticking. The EPA recently announced new vehicle emission standards targeting cars and trucks from model years 2027 to 2032. Policymakers in the EU are pushing to ban sales of CO2-emitting cars from 2035 onward.—DL

   

TOGETHER WITH FIDELITY INVESTMENTS

Fidelity Investments

Expand your active ETF horizons. Opportunity is knockin’, investors. The Fidelity® Enhanced Large Cap Core ETF (FELC) is a domestic equity fund with strong historic performance, low expense ratio, and potential tax efficiencies (aka a dream trifecta). FELC is run by a team of experts to pursue upside potential. Learn more.

TECH

A billionaire wants to prove submersibles are safe

Triton submersible Credit: Triton Submarines

An affluent adventurer from Ohio intends to show the world that the OceanGate submersible tragedy was a one-off. Real estate investor Larry Connor plans to dive to the Titanic in a vessel made by Triton Submarines to demonstrate that deep sea exploration doesn’t require one to be a daredevil, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

Triton CEO Patrick Lahey will accompany Connor in the two-person Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer, a $20 million submersible designed to descend up to 4,000 meters (Titanic is 3,800 meters down). Connor reached out to Lahey days after the OceanGate tragedy last June, encouraging him to finally build the vessel he had been designing for years to rehabilitate submersibles’ reputation.

The anti-OceanGate

Lahey has vocally criticized OceanGate for using experimental tech and accused its late CEO, Stockton Rush (who died in the implosion), of being “predatory” in his assurances to passengers. Triton and its Netherlands-based competitor, U-Boat Worx, saw a slowdown in orders for their products in the OceanGate aftermath. The two companies stress that unlike OceanGate’s, their submersibles are certified by third-party safety agencies.

Some still believe in deep dives…like the voracious submersible hobbyist and Triton investor Ray Dalio, who told WSJ that anyone with knowledge of the industry would have “no reservations.”—SK

   

STAT

Prime number

Seth Meyers gif NBC/Late Night With Seth Meyers

The greatest decade in US history, statistically speaking, is the friends we made along the way. The Washington Post analyzed a recent YouGov survey asking Americans to identify the best decade since the 1930s and found that their answers were basically “whenever they were a kid.” Respondents tended to say the decade with the best economy, movies, and TV was the one when they were 12 to 15. The decade with the best fashion, music, and sports was when they were 16 to 19. Meanwhile, the decade with the most close-knit communities was when Americans were 4 to 7. We are simple creatures, perpetually aching to return to the sanctuary of our youth. (The correct answer is the 1990s.)

NEWS

What else is brewing

  • Ryan Salame, the FTX exec who turned on founder Sam Bankman-Fried, was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.
  • Hess shareholders voted to approve the company’s $53 billion merger with Chevron, though it’s still unclear if the deal will survive a challenge from Exxon.
  • Adam Neumann gave up on his plan to buy back WeWork.
  • Porsche announced it’s making the first-ever hybrid version of its iconic 911 sports car.
  • Golden Goose, the shoe brand known for selling sneakers that look dirty on purpose, is reportedly eyeing an IPO in Milan this week at a $3.3 billion valuation.
  • Pope Francis apologized after Italian media reported he used a homophobic slur during a private meeting.

RECS

Wednesday to-do list

Teleport: This is what it’s like to walk down the street in dozens of major cities around the world.

Identify imposters: Best Buy tops the list of the most impersonated companies by scammers.

Calm your mind: An illustrated essay on how to beat worry.

Debate: What will be the song of the summer this year?

Go beyond the news: What do CEOs, movie moguls, and West Wing staffers have in common? They read Puck. Join to get the inside story on Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley.*

*A message from our sponsor.

GAMES

The puzzle section

Word Search: No need to get into a submersible to see incredible aquatic wildlife. Just play today’s Word Search instead.

’Merica trivia

The three longest bridges in the United States are located in the same state. Which state?

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ANSWER

Louisiana

Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day is: voracious, meaning “very eager for something.” Thanks to David from Beaverton, OR, for the suggestion. Submit another Word of the Day here.

✳︎ A Note From Fidelity Investments

Expense ratio 0.18% as of 4/10/2024.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

While active ETFs offer the potential to outperform an index, these products may more significantly trail an index as compared with passive ETFs.

Before investing in any exchange-traded fund, you should consider its investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Contact Fidelity for a prospectus, an offering circular, or, if available, a summary prospectus containing this information. Read it carefully.

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