Morning Brew - ☕️ Turbulent times

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May 28, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

Eli Electric Vehicles

Good morning and welcome back after a tumultuous long travel weekend disrupted by bad weather. Be patient with your coworkers today—they are either sunburnt, hungover, or ate way too much Nuts on Clark popcorn while delayed at O’Hare.

Reminder: Today is Tuesday. Have a great short week.

—Matty Merritt, Dave Lozo, Abby Rubenstein, Neal Freyman

MARKETS: YEAR-TO-DATE

Nasdaq

$16,920.79

S&P

$5,304.72

Dow

$39,069.59

10-Year

4.467%

Bitcoin

$69,921.86

Dell

$160.18

Data is provided by

*Stock data as of market close. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Traders had the day off yesterday with the market closed in observance of Memorial Day. But that’s not the only reason they’re likely to be in a good mood today since, despite some bumps along the way, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose last week.
  • Stock spotlight: One to watch this week is Dell, which reports its quarterly earnings on Thursday. Investors will be seeking news on its AI-server business. The company hit a record high last week as Nvidia’s red-hot revenue numbers boosted AI-related stocks.
 

FINANCE

US stock trades will be finalized much faster

Loading stock market Francis Scialabba

Starting today, US stock trades will settle faster, meaning investors will see their purchases and sales finalized in just one day instead of two. The SEC and proponents of the change, which spawned from meme stock mania, have claimed the speedier process will free up liquidity and reduce risk, but there may be some serious hurdles first.

For those not on the trading floor: In the olden days, you wouldn’t see the actual cash from selling stock until about a week after the deal went down because of all the horse travel involved. Then in 2017, settlements had to be finalized in two business days (or T+2).

  • But in early 2021, retail investors went nuts for GameStop and Bed Bath & Beyond, and Robinhood had to post collateral for all those stock trades while it waited for the two-day window to close.
  • Traders were buying so quickly and in such quantity that Robinhood restricted trades for those stocks, which led to investor backlash and a rule change from the SEC.

What will change

The SEC claims shortening the settlement period to one day (or T+1) will keep funds flowing freely in the market and relieve pressure for the transaction on the broker-dealer level.

But that pressure still has to go somewhere. Banks and other international traders working on deals are preparing for a much smaller window to convert foreign currencies to the dollar, which opens up the possibility of errors.

Banks expect some rough days ahead: Especially tomorrow, when Friday’s trades (conducted with T+2) and today’s trades (now on T+1) will both need to be finalized. As a retail investor, you probably won’t notice a change except cash arriving in your account faster after a sale. But a number of financial firms have hired more workers, built out later shifts, and even moved some staff to North America to make sure that happens.—MM

   

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WORLD

Tour de headlines

Palestinians are gathering at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Raf Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Netanyahu calls Rafah airstrike “tragic mistake.” An Israeli airstrike in Rafah caused fires and explosions in a tent camp of displaced Palestinians that killed at least 45 people and wounded 200, according to Gazan authorities. The strike, which Israel’s military said killed two senior Hamas officials, quickly drew international rebuke from Arab and European countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military was investigating and that something had gone wrong “despite our best effort, not to harm those not involved.” The strike could “hinder” cease-fire talks, which are scheduled to resume today, mediator Qatar said.

Elon Musk raises $6 billion to take on OpenAI. Musk’s latest startup, xAI, got the Series B funds to create products and develop new tech from a group of firms that includes high-profile VCs Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and others. The company, best known for the questionably humorous Grok chatbot Musk integrated into X, was given a pre-money valuation of $18 billion, Musk said. It’s looking to compete with AI firms backed by major tech companies, including OpenAI, which Musk helped create but later left amid disagreements about the best path forward for artificial intelligence.

Deadly storms sweep across US. Powerful storms that created tornadoes blew through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kentucky over the weekend, killing at least 21 people and leaving destruction and power outages in their wake. Meanwhile, a heat wave occurred across the South. Storms continued in the Northeast, where 30+ million people spent Memorial Day under severe weather warnings.

AVIATION

As temperatures rise, so will turbulence

A Qatar Airways plane Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Over the weekend, 12 people were injured on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Dublin, just days after a 73-year-old man died of a suspected heart attack and dozens were injured on a Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore. In both cases, the growing problem of turbulence was the culprit.

Climate change is strengthening the jet streams that cause turbulence. That’s producing more clear-air turbulence (CAT), which is particularly insidious because it usually occurs when seatbelt signs are turned off, making passengers more likely to be tossed violently.

  • One study concluded that CAT with “severe or greater” turbulence had increased over the North Atlantic by 55% between 1979 and 2020.
  • Another study showed that CAT will become more severe and frequent as the planet gets hotter.

“Our climate is evolving,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday on Face the Nation. “Our policies and our technology and our infrastructure have to evolve accordingly, too.”

What’s the fix? Adjusting seat belt rules and flight routes can help for now. One day, Lidar (light detection and ranging), a technology that can spot CAT 20 miles away, may help, but it is currently too large and expensive to become commonplace on commercial airlines.—DL

   

CALENDAR

The week ahead

Donald Trump in court during his criminal hush money trial Victor J. Blue/Getty Images

Closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial start today: And jury deliberations could begin tomorrow, but there’s no guarantee that a verdict will be reached by the end of the week. Twelve citizens will decide if the former president doctored business records in an attempt to conceal payments intended to silence porn star Stormy Daniels and influence the 2016 election. Each of the 34 felony falsification charges carries a possible sentence of up to four years in prison, although Trump is unlikely to be incarcerated if convicted.

A pivotal election will take place in South Africa: The African National Congress—the party of Nelson Mandela—is in danger of losing outright power for the first time since it helped end apartheid in 1994. Voters will head to the polls Wednesday against the backdrop of ANC corruption scandals, high unemployment rates, and poverty that disproportionately affects Black South Africans. While the ANC is still expected to be the largest party, a lack of a clear majority would usher in a new era of coalitions with other parties in Africa’s most industrialized country.

It’s climate vs. profit at Exxon’s shareholder meeting: Shareholder rights are at the forefront on Thursday. The oil giant sued activist investors in January over their proposal for the company to create stronger emissions policies. The proposal has been withdrawn, but Exxon is still pursuing the case as a warning to future activist investors. State finance officials and pension fund trustees have asked JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and other asset managers to vote against Exxon’s board and CEO because they believe the lawsuit diminishes shareholder power. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the biggest public pension fund in the US, has also said it will oppose the board and CEO.

Everything else...

  • In a rare feat of holiday irony, today is both National Hamburger Day and World Hunger Day. Feel free to enjoy a burger, but consider finding a food bank in your area that needs help, too.
  • Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid will meet in the Champions League final on Saturday.
  • Pride Month begins on Saturday.
  • The final day of voting in India’s six-week parliamentary elections is Saturday. If Narendra Modi wins, he will become the second prime minister in the country’s history to win a third term.
  • Mexico will hold its general election on Sunday. Claudia Sheinbaum is the front-runner to replace outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in a country that has seen at least 36 people seeking office killed since last June, according to the New York Times.

TOGETHER WITH DELTA AMERICAN EXPRESS

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GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

As part of Times Square Arts' current public art project, TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Stat: If you enjoyed a hot dog yesterday, your barbecue was probably fun, but not original. Americans typically devour ~7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day—that’s 818 hot dogs per second each summer, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. About 38% of yearly hot dog sales take place during the season, with 10% in July alone. And while Los Angeles may be more associated with $19.00 Erewhon smoothies named for celebrities, it was the top hot-dog-consuming city in terms of pounds sold over the full year last year. New Yorkers still spent the most on dirty water dogs, though, shelling out $111.4 million compared to No. 2 LA’s $91.8 million.

Quote: “If you can fix your parents’ iPad, then you can fix an Apache helicopter.”

The British government didn’t actually make that claim: It’s from a TikTok video mocking Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s new proposal to institute a year of mandatory military or civilian national service for all 18-year-olds if his party wins this summer’s election (which isn’t looking likely). The video is one of many very online “we are not amused” responses from Gen Zers who are not interested in being subject to the UK’s first national conscription since 1960. The proposal is viewed as an appeal to older voters, who the Washington Post reports are more likely to support Sunak’s Conservative Party.

Read: Welcome to the WFH Friday economy: It’s a time for hair masks, spas, day drinking, and no-camera meetings. (Business Insider)

NEWS

What else is brewing

  • The government of Papua New Guinea estimates that 2,000 people were buried in a landslide on Friday and has requested international help.
  • Furiosa used her warrior ways to edge out lasagna-loving cat Garfield for the No. 1 spot at the box office with ~$32 million in ticket sales, but it was Hollywood’s worst Memorial Day weekend in decades (except 2020 when theaters were closed by Covid).
  • Bill Walton, the NBA Hall of Famer-turned-commentator, died of cancer at age 71.
  • Grayson Murray’s parents said their son had died by suicide one day after the two-time PGA Tour winner withdrew from a PGA Tour event.
  • Nicki Minaj was arrested, then fined and released, at the Amsterdam airport on Sunday after Dutch authorities said they found “soft drugs” in her luggage.
  • The FBI is investigating missing pieces from the British Museum’s collection that American buyers purchased on eBay.
  • President Joe Biden marked Memorial Day, which honors those who died while serving in the US military, with a speech at Arlington National Ceremony, saying, “Freedom has never been guaranteed—every generation has to earn it.”

RECS

Tuesday To Do List

Play: This game lets you get in five (virtual) holes of golf while you sip your morning brew…after you finish reading your favorite newsletter, of course.

Watch: Canva proves its commitment to enterprise business by going full corporate cringe.

Go to the beach: Science proves you feel more relaxed when looking at water.

Plan a road trip: Here’s a map of where sitcoms are set across the US.

Now hiring: From AI to candidate qualifications, hiring has evolved a lot. Join Indeed’s Nate Wigert on May 30 for a chat about the hiring process’ growth—and growing pains. RSVP here.*

*A message from our sponsor.

GAMES

The puzzle section

Brew Mini: Today’s puzzle is a 5x5 in the truest sense of the term—there are no black squares, so every word is five letters. Play it here.

Nutritional facts

In this game, we’ll give you the ingredient list of a popular food product that’s found in grocery stores. Your job is to name the product.

Ingredient list: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Imitation Mozzarella Cheese (Water, Palm Oil, Modified Corn Starch, Vegetable Oil [Soybean, High Oleic Soybean And/Or Canola Oil], Rennet Casein, Salt, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Citric Acid, Guar Gum, Potassium Sorbate [Preservative], Sodium Citrate, Sodium Phosphate, Titanium Dioxide [Artificial Color]), Water, Vegetable Oil (Soybean, High Oleic Soybean And/Or Canola Oil). Contains Less Than 2% of: Rehydrated Fat Free Mozzarella Cheese (Water, Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes, Citric Acid), Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Modified Whey, Defatted Soy Flour, Spice, Methylcellulose, Modified Tapioca Starch, Onion Powder, Dextrose, Rehydrated Enzyme Modified Cheese (Water, Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, ·Enzymes), Maltodextrin, TBHQ (Preservative), Natural Flavor

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ANSWER

Totino’s Pizza Rolls (cheese). They really stuff a lot into those rolls.

Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day is: insidious, meaning “proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect.” Thanks to Laura Pack from Raleigh, NC, and several other subtle readers for the slow-burn suggestion. Submit another Word of the Day here.

✢ A Note From Eli Electric Vehicles

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