☕ Weak ties

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2022-09-26 11:48

Unpacking all the drama in the markets...
September 26, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew


Good morning. Shanah tovah u’metuka to all of our Jewish readers celebrating Rosh Hashanah. Wishing all of you a sweet and happy new year.

Neal Freyman














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 9:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: We’ll dive deeper into market mayhem in the top story, but here’s just a little preview. The Dow is the only major US stock index not in a bear market, and it’s really close—on Friday, it fell to its lowest close since November 2020. Plus, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is coming off its worst two-week stretch since March 2020.


Why every investor is making this face right now

Investor looking anxious at the New York Stock Exchange Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Investors begin the week more shellshocked than Alice after she fell down the rabbit hole and saw some things.

In the past few days, global markets have been clobbered by an unprecedented effort from the world’s central banks to lift interest rates and stamp out soaring inflation. “This is shifting the tectonic plates beneath the world economy, and threatens dangerous developments in society and in politics as we all try to adapt,” Bloomberg editor John Authers noted.

He’s not the only observer who saw last week as monumental in market history. Watching the dramatic events of Friday, when stocks plunged and investors treated Britain like an emerging market, Axios’s Neil Irwin wrote that it might “turn out to be a momentous day in economic/financial history in ways that aren’t known to the vast majority of people at the time.”

Let’s unpack all this, as your manager would say.

It all starts with the central banks. Basically, we’ve never seen central banks all raise interest rates by this amount at the same time…in recorded history. The Fed was one of 10 banks that hiked rates by a combined total of six percentage points last week, and more than a dozen more rate increases are planned through October. Critics, such as the World Bank, say that these simultaneous rate hikes could have a disastrous effect on the global economy due to tightening financial conditions by too much, too quickly.

With the economic outlook deteriorating, stocks have been bad. Like, historically bad. Down 23% for 2022, the S&P is having its fifth worst start to a year in history, according to Compound Capital Advisors—and it’s on pace for its biggest annual drop since 2008. Goldman Sachs recently cut its year-end target for the S&P 500 by 16%, to 3,600 points.

Bonds have also endured a historic rout. Bonds are having their worst year since 1949, and spiking yields (which move inversely to prices) could have a major ripple effect across markets, including making stocks appear more unappealing than they are now, which is already not very appealing.

Currencies are extremely volatile. The under-the-radar currency market is having a bigger moment than Corn Kid. The pound plunged to a record low after Britain released its much-scorned budget and last week Japan moved to prop up the yen for the first time since 1998. Meanwhile, the US dollar continues to soar as a safe haven in these ominous times.

Not everyone is predicting an economic disaster. Despite markets suggesting otherwise, the US can land this plane gently, some officials assured. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said yesterday that the country’s strong labor market indicates that the Fed could cool inflation “in a relatively orderly way.”



Wi-fi + 7 minutes + a pulse = profit?

Beeeeeep! That’s the sound of your portfolio flatlining from an imploding stock market, crypto meltdown, and the worst inflation since Saturday Night Fever. How can you shock it back to life? (Note: This has nothing to do with bell bottoms.)

Try an asset that the ultra-wealthy have used to boost their gains for centuries: blue-chip art, which has outpaced the S&P by a whopping 164% over the last 25 years.

But wait, don’t you need to be a Studio 54 VIP to invest in Picassos and Warhols?

Nope, you just need Masterworks. Since launching, they’ve delivered a groovy 29% average net realized return. Results like those will make you want to start singing “Stayin’ Alive.”

Due to record demand, there’s a huge waitlist to join. But Morning Brew readers can skip it with this exclusive referral link.

See important Regulation A disclosures.



Tour de headlines

Giorgia Meloni Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

Hard-right leader set to take power in Italy. Giorgia Meloni is on course to become Italy’s first woman prime minister and its most right-wing leader since World War II following yesterday’s elections. Meloni, whose party originated in the neofascism movement of the postwar era, has criticized the “LGBT lobby” and called for a naval blockade of immigrants. At the same time, she’s moved closer to the center on issues like controlling Italy’s massive debt burden and supporting Ukraine against Russia. One of her biggest political influences? Lord of the Rings. Meloni used to dress up like a hobbit and says she doesn’t consider LOTR fantasy.

Rihanna’s back. The superstar announced that she would be performing at the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show (now sponsored by Apple Music) in a mega-viral tweet.. Fans have been waiting a long time to see Rihanna back in action—she hasn’t released an album since 2016 and last performed in public in 2018—and now she’ll take the stage in front of the largest TV audience in the US. Sure to dominate Slack conversations today: her planned set list.

Florida prepares for Ian. NASA delayed its planned moon launch and FL Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency as the strengthening Tropical Storm Ian heads for the state later this week as a potentially major hurricane. Some areas are still cleaning up from Fiona, the storm that smashed into Canada on Saturday and brought significant damage to Puerto Rico last week.


Keep your friend’s coworker’s sister’s accountant’s tennis coach close

LinkedIn building Smith Collection/Getty Images

Loose acquaintances—more so than your friends—are pivotal in helping you land a job, a study published this month found.

How researchers reached that conclusion is just as interesting as the finding itself. Turns out, many of us who went on LinkedIn in recent years were unwitting guinea pigs in a massive social experiment. From 2015 to 2019, LinkedIn’s engineers tweaked the algorithm for its “People You May Know” recommendation feature, varying the level of close friends and weaker contacts it was showing to users. In all, more than 20 million users were subject to the test, which the researchers leveraged for their study.

The scale of the experiment and the fact that LinkedIn’s testing could have impacted the long-term trajectory of its users’ careers have sparked a debate over transparency in A/B testing—a widespread practice used by tech firms to improve their products. The lead author of the study, MIT Professor Sinan Aral, defended LinkedIn’s tests by saying the company is simply trying to figure out a more useful algorithm for its customers..

Big picture: The theory of “weak ties” being beneficial has been around since 1973, but only with fertile data from LinkedIn were researchers able to find causal evidence that we should probably take networking a little more seriously.



The week ahead

A 2018 Porsche 991 Carrera T sports car driving on the narrow mountain roads of Col de Turini in south-east France Rich Pearce/Total 911 Magazine/Future via Getty Images

Porsche mega-IPO: Out of the ashes of this year’s brutal IPO market rises Porsche. The Volkswagen-owned luxury automaker will list shares publicly on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Thursday, and if it hits its valuation target of $75 billion, it would be Europe’s third-largest IPO ever.

Tesla robot watch: Tesla will host its second AI Day on Friday, where it could reveal a prototype of its humanoid robot, named Optimus. CEO Elon Musk will also give an update on FSD Beta, the technology that aims to make Teslas fully autonomous.

Asteroid collision: Tonight, a NASA spacecraft is supposed to ram into an 11 billion-pound asteroid in what’s been compared to a golf cart ramming into a pyramid. It’s a test to see how well we can change a celestial body’s trajectory to keep one from smashing into Earth—if necessary.

Everything else:

  • Jupiter will be at its closest point to Earth in 59 years today.
  • Obligatory mention: Saturday is International Coffee Day.
  • Emerging Tech Brew’s free virtual summit is on Thursday..



Creating a trust-based company culture should be top of mind for your biz. Join Workday’s Employee Feedback: The Key to Organizational Resilience webinar on Sept. 28 at 1pm ET to learn how to rethink your employee engagement strategies for a more resilient org. Sign up to attend live or receive a recording of the event.



Key performance indicators

Michael Scott holding up his wedding gift The Office/NBC Universal via Giphy

Stat: Wedding gifts evolve with the times. And in this era of unaffordable housing prices, more couples are asking their guests to help finance their mortgages, the FT reported. Wedding planning site Zola said that the number of housing-related cash funds has doubled since 2019, and The Knot said contributions to housing-related funds grew 79% this year. People are more generous when contributing to a housing fund, writing an average check of $175–$200 compared to $100–$175 for honeymoon funds on Zola.

Quote: “I’m never flabbergasted. But I’m flabbergasted.”

An emotional Elton John thanked President Biden after unexpectedly receiving the National Humanities Medal on Friday night, an award that honors people who help Americans access cultural experiences. John, a fave of former President Trump, played a concert at the Biden White House featuring bangers like “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man.”

Read: I tried replacing Google with TikTok, and it worked better than I thought. (The Verge)


  • Kenyan distance runner Eliud Kipchoge crushed his own world record by about 30 seconds at the Berlin Marathon. His ridiculous time: 2:01:09.
  • A newly unredacted document showed at least 75 incidents of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Goldman Sachs between 2000–2011. It’s part of an ongoing gender discrimination lawsuit against Goldman.
  • Oregon’s move to decriminalize hard drugs two years ago hasn’t worked as intended, critics say.
  • A mysterious voice groaning and grunting has been heard coming through the PA system on several American Airlines flights.


Dive back into the week:

Excel tips: 1) How to fix your VLOOKUP function 2) seven ways to analyze your data and 3) how to create barcodes.


The puzzle section

Turntable: There’s no better way to kick off the workweek than with a freshly brewed Turntable. Play it here.

History trivia

On this day in 1960, a US presidential debate was first televised. Which two candidates faced off?


We asked New Yorkers about the recession, and they didn’t disappoint

We asked New Yorkers about the recession, and they didn’t disappoint

Are we already in a recession? We asked New Yorkers about their thoughts on the topic—and plenty more. Watch now.

Morning Brew presents Strategy for Creators: a one-week virtual course made by creators for creators. Reserve your spot now.

Learn how companies navigate the constant shifts in the workplace during a free virtual event on Sept. 28 at 2pm ET. Register here.


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Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon


Written by Neal Freyman

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