☕️ Port twist

Will the supply chain boondoggle ever end?
October 14, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Morning Brew

The Motley Fool

Good morning. Since you gotta own up to your flubs, in yesterday's trivia section we inaccurately wrote that William Shatner's character Denny Crane appeared in The Practice, when it was in fact Boston Legal.

Sorry we didn't go to law school, as our parents constantly remind us.

Neal Freyman, Jamie Wilde, Matty Merritt














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 7:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: The S&P 500 said to its three-day losing streak on a busy day of earnings, Fed news, and inflation data. Delta slid after warning higher fuel costs would dent its Q4 bottom line.
  • Economy: Central bankers are mostly on board with a plan to wind down the Fed's pandemic stimulus efforts as soon as mid-November, according to minutes from the previous Fed meeting. That would signal the Fed thinks the economic recovery is in a good enough place for it to take its foot off the gas pedal.

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SPACs' domination of financial headlines may have you wondering if you should join the party. Hear our take in the latest episode of Fresh Invest. Listen now.


In the Supply Chain Story, the Port Thickens

Aerial view of the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Some US corporations are about to work Waffle House hours.

In the face of historic supply chain bottlenecks, large goods carriers Walmart, UPS, and FedEx pledged yesterday to ramp up their efforts to relieve some of the clogging from ports. Meanwhile, the Port of Los Angeles, one of the busiest in the country, will join its neighbor the Port of Long Beach and go 24/7.

  • Together, LA and Long Beach move more than 25% of American imports, the WSJ reports.
  • But loads of containers are stuck there, and 81 cargo ships are hanging out in the Pacific Ocean waiting to dock and unload as of Monday.

A problem so bad POTUS needed to get involved

This overtime plan was put together by the Biden administration, which has been scrambling to solve one of the nastiest side effects of the pandemic. As a result of factory shutdowns, worker shortages, and high demand, supply chains have become more tangled than your headphone wires.

  • How you know it's ugly: This year, S&P 500 companies have said the words "supply chain" on earnings calls more than "synergy" or "value proposition" combined.

Another reason the White House is so concerned about this issue?

Inflategate won't go away

The prices of goods and services, as measured by the consumer price index, rose 5.4% annually in September. That's the same pace as in June and July but a little higher than August.

Snarled supply chains are considered one of the main drivers of higher prices this year. And skyrocketing prices, especially in the energy sector, could put a dent in the economic recovery. Just a few days ago, Goldman Sachs cut its economic growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022.

Zoom out: In yet another sign of rising inflation, retirees receiving Social Security benefits will get a 5.9% bump in their payments in 2022 to adjust for the higher cost of living. That's the biggest increase to Social Security checks in 39 years.—NF



Strike Szn

Picket signs that read "Fed up" "Pay us more" "Higher wages now"  and crossed out "forced overtime"

Francis Scialabba

Remember how yesterday we said that everyone (4.3 million Americans in August) was quitting their job? Well, the American worker's dissatisfaction doesn't stop there. Strikes—actual and threatened—are popping up from coast to coast.

  • The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) said yesterday that if an agreement isn't reached with major studios and streaming services, 60,000 backstage film and TV workers will walk off set Monday. It could shutter Hollywood for the first time since 1945.
  • 10,000+ workers represented by the United Auto Workers union across 14 John Deere production plants initiated a strike last night for the first time in 35 years.
  • Nearly 1,400 Kellogg workers started striking last week, health care workers in Buffalo, NY, have been striking since October 1, and coal miners in Alabama since April.

Zoom out: In all, more than 100,000 unionized employees have voted to authorize strikes recently, The Hill reports.—MM



The FDA Tables Salt

Salt: great for ritualistic demon repelling, bad for eating in excess. The Food and Drug Administration announced new recommended limits Wednesday on how much salt manufacturers and restaurants should use in food, with the goal of reducing Americans' overall sodium intake by 12% over the next 2.5 years.

  • The FDA's goal is to lower rates of heart disease, the US' leading cause of death, along with hypertension and stroke.

The FDA is targeting producers because, well, switching to Lay's Lightly Salted isn't good enough. "There is very little that the average consumer can do. The only way to have a significant impact on sodium intake is by putting the onus on industry," Dr. Peter Lurie, the president of an influential food industry watchdog group, said.

Looking ahead...the FDA's new 3,000 mg/day goal is still more than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans's recommendation of 2,300—or just one teaspoon. But the administration plans to introduce additional targets to "incrementally" lower Americans' sodium intake over time.

While we're here: Watch this video of how ibexes get salt.—JW



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Key Performance Indicators

Stat: In its 50th anniversary year, Starbucks accounts for about 15,000 of the US' more than 37,000 coffeehouses, according to Bloomberg. In 1991, the US had just 1,650 coffee houses, of which 165 were Starbucks.

Quote: "It's just flat out not true."

Southwest's incoming CEO, Bob Jordan, told The Points Guy that widespread cancellations were not caused by a rumored pilot "sick-out" in protest of an upcoming vaccination mandate.

Read: Meet the people pursuing the pleasure of leisure, aka the time millionaires. (The Guardian)



William Shatner Wants You to Go to Space

Blue Origin Launches with William Shatner on NBC


At 90 years old, actor William Shatner became the oldest person to go to space yesterday, proof that only Forbes cares about young people doing stuff.

Shatner had a lot to say following his 10-minute space visit aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft. Here are the most wholesome quotes of the bunch:

"I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it. ...It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death. Oh my god, it's unbelievable."

"The moment you see the vulnerability of everything; it's so small. This air, which is keeping us alive, is thinner than your skin."

"Everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see."

Would love to, Mr. Shatner, but not sure we have that kind of pocket change lying around. Tickets on rival Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo go for $450,000 a pop.—MM



  • People who received J&J's Covid-19 vaccine are better off getting a booster shot from Moderna or Pfizer, a new NIH study revealed yesterday.
  • Federal auto safety regulators sent a letter to Tesla asking why it didn't issue a recall when updating its Autopilot software in September.
  • ClassPass, the fitness marketplace last valued at $1 billion, was acquired by wellness software giant Mindbody.
  • The Biden administration is planning seven major offshore wind farms as part of its push to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.


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The Puzzle Section

Brew Mini: It's Thursday already? Get one step closer to Friday by completing the mini crossword puzzle right here.

Three Headlines and a Lie

Three of these news headlines are real and one is faker than the moisturizing power of Coca-Cola Lip Smackers. Can you guess the odd one out?

  1. Consternation in New Zealand as native bat included in bird of the year poll
  2. Cats have attachment styles just like babies and dogs, new study finds
  3. Christchurch City Council to stop paying The Wizard $16,000 a year to "provide acts of wizardry" after 23 years on the payroll
  4. TikTok chef apologizes for encouraging viewers to eat wet cement


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No one encouraged anyone to eat wet cement (that we know of).



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Written by Neal Freyman, Jamie Wilde, Matty Merritt

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