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Is the worst of the supply chain crisis over?
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November 18, 2021 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

Lincoln Financial

Good morning. So the big news yesterday was that the iconic Staples Center in Los Angeles will become the Crypto.com Arena after the crypto exchange bought the naming rights for a reported $700+ million. While it's definitely a weird name, it's not the cringiest stadium name in the sports world…

  • Fans pack Tony Macaroni Arena to watch the Scottish football club Livingston FC.
  • The University of Louisville's arena is called the KFC Yum! Center.
  • And who could forget watching the Houston Astros play at Enron Field?

Neal Freyman, Jamie Wilde, Matty Merritt

MARKETS

Nasdaq

15,921.57

S&P

4,688.67

Dow

35,931.05

10-Year

1.592%

Bitcoin

$60,141.61

Visa

$205.07

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

  • Markets: Stocks dipped just a bit as more retail earnings trickled in. Visa alone dragged down the S&P by almost one-third, hit by news that Amazon will stop accepting its credit cards in the UK.
  • Covid: 10% of eligible kids ages 5–11 have now received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, two weeks after it was approved for the age group, the White House said.

Markets Sponsored by Fidelity Investments
In this week's episode of Fresh Invest, we chat through how investing over a significant period of time can empower your money to grow. Listen now.

ECONOMY

Supply Chains Take a Laxative

A shipping container being picked up

Francis Scialabba

So sorry for that headline, but it's honestly the best way to describe what's happening right now. Which is that, slowly but surely, the supply chain bottlenecks that have plagued the global economy for over a year appear to be easing—or at least have been circumvented.

The country's largest retailers said in unison this week that supply chain snags won't play the role of the Grinch this holiday shopping season.

  • The CEO of TJX, the parent company of TJ Maxx and HomeGoods, declared, "We are in an excellent inventory position" ahead of the holidays.
  • Target's inventory surged 17.6% last quarter. It said its investments in inventory and staffing mean "we are going to be there" when you walk in to buy that TV.

And remember the global chip shortage that was crippling the auto industry? That could be past its peak.

  • GM said that the week of Nov. 1 was the first time since February that none of its North American assembly plants were offline due to a lack of chips.
  • Toyota's production lines in Japan will return to normal operations in December for the first time in seven months.

Finally, let's turn to shipping

If we had to pick one visual that best represents the supply chain crisis, it would be the ~80 cargo ships waiting to unload their containers at LA ports. But that traffic jam, too, seems to be transitioning from "bumper-to-bumper" to "slow crawl."

  • The number of import containers at the Port of Los Angeles has dropped by 25% since last month, thanks in part to a new fee on loitering containers.

Meanwhile, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), a measure of global shipping rates and an inflation indicator, has plummeted 50% since peaking Oct. 7, another good sign for consumers.

Looking ahead...with Covid sticking around and labor shortages spanning the globe, bottlenecks could be annoyingly persistent. But the nightmare scenario of empty store shelves on Dec. 20 likely won't materialize.—NF

        

HEALTH

Drug Overdose Deaths, Led By Opioids, Hit a New Record

Drug overdoses killed more than 100,000 people between April 2020 and April 2021, eclipsing six-figure deaths in a 12-month period for the first time and jumping 29% from the previous year, the CDC revealed yesterday. The synthetic opioid fentanyl fueled the rise, accounting for more deaths in one year than the entire number of overdose deaths from all drugs in 2016.

  • Appalachia remains a hard hit region, but Vermont recorded the largest increase with a 70% rise in overdose deaths.

Big picture: Covid + rising overdose deaths slashed US life expectancy in 2020 by 1.5 years, the biggest drop since World War II, according to a July report from the CDC. And while isolation caused by the pandemic may have been particularly challenging for drug users, every year for the past 26 years, the US has set a new drug overdose death record.

Looking ahead...the Biden administration has promised to tackle the growing crisis. It urged Congress to approve $10 billion for drug treatment programs and asked states to increase access to naloxone, a lifesaving overdose-reversal medication. But the admin shut down rumors that it might take a stance on initiatives like safe drug-injection sites.—MM

        

TECH

Apple Sings a New Tune on DIY Repair

"Fix You" by Coldplay

Giphy

Apple announced yesterday that its devices' parts, tools, and manuals—which were previously only officially available to its in-store "geniuses" and other approved vendors—will soon be available to all, starting with the iPhones 12 and 13.

Apple's move follows mounting pressure from regulators to ease policies that make it more difficult for consumers to fix their own devices, such as directing them to authorized retailers and using parts that aren't widely available. This year alone...

  • The first national bill on the issue was introduced in Congress in June, and 27 states are considering similar bills that make it easier for consumers to fix their own junk.
  • The FTC unanimously decided in July to increase enforcement against tech companies that impede consumers' ability to repair their devices.
  • A group of Apple shareholders urged the tech giant in September to reconsider its pre-yesterday stance on the issue.

Zoom out: Apple setting its gadgets free is a big win for "right to repair" advocates, who argue that the high cost of professional tune-ups forces consumers to buy new products instead—good for tech giants, bad for the environment.—JW

        

TOGETHER WITH LINCOLN FINANCIAL

Focus on Your Financial Future

Lincoln Financial

Sure, today just started. But Lincoln Financial wants to know: Have you started thinking about tomorrow...financially? They ask because financial security is about more than just retirement. 

Their suite of products are designed to work in the present and the future, all so you can feel confident that you're set up for success.

To find the tools that are right for you, Lincoln Financial wants you to take a moment and think about the following questions:

  • What are your goals and responsibilities for the future?
  • How can you protect your family?
  • How do you find extra money to pay down debt?
  • How can you plan for the retirement you want?

If you don't know all the answers, well, that's what Lincoln Financial is here for. They can help you improve your retirement readiness now. And when it comes to planning for the future, sooner is always better than later.

Start planning for your financial future today.

GRAB BAG

Key Performance Indicators

Stat: Turns out all of those "disappointing" jobs reports from the summer were a lot less disappointing than we thought. From June through September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics underestimated job growth by 626,000 jobs, the largest underestimation by the BLS over a comparable time period dating back to 1979, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Quote: "I do not accept hardworking Americans paying more for gas because of anti-competitive or otherwise potentially illegal conduct."

President Biden asked FTC Chair Lina Khan to investigate potential "anti-consumer behavior" by energy companies to prop up gas prices at the pump, even while unfinished gasoline prices decline.

Read: Underdog no more, a deaf football team takes California by storm. (New York Times)

        

CRYPTO

You Say You Wanna Constitution

National Treasure

Disney

An extremely rare copy of the US Constitution will go up for auction at Sotheby's at 6:30pm ET tonight. And in a move that would make Ben Gates drool, a group of crypto investors is rallying together to buy it.

How we got here: Seven days ago, crypto enthusiasts formed a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), which is a blockchain-based governance structure without hierarchical management. They set out to raise $20 million to purchase the document and "put The Constitution in the hands of The People" (though we must point out the original is already free to view at the National Archives).

  • When we went to bed last night, they had raised more than $37 million.

Sotheby's has said it would accept a winning bid from ConstitutionDAO. So, if the DAO can outbid all the pinkies-up private collectors, all its members will receive a torn-off scrap of the historic document. JK! They'll get a "governance token" that allows them to vote on decisions such as where this copy of the Constitution should be exhibited.

Bottom line: ConstitutionDAO was created in just three days and has become a serious contender in this auction. No matter what happens tonight, it'll show the world the lightning-fast speed with which a DAO can rally a community to meet a goal.—JW

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • UAW workers who had been striking approved a deal with John Deere, and they'll return to work this morning.
  • Chobani filed to go public on the NYSE in what would be a cultural milestone.
  • The International Olympic Committee rolled out a new framework for transgender and intersex athletes.
  • Arabica coffee prices jumped to their highest level in nearly a decade due to supply concerns in Brazil and Colombia. Maybe we'll just have to go back to drinking regular martinis.

BREW'S BETS

How are data and tech leading to innovation in the healthcare industry? That's what we asked our partners at General Electric, whom we teamed up with recently for our latest Twitter Spaces event. Check out our recap article right here.*

Crypt-whoa. With eToro, you can browse over twenty cryptocurrencies and even experiment with a virtual portfolio before you put any real skin in the game. But when you're ready, eToro will give you $10 when you invest in $100 worth of crypto. Learn more and get $10 here.*

Best books of the year: Yep, it's getting to be that time again. Goodreads has compiled the finalists for the best books of 2021, and you can vote on your favorites across a range of genres.

Language history: This video shows how English evolved over time.

*This is sponsored advertising content

GAMES

The Puzzle Section

Brew Mini: You know what to do. Play the Mini here and see if you can set a PR.

Three Headlines and a Lie

Three of these news headlines are real and one is faker than your mom saying it's OK if you don't come home for the holidays. Can you guess the odd one out?

  1. Supply chain crisis: Beanie Babies airlifted from Chinese factories to Chicago amid holiday crunch
  2. Barbados to become first sovereign nation with an embassy in the metaverse
  3. Hundreds stung as extreme storms unleash scorpion plague in Egypt
  4. Taylor Swift will get her own balloon at this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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ANSWER

We made up the Taylor Swift one. But she deserves it.

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✢ A Note From Lincoln Financial

LCN-3890912-102821 Lincoln Financial is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and affiliates. Copyright 2021.

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Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.

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Written by Neal Freyman, Matty Merritt, and Jamie Wilde

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