☕️ SQUID scam

How climate inaction could topple governments.
November 02, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

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Neal Freyman, Matty Merritt, Max Knoblauch

MARKETS

Nasdaq

15,595.92

S&P

4,613.67

Dow

35,913.84

10-Year

1.562%

Bitcoin

$61,150.50

Russell 2000

2,358.12

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

  • Markets: The major indexes hit records...again...to kick off a busy week for the economy, with the Fed's tapering announcement expected tomorrow, more earnings rolling in, and the October jobs report landing on Friday. The small-cap Russell 2000 had its best day since late August.
  • Politics: Today is Election Day, so if you're in an area with a contest, then make sure you play hooky from work and go vote. Here's a guide to all the elections.

CLIMATE

Leaders Channel 'Mad Max' at COP26

Boris Johnson

ALBERTO PEZZALI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

At the COP26 climate conference, world leaders warned that inaction on climate wouldn't just invite more hurricanes than we can name—it could literally topple governments.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the host of the negotiations, said in a speech that people's anger would be "uncontainable" if leaders didn't tackle the problem. A few days ago, Johnson compared the climate threat to "the decline and fall of the Roman empire."

Hot temps = hotter tempers

Governments, especially in Europe, are concerned that the challenges of transitioning to a greener economy could spark a populist uprising of citizens, the NYT reports.

For example, look at what's happening in European energy markets:

  • As countries like the UK have phased out coal in a shift to renewables, they've become dependent on natural gas—but that has skyrocketed in price this fall.
  • Spanish demonstrators took to the streets in September to protest spiraling electricity bills, leading the government to cap energy companies' profits and help out households.

It's not all about rich countries

Lower-income nations that face the more immediate threats of climate change—like rising sea levels and extreme heat—could become major sources of geopolitical instability, according to reports from the White House, the Pentagon, and US intelligence agencies last month.

This is a major change in thinking because up until now, the US military has mainly viewed climate change in terms of, "Let's make sure we're prepared for terrible weather." The new approach is more like, "Climate change could spark wars, mass migration, and competition for dwindling resources that threaten global security."

Looking ahead...doomsday predictions make great headlines, but they don't solve any problems. World leaders will depart the COP26 today after wrapping up their speeches, leaving other government officials to nail down the details of actual policies.

One of those policies: India, the world's third-largest emitter, said it would reach net-zero emissions by 2070 in a surprise announcement.—NF

        

FOOD AND BEV

Coke Says Later, Gatorade

Dumbell with Coke cans as weights

Francis Scialabba

Coca-Cola made its biggest push yet to dethrone Pepsi's Gatorade as the sports drink king, agreeing to buy the rest of BodyArmor for $5.6 billion. That's expensive juice—so expensive that it's Coke's biggest acquisition in its history.

What's BodyArmor? Founded in 2011 as a "natural alternative" to sugary sports drinks, the brand sold a 15% stake to Coke in 2018. Naomi Osaka and the late Kobe Bryant both backed BodyArmor, and it signed a multiyear deal with MLS in 2019.

  • When combined with Powerade's reach, the BodyArmor deal would give Coke a 22% share of the US sports drink market.
  • Still, Gatorade owns about 70% of that market. A huge chunk can be credited to Blue Frost's hangover-healing powers.

Zoom out. Since he became Coke's CEO in 2017, James Quincey set a path to become a "total beverage company." Coke bought sparkling water brand Topo Chico in 2017, scooped up Costa Coffee in 2019, and took a stab at being milk guys when it bought lactose-free dairy brand Fairlife last year.

Fun fact: Kobe nabbed a 10% stake in BodyArmor in 2014, investing $6 million over time. His family will reportedly collect ~$400 million from the sale—more than Kobe made during his entire basketball career.—MM

        

COVID

It's a Pandemic, After All

Shanghai Disneyland

Tang Yanjun/China News Service via Getty Images

On Sunday, Shanghai Disneyland closed for at least two days when a single weekend attendee tested positive for Covid after returning home.

In a bizarre scene, nearly 34,000 guests at the theme park on Sunday lined up to get tested by workers in hazmat suits before they could leave, even as Disney's famous fireworks display rumbled around them.

  • "I never thought that the longest queue in Disneyland would be for a nucleic acid test," one guest posted to social media.

Big picture: China continues to pursue a strategy of shutting down society when any hint of a Covid outbreak appears.

  • Two trains were stopped literally in their tracks last week when a couple of crew members were discovered to have been in close contact with infected people.
  • And after finding a single positive case Saturday, one county in Jiangxi province turned all of its traffic lights red to discourage people from driving.

Bottom line: China's "zero Covid" policy is increasingly at odds with how other countries are approaching Covid containment. Even lockdown-happy nations like Australia and New Zealand have abandoned their zero Covid strategy, arguing that the highly contagious Delta variant made it unworkable.—NF

        

TOGETHER WITH THE MOTLEY FOOL

POV: You're a Stock That's Hedged Against Inflation

The Motley Fool

Unfortunately, inflation is here. 

While that means bad things for your wallet when it comes to groceries and gas, it's possible you can still smile when looking at your investments if you protect yourself with this stock pick from The Motley Fool.

Traditionally, investors have identified gold as a solid pizza oven in which to park your dough during periods of high inflation. 

The thing is, gold value barely outpaced the inflation rate this century—which is why The Motley Fool has identified four stocks which could flourish despite inflation.

Turn that frown upside down and peep the stock picks here.

GRAB BAG

Key Performance Indicators

Stat: Two-thirds of the homes Zillow purchased with the intent of flipping are listed below their purchase price, according to an analyst's note. Now, after announcing a pause on home buying for 2021, the company is reportedly selling 7,000 homes for around $2.8 billion.

Quote: "Instead of tweets, allow me to show you. We can meet anywhere—Earth or space..."

The head of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, responded to Elon Musk, who wrote that if the WFP could describe how $6 billion would solve world hunger in a Twitter thread, he would "sell Tesla stock right now and do it."

Read: The most comprehensive and compelling report of the January 6 attack on the Capitol yet. (The Washington Post)

        

CRYPTO

Red Light on Memecoins

A killer robot from the Netflix show Squid Game playing the game "Red Light Green Light"

Netflix

The Squid Game cryptocurrency has a winner, and it's not your favorite character. After the token jumped 310,000% in less than two weeks, its anonymous creators have liquidated their shares, making off with an estimated $2.1 million in an apparent scam.

The cryptocurrency, called SQUID, was worth $0.012 last Tuesday. By Friday, the coin had skyrocketed in price and was widely covered in the media for its huge gains and (unofficial) tie to the wildly popular Netflix series. The token's price peaked Sunday night at $2,861.80 before dropping 100% to lose virtually all of its value.

SQUID popped onto the scene on October 20, purporting to be a pay-to-earn currency for an upcoming online game based on Squid Game. But, as Gizmodo points out, there were several red flags:

The coin's website was filled with spelling and grammatical errors.

The Twitter account didn't allow replies to posts.

Investors were unable to sell their coins.

Why take the risk? Have you watched the show? Memecoins like dogecoin that went parabolic made millionaires of early investors. But the SQUID episode shows how these hyper-speculative investments can fall just as hard.—MK

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Jes Staley stepped down as CEO of the British bank Barclays after regulators uncovered past contacts between Staley and Jeffrey Epstein.
  • Amazon's satellite internet program, Project Kuiper, plans to launch two prototype satellites by the end of next year.
  • Rivian, the electric vehicle startup backed by Amazon, is reportedly aiming for a valuation of more than $60 billion when it goes public (as soon as next week).
  • Stablecoins, which are digital assets typically pegged to the value of the US dollar, need more regulation quickly, the Treasury Department said yesterday.

BREW'S BETS

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GAMES

The Puzzle Section

Brew Mini: If you want a bit of a challenge, today's Mini will give your brain a workout. Play it here.

Spot the fake logos

A number of brands redesigned their logos this year. But of the six redesigned logos in the graphic below, two are not real. Can you spot the fakes?

graphic of six logos, two of which are fake

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ANSWER

The Lego and NASA logos are not real; they were reimagined by a graphic designer.

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Written by Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, and Matty Merritt

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