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The stock market went gangbusters in 2021...
January 03, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew


Good morning. Hope you all had a relaxing break and are relishing these final few moments before diving into a daunting backlog of work emails.

BTW, if you're one of the many folks who are looking to make a career jump in 2022, I know a growing startup that's hiring: Morning Brew. We have open positions across the company and I can vouch that it's a fantastic place to work. How many other millennials do you know who have stayed at the same workplace for nearly five years? Exactly.

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

  • Markets: The three major equity indexes begin 2022 near record highs after closing out their best 3-year performance since 1999. We'll have a more in-depth stock market breakdown below.
  • Covid: Omicron has caused a rapid explosion of Covid cases in the US—the 7-day rolling average of nearly 400,000 new cases on Saturday was more than double the number from one week before. With hospitalizations also ticking higher, officials are warning that health systems will be overloaded before the Omicron wave is expected to peak in mid-January.


Your Stock Market 2021 Rewind

An illustration of the wall street bull wearing tie-dye, pink sunglasses, and a peace sign necklace in front of a turquoise background Francis Scialabba

The 2021 stock market was bookended by meme stock mania in January and a brief Omicron scare in November and December. But in between, it was a remarkably smooth ride despite, you know, C***d.

The winners

If you followed Warren Buffett's advice and put your money in an S&P 500 index fund, you did very well for yourself last year. The broad index gained 27% in 2021 and closed at a record 70 times—the most since 1995.

  • The top-performing S&P sectors: Energy, whose 48% annual gain was its best ever (thank you, soaring oil prices). Real estate was the second-best performing sector at 42%, while tech and financials both rose 33%.
  • The biggest winner in the S&P was Devon Energy, which gained nearly 190%. Ford, Moderna, and nine others in the index more than doubled their stock price.

So where are all the Big Tech names? They had a great but not amazing year. Microsoft rose 51%, and Apple's 34% gain has it sitting close to a $3 trillion market capitalization. And by virtue of their immense size, Big Tech stocks were the top six contributors to the S&P's performance.

The losers

Smaller, high-growth tech stocks faltered—just look at the Ark Innovation ETF, which declined 24% after shooting up 150% the year before. That fund is home to companies like Roku, Twitter, DraftKings, and Palantir.

Many "stay-at-home" stocks that boomed at the onset of the pandemic also fell back to Earth. Zoom lost nearly half of its value in 2021, and Peloton plunged more than 75%. 2021 IPOs stumbled, too: A fund that tracks public offerings fell more than 9% for its worst performance in three years.

What about next year?

Analysts see both opportunities and headwinds for the stock market in 2022. Most forecasters expect stocks to continue their upward march after corporations posted record profit growth in 2021 of 45%.

But analysts don't expect stocks to surge as much as they did last year, in part because the Fed is withdrawing its pandemic-era support to curb the highest inflation in nearly four decades. The central bank is expected to wind down its stimulus measures this quarter and begin to hike rates for the first time since 2018.



Testing 1...2...3...4...5...

Dr. Fauci Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

On Dec. 27, the CDC reduced the required isolation time for people who tested positive for Covid but weren't showing any symptoms from 10 days to five. Now, it's reconsidering one of the most controversial aspects of this new rule.

Dr. Fauci said yesterday that health officials are looking at adding a negative test requirement after five days of quarantine. Under existing guidance, you can emerge from isolation without showing a negative test.

  • According to the CDC, that's because PCR tests could potentially show a positive reading for up to 12 weeks.
  • Meanwhile, rapid tests aren't designed to indicate whether you're contagious or not.

Big picture: The reduced isolation time is intended to prevent mass societal disruptions caused by quarantining workers—for instance, at least 13,000 flights have been canceled since Christmas Eve, in part due to Omicron-induced staffing issues. But the new, looser guidelines from the CDC have been met with considerable pushback for not putting public health first.

Looking ahead…on Sunday Fauci predicted that updated testing rules from the CDC could come within "the next day or so."



Twitter Bans @mtgreenee

Marjorie Taylor Greene Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Twitter has permanently suspended the personal account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for repeatedly violating its Covid-19 misinformation policy.

Greene's account was banned after her Saturday tweets about vaccines, including one that read, "Before Covid, Reported deaths from vaccines were taken seriously and dangerous vaccines were stopped. After Covid, Extremely high amounts of covid vaccine deaths are ignored…"

Under Twitter's rules, which are intended to root out Covid-19 misinformation that could harm people, Greene's post was her personal account's fifth "strike," which means permanent suspension. Her first four strikes came for other false or misleading statements about Covid, like her claim in August that vaccines were "failing," despite overwhelming evidence that they are effective at preventing severe illness and death.

  • In response to her Twitter suspension, Greene said that "Twitter is an enemy to America and can't handle the truth."
  • Greene's congressional account, @RepMTG, is still active.

Bottom line: Despite outcry from conservatives, Twitter has not hesitated to ban high-profile politicians for what it deems dangerous posts. Nearly one year ago, it booted former President Trump over the risk of "further incitement of violence" following the Jan. 6 insurrection.



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Key Performance Indicators

Betty White Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Stat: TV legend Betty White died Friday, just weeks before her 100th birthday on January 17. Want to get a sense of how long she lived? Babe Ruth hit 552 home runs after White was born.

Quote: "He is no longer a Buc."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians announced that wide receiver Antonio Brown would not be a part of the team moving forward. Brown pulled off the most bizarre move of this (or any?) NFL season when he stripped off his pads and shirt in the middle of Sunday's game vs. the Jets and walked off the field. He had just returned from a 3-game suspension for using a fake Covid vaccine card.

Read: How will the history books remember 2021? (Politico)



The Week Ahead

2022 will not be offering a gradual onboarding experience; the first week of the year is going to smack us all in the face.

January 6 anniversary: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has lined up a series of events—including a moment of silence and a conversation with historians—to mark one year since the storming of the Capitol building.

Jobs report: The December jobs report drops on Friday, and with it we'll get a full picture of the labor market's big rebound in 2021. Economists expect that 405,000 jobs were added last month, and that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% from 4.2%.

The 5G battle reaches a climax: Verizon and AT&T will roll out their new 5G services on Wednesday. Airlines had requested a delay, arguing that these wireless signals will interrupt flight operations near airports, but telecom companies are refusing to postpone the launch. Instead, they're offering to dim the power of the service for the first six months.

Everything else:

  • CES, one of the leading consumer electronics shows, will begin in-person in Las Vegas on Wednesday, but without many notable attendees.
  • The jury for Elizabeth Holmes's fraud case will pick up deliberations today, having been unable to reach a decision in six previous days of talks.
  • The 26th season of The Bachelor premieres tonight.


  • Tesla posted record deliveries for the sixth straight quarter in Q4 2021, smashing analyst forecasts.
  • Nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed and two people are missing after a huge fire ripped through a suburban area between Denver and Boulder.
  • Newer prenatal tests that screen for rare disorders in fetuses are mostly wrong, an NYT investigation found.
  • Goldman Sachs told its US staff to work from home for the first two weeks of the year, joining other Wall Street banks who are beginning 2022 remotely.
  • The EU is planning to propose labeling some natural gas and nuclear power as green investments, drawing criticism from member states including Germany.


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The Puzzle Section

Turntable: Is your New Year's resolution to get better at word games? If so, start here.

New Year's Around the World

The following is a list of Happy New Year greetings in several different languages. Can you name them?

  1. Feliz ano novo
  2. Gelukkig nieuwjaar
  3. Mutlu yıllar
  4. Heri ya mwaka mpya
  5. Chuc mung nam moi


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  1. Portuguese
  2. Dutch
  3. Turkish
  4. Swahili
  5. Vietnamese

Written by Neal Freyman

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