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Nancy Pelosi lands in Taiwan...
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August 03, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

Facet Wealth

Good morning. Now would be a great time to Google "best US cities to visit during fall," pick the one with the most Instagrammable pumpkin patches, and book your plane ticket. According to the travel app Hopper, the price of domestic flights booked in August could fall 25% from May, while September and October will be the cheapest months to travel.

T-minus 50 days until fall.

Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, Jamie Wilde

MARKETS

Nasdaq

12,348.76

S&P

4,091.19

Dow

32,396.17

10-Year

2.753%

Bitcoin

$23,025.23

Uber

$29.25

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 10:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks dipped for the second day in a row given the general uneasiness around Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan and upcoming interest rate hikes from the Fed. Uber's stock was the big winner after posting its first-ever quarter of positive cash flow. The ride-sharing company said the number of drivers on its platform has hit a record high.
  • Government: Voters in Kansas rejected a proposed amendment that would remove abortion rights protections from the state's Constitution. It's a major victory for pro-choice advocates in this conservative state, and a bullish sign for Democrats running on this issue in the upcoming midterm elections.

GEOPOLITICS

The speaker has landed

Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan yesterday—but you already knew that, you flight-tracking nerds. On the app Flightradar24, 708,000 people were following the Boeing C-40C carrying the speaker of the House as it touched down in Taiwan yesterday, making it the site's most tracked live flight ever.

It's not surprising that everyone was zeroed in on this plane: Pelosi is the highest-ranking official to visit the island in 25 years, and her stop dramatically jacks up tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory.

China's response: Let's just say it didn't clap when the plane landed. China's assistant minister of foreign affairs called the visit a "major political provocation," and yesterday the country announced new military operations in the waters and airspace surrounding Taiwan. It also slapped import bans on more than 100 Taiwanese products in retaliation for hosting Pelosi.

So why is Pelosi giving us gray hairs by going to Taiwan?

She explained why herself in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post. Pelosi wrote that the US made a promise, through 1979's Taiwan Relations Act, to ensure that its ally would remain a democracy. And that status is currently under threat given China's increased military posturing in the area—the Defense Department has concluded that China's military is likely preparing to unify Taiwan with China "by force." With her visit, Pelosi is trying to show solidarity against a bully.

While some foreign policy commentators have criticized her Taiwan trip as "utterly reckless," many top Republicans are cheering on their political rival. 25 GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, wrote a statement in support of Pelosi's trip to Taiwan. They said it is consistent with the US' existing "One China" policy and not out of bounds for members of Congress travel there.

Zoom out: Pelosi isn't just making a pit stop for Taiwan's legendary street food. She's got a packed schedule, including a meeting with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and a visit to a human rights memorial.—NF

        

TOGETHER WITH FACET WEALTH

Money woes keeping you up at night?

With the bear market out of hibernation and the current market feelin' like an unstable carnival ride, a lot of folks are understandably stressed about money. But there's nothin' like having an expert figure it out for you with impartial and personalized financial advice.

That's where Facet Wealth can help. They'll pair you with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional who works with you one-on-one to answer all your questions and guide you through these uncertain times. Their proprietary tech conveniently gathers all your financial info in one place so you can see where you're at—and where you're going.

Gain peace of mind on your finances and get two free* months in your first year of financial planning with Facet Wealth.

WORLD

Tour de headlines

Robinhood illustration Francis Scialabba

Robinhood cuts 23% of Robinhoodies. Less than 100 days after laying off 9% of its employees, Robinhood announced Tuesday that it would slash another 23% in a second round of layoffs. In a message to employees in which he used the word "Robinhoodies" three times, CEO Vlad Tenev took responsibility for the cuts, blaming his ambitious hiring during the pandemic. The company's layoffs match a broader vibe shift in employment—the total number of job openings fell to a nine-month low of 10.7 million in June, which suggests the labor market is softening a bit.

Senate passes veterans health bill. By an overwhelming vote of 86–11, the Senate approved legislation that expands healthcare benefits for war veterans who may have been exposed to toxic burning trash pits on US military bases. The bill was held up by Republicans last week, prompting veterans groups and vocal advocate Jon Stewart to protest outside the Capitol to raise awareness. It's the biggest healthcare expansion for veterans since 1991.

Baseball roundup: Vin Scully, the GOAT baseball broadcaster, died last night at 94. Scully spent an astonishing 67 years as the broadcaster for the Dodgers, which is the longest period any sports broadcaster has spent with a single team, per ESPN. Elsewhere, superstar Juan Soto is headed to the San Diego Padres from the Washington Nationals in a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline.

PERSONAL FINANCE

Americans are racking up credit card bills

A pyramid of stacked credit cards Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Getty Images

Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released yesterday revealed that Americans are shielding themselves from inflation by forming an alliance with an old enemy: credit card debt. The study found that credit card balances grew 13% year over year, the largest jump since 2002.

According to New York Fed researchers, that increase can be partially attributed to consumers struggling with rising prices. Inflation hit 9.1% in June, its fastest pace in four decades, and Americans are collectively responding, "Not now, maybe next month."

US credit card balances in Q2 shot up by $46 billion over the previous quarter, and the total amount of outstanding credit card debt climbed to a nice even $890 billion. Collectively, consumers opened up about 233 million new credit card accounts in the second quarter—coincidentally the exact number you need to open to get a discount at Adidas.

The bill isn't being split evenly, though: According to data from VantageScore, card usage is jumping the most for younger consumers and those who already have low credit scores. The balances of Americans 25 and younger jumped 30% in Q2, and people with credit scores below 660 saw a spike of about 25%.

Bottom line: While household finances remain in a strong position, delinquency rates saw a slight uptick, approaching pre-pandemic levels, the NY Fed said.—MK

        

TRANSPORTATION

Bolt mysteriously disappears, leaving a trail of dead scooters

Abandoned Bolt scooters Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

If you think clogging the toilet at a party and Irish-exiting is bad, listen to this: City officials across the country are figuring out what to do with hundreds of dead e-scooters and bikes left behind by micromobility startup Bolt after it abruptly shut down. And the company's ghosting anyone who tries to call or email.

The e-scooter startup founded by Usain Bolt stopped operating in at least six US cities this week, including Portland, OR, and Richmond, VA. Some officials were aware that Bolt was in the process of powering down, but were caught off guard when the company skipped protocol to do so seemingly overnight.

Big picture: Micromobility's tire pressure is dropping as investors sour on companies with heavy losses.

  • The e-scooter unicorn Bird announced it would go public via SPAC in May 2021 at a $2.3 billion valuation. Now it's worth about $135 million.
  • Scooter and bike rental company Helbiz also debuted on the market through a SPAC last year. Its shares are worth about 50 cents each—a 95% drop from their peak.

Still, it may not be wise to write off scooting around cities just yet: In San Diego and Denver, scooter ridership rose in sync with high gas prices this year.—JW

        

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

Tiger Woods Paul Ellis/Getty Images

Stat: Tiger Woods turned down between $700 million–$800 million to join the LIV Golf series, LIV CEO Greg Norman said on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Monday. Even as other golfers have ditched the PGA Tour for the riches offered by LIV, Tiger has said he doesn't support the insurgent league—which is bankrolled by the Saudis. Over the course of his career on the PGA Tour, Tiger's earned about $121 million, about 15% of what LIV dangled in front of him.

Quote: "I know almost nobody in Columbus who is fully remote."

This statement by a financial services employee in Columbus, OH, highlights the startling discrepancies in remote work across US cities, the NYT reports. Small cities with car-centric commutes and generally lighter Covid restrictions have a much smaller share of WFHers than the top 10 largest US cities. In San Francisco, 26% of job postings allow for remote work. In Birmingham, AL, it's 10.4%.

Read: The single most important thing to know about college financial aid is—it's a sham. (Slate)

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • The share of Americans without health insurance fell to 8%, a record low, in Q1 2022.
  • The DOJ launched its first challenge against abortion restrictions since SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, suing Idaho for curbing abortion access to patients in need of lifesaving treatment.
  • CNN is projected to earn less than $1 billion in profit this year for the first time since 2016. The network's prime-time TV ratings have taken a nosedive this quarter.
  • Mexican Pizza is returning to Taco Bell on a permanent basis on September 15. Imagine if McDonald's did this for snack wraps…

TOGETHER WITH STARBUCKS

Starbucks

Chat over a coffee. With so much vying for our attention, it's hard to be present with loved ones without the distracting beeps and pings. But no matter where you are, Starbucks® ready-to-drink coffee delivers an uplifting boost to help you tune in to what matters most in life. 

BREW'S BETS

Happy National Watermelon Day: Here are 35 watermelon recipes and instructions for how to pick out a perfect watermelon from the bin.

Oddly satisfying video of the day: Watch a laser etch a label onto a tumbler.

Check out these excellent audiobooks from Pushkin Industries: I Hate the Ivy League: Riffs and Rants on Elite Education by Malcolm Gladwell, Making Winners: The Coaching Explosion by Michael Lewis, and Into the Zone: Audio Essays by Hari Kunzru. Listen now for "best of" content from each author's podcast along with new reflections in each audiobook.

Your crypto Q's, answered: Whether you're a seasoned crypto expert or a wide-eyed newbie, eToro's Crypto Crash Course has the answers you're looking for. Dive in here.

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GAMES

The puzzle section

Picdoku: Today's picdoku will let you dissect pictures of butterflies harder than your first grade science class ever did. Play it here.

Guess the Wikipedia page

Starting today, Wikipedia is restricting some users from editing a certain article following a major kerfuffle over the definition of this word. So, what is the title of the article? We'll give you its chapter titles as a clue.

  1. Definition
  2. Attributes
  3. Predictors
  4. Government responses
  5. Stock market
  6. Politics
  7. Consequences
  8. History

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How should you save for retirement?

How should you save for retirement?

Are you scared of retirement or holding back on saving due to the state of the economy? Don't worry: We're here to ask the questions you're scared to say out loud. Watch here.

For more from the Brew:

🗳 After the 2016 election, comedian Jordan Klepper and Governor John Kasich suffered starkly different professional wins and losses. On Imposters, they talk about processing failures and how that led to their new podcast. Listen or watch here.

🛒 Want expert insights about the future of retail? The SKU: A Retail Brew Summit is where you'll find them. Learn more.

ANSWER

Recession

✢ A Note From Facet Wealth

Facet Wealth is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. This is not an offer to sell securities or the solicitation of an offer to purchase securities. This is not investment, financial, legal, or tax advice. *Two months free offer is only valid for an annual fee paid at the time of signing.

         

Written by Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, and Jamie Wilde

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