Morning Brew Email News Summary for April 2020

As most successful entrepreneurs experience, you get “very busy” with building your company even though you would love to tap into some valuable resources along the way.  My friend Trenton Erker suggested I read the “Morning Brew” and I have been trying.  However, it comes in just as fast as my WSJ emails along with a handful of other great summaries.  So, I’m simply not able to process it all, every day.  However, there will be days where I have more time and for them, I’ve decided, I’m going to simply copy and paste some of this great content below.

Great snapshots of economic/startup history

You see, they aren’t always JUST relevant for the days they are published.  Eventually, they will be good glimpses into our recent history and maybe even longer term history.  While they are granular in that they focus on the most recent news all in one email (i.e., content that will ideally be simply about “today”), they have larger points that could be interpreted as the “news of the time.”  The Morning Brew likes to take a few topics, if not just one at a time — thus, the very interesting “perspective” I was hoping to get.

Anyway, here are the ones I haven’t deleted yet (but will as soon as I upload them here): 

Morning Brew Emails in April 2020:

Subject: Them Apples

Morning Brew

So, this is the set of inbox subject headings vs. what is titled in the browser for May 1, 2020’s email.  I won’t copy the full email like I do for April below.  However, I do try my best to share what the Morning Brew Crew do (wow, that’s a rhetorically obsessed mouthful) with regards to the subjects vs. the titles in their blog posts.  Maybe they want to obtain different SEO benefits? 

☕ Black Friday

Subject: Zuck’s warning

Morning Brew

☕ On the record

April 30, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Good morning. We’re excited to announce you all have pitched in more than $76,000 for meals for frontline workers through the Brew’s charity poker tournament, Chipping in for COVID.

The goal is to hit $100k by the end of the day, and you can help us get there.

  • Either sign up to play here ($100 gets you a seat at the table this Saturday and the chance to play against celebs like poker legend Erik Seidel)
  • Or you can simply donate to the cause. All proceeds will go to Frontline Foods, a grassroots organization that pays restaurants to prepare meals for frontline workers.

Seats are filling up so make sure you secure your spot today. Thanks for your support!




+ 3.57%



+ 2.66%



+ 2.21%



+ 0.42%



+ 1.30 bps



+ 26.26%

*As of market close
  • Markets: Stocks surged and the S&P is on track for its best month since 1974.
  • Fed meeting: With interest rates already near zero, the central bank didn’t see any reason to tinker further. At his press conference, chair Jerome Powell highlighted that low-income workers are suffering the most just as they were starting to see gains pre-pandemic. “It is heartbreaking to see that is threatened now,” he said.


Pandemic’s Effect on the Economy: Like Pineapple on Pizza

America shrinkingFrancis Scialabba

Pretty much ruins it. Yesterday, we got the numbers for Q1 from the Commerce Department: GDP fell at a 4.8% annual rate, the first quarterly drop since 2014 and the worst quarterly drop since 2008.

The gory details

The pandemic took out consumer spending, business investment, imports, and exports like cans at a carnival booth. Pick your superlative—according to various commentators, this recession is “the worst in our lifetime,” “the worst in the post-World War II era,” and “the sharpest in the U.S. since the Great Depression.”

  • Consumer spending plunged 7.6%, the most since 1980. It accounts for ~70% of GDP.

Services dropped the most on record, driven mostly by one industry: healthcare. The pandemic required providers to pull back on profit drivers like elective procedures and routine visits. Meanwhile, costs for extra equipment like PPE climbed. It all added up to mass layoffs.

  • 43,000 healthcare jobs were lost in March, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Nearly half of all medical practices have temporarily furloughed staff, while 22% have laid people off permanently, according to one survey.

That’s the bad news, here’s the worse news

Q2. After all, things were mostly fine in Q1 until stay-at-home orders pulled the rug out mid-March. Next quarter, economists are projecting at least a 30% annual decline.

  • “We are going to see economic data for the second quarter that is worse than any data we have seen for the economy,” Jerome Powell said yesterday. So basically we’re looking at the worst economy ever.

Some glimmers of hope: Most analysts expect a bounce-back starting in July as states lift restrictions. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he anticipates a quick recovery over the summer as government relief funds work their magic.

  • But the Congressional Budget Office projected a more muted recovery in the second half of the year and a more sobering picture overall.

Bottom line: We keep saying it…because it remains true. Any economic recovery depends on ramping up testing and tamping down infection rates.



Remdesivir Is the Red Squiggly Line That Won’t Go Away

Dr. Anthony Fauci added another loop de loop to the remdesivir roller coaster yesterday, offering an influential endorsement of the promising coronavirus treatment from Gilead Sciences.

Remarking on new findings from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the country’s top infectious disease official said, “The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.”

Why Fauci is excited:

  • The results come from a randomized controlled trial in which 1,063 hospitalized patients participated.
  • Coronavirus patients who took the drug recovered 31% faster than those taking the placebo—11 days compared to 15 days.
  • The proportion of patients who died was also lower (8% to 11.6%), however that’s not a statistically significant difference.

In a separate study also released yesterday, Chinese researchers found that the drug was “not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits.”

Why remdesivir matters: 1) The FDA is likely to give emergency approval for the drug and 2) the markets react to any news about remdesivir in a big way.



Executives on the Record

Mark Zuckerbeg

In our never-ending quest to present earnings reports in interesting ways, we give you: quotes.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: Reopening the country too soon will “almost guarantee future outbreaks,” he said on an earnings call. Despite that warning, Facebook reported a strong quarter and said the ad market had stabilized after an initial drop-off.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk: “FREE AMERICA NOW.” In a late Tuesday tweet, Musk took pretty much the exact opposite attitude from Zuck re: lockdowns. Tesla’s earnings were less controversial—it scored its third straight quarterly profit.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury: “We are in the gravest crisis the aerospace industry has ever known.” He also said the company is putting plans to reduce airplane emissions on the backburner.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson: “We have all been in our homes for six weeks, we have got a little stir-crazy,” he admitted to Bloomberg a day after the company reported a 10% drop in global sales. Which is why Johnson thinks people will be eager to go out as Starbucks begins to reopen U.S. stores.



Kick It Into Low Gear


We’re pretty sure California invented casual. Casual dining, casual conversation, casual attire—the terminator casually becoming governor. You get the idea.

So it’s no surprise that in 1964, SeaVees pioneered casual footwear in California. How’d they kick it off? By blending the comfort of a sneaker with modern sophistication and timeless style, resulting in a shoe suited for any occasion.

In addition to the cult classics, we’ve been peepin’ their new Magnum Collection inspired by the 80s private eye series set in Hawaii.

SeaVees is actually the first footwear brand to be granted permission to use the same Hawaiian prints used in the show to complement one of the greatest mustaches of all time.

In other words, if you’re growing a casual quarantine ‘stache at the moment, these kicks would pair quite nicely.

Here’s a super chill 20% off.


Music to Spotify’s Earnings

Yesterday, Spotify said it hit 130 million paying subscribers in Q1, but like that ex who will call you after quarantine ends, music consumption has ~totally changed~ over the last few months.

Commutes go mute

Now that most morning commuters wear slippers instead of seatbelts, Spotify reported a decline in usage of its car, wearable, and web platforms. But its TV and game console audiences grew more than 50%.

We also got an update on Spotify’s adventure into podcasts, highlighted by last quarter’s $196 million acquisition of sports/culture content machine The Ringer—and its empire of 30+ pods.

  • So far, so good: 19% of monthly active users engaged with podcast content, up from 16% last quarter.

Searches for “chill” and “instrumental” playlists were also up, as two-in-five consumers reported listening to more music than usual to manage their stress.

Bottom line: Spotify’s Q1 places it alongside streaming buddy Netflix as a rare bright spot in an otherwise dismal consumer environment.



Your Quarantine Could Be Coming to a Close

Leaving the houseGiphy. Bonus points if you can name this movie…

118 million Americans, or more than 33% of the country’s population, live in states that have either eased restrictions on nonessential businesses or plan to do soon, according to CNBC.

It may be less exciting than it sounds. To comply with public health measures, restaurants will need to cap capacity and maintain distance between tables. Masks are required…everywhere. If you’re playing golf, you better not touch that pin.

To help you keep track of this quickly evolving situation, we’ve created a page that shows each state’s timeline for loosening restrictions. Check where your state stands.



  • Microsoft said COVID-19 had “minimal” net impact on quarterly revenue, but its cloud products like Teams did see a benefit from WFH policies.
  • Boeing will shrink its global workforce by 10%.
  • Lyft is laying off 17% of its workforce.
  • The NCAA’s Board of Governors approved a plan to allow college athletes to be compensated for their name, image, or likeness.
  • TikTok has passed 2 billion global downloads after the “best quarter for any app ever,” reports Sensor Tower.


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Singapore skylineGetty Images

We did not take this picture. But if we had taken it, where would we be? Hint: We’d need a passport.



Subject: Sue me

Morning Brew

April 29, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
The Motley Fool
Good morning. National sacrifice sure looks different in 2020. Belgians are being asked to eat fries at least twice a week as the nation faces a huge potato surplus.

Our advice? Nationwide hashbrown competition.




– 1.40%



– 0.52%



– 0.13%



– 0.05%



– 4.70 bps



+ 4.62%

*As of market close
  • Economy: Packed schedule. In the morning, the U.S. will get its first reading of Q1 GDP, and in the afternoon, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will take the podium to answer questions after the central bank’s meeting.
  • Stocks: The Dow ended a four-day winning streak as the number of U.S. coronavirus cases topped 1 million.


What Are You Gonna Do, Sue Me?

Store in a bubbleFrancis Scialabba

A handful of U.S. states started easing economic restrictions this week, but businesses are worried their “all employees must wash hands—we actually mean that” signs won’t cut it as the world’s most litigious population peeps aboveground.

Last week, U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Suzanne Clark told Axios that businesses are anxious about a wave of lawsuits from customers and workers who contract COVID-19.

Time for torts

Customers and employees can sue a business for lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages if they prove negligence, recklessness, or intentional disregard for their safety. But some recommended precautions for COVID-19 could run up against workplace protection laws, such as:

  • Telling other employees when someone is sick (privacy violation)
  • Requiring workers to test negative before coming back (discrimination and health privacy)
  • Prohibiting at-risk populations like the elderly from coming to work (more discrimination)

Who’s taking care of this?

Last week, President Trump said his administration was exploring ways to help shield businesses. But experts think Congress needs to tap its interstate commerce regulatory powers for any meaningful changes.

  • Congress already capped liability for businesses making desperately needed masks. Manufacturers have proposed extending those protections to other companies making PPE and essential items.

Some labor unions and Democratic leaders are pushing back, arguing that weakened labor protections would let employers skate by without providing basic protections. Numerous complaints have been filed over unsafe conditions for essential workers.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has received 4,000 complaints against employers related to coronavirus but hasn’t issued any citations or fines, a labor leader told USA Today.

Looking ahead…the Senate resumes its session Monday, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to pass liability protections before tackling new relief packages. That might set up a fight with Democrats, who want billions for states, cities, and frontline workers.



What’s Up, What’s Down

50 years from now, some Gen ZZer is going to ask what life was like during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Show them this roundup of yesterday’s quarterly earnings reports.

What’s up

 Personal safety gear: 3M, the maker of the N95 mask, said demand for food safety products and cleaning supplies was to thank for better-than-expected sales last quarter.

 The economy before COVID-19: Google parent Alphabet reported a strong first two months of 2020 before a “significant slowdown in ad revenues” in March. The company still beat revenue estimates.

What’s down

 Construction: Dad-approved heavy equipment maker Caterpillar reported a 21% drop in Q1 sales due to “lower end user demand.” About 75% of its primary production facilities are currently operating.

 New car smell: Ford posted a $2 billion loss in Q1 and expects that to more than double in Q2.

 Doctor’s visits: Drugmaker Merck expects the coronavirus to slice $2.1 billion off 2020 sales. Merck’s CFO said two-thirds of its products are administered by physicians.

 Awkward boarding interactions: Southwest Airlines reported its first quarterly loss since 2011.



Universal Trolls the Box Office


Trolls sequel Trolls World Tour raked in about $95 million in fees from almost 5 million digital rentals in just three weeks, according to the WSJ.

  • That’s more than the original made in five months in theaters.

The backstory: Studios and theaters were tussling over releases way before the pandemic struck. Theaters insisted on exclusive screening rights for at least two months before movies could debut at home, while Netflix insisted times have changed.

  • Universal gets to keep about 80% of digital rental and purchase fees, compared to 50% of box office sales.

The pandemic and theater closures gave studio execs the opportunity to try something they’d been eyeing for a while—”PVOD,” or premium video on demand. Trolls World Tour dropped on April 10 on platforms like Apple TV, Xfinity, and Amazon Prime. It was so successful, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell told the WSJ that after the pandemic, the studio would release movies both in-theater and via PVOD.

That poked the bears. AMC Theatres, the biggest chain in the world, said last night it would stop playing any of Universal’s films.



Keep It Simple

The Motley Fool

We’re not trying to make something like the stock market more complicated than it already is, so we’ll just come out and say this:

The Motley Fool has doubled down on this one stock.

With 27 years of experience under their belts, these guys have navigated market volatility quite a few times. Now, members of Motley Fool Stock Advisor can get in on the one stock they’re doubling down on right now.

That’s it. That’s all we had to say.

Check out the one stock they’re doubling down on here.


High Times Inhales Cannabis Stores

Yesterday, the owner of the High Times cannabis magazine announced plans to buy 13 California dispensaries from Harvest Health, one of the country’s largest distributors.

The short-term angle: The pandemic has been tough on publishing—High Times temporarily suspended two of its publications and laid off staff due to supply chain issues. But demand for cannabis is stronger than ever under lockdown. Sales were up 159% annually by mid-March, according to Headset.

The long-term angle: The legal cannabis market will grow from almost $11 billion globally in 2018 to a projected $50 billion by 2029, provided 2029 still happens, says Jefferies.

  • A group of investors bought the 46-year-old High Times in 2017 and have been working to position cannabis as a high-end product. Their push into retail began in January with plans for two flagship stores in LA and Las Vegas.

Looking ahead…the companies plan to close the deal by June 30.



Cities Dig up Their Jean Shorts

New York

Public health authorities say we need to maintain social distancing to keep the coronavirus in check. But the world’s municipal leaders know that spring is springing, and that means people will leave their homes.

In the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, cafés and restaurants will be allowed to set up tables in public areas. While the government has permitted those businesses to reopen with outdoor seating, in some narrow-streeted neighborhoods it’s not possible to operate in accordance with social distancing rules. So Mayor Remigijus Šimašius said plazas, squares, and streets are temporarily fair game for next-level al fresco dining.

Back here in NYC, the City Council had a similar brain blast. This week, the de Blasio administration said the city will open up at least 40 miles of streets to pedestrians and cyclists to promote social distancing among New Yorkers in our finest spring attire (all black, but with a hat).

We know you’re wondering…is city life even possible during the pandemic? Short answer: Yes, but different city life. Longer answer: You’ll find that in our Future of Cities series.

+ Friday quiz preview: We will ask you to name the capital of Lithuania. Not its mayor, don’t worry.



  • President Trump said he’ll invoke the Defense Production Act to keep meat processing plants open during the pandemic. If you didn’t hear, there’s a looming meat shortage.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC the government will fully audit companies taking out $2+ million loans under PPP.
  • Uber execs are considering laying off roughly 20% of employees, The Information reports.
  • Tripadvisor is laying off ~25% of its global workforce.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are proposing a pause on big mergers during the pandemic.



We keep getting outfit compliments, but we’ve been wearing the same sweats for a month. Our secret? CARIUMA sneakers. When you’re sporting cool, colorful foot puppies like CARIUMAs, it doesn’t matter what else you’re wearing. Whether we’re cheffing up five-star PB&Js or just relocating to the other couch, these crazy comfy, 100% vegan kicks have us looking great and feeling better. Take 15% off a pair today before they sell out again.


Twitter accounts we recommend because…

Back by popular demand—the Brew’s style blog: In this month’s edition, resident grammarista Eliza Carter explains why we use the Oxford comma with joy, zeal, and relish, and challenges any of you who disagree to a duel. Read the post here.

Also back by popular demand—the Brew’s COVID-19 survey: Share how the coronavirus has affected your life in a super quick five-minute survey. We’ll return the favor by making sure we’re serving you content that’s as relevant as possible. Take the survey.


Normally when we write “trivia,” we don’t literally mean “information of little value or importance.” With today’s question, we actually do mean it.

While going down a UFO Wikipedia rabbit hole (after those videos were released), we encountered a slang term that was used by Allied pilots in WWII to describe strange objects they saw flying around the skies. A famous rock band named itself after this two-word term. What’s the band?


Foo Fighters

☕ What’s up

Subject: Bargain hunting

Morning Brew

☕ Testing…testing…

April 28, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Good morning. We won’t bury the lede—today on our Business Casual podcast, we talk to Ray Dalio, billionaire philanthropist and founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund.

In addition to divulging his formula for success, Ray (can we call you Ray?) answers the big question we’re all wondering: What would he have done differently if he had a crystal ball back in January?

Listen here: Apple / Spotify / everywhere else




+ 1.11%



+ 1.47%



+ 1.51%



– 0.59%



+ 5.80 bps



– 23.97%

*As of market close
  • Stimulus: It wouldn’t be the PPP without a few technical glitches. The small business loan program reopened yesterday to system errors before smoothing things out in the afternoon. Many analysts are nervous the extra $321 billion still won’t be enough to satisfy mom and pop.
  • Fed: Jerome Powell and his central bank dream team will begin their two-day meeting today. The Fed has stepped outside its usual responsibilities in responding to the crisis, but no major moves are expected on Wednesday.


Can You Do This in ‘Fortnite’? The PIF Thinks Not.

Stage diveGiphy

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has acquired a 5.7% stake in concert promoter Live Nation worth $500 million, according to a new securities filing. Virtual concerts are all the rage right now, but the Saudis think nothing quite compares to the feeling of spilling $14 beer while telling your friend, “They’re soooo good live.”

One fund, many names

A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund that can invest in pretty much anything you can think of, from natural resources to public companies. Saudi Arabia’s is called the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and it’s chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose name you’ve probably heard thrown around in conjunction with oil cuts in recent weeks.

But if oil is bad business right now, live concerts might be worse. After booking $11.5 billion in revenue last year, Live Nation expects a 20% drop in Q1 sales. The company’s stock price has also performed a stage dive, dropping over 40% as physical concerts take the year off.

The PIF’s play?

Focus on companies hit hardest by the coronavirus. Along with Live Nation, the PIF has made recent investments in battered cruise line operator Carnival as well as multiple European oil companies.

  • Also in Europe: In a move supported by 97% of the club’s fans, the PIF is close to completing a $380 million deal to become a majority owner of the Premier League soccer club Newcastle United.

Worth noting: While Knicks fans understand Newcastle’s excitement for a change in ownership, other companies have been less inclined to take money from a regime deemed responsible by U.S. intelligence for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

  • Endeavor, the parent company of the UFC and Miss Universe, returned a $400 million investment from the PIF following Khashoggi’s death.

Bottom line: After big money investments in Uber and SoftBank’s Vision Fund have yet to turn profitable, the PIF looks to be pursuing a different strategy—bargain hunting.



Breaking: The Food Supply Chain

Pigs Pikrepo

So said Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson in a letter published in several major U.S. newspapers on Sunday. Tyson, one of the country’s top meat producers, has shuttered several plants after workers fell ill with the coronavirus. With slaughterhouses closed even temporarily, “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain.”

Zoom out: Tyson is one of several meat processors that have closed plants due to COVID-19 outbreaks among workers. Industry leaders Smithfield Foods and JBS have both powered down some U.S. facilities and warned about meat shortages.

  • Nearly a third of U.S. pork processing capacity is currently offline.
  • Factory closures have severe domino effects for rural communities. John Tyson explained that “farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed.” Some have been forced to euthanize their pigs.

Looking ahead…fear of shortages means a spike in prices. U.S. wholesale pork prices were up nearly 30% last week, Bloomberg reports, and wholesale beef hit a record high.



Testing, Testing…

Yesterday afternoon, President Trump and retail chains announced an expansion of testing capacity at locations across the country. Trump said the government is ready to send states supplies to test at least 2% of their populations.

Maybe the sequel will be better. On March 13, President Trump and major retailers including Walmart, Target, CVS, and Walgreens pledged to launch coronavirus testing in their parking lots. About 70 testing sites have opened at drugstores and retailers since then—not a significant amount.

  • Along with Rite Aid, Kroger, and other chains, CVS aims to play a major role in the new rollout. As it ramps up capacity to process 1.5 million tests per month by the end of May, it will expand testing locations to 1,000 U.S. stores (provided it has sufficient supplies).

Bottom line: Public health officials and business executives agree the only way to get people back to work again is to test, test, then test some more. The U.S. needs to accelerate testing by about 200,000 tests per day to safely open up the economy, experts say.



Start Making Cents


The global economy isn’t doing so hot, so borrowers and savers are checking new ways to protect their future. And a new generation of investors have turned to user-generated currency.

Consensus Distributed is a 5-day virtual event where a bunch of smart people are going to get to the bottom of the user-generated currency trend. If you sign up—which you should—you’ll learn all about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and decentralized finance.

It’s free to attend. There’ll be 150+ speakers and 100+ live sessions. There’ll be interactive keynotes, including Q&As with the big cheese of crypto, blockchain, government, academia, and entertainment. The big cheese shop is going to be practically out of big cheeses.

For all that, plus unparalleled networking and hands-on workshops, check out Consensus Distributed from May 11–15.


It’s Official: Vegemite Scares Away Coronavirus

Bondi beach Needpix

Sorry Kiwis and Aussies, we’re grouping you together just for this one story. But it’s a good thing.

With new daily coronavirus cases in the single digits, Australia plans to ease some restrictions in the coming weeks (but never one to miss the tail end of surf season, already opened some beaches). And New Zealand’s reopening schools, childcare, and some businesses after reporting just one new case on Monday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared “There is no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand…we have won that battle.”

  • While South Korea might’ve resumed domestic tourism, Australia and New Zealand are considering one step further: reopening their borders and creating a tourism “bubble.” As each other’s largest source of hostel patrons, it could rekindle their waterlogged travel industries.

Looking ahead…New Zealand and Australia are taking a breather, but not relaxing. Contact tracing and testing programs will remain in place as they brace for a potential second wave in the winter.

+ While we’re here: Vietnam began opening restaurants and stores last Thursday after three grueling weeks of containment…and not a single COVID-19 death.



“Let’s See If I Remember Where This Goes…”

Volkswagen employeeSwen Pförtner – PoolGetty Images

Employees at Volkswagen’s plant in Wolfsburg, Germany—the biggest in the industry—went back to work yesterday for the first time since March 19.

It’s not an easy transition. Managers were alarmed when workers began making sourdough instead of Jettas. And they’ll now be required to enforce 100 new policies to protect worker safety, CNN reports. Those changes include…

  • Using elbows to open doors
  • 8,000 production line workers per shift instead of the typical 20,000
  • Workers are not allowed to hand each other tools
  • No more water coolers, so they’ll have to find another place to discuss the trivia question in the Brew

Bottom line: The plant is back…but at 10%–15% of total capacity.



  • Boeing CEO to shareholders: Air travel demand will take two to three years to recover to 2019 levels.
  • Tesla started pushing out a software update that allows its vehicles to recognize and respond to stop signs and traffic lights.
  • Apple is delaying mass production of its latest flagship iPhones by about a month, the WSJ reports.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that insurers are entitled to $12 billion from the government for losses sustained during the early years of Obamacare.
  • Things to look forward to: YouTube is launching a digital film festival with 20 partners. And Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker is coming to Disney+ on Monday.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers returned the $4.6 million they received through the PPP.


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A Harvard University buildingHarvard University

Florida Boy Craig McFarland has been accepted to all eight Ivy League schools for the fall semester. Forget COVID-19 for a sec—if he wanted to visit all the Ivies on a single road trip, in what order should he visit the schools to cover the least amount of distance in terms of miles traveled?


Cornell → Penn → Princeton → Columbia → Yale → Brown → Harvard → Dartmouth (or the reverse)

Subject: Nonexistent

Morning Brew

☕ Open for business

April 27, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Magic Spoon
Good morning. Are you sitting down? No, really, you’re going to want to sit down for this. Morning Brew is hosting a star-studded online poker tournament next weekend, Chipping in for COVID. This isn’t just any poker tournament. This one will have…

  • A worthy cause. All proceeds will go to Frontline Foods, a grassroots organization that pays local restaurants to prepare meals for frontline workers.
  • Business legends, including power couple Jen Rubio (cofounder of Away) and Stewart Butterfield (CEO of Slack).

$100 will get you a seat at the table, though any and all donations are welcome. Learn more here.




– 3.77%



– 12.20%



– 16.69%



+ 14.85%



– 131.40 bps



– 71.93%

*As of market close
  • Stimulus: Round two of the Paycheck Protection Program begins at 10:30am ET today. President Trump signed a bill last week that pours $320 billion back into the small business loan program.
  • Markets: Despite a collapsing economy, the S&P is up 29% since its March low and only 16% off a record high. Carl Icahn, for one, believes stocks are overvalued.


The Reopenings Are Here

ReopenKevin Cox/Getty Images

This week, many Americans will realize they can’t just end a conversation by clicking a red button. A handful states are allowing nonessential businesses to open for the first time in weeks.

Where things stand

Georgia, which already allowed businesses including gyms and hair salons to reopen on Friday, is extending that privilege to movie theaters and restaurants for dine-in service today. Tennessee is also letting people eat at restaurants today, and retail stores can open on Wednesday.

States including Montana, Colorado, and Minnesota are kicking off phased reopenings today, while stay-at-home restrictions expire for several other states this Thursday, April 30. Starting next Monday, “Almost every business in the state of Missouri will be able to open their doors,” the governor said.

This will not be business as usual. Let’s use Georgia’s restaurant restrictions as an example:

  • At least six feet in between tables and bar seats
  • 10 patrons per 500 sq. ft. of space
  • No more than six people per party, no presetting of tables, and no salad bar

Is this…a good idea?

On the one hand you have an economy that’s deteriorating at a thunderous pace. 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment claims in the last five weeks, wiping out all of the job gains since the Great Recession. Business lobbying groups and some lawmakers are desperate to get people back to work.

Others, including many public health experts and big-city mayors, say these reopening plans are dangerous, arguing states don’t yet have the testing or contact tracing capabilities to prevent further outbreaks. Those outbreaks could force more shutdowns, so we end up in a maddening revolving door of self-isolation.

The big, final question: If you reopen, will they come? It’s not clear whether a nervous public—given the opportunity—will resume going to restaurants, bars, and gyms. This week will tell us a lot.



Snapshots From the Coronavirus Economy

Travel: Time to strike this word from the dictionary? Spending on travel this month fell 99% annually for Discover credit card holders. Over at AmEx, travel/leisure spend is down 95%.

Fitness: Last week, Peloton reported its largest streamed class ever with more than 23,000 participants. After a bumpy IPO last September, the at-home fitness company’s stock is up over 60% since mid-March.

Shopping: Online marketplace Etsy is trading near all-time highs while sellers pivot from craft quilts to face masks. 50,000 sellers have sold at least one mask on the platform, and 10,000 sellers have sold 100 or more, per the FT.

Space: NASA is asking the Elon Musk posse to enjoy the May 27 launch of SpaceX’s first crewed mission from home instead of trekking to Florida. This will be NASA’s first crewed launch from U.S. soil in nearly a decade.

Entertainment: A record 12.3 million concurrent players logged on to Fortnite to watch a Godzilla-sized Travis Scott perform a concert amid psychedelic explosions. Headphones on.



Boeing Is Taking the “No Shaking Hands” Rule to the Next Level

Plane with one aisleFrancis Scialabba

Boeing has walked away from a $4.2 billion deal with Embraer, accusing the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer of failing to meet the fine print.

  • The deal: Boeing would’ve taken an 80% stake in Embraer’s commercial jet arm and gained access to engineering talent to build mid-size planes to stand up against Airbus.

Embraer’s accusing Boeing of calling in with food poisoning just before the exam starts. It says Boeing repeatedly violated the agreement and is backing out because of financial strain from 737 Max groundings and *gestures at everything.*

  • Boeing needs at least $30 billion in external financing to limp through 2020, per Moody’s. It’s secured about half that with a loan but is still figuring out the rest.
  • Not paying $4+ billion for a slice of Embraer, a company that’s now worth $1.1 billion, might be a good start.

Boeing hasn’t detailed what conditions Embraer reportedly violated, and Embraer plans to talk to someone’s manager and make Boeing pay damages and a termination fee up to $100 million.

Big picture: Add this to the list of corporate deals crumbling in a pandemic economy.



Consider Us Bowled Over

Magic Spoon

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United We Stand, Dividend We Fall

Dividends are like pre-cut fruit—they’re one of the first things to go when you’re faced with a cash crunch.

As of last Friday, nine S&P companies (including bruised cruise operator Carnival Corp.) had suspended dividends in April, and a few others are reducing payouts, Barron’s reports.

  • Dividends are one of the perks you can get by owning a company’s stock. Many corporations distribute them to shareholders each quarter.
  • Dividends can be remarkably lucrative for investors. In the 30 years until this March, the compounding effects of reinvested dividends would’ve accounted for almost half the return of an S&P 500 index fund, per Bloomberg.

Big picture: After rising every year in the 2010’s, aggregate S&P dividends will fall 23% to $398 billion in 2020, Goldman Sachs projects.

Looking ahead…all eyes on the energy sector, which is still shell-shocked from oil prices’ crazy ride into negative territory last week. ExxonMobil and Chevron are reporting earnings this Friday, and they have two of the top three dividend yields in the Dow.



The Week Ahead

Lots of earnings reports this week will show us the extent of the coronavirus damage in March. Make sure you’re prepared for all the jargon with our guide to quarterly earnings.

Monday: SXSW virtual film festival launches on Amazon Prime Video

Tuesday: Earnings (Alphabet, Starbucks, Caterpillar, Merck, Pfizer, UPS, PepsiCo, Southwest, UBS, AMD)

Wednesday: Q1 GDP; Fed meeting announcement; earnings (Boeing, Microsoft, Airbus, Facebook, Tesla, Qualcomm, GlaxoSmithKline, Mastercard, Anthem, Humana, Northrop Grumman, eBay, GE)

Thursday: Earnings (Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Gilead Sciences, Twitter, McDonald’s, MGM Resorts, Shell, Dunkin Brands, Cigna, Kraft Heinz, Kellogg, Molson Coors)

Friday: Take it away, Justin

Jive Records

It’s gonna be May; oil supply cuts officially go into effect; ISM manufacturing survey; earnings (ExxonMobil, Chevron, Clorox, Honeywell)



Are You Doing Anything Saturday?

Rounders sceneMiramax

Thought so. If you’re looking for a fun time and way to support frontline workers, sign up for Chipping in for COVID, Morning Brew’s charity poker tournament.

We left you hanging a little bit at the top so here are a few more details:

  • The qualifying round will begin Saturday afternoon.
  • The top players from Saturday will get to play in the final round Sunday with loads of business legends. This might be your only chance to say you beat the former COO of Twitter at hold ’em.

How to get started: While any and all donations are welcome to the cause, $100 will get you a seat at the poker table. Sign up here.


  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going back to work today. He had been in the ICU a few weeks ago with coronavirus.
  • Italy, Spain, and France are taking measures to ease lockdown restrictions. Spanish children were allowed out of their homes for the first time in more than six weeks.
  • The NBA will allow teams to open practice facilities this Friday provided that doesn’t conflict with local restrictions, ESPN reports.
  • Kanye West’s stake in Yeezy does, in fact, make him a billionaire, Forbes confirms.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give its “total attention” to the coronavirus pandemic, Bill told the FT.


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Beyond Crossword: April 27, 2020

Complete the crossword here.

Subject: No cars, no problem

Morning Brew

☕ New normal

April 25, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Christopher Cloos
Good Saturday morning. We’re doing something a little different today because…pandemic.

It’s clear that until a vaccine arrives in 2021 earliest, there is no life post-coronavirus—there’s only life with coronavirus. It’s up to us to understand a) to what extent our lives will change and b) how we can use this shock to the system to remake our world for the better.

On Saturday mornings, the Brew writers will guide you through our “new normal” by exploring the long-term effects of COVID-19 on one topic or industry. Today’s theme: the future of cities. We hope you enjoy/learn something, and as always reply with your thoughts.




+ 1.65%



+ 1.39%



+ 1.11%



– 0.08%



– 0.30 bps



+ 3.52%

*As of market close
  • COVID-19 update: The U.S. death toll passed 50,000, while a few states, including Georgia, started easing restrictions on nonessential businesses.
  • Budget: The same day President Trump signed the latest relief package, the Congressional Budget Office projected the federal budget deficit would hit $3.7 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year thanks to the explosion in emergency spending.


Don’t Call It a Comeback

A rebuilt cityFrancis Scialabba

When cities come back to life, they might have a more familiar taste than you expect—like Dippin’ Dots.

That might sound a little crazy. Cities are powered by kinetic energy: people bumping into each other on the street, cramming into concert venues and sports stadiums, sitting down at restaurants.

Without those opportunities, a city will lose its allure. No wonder all the rich people have left for the Hamptons—you get 10x the space but Seamless tastes the same anywhere.

Yet, cities have proven to be one of the most enduring of humanity’s inventions. They’ve withstood pandemicsrecessions, and the internet age. When faced with adversity, cities have rebuilt themselves to adapt, all while sticking with their most successful traits: density, jobs, and rich cultural life.

So what can we expect?

The coronavirus pandemic strikes at the heart of a city’s engine: its social interactions. As cities ease lockdowns, they’ll have to ensure those face-to-face experiences can occur while keeping everyone healthy.

Transportation: Public transportation is an essential service, but safety measures can be put in place to protect passengers and workers. Think social distance markings and quotas on the number of riders in a single train car. Also, bye-bye Uber Pool.

Retail: Things will get weird. As hybridization accelerates, a store could be a showroom, a delivery warehouse, a restaurant, and a pop-up market all in one. “A 10-year commercial lease in a single-use building will no longer be standard,” declares Brookings.

Culture: Expect every event to feel like a Rays game. When sports and theater do return (it may be many, many months), capacity at venues will be limited with chairs left open in between people. And if you thought coughing was frowned upon before…

Design: The pandemic showed we need to be prepared to construct new buildings in a hurry and transform others from their original uses. We all saw pictures of those new hospitals in Wuhan going up in two weeks—that was only possible through “modular construction,” when a building’s components are prefabricated offsite.

Bottom line: Typical city life we once took for granted will become a real hassle. But we’ll get used to it.



A Tale of 20,000 Cities

As of 2018, the U.S. contains 19,495 “incorporated places”—cities, towns, and villages. The economic rec(depr)ession unleashed by the coronavirus is already reshuffling the national population and is likely to reshape each of those places differently.

Budgets that depend on income taxes are in trouble

That’s a subtweet for the state of Ohio, which is an outlier in the degree to which it allows city revenues to depend on LeBron James income taxes.

  • It’s unusual for cities to tax income at all—about 90% of U.S. cities don’t rely on income or wage taxes for funding. But Ohio’s do, and four of the U.S.’ five most income tax-dependent large cities are in the Buckeye state.
  • Ohio’s income pool is rapidly shrinking, and with it city budgets. Ohio’s probable jobless rate is now close to 17%.

The pandemic could also accelerate a trend away from megacities

Before coronavirus, it was already getting harder to keep young professionals paying $1,400/month for walkup closets in New York and San Francisco. Now that many of us are working remotely and density = danger, there could be a bigger exodus.

  • As a counterargument, Brookings’s Mark Muro points out that “crisis after crisis, the big tech hubs have continued to increase their share of the nation’s digital services employment.”

Bottom line: City guru Jed Kolko writes the metro areas that will suffer the worst economic slowdowns don’t map directly onto those experiencing the worst outbreaks.



Cities Head Back to School

Delivery bot Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

Hard times breed innovation and ingenuity. Take 19th century London, where a series of cholera outbreaks taught the city to send its poop downstream. Today, COVID-19 could catalyze a wave of smart city upgrades as governments turn to digital infrastructure to guard against future crises.

Cities moving from containment to recovery offer a glimpse of what could come. In Wuhan, China, factory operators register workers’ temperature daily. Returning employees are working alongside more robots than when they left. And to get on a train, residents display app-based “health codes” ranking them by infection risk levels.

Those methods have some privacy advocates bucking like an unbroken colt. But not all solutions have to come at the expense of personal liberty.

  • In Antwerp, Belgium, workers at Europe’s second-largest port are testing bracelets that buzz if workers are too close. They don’t collect data or track movements.

COVID-19 could also accelerate tech not tied to virus tracking, including…

  • Automation. Fewer hands = less transmission. Companies could deploy more robot workers in factories/stores, or autonomous vehicles and drones in delivery networks.
  • Connectivity. As more workers go remote, internet connections need to improve outside cities. Governments may double down on broadband and 5G buildouts.

Reality check: Smart cities aren’t cheap, and governments are facing severe budget shortfalls from COVID-19 that could hamstring funding for tech-savvy initiatives.



The Official Sunglasses of Devilishly Handsome Danish Spies

Christopher Cloos

We aren’t undercover agents (sad face). But in Christopher Cloos sunglasses, we look more like mysterious, attractive Danes than lowly copy jockeys at a business newsletter. Their designs are timeless and minimalistic with just the right touch of retro—all sold at perfectly reasonable prices.

While real spies use Christopher Cloos blue light protection lenses to keep their eyes safe while doing who-knows-what, we use ours to to protect our eyes while working from home. Christopher Cloos lenses help ease the eye-strain, insomnia, and headaches that come from staring at screens.

With summer upon us, we are already planning which Christopher Cloos sunnies we will be wearing in Monaco (or on our balcony). Their shades have unbreakable spring hinges, amazing quality and polarized lenses, so your eyes will be protected and strangers will be guessing what kind of secret mission you’re on.

Embrace your Danish superspy today and get 20% off with exclusive code TMB20.


Cities Are Driven to Keep Cars in Park

Lone biker in AustraliaCameron Spencer/Getty Images

With stay-at-home orders in effect around the world, check engine lights are getting even less attention than usual.

Historically gridlocked metropolitan areas now look like Daytona International Speedway. Weeks after Massachusetts announced lockdown orders, rush hour traffic moved at an average of 62 mph through a busy I-90 corridor, Quartz found. That’s typically 35 mph.

Some city officials are hoping this momentary pause in traffic becomes a permanent red light.

Inter Milan

Milan, Italy, one of Europe’s most polluted cities, is leading the charge to reimagine urban transportation. Its ambitious Strade Aperte plan intends to transform 22 miles of streets by adding temporary biking lanes, 20 mph speed limits, and wider pavements.  

Former NYC transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told The Guardian, “The Milan plan is so important…because it lays out a good playbook for how you can reset your cities now.”

  • Like a good rookie QB, NYC is studying that playbook—the City Council introduced a measure that would temporarily open up 75 miles of streets to cyclists and pedestrians.

Bottom line: As much as the pedestrianizing of streets is gaining momentum, the reality is that the private car presents the most isolated means of transportation for a nervous public. If Wuhan is any indication, auto sales will quickly bounce back.



Design Pinterest Isn’t Ready for This

SNL sketchGiphy

When you’re stuck inside all day, you start to notice the shortcomings of your surroundings—especially in cities with 161 sq. ft. studios and mice hyperadapted to your 9–5.

The good news: COVID-19, in all its terribleness, could usher in improvements to the great indoors.

Introducing: The “Healthy Building” movement

While planting a victory garden on your sill may make your wall-facing window more #aesthetic, urban planners and architects have more practical improvements in mind for homes and offices. Here are a few:

  • Improved airflow: Adding better ventilation and filtration could make hospitals, movie theaters, prisons, and other enclosed spaces healthier places to inhabit. Recycling’s great, but not for air.
  • Dividers: Plexiglass-enclosed desks turned apart from one another might be the future of the open floor plan office. So basically see-through cubicles.
  • Hygienic surfaces: COVID-19’s ability to survive on surfaces could make antimicrobial polymer and copper alloy surfaces more attractive, writes the LA Times.

And of course, adding more outdoor spaces to urban housing is a top priority for anyone who’s ever used their fire escape as a patio.

Will it actually happen? We’ll give it a firm “probably,” considering there’s plenty of historical precedent. Outbreaks of the bubonic plague, cholera, smallpox, and the Spanish flu were all followed by advancements in urban planning, like indoor plumbing and waste management.



Are You In or Out on This Socially Distant Park?


The Austrian studio Precht has designed a park that allows people to hang out outside while separated by hedges. Smart or just making things too complicated?


In non-city news…

  • AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is stepping down, and WarnerMedia boss John Stankey will take over July 1.
  • Facebook launched Messenger Rooms, a Zoom rival. You can host calls for up to 50 people for free.
  • DraftKings began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker DKNG.
  • The NFL said a record 15.6 million viewers watched the first round of the virtual draft Thursday night.


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How has COVID-19 impacted you? We want to better understand how Morning Brew readers have been affected by this crisis. By taking a five-minute survey, you’ll provide valuable information that’ll help us make future coverage more relevant to you.

Take the quick survey and feel accomplished this Saturday.


Celebrities—they’re just like us. Except one of these recent celeb headlines has had a little too much plastic surgery. Can you spot the fake one?

  1. “Tom Hanks gifts corona brand typewriter to bullied boy named Corona: ‘You got a friend in me'”
  2. “Specter of Matt Damon haunts quaint Irish town”
  3. “Man walking around LA in Deadpool costume revealed to actually be Ryan Reynolds”
  4. “Eminem donates ‘mom’s spaghetti‘ to Detroit health care workers”


Ryan Reynolds isn’t out and about in full Deadpool attire. Wouldn’t put it past him though…

Morning Brew

☕ New normal

Subject: Hershey’s misses

April 24, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Blu Dot
Good morning. We’ve become almost numb to stats like this, but they’re still worth filing away for the history books: On Tuesday, there were more departures from the airport in Albuquerque, NM, than at Newark or JFK.

Hope everyone has a nice weekend wherever you are not flying out of.




– 0.01%



– 0.05%



+ 0.17%



+ 0.70%



– 1.80 bps



+ 22.42%

*As of market close
  • Jobs: Over 4.4 million more Americans filed for unemployment benefits this week, bringing the five-week total to about 26 million. That’s more than the population of the 10 largest U.S. cities combined, notes the AP, and “by far the worst string of layoffs on record.”
  • Housing: U.S. new home sales fell 15.4% in March, and that’s likely to drop further in April. Have stay-at-home orders increased your attachment to your house, or are you ready to never see it again?


Let’s Try This Again

PPPlinko game Francis Scialabba

Yesterday evening, the House passed a $484 billion supplement to the CARES Act, including $321 billion in fresh funds for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Now, you really have to try if you want to make people angry while doling out $350 billion in emergency cash, but the first edition of PPP managed to do that and more.

No room for VIPPPs

As if dealing with line-cutters at the grocery store isn’t bad enough, recent reports have exposed how big banks prioritized or offered unfair advantages to wealthy clients to secure PPP loans. Special treatment included “concierge” services and digital HOV lanes that zipped by clogged application portals.

  • Loans of $1 million or more accounted for 45% of total PPP distributions…but ended up in the hands of just 4% of recipients.

This time around, $60 billion will be set aside for mom-and-pop shops without a direct line to Midtown East. Many small businesses had better luck going through smaller/local banks in V1.

Keeping things private

Publicly traded companies received almost $600 million in PPP loans—and a very public flogging for doing so. Some recipients, including Shake Shack and the owner of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, have agreed to return the money.

  • Critics argue these companies can raise funds through other avenues unavailable to mom and pop. Just last week, Shake Shack was able to raise $150 million selling new shares.
  • But…they technically weren’t breaking any rules. The National Restaurant Association lobbied and helped secure exemptions from Congress for restaurants and hotel chains to access the PPP.

Yesterday, the SBA closed the loophole and warned publicly traded companies they probably won’t qualify for the new funds. The Treasury Department asked public companies to return their loans before May 7, or else face charges they weren’t acting “in good faith.”

+ While we’re here: The SBA is currently not releasing detailed information about PPP recipients. However, the Fed (which also runs emergency small business lending programs) said yesterday it will disclose participants’ names, funding, and interest rates.




A document posted on the World Health Organization’s website yesterday delivered some disappointing news: Remdesivir, a potential COVID-19 treatment developed by biopharma company Gilead Sciences, did not improve patient outcomes in a randomized clinical trial.

  • According to the summary, 13.9% of the patients who received the drug died after one month, versus 12.8% in a control group, the FT and health news site Stat report.

The twist: The summary was quickly removed from the website. A WHO spokesperson said it was posted by mistake.

The study, a first-of-its-kind clinical trial in China, was stopped early because it didn’t have enough patients, so Gilead argued its results are inconclusive. Although Gilead did say “trends in the data suggest a potential benefit” for the drug.

So…what does it all mean? Not much—no definitive thumbs up or down for remdesivir yet. Several other ongoing studies will hopefully offer more conclusions.



Busy Borrowers

man diving into pool of moneyGiphy

Whether they’re seizing an opportunity presented by the coronavirus crisis or just hanging on for dear life, corporations were hyperactive in raising debt this week.

Netflix is offering $1 billion in junk bonds to feed its quarantine content machine. The company reported astounding subscriber numbers for Q1 when its home screen became the only game in town.

Snap, also looking to pounce on the best quarter for scrolling ever, is planning to raise up to $750 million in private debt.

Delta is planning to raise $3 billion in debt after forecasting a 90% revenue drop in Q2. On the other side of the battered travel sector, Expedia is pulling in $2 billion in new debt financing (along with $1.2 billion in private equity funding). The company also named vice chairman Peter Kern as CEO.

Macy’s is in perhaps even more trouble. Using its inventory and real estate as collateral, it’s considering raising as much as $5 billion in debt, CNBC reports. Macy’s has furloughed most of its 130,000 employees while all of its stores have been closed since March 18.



Extraordinary Design to the Rescue

Blu Dot

That’s it, we’ve officially lounged on every surface in the house. The countertops have no back support, the couch is getting old (right before our eyes), and the hall closet is…actually pretty comfortable and quiet.

Point being: It might be time to upgrade the way things look and feel around here.

Blu Dot creates modern furniture that’s unique, useful, and beautiful down to every last angle and line. In fact, each piece is imagined in their Minneapolis studio where they distort, test, and tweak until they’ve achieved something that goes well beyond the ordinary. It’s extraordinary.

Blu Dot’s goal is to bring good design to as many people as possible, and to achieve that, they’re offering 20% off all orders through May 3. This almost never happens—hence this revelatory piece of copywriting.

Time to put the blanket fort away for good.

Shop the Stay Home Sale today.


Consumers Are Stockpiling and Stinky

That’s our takeaway from Unilever’s and Hershey’s earnings reports yesterday.

First, Unilever

The maker of half your grocery store haul (including Dove, Lipton tea, and Ben & Jerry’s) said sales in North America grew 4.8% and online sales surged 36% as people restocked their cabinets. But in emerging markets, where airtight lockdowns dinged demand, sales dropped 1.8%.

  • India, Unilever’s second-largest market, implemented some of the world’s strictest limits.

And…now that more people are WFH, consumers are buying less shampoo and deodorant. If that’s you, please reevaluate—your roommates may not determine your salary, but they have noses.

Second, the chocolate mongers

Hershey’s missed by a kiss on the top and bottom lines. It cut $271 million in profit, down from $304 million last year, though stockpilers gave it a nearly 11% retail sales boost in the four weeks before April 4.

  • Plunging international demand + closed schools, restaurants, and malls = tough times.
  • In even more bad news for the world’s roommates, Hershey’s gum and mint sales dropped 50%.

Looking ahead…Unilever CFO Graeme Pitkethly said he expects the shifts in consumer behavior to continue after lockdowns end.



Quizo Mode

DJ Khaled GIFGiphy

Welcome to our first-ever second quiz of the week. If you get a double perfect score, make sure to hit reply and brag to us about it. It’s the Brew’s Weekly News Quiz.

1. Fill in the blank: ______ are payments sent by migrant workers back to people in their home countries. The World Bank estimates they’ll drop by 20% this year.

2. Emirates has released a plan to maintain social distancing measures when passenger operations pick back up. Which of the following is not part of that plan?

  1. Blocked off middle seats
  2. No magazines or other print entertainment
  3. Crew/passengers required to wear masks and gloves
  4. No bathroom access on short flights

3. Travis Scott debuted a song on his new tour that started yesterday. Where is the tour?

4. In YouTube’s 15-year history, which of these came first?

  1. Justin Bieber makes his YouTube debut
  2. Google acquires YouTube for $1.7 billion
  3. “Charlie bit my finger” video goes viral
  4. Susan Wojcicki becomes CEO

5. Which country has started to test a new digital currency in four of its cities?

Answers can be found at the bottom of the newsletter.



  • Bill Gates on the innovations we need to beat the coronavirus.
  • U.S. states are starting to ease restrictions in a patchwork fashion. Georgia’s gyms, salons, bowling alleys, and tattoo parlors can open today (if they want, and with restrictions).
  • Gap said it’s not paying April rent amid a rapidly deteriorating financial situation.
  • LSU QB Joe Burrow was selected #1 by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first ever virtual NFL Draft.


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Something cool from NASA: The Hubble Telescope explores space all day, every day, and your birthday is no exception. Find out what Hubble saw on your birthday, or any other day, here.

Podcast fans, listen up: If Podapalooza is “Live Aid, but at home, in your sweatpants, listening to podcasts,” our Business Casual podcast host Kinsey Grant and CEO Alex Lieberman are Freddie Mercury and Phil Collins. This weekend, they’re going live at this virtual podcast festival benefiting COVID-19 relief efforts to discuss one special upcoming episode featuring a very special guest. Get tickets here.

*This is sponsored advertising content


Today’s riddle comes from the always-excellent NPR “Weekend Edition“:

My friend Penelope, who is from La Jolla, went on a world vacation. She stopped in Santa Rosa, Toronto and Casablanca. What European capital did she also visit?


Friday Puzzle: Amsterdam. All of these places start and end with the same two letters: LA JolLA, SAnta RoSA, etc.

Weekly News Quiz: 1. Remittances 2. Passengers will be allowed to use bathrooms 3. Fortnite 4. Google acquired YouTube first 5. China

Subject: No more middle seat

Morning Brew

☕ A perfect storm

April 23, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Good morning to everyone growing a quarantine mustache. Don’t let the critics get to you—it looks amazing and you should keep it.




+ 2.81%



+ 2.29%



+ 1.99%



+ 2.97%



+ 5.60 bps



+ 24.55%

*As of market close
  • Stimulus: The fourth coronavirus economic relief package is expected to be passed by the U.S. House today. Worth about $484 billion, this bill is intended for small businesses, national COVID-19 testing, and hospitals.
  • Markets: Stocks broke a three-day losing streak while oil prices recovered.


A “Perfect Storm” Brewing in the Developing World

Wheat farmer in IndiaSameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is causing misery all across the globe. But authorities are warning that in developing countries, the consequences will be especially dire and could even trigger a second public health crisis: widespread famine.

The specifics

On Monday, the UN’s World Food Program released an alarming report on the potential for extreme food shortages in developing countries. On Tuesday, Executive Director David Beasley pleaded with the UN Security Council to support those countries financially.

  • Lockdown restrictions have disrupted supply chains in developing countries, leading to drastic shortages. In Nairobi’s largest slum, two people died in a stampede for flour and cooking oil.
  • Beasley described the situation as a “perfect storm,” where a severe food shortage that existed before COVID-19 could nearly double from 135 million people at risk to 265 million by the end of the year.

Developing countries are more vulnerable

Both to the virus and to the economic destruction it brings

First, many lack the medical resources necessary to treat people. According to the OECD, African countries’ health budgets average $12 per citizen/year, in contrast to the UK’s $4,000. Ten African countries have no ventilators.

Plus, core revenue streams like tourism, taxation, and remittances (payments sent by migrant workers back to people in their home countries) are drying up. The World Bank estimates that remittances will sink by 20% this year—the biggest annual drop in recent history.

  • That loss of more than $100 billion will have major consequences for developing economies. Last year, remittances edged out foreign direct investment as the largest source of capital inflows to low- and middle-income countries, accounting for roughly 8.9% of GDP, the FT reports.

Some experts are working on fixes. Oxford University professor of globalization and development Ian Goldin proposed “a global Marshall plan” where 1) $44 billion in debt owed by African countries in 2020 would be erased and 2) richer countries would divert at least $2.5 trillion to poor countries.



Turns Out It’s Bad For Airlines When No One Flies

Plane with one aisleFrancis Scialabba

Delta reported quarterly earnings yesterday and it’s worse than your first attempt at baking sourdough. A $607 million pretax loss—it’s first quarterly loss in five years—is ugly, but that’s just the beginning. The nation’s biggest airline expects revenues to fall 90% in Q2.

Onwards and upwards?

Even as airlines hemorrhage money (Delta was burning through $100 million/day in late March), they are making preparations for when passengers return to the skies.

Here’s what Emirates thinks an October flight to your buddy’s wedding could look like:

  • Blocked off middle seats: You might have to shout to ask for your neighbor’s pen to fill out the Sudoku.
  • No magazines: Turns out you won’t even need that pen.
  • Lots of gloves and masks: Flight personnel that come into contact with passengers, from boarding agents to cabin crew, will be required to wear personal protective equipment.

Or you could just redesign the whole thing. An Italian manufacturer reimagined a more sanitary airplane cabin, complete with glass partitions and an extremely awkward, reversed middle seat.



Harvard Succumbs to Perfidious Opprobrium

Yesterday, a reckoning came for the cash Harvard University was eligible to receive under last month’s coronavirus relief package.

Roll the tape: The university paper reported last week that Harvard would get almost $9 million through the CARES Act.

  • Then on Tuesday, President Trump said at a press briefing that Harvard “shouldn’t be taking it.”
  • Many other critics cracked their knuckles and got to tweeting about a school with a $40.9 billion endowment receiving support.

Harvard came back with, “It’s more complicated than that. Let me explain.” In a tweet thread, the Harvard of eastern Massachusetts explained how the relief money would have come through a $14 billion higher education fund—not the Paycheck Protection Program, the fund for small businesses.

But…the damage was done. Harvard announced yesterday it would not accept the funds.



Because They Don’t Make Bandages For Your Man Parts


Last year, there were 171,321 reported ER visits related to personal grooming injuries. MANSCAPED guarantees that you won’t be one of them.

They know that when it comes to your sensitive areas, only precision engineered tools will do the job. That’s why they created the first manscaping trimmer with Advanced SkinSafe™ technology. 

Besides leaving you knick-free, cut-free, snag-free, and—best of all—hair-free, The Lawn Mower 3.0 is:

  • Waterproof and shock resistant, so you can use it in the shower
  • Rechargeable with a 600mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Trusted by over 1,200,000 men

MANSCAPED is even throwing in an exclusive deal for Brew readers. Order today for 20% off, a free pair of boxers, free travel bag, and free shipping when you try the Perfect Package 3.0.

Give your tool the finest toolbox, and never worry about a manscaping accident.

Order today.


Ramadan Mubarak

Egyptian youths decorating their Cairo street for RamadanKhaled DeSouki/AFP/Getty Images

Just like Passover and Easter, Ramadan 2020 is moving to Zoom.

Ramadan, which starts tonight, is the holy month observed by Muslims around the world. Traditionally, it consists of daylong fasts, prayer, self-reflection, and donations to charity.

It’s also a marketing tsunami, with social media usage and consumer spending surging in the Middle East and parts of the Asia-Pacific region. Facebook publishes a series of guides for marketers focused on Ramadan, while Google even established an award for the best Ramadan-related YouTube ad campaign.

  • We’re not McKinsey, but we’re guessing social media use will increase even more this year.

Also different this year: The production schedules of wildly popular soap operas that entertain families in between fasts. Egypt’s TV industry can produce 80 serials for the month of Ramadan, CNN reports, but crews have been restricted from shooting by government lockdown measures.

Which means the soap slate could be emptier this year. As of April 15, only a “handful” of shows were ready to air, per Al-Monitor.



Happy 15th, YouTube

YouTube gifFrancis Scialabba

It’s been 15 years to the day since YouTube cofounder Jawed Karim uploaded the platform’s first-ever video, 18 seconds of him pontificating about elephant trunks at the San Diego Zoo. Here’s a brief timeline on what’s happened since:

2005: YouTube launches its public beta in May, and with $3.5 million from Sequoia Capital it goes beyond beta by the end of the year.

2006: Google acquires YouTube for $1.7 billion.

2007: Charlie bit my finger” becomes the first viral video, proving babies are cuter than cats, and YouTube goes mobile-friendly the same month the first iPhone hits stores.

2008: Evolution of Dance” gets a record-breaking 100 million views.

2009: Justin Bieber. Vevo. The music world is never the same.

2012: Psy’s “Gangnam Style” gets a historic 1 billion views.

2014: Susan Wojcicki becomes YouTube’s third CEO.

2017: The “Adpocalypse” and “Elsagate” throw the platform under public scrutiny.

As of last year, 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube…every minute. There’s no sign of that number going down, especially amid COVID-19.



  • Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman told CNN she wanted the city’s businesses to reopen. Of the health risks, she said companies “better figure it out. That’s their job. That’s not the mayor’s job.”
  • PE firm Sycamore Partners immediately regrets its decision to take Victoria’s Secret private and wants to nix the deal.
  • Magic Leap, the well-funded augmented reality startup, is laying off about half its workforce and abandoning its consumer business, Bloomberg reports.
  • The new iPhone SE, reviewed.
  • PG&E’s CEO Bill Johnson will step down on June 30. He had been hired just over a year ago to help fix the culture at the California utility.



The Brew is not yet available in 14 different languages. But Babbel is. The #1 selling language learning app in the world can get you speaking conversational you-name-it in as little as three weeks. Get up to 60% off your subscription and start flirting with your spouse in a foreign language in no time. Try it today.


Golf trick shotGiphy

Sports fans: Whether you miss the agony of rooting for your team or the cathartic screaming that accompanies it, we’ve got you covered.

For agony, get into the trick shot game and learn the meaning of patience. You could be rewarded—ESPN is partnering with Facebook to produce a weekly show featuring the best fan-submitted videos. And each Wednesday, they’ll throw one in SportsCenter’s “Top 10.”

If screaming is more your thing, Bud Light is encouraging you to support coronavirus relief efforts by booing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Twitter during tonight’s draft. And finally, to combine agony and screaming, check out the “NFL Draft Boo Meter” built by a bored college student. It will pull Reddit comments to measure fanbase sentiment over the course of the night.

*This is sponsored advertising content


Brew’s Bookshelf

booksFrancis Scialabba

Every other Thursday, we’re bringing you a few of the Brew’s favorite business-related reads.

  1. Inside story: No Filter by Sarah Frier is a behind-the-scenes look at how Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger built Instagram. Sarah was a guest on our Business Casual podcast, and we can personally vouch for her whip-smart reporting and original storytelling.
  2. Personal financeRich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter is one of the best-selling personal finance books of all time, told through the stories of, you guessed it, a rich dad and a poor dad. If you’re looking to boost your financial literacy, start here.

Normally we’d list a third book rec, but today we’ve got a surprise. So many of you were interested in personal development books, we jumped the gun and compiled our favorites. Check out the list here.



To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first video uploaded to YouTube, we created an online quiz to test your knowledge of the platform. But we’ll also give you a little teaser right here before you play.

What is currently the most viewed video on YouTube?


“Despacito.” Now you can take the quiz.

Subject: Netflix and Snap boom

Morning Brew

☕ Netflix and Snap boom

April 22, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Good morning and Happy Earth Day. Think about this: With Gronk going to Tampa Bay, for the first time in its history Florida has taken someone out of retirement.




– 3.48%



– 3.07%



– 2.67%



– 0.53%



– 3.80 bps



+ 124.08%

*As of market close
  • Markets: Oil remained in chaos mode to start the week, while stocks and Treasury yields fell.
  • Stimulus: Better news on this front. The Senate approved $484 billion more in relief funds, $320 billion of which will refill the depleted Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. The House is expected to vote on it later this week.  


It’s an Earth Day Like No Other

Goats in WalesGoats go window shopping in a Welsh town last month. Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images.

Empty skies. Empty roads. Empty factories. The organizers of the first Earth Day could never have imagined how we’d be celebrating its 50th birthday.

  • In the U.S., the EIA predicts energy-related CO2 emissions will drop 7.5% this year because of the economic slowdown.
  • The EU’s daily emissions are down 58% compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, according to consultancy Sia Partners. NO2 levels, typically linked to cars, have hit rock-bottom.

And even though Lisa Frank’s dolphins still won’t stick a flipper in the East River, some animals are reclaiming our neighborhoods while smog in major cities is vanishing.

But this is likely just a blip

Scientists who track CO2 levels from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano estimate fossil fuel emissions need to stay down 10% for at least a year to show up in their readings, reports the FT.

  • Whether that happens or not depends on the length of the economic crisis and on government policy. Climate activists argue “reopening” presents an opportunity for governments to prioritize environmental issues, but the reality is climate change has been pushed to the back of the agenda as lawmakers focus on containing the virus.

Still, this “big, natural experiment” could have some long-lasting effects:

  1. Increased adoption of renewable energy. In the U.K. and Europe, renewables delivered 46% of total power generation from March 10–April 10, an annual increase of 8%. In the U.S., coal now accounts for a historically low share of our electricity mix (15%). That was 50% a decade ago.
  2. A reassessment of business travel. Execs might think twice about how often they need to see co-branded Patagonia vests IRL and forever banish those “one-meeting trips” that contribute emissions.
  3. More collaboration. To face COVID-19, scientists have been sharing and publishing findings at record levels. If this kind of global teamwork continues, it could accelerate collective environmental action. Bill Gates said he’s “super positive” about “the way we can connect up and work together.”


Chipotle to Pay 3.6 Million Burritos in Norovirus Case

Yesterday, LA federal prosecutors smacked Chipotle with a $25 million criminal fine to settle charges related to norovirus outbreaks at some locations.

  • Norovirus = a highly contagious virus that’s easily transmitted by workers handling food.

The charges: Prosecutors said Chipotle served food that made over 1,100 people sick in the U.S. from 2015 to 2018. That’s the largest fine ever in a food safety case, according to prosecutors.

  • As part of the settlement, Chipotle pledged to strengthen its food-safety policies and write “I will not make people sick” 30x on the blackboard.

Zoom out: Chipotle isn’t a stranger to the courtroom. It’s faced class-action and shareholder lawsuits over its sanitation practices in recent years.

+ While we’re here: Chipotle also reported better-than-expected earnings yesterday, with digital sales growing 81% and same-store sales up 3.3%. But it also withdrew 2020 guidance.



Snap and Netflix Are Too Hot to Handle

Too hot to handle on NetflixNetflix/Giphy

With much of the global population stuck inside lapping their coffee table, online platforms are among the lucky few with good news to report this earnings season. Snap and Netflix took the stage first yesterday.

Snap surged over 19% after hours after beating (scaled back) revenue expectations by $32 million. It also grew daily active users 20% yearly to 229 million.

  • Analysts were nervous. Snap depends on ad revenue, and marketers are pulling back their spending. Snap escaped the worst in Q1, but it’s expected to take a bigger hit this quarter.

Netflix added 15.8 million paying customers last quarter, more than double predictions, because if you didn’t have a hot take about Doc Antle you were no good to anybody. Revenue came in right at expectations while earnings per share missed.

  • To explain the miss, Netflix pointed to the strengthening U.S. dollar hurting foreign revenues, a $218 million loss from paused production, and $150 million diverted to supporting its production members.
  • Netflix warned that viewership will likely decline after people go back to work.

Looking ahead…earnings season is just gearing up. If EPS and EBITDA normally make your brain feel like mashed potatoes, check out our earnings guide.



Bed Time All the Time


We’re all spending some extra time being horizontal these days. So for something like a bed frame that’s essentially the most important item in your bedroom, a cheap, janky, (and sometimes noisy) setup just doesn’t make much sense.

Thuma has dedicated all the hours they’re not in bed to making a bed frame you’ll actually love, which they’ve aptly named: The Bed.

Combining elevated design, quality craftsmanship, and modern convenience, The Bed is the perfect foundation for stretching out in luxury—it’s even been strenuously tested and proven to withstand any and all Bed Time activities, and is backed by a lifetime warranty.

The Bed is made of high-quality, eco-friendly materials and features Japanese joinery which you can assemble in just 5(ish) minutes without any tools.

Take a closer look here.


Share a Coke With…No One. You’re on Lockdown.

Small coke bottle with large straw Francis Scialabba

Yesterday, Coca-Cola reported a 25% drop in sales volumes this month. Which means starting now, Warren Buffett’s crushing nine cans a day to protect Berkshire Hathaway’s third-largest investment.

After a brief surge from stockpiling, consumer sales have leveled off. But the real hit has been in the B2B market: Coke does almost half its sales from movie chains, events like concerts, and vending machines. Locations that are now, we hate to break this, closed.

The pandemic’s impact on Q1 wasn’t actually that bad. Globally, sales dropped 1% annually through the end of March. But in the Asia Pacific market (where the COVID-19 outbreak was several weeks earlier), sales fell 7%.

  • By the start of Q2, European and American markets were in full lockdown mode. Which means Q2 prospects are not looking good, for Coke or Buffett’s dentist.

Plot twist: The oil price crash might also play a role in Q2. Reduced ethanol production has caused a worsening shortage of CO2, which is used to carbonate soda as well as treat drinking water and produce beer.



States Make Movie Biz an Offer They Might Refuse

Some states are itching under the wool sweater of social distancing restrictions, and have moved to lift them. But without clear direction, businesses are wary of the brave new world.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is allowing movie theaters in the state to reopen on Monday. But chains like AMC and Regal Cinemas say they can’t just fire up the popcorn machines.

  • Those companies have furloughed almost all their employees. It takes time to rehire people, then train them for extra safety measures.
  • Even if trained ticket-takers grew on trees, blockbusters definitely don’t. No movies from Hollywood studios are scheduled to drop before late June.

And even if both of those issues magically resolved themselves, there’s always legal liability. Theaters may not want to reopen if they could be held responsible for any customers or employees contracting COVID-19.

That’s a common concern across sectors. Some biz lobbying groups are asking Congress to protect firms that restart operations from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

+ Speaking of lawsuits…Attorney General William Barr suggested the DOJ would support legal action against state governors who impose lockdowns that may go above and beyond the threat presented by COVID-19.



Happy Earth Day From the Grand Tetons

Bison in WyomingGetty Images

You’ll find stunning landscapes all over the world, but there’s something different about the American West…


  • Black and Hispanic families are taking the biggest economic hit from the coronavirus, new studies show.
  • Canceled: Spain’s Running of the Bulls, Germany’s Oktoberfest, and our beloved national spelling bee.
  • The United Auto Workers union endorsed Joe Biden for president.
  • U.S. videogame sales increased 35% annually in March to $1.6 billion, according to research firm NPD. That includes hardware, software, and accessories.


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For Earth Day: Here’s a guide on how to compost at home. You can also create a compost worm bin if you want some wriggly new friends for your quarantine. On a similar note, aspirational recyclers should read this list.

*This is sponsored advertising content


Brew’s Q’s

Yesterday, we asked whether larger chain restaurants like Shake Shack and Fogo de Chão should have been eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans from the government. 85% of you said no. Here are responses from across the spectrum:

“While restaurant chains can have different corporate structures, in general they have greater access to funds that can and should be poured back into the individual stores that generate all the profits. Leave the big fund for a true small business.”

“The purpose of the PPP is to put people back to work, and there are strict rules on how the funds can be spent. With that, is a job in a restaurant owned by a multiunit operator worth less or more than a restaurant owned by an independent? Restaurant jobs are restaurant jobs. Let’s focus on who can put the most people back to work, not who owns the restaurant.”

“Chains are too big to receive the small business loans by definition of # of employees. But they are too small to be ‘too big to fail.’  Not an enviable position to be in.”


It’s Earth Day, so let’s do a quiz about what unites us. We’ll give you pairs of countries that share an official language. Can you figure out the language they have in common?

  1. Brazil and Angola
  2. Cameroon and Haiti
  3. Kenya and the Philippines
  4. Jordan and Somalia
  5. Suriname and Belgium


  1. Brazil and Angola: Portuguese
  2. Cameroon and Haiti: French
  3. Kenya and the Philippines: English
  4. Jordan and Somalia: Arabic
  5. Suriname and Belgium: Dutch

Subject: Just one condition

April 21, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
The Motley Fool
Good morning. The M&A market has frozen over. Per Refinitiv/Reuters, last week was the first time since September 2004 that no merger or acquistion deals worth more than $1 billion were announced. In September 2004…

  • Lost debuted on TV
  • Green Day released “American Idiot”
  • Barry Bonds hit home run No. 700

Guess everyone was busy doing that.




– 1.03%



– 1.79%



– 2.44%



+ 0.84%



– 3.60 bps



– 183.14%

*As of market close
  • Stimulus: It looks like more than $450 billion in aid could be on the way, we just…don’t know when. The Senate could take up a new package focused on small businesses, hospitals, and testing today.
  • Geopolitics: U.S. intelligence is monitoring reports the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in “grave danger” following surgery, CNN reports.
  • Immigration: Last night, President Trump tweeted that he would sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the U.S. due to COVID-19. We don’t have any other details beyond that.


We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Barrel

A swiming pool of oil Francis Scialabba

There’s no such thing as a free barrel of oil, even if U.S. crude prices crashed below -$37 a barrel yesterday in their first-ever adventure into negative territory. Prices did climb back overnight.

What happened

Prices of WTI, the U.S. crude benchmark, tanked on the backs of oil futures. Oil futures = financial instruments that let investors buy “abstract oil.” When a futures contract expires, that investment is converted into IRL oil.

  • But investors typically sell before expiration, either 1) taking the profit/loss or 2) rolling their investment into next month’s futures contract.

May contracts expire today. But with the U.S. on lockdown and demand for oil near zilch, no one wants oil delivered. So yesterday, investors shed their May contracts ahead of expiration. x

Why can’t they hold onto it?

Marie Kondo can make 37 pairs of shoes disappear, but she can’t stuff millions of oil barrels into a wicker basket. There’s just no place to store the stuff.

Some traders are sending barrels on a leisurely cruise aboard very large crude carriers (literally, VLCCs). “Many traders are betting that the coronavirus pandemic will run its course and demand for oil will jump later this year,” the WSJ explains.

  • Six-month VLCC leases have risen to an average of $100,000/day from around $29,000 a year ago.
  • Sounds steep…but companies that have the liquidity and capacity could make ~$16 of profit per barrel after storage costs.

Big picture

Major oil producers recently struck a historic deal to cut daily production by 9.7 million barrels starting in May. But those reductions aren’t coming in time to trim the short-term glut.

The outlook? “Refiners are rejecting barrels at a historic pace and with U.S. storage levels sprinting to the brim, market forces will inflict further pain until either we hit rock bottom, or COVID clears, whichever comes first, but it looks like the former,” Michael Tran, managing director of global energy strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg.



Coronavirus Around the World

Globe deflatedFrancis Scialabba

New York: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled summer festivals, parades, and concerts through June, including the Pride March. The state asked the federal government for $4 billion in loans to cover unemployment checks.

Georgia (the U.S. state): Gov. Brian Kemp said some businesses, including gyms and bowling alleys, can reopen Friday provided they comply with social distancing and sanitation measures. Tennessee and South Carolina also announced plans to ease lockdowns.

Minnesota: JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, has shut down its Worthington pork plant following an investigation that found 26 workers had contracted COVID-19. This plant accounts for about 4% of the U.S.’ pork supply.

Singapore: The city-state now has the most reported cases in Southeast Asia after a flare-up among foreign workers. Singapore had been praised around the world for its initial response.

Denmark: As the country starts to ease lockdown restrictions, children are going back to school and—we will cry when this happens—people can get their hair cut professionally. But that’s all based on one precondition: The country will start testing anyone with coronavirus symptoms.



Branson: I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This

VirginVirgin Galactic

“Over the five decades I have been in business, this is the most challenging time we have ever faced,” billionaire Virgin Group founder Richard Branson admitted in an open letter to employees yesterday.

As Branson notes, his constellation of companies operate in some of the sectors hardest hit by virus containment policies: leisure, travel, aviation, hotels, and cruises.

  • A desperate Branson asked the U.K. government for a loan to keep his Virgin Atlantic airline afloat.
  • He even said he’d offer up his famous Necker Island estate in the Caribbean as collateral to “save as many jobs as possible around the group.”

Zoom out: Branson spent a good chunk of the letter playing defense against critics who point out he hasn’t paid income taxes in the U.K. since decamping for the British Virgin Islands, yet now wants money from British taxpayers. Branson countered that he’d pay back any government aid and has already promised to pour $250 million of his own money into Virgin Group.

+ While we’re here: Virgin Australia, 10% of which is owned by Virgin Group, entered voluntary administration (aka bankruptcy protection) this morning.



Simple as 1, 2, 3

The Motley Fool

There’s a lot of complex stuff going on in the stock market, so we figured we’d keep this one simple:

The Motley Fool has doubled down on these three stock picks.

The Fool has helped their customers through market volatility before—from the dot-com bubble to the housing crisis—and now, drawing on decades of experience, they’re feeling good about these three simple stock picks.

Keep it simple, people. Trust The Fool.

Check out the three stocks they’re doubling down on here.


China Leaves Wallet At Home, Doesn’t Care

In news your bitcoin-loving cousin will bring up at the next family reZoomion, China’s central bank confirmed yesterday that it’s started to test a digital currency in four cities.

Cash is already a rare sight in China. With popular digital services like Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay, China’s payment tech leapfrogged the rest of the world in sophistication and adoption years ago.

  • Still without an official name, the new currency is referred to internally as “DC/EP” or “digital currency/electronic payment.”

Just don’t call it bitcoin. While the most famous cryptocurrency is both anonymous and decentralized, DC/EP is neither.

  • China’s central bank has said DC/EP will protect users’ privacy and be designed to avoid inflation. However…
  • The WSJ notes any digital yuan China creates “would be centrally housed and become part of China’s surveillance state.”

Bottom line: Chinese central bankers say the goal of DC/EP is to replace some of the cash in circulation and be ready for use by the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. There’s also a laundry list of other central banks looking to issue a general purpose digital currency in the coming years.



Don’t Go Sicko Mode

Travis Scott posterEpic Games

A barrel of oil may be negative in price, but rapper Travis Scott is still trying to cut transportation costs. Starting this Thursday, Scott will embark on a “worldwide” concert tour inside the popular video game Fortnite.

That sentence will make even a millennial feel out of touch, and we haven’t even mentioned…

The “metaverse”

Fortnite parent Epic Games is attempting to build the “metaverse,” brick by virtual brick. Emerging Tech Brew writer Ryan Duffy calls the metaverse a “digital third place” where users socialize, exchange money for goods, and consume media…like Fortnite’s Marshmello concert or an exclusive Star Wars event in 2019.

Instead of packing a physical venue, fans of Travis Scott will enter Fortnite’s online universe to watch his virtual avatar perform a new track for free.

Bottom line: Scott may not be charging admission at the gate, but there’s real money on the line–after the performance, Travis Scott-themed items will go on sale in Fortnite’s online store, which generated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2019.



  • IBM reported higher cloud computing sales last quarter, but withdrew its annual forecast for 2020.
  • United Airlines expects to report a pretax loss of $2.1 billion in Q1.
  • The National Restaurant Association said U.S. restaurants could lose $240 billion by the end of the year.
  • Amazon has installed thermal cameras in its warehouses to scan workers for coronavirus symptoms.
  • Facebook and Carnegie Mellon released a map showing county-by-county reports of COVID-19 symptoms.


Welcome back to the simplest section of the newsletter, where you click on a link and then the Motley Fool tells you which stocks they think are really good. They’re all-in on five stocks under $50. That’s what they told us to say—and we trust them, because they’ve been around for nearly 30 years, and they’ve helped their members successfully navigate historic market volatility in the past. Check out their stock picks here.


Tech Tip Tuesday: To play the word game Codenames over Zoom, use a spinoff site like this one or this one.

  • This site has an added bonus for anyone who’s interested: You can create your own word bank. Failed startups-themed game, here we come.
  • Not a Codenames fan? Here’s an exhaustive guide on how to use the Houseparty app, where you can play games with up to eight players. We’ve heard good things about Chips and Guac.

Video treat: This COVID-19 commercial compilation pretty much sums up marketing in 2020. *Somber piano music plays*

Podcast episode: Tomorrow is Earth Day. Do you know if your favorite corporate behemoth is celebrating? This week on our Business Casual podcast, Brian Deese, global head of sustainable investing at BlackRock and one of the architects of the Paris Climate Agreement, explains why investing with the climate in mind = stronger returns. Listen now on Apple / Spotify / everywhere else.


Brew’s Q’s

Restaurant chains like Shake Shack and Fogo de Chão were awarded small business loans from the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program while many independent stores missed out. Yesterday, Shake Shack said it would return the $10 million it was given, but Fogo de Chão CEO Barry McGowan CEO told the WSJ, “The scale of our business doesn’t matter…all of our restaurants count,” citing contributions to local economies. Should restaurant chains have been eligible for PPP funds?

Click here to vote.


Nothing gives you goosebumps quite like a motorcade 18 black SUVs deep. For today’s quiz, we’ll give you a world leader, and you have to figure out the make of the (very souped-up) car that drives them around.

  1. President Trump
  2. South Korean President Moon Jae-in
  3. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
  4. German Chancellor Angela Merkel
  5. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe


  1. President Trump = a Cadillac nicknamed “the Beast”
  2. South Korean President Moon Jae-in = Hyundai Nexo SUV
  3. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson = Jaguar XJ Sentinel
  4. German Chancellor Angela Merkel = Audi A8
  5. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe = Toyota Century Royal

Morning Brew

☕ Subzero

Subject: From downtown

Morning BrewApril 17, 2020
Emerging Tech Brew
Dear valued subscriber, as you know, during these uncertain, unprecedented times, we are all navigating a new normal. We hope this email finds you safe, healthy, and well. Despite the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19…

…I’ll still be sending you the newsletter as you’ve come to expect it. Have a great weekend.

In today’s acronym-heavy edition: 

 Earth, AWS, and Azure
 Stablecoins and CBDCs
 NBA scores AI partner

Ryan Duffy


A Tale of Two Clouds

AWS and Azure are essential plumbing of the internet, but they are carbon intensive operations. Amazon and Microsoft want to decarbonizeFrancis Scialabba

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure provide essential plumbing for the internet in our quarantined, bandwidth-strained world. Believe it or not, today I’m not going to focus on their role in the pandemic.

Hyperscale data centers emit more CO2 than plants bargained for in the Great Photosynthesis Pact of Prehistory. This week, Microsoft and Amazon detailed plans to decarbonize cloud operations and use them to fight climate change.


While Moore’s Law has most technologists trying to shrink computers, Microsoft went the other way Wednesday. The company announced Planetary Computer, a project to compile aggregated, machine-readable environmental data from disparate sources around the world. Examples include a database of searchable satellite imagery or local groundwater measurements.

  • Steps 2/3/4/5: Use Azure machine learning to identify patterns, build models, make predictions, and influence environmental decision-making among corporate clients and governments.

Microsoft President Brad Smith also said the company plans to protect more land than it uses by 2025. In January, Microsoft launched a $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund and pledged to be carbon negative by 2030.


In his annual letter to shareholders yesterday, CEO Jeff Bezos devoted seven paragraphs to the company’s sustainability initiatives. Amazon is using its AWS data science chops to model the carbon footprint of ordering Whole Foods online vs. going to your nearest store. Unsurprisingly, Amazon says ordering online is better.

Bezos said AWS servers are more efficient than traditional data centers, since they run at higher utilization rates. He still wants to offset AWS emissions—and decarbonize Amazon operations—by 2040. But that’ll require extensive renewable energy investments and a massive EV fleet.

Back to Earth

These cloud services bundle state-of-the-art machine learning and analytical tools, which can help measure and model climate change.

Azure and AWS are high-tech utilities. But don’t forget, they’re also easily monetizable, high-margin businesses driving tens of billions in revenue each year. Microsoft and Amazon are dead-set on growing cloud market share and winning three-comma contracts.



Libra 2.0

Facebook's Libra will launch with less ambitious plansFrancis Scialabba

Rest easy, U.S. dollar. For now, nothing is replacing you as the world’s reserve currency.

Yesterday, Facebook formally announced a less ambitious launch plan for Libra. Whereas FB initially envisioned Libra as one stablecoin pegged to a basket of currencies, the digital payment project will move forward with multiple coins pegged to local currencies, like the euro or the dollar.

  • Another notable change: Libra will be a closed system, not open-source and permissionless like bitcoin.

Last October, major payment processors including Visa and Mastercard pulled out of the Libra Association following resistance from regulators on multiple continents. Despite that attrition, Shopify and crypto startup Tagomi have recently joined the association.

Would you look at that timing?

On Tuesday, the international Financial Stability Board (FSB) said stablecoins could undermine global financial stability without suitable regulation.

Libra has already succeeded in at least one way, though. It’s a kick-in-the-rear for central bankers to take digital currencies more seriously. China’s central bank plans to release its own, and dozens of other countries are interested as well.



These Orthopedic Surgeons Are Hot


Monogram is the company disrupting the $27 billion joint replacement industry, and they’re raising money—fast. This might be your last chance to get in on the action.

They’ve raised over $1 million. In the past four days. Where’s all that money coming from? People like you, who can recognize Monogram’s revolutionary (and lucrative) potential.

Despite the global joint reconstruction market being worth $27 billion, just four players account for a whopping 76% of the market. And those four players administer a low standard of care, building generic, one-size-fits-all joints to put in people’s bodies.

One-size-fits-all barely works for hats.

Monogram’s technology changes the game with high-precision, patient-specific implants built by state-of-the-art robotics. Once Monogram unleashes their tech on the orthopedic market, the old, outdated companies will begin to fall away, leaving Monogram in their place.

You have until April 24th to invest in the future of orthopedicsDon’t miss this opportunity.


Basketball Is Microsoft’s Favorite Sport

NBA and Microsoft collaborate on DTC, AI-powered consumer streaming, entertainment, and broadcast appNBA/Microsoft

Digital transformation varies by sports league. For Chinese professional baseball, it means robots celebrating home runs in fanless stadiums. For the NBA, it means partnering with Microsoft to launch a direct-to-consumer streaming service.

At this point, the partnership revealed yesterday seems pretty open-ended. But the two companies emphasized the use of AI and machine learning to create a “personalized” fan experience, which could allow fans to toggle between different broadcasts, viewing angles, or post-production features. The app will also presumably let users pull data on players and teams they follow.

As tech analyst Ben Thompson notes, the NBA is effectively a media company. The new partnership gives the league more control of distribution, but that doesn’t mean it’s cutting out the linear TV middleman.

  • “I think if we do our jobs right, we’re a complement to whoever our broadcaster is, because they have the same interest we do in increasing engagement,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Thompson.

Zoom out: Microsoft may be the NBA’s official AI and cloud partner on fan engagement, but the NFL is working with AWS.



Damaged cabling and telecommunications equipment is pictured following a fire at a phone mast, attatched to the chimney at the converted Fearnleys Mill residential apartment block complex in Huddersfield, northern England, on April 17, 2020. - It is not yet known what caused the mast, which is attached to a chimney at the Fearnleys Mill development, to go up in flames. But the fire comes after a number of mobile phone masts have been set on fire amid claims of a link between 5G and the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty

Stat: Conspiracy theorists have torched nearly 60 mobile masts (aka cell towers) in the U.K., the FT reports, acting on an internet theory that 5G causes coronavirus (nope). The Netherlands’ counterterrorism agency also recently reported arson and sabotage at various tower sites.

Quote: “I don’t miss being a CEO one bit…I enjoyed it immensely, when I was doing it. But do I enjoy what I am doing now? The answer is, immensely”—former RadioShack CEO Brian Levy to Canada’s National Post. Levy went back to school to get his MD and is now an ER doc working on the frontlines of COVID-19.

Read: Wired’s heart-wrenching profile of Lee Holloway, the Cloudflare cofounder suffering from frontotemporal dementia.



We are in our respective living rooms and more productive than everFormstack is a workplace productivity software that tames data chaos, automates workflow, and keeps our team moving forward—even WFH. Download their Workplace Productivity Report for simple solutions to boost your efficiency, and let Formstack handle the grunt work. Start an exclusive free 14-day trial today.


  • Google is cracking down on fleeceware, deepfake, and location tracking apps in the Play Store.
  • Apple announced a budget iPhone SE with the A13 Bionic chip, Touch ID, wireless charging, a 12-megapixel wide camera, and support for Portrait mode.
  • Waymo blogged about using Google AI techniques to augment its dataset. In another self-driving technical blog, Aurora wrote about the superiority of FMCW lidar.
  • The Pentagon didn’t find evidence of political interference in its decision to award the $10 billion JEDI contract to Microsoft. But senior DoD officials weren’t allowed to testify about communications with the White House so, yeah.
  • Related: A Microsoft lawyer wrote a spicy blog post saying AWS “bid high and lost” and should let it go.


There are over 30,000 known species of fish. But there are just four phishing choices for you to choose from here. Four of the following news stories are real; one is fake. Can you spot the odd one out?

  1. Kanye West’s Wyoming ranch has a fleet of matte black Ford F-150s and ATVs. Oh, also a tank.
  2. An astronaut who just returned from the International Space Station said he wants to just head right back to space.
  3. On Easter, the Pope said this may be the time to consider universal basic income.
  4. Stanford grad students created a smart toilet that recognizes people by their rear end and analyzes their urine and stool samples for disease.


One of the more light-hearted casualties of our current situation is commitments to New Years resolutions. My “reduce screen time” resolution got decimated, but my “read more books” resolution is proceeding swimmingly. How have yours changed? Any that you’re still maintaining? Reply and let me know; I’ll include the best answers next week.


For beautiful drone pictures: A drone photographer captured portraits of Italian families quarantined in their apartments (with their permission), often costumed.

For experimentation: Auto-generated computer science papers, complete with graphs, figures, and citations. Don’t use this in school!

For history buffs: A relevant ad from 110 years ago.

Bell Telephone


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An astronaut returning from space didn’t say he wants to go right back.

Subject: Our new world

Morning Brew

☕ PPPlease Fund

April 20, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Compare Credit
Good morning. If you’re excited about today being 4/20, we have some news for you…the entire month is 4/20!




– 3.59%



– 11.03%



– 15.05%



+ 11.32%



– 127.70 bps



– 71.52%

*As of market close
  • U.S. markets: Tech and biotech stocks led the gains last week. But short sellers (investors betting against the market) haven’t been this aggressive in years. This week will feature major earnings reports and the return of that nightmare unemployment claims chart on Thursday.
  • COVID-19: Total cases topped 2.3 million worldwide, and the U.S. has reported more than 40,000 deaths. Some countries in Europe are beginning to ease lockdown restrictions, but experts say the U.S. isn’t doing enough tests to do the same.


Pot: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It

South Park marijuana storeGiphy

Where federal and state policy meet is like the crack between your stove and countertop: The things that fall down there are out of sight, out of mind.

Well…until a pandemic hits. Policies intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 are highlighting some of the peculiar paradoxes of industries that follow different rules at different levels of government—industries like cannabis.

  • Recreational marijuana is legal in 11 U.S. states, and medical use is permitted in 33 (both are allowed in Washington, D.C.). Some states have deemed marijuana businesses “essential” and allowed them to stay open during the shutdown.
  • However, cannabis remains illegal at the national level.

To recap: necessary for people’s livelihoods in some states, breaking the law federally. Or as one law professor put it to the WaPo: “Yesterday’s vice is considered today’s essential service.”

Essential, but not eligible

While many cannabis companies saw a boom in the early days of lockdown, sales are now dipping. Many are experiencing additional financial pressures adjusting operations to delivery or drive-thru.

  • However, because of their status at the federal level, marijuana companies were not eligible for any of the $350 billion in small business loans made available through the CARES Act.

Zoom out: Marijuana companies are used to being denied by large institutions: Big banks won’t touch the stuff, fearing legal blowback. Some small credit unions have stepped in, but the sector still mostly depends on cash transactions.

What’s next?

Pro-cannabis legislators and business owners are pushing for access to Small Business Administration funds that might be included in the next relief package. Also in play is the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would keep federal regulators from taking any “adverse action” against financial institutions that work with cannabis companies. It passed the House last year but the Senate is a different story.

+ Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter Retail Brew, which is going into more detail on cannabis companies later today.



PPPlease Fund

U.S. lawmakers are nearing an agreement to refill the Paycheck Protection Program’s coffers with $310 billion, days after the first $350 billion evaporated.

Yesterday, Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin and Democratic party leaders said the Senate could reach a deal as early as today and secure House approval Tuesday. The bill would also include $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for increased COVID-19 testing.

Will they work out Round 1’s kinks?

Banking execs compared PPP’s opening day to “a stampede through the eye of a needle.” Most small biz relief funds were accounted for within minutes, but demand hasn’t dropped off since PPP ran out of funding last Friday.

  • JPMorgan disbursed $14 billion in loans (more than any other bank)…but still has about $26 billion worth of applications waiting for additional federal funding.

There’s been controversy. PPP was designed to help companies with <500 employees cover payroll, but several large chains with thousands of employees have secured maximum payouts. Potbelly, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Shake Shack received a combined $40 million in loans.



Our New World

When things are uncertain, we often turn to Mary Meeker to pull away the cobwebs. The venture capitalist, best known for her annual “Internet Trends” report, just released a paper on COVID-19 with her team at Bond Capital. It was published first by Axios.

Our takeaways:

We live in a virus’s dream world: More people are living in cities and traveling between cities than ever before. And viruses don’t need to go through customs.

Scientists are collaborating at warp speed: They’ve published around 3,000 papers on COVID-19, which is 20x the published research of other infectious diseases at the same point in the public health response.

Zoom has made history: Its surge ranks among the most remarkable growth stories in the internet age, outpacing even Instagram and Fortnite.

Federal relief was swift and massive: The U.S.’ $4.3 trillion of monetary and fiscal stimulus = 124% of government revenue in 2019.

Bond Capital

Looking ahead…“It’s hard to know exactly what return to work will look like.” While many businesses will never recover, “there will be new businesses that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago.”



They Gave You $1,000, Now They’re Giving You 0%

Last Friday, our more eagle-eyed viewers noticed a simple but effective and also eloquent Compare Credit™ ad telling them how they could win $1,000. That offer is still on the table, but we’re here to talk about something equally chill.

Compare Credit™ has put together a list of credit cards so great in their cash back, and so low in their APR (which is to say, 0%), that just opening the page may cause your pupils to dilate.

This page has it all if:

  • You’re looking to pay 0% interest until 2022 on balance transfers (up to 21 months) 
  • You want to pay 0% interest on new purchases for up to 14 months while earning up to 5% cash back
  • You really enjoy visiting new websites

Feels like a pretty decent time to be taking care of debt or saving on interest, yeah? Yeah.

Apply today.


Rhode Island: Short on Space, Big on Testing Capacity

Rhode Island beachTown of Narragansett, RI

Last Thursday, President Trump handed governors the baton to reopen America. But a new study warns states lack the testing capacity to safely relax lockdown restrictions.

Harvard researchers estimate states need to conduct 152 tests per 100,000 residents daily. But 34 states were conducting fewer than 50 tests per 100,000 people during the week ended April 15.

Just one state meets the threshold. Faced with the prospect of summer beach walks without Del’s frozen lemonade, Rhode Island mobilized. It’s been administering 185 tests per 100,000 residents.

  • The secret sauce? On April 6, hometown hero CVS Health opened a rapid-testing clinic, doubling testing capacity. The state’s also the size of a U-Haul.

Zoom out: The debate around when to reopen is turning into a 2020 edition of the Federalist Papers. On Sunday, Vice President Pence called on governors to mobilize state labs. But Republican and Democratic governors pushed back, insisting they lack supplies needed for widespread testing, like swabs and reagents. Last night, Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to compel private manufacturers to make more swabs.



The Week Ahead

Deepwater HorizonU.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images

Before we go forward, let’s go back. Today is the 10th anniversary of the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 and sent the equivalent of 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill, often regarded as the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, cost BP more than $65 billion.

Monday: Boeing resumes production in Washington state; IBM earnings

Tuesday: Existing home sales; earnings (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Snap, Chipotle, Travelers)

Wednesday: 50th anniversary of Earth Day; earnings (Delta, AT&T, Quest Diagnostics)

Thursday: Weekly unemployment claims; new home sales; NFL Draft begins; Ramadan begins; earnings (Intel, Eli Lilly, Domino’s, Southwest, Capital One, Blackstone)

Friday: Durable goods orders; earnings (Verizon, American Express, Sanofi)



  • Facebook will roll out a gaming app today to take on Google’s YouTube and Amazon’s Twitch, per the NYT.
  • Bankruptcy watch: 24 Hour Fitness (potentially in the next few months) and Neiman Marcus (maybe this week).
  • Matt Maddox, the CEO of Wynn Resorts, called on Nevada to conditionally reopen parts of the economy in early May.
  • Walmart and Sam’s Club will require store workers to wear masks or face coverings beginning today.
  • Marc Andreessen: “It’s time to build.”


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*This is sponsored advertising content


crossword April 20 Toby Howell

Just call us the Brew York Times. Today, Beyond Crossword has graduated from its kindergarten roots to become a real life, 15×15 crossword puzzle thanks to Brew writer Toby Howell.

You can complete the crossword here.


Beyond Crossword

Toby Howell

Just call us the Brew York Times. Today, Beyond Crossword has graduated from its kindergarten roots to become a real life, 15×15 crossword puzzle thanks to Brew writer Toby Howell.

You can complete the crossword here.

Subject: MJ’s Back

*Note: as mentioned at the beginning, the subject in my email vs. the one they have for optics to the outside world may be inconsistent.

Morning Brew

☕ The GOAT

To: Me

April 18, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Good morning. Anyone else only watching Lady Gaga’s concert to see inside the houses of celebrities? We’ll be on the lookout for Brew mugs. 




+ 1.38%



+ 2.68%



+ 2.99%



– 2.27%



+ 1.90 bps



– 8.51%

*As of market close
U.S. markets: Though thousands of Americans died from the coronavirus this week, investors chose to focus on plans to relax stay-at-home restrictions. Stocks gained for the second straight week.


Now If We’re Talkin’ Antibodies

Antibody testingRobin Utretcht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

With widespread COVID-19 vaccines looking like a New Year’s resolution for 2021, both the biotech and business communities are increasingly betting on antibody testing to get us back to some semblance of normal.

To the la-bor-a-tory

First, Dee Dee get out. Now, what are antibodies? The Brew’s resident bio PhD (this writer’s sister) said, “Proteins that can recognize other proteins. That’s as simple as I can make it.”

  • In the case of the coronavirus, certain antibodies can tell us whether a person has been exposed to the virus in the past—and if they’ve possibly developed immunity. All it takes is a blood sample.
  • Antibody tests can give a more accurate tally of how many people have been unknowingly infected. In one California county, a large-scale community test found between 50x and 80x more infections than originally reported.

Big picture: Antibody tests could potentially help public health officials safely lift social distancing measures by indicating whether large swaths of the population have developed immunity.

The good news?

More tests could be coming. Swiss pharma company Roche said yesterday it’s developed an antibody test for COVID-19 that it plans to start selling early next month, and dozens of other companies have introduced similar tests. Some are as simple as an at-home pregnancy test; others require a medical professional to administer them.

But officials aren’t sold on antibody testing for several reasons: 1) The WHO warned yesterday that these tests can’t actually prove someone is immune to the coronavirus 2) there are concerns about accuracy and 3) without a centralized results database or uniform method for testing, we’re still flying relatively blind.

Zoom out: Many experts say reliable antibody testing to determine immunity could take as long to develop and distribute as a vaccine. But that hasn’t stopped biotech companies like Roche from taking advantage of relaxed regulations to give it their best shot.



One Investor’s Trash is P&G’s Treasure

toilet paper Francis Scialabba

We’re calling it now: a surge in babies named Febreze, Downy, and Tide Pod in January. It only makes sense considering all the time we’re spending…cleaning.

Another side effect? Household products giant Procter & Gamble tallied its biggest U.S. sales increase in decades last quarter.

  • Fabric and home care revenue spiked 10% and healthcare sales 9%.
  • However, sales at P&G’s grooming and beauty divisions dipped 1% and rose 1%, respectively, as we put dramatically less effort into our appearances.

Zoom out: P&G’s sales clearly got a boost from COVID-19. And while execs were satisfied with last quarter’s attitude of “clean clothes, full pantries, can’t lose,” they warned of future volatility given widespread unemployment and retail closures.

Another big question: Post COVID-19, will we keep handwashing even when someone else isn’t in the bathroom? P&G CFO Jon Moeller thinks so—he says our newfound appreciation for hygiene will outlast the pandemic, which could mean more solid earnings for P&G.



We Will Do Anything to Get on This Mission


NASA announced yesterday that it’s targeting a May 27 launch date to send two astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX rocket. That’d be one small step for man, one giant leap for everyone who’s said “what planet are we living on” in the last month.

It is an enormous step for one specific man: Elon Musk. This NASA launch will be the first on a rocket owned by a private company—Musk’s SpaceX.

  • Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of enabling people to live on other planets. This will be the first time it flies humans.
  • If successful, it’ll give SpaceX a leg up over Boeing, which also has a NASA contract to fly astronauts to the ISS.

As for NASA, this means more money for freeze-dried ice cream. Its astronauts have been schlepping to Russia to get to and from the ISS, to the tune of $83 million per seat. This launch will be the first flight of NASA crews from U.S. soil since 2011.



We Don’t Have A Rich Wall Street Uncle


Uncle Jimmy might be great at prank calls, but he’s pretty useless when it comes to real estate investment advice. That’s why we trust DiversyFund. They are an alternative investment platform that opens up new ways for everyday investors to diversify their portfolio and invest outside the typical exchanges, starting with their Growth REIT.

You know the spiel: Diversification is key to long-term financial success. That’s why DiversyFund is making once off-limits investments available to everyone. Their Growth REIT allows investors to invest in alternatives that hedge against market volatility. Especially in uncertain times, DiversyFund chooses assets that have a steady history, like commercial properties—specifically multifamily properties.

DiversyFund is SEC-qualified, so you remain informed on all aspects of your investment. Plus, they have no management fees. Leave the jokes to Uncle Jimmy, and learn how to invest in million-dollar deals without writing million-dollar checks with DiversyFund.

You can start investing in the REIT with as little as $500 right here.


MJ’s Back

Michael JordanGiphy

It looks like we might finally have weekend plans. On Sunday, ESPN and Netflix are releasing the first two episodes of the massively hyped 10-part Michael Jordan docuseries, “The Last Dance,” providing an in-depth look into the Chicago Bulls’s 1997–98 season.

The backstory: ESPN started its 30 for 30 documentary franchise in 2009 to celebrate its 30th anniversary—30 films to celebrate 30 years of covering sports. Since then, the franchise has grown to include over 90 films, including critically acclaimed specials like “OJ: Made in America.”

Enter “His Airness”

If Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen, “The Last Dance” has mass stay-at-home orders leaving viewers with all the time in the world to stream videos.
  • The current record for a 30 for 30 documentary premiere is “You Don’t Know Bo” with 3.6 million viewers on Dec. 8, 2012.
  • The MJ doc is expected to top that. As the LA Times writes, it’s not just a TV show…”it’s a cultural event.”

Bottom line: With a virtual NFL draft scheduled to begin on Thursday, April 23, ESPN finally has some non-obscure sports programming in the pipeline. Here’s a cornhole highlight if that makes you sad.

+ Bonus question: Did we choose the right Jordan GIF? One of the most difficult decisions a newsletter writer can make.



  • President Trump sent off a series of tweets seemingly meant to encourage protestors angry about social distancing measures in several states.
  • Retailers, restaurants, and hotels got a combined 18% of emergency small business loans issued by the government, as of Thursday.
  • More cancellations: San Diego’s Comic-Con and Taylor Swift’s entire 2020 concert lineup. Don’t tell us to calm down.
  • Walmart will hire 50,000 more workers.
  • Bill Gates is the subject of online conspiracy theories.



Let’s look towards the long-term. DiversyFund allows everyday investors to invest outside the typical exchanges and protect against market volatility with their Growth REIT. DiversyFund manages assets directly, getting rid of the middleman and the pesky fees that come with them. Learn how you can build wealth like the 1% with just $500 here.


Weekend conversation starters…for your next Zoom happy hour or your always-listening pen pal (that’s us):

Reading books in quarantine is great because 1) a book placed next to coffee makes for a quality Instagram Story pic and 2) a book will never ask if you want to “continue reading.” For some recommendations, check out the latest installment of Brew’s Bookshelf, where we’re sharing our team’s favorite business-related reads.


One of these headlines is not like the others. Namely, real. Can you spot the news headline we made up?

  1. “Following complaints, Brooklyn block institutes auditions for 7pm cheering”
  2. “ is like a fitness tracker for your sourdough starter”
  3. “Dating app Bumble provides small-business cash faster than U.S.”
  4. “A Florida bar pulled down $10,000 in single bills stuck to the wall so it could pay its 22 unemployed workers”


Haven’t heard of cheering auditions, but…feel like that’s not out of the realm of possibility.

From here on, we’ll omit the ADVERTISE // CAREERS //SHOP parts  of the email.  We’ll probably omit the socials and other items in the next one:

Subject: Old normal

April 17, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Good Friday morning and congratulations to Mary Kate Kellock and Zack Taylor, the winners of our second MacBook Pro giveaway. Thanks so much to everyone who shared the Brew this week. You didn’t win the laptop, but you might have earned yourself some Brew swag. And that’s, like, at least 10% as cool.

What’s less cool but very understandable is that a lot of us will be under lockdown for at least the next couple of weeks. Time to pull out all the stops: workout challenges with friends, weekly trivia nights, DIY projects, etc. Got any good ideas? Send ’em our way.



+ 1.66%


+ 0.58%


+ 0.14%


– 0.27%


– 1.40 bps


– 1.41%

*As of market close
  • Global economy: China said its Q1 GDP fell 6.8%, the first time on record it’s declined.
  • Stimulus: The $350 billion in loans for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program has officially run dry. Lawmakers will be under heavy pressure to open up new funds.
  • Housing: Housing starts, which is exactly what it sounds like, sank 22% in March from a month earlier. Another housing market indicator, the homebuilder confidence index, sank the most on record on Wednesday. Feel like that paints the picture adequately.



President TrumpMANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Yesterday, President Trump released Opening Up America Again, a framework to help states ease lockdown restrictions.

  • At a press conference last night, Trump said he would leave it to governors to determine when to swing the gates open. But he also said, “We must have a working economy, and we want to get it back very, very quickly.”

WH coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx unveiled a three-phase plan where “all vulnerable individuals” stay home and employees return to work gradually. To enter each phase, states have to meet “gating” thresholds that may be declining documented cases or a decreasing percentage of positive tests.

  • Phase 1: A limited group of businesses like restaurants and movie theaters are allowed to reopen while schools remain closed and vulnerable people stay home.
  • Phase 2: Schools can reopen and non-essential travel can resume.
  • Phase 3: Vulnerable people can resume public interactions while practicing social distancing.

Sounds good, right? Lots of Americans are eager to get back to the old normal. If you’re not, your name is Larry David.

But there’s a major issue: testing

Public health officials, lawmakers, and business leaders are concerned the U.S. can’t test people at the scale necessary to responsibly send us back to work.

  • In the entirety of the crisis, the U.S. has conducted nearly 3.5 million tests. Experts say we need to test millions per week before we get back to working IRL in any significant capacity.
  • If the U.S. eases restrictions too early, medical authorities say, it risks spurring a second wave of infections that overwhelms the healthcare system. In fact, a second wave of COVID-19 infections is hitting northern Japan right now.

Zoom out: Earlier this week, Trump said that he had “total authority” over when to reopen. Now he’s deferring to governors, showing that the pandemic requires locally tailored responses.



The Chart That Keeps on Taking

unemployment chartMarketWatch

Thursdays used to mean breaking out sweats to prepare for casual Friday. Now, they mean coming face-to-face with this nightmare chart of jobless claims.

Last week, 5.2 million U.S. workers filed for unemployment, bringing the four-week total to 22 million and wiping out nearly all the job gains from the 11-year bull market that followed the Great Recession.

Now, layoffs are fanning out from early-affected industries. The April jobs report could log 1.5 million layoffs of nonessential healthcare workers and 3.4 million layoffs across business-services fields like consulting, law, and advertising, according to Oxford Economics.

  • “The virus shock does not discriminate across sectors as we initially thought,” Oxford’s Gregory Daco told the WSJ.

State unemployment agencies trying to accommodate the surge are as overrun as a Chuck E. Cheese during a Duggar family birthday party.

For the 17 million who filed before last week, an estimated half have yet to collect federal payments. And those additional $600 payments through the CARES Act are only available in 29 states so far.



DraftKings Takes the Over

Three letters you thought you’d never hear during a global pandemic: I-P-O. Sports betting giant DraftKings is set to go public via a reverse merger after nabbing regulatory approval this week to join forces with SBTech, a gaming tech company, and Diamond Eagle, a public acquisition vehicle. The deal values DraftKings at $3.3 billion.

  • The last hurdle: Diamond Eagle shareholders vote on it next Thursday.

You might be wondering, does DraftKings even have business right now? Kinda. COVID-19 has forced gambling companies to get creative and give customers opportunities to bet on everything from Eastern European ping pong matches to TV and politics.

Looking ahead…in a “pinch us we’re dreaming” moment, the PGA Tour said yesterday golf will resume mid-June. The entire world might put down a wager on that first tournament back.



Give Somebody a Stock Pick, They’ll Trade for a Day

Raging Bull

Teach somebody fundamentally new approaches to the market? Well, they’ll make lucrative trades for a lifetime.

Led by millionaire trader Jeff Bishop, Raging Bull doesn’t believe in telling you about “that one stock that’ll get you rich.” Quite the contrary: Their platform is a holistic teaching tool designed for you to learn new trading strategies that you’ll use forever.

Jeff Bishop distilled his decades of experience into one free book: The Trader’s Blackbook. We’ve secured a limited number for our readers, and it’s free to instantly download a copy. (For the traditionalists out there, you can get your mitts on a physical copy if you pay shipping and handling.)

Don’t pass up on The Trader’s Blackbook. It is—quite literally—a free wealth of trading knowledge.


French Companies Suffer From Le Downturn

MakeupFrancis Scialabba

Like a good pain au chocolat, yesterday’s news from French consumer behemoths LVMH and L’Oréal is bittersweet.

The bitter: LVMH same-store sales fell 17% in Q1, while L’Oréal’s dropped almost 5%. The coronavirus pandemic closed luxury stores pretty much everywhere—LVMH said it will be “very affected” in Q2 and it will cut last year’s dividend by 30%.

The sweet: L’Oréal said its China sales had turned positive in March as the country reopened, and it’s penciling in 5%–10% gains in April. LVMH said it’s hopeful for a relaxation of lockdowns in May or June and will reopen some manufacturing plants accordingly.

Bottom line: The French may be all about égalité, but not all consumer conglomerates are created equal. L’Oréal has an advantage because it sells personal care products like shampoo that remain available and in-demand in essential stores.



No One Is Going Anywhere

TSA checkpoint numbersNeal Freyman/TSA

If the Wright Brothers time-traveled to April 2020 they’d look up and say, “What have you guys been doing for the last 117 years?”

The number of travelers that passed through TSA checkpoints

  • April 15, 2020: 90,784
  • A year ago on the same weekday: 2,317,381

That’s why United Airlines said yesterday travel demand was “essentially zero” and going nowhere fast.

+ Weekend reading: Now Arriving at La Guardia Airport: One Passenger




Since this quiz is now going to 2 million inboxes…should we make it harder? Let us know when we hit the Goldilocks zone of quiz-making. It’s the Brew’s Weekly News Quiz.

1. Israel’s National Security Council has reportedly finalized a plan to slowly lift stay-at-home restrictions by opening sectors of the economy in a specified order. Can you put these sectors in order from first to reopen to last?

  1. Commerce and retail
  2. Sports, air travel, and entertainment
  3. Tech and finance
  4. Restaurants and hotels

2. True or false: The new iPhone SE costs less than $500.

3. Which of the following brands is not seeing a renaissance during the time of COVID-19:

  1. Ravensburger
  2. Pet Rock
  3. Houseparty
  4. Kraft Heinz

4. Fill in the blank: Gilead Sciences’ drug, _________, is one of the leaders in the race to treat COVID-19. No excuses, we told you to remember this word at the beginning of the week.

5. Thanks to lucrative offshore oil fields, one small country’s economy is forecasted to grow 53% in 2020. That’s easily the most of any country and the only economy in the Americas expected to grow at all this year. Which country is it?

Take the QuizOr, you can keep scrolling for the answers. 



  • New York and other East Coast states extended closures of nonessential businesses until May 15.
  • The U.K.’s lockdown will also last at least three more weeks.
  • Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook employees can WFH through the summer and the company won’t hold large physical events until July 2021.
  • GM and Ford signed a new $336 million contract to produce 50,000 ventilators for the U.S. government.
  • Morgan Stanley capped big bank earnings this week with a 30% drop in profit for Q1.
  • Instacart and Costco are partnering for prescription drug delivery.


  • Want to win $1,000? The collective “Heck Yes” is deafening. So here’s how: Compare Credit™ has created their Freedom Dividend to give 10 lucky people $1,000 next month. All you have to do is answer a few questions and you’re entered. Click for your chance at the cash.*
  • Raise money for the businesses and employees that are struggling right nowPOGO is Underground Printing’s fundraising platform, now offering small business fundraisers, remote apparel distribution, and virtual events. Today, they’re waiving all fees associated with POGO for Brew readers. Check it out here.*
  • Here’s a recipe roundup from The Essentials. If you haven’t heard, that’s our brand new newsletter helping you stay sane while hunkering down at home. Think our daily quarantine planner on steroids. Sign up here. Okay, enough of that, now the recipes…

*This is sponsored advertising content


Each sentence below contains a word that can be anagrammed to answer or describe the sentence.

Example: Craft that might tip in the ocean. Answer: Canoe (anagram of ocean)

1. You cover a mattress with one of these
2. Dangerous thing for an alcoholic to begin
3. Feature on which a tire might be rated
4. Feeling about a poisonous adder
5. Weapon that a cavalryman bears
6. It doesn’t necessarily bring rain, but it could


When you share the Brew, you earn rewards.

From Brew swag like t-shirts and coffee mugs to exclusive content, we’ve got something for everyone in our premier rewards program.

Click here to get free swag.

Hit the button below to start sharing the Brew.

Click to ShareOr copy & paste your referral link to others:


Friday Puzzle

1. Sheet
2. Binge
3. Tread
4. Dread
5. Sabre or Saber
6. Cloud

Weekly News Quiz: 1. Tech and finance; commerce and retail; restaurants and hotels; then sports, air travel, and entertainment 2. True; it costs $399 3. Pet Rock 4. Remdesivir 5. Guyana

Written by Alex HickeyJamie WildeEliza Carter, and Neal Freyman

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   Quarantine newsletter → The Essentials

   Retail newsletter → Retail Brew

   Business podcast → Business Casual

Our first “Morning Brew”:

Subject: Fragile Situation

Morning Brew (April 16, 2020)

☕ Special edition

To: Me

April 16, 2020Read in Browser
Daily Brew
Hint Water
Good morning and welcome to the many new faces who joined from our MacBook Pro giveaway yesterday. Congrats are in order to the winning duo: x and y. Our only request is that you use these computers to book a long vacation as soon as it’s safe to do so.

And if we’ve learned anything from Fast & Furious, it’s that you should keep doing something until it stops working. So let’s give away two more computers today. Here are the details:

  • When you share the Brew today using your unique referral link, you get entered into a raffle to win a MacBook Pro.
  • If you win a computer, we’ll select someone you referred to win one, too. And the more you share, the better chance you have (1 referral = 1 ticket).




– 1.44%



– 2.20%



– 1.86%



– 1.41%



– 11.70 bps



+ 0.25%

*As of market close
  • Economy: Americans are making bread and not much else. U.S. manufacturing production in March suffered its biggest monthly drop since 1946. Makers of cars and auto parts took the biggest tumble, down 28%.
  • Stimulus: The IRS launched a website to help you track your stimulus payment. And it appears as though the $350 billion in small business loans is close to running dry. More than $296 billion in loans had been approved by yesterday afternoon, the SBA disclosed.


No One Be Shopping

retail sales in Q1 illustrationFrancis Scialabba

In the coronavirus era, new economic data is like looking at the cockroach you whacked with a magazine. It’s unpleasant, but you have to do it just in case. So we’ll deliver yesterday’s March retail sales numbers in the most digestible ways we can think of.

  • Generally, the sector was like a dolphin plunging into the sea—overall sales dropped 8.7% monthly, the biggest dip since the government started keeping track in 1992.

To break it down, let’s start with the bright spots. March grocery sales bounced almost 27%.

  • Health and personal care stores and general merchandise stores also fared well, growing sales 4.3% and 6.4%, respectively.

Some economists said grocery’s surge may not last now that we’re all stocked up on kimchi. But grocery has long been considered recession-proof, and with restaurants closed there’s reason to believe demand will stay strong.

Now for the darker spots

Before we get there, remember that March hit the retail sector with a double whammy: 1) stores shuttered to comply with government orders and 2) layoffs from other industries hurt consumer spending. But again, we’ll try to keep it pleasant.

  • Clothing sales were like a maple leaf drifting off its bough…halfway to the ground. They dropped 50%.
  • Furniture/home furnishings and food services/drinking places were like a pair of pelicans diving for fish, both dropping nearly 27%.

Big picture: March may have come out like a lion, but we all know April is the cruelest month. Barclays Chief U.S. Economist Michael Gapen told Bloomberg, “the April data is likely to be even worse because for a good half of March, things were still open.”



Tim Cooked Up a New iPhone

new iPhoneApple

The iPhone SE is back and if you know what the “SE” stands for then congrats on your job at Apple. Clocking in at a refreshingly svelte $399, it brings back some fan favorite design elements with a few notable exceptions.

What’s included…

  • Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, the same one found in the latest iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.
  • Portrait mode, but don’t try it on your pet.
  • A home button with Touch ID and haptic feedback.

And what’s not…

  • 5G connectivity, more on that later.
  • Face ID, which could be a plus because, you know, masks.
  • The smaller size of past SE models.

Apple will likely unveil its flagship iPhone 12 line this fall and yes, they will be 5G compatible.

Bottom line: Apple is releasing cheaper phones for the first time since 2016 because 1) budget-conscious buyers aren’t upgrading flagship models as often and 2) they attract new consumers into the services ecosystem Apple’s intent on growing.



Banks Stuff Money Under the Mattress

The beginning of earnings season highlighted just how bumpy the road ahead will be for the U.S.’ major banks—let’s hope they peed before getting in the car.

A white glove lineup including JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs disclosed this week that they bolstered their rainy day funds by a combined $20 billion in Q1.

  • Why? With so many households and businesses on the brink due to COVID-19 layoffs and closures, a deluge of loan defaults looks inevitable. Banks, from their consumer to investment divisions, are doomsday prepping.

And execs think those piles they set aside to account for bad loans could get even bigger next quarter, further proof Wall Street has its doubts that the $2.2 trillion relief package D.C. just doled out is enough to steady everyday Americans’ finances.

With that in mind, BofA, Citi, and Goldman all copped to profit drops north of 40% in Q1 yesterday. Q2 might look tanner, but not much better.



Sips, Shipped

Hint Water

Not to get all sciencey on you, but H2O is pretty important when it comes to staying hydrated and healthy.

You might say that’s a no-brainer, but we bet you didn’t know what happens when you drink Hint: Their delicious, fruit-infused water transports you from the living room to a place where watermelons cascade down waterfalls and blackberries emerge from the mist.

Not only does Hint make us feel like we’re sheltering in paradise, this water provides refreshment without any sugar, diet sweeteners, calories, or preservatives. Having “The Talk” with soda was the easiest breakup we’ve ever had.

New customers can enjoy Hint for just a buck per bottle, plus free shipping straight to your door—no waiting in line or using your bathtub for amateur fruit infusion. Just use promo code “BREW” at checkout. Stay hydrated with Hint today.


The Worst Year in the History of Global Oil Markets

geopoliticsFrancis Scialabba

That’s what we’re headed for, according to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report released yesterday.

How we got here: Lockdowns intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus crushed oil demand. Canceled vacations and business trips mean no need for fuel to propel planes. No one is commuting or attending events, so no one’s buying gas.

  • IEA said the world is experiencing the biggest annual demand decline in history, with nearly a decade of demand growth set to be wiped out.
  • Crude prices fell to their lowest point since 2002 yesterday.

Oil producers have tried to limit the fallout. On Sunday, OPEC+ reached a historic agreement to cut production in a last-ditch attempt to stabilize prices. That may help a little bit, but there is “no feasible agreement that could cut supply by enough” to counteract the demand collapse, the IEA says. Most analysts agree.

One stubborn optimist: Energy data provider Kayrros says the cuts are steep enough to avoid overwhelming storage capacity.



Germany Set to Return in Fits and Stuttgarts

Europe’s largest economy is ready to emerge from hibernation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country will begin to slowly ease lockdown restrictions—some shops can open next week and schools will return starting May 4.

  • The country has suffered more than 3,200 reported COVID-19 deaths. But Merkel said it’s achieved “fragile intermediate success” in controlling the pandemic.

This won’t be your Germany of 2019. The businesses that open will have to follow strict social distancing and hygiene precautions. Germans are strongly encouraged to wear face masks when riding public transportation or going shopping. And large public gatherings are still banned until Aug. 31.

Zoom out: Europe is beginning to recover. Spain’s construction and manufacturing workers are back in action, as are many stores in Austria and some in Italy. Kids under 11 are going back to school in Denmark.

A sobering bottom line, via Merkel: “It is a fragile situation in which caution is required, not exuberance.”

+ While we’re here…the WHO has set six conditions for relaxing coronavirus lockdowns. Extreme boredom isn’t one of them.



Happy Birthday Charlie Chaplin

Charlie ChaplinGiphy

How funny is that scene? Anyway, now that we’ve got your attention, this is your final reminder we are giving away two brand new computers today.

The details: When you share the Brew today, you’ll have a chance to win a brand new MacBook Pro for you and someone who signs up because of you.

Even more detail: Each time you refer a friend, family member, or coworker to Morning Brew, you’ll get a ticket entered into a raffle for one of two MacBook Pros. 1 referral = 1 ticket.

  • If you win a computer, we’ll select someone you referred to win one, too.

How to start: Click the share button below to grab your unique referral link. Then, tell everyone you know that they can 1) read business news that makes you smile even during a pandemic and 2) have a chance to win a new computer.


  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state residents are required to wear a mask or a face covering in public when socially distancing isn’t possible.
  • Best Buy will furlough 51,000 hourly store employees in the U.S.
  • Bill Gates tweeted that President Trump’s decision to halt aid to the WHO during a global health crisis “is as dangerous as it sounds.”
  • The LA Times said “advertising revenue has been nearly eliminated” as it announced furloughs for business-side employees.
  • Zoom who? Houseparty said it added 50 million new users over the past month.
  • Llamas, goats, and other farm animals will make an appearance on your company’s Zoom call for less than $100. What a bargain!



Sneakers that feel good on your feet and better on your conscience. How ’bout you kick off your Earth Month celebrations by kicking back in a pair of sustainably crafted CARIUMA kicks? Their OCA low sneaker is made of pillowy, vegan insoles, so sporting a pair is a great way to support your feet while supporting Mother Earth. Take 15% off a pair before they sell out again.


A grab bag of fun recs for everyone. If you…

  • Want to throw up: Try the “100 workout.”
  • Want to read fiction: Retail Brew writer Halie recommends The Tiger’s Wife, creative director Blake thinks you should read Murder on the Orient Express, copywriter Sydney thinks Let The Great World Spin is a beautiful read, and dailly writer Toby says The Art of Fielding is “real real good.”
  • Want to cook: Learn from top chefs on YouTube.
  • Need a haircut: Hire a virtual stylist here.
  • Want to get smarter: Listen to Geoffrey Garrett, dean of UPenn’s prestigious Wharton School, explain what’s at stake for our globalized economy in the wake of COVID-19 on our podcast Business Casual. It’s like getting a degree from Wharton, but without the rich mahogany smell. Listen on Apple / Spotify / everywhere else.

*This is sponsored advertising content


In honor of the new iPhone, here’s a quiz on iPhones.

We’ll give you a new feature introduced by Apple, you have to determine which iPhone was the first to carry it. Extra sticker for the year.

  1. FaceTime
  2. Siri
  3. Touch ID
  4. No headphone jack
  5. Face ID


  1. FaceTime = iPhone 4 (2010)
  2. Siri = iPhone 4S (2011)
  3. Touch ID = iPhone 5S (2013)
  4. No headphone jack = iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (2016)
  5. Face ID = iPhone X (2017)
Written by Neal FreymanToby HowellEliza Carter, and Kinsey Grant

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p.s. Thanks to Michael Johnson of Page One Power.  You stood me up for a virtual meeting which gave me time to do this.  I joke because I don’t care that you missed our meeting.  Actually, I’m glad you gave me a chance to do this.  🙂

p.p.s.  I started to aggregate all the emails I had in my inbox, but as you’ll experience with copying and pasting larger volumes of content into a blog post, it will get slower and slower b/c of potentially the css or something else that bogs down the recycling of content.

p.p.p.s. Credit should obviously be given to the Morning Brew Crew.