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March 20, 2024

The Appetizer

“But I saw the sky, and there was thousands, thousands flying, stuck in my hair, going to me. It was crazy. I tried to stay away from them, but it was impossible.”

  • Spanish tennis star Carlos Alcaraz, after a swarm of bees invaded the court at the BNP Paribas Open, suspending play for nearly two hours.

Now, on to the numbers. Drum roll, please …

  • · 19.5 million: The average audience of viewers for this year’s Oscars, the highest in four years.
  • 78%: The percentage of total trade volume of equity options contracts worldwide that India accounted for in 2023, according to data from the Futures Industry Association.
  • 94 feet: The length of a putt an Auburn University student made during the second half of a basketball game, winning a car from a local Toyota dealership.
  • 4 minutes, 28 seconds: The longest duration that the Moon will completely cover the Sun during the solar eclipse on April 8.
  • 86%: The percentage of publicly traded companies worldwide that increased or maintained their dividend payouts over 2023.

Dig In
Why the U.S. wants to ban TikTok

The clock may be ticking for TikTok. The House voted 352 – 65 to pass a bill that would ban it in the U.S., or force its sale. Before you delete the app, remember this is only the start of the legal battle.

But why the uproar? It boils down to U.S.-China competition and national security risks. 170 million people in the U.S. are already on TikTok – roughly half the country. As a Chinese-owned company, the U.S. is worried the Chinese government may pressure the company to hand over user data or use its algorithm to influence the feeds of U.S. citizens ... scary stuff.

There are already some “bans” in place on certain networks or devices. For example, New York City and Denver have banned government employees from using the app on their work phones. Montana’s governor tried to ban the app on personal devices, but a federal judge blocked the bill.

No doubt this will be a long battle, as some will argue it infringes on free speech and hurts content creators and small businesses. Others see it as safeguarding national security. Regardless, this brings to light our evolving world and increasing geopolitical tensions.

Weekly Specials

If you’ve purchased or sold a home recently, you probably remember thinking to yourself that you should have been a real estate agent. The 6% commission, a long–time standard for home purchase transactions, is gone with the wind. Will this force Netflix to cancel popular shows like Selling Sunset? Hmm.

The award for best away jersey goes to ... Belgium. The away kits for the football (soccer) team at this summer’s European Championship will resemble the outfit worn by comic figure Tintin. This includes a blue sweater over a white collared shirt paired with brown cutoff pants, white socks, and brown shoes.

If you’re in the market for a second-hand Rolex and Patek Philippe, you might want to make a decision sooner rather than later. Prices were mostly flat for a second month after a two-year slump. The Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index (yes there’s an index), which tracks prices for the 50 most traded luxury watches, is down over 40% in the last 24 months.

Corporate Lunch

Eli Lilly’s weight loss drug, Zepbound, is now available through Amazon Pharmacy. You can order a whole new wardrobe on there too.

Babies R Us is partnering with Kohl’s to open up shops in 200 locations this fall. The tiny shoes crack me up every time.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety isn’t handing out gold stars, scoring 11 of 14 automated driving systems as ‘poor’ – apparently, they’re not big on grading curves.

Canned water brand Liquid Death was valued at $1.4 billion after securing $67 million from investors. The company has doubled its valuation from 2022.

Zara’s parent company reached an all-time high after 2023 sales rose 10%. Sales like revenue, not clearances.

Stripe just passed $1 trillion in total payment volume in 2023, up 25% from 2022. I wonder how much can be attributed to the default tip option for nearly everything.

The recent Boeing Max crisis is causing problems throughout the industry, forcing some airlines to cut flights.

drawing of a table setting with a fork on the left, plate in the middle, and a knife and spoon on the right

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Indices are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

The Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index tracks prices for the 50 most-traded watches by value on the secondary market, according to data provided by Subdial.

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