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More Meme Stock Mayhem On Wall Street

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Tuesday. A pair of video portals have been installed in Dublin and New York, allowing people in each city to communicate in real time (no audio, though). The project is the brainchild of artist Benediktas Gylys and will continue through the fall. Have a great day!

In Today’s Brief

  • Lab-grown meat: Another state ban

  • UN: Gaza figures confusion

  • Idaho: Ballot transparency

  • Squarespace: $6.6B deal to go private

  • NBC: New The Voice coaches

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Here we go again?

Wall Street took another colossal hit after the man who inspired the 2021 meme stock mayhem resurfaced.

  • What happened: Keith Gill -- an individual traded known as "Roaring Kitty" or "DeepF--kingValue" -- made his first post on social media in three years. Individual investors followed by driving the stock price of GameStop up 74%, costing short selling hedge funds over $800M yesterday, according to analyst, with a $1.24B loss in May.

  • A refresher: Gill -- whose story was depicted in the film Dumb Money -- advocated for GameStop stock on Reddit three years ago. An army of individual traders followed suit, sending the struggling brick-and-mortar gaming chain's stock price soaring while the short squeeze cost hedge funds billions and led to congressional hearings.

  • Big picture: This could be a one-day blip or the start of another wild ride. Other past meme stocks such as AMC (up 78%) and Reddit (up 9%) also rose after Gill's post. What exactly Gill -- who has receded from the public view after becoming a millionaire -- is up to will likely play a big role.

2) Split vote

Former President Donald Trump is leading President Joe Biden in almost every key swing state according to a new set of polls ... and so are other Democrats.

  • The numbers: Trump is ahead of Biden in five of six battleground states polled by The New York Times and Siena College. Trump is up 12% in Nevada (and at 50% overall), 10 points in Georgia, seven points in Arizona and Michigan and three points in Pennsylvania. Trump lost all five states in 2020. Biden leads by two points in Wisconsin.

  • Down the ballot: Four of those states -- Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- also have Senate races this cycle. The Democratic candidate is leading in each one according to the NYT and Siena and running ahead of Biden's vote share. That suggests Trump is not having a coattail effect on other Republicans and Biden could have some upside if Democratic voters return to him down the stretch.

  • The RFK Jr. factor: The polls found independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. polled in double-digits when added to the survey in each state. And that he appeared to pull an equal amount of votes from Biden and Trump. The results add further credence to the growing consensus that Kennedy will impact the race, but may not tilt it toward a specific candidate.

3) Name game

Five letters are causing a lot of angst in southeast Europe.

  • The news: Newly-elected North Macedonian President Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova referred to her country as "Macedonia" during her swearing-in ceremony. Her comments have led to a diplomatic row with next-door Greece -- whose ambassador stormed out of the event -- and generated friction with other European leaders.

  • Key backstory: The 2018 Prespa Agreement treaty saw North Macedonia adopt that name after years of Greece disputing it, alleging its history was being appropriated. North Macedonia has since joined NATO and is now engaged in the European Union accession process. But the country was ruled by the socialist SDSM party at the time. The nationalist VMRO, which always resisted the deal, is now back in power.

  • Big picture: North Macedonia already faced one big hurdle to EU membership -- a standoff with Bulgaria over changes to its constitution to acknowledge its Bulgarian minority population. And now Greece -- and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen -- are warning of consequences if it does not honor the binding agreement and the name change.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • Alabama has become the second state to ban lab-grown meat, making it a crime to distribute, produce and sell synthetic beef. Florida established its own prohibition last week; there is little lab-grown meat sold in the U.S. currently (More)

  • Two-thirds of college students at the nation's top universities think campus antisemitism is a problem, according to a U.S News & World report survey. Only 14% said it is a "huge problem," but 53% called it a "small problem" (More)

  • Most of Minnesota and Wisconsin were under air quality warnings yesterday due to Canadian wildfire smoke. Canada currently has over 100 active blazes; most are in the Alberta and British Columbia provinces (More)

World News

  • The United Nations said the death toll tallied by Gaza’s Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health has not changed. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had appeared to halve statistics in a 48-hour period; the UN said those numbers are identified casualties and the 35K death toll is still considered accurate (More)

  • A cold lava mudslide from Mount Marapi following monsoon rains have killed over 40 people on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Almost 20 people remain missing; over 100 buildings and houses were submerged (More)

  • Germany is considering reinstating mandatory military conscription for men and women. It would require altering the country's constitution, but there is growing support amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine (More)

Campaign News

  • Idaho's Ada County will make every ballot dating back to the 2022 election available online as an open public record. Officials hope the transparency will build confidence in election integrity and undercut election denialism (More)

  • The Republican-aligned One Nation advocacy group plans to spend $70M campaigning against vulnerable Senate Democrats in five battleground states. The group has spent $88M so far this cycle, over double its 2022 spend (More)

  • Michael Cohen, Trump's ex-attorney, began his testimony in the former president's criminal hush money trial. Cohen said Trump approved a $130K payoff to Stormy Daniels and tied him to the scheme in question (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed mixed yesterday as the Dow Jones’ hot streak ended. Only the Nasdaq finished up (Dow -0.21%, Nasdaq +0.29%, S&P 500 -0.02%).

  • Squarespace is going private again. Permira has struck a $6.6B deal to buy the publicly-traded website and brand builder; founder Anthony Casalena will remain the company's CEO (More)

  • Several major airlines filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Transportation over upfront fee disclosure rules. Airlines for America, an industry group, said the rules will confuse customers and represent government overreach (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • Michael Buble and Snoop Dogg will be coaches on the upcoming season of The Voice. Reba McEntire and Gwen Stefani will return as coaches for the NBC singing competition program (More)

  • The two-time reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will host the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL regular season opener on Thursday, Sept. 5. The league is expected to release its full schedule tomorrow (More)

  • MTV will not hold its Movie & TV Awards show this year. The network said it plans to hold the event again in 2025 with a new format; the program was disrupted by the Hollywood writers strike last year (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Feel Good: Your heart will melt when you watch this wonderful video of a 3-year-old Australian boy hearing his mother's voice for the first time after getting cochlear implants.

  • History Lesson: Air travelers used to enjoy fine dining while flying the friendly skies. Now? You just hope the pretzels aren't completely stale.

  • True Devotion: Bayer Leverkusen is on a 50-match unbeaten streak and won the Bundesliga for the first time. The German professional soccer club is offering free commemorative tattoos to fans to celebrate.

  • Go Deep: Longevity research may not allow humans to live forever. But it can still make our lives better while we are alive.

  • Fun Stuff: A dog was trained to use speech buttons to communicate. And then he started offering opinions about house chores, or lack thereof.

  • OPTIMIZE ME: Researchers “found convincing evidence that higher intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, a 48% to 53% higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders, and a 12% greater risk of type 2 diabetes”

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Looking Ahead …

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres will launch a new one-hour special on Netflix later this year. She implied in a statement she will address the controversial end of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and allegations she fostered a toxic work environment.

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