Axios Closer

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👋 Thanks for joining us again!

Today's newsletter, edited by Pete Gannon, is 693 words, a 2½-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed down 0.1%.

  • Biggest gainer? Tapestry (+15.5%), the owner of the Coach brand, said it expected lockdowns in Shanghai to ease at the start of June.
  • Biggest decliner? Constellation Energy (-6.6%), following its first-quarter results.

1 big thing: Crypto's toehold

Illustration of Ben Franklin peering out from behind a pile of crypto coins.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

This week’s crash in crypto markets has revealed just how much some on Wall Street have come to rely on the "fifth asset class," Hope writes.

Why it matters: “Even those that are vocally outspoken against it are in the back room … figuring out ways they can make money from it,” Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, tells Axios.

Catch up quick: Famed fund manager Bill Miller told CNBC today: "I have sold stuff to meet margin calls" as broader markets have fallen.

  • Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy — the largest public holder of bitcoin — tried to defuse fears that his company will face a huge margin call on his positions.

By the numbers: Cryptocurrency markets have lost $200 billion in value, or about 17%, in a single day.

  • Bitcoin has fallen below $30,000, which is less than half of its most recent all-time high.
  • Shares of companies like Coinbase and MicroStrategy that have been built to facilitate crypto trades, or have pivoted to invest in crypto, have been dragged down in this week’s slide.

What they’re saying: “The longer that cryptocurrency has been around and the more acceptance it has gained, the more the big, truly wealthy people who move markets — the hedge fund guys — have started to accept it,” says Frederick.

  • “I don't think most of them are over-leveraged in it, but they're almost all dabbling in it to some extent.”

2. Charted: Meme stock rally

Source: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Source: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Shares of GameStop and AMC closed up 10% and 8% today, respectively, in contrast to the day's relatively flat trading sessions, Hope writes.

  • At one point during the day, GameStop shares soared more than 30% before trading was halted for volatility multiple times, while AMC shares reached 20% gains.

Why it matters: It’s another sign of the new normal — wild intraday swings that reflect growing investor uncertainty about where the economy is headed.

What they're saying: "Chances are most of these people who bought these crummy stocks last year ... have lost a whole lot more than they would have in the broader market, [and they're] just looking for a gamble, a lottery ticket to try to get it all back," Schwab's Frederick said.

3. What's happening

💼 The Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm Jerome Powell's nomination for a second term as Fed chair. (CNBC)

🏇 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will skip the Preakness, ending the chance for a Triple Crown winner. (Axios)

4. Twitter execs out and hiring halted

Illustration of the Twitter logo bird flying from a nest
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter is pausing most hiring, a spokesperson on Thursday confirmed to Axios, and it's announcing the departure of multiple key executives, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.

Why it matters: Twitter is facing a complicated takeover bid from Elon Musk.

Details: The decisions were made by Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, a source told Sara.

  • Twitter's head of consumer, Kayvon Beykpour, announced he would be leaving, saying, "Parag asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction."
  • Bruce Falck, its revenue product lead, is also leaving.

The big picture: Cuts and hiring freezes could put a continued strain on Twitter's workforce at an already stressful time.

5. Osaka continues to Evolve

A photo of a smiling Naomi Osaka.
Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Naomi Osaka is famous for a lot of reasons around the tennis court, Axios' Pete Gannon writes.

  • The 24-year-old star is now leaving sports agency powerhouse IMG to start her own representation company, Evolve, according to Sportico.

Osaka is the highest-paid woman athlete in the world, for the second straight year, bringing in $57.3 million last year, according to Forbes.

  • More than $50 million of that total was made off the court. She has more than 20 partnerships and has also started a skin care company.

What she's saying: "I've spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn't what was expected or traditional. Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman," Osaka told Sportico.

Go deeper.

6. What they're saying

"[I]f you do what you love, you will work harder than you could ever imagine. Your dreams will call for that kind of commitment.
— Tyler Perry, billionaire director, producer, screenwriter and actor, in his commencement address to Emory University earlier this week.

Thanks to Sheryl Miller for copy editing today's (and every day's) newsletter.