Axios Closer

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👋 Hey there! You've made it through another long week. Elon Musk may be backing away from his Twitter deal, but Snoop Dogg is offering to be a white knight — and er... he has some thoughts.

Today's newsletter, edited by Javier E. David, is 672 words, a 2½-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 rallied by 2.4%, but still ended the week lower, despite the broad comeback rally.

  • Biggest gainer? Las Vegas Sands, which popped almost 15% on hopes that COVID lockdowns in Shanghai were ending.
  • Biggest decliner? Twitter, which sank by 9.6% after Musk threw cold water on his buyout plan.

1 big thing: Corporate belt tightening

Illustration of measuring tape wrapped around a briefcase
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Companies are shedding workers as they adjust to a new post-pandemic normal, Hope writes.

Why it matters: The upper hand that workers have gained over the past two years may be on the verge of weakening as economic uncertainty sets in.

Catch up quick: Used car dealer Carvana this week laid off 12% of its employees due to a slowdown in business. 

  • Collectively, Robinhood and Peloton are making thousands of cuts this year, as the popularity of their products has faded
  • Thrasio, a buzzy e-commerce startup, replaced its CEO and reportedly is planning to cut up to 20% of its staff, according to Insider.

Between the lines: Businesses that grew too quickly during the pandemic are having to cut back because economic conditions have changed so much.

  • Investors, similarly, have been recalibrating their own projections, causing markets to spin wildly

The big picture: Through April, this has been the lowest start to the year in terms of total layoffs in the country since 1993, Andrew Challenger, senior vice president at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, tells Axios.

Yes, but: “I am getting prepared to be busier the next few months,” Challenger says.

  • “Labor’s always a kind of slow [and] lagging indicator of what’s happening in the overall economy,” he added.

2. Charted: Twitter's impact on Tesla

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Before dawn on Friday the 13th, Elon Musk may have murdered his Twitter takeover, Axios Pro Rata author Dan Primack writes.

Driving the news: The mercurial Musk at 5:44am ET tweeted: "Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users."

  • He also linked to a Reuters story about that spam estimate, which was from nearly two weeks ago.
  • At 7:50am ET, Musk added: "Still committed to acquisition."

But, but, but: The precipitous drop in Tesla's stock price since Musk began wooing Twitter — much of which is attributable to broader market troubles — could be giving the Tesla CEO second thoughts about the deal, Nathan writes.

  • Tesla stock has dropped by about $300 per share since early April, dealing a huge blow to Musk's net worth — and thus making the Twitter acquisition a much larger percentage of his empire.

The big picture: Musk's tweet today only intensifies speculation that he has buyer's remorse, Dan points out.

💬 Nathan's thought bubble: The only predictable thing about Musk is his unpredictability. Wedbush's Dan Ives blasted the "circus show" that leaves "many questions and no concrete answers."

3. What's happening

✈️ United Airlines reached a labor deal with its pilots' union — the first airline to do so since the pandemic began. (CNBC)

☹️ Consumer sentiment slumps to near 11-year low. (Reuters)

4. S&P dogged by urge to sell

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bargain hunting on Friday gave the S&P 500 a temporary bounce, but the market is still gripped by the urge to sell as bad news mounts, Javier writes.

  • The index posted a sixth weekly decline, and it's dangling close to bear market territory. DataTrek estimates the S&P would need to hit 3,525 just to discount 50/50 odds of a recession.

5. Cap and gown shortage

Illustration of eyeballs wearing graduation cap
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

No area of the economy has been spared from shortage issues, including the cap-and-gown industry, Hope writes. 

Catch up quick: Herff Jones, Balfour and Jostens are among the makers of graduation regalia that are working overtime to ship robes, caps, hoods and tassels to grads in time for ceremonies, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • Staff shortages, supply chain issues from the past year, and new COVID-related shutdowns in China are all to blame.

What they’re saying: Herff Jones is operating two Illinois plants 19 hours a day, six days a week, the company told the Journal.

For their last test: Graduate students across the country told WSJ that they’ve had to find their own workarounds — including borrowing hoods from alum, faculty and friends; using substitute materials like silk scarves; and even sharing hoods during ceremonies by passing them down the line once a grad steps off stage.

6. What they're saying

"Beyoncé is ultimately recession-resistant."
Katie Koch, chief investment officer for public equities at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, on how popular musical artists are reliable bets.

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