October 11, 2021

😎 Today's newsletter is 651 words, a 2½-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 fell 0.7%.

  • Biggest gainer? Enphase Energy (+4%). Other solar firms — like Sunrun — also rallied.
  • Biggest decliner? Global Payments (-5%), whose CEO told Reuters he's open to big deals again.

1 big thing: The global stage is back

A panel at the Milken conference in 2019, the last time it was held in person. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

A sprint of high-profile gatherings is about to take on a huge feat: bringing prominent CEOs and heads of state back together on the world stage — in person.

  • How to do it looks different everywhere.

The Milken Conference — where CEOs have chopped it up for decades — will mandate vaccinations and a negative COVID-19 test ahead of the event.

  • The nearly 1,600 attendees expected to be in Los Angeles starting this weekend will be required to mask up, in compliance with city rules.

Milken won't test attendees daily. But Bloomberg's New Economy Forum — back in person next month and known to attract top officials — will.

And perhaps the most high-stake event of them all — the coming UN Climate Summit in Glasgow — won't require vaccinations (though they are encouraged).

  • Organizers say its success hinges upon "representatives from around the world ... sitting around the same table."
  • There will be a strict testing regime, with organizers noting "we understand that for some vaccination is not possible." Unvaccinated attendees may be subject to quarantine.

The intrigue: Who doesn't show up in person stands out, even after 18 months of virtual events.

  • Pope Francis won’t attend the UN Climate Summit (we don’t know why). Whether China’s Xi Jinping shows up is a wildcard.

Worth noting: Amid an aggressive in-person push, few will be allowed to speak virtually at Bloomberg's New Economy Forum.

  • TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is among the hundreds committed to being there, per an announcement expected this week.

What to watch: What world leaders will adhere to when they descend on Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum — the poster child of elite gatherings (back in-person in January).

2. Charted: A near all-male prize

Source: Atlantic Council GeoEconomics Center, h/t @joshualipsky; Chart: Axios Visuals

In the past half-century, just two female economists — Elinor Ostrom (2009) and Esther Duflo (2019) — won the most prestigious award of the profession.

The latest: The Nobel committee said today three U.S.-based academics took this year’s prize: Guido Imbens, David Card and Joshua Angrist.

  • The men popularized economic studies rooted in observing real-world data, like Card’s study that found employment at fast-food restaurants in New Jersey was not negatively affected by an increase in the minimum wage.

Go deeper ... More on the Nobel's diversity problem.

3. What’s happening

💼 And then there was one: Blackstone is the last big buyout firm led by its founder (Stephen Schwarzman) after Henry Kravis and George Roberts today stepped down as co-CEOs of KKR. (Axios)

🚜 John Deere union workers could strike as soon as this week if they don’t reach a contract deal with management. (AP)

4. Another hell day for Southwest

Travelers wait to check in at the Southwest Airlines ticketing counter in Baltimore today. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Southwest Airlines canceled another 350 flights and delayed around 600 others today, following mass cancellations over the weekend, Axios' Jacob Knutson writes.

  • Investors took notice: Shares of Southwest fell 4%.

The chaos started after Southwest's pilots asked a court to block the company's new COVID vaccine mandate.

5. Corporate odd couple: Netflix and Walmart team up

Photo courtesy of Netflix's Walmart Hub

Netflix will sell merchandise pegged to its biggest hits at Walmart, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

  • What you can expect: Plush toys, baking kits, T-shirts and cassette players with branding from hits like “Stranger Things,” “Nailed It!” and “CoComelon,” and new shows like “Ada Twist, Scientist.”

Why it matters: Netflix has spent billions of dollars on original programming but has only recently started expanding some of those franchises to things like merchandise, games and podcasts.

6. What they’re saying

"[W]e’re talking a different kettle of fish with the Covid shock, and the economic implications and costs have become much more challenging to measure than in the past."
— Carol Corrado, a fellow at the Conference Board, tells the New York Times about the difficulty of measuring something like "shadow inflation" (i.e., a cutback in customer service in the COVID-19 era).