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Good morning! Big day today. We have the April inflation numbers coming out at 8:30am.

  • And at 10, embattled FDIC chair Martin Gruenberg is set to testify at the House about a damning report that found agency employees were sexually harassed and discriminated against at the firm when he was in charge — and that he had a reputation for losing his temper.
  • "I ... acknowledge my own failures as Chairman," Gruenberg said in prepared testimony. "Both in failing to recognize how my temperament in meetings impacted others and for not having identified deeper cultural issues at the FDIC sooner."

Today's newsletter is 768 words, 3 minutes.

1 big thing: How to survive while losing $7.5 billion

A line chart that displays AMC's net income from Q1 2019 to Q1 2024. The chart shows a significant loss of $2.2 billion in Q1 2020, followed by consistent, if shrinking, losses through Q1 2024.
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

No company has done a better job of taking advantage of its meme-stock status than movie theater chain AMC, a company that, improbably, is still worth billions even after losing $7.5 billion over the past five years.

Why it matters: By issuing enormous quantities of new stock, most recently on Monday, AMC has raised enough cash to keep itself afloat.

By the numbers: The sale of 72 million shares that AMC concluded on Monday brings the company's total share count up to 296 million. Pre-pandemic, AMC's total number of shares outstanding was just 11.8 million.

  • That's why AMC's share price has fallen by 89% since the end of 2019, even as its market value — boosted by the last couple of days of meme-stock frenzy — has risen by 39%.

Where it stands: AMC stock, which closed at $2.91 on Friday, opened at $11.71 on Tuesday before falling back to close at $6.85. What's going to happen today is anyone's guess.

Follow the money: AMC raised $1.8 billion in 2021 by selling shares into the meme-stock frenzy — enough money to keep paying the bills and avoid bankruptcy.

  • The same playbook seems to be working in 2024, too.

The bottom line: Being a meme stock is sometimes bad for companies. "It can tank acquisition plans and talks, and make it very hard to retain senior people," says Dan Egan, director of behavioral finance at Betterment.

  • In the case of AMC, however, the appetite for the stock from self-described degenerate apes has meant the difference between life and death.

2. Women MBAs are asking for higher pay, but still earning less

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The idea that women are less likely to ask for higher pay has long been one explanation for the gender pay gap — the difference in earnings between men and women — but new research finds women MBAs are now more likely to negotiate than their male counterparts.

Why it matters: A clear understanding of the reasons women earn less than men (around 16% less according to government data) is necessary to close that gap.

Zoom in: The research, published earlier this year in the Academy of Management, focuses on business school alumni, surveying recent graduates and those who've been out of school for five years.

What they found: 54% of graduating women MBAs at a top business school negotiated their post-graduation job offer compared to 44% of men.

  • Surveying those who earned their degrees between 2015 and 2019, the researchers — from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Vanderbilt University — found women asked for raises and promotions at a higher rate than men.
  • Women also reported getting turned down at a higher rate.
  • Overall, women earned 22% less than men.

The big picture: Meanwhile, prominent research from Nobel winner Claudia Goldin has found that a big driver of the gender gap for MBAs has to do with women's propensity to work fewer hours and take more career breaks — likely to manage child care responsibilities.

  • In other words, narrowing the gap is not necessarily about asking for more — there are structural and cultural issues at play that lead women to make different kinds of career choices.

The bottom line: "If women could rectify the pay gap by negotiating, they would!" one of the paper's co-authors, Vanderbilt management professor Jessica Kennedy, said in an email.

  • "They've been doing their part to 'lean in,' act assertively, and know their value. It's going to take changes in organizational or public policy to ensure equitable pay."

3. Worrying sign

A line chart that shows the quarterly share of credit card balances transitioning into delinquency from Q1 2003 to Q1 2024. The percentage starts at 12.32% in Q1 2003, decreases to a low of 5.07% in Q2 2016, then increases a bit before plunging to 4.1% in Q4 2021 then soaring upwards to 8.93% in Q1 2024.
Data: New York Federal Reserve; Note: Shows share of balances where payments are at least 30 days late; Chart: Axios Visuals

An increasing share of Americans fell behind on their credit card payments at the beginning of the year, according to data out yesterday.

Why it matters: Rising credit card troubles are a sign that some consumers are feeling more financial stress — a worrying indicator for an economy that's been powered by strong consumer spending.

The big picture: It's also a bit puzzling that delinquencies are rising, hovering at rates last seen during the Great Recession, at a time when the economy is strong and unemployment rates are low.

Zoom in: New York Fed officials said they weren't sure exactly why delinquency rates were rising, but on a call with reporters, they offered a few possibilities:

  • Americans increased their spending in the pandemic period when their savings were flush — and continue to spend at elevated rates.
  • The higher delinquency rate reflects an increase over the past few years in lending to borrowers with lower credit scores (the subprime category).
  • Another possibility: As student loan payments stopped being reported to credit bureaus, some people's credit scores "artificially went up" and that could've expanded the pool of people eligible for credit cards and auto loans.

We're glad you start your morning here! Thanks to Kate Marino for editing this newsletter, and to Mickey Meece for copy editing it.