May 13, 2022

Today's Topics

Hi! We have 3 charts for you today exploring:

  • How bad can it get? Some perspective on the stock market sell-off.
  • Finland wants to join NATO. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has changed Europe forever.
  • Baby formula. A major shortage is sweeping the US.
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Usually when the share price of a well-known tech company falls more than 10% it's a perfect story for us to do a chart on. But in the last few weeks we've been overwhelmed, as almost every single day multiple major household names have been taking double-digit losses. We highlighted some of the worst affected last week — many of which have continued their slide this week.

How bad can it get?

We've combed through 50 years of daily data on the NASDAQ Composite Index, a tech-heavy index comprised of more than 2,500 companies, to get some perspective on how bad this crash has been... and how bad it could get.

So far the NASDAQ is down 29% from its previous peak. That puts it in bear market territory, but it isn't even close to the 75-80% drop that was seen during the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000 or the depths of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008/09. Things could get a lot worse before they get better as inflation, slowing growth and geopolitical uncertainty take their toll or this could turn out to be one of the many 20-30% drops that markets have lived through over the last 50 years, without turning into a complete capitulation.

One result of the tech slide has been that Apple has lost its crown as the world's most valuable company (coincidence that it just retired the iconic iPod...?). That honor now falls to Saudi Aramco — which like many energy companies has benefited from rising oil prices.

Finland says enough

Leaders of Finland announced yesterday that they were in favor of rapidly applying to join NATO, the defense alliance that counts 30 members including the US, UK, France and Germany.

That announcement is reflective of a change in Finland's national mood since Russia invaded Ukraine. As recently as the end of February a poll found that only just over half of all Finns were in favor of joining the military alliance. Just over two months later, that proportion has risen to 76%, while the number opposed to joining the alliance has fallen from 28% to 12%.

The announcement from Finland, with Sweden also looking at potentially joining, has frustrated officials in Russia who have long warned against NATO expansion. Because of their 800-mile border with Russia, if Finland does join the alliance it will more than double NATO's border with Russia (map here).

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Baby formula

The US is in the middle of a baby formula shortage.

Real-time data from Datasembly, which we've recreated in the chart above, shows that the percentage of baby formula that was out-of-stock hit 43% nationwide, way up on the more usual range of 2-8%.

A blend of manufacturing issues, distribution issues and product recalls — most recently from Abbott Laboratories amidst reports of infant illness from bacterial infections — have caused the shortages.

Understandably, parents have been trying to get around the shortages. Some have reported stockpiling formula and Google searches for "how to make baby formula" have risen more than 1,000%, despite most doctors warning against homemade formula.

Around 25% of parents breastfeed their children until they are at least 6 months old, which means that the vast majority of parents rely on formula to varying extents.

More Data

1) Elon Musk has put his $44bn acquisition of Twitter on hold as he tries to verify what percentage of Twitter's user base are real accounts.

2) Google Maps has a new mode, designed to give you an idea of what an area might actually feel like once you're there: the Immersive View.

3) Grocery delivery company Instacart is braving the turbulence in financial markets, filing to go public just weeks after slashing its own valuation by almost 40%.

4) Reviewers have finally got their hands on the reinvention of America's most popular vehicle, the Ford F-Series pickup, which now comes in electric.

5) Don't rely on your cousin for crypto — with a dedicated investment team from the likes of Goldman Sachs and Bridgewater Associates, Domain Money lets you invest in crypto through an actively managed portfolio in just a few clicks.**

6) Disney+ added almost 8 millionnew subscribers in its most recent quarter, just a few weeks after Netflix reported losing 200,000 subscribers.

7) Scientists have captured an image of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way for the first time. Sagittarius A*, as it is called, is roughly 4 million times the mass of our Sun.

**This is sponsored content.

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