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Meta’s valuation plunged by more than $230 billion. It’s the biggest one-day stock crash in market history, with tech stocks in particular dragging down the Nasdaq and the S&P 500. Mark Zuckerberg personally lost around $30 billion.
Amazon had a much better day. The company reported a 9% rise in sales for the latest quarter, lifting its stock more than 15% in after-hours trading. The price of its Prime service is also going up, and Jeff Bezos is $20 billion richer.
Meanwhile, Snap reported its first-ever quarterly profit. Snapchat’s parent company made $23 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, with year-on-year revenue growing 42% to $1.3 billion.
The US publishes employment data for January. The White House has already warned of possible bad news due to the omicron surge.
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met in Beijing. The Russian president is in town for today’s opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics (see more below). Both countries also signed a number of economic agreements.
What to watch for
The Beijing 2022 opening ceremony begins today at 7am US eastern time (that’s the rehearsal, above, seen from afar). This extravaganza is typically one of the biggest costs for an Olympic host country, consisting of elaborate video montages, fireworks, and much more. Award-winning film director Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers) created the celebrated opening to the 2008 Summer Games, and he’s back for this year’s event.
But there’s already controversy. The top diplomat from India will not attend, nor will India’s state TV broadcast the ceremony. After accusing other countries of politicizing the Games, China selected a soldier involved in deadly border skirmishes with India in 2020 as one of its torch-bearers. Unsurprisingly, India isn’t happy, and where this leaves its only current Winter Olympian, skier Arif Khan, is anyone’s guess.
Subscribe to our Need to Know: Beijing Olympics newsletter for all the conflict and controversy of the 2022 Winter Games.
What’s supercharging food prices?
The cost of food is still on the rise globally. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization index climbed another 1.1% in January from the month before, reaching its highest point since 2011.
The index measures the monthly change in average prices of food categories like meat, cereals, and sugar. But one category is driving the sharpest increase: vegetable oils. Compared to December, vegetable oil prices are up 4%, ahead of dairy (up 2%). In both cases, a reduction in exports is partly to blame.
Regardless of what’s causing the increase, soaring food prices will continue to disproportionately hit the lowest-income households, where food eats up a much larger share of their incomes.
The eBay of NFTs
What do the Olympics and food prices have in common? Not much. But if you create a JPEG of a banana figure skating… there’s a chance someone ultra-rich like Justin Bieber might buy it on OpenSea. ✦ Learn all about the NFT marketplace of choice and get access to other exclusive emails through a Quartz membership.
Bartenders and other staff at Olympic hotels are wearing hazmat suits. What exactly is in those cocktails?
A European port will dismantle a historic bridge to deliver a giant yacht to Jeff Bezos. The $500 million ship is under construction in the Netherlands.
A woman abruptly left a work call when she saw a fishing boat sinking. She likely saved the lives of the three men on board by dialing 911.
A rogue chicken tried to sneak past security at the Pentagon. Authorities aren’t sure how the cluck it got there.
A Moncler puffer coat can cost $1,000. But the ones recommended for Mt. Everest climbers will only set you back $400-$600. Learn more in the first episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast’s second season.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, boats that are too tall, and animal spies to email@example.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Adario Strange, Hasit Shah, Michelle Cheng, Morgan Haefner, and Liz Webber.
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