Breakneck speed

Hypersonic weapons take aim

Good morning, arsenal architects. This is your Stock Market Rundown for March 21st, 2024. Thanks for reading. Let’s dig in:

TODAY’S TOP STORY: FASTER FIREPOWER

Imagine a really fast jet plane. Now imagine something considerably faster than that. In fact, make it five times the speed of sound. 

Hypersonic weapons are super-speedy projectiles that can move through the air at speeds so fast, they could commute from New York to Los Angeles in 30 minutes or less. But this ain't Domino’s—these delivery vehicles arrive with payloads of destruction, in the form of conventional explosives or nuclear warheads. 

Hypersonic weapons can fly at low altitude and maneuver mid-flight, which makes it tough for current defense systems to intercept them before they reach their target. 

That’s why it’s a big worry in Washington that the US is lagging in the race to build them. China and Russia already have operational hypersonic weapons in their arsenals.

The Air Force budget has already allocated more than $1 billion to the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile being developed by defense contractor Raytheon. And there are a handful of startups testing prototype hypersonic weapons, backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists seeking a piece of the Pentagon procurement pie.

One of the startups, Castellion, bears a sobering slogan on its website: “Peace through Deterrence”. For the defense industry, making sure America keeps the upper hand is a full-time job.

What do you think? Chat with me in the comments:

SO WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
  • Apparently JP Morgan’s compliance personnel get bored easily and have the attention span of a goldfish. The bank got a nine-figure fine for failing to properly monitor trades.

  • American Eagle beat expectations as Americans embraced wearing hoodies for every occasion in life. “Business casual” used to mean chinos and a collared shirt, but post-pandemic, flannels and jeans are boardroom-approved.

  • LinkedIn disclosed that its premium subscriptions rake in $1.7 billion a year. Maybe I can pay up and become a “LinkedIn Top Voice” for inspirational posts about #achieving #leadership #goals.

  • The producer price index, a measure of inflation in the economy, rose more than expected last month, with gas, diesel, and jet fuel leading the way. This is gonna bite for the billionaires refueling their private jets to go to the Hamptons for Memorial Day Weekend.

Signing off for now, folks; let's continue our journey tomorrow morning. Yours in capitalism, The Axe

 PS: how am I doing? I value your feedback, and I read every email, so hit reply and say hello — I’d love to hear from you.

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