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What Warren Buffett vs. Robinhood says about the era of day-trading and meme stocks

Warren Buffett is the ultimate buy-and-hold, long-term investor; Robinhood is filled, at least in the popular imagination, with day-trading teens rushing in and out of meme stocks and crypto. So it's hardly surprising they've started trading barbs.

What they're saying: Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger described Robinhood at their annual meeting last Saturday as being a "casino group" that is "deeply wrong."


  • Robinhood hit back with a blog post accusing Buffett and Munger of being "the old guard" who have been "driving a deep wedge between the haves and have-nots."

Where they agree: Robinhood's post takes pains to point out that "a majority of Robinhood’s customers are buying and holding." Pointing to the buy-and-hold investors as paragons of rectitude, however, is an implicit rebuke of the company's most profitable customers.

  • By the numbers: Thanks to Robinhood day-traders, the brokerage took in a stunning $331 million in payment for its customers' order flow in the first quarter of 2021. Of that, exactly $0 came from the virtuous users holding on to long-term investments and not trading at all.

SEC chair Gary Gensler, in congressional testimony on Thursday, took Buffett's side of the debate, making it clear that he's not a fan of "gamification, behavioral prompts, predictive analytics, and differential marketing" — all tools that Robinhood uses to drive growth.

The other side: Even Buffett made mistakes early in his investment career — that's how people learn. And the YOLO crowd is well aware of what they're risking when they go all-in on speculative vehicles like dogecoin.

  • Robinhood is also correct to point out that the people who made fortunes by investing alongside Buffett were overwhelmingly white and upper-middle class, in an era when most Americans were effectively shut out from any access to the stock market at all.

The bottom line: The speculators making (and losing) money on Robinhood don't want to be protected from taking risks. The paternalistic instincts of Buffett and Gensler are understandable, but trading can be fun, especially when, as now, the Extremely Online teens are wildly outperforming their grandparents.

American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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Jan. 6 panel to paint haunting scene of Capitol attack with graphic footage

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

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