Dow Today – North American Morning Briefing: Stock Futures -2-
The company, Mr. Woods’s foray into special-purpose acquisition companies, said it would focus on fan engagement, consumer-facing health and fitness technologies, and health and well-being, targeting companies with an approximate enterprise value of $600 million to $1 billion. The Covid-19 pandemic, it said, helped drive demand for sports and social content, accelerated interest in health and wellness and underscored the importance of technology in daily life.
China Evergrande Averts First Onshore Public Default
China Evergrande Group secured investor backing to delay making payments on a $708 million onshore bond denominated in Chinese yuan, avoiding what could have been its first public default in the country’s domestic bond market.
The move highlights how big Chinese borrowers such as Evergrande can effectively operate in two distinct financial worlds, with creditors onshore sometimes taking a different approach from their international peers, and with markets in China somewhat shielded from defaults offshore.
Fintech Startup Next Insurance Hires Former Airbnb Executive as CFO
Next Insurance Inc., a startup that offers insurance to small-business owners, recruited a former Airbnb Inc. executive as its next chief financial officer.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said Teodora Gouneva took over as CFO last month after around two years as vice president of finance with Airbnb, where she oversaw finance for the company’s hosting, guest experiences and marketing divisions. Before joining Airbnb, which went public in December 2020, she worked for 15 years in various senior-level roles at digital payments company PayPal Inc., including as CFO of the company’s Venmo and Braintree businesses.
Microsoft Board to Review Company’s Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination Policies
Microsoft Corp.’s board of directors on Thursday said it would review the company’s sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies and unveil a summary of the results of past investigations into how the company handled allegations against company executives, including co-founder Bill Gates.
The software company’s board is taking this action, Microsoft said, in response to an unexpected win by activist shareholders at the company’s annual investor meeting in November with a proposal demanding greater disclosure around sexual harassment issues.
Retail Sales Seen Leveling Off as Record Holiday Shopping Season Ended
Sales at U.S. retail stores, online vendors and restaurants are expected to have leveled off in December, ending a record holiday shopping season that included a resurgent Covid-19 pandemic, historically high inflation and supply-chain snags.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate that retail sales fell a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in December from the prior month. Such a reading would mark a subdued end to record retail sales that started with a 1.8% gain in October.
Bond Market Forecasts Bad Economic News
With the best job growth in over 40 years, inflation a national obsession and the Federal Reserve preparing to raise interest rates, it is easy to forget how different the world was before the pandemic. The global environment then was marked by sluggish growth, lackluster investment, worryingly low inflation and low interest rates.
Which could be where the U.S. is headed again.
Fed’s Christopher Waller Says High Inflation Caught Central Bank Off Guard
A Federal Reserve official warned that the central bank would have to move interest rates up more aggressively this year if inflation stays high through the first half of the year.
Fed governor Christopher Waller said he still thought it was reasonable to pencil in three rate increases this year, but that the rate path would ultimately depend on “what inflation looks like in the second half of the year. If it continues to be high, the case will be made for four, maybe five hikes,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “But if inflation falls back in the second half of the year, as many of us think it will…then you could actually pause and not even go the full three.”
Fed’s Evans: Time to Move Toward Tighter Monetary Policy
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said Thursday monetary policy isn’t positioned to deal with surging inflation and that he supports the central bank’s recent shift toward expecting to raise interest rates.
Mr. Evans didn’t say when he would like the Fed to raise rates from their near zero settings, but he noted that at December’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting his outlook for monetary policy was in line with the three rate increases this year that Fed officials collectively penciled in at that time.
Fed’s Brainard Says Reducing Inflation Is Top Priority
Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard, the White House nominee to serve as the central bank’s No. 2 official, told Congress that efforts to reduce inflation are the central bank’s “most important task.”
Ms. Brainard, who joined the Fed in 2014, was a forceful advocate last year for ensuring that the central bank didn’t prematurely curtail stimulus as part of a focus on spurring a robust labor-market recovery.
Hedge Funds Keyed to Growth Stocks Stall Out
A major bright spot for the hedge-fund industry in recent years has suddenly darkened as stocks of technology and other fast-growing companies sell off, handing out large losses to some big investors.
Hedge funds investing in growth stocks turned in their worst performance in years in 2021, according to portfolio managers and their clients. Many funds were hit by large losses late in the year, with the drubbing continuing into early this week.
As Democrats Look to Subdue Inflation, Economists Say It’s Up to Fed Now
WASHINGTON-Democrats are trying to use their control of Congress and the White House to curb inflation that has taken off on their watch, but economists say price increases have reached a point beyond what any political party can easily do to tame them quickly.
The consumer-price index rose 7% in December compared with the same month a year earlier, the fastest rate of inflation since 1982 and the latest in a series of high readings. price increases are driven by supply-chain crunches and strong consumer demand heightened by a series of coronavirus-aid packages, including last year’s $1.9 trillion bill passed by Democrats without GOP support.
Eurozone Trade Balance Swung to Deficit in November
The eurozone’s trade balance swung to a deficit in November, recording a deficit for the first time since January 2014, data from the European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat, showed Friday.
The eurozone’s trade deficit in goods–the difference between exports and imports–stood at 1.5 billion euros ($1.72 billion) in November, sharply down from the EUR25.0 billion surplus registered the same month a year earlier.
Iran Seeks Closer Ties With China as Nuclear Talks Drag On
As talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal continue, the Islamic Republic is trying to strengthen ties with China, Russia and other nations that could help it get around American sanctions that are battering its economy.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met his Chinese counterpart on Friday to discuss a wide-ranging economic and security cooperation agreement signed between the two countries in Tehran early last year, among other issues, according to his ministry. Implementing the 25-year agreement to boost trade and the nuclear talks in Vienna, of which China is a part, are high on the agenda, an Iranian official said.
How Covid-19 Has Widened the Gap Between Rich and Poor Countries
The Covid-19 pandemic is widening the gap between rich and poor countries, a trend that threatens to reverse years of economic progress and set back efforts to alleviate global poverty.
The pandemic pushed the global economy into recession in 2020, but richer nations have bounced back faster than poorer ones, thanks to widespread access to vaccines and lavish programs to support businesses and workers through lockdown.
North Korea Fired Unidentified Projectile Off Its East Coast, South Says
SEOUL-North Korea conducted its third weapons test of the year, firing an unidentified projectile off its east coast on Friday, according to South Korea’s military.
The type of weapon, where the launch occurred and the flight distance couldn’t immediately be learned.
China Bans Flights From U.S. as Covid-19 Measures Intensify
HONG KONG-Chinese aviation authorities ordered more flights from the U.S. canceled for the coming weeks, along with flights from countries including France, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, citing Covid-19 containment rules.
The list released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China on Friday newly bans American Airlines Group Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. flights to Shanghai from Dallas and Detroit, respectively. They join dozens of other flights from the U.S., including by United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Chinese airlines, that have been listed since the beginning of the year, further narrowing transit options in and out of China. Other flights by domestic and foreign airlines that authorities have banned in recent days travel routes including Paris-Shanghai, Jakarta-Wuhan and Abu Dhabi-Shanghai.
Supreme Court Blocks Biden Vaccine Rules for Large Employers
WASHINGTON-The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccine-or-testing rules for large private employers, upending the government’s most aggressive effort to combat the pandemic via the workplace.
The high court, however, did give the administration more latitude in the healthcare industry, allowing it to impose a vaccine mandate for more than 10 million healthcare workers whose facilities participate in Medicare and Medicaid, a holding that leaves one part of the president’s Covid-19 playbook in place.
January 14, 2022 06:13 ET (11:13 GMT)
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