Business News

AM Business Notebook

>>Q4 GDP Slightly Beats Estimates (Washington, DC) -- The nation's economy grew by nearly three-percent at the end of last year. Fourth quarter GDP went up by two-point-nine percent. That's just above the number analysts had been expecting. It wraps up a year that began with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. However, economic activity rebounded sharply in the last half of the year.


>>FTX Opposes New DOJ Bankruptcy Probe (Wilmington, DE) -- FTX is objecting to a Department of Justice request for an independent investigation into the failed crypto exchange's collapse. FTX said in a Wilmington, Delaware bankruptcy court filing on Thursday that it's already conducting a wide-ranging probe that includes relatives of disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. The company said the investigation DOJ is proposing would only add expense and delay to its bankruptcy case. FTX was among the world's top crypto exchanges before its shocking bankruptcy filing in November, leaving some nine-million customers and other investors facing losses totaling billions of dollars.


>>Goldman Sachs Says Four Cities To See Major Housing Crash (Undated) -- Goldman Sachs is predicting four major U.S. cities will see a housing crash similar to that of 2008. In a note to clients obtained by the New York Post, Goldman Sachs mentioned San Jose, Austin, Phoenix and San Diego as the four cities. The company thinks rates will remain high longer than anticipated, with "overheated" markets such as in those cities likely dealing with declines of over 25-percent.


>>Emotional Hearing Over Crashes (Fort Worth, TX) -- Boeing is pleading not guilty to criminal charges, linked to crashes involving their 737 MAX jets. A representative for the aerospace giant was in a Texas court Thursday, facing off with those who lost family members. They're upset over being ignored when Boeing struck a deal with the Justice Department. Part of the settlement gave Boeing legal immunity. The judge is considering appointing a monitor to oversee Boeing's compliance with the agreement. If the company failed, it could open a path to criminal prosecution.


>>IBM, SAP To Layoff Thousands (Undated) -- More layoffs are hitting the tech industry. IBM and SAP are the latest tech companies to reduce their workforces. Europe's largest software company SAP said it will slash 28-hundred jobs. Meanwhile, IBM announced it will let go of 39-hundred workers. The job cuts follow last week's layoffs announced by Google's parent company Alphabet and Microsoft.

AM Business Notebook

>>White House Rolls Out Push For Renter Protections

(Washington, DC)  --  The Biden administration is rolling out new initiatives to help protect tenants and make renting homes more affordable.  The President has directed multiple federal agencies to gather information on unfair housing practices in order to tackle soaring rent costs.  The administration also released a "Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights," which lays out principles for federal and state governments and the private sector to strengthen protection for tenants.  More than a third of Americans, some 44-million households, rent their homes. 


>>Democrats: Entitlement Cuts Non-Starter In Debt Ceiling Talks

(Washington, DC)  --  Top Democrats say Republicans want to cut entitlements as part of negotiations to raise the debt ceiling.  House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar told reporters his party won't entertain deep cuts to Medicare and Social Security.  House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and conservatives are expected to push for spending cuts in exchange for a yes vote to raise the nation's borrowing authority.  Democrats have urged their colleagues on the other side of the aisle to raise the limit without conditions or risk a default.  President Biden plans to meet soon with McCarthy to discuss the debt ceiling issue.  The U.S. hit its debt limit last week, prompting the Treasury Department to start "extraordinary measures" to continue paying its bills.


>>Report: Goldman Sachs Warns Of Recession Caused By Debt Ceiling

(New York, NY)  --  The top economist at Goldman Sachs warns a recession could be triggered by a debt ceiling crisis.  Speaking with CNN, Jan Hatzius said even a hint that the U.S. could fail to make interest and principal payments "could have very, very adverse consequences."  The U.S. reached its debt limit last week.  That forced U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to take what have been called "extraordinary measures" to prevent a debt default.  Yellen has warned a global financial crisis could happen if Congress fails to act.


>>Officials Concerned About Possible Sikorsky Layoffs

(Stratford, CT)  --  The announcement that Sikorsky parent Lockheed Martin is planning hundreds of layoffs have state and local officials concerned.  The company has not indicated how many of the 800 planned layoffs to rotary and mission system workers will impact the Sikorsky facility in Stratford.  The union representing rank and file Sikorsky workers says none of their members will be laid off.  This round of layoffs is expected to mostly impact salaried management or engineering.  

AM Business Notebook

>>Southwest Airlines To Give Employees Gratitude Pay Following Travel Crisis (Dallas, TX) -- Southwest Airlines is giving some employees a bonus following last month's travel crisis. Pilots, flight attendants and other Southwest employees will be receiving what the airline calls "gratitude pay" after a software meltdown led to the cancellation of tens of thousands of flights. The payments come as the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association plans to vote on a potential strike in May.


>>Business Survey Finds Probability Of 2023 Recession Less Likely (Washington, DC) -- A new business survey shows concerns about a U.S. recession easing slightly this year. The results of the January NABE Business Conditions Survey finds just over half of its members put the possibility of a recession at 50 percent or higher. That's a drop of more than ten percent from three months ago. The group's chief economist noted "inflation may be easing" with the outlook for price increases at its lowest reading in more than two years.


>>IRS Bolsters Customer Service Staff (Washington, DC) -- The IRS is going into the 2023 tax filing season with thousands of new customer service representatives thanks to funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. Some five-thousand new reps will help slash call waiting times and shorten the processing time for paper tax returns. Only 13-percent of more than 170 million calls to the IRS were fielded by live agents last year and eight-percent were answered with automated assistance. This comes as Republicans are trying to nix the funding approved for the IRS in the law, which allocates about 80-billion for the agency over the next decade.


>>Honda To Create Division To Speed Up Electrification Development (Tokyo) -- Honda Motor Company is going to create a new division to strengthen and speed up its electrification business. Today's announcement is part of an overhaul of the Japanese carmaker's organizational structure. The changes are scheduled to take effect April 1st and will consolidate Honda's electrification and development of cars, motorcycles, and power products such as generators. Honda set a target last year to roll out 30 electric vehicles worldwide and produce two-million electric vehicles by 2030.

AM Business Notebook

>>Fresh Trading Week Begins

(New York, NY)  --  The opening bell rings this morning after stocks closed higher Friday to end the week.  Netflix helped by reporting more subscribers than expected, even though it missed on quarterly earnings.  Google-parent company Alphabet also pitched in even after announcing it would lay off 12-thousand employees.  


>>Sen. Durbin: Biden Shouldn't Negotiate With GOP On Debt Ceiling

(Chicago, IL)  --  A senior Democrat says President Biden should not negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling.  Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin urged people to be to be wary of so-called GOP "budget balancers" when looking at the amount of debt accumulated during the Trump presidency.  The U.S. reached its technical borrowing limit last week, but the Treasury says it will be able to pay the government's bills through June.  Durbin said Republicans needs to "face the responsibility of paying" for the debt they accumulated.  He also warned that the country risks a recession if the debt limit is not dealt with. 


>>IMF Head Warns About Unemployment Caused By Rate Hikes

(London)  --  More pain may come from interest rate hikes.  That's according to the head of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva [[ chris-tuh-lee-nuh ghee-or-gay-vuh ]].  She said global economic conditions are "less bad" than just a few months ago, but issues could still be on the way.  She cautioned interest rake hikes around the world have "yet to bite" and may result in an increase in unemployment.  Most of the world's central banks began to hike interest rates last year in response to high rates of inflation.  On Thursday, the U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair said the rate hike policy will remain in place for "some time" as the central bank tries to bring inflation down to two-percent.


>>"Avatar" Sequel Keeps Rolling On At Box Office

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  James Cameron's latest blockbuster remains North America's top movie for the sixth week in a row.  "Avatar: The Way of Water" earned another 19-and-a-half-million dollars this weekend at theaters across the U.S. and Canada.  Coming in second is "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" with eleven-and-a-half-million bucks.  The horror comedy "M3GAN" [[ Megan ]] is in third place with eleven-and-a-half-million dollars.  Rounding out the Top Five are "Missing" and "A Man Called Otto."  "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" finished in ninth place.                                                                             

AM Business Notebook

>>White House "Will Not Negotiate" On Debt Ceiling (Washington, DC)

-- The White House will not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling. The White House deputy press secretary said Congress must act to do so without conditions. Her comments come as many Republicans in the House have demanded spending cuts to increase the limit. The debt ceiling refers to the maximum amount the U.S. government can spend on its existing obligations.


>>Top Fed Official Predicts High Rates For "Some Time" (Chicago, IL)

-- Interest rates need to remain high despite signs inflation is easing. That's according to Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard. While speaking in Chicago, she said the central bank will have to keep rates elevated for some time to bring inflation down to the two-percent goal. Her comments come less than two weeks before the rate-setting committee holds its next meeting.


>>U.S. Union Membership Falls To Record Low In 2022 (Washington, DC)

-- Union membership in the U.S. fell to an all-time low last year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday that the percentage of American workers who belong to a union fell to ten-point-one percent in 2022, down from ten-point-three percent the year before. The shrinkage in union membership comes despite a surge in organizing efforts. The National Labor Relations Board, which oversees union elections, reported a 53-percent increase in petitions to form or join unions last year.


>>Netflix Adds Millions More Subscribers (Los Gatos, CA)

-- Netflix added millions more subscribers in the fourth quarter than analysts expected. The streaming giant announced Thursday that it added more than seven-point-six million subscribers worldwide during the last three months of 2022. Wall Street analysts expected just over four-point-five million new subscribers. That news overshadowed Netflix missing earnings estimates, posting 12 cents per share against estimates of 45 cents. Fourth quarter revenue of seven-point-85 billion dollars matched estimates.


>>T-Mobile Instigating Data Breach Affecting 37-Million Accounts (Undated)

-- T-Mobile is investigating a data breach that could affect as many as 37-million accounts. The telecoms company said on Thursday that it identified malicious activity and contained it. T-Mobile said no sensitive data, such as financial information, was compromised.


>>Amazon Warehouse In Orange County Cited By Feds For Safety Hazards (New Windsor, NY)

-- Federal investigators say that an Amazon warehouse in Orange County, New York is one of three in the U.S. being cited for unsafe working conditions. Federal regulators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration say workers at the warehouse in New Windsor are at high risk for back injuries from constantly moving and stacking heavy packages. Amazon is also being fined for unsafe conditions at a warehouse in Florida and another in Illinois. The company must pay just over 60-thousand dollars in fines, but the word is that Amazon plans to appeal.

AM Business Notebook

>>Debt Ceiling Debate Rages (Washington, DC) -- The U.S. will reach its debt ceiling today. That's the limit of money the federal government is allowed to borrow to meet its financial obligations. The debt ceiling currently stands at over 31-trillion dollars, and Congress is considering raising that limit to keep the U.S. from defaulting on its debt. Lawmakers still have a few months before the government defaults, and the issue has become a political football on Capitol Hill. Some Republicans want to use a possible default as a way to cut back on government spending. The White House said last week, however, that it would not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling.


>>Amazon To End Charity Program AmazonSmile (Seattle, WA) -- Amazon is ending its charity program, AmazonSmile. On Wednesday, the company sent a letter to AmazonSmile customers saying the program "has not grown to create the impact that [it] had originally hoped." Launched in 2013, AmazonSmile donated half-a-percent of the price from eligible items to a charity of the shopper's choice. Amazon says the program's ability to have an impact was spread too thin between too many charities. The letter announced Amazon plans to "wind down" AmazonSmile by the end of February this year. The company promised to keep investing in areas where it "can make meaningful change." >>Bird Statue At Twitter HQ Fetches $100K At Auction (San Francisco, CA) -- A statue of the Twitter bird from the company's San Francisco headquarters has been sold at auction. The four-foot blue statue of the iconic bird sold for 100-thousand dollars at a Twitter auction that ended on Wednesday. The statue was one of hundreds of items from Twitter headquarters sold by Global Heritage Partners after new owner Elon Musk decided to cut costs at the social media company. The online auction included office furniture, pizza ovens, espresso machines and a decorative planter shaped like the "at" symbol.


>>DOJ Announces Major Enforcement Action On Crypto Exchange Bitzlato (Washington, DC) -- The Department of Justice says it has disrupted a China-based cryptocurrency exchange notorious for darknet money laundering. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the founder of crypto exchange Bitzlato was arrested in Miami Tuesday night. Officials said the company operated a high-tech financial hub that catered to known crooks and failed to implement safeguards required by law. The company facilitated the transmission of hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit funds. This is the largest enforcement action by the DOJ's National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.


>>Holiday Sales Fall Short (Washington, DC) -- The National Retail Federation reports that holiday sales fell short of expectations as shoppers felt constrained by rising interest rates and inflation. Sales between November and December did grow by five-point-three-percent year over year, but that was below the NRF's prediction of six to eight-percent. In other terms, spending was projected to fall between 942-point-six-billion and 960-point-four-billion. It topped out at 936-point-three-billion. The results of the season reflect the challenges ahead as Americans continue to pay more for necessities like groceries and housing.


>>Party City Files For Bankruptcy (Woodcliff Lake, NJ) -- Party City is filing for bankruptcy. The party supply retailer has faced heavy debt as sales have been impacted by inflation. Party City said it had over one-point-six-billion dollars in debt in September. It has secured a 150-million-dollar bankruptcy loan and is seeking approval to use half of it to immediately pay workers and vendors. The company will look to restructure to be able to compete with big box store competitors like Target and Walmart.

AM Business Notebook

>>WH Urges Congress To Raise Debt Limit

(Washington, DC)  --  The White House is urging Congress to swiftly raise the debt limit.  Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said lawmakers must soon deal with the debt limit without conditions.  She said Republicans poised to use the debt ceiling to force budget cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are threatening the global economy.  The U.S. is expected to hit the borrowing limit on Thursday.  After that, the Treasury Department will use "extraordinary measures" to keep paying bills and avoid a default.


>>IMF Chief Believes Growth Will Slow Down This Year

(Davos)  --  Economic growth is likely to slow down this year.  That's according to the chief of the International Monetary Fund who spoke to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  Kristalina Georgieva [[ chris-tuh-lee-nuh ghee-or-gay-vuh ]] said growth will fall by half a percentage point compared to last year.  She added growth will "bottom out this year" and the world economy will rebound next year.  When it comes to cutting interest rates, she said that may not be the best idea as the battle against inflation goes on.  Central banks like the Federal Reserve continually raised rates last year and she said they "have to be careful not to pull their foot from the brake too early."


>>San Francisco Panel Recommends $5 Million Reparations for Each Black Resident

(San Francisco, CA)  --  A San Francisco task force on reparations is recommending the city make a one-time payment of five million dollars to each eligible Black resident.  The San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee said the lump sum would compensate for "decades of harm experienced as a result of both intentional decisions and unintended harms perpetuated by City policy."  The proposed redress could cost San Francisco 50 billion dollars. The City's total 2023 budget is 14 billion dollars. 


>>Saks Fifth Avenue Makes Bid To Open NYC Casino

(New York, NY)  --  Saks Fifth Avenue, an iconic New York City Department store, is making a bid to open a casino.  Saks has traditionally billed itself as the premier destination for luxury fashion but now it's hoping to gamble on a casino, too, vying to secure one of three licenses approved for New York City.  Its flagship Manhattan store would still sell Chanel and Prada but its three upper floors would offer a luxury gambling experience with a separate entrance and table games played under crystal chandeliers.  Other casino proposals involve Times Square, the area around Citi Field and Hudson Yards. 


AM Business Notebook

>>Investors Will Have A Lot To Look Out For

(New York, NY)  --  Investors will have a lot to be on the look out for this week despite MLK Day making this an abbreviated trading week.  The Producer Price Index and earnings results from the likes of Netflix, American Airlines and Goldman Sachs highlight the holiday-shortened week.  The PPI, due out Wednesday, will provide another key inflation reading after last week's Consumer Price Index.  The existing home sales report and the government's retail sales report are also set to be released this week.  


>>Treasury Secretary: U.S. Will Hit Debt Limit Thursday

(Washington, DC)  --  The U.S. Treasury Secretary is warning the nation will hit its debt limit on Thursday.  Janet Yellen has notified Congress that the Treasury Department will begin taking steps to avoid default once the debt limit is reached.  In a letter to Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Yellen noted Treasury "is not currently able" to estimate how long those actions will let the U.S. continue to pay for government obligations.  She urged Congress to "act promptly to protect the full faith and credit of the United States."


>>Musk's 2018 Tesla Tweet Trial To Start

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Elon Musk's trial over a 2018 tweet is scheduled to start today in a federal courtroom in San Francisco.  Back in August of that year, the electric automaker CEO tweeted that he had put together a 72-billion-dollar deal for a company buyout.  That buyout never happened and now Musk will have to explain himself under oath thanks to a class action lawsuit brought by investors.  The tweet led to a 40-million-dollar settlement with the SEC and to Musk stepping down as Tesla chairman.  Musk tried and failed to get the trial moved to Texas, claiming that all the furor over his recent purchase of San Francisco-based Twitter poisoned the jury pool there.


>>California Business Owners Can Apply For Disaster Loans

(Undated)  --  California business owners affected by the historic storms might be able to get some financial relief.  The U.S. Small Business Administration revealed that federal disaster loans are now available.  Businesses as well as non-profit organizations could qualify for up to two-million dollars in relief. Before consideration, owners will have to get in touch with FEMA first.  It comes as President Biden declared that federal major disaster assistance will be made available to Merced [[ Mer-said ]], Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties.  Governor Gavin Newsom also signed an executive order Monday to increase the Golden State's emergency response to the storms.


>>Survey: Economist Expect Global Recession In 2023

(Davos)  --  A majority of chief economists anticipate a global recession this year.  That's according to a survey released by the World Economic Forum as business and government leaders began to gather for its annual meeting.  The percentage who consider a world recession "extremely likely" more than doubled since September to 18-percent.  Just one-third of those surveyed said they think a global recession is unlikely in 2023.  The WEF managing director said current conditions like high inflation and low growth "reduces incentives for the investments needed to get back to growth and raise living standards for the world's most vulnerable."


>>Wyoming Lawmakers Propose Electric Car Sales Ban

(Cheyenne, WY)  --  Some Wyoming lawmakers are pushing to end electric vehicle sales in the state by 2035.  The measure was introduced last week by a group of Republicans to the state legislature.  It notes that the move will help safeguard the oil and gas industries, adding that electric vehicles will hinder Wyoming's ability to trade with other states.  Conversely, more than a dozen other states have moved to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles.

AM Business Notebook

>>No Trading On Wall Street In Observance Of MLK Day 

(New York, NY)  --  There's no trading today on Wall Street, with both the stock and bond markets closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Schools and government offices are also closed today and there will be no mail delivery.  Trading picks back up on Tuesday after Wall Street closed higher Friday to cap a positive week.  Despite ongoing recession fears, at the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112 points to 34-302.  The S&P 500 climbed 16 points to 39-99.  The Nasdaq gained 78 points to 11-079.

>>Warnock: Lawmakers Shouldn't "Play Chicken" With U.S. Economy

(Atlanta, GA)  --  Senator Raphael Warnock says that lawmakers shouldn't "play chicken" with the U.S. economy.  Appearing on ABC's This Week, the Georgia Democrat's comments come as Congress works to avoid a national debt default.  Warnock noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has"created a lot of challenges for American families" and warned any shocks caused by defaulting would disproportionally affects those already struggling the most.  He cautioned, "This is not a game. This is peoples' lives." 

>>World Economic Forum Getting Underway In Davos

(Davos)  --  The World Economic Forum is getting underway in Davos, Switzerland.  Organizers are expecting an estimated 27-hundred leaders from 130 countries to be on hand.  That's in addition to hundreds of high-profile public figures.  The annual conference runs through the 20th.    

>>SpaceX Set Successfully Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket 

(Kennedy Space Center, FL)  --  SpaceX is celebrating another successful launch of its most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy.  It blasted off Sunday evening from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, following a 24-hour delay.  Powered by three Falcon 9 boosters, the 230-foot rocket carried a pair of communications satellites into orbit on a classified military mission.

>>Voting On UAW President Underway

(Detroit, MI)  --  Voting is underway to determine who will lead the United Auto Workers union.  Current UAW President Ray Curry is facing off against Shawn Fain who is part of the Stellantis Department within the UAW.  In recent days both candidates have called each other out as being "out of touch" when discussing the future of the union.  This is the first direct election by union members in the history of the organization.  Members have until February 28th to return their ballots and vote tabulation begins March 1st.

AM Business Notebook

>>Fed Official Anticipates Smaller Hikes Moving Forward (Philadelphia, PA) -- A top Federal Reserve official anticipates smaller interest rate hikes going forward to tame inflation. The Fed's Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker said the central bank should lift interest rates in quarter-point increments, adding that the days of raising them 75 basis points at a time have passed. Harker will be a voting member of the committee that sets rates this year. He predicted core inflation should be around three-and-a-half percent this year and the Fed should hit its inflation goal of two-percent in 2025.


>>CEOs Predict 2023 Recession (New York, NY) -- Many CEOs are predicting a recession this year. A survey from Conference Board's C-suite says most CEOs' top worry for the coming year is a slowing economy. They also cite inflation and an uptick in borrowing costs.


>>Bipartisan Bill Would Ban Lawmakers From Trading Individual Stocks (Washington, DC) -- A bipartisan bill would ban members of Congress and their families from trading individual stocks. The TRUST in Congress Act would require lawmakers to put investment assets in a blind trust during their time in office. The law is aimed at ensuring members cannot use their positions to get an upper hand in making investment decisions. The bill introduced in the Republican-led House has the support of dozens of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.


>>Apple CEO Tim Cook Requests, Receives 40% Pay Cut (Cupertino, CA) -- Apple CEO Tim Cook is taking a 40-percent pay cut. Cook's compensation totaled just under 83-million dollars in 2022 and he'll receive 49-million this year. Cook requested the change in pay Thursday in response to 64-percent of shareholders approving his pay package last year, down from 95-percent approval for Apple's 2020 fiscal year. In signing off on the pay cut the board still praised Cook's performance and said it has confidence in his long-term strategic decisions.


>>Tesla Cuts Prices In U.S., Germany (Undated) -- Tesla is cutting prices on its top-selling vehicles in the U.S. and Germany. The luxury high-performance electric carmaker announced late Thursday that prices for the Model 3 and Model Y will fall by six-percent to 20-percent in the U.S. The move follows price cuts announced last week in China and other Asian markets. It marks a reversal in the strategy Tesla followed through much of last year when demand was strong and average prices for its vehicles had been trending higher.


AM Business Notebook

>>FTX Recovers $5 Billion Of Liquid Assets (Wilmington, DE) -- FTX customers may be getting some good news. During a bankruptcy hearing in Delaware Wednesday, attorneys said the crypto exchange has recovered five-billion-dollars of liquid assets. FTX customers are owed at least eight-billion-dollars after the trading platform collapsed last year. Last week, federal prosecutors announced it planned to seize 500-million-dollars worth of assets linked to FTX. The asset seizure is in connection to the ongoing prosecution of former CEO and co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried.


>>IRS Watchdog Report Sees Improvements (Washington, DC) -- The IRS is starting this year's tax-filing season on better footing than previous years. A new independent watchdog report found the agency has made progress in reducing its massive backlog of unprocessed tax returns over the past year, although calls seeking customer service reps are still going largely unanswered. Just 13-percent of the 173-million calls in 2022 reached an IRS representative, up from eleven-percent from the year prior. The report offered optimism improvements are coming down the pike due to funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. However, Republicans in the House are seeking to dramatically cut the agency's funding.


>>No Break In NYC Nurses Strike (New York, NY) -- Barring any last minute announcements, it looks like this will be day four of the nurses strike in New York City. Some seven thousand nurses at two hospitals want language inserted in a contract to enforce a better nurse to patient ratio, complaining that they have far too many patients. The union representing the striking nurses had vowed to continue talks all night.


>>NLRB Ruling Says Amazon Has To Bargain With Union (New York, NY) -- A federal ruling says Amazon should recognize its first unionized warehouse in the U.S. On Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board's regional director in New York dismissed Amazon's allegations that union organizers and labor officials influenced voters at a huge warehouse in Staten Island. Last spring, workers voted to allow the Amazon Labor Union to represent about eight-thousand employees at the warehouse. Wednesday's ruling requires Amazon to bargain "in good faith" with the union. Amazon is expected to appeal the decision before the full labor board in Washington, DC.


>>WSJ: Subway Chain Considering Sale (Milford, CT) -- Subway may soon be up for sale. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the global sandwich company is considering selling the business that could be valued at over ten-billion dollars. Subway is one of the world's largest fast-food chains with over 37-thousand restaurants in over 100 countries. The privately-owned company hasn't commented on the report.

AM Business Notebook

>>Clients In FTX Scandal Could Be Revealed In Court Today

(Wilmington, DE)  --  A federal judge could decide today whether to reveal the names of the roughly one-million clients caught up in the FTX crypto scandal.  Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey will hear arguments from the New York Times, Dow Jones, Bloomberg and Financial Times about why clients of the cryptocurrency company no longer deserve anonymity.  FTX representatives say revealing the names would violate privacy rules and allow rivals to "poach" their clients.


>>JPMorgan Chase CEO Revises Economic Outlook

(New York, NY)  --  The CEO of JPMorgan Chase is walking back predictions of an economic "hurricane" this year.  CEO Jamie Dimon now says there may be more "storm clouds" on the economic horizon, but he's more optimistic for the American consumer.  He has previously said the "hurricane" was taking the shape of a hard-hitting recession.  He said Tuesday the U.S. could actually see a "Goldilocks mild recession."


>>U.S. Household Debt Hits $16.5 Trillion

(Undated)  --  The average U.S. household is around 165-thousand-dollars in debt.  That's according to a new study by NerdWallet, which found the national U.S. household debt total has risen to 16-point-five-trillion-dollars, nearly eight percent higher than last year.  While the average amount of student loan debt has gone down, mortgages, auto loans, and overall debt has increased.  According to the study, the median household income only grew by four-percent last year, while cost of living rose eight-percent.  


>>Wells Fargo Is Stepping Back From Mortgage Servicing

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Wells Fargo is pulling back from the U.S. housing market.  CNBC is reporting that the biggest mortgage-lending bank in America is shrinking its mortgage business and instead will focus on home loans for its existing customers and for borrowers in minority communities.  The decision appears to have been made because climbing interest rates have made it more expensive to buy a home in the U.S.  The move is expected to result in layoffs in Wells Fargo's mortgage operations, but they haven't said how many jobs could be lost.  

AM Business Notebook

>>Consumers Expect Inflation, Spending To Cool Over Next Year (New York, NY) -- Consumer expectations for inflation over the next year are dropping. A New York Federal Reserve survey shows the one-year inflation outlook fell to five-percent, the lowest level since July 2021. The figure represents progress in bringing down costs, but is well above the Fed's goal of two-percent annual inflation. Household spending fell to just under six-percent. Meanwhile, consumers expect gas prices to increase by more than four-percent and food prices to rise seven-point-six percent over the next year, a slight decline from November.

>>SEC Charges Ex-McDonald's CEO (Washington, DC) -- A former CEO Of McDonald's is facing charges. The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Stephen Easterbrook with making false and misleading statements to investors about the circumstances leading to his termination in November 2019. The Chicago-based fast food giant was also was charged for shortcomings in its public disclosures related to Easterbrook's separation agreement. The SEC says McDonald's and Easterbrook entered into a separation agreement that concluded his termination was without cause, which allowed him to retain substantial equity compensation that otherwise would have been forfeited.

>>Goldman Sachs To Lay Off Up To 3,200 Employees (New York, NY) -- Goldman Sachs will reportedly start cutting up to 32-hundred jobs this week. It's the latest big Wall Street firm looking to trim costs in response to a slowdown in investment banking. The layoffs represent about six-and-half percent of Goldman's 49-thousand employees. The bank declined to comment on the report.

>>Party City Preparing For Bankruptcy (Woodcliff Lake, NJ) -- Party City is preparing to file for bankruptcy. That's according to a report by Bloomberg, which cited people with knowledge of the situation. They said the party supply chain will likely miss an investor payment next month. The store saw disappointing sales during the key Halloween season and has been hit by a helium shortage and supply chain issues. Party City was founded in 1986 and has over 800 stores in the U.S. Source Staff/acc Copyright © 2023 TTWN Media Networks Inc.

AM Business Notebook

>>Reports: FTX Founder To Plead Not Guilty

(New York, NY)  --  The disgraced young crypto king is set to plead not guilty to fraud charges.  Reports say Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, accused of stealing billions from customers since 2019 will plead not guilty in a New York court later today.  He's been extradited from the Bahamas since his company collapsed and he has been charged with fraud in New York City.  He faces over 100 years in prison if he is convicted.

>>Planet Labs Prepares To Send Dozens Of Satellites Into Orbit

(San Francisco, CA)  --  San Francisco-based Planet Labs plans to launch 36 of its SuperDove satellites on a SpaceX rocket this morning.  The Falcon 9 launch in Cape Canaveral, Florida is scheduled for no earlier than 9:56 a.m. Eastern time.  These 36 SuperDoves will replenish Planet's current fleet of approximately 200 satellites in orbit, working to provide a continuous, and complete view of the world from above every day. 

>>Hamlin Xmas Toy Drive Receives $3 Million In Donations After Collapse

(McKees Rocks, PA)  --  A Christmas toy drive organized by Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin has seen an explosion of donations after he collapsed on the field Monday night.  A GoFundMe campaign which had a goal of 25-hundred dollars raised over three-million dollars in the hours after Hamlin collapsed during the first quarter of the Bills game against the Bengals in Cincinnati.  The Bills tweeted that Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after making a tackle.  He's listed in critical condition at University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center.

NWQWM Financial Report

Global stocks are set to close out the worst year since the 2008 financial crisis after the battle by central banks to tame inflation and the war in Ukraine sent powerful waves rushing across asset markets. The broad MSCI All-World index of developed and emerging market equities has shed nearly a fifth of its value in 2022, with bourses from Wall Street to Shanghai and Frankfurt all notching up significant losses. Bond markets also endured heavy selling: the US 10-year government bond yield, a global benchmark for long-term borrowing costs, has shot up to 3.8 per cent from about 1.5 per cent at the end of last year — the biggest annual increase on Bloomberg records stretching to the 1960s.

Global dealmaking suffered a record fall during the second half of this year, as rising interest rates and economic uncertainty brought a period of frenzied activity to an abrupt close. Mergers and acquisitions worth $1.4tn were announced during the six months to December, down from the $2.2tn agreed in the first half of 2022. It was the biggest swing, from one six-month period to the next, since records began in 1980. The overall volume of deals struck globally in 2022 was down 38 per cent from 2021, the largest year-on-year drop since 2001.


European natural gas prices have fallen to levels last recorded before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, as warmer weather helps the continent to preserve its reserves.

NWQWM Financial Report

Silicon Valley workers are scrambling to offload stakes in tech start-ups through private share sales after a wave of job cuts, compounding a collapse in valuations. Employees of embattled tech groups are flooding secondary markets — where stakeholders in a private company sell shares to third parties — as the industry’s former darlings like Klarna and Stripe have been forced into aggressive cost-cutting measures, according to brokers and investors.

ExxonMobil is suing the EU in a bid to force it to scrap the bloc’s new windfall tax on oil groups, arguing Brussels exceeded its legal authority by imposing the levy. The lawsuit is the most significant response yet against the tax from the oil industry, which has been targeted by western governments amid a surge in energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Oil and gas groups are set to dominate the list of best-performing US stocks in 2022, after bumper profits following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drew investors back to the sector. Of the 25 performers in the benchmark S&P 500 index of stocks, as many as 15 will be fossil fuel operators. The energy sector has climbed almost 60 per cent, a sharp contrast with a 21 per cent drop in the S&P 500 as a whole.

NWQWM Financial Report

Holiday sales rose this year as American spending remained resilient during the critical shopping season despite surging prices on everything from food to rent, according to one measure.  Holiday sales rose 7.6%, a slower pace than the 8.5% increase from a year earlier when shoppers began spending the money they had saved during the early part of the pandemic, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks all kinds of payments including cash and debit cards.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city house price index fell 0.5% in October, its fourth monthly decline.  Year-over-year prices rose 8.6%, slowing from 10.4% in the previous month.  Miami, Tampa, and Charlotte reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in October, but all 20 cities reported lower price increases.  San Francisco and Seattle reported the lowest year-over-year gains, which have seen prices fall by more than 10% from a peak in May.  No cities saw home price growth rise on a monthly basis in October.

Tesla’s sell-off intensified yesterday, with the stock dropping an additional 8%. The electric car company is days away from closing out its worst month, quarter and year on record to become the worst-performing stock in 2022 among the most valuable tech companies.

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U.S. consumer spending barely rose in November, while annual inflation increased at its slowest pace in 13 months, but demand is probably not cooling fast enough to discourage the Federal Reserve from driving interest rates to higher levels next year.

New home sales were up in November from the month before, even as prices remained elevated and buyers faced some of the highest mortgage rates of the year.  Sales of newly constructed homes rose 5.8% in November from October, but were down 15.3% from a year ago, according to the US Census Bureau. This is the second consecutive month of sales increases. Meanwhile, the median price for a new home dropped to $471,200, down from $493,000 the previous month. But it was still higher than the median price a year ago, which was $430,000.

Orders for manufactured goods sank 2.1% in November in another sign of slackening demand in the U.S. economy as the year winds down.  Fewer contracts for commercial jets explained most of the weakness last month. But orders minus transportation and a key measure of business investment posted just very small increases.  Orders rise in an expanding economy and shrink when growth weakens. A variety of measures point to waning demand for goods due to a more fragile economy and a shift in consumer spending toward services such as travel and recreation.

NWQWM Financial Report

Micron Technology said that it will cut its workforce by 10%, and keep tightening its financial belt in 2023 as it foresees more negativity across the semiconductor market. Micron gave its business assessment along with its fiscal first-quarter results after the market close. The company missed slightly on the top and bottom lines. Based on its recent employee numbers, Micron would be cutting almost 5,000 workers in the year ahead.

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in the week before Christmas rose slightly to 216,000, but new filings remained low and signaled the labor market is still quite strong. The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, meanwhile, was basically unchanged at 1.67 million. It’s the highest reading since February, but also quite low historically.

The National Football League announced Thursday its Sunday Ticket subscription package would go to Google’s YouTube TV starting next season, marking the league’s second media rights deal with a streaming service. YouTube TV will pay roughly $2 billion a year for the rights of the Sunday Ticket package, seemingly putting a nail in the coffin of Direct TV.

NWQWM Financial Report

Nike rallied after sliding past consensus marks with its FQ2 earnings report. A drop in revenue in Greater China was more than offset by gains in Asia Pacific & Latin America, North America and Europe.  Footwear sales were up 25% to $8.50B, while apparel sales rose 4% to $3.8B. Worryingly, Nike ended the quarter with inventory up 43% year-over-year.  Net income for the sportswear giant was flat compared to a year ago at $1.3B.

Mortgage interest rates dropped again last week, and while that did little to bolster demand from homebuyers, it did send homeowners looking for savings on their monthly payments. Applications to refinance a home loan jumped 6% last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Volume, however, was still 85% lower than the same week one year ago.

More bankruptcy in Crypto: one of the largest US-listed bitcoin miners has filed for bankruptcy as companies battle falling token prices and rising costs for the energy-intensive business of churning out cryptocurrencies. Core Scientific filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Texas, where it is based. The company said it planned to keep operating and producing bitcoin while it hammered out a restructuring deal with its lenders and creditors.  Last April the company’s market value exceeded $3bn.

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Millionaire investors are betting on double-digit declines in stocks next year, reflecting their most bearish outlook since 2008, according to the CNBC Millionaire Survey.  Fifty-six percent of millionaire investors surveyed expect the S&P 500 to decline by 10% in 2023. Nearly a third expect declines of more than 15%. The survey was conducted among investors with $1 million or more in investible assets.  They also expect falling equities to reduce their wealth. When asked about the biggest risk to their personal wealth over the next year, the largest number (28%) said the stock market.  The last time millionaire investors were this gloomy was during the financial crisis and Great Recession more than a decade ago.

Confidence among U.S. single-family home builders fell for a record 12th straight month in December as even a scramble to offer incentives for prospective buyers failed to boost traffic and lift sales in the current high-inflation environment.  The National Association of Home Builders said their NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index dropped two points to 31 this month. A reading above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good rather than poor.

Disney's "Avatar: The Way of Water" delivered director James Cameron his first $100-million opening weekend — but missed industry expectations of $170 million-plus.  The much-anticipated sequel, which runs 3 hours and 12 minutes, secured roughly $134 million in domestic markets — tying with Warner Bros.' "The Batman" as the fifth-highest opener of 2022.

NWQWM Financial Report

Consumers are looking more miserly than expected into the year-end, according to Wall Street channel checks. Nearly across the board, analysts are voicing concerns on consumer belt-tightening, coupled with a shift away from goods consumption. While e-commerce spending was noted as on the rise nominally, as reflected in Adobe Black Friday sales data, inflation dampens enthusiasm on that front. Meanwhile, retail sales data overall indicates brick-and-mortar spending is slowing substantially as well.

Global coal use is on course to increase by 1.2% to hit a record high this year, according to a report from the International Energy Agency.  The rising price of natural gas  has prompted a wave of fuel switching away from gas, pushing up demand for more price competitive options – namely coal.  The IEA report painted a picture of uncertainty moving forward – essentially, the price of gas will drive coal demand.

The metaverse has become the hottest concept ever in the history of exchange traded funds — despite steady media coverage suggesting there has been little interest in the “sub-theme”. A total of 35 metaverse-badged ETFs have launched globally since the first rolled off the conveyor belt in June 2021, according to data from Morningstar. This exceeds the number for any other “sub theme”, according to Morningstar classifications, ever, trumping the 32 for internet ETFs, 29 for blockchain ones, 23 for cloud computing and 22 for cyber security.

NWQWM Financial Report

Stocks fell sharply yesterday after a report showing US retail sales fell sharply at the start of the holiday shopping season, dropping by 0.6% during the month of November, according to data released by the Commerce Department.   Pullbacks in auto sales helped drive the decline — the largest monthly decrease seen all year — but even excluding autos, monthly sales declined by 0.2%, despite cooling inflation.


The number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to 211,000 for the week ended December 10, according to data released by the Department of Labor.   That’s a drop of 20,000 from the previous week’s total, and the lowest level since September.


Mortgage rates edged lower this week, remaining at their lowest point since September, but the decline is likely not enough to materially revive housing confidence that’s near all time lows.  The rate on the average 30-year fixed mortgage decreased to 6.31% this week.  Rates have plunged in the last month, after signs of cooling inflation could mean the Federal Reserve will slow its aggressive interest-rate hikes.

NWQWM Financial Report

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by a smaller half percentage point later today yet signal that their battle with inflation is still far from over.  The central bank is also slated to release new forecasts for interest rates and the economy when they wind down their two-day meeting this afternoon. Fed officials have indicated they would reduce the size of rate hikes, after four straight three-quarter percentage point hikes in a row.

United Airlines announced they will buy 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets to replace their aging widebody fleet, seeking to improve costs and drive global growth.  Boeing’s stock gained, while United’s stock plunged.   United is also buying 100 Boeing 737 Max narrowbody jets.  The new Dreamliner jets will fly United's longest routes and replace older, less-efficient aircraft.  The huge order from United is a big win for the aviation giant, and it’s the largest 787 Dreamliner order in Boeing history.

A federal indictment was unsealed alleging widespread fraud by FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, a day after the fallen crypto exchange operator was arrested in the Bahamas in connection with the charges.  The indictment in U.S. District Court in Manhattan charges Bankman-Fried with eight criminal counts: conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, individual charges of securities fraud and wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to avoid campaign finance regulations.

NWQWM Financial Report

Prices rose less than expected in November, the latest sign that the runaway inflation that has been gripping the economy is beginning to loosen up.  The consumer price index, which measures a wide basket of goods and services, rose just 0.1% from the previous month, and increased 7.1% from a year ago, according to the Labor Department.  The increase from a year ago, while well above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target for a healthy inflation level, was tied for the lowest since November 2021.

U.S. small-business confidence rebounded in November, according to a survey on Tuesday, which also showed that inflation and worker shortages remained major issues for business owners.  The National Federation of Independent Business said their Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.6 point to 91.9 last month amid an improvement in the share of owners who expected better business conditions over the next six months.

Mortgage rates maintained a downward trajectory last week, dropping for the fourth time in as many weeks. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 6.33% for the week ending Dec. 8, this was a decrease from the previous week when it averaged 6.49%. The 15-year mortgage was 5.67% last week, down from 5.76% the week.  


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