Economy & Business

Why it matters: Despite murmurs of an impending economic crash, the U.S. has seen strong job growth and record low unemployment as trade wars, sweeping technological change and new media consumption habits are changing the American economy.

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FTC sues to block Philadelphia hospital system merger

Jefferson Health's flagship hospital in Philadelphia. Photo: Jefferson Health

The Federal Trade Commission and Pennsylvania's attorney general want to block the proposed merger between Jefferson Health and Einstein Health Network, arguing the combined system would control too much of the hospital services market in the Philadelphia area and consequently would have unfair pricing power.

Why it matters: This is the first time in more than three years that the FTC has challenged a large hospital merger, and this action could force Jefferson and Einstein to abandon their plans.

Go deeperArrow10 mins ago - Health

Stocks fall 4% as sell-off worsens

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Thursday, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 following a spike in coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: All three indices are in correction, down over 10% from recent record-highs, amid a global market rout. It's the S&P 500's quickest decline into correction territory in the index's history, per Deutsche Bank.

How billions of dollars go to waste

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

February saw one of the most effective ways of destroying wealth, thanks to the gyrations in the stock market. More broadly, institutions and individuals around the world have been getting better and better at vacuuming up money and keeping it from doing useful things in the economy as a whole.

Driving the news: Stocks went up this month and then they went down. The rise in stocks coincided with sustained buying pressure — a lot of money entered the market as it was going up. Then the fall came suddenly, not so much as a result of selling pressure, more as a result of the market reacting to coronavirus news by simply marking down the valuation of most stocks.

10-year Treasury yield drops below 1.3% for the first time in history

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The bond market set a significant milestone on Thursday, with bond yields — as measured by the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note — dropping below 1.3% for the first time in history.

By the numbers: The yield was above 3% as recently as November 2018.

Gaming company Roblox now worth $4 billion

Photo credit should read Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Roblox, a Silicon Valley-based gaming platform, has raised $150 million in new venture capital funding led at a $4 billion valuation led by Andreessen Horowitz. The company also will launch up to a $350 million tender for existing holders.

Why it matters: If your young kid or tween is paying online social games, chances are they're playing Roblox. The big question for investors, though, is if Roblox can hold onto users as they age.

Maryland moves to change taxes on carried interest

Maryland may become the first state to unilaterally change the tax treatment of carried interest, the investment profits earned by managers of venture capital, hedge, and private equity funds.

Driving the news: The bill, introduced in late January by 19 Democratic co-sponsors, would introduce a 17% tax on carried interest earned by those filing in Maryland. Currently, such carried interest is taxed at the state's 5.75% capital gains rate. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has not yet taken a position on the bill.

Intuit acquisition spells doom for Credit Karma

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Karma says that if something bad happens to you now, you probably did something to deserve it. So what did Credit Karma do to deserve being bought by Intuit?

Driving the news: Credit Karma is the most successful of the apps built around giving people their credit score for free. It had about $1 billion in revenue in 2019, and served some 37 million monthly active users. Now it's being bought by Intuit for $7.1 billion.

Facebook cancels F8 conference over coronavirus concerns

Photo: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

Facebook has canceled its annual developer conference in San Jose, scheduled for May 5–6, due to concerns over the coronavirus, the company said on Thursday.

The big picture: Facebook's F8 is the latest tech conference to be canceled over these health concerns given the international nature of its attendees. Mobile World Congress, the annual confab in Barcelona, was also canceled, as was another small Facebook conference, while a number of major sponsors have pulled out of other events, like the RSA security conference and the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Investors splurge at the free online stock trading buffet

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When you give something away, people are likely to consume far too much of it. That's true of food, it's true of drink, and it's true of options trades.

Why it matters: The best thing that an investor can do is nothing. People who actively trade the market are effectively trying to time it — to buy low and sell high. Voluminous literature has shown that it just doesn't work, and that doing nothing is superior to doing something a significant majority of the time.

Podcast: Space tourism blasts off

This year, both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin plan to fly passengers on suborbital space trips. Dan and and Axios' Miriam Kramer discuss how tourism could change space industry economics, regulation, and size.

Grocery delivery gets a target market

Reproduced from CivicScience; Note: Not all responses shown; Chart: Axios Visuals

The ideal grocery delivery customer is young and rich, new data from CivicScience shows.

Why it matters: Companies like Amazon and Walmart are investing further in grocery delivery and the data show who their target demographic could be.

Record low rates could exacerbate debt, housing issues

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser

The stock market selloff has drawn the most attention this week, but moves in the U.S. government debt market will likely have much more important impacts on the economy.

The state of play: Mass bond buying has taken place since the beginning of the year and picked up steam as headlines about the spread of novel coronavirus have grown more worrisome.

CEO salaries are growing at an unprecedented pace

Reproduced from As You Sow; Chart: Axios Visuals

CEO pay is growing at breakneck speeds even for top executives who aren't doing a very good job. In response to this trend of overvalued execs, social responsibility nonprofit As You Sow released its latest report on the most overpaid CEOs of S&P 500 companies.

What it means: The list is a calculation based on the chief executive's pay package, total shareholder return of the company during the previous year, and the pay relative to their company's average worker.

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