Economy & Business

Why it matters: After a record economic expansion, the coronavirus pandemic sent the U.S. economy into a recession as unemployment soared to staggering heights. The country now faces urgent questions about how much stimulus is needed for reeling consumers and businesses, and what a recovery might look like.

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CDC finds rare, deadly bacteria in aromatherapy spray

Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified Friday an aromatherapy spray imported from India as the source of a serious tropical disease that sickened four people earlier this year, killing two.

Driving the news: A CDC investigation found the same type of bacteria that causes an extremely rare disease called melioidosis in a spray bottle sold at nearly 55 Walmart stores between February and October.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Roller coaster day for Trump SPAC stock

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Source: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday was a bumpy one for the SPAC that recently agreed to take Donald Trump's new media company public, at one point gaining more than $4.5 billion in market value.

Inside the numbers: Shared of Digital World Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: DWAC) closed at $45.50 on Thursday, the first day of trading after the Trump announcement, and then opened at $118.79 on Friday before hitting a high of $166.64.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
10 hours ago - Economy & Business

Congressional Democrats take aim at private equity

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Congressional Democrats are again taking aim at private equity, but they don't have much more firepower than the last time around.

Driving the news: The Senate Banking Committee held a pair of hearings earlier this week, one focused broadly on PE misdeeds and one focused specifically on PE's role in the U.S. housing market. The former was chaired by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and the latter by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
10 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX raises over $420 million, reaches $25 billion valuation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

FTX, a global cryptocurrency exchange, raised $420.69 million in new Series B funding at a $25 billion valuation.

Why it matters: The new cash and stock value should help three-year-old FTX make more large acquisitions, like the recent buy of U.S. crypto futures exchange LedgerX, as it tries to narrow the gap with global rival Binance and U.S. rival Coinbase.

Existing home sales hit inflection point

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Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Homebuyers were busy this summer: They closed on 6.29 million properties in September on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, up 7% from August, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Why it matters: Lower mortgage rates made purchasing an attractive option, despite higher sales prices.

Rising car prices fuel AutoNation's great year

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Chip shortages could be viewed as a blessing for AutoNation at this point.

Driving the news: The car chain reported its sixth-consecutive quarterly earnings record on Thursday. That's thanks to higher consumer prices driven by production constraints.

Changing the inflation conversation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Inflation looks like it’ll run hot for longer than plenty of smart people thought it would. The conversation over just how much more Americans will have to pay for their stuff has taken on a new intensity, as supply problems show few signs of fading.

Why it matters: The rate of price growth has remained consistently strong in recent months — a time that some thought would bring cooling prices after an initial reopening spike. What goes on with prices will influence the decisions made by Congress, the Biden Administration, and the Federal Reserve.

14 hours ago - Economy & Business

What we're driving: the year's best vehicles

Joann Muller in the battery-electric Hyundai Ionic 5, which has a futuristic interior. Photo: Miles Johnson for Axios

This week, I spent two glorious fall days evaluating dozens of cars, trucks and SUVs on the roads near Ann Arbor, Michigan, to determine the best of the best.

Why it matters: The annual comparison drive brings together 50 professional automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada who are jurors for the independent North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards.

14 hours ago - Economy & Business

The rise of vegan food in unexpected places

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vegan cuisine is popping up in two places it wasn't present before: fine dining and fast food.

Why it matters: The single biggest way an individual can reduce their carbon footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Now, the popularization of meatless meals could help curb meat consumption in the U.S.

Not enough votes for corporate tax hike, Biden says

President Biden speaks at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democrats don't have the votes to raise corporate taxes, President Biden admitted at Thursday's CNN town hall in Baltimore, Maryland, where he went into detail on the state of negotiations concerning the massive reconciliation bill.

Why it matters: Democrats are still negotiating what will go into the bill. Divisions within the party have stalled the legislation for weeks.

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