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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Hybrid work wins

llustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, most knowledge workers are in hybrid work arrangements, partly remote and partly in-office, a new survey finds.

By the numbers: 58% said they now work this way, in a survey of around 10,000 knowledge workers from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan, conducted last November by Future Forum, a research group backed by Slack.

Idaho cities top list of most overvalued real estate markets

Expand chart
Data: Fitch Ratings; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Idaho real estate prices continue to soar, with home prices in ’tater state cities topping the ranks of the country’s most-overvalued markets, according to Fitch Ratings.

  • The credit rating company compares current market prices with a proprietary estimate of “sustainable” prices, using the discrepancy to determine which cities are “overvalued” or “undervalued.”
Kate Marino, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Charted: Bitcoin's 2021 gains wiped out (again)

Source: CoinDesk; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bitcoin has lost nearly half its value since its November peak, wiping away hundreds of billions — and any remaining suspicion that the cryptocurrency isn't correlated to risk assets like equities.

State of play: Bitcoin’s latest selloff parallels the recent stock market declines stemming from the Federal Reserve’s hawkish pivot (it even rode the same rollercoaster equities did Monday).

Retail stock traders power stunning comeback after deep selloff

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Stocks staged a Patrick Mahomes-esque comeback Monday, after plunging for the first few hours of trading.

Why it matters: The remarkable recovery suggests that retail traders who upended markets over the last year — most notably during the GameStop bonanza that occurred almost exactly a year ago — continue to be powerful influence in the markets.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Businesses brace for April tax bill as BBB stalls

Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

With President Biden's Build Back Better legislation on ice, business groups are preparing to change course and use the China competitiveness bill to try to preserve some of their cherished research-and-development tax deductions.

Why it matters: By eying the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) to extend the R&D deductions, companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing are hoping to avoid an estimated $8 billion bill in mid-April.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
13 hours ago - Economy & Business

Survey: Nearly one-third of people in relationships admit to financial infidelity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Who among us hasn’t spent a few dollars without telling their significant other?

The big picture: Nearly a third of people in serious relationships admit to some form of financial infidelity, according to a survey conducted by YouGov for CreditCards.com.

Hope King, author of Closer
15 hours ago - Economy & Business

Investors reset their compass

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The endpoints of a stimulus-fueled market are being defined.

Why it matters: Conditions that drove excess pricing in riskier assets are steadily being removed, and big swings in the market like those seen today are inevitable as investors try to adjust to the new landscape.

Activision worker strike ends pending union recognition

Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Employees at Call of Duty developer Raven Software have ended their strike after nearly seven weeks.

The details: Workers announced the news over the weekend on Twitter, noting that the strike has ended "pending the recognition of our union."

Updated 19 hours ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.

Lawmakers call on Pelosi and McCarthy to bring stock trading ban to the floor

The U.S. Capitol. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Twenty-seven House of Representatives members have signed a letter urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to bring forward legislation that would ban members of Congress from owning or trading stocks.

Why it matters: There has been momentum among lawmakers to prohibit stock trading, as pressure has grown to address one of Washington’s most glaring and persistent financial conflicts, write Axios' Dan Primack and Sophia Cai.

Kohl's gets $9 billion takeover offer

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Kohl's received a $9 billion takeover offer from Acacia Research Corp., backed by activist investor Starboard Value. It reportedly may receive a rival bid from buyout firm Sycamore Partners.

Why it matters: Kohl's is one of the country's largest off-mall department store operators, with over 1,100 stores in 49 states, and has innovated by partnering with brands like Amazon and Sephora to create mini stores-within-stores. It's also been a steady target of activist investors.

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

Wall Street's billionaire soap opera gets messier

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photos: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg and Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The backroom fight between Apollo Global Management co-founders Leon Black and Josh Harris has tumbled out into the open, providing plenty of free material to the writers of Wall Street soap operas like "Billions" and "Succession."

Why it matters: This is shaping up to become the messiest fight in private equity's 45-year history.

The Fed's inflation fight ignites interest rate debate

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A debate is shaping up over whether tighter money from the Federal Reserve hiking rates will actually rein in inflation.

Why it matters: Consumer prices are up 7% year over year, the highest rate of increase since 1982. It's causing major headaches for the White House.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.
Jan 24, 2022 - Technology

Wall Street braces for new streaming reality

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Analysts are forecasting a difficult year ahead for subscription streaming companies in response to a massive selloff of Netflix shares last week that was prompted by weak subscriber growth forecasts.

Why it matters: Wall Street has grown accustomed to equating paid subscriber growth at major media firms to market value, but Netflix's decline "calls into question the end-state economics of these businesses," wrote Michael Nathanson, a top media analyst, in a note to clients.

Kate Marino, author of Markets
Jan 24, 2022 - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views of their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of canceled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jan 24, 2022 - Economy & Business

Small businesses see hiring as No. 1 worry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Almost every small business owner in a Goldman Sachs survey is having trouble hiring — and two-thirds think the federal government has done too little to ease their hiring, supply-chain and inflation worries.

Why it matters: The Goldman Sachs research gives a vivid window into the continuing headwinds and hardship for entrepreneurs.

Brands let customers opt out of Valentine's Day deluge

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

More and more brands are giving their customers a heads up and the chance to opt out of marketing emails ahead of holidays like Valentine's Day.

Why it matters: Advertisements and promotions around holidays — particularly ones that celebrate relationships — can cause anxiety and depression. And we're bombarded with them: Overall, we've gone from being exposed to around 500 ads a day in the 1970s to around 5,000 a day now.

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