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  1. The great American job machine continues to chug along: The number of jobless workers filing for new unemployment claims fell to a seasonally-adjusted rate of just 235,000, well below economists' expectations of 260,000, an indication that the job market remains strong. Look for a solid jobs reports tomorrow in light of strong data this week.
  2. Macy's Department Stores is shutting down almost 70 stores and cutting 10,000 jobs following a disappointing holiday season. Though the American economy may be on the rebound, the best days of retailers like Macy's are well behind them.. While Macy's has performed better than rivals Sears and J,C. Penney, it is not immune to the twin killers of e-commerce and the hollowing out of the American middle class.
  3. Bitcoin rose to a nearly all-time high on Wednesday of $1153.02 before crashing nearly 30%. The rapid rise in recent months was seen as evidence of investors in China attempting to evade their countries capital controls. Despite Chinese regulations against moving wealth out of the country, more than $750 billion fled last year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The subsequent crash shows that many investors are in the currency for purely speculative reasons.

What to watch today: Everybody on CNBC is still breathlessly awaiting Dow 20,000.

Go deeper

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.

Updated 27 mins ago - Health

Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hawaii became on Thursday the fifth state to confirm the newly discovered Omicron variant after New York announced five new cases earlier in the day.

The latest: In Hawaii, the variant was found in an unvaccinated O'ahu resident with moderate symptoms who had previously been infected with COVID-19, per a state health department statement. The variant has also been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Senate Dems receive max donations from Nord Stream 2 lobbyist

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A major Democratic donor and Nord Stream 2 lobbyist has made maximum campaign contributions this year to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and vulnerable Senate Democrats, campaign finance records show.

Why it matters: If pressure from the White House to vote against reimposing sanctions on the Russia-backed natural gas pipeline weren't enough, Democrats who back such legislation also will be at loggerheads with one of their party's top fundraisers.