🎁 Good Wednesday morning. Thanks for the outpouring of Christmas wishes and appreciation for Axios.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Raise a glass of Christmas cheer: We’re now, officially, in the best possible kind of bear market, Axios chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon writes.
The bottom line: When stocks fall because the economy is in a recession and unemployment is rising, that’s a sign of broader misery. When they fall in a growing economy with full employment and record corporate earnings, that might mean a loss for the owners of capital. But it's a rare opportunity for those of us who work for a living.
P.S. The backdrop, from CNBC: "[A] bear market is a 20 percent or more drop from a recent peak. The S&P 500 hit that milestone on [Christmas Eve], dropping 20 percent from its 52-week high."
This could take a while: "Since World War II, bear markets on average have fallen 30.4 percent and ... lasted 13 months, according to analysis by Goldman Sachs and CNBC. ... [Stocks took] an average of 21.9 months to recover."
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection ... ordered medical checks on every child in its custody ... after an 8-year-old boy from Guatemala died, marking the second death of an immigrant child in the agency's care this month," AP's Nomaan Merchant reports from Houston.
The agency "is considering options for surge medical assistance" from the Coast Guard and may request help from HHS, the Pentagon and FEMA.
"Felipe and his father were detained by CBP for about a week, an unusually long time that the agency did not fully explain."
lllustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
A year ago, the notion of Congress passing a consumer privacy law was laughable. Now Big Tech, which once said regulation could break their business, wants Congress to impose rules, Axios managing editor Kim Hart writes.
Democrats who'll soon be in charge of the House are itching to make good on their promise to slap some rules on Big Tech after a year of scandals.
Be smart: A key driver is the move by states to take matters into their own hands. California passed a law putting restrictions on Google, Facebook and other companies in the business of gathering data directly from consumers
"A 7-year-old girl who talked to President Donald Trump on Christmas Eve still left out milk and cookies for Santa despite the president telling her it was 'marginal' for a child of her age to still believe," AP's Darlene Superville writes.
"Collman didn't know what 'marginal' meant and simply answered, 'Yes, sir.'"
"Collman told the Post and Courier that she and her 10-year-old sister and 5-year-old brother left iced sugar cookies and chocolate milk for Santa. She reported that Christmas morning, the food was gone and presents were under the tree."
"Roughly 85% of all [stock] trading is on autopilot — controlled by machines, models, or passive investing formulas, creating an unprecedented trading herd that moves in unison and is blazingly fast," The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription).
The high point of the New York apartment market this year was $73.8 million for a duplex penthouse in a new tower designed by Robert Stern, Bloomberg's James Tarmy reports.
Here are the top 10:
Be smart: "[E]ight out of the top 10 sales were heavily discounted — one apartment at 157 West 57th street took a $17 million price cut."
Banner year at box office ... "Deepening anxiety in Hollywood that the ascendance of Netflix would keep people from going to the movies this year appears to have been overblown," the L.A. Times' Ryan Faughnder reports:
Why it matters: "The surge is welcome news for studios and multiplexes, ... after a steep downturn in attendance in 2017 ... stoked fears that buzzworthy programming on streaming and cable TV had sapped the movie industry of ... cultural clout."