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Gene J. Puskar / AP

As more and more consumers are moving their shopping online and away from brick and mortar stores, malls are near-ready to buckle under the pressure — and investing firms are betting against real estate loans backed by malls in order to profit from their impending failure, according to Bloomberg.

The magnitude: Not as big as the subprime mortgage loans that spurred on the 2008 financial crisis, but there are still $985 million in contracts on the two riskiest kinds of mortgage-backed securities. (Bloomberg's headline on the matter paints a gloomy picture: "Wall Street Has Found Its Next Big Short in U.S. Credit Market," but it's not quite that bad.)

What to watch: And any massive set of store closures from J.C. Penney, Sears, or Macy's would ripple across all the malls, tanking the mortgage-backed securities and spelling out a win for the investors betting against them.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

White House stands by imperiled Tanden nomination after Senate panel postpones hearing

Neera Tanden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is postponing a confirmation hearing scheduled Wednesday for Neera Tanden, Axios has learned, a potential death knell for President Biden's nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

The latest: Asked Wednesday afternoon whether Tanden has offered to withdraw her nomination, Psaki told reporters, "That’s not the stage we’re in." She noted that it's a "numbers game" and a "matter of getting one Republican" to support the nomination.

Acting Capitol Police chief: Officers were unsure of lethal force rules on Jan. 6

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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United CEO is confident people will feel safe traveling again by 2022

Axios' Joann Muller and United CEO Scott Kirby. Photo: Axios

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Why it matters: Misery for global aviation is likely to continue and hold back a broader economic recovery if nothing changes, especially with new restrictions on international border crossings. U.S. airlines carried about 60% fewer passengers in 2020 compared with 2019.