Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Putin’s ‘depravity’

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

U.S. Defense Department spokesman John Kirby denounced Putin for the “depravity” of Russia’s tactics in Ukraine and the “bizarre” claims he’s made about his reasons for waging war there. “There’s not even an attempt by Russia to be precise in their targeting,” Kirby said. “It’s just brutality of the coldest and most depraved sort.” 

Firefighters try to put out a fire in Kyiv following another Russian strike on civilian targets Thursday. The Kremlin attacked over a wide area of Ukraine, bombarding the capital during a visit by the United Nations secretary general. Source: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Russia’s central bank slashed interest rates and forecast international sanctions would trigger a bigger economic drop than expected before the war, while Germany signaled it wouldn’t oppose a European Union embargo on Russian oil as more nations move to decouple their energy needs from the Kremlin. Still, Russia appeared on track to avoid a looming sovereign default, tapping its domestic dollar reserves

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia in 2019. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

China has stepped up its rhetorical support for Putin, calling the “no limits” friendship between the authoritarian governments a “model.” But Beijing’s embrace of Russia may soon come at a higher price: A major reassessment is underway in European capitals as officials re-evaluate their economic and political ties to China

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With big profits rolling in thanks to war in Europe, fossil fuel giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron have decided to stiff-arm suffering American consumers in favor of funneling profits to shareholders. This as Big Oil rebuffs pleas for help from Congress and the White House. 

Talk about the rich getting richer—the war is sending a tidal wave of cash in the direction of one of the wealthiest countries on Earth. Europe’s hunt to replace Russian natural gas is a boon for Qatar, both financially and in terms of sudden global influence.

The White House is considering forgiving at least $10,000 in student loans per borrower through executive action. The Biden  administration has yet to settle on the proposal’s contours, but aims for the relief to be targeted to lower- and middle-income individuals.

Technology stocks extended losses Friday as shares of what were once market darlings at the height of the pandemic headed for their worst monthly drop since the 2008 financial crisis. Amazon led the decline with a 14% drop. The Nasdaq 100 retreated 4.5%, bringing its losses to 13% for the month. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was 3.6% lower, with every major sector in the red. Here’s your markets wrap.

Anyone who dares peek at their 401(k) can see the carnage: Many popular funds in workplace retirement savings plans are down more than 10% so far this year. Some are even in, or approaching, bear market territory

U.S. government researchers are planning studies of how often and why coronavirus levels rebound in some Covid-19 patients who have completed a five-day course of treatment with Pfizer’s Paxlovid. “It is a priority,” said Clifford Lane, deputy director for clinical research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, calling the issue “a pretty urgent thing for us to get a handle on.”

The FBI searched emails, texts and other electronic communications of as many as 3.4 million U.S. residents without a warrant over a year, the nation’s top spy chief said in a report.

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Diamond Giants Should Worry Over These Gems

In a bid to find sustainable solutions for a historically destructive industry, Anabela Chan makes jewelry from lab-grown gems and recycled metals. The result? Nature-inspired ornaments worn by the likes of Rihanna and Taylor Swift. Grown using elements literally taken from the air, the process leaves behind the scourges of environmental destruction and labor abuses often associated with traditional gem mining. Indeed, the lab-grown kind may someday spell the demise of the diamond industry as we know it

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