Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - The economy slows

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

The US economy showed signs of slowing, with retail sales and manufacturing dropping last month. But the labor market—despite thousands of firings by tech firms, banks and others in recent weeks—remained resilient as employers largely held onto workers. Initial applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest in two months. However, a separate measure of unemployed workers who’ve been out of a job for longer has climbed to the highest since February. At the same time, retail sales fell in November by the most in nearly a year, a broad-based decline reflecting the strain of inflation and a shift toward spending on services. Several factory gauges also showed contraction in data released on Thursday, burdened by higher borrowing costs and weaker demand.

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Stocks dropped and the dollar rallied Thursday. The S&P 500 fell more than 2%, closing at its lowest level in more than a month. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100’s losses exceeded 3%, with yield-sensitive stocks taking a hit. Equities in Europe also closed lower after the European Central Bank’s upward revision to 2024 inflation projections. Nomura Securities International cross-asset strategist Charlie McElligott says commodity trading advisers, who place macro bets in the futures market, likely turned sellers as the S&P 500 plummeted.  

If there’s a US recession, Mike Mayo says it will be party time for bank stocks. A mild downturn could give banks their best year in almost three decades as higher interest rates bolster profits. What’s more, lenders face lower credit risks in the wake of reforms introduced following the 2008 financial crisis. In a note to clients, Mayo says “banks have prepared for this moment for over a decade.”

Mike Mayo Photographer: Kholood Eid

Several days before FTX collapsed, one of Sam Bankman-Fried’s most senior executives was tipping off authorities to possible misuse of funds. The executive said client assets had been transferred to Alameda Research to “cover financial losses.” He also alleged that only three people had the ability to authorize such a transfer: FTX co-founder Gary Wang, former engineering executive Nishad Singh—and Bankman-Fried.

In a turbulent year marred by global monetary tightening, recession fears, and Russia’s war on Ukraine, a mining stock in Indonesia is proving to be the world’s best performer with a whopping 1,595% rally.

The US sanctioned Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s richest tycoon and the president and biggest shareholder of mining giant MMC Norilsk Nickel, but left his company untouched

A professional footballer imprisoned for protesting is at risk of execution in Iran, the latest such case to prompt international condemnation.

The plastic industry has long said recycling is the solution to reducing waste. But in Thailand, where much of the world’s plastic refuse ends up, it’s created some intractable problems. And other nations may have similar trouble in store.

Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe

Bloomberg continues to track the global coronavirus pandemic. Click here for daily updates.

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