Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - The buyback binge

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

US President Joe Biden dislikes them. The taxman is coming after them. And Wall Street strategists warn the boom won’t last. Yet against all odds, Corporate America continues to splurge on its own shares—fueling the new year rally. Indeed, in the first month of 2023, announced buybacks more than tripled to $132 billion from a year ago, reaching the highest total ever to start a year. The planned repurchases surpassed the previous January record (set two years ago) by more than 15%. And there are signs corporate demand is still picking up. Last week, the Morgan Stanley desk that executes buybacks for clients saw orders increase 5%. That, along with retail buying and demand from rules-based quant funds, underpinned the S&P 500’s third weekly gain in four. 

Here are today’s top stories

Major hedge funds have been asked by US regulators to review certain employees’ personal mobile phones as part of a mushrooming probe into Wall Street’s use of unofficial messaging platforms like WhatsApp to do business.  

Derivatives shops, used to clearing hundreds of billions of dollars in trades every day, found themselves in a dramatically different era this week: the old days of manually processing deals. Early Tuesday morning in Europe, a little known but critically important software company that underpins the smooth functioning of stock, bond and commodities markets started to seize up, succumbing to a cyberattack. Suddenly, in offices across the globe, the clock had ticked back to the 1980s.

Gautam Adani has seen $52 billion erased from his personal fortune in the span of just six trading days—a downfall so spectacular that it defies just about every historical comparison. He’s not quite like onetime crypto wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried or Archegos Capital Management’s Bill Hwang, who went from tens of billions to nothing in a flash. After all, even after the share-price collapse in the wake of Hindenburg’s short-seller report, Adani continues to oversee a sprawling empire. But still.

A Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine appears imminent even as Kyiv holds out for more weapons deliveries to power its own push in the south, according to US and European officials. The latest assessments indicate that while the array of arms already sent from the US, Europe and other allies is helping Ukraine hold Russian forces back, it’s not enough for a substantial recouping of territory before Moscow’s coming offensive. Still, officials cautioned that neither side is likely to gain much ground in a war that remains very bogged down, at least not soon. And fears that Russia will send forces from the north through Belarus are likely unfounded.

Russian Army T-90 tanks at an undisclosed location in Ukraine in January. Source: AP Photo

Now that the era of the legendary Apple designer Jony Ive is over, Apple is said to have decided against naming a new executive to replace its departing top product designer. For decades, Apple’s design czars were some of the highest-profile people at the company. Even before Ive became head of design in 1997—around the time co-founder Steve Jobs returned to Apple—design executives gained fame for molding the company’s iconic products.

After a period of staying home, travelers are spending heavily and putting miles and points to work for them again. So much so that airport perks and credit card benefits are getting a bit of fine tuning to better manage the surge in demand—especially when it comes airport lounges. Starting this week, some travelers may get the boot when they least expect it. These are the five best airline travel cards to have right now.

Montreal thrived for years as a bustling property market, tech-company hotspot and an artistic center, with new office and condo towers rising like never before to keep up with demand. Now the downtown is marked by construction cones, quiet streets and empty buildings. Work from home is taking its toll on the Canadian city. 

Montreal's office vacancy rate has soared to 16%, according to CBRE Group Inc., while huge construction projects slow commutes, keeping workers away. Photographer: Christinne Muschi/Bloomberg

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

 What you’ll need to know tomorrow

How to Reverse the World’s Plastic Predicament

On the first episode of Bloomberg’s Getting Warmer With Kal Penn, our host investigates the toxic relationship humans have with plastic and why we recycle so little of it. In New Jersey, he meets Tom Szaky, whose company TerraCycle promises it can recycle things like cigarette butts and dirty diapers. But does it really?

On Getting Warmer With Kal Penn, Penn visits a plastic recycling center in New Jersey to find out how some hard-to-recycle items are finally getting recycled. Photographer: Bloomberg

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It’s getting worse for Adani

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of beleaguered Indian tycoon Gautam Adani, pulled the plug on a record 200 billion-rupee ($2.4 billion)

‘Turning point’

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg The International Monetary Fund raised its growth outlook for the first time in a year, saying it sees a “turning point” for the global economy. The

The pros get played

Monday, January 30, 2023

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg Big money has spent a fortune snapping up homes in recent years. Now regular folks are outsmarting the pros. First-time buyers and small investors

Where it stops, nobody knows

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Bloomberg Weekend Reading View in browser Bloomberg The US economy is cooling just like the Federal Reserve wants, but growth hasn't stalled—also as the Fed wants. While US gross domestic product

Cooling inflation

Friday, January 27, 2023

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg The US Federal Reserve's preferred inflation measures eased in December to the slowest annual pace in over a year while consumer spending fell,

The ultimate travel destinations for 2023

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Let these picks guide your next adventure ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌

An SVB employee lost over $1 million

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Plus: 'Quiet firing' tips, and 12 cities where you can live cheaply. View in browser Subscribe March 25, 2023 Hello, Insiders. Welcome to our Saturday edition — and the first full weekend of

The economy of uncertainty

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Bloomberg Weekend Reading View in browser Bloomberg The US Federal Reserve's job has gotten a lot tougher of late what with the fight against inflation now bumping up against fears of exacerbating

‘Irrational’ investors

Friday, March 24, 2023

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg The lightning-fast banking crisis has in two weeks claimed three mid-sized US banks, took a chunk out of a fourth and sent Credit Suisse into the

The Demise of Credit Suisse

Friday, March 24, 2023

Plus! UBS: The Deal of the Decade? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

TikTok CEO’s testimony went viral

Friday, March 24, 2023

Plus: 'House hacking' your first home, and Amazon return-to-office. View in browser Subscribe March 24, 2023 Hello, Insiders. This is Shona Ghosh, the deputy executive editor for Insider in the

Wall Street: Real estate’s bounce back

Friday, March 24, 2023

The latest in finance. View in browser INSIDER INSIDER Subscribe 10 THINGS ON WALL STREET Happy Friday! Dan DeFrancesco in NYC, and I'm feeling inspired after watching this video of a bouncer

Yellen changes her tune

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had a slightly different story Thursday when it came to the ongoing debate over insuring bank deposits beyond the

🔫 The great crypto showdown

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Coinbase was issued a serious warning | Accenture announced thousands of job cuts | TOGETHER WITH Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for March 24th in 3:09 minutes. 🗓 If you've already

Get ready for more blackouts

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Plus: Fox News behind closed doors, and inside the life of a golf cart girl. View in browser Subscribe March 23, 2023 Hello, Insiders! This is Joe Ciolli, a deputy executive editor in Insider's