Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Dialing back the tension

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is said to be considering a meeting with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, at a security conference later this week. It would be their first face-to-face talks since Beijing ignited an international uproar with an alleged spy balloon lazily moving across the whole of the US mainland, triggering a spike in tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals. Blinken and Wang would meet at the Munich Security Conference, which runs Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, provided both sides agree. In the aftermath of the balloon incident, Blinken called off a long-planned trip to Beijing that was aimed at building on a nascent effort by President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to rebuild frayed relations. A spate of subsequent unidentified objects getting shot down over North America hasn’t helped matters, either. 

Here are today’s top stories

US stocks ended Monday with broad gains after a survey showing Americans have drastically reduced their expectations for household income growth. The news suggests Tuesday’s consumer price data might not be as bad as once feared. Here’s your markets wrap.

Grappling with slowing sales growth and rising costs, Amazon is squeezing more money from the almost 2 million small businesses that sell products on its online marketplace. For the first time, Amazon’s average cut from each sale surpassed 50%.

Biden administration officials say the government plans to sell more crude oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve. They don’t want to, but Congress is making them do it.

Finance professionals all over the world would like to follow Ken Griffin to Miami. Florida—where he relocated his Citadel hedge fund—tops the investor wish-list when asked where they would move if they could work from anywhere. The city may soon rival Singapore and New York for the title of hottest residential market.

Miami Beach, Florida Photographer: Ty Wright

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said he will propose legislation that would bar the state and its local governments from using environmental, social, governance criteria when issuing municipal bonds. The ESG issue has been a favorite of deep-pocketed fossil fuel companies.

Meanwhile in Texas, fellow Republican Greg Abbott said he’d back a law banning transgender athletes from participating in college sports, potentially setting up a fight with the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The American Civil Liberties Union counts at least 299 of what it calls anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced in US states recently.

Qatari investors are said to plan an offer for the Manchester United professional soccer team in the coming days, in a move that would cement the country’s desire to become a major player in global sports.

Old Trafford Stadium, home of Manchester United  Photographer: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Europe

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

 What you’ll need to know tomorrow

  • Bloomberg Opinion: Who loses after Florida and Texas bar ESG banks?
  • Twilio announces new wave of terminations, firing 17% of employees.
  • World’s rich reveal how they spend their billions on UK property.
  • Billionaire “hitman” who made BTS huge goes on a buying spree.
  • Luggage brand Away is exploring its options—including a sale.
  • Single-letter license plate sells for $3.2 million in Hong Kong.
  • Bloomberg Opinion: Why aren’t we all rich yet?

New Yorkers Pay Highest ‘Singles Tax’ in the US

It’s expensive to be single in New York City. While the unattached may save on the costs of an expensive Valentine’s Day date, they’re paying a much higher “singles tax” to live by themselves, according to Zillow. New York renters living alone in one-bedroom apartments are forking over $19,500 more a year than couples who live together. In Manhattan, the annual singles tax rises to a whopping $24,000. 

New York City’s East Village Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg

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