Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - When $38 trillion isn’t enough

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

On Wall Street, there’s likely been a sneaking suspicion that work-from-home wouldn’t last. And those skeptics are turning out to be right—but not for everyone and not necessarily for the expected reasons. Barclays for one will require thousands of investment banking staff globally to spend five days a week in the office or traveling to see clients, beginning June 1. Citigroup and HSBC are also ordering more staffers to report to company offices every weekday. The reasons appear to be in part regulatory changes that make it trickier for banks to allow working from home. Citigroup is requiring about 600 US employees previously eligible to work remotely to commute in full-time, though the majority of staff can, for now, continue working up to two days a week in their jammies. At HSBC, shifting regulations affect about 530 staff in New York—roughly half of its workforce in the city. The changes come as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is set to reinstate pre-pandemic rules for monitoring workplaces. That may spell the end of remote work for many traders and dealmakers, as bosses conclude that allowing the practice under Finra’s framework is not worth the trouble or cost

Here are today’s top stories

Teresa Ghilarducci knows retirement. A labor economist and professor, she’s long studied the shortcomings of how the US handles preparing for citizens’ old age. Much of the financial industry is devoted to running retirement funds—$25 trillion in traditional pensions, 401(k)-style plans and annuities and $13 trillion in individual retirement accounts. But Ghilarducci says tens of millions of workers aren’t getting the help they need to save. The pension expert says many Americans will find they can’t afford to quit their jobs, while others—as is often the case—may be forced out of work before their nest egg is ready. America’s $38 trillion retirement pool, it turns out, is nowhere near enough.

Teresa Ghilarducci Photographer: Sara Hylton

Sell! Well maybe not right now, but at least one analyst is predicting that the time to get out is approaching. The rally in global equity markets is at risk of overheating, warns Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett. The bank’s so-called global breadth rule shows that about 71% of equity indexes are trading above both their 50- and 200-day moving averages. A reading above 88% would trigger a contrarian sell signal, Hartnett wrote in a note. 

Shares of Adani Enterprises, the flagship of Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s group, have erased all the losses inflicted by a scathing short-seller report in early 2023. The stock clawed back losses of more than $30 billion that hit after US-based Hindenburg Research alleged in January 2023 wide-ranging corporate malfeasance and share-price manipulation at the conglomerate. Adani has repeatedly denied the allegations. The latest upswing, helped along after the conglomerate cut debt and landed major projects, comes as some analysts expect Adani stock to be included in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex Index in June.

Viktor Orban, the far-right leader of Hungary with close ties to Vladimir Putin, also happens to be prime minister of a NATO-member state. Orban has sought to repeatedly torpedo Western efforts to aid Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s invasion. He’s also tried to stall NATO’s expansion to include Finland and Sweden while striking energy deals with the Kremlin. Now it seems Orban wants to carve out a special position for Hungary in the alliance just as it strengthens its defenses against any potential future Russian aggression. Orban said he’s working to “redefine” the country’s NATO membership status to allow it to potentially opt-out from its deepening support for Ukraine.

Donald Trump, left, with Viktor Orban at the White House in 2019 Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Nigeria stepped up efforts to curb speculation against the battered naira, imposing tough new conditions and banning street trading in foreign currency. The Central Bank of Nigeria also sharply increased capital requirements, citing the need to ensure the value of local currency isn’t being undermined.

Embattled planemaker Boeing appears to have had enough of recent setbacks tied to not only the planes it makes but its endeavor to assist with the modern space race. The company, along with NASA, has announced it is prepared to move forward with the inaugural crewed launch of the company’s space taxi on June 1, the liftoff of which has been repeatedly scrubbed for one reason or another. One of the latest delays was the result of a helium leak. The leak is still there, but Boeing says they’re going up anyway.

Soda startup Olipop is set to hit about $500 million in sales this year, more than double the $200 million it generated in 2023, as its healthier take on sugary drinks wins over more customers. The company generated less than $1 million in revenue in 2019, according to co-founder David Lester. But now he says it’s also profitable—a rare feat among young food and beverage companies, no matter the popularity of the product.

Olipop is valued at about $200 million, with investors including Indra Nooyi, the former chief executive of PepsiCo Inc. Source: Olipop

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Apartheid’s Grim Urban Planning Legacy 

Decades have passed since Apartheid came to an end, but South Africa remains divided. One reason is the legacy of its urban planning, which forced many Black South Africans to the periphery of cities. Even efforts by subsequent governments to dismantle the racist apparatus were constrained by the old designs of White minority rule. In this Bloomberg Originals mini-documentary, we explore how after 30 years, the legacy of Apartheid is still very apparent in South Africa.

Construction workers at the site of a new low-cost housing project in the Alexandra township of Johannesburg in 1999.  Photographer: Odd Andersen

The Evening Briefing will return on Tuesday, May 28.

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