Briefings

Archive April 2022

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Week InReview: April 29, 2022

Home, Sweet... Whatever
 
The "Barnaby" concept home for post-pandemic living. Image: Garman Homes and Dahlin Group.
 
OVERALL FOOTPRINTS are getting bigger as builders add on more smaller rooms, which may need to function as offices, play rooms, home gyms or dens, depending on the family. Bathrooms are getting bigger, in part because we use them more often when we’re home all day. And every room of the house is more wired — builders are adding power outlets and USB ports to accommodate the devices essential to working or attending school from home.
 
— Axios

Week InAdvance: April 25, 2022

Mon Apr 25 City Week 2022 in London. COP 15: the 'other' green summit. | Tue Apr 26 MSRB board meeting. Webby awards announced. | Wed Apr 27 Bloomberg Green Summit. | Thu Apr 28 U.S.initial jobless claims, GDP. 'Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work' day in the U.S. | Fri Apr 29 Semiconductor conference in India. | Sat Apr 30 White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner. | Sun May 1 May Day celebrated in various countries. Start of the five-day May Day holiday in China.
 
The conflict in Ukraine is having an immediate and longer term impact on the global economy, as the IMF highlighted last week when it cut growth forecasts for numerous countries. 
 
The U.S. and Europe release growth and inflation data as the fastest price increases in decades and the rush by central banks to raise rates stoke recession fears. The first 1Q reading of U.S. GDP comes Thursday, with economists forecasting growth of 1% on an annualized basis. France, Germany and Italy publish CPI data.

Week InReview: April 22, 2022

Happy Earth Day...
 
Photo illustration: Gabriel Zimmer | WSJ
 
THEY ARE in every office: the evangelists who urge colleagues to use less paper, recycle those Diet Coke cans and compost their food scraps.
 
They have held their tongues for the better part of two years, understanding (while silently bemoaning) the use of packaged, disposable everything as companies tried to minimize Covid risk.
 
Now, the office environmentalists have had enough.
 
— The Wall Street Journal

Week InAdvance: April 18, 2022

Mon Apr 18 Easter Monday. Financial markets are closed in many countries including the U.K. and most of Europe. IMF/World Bank spring meetings start. Boston Marathon. | Tue Apr 19 G20 finmins & central bank govs meet in DC. | Wed Apr 20 French presidential election debate. | Thu Apr 21 U.S. Fed chair & ECB president discuss global economy at IMF event. | Fri Apr 22 Earth Day. BOE's Bailey speaks on IMF panel.
 
The International Monetary Fund is poised to cut its global growth estimate for 2022 as a result of the war in Ukraine, pointing to recession risks in a growing number of countries. The IMF is set to update its forecasts for global growth during its annual spring meetings.
 
China releases first-quarter GDP figures on Monday, and its economic outlook will be a major theme at the Boao Forum, the annual gathering of political and business leaders in Hainan, which starts on Wednesday.
 
In France, President Emmanuel Macron faces his nationalist challenger Marine Le Pen in a debate on Wednesday, just days before the pair’s April 24 runoff vote election. Polls show Macron holds a narrow lead.

Week InReview: April 15, 2022

Bonding at work.
 
Illustration: Gabriel Zimmer | WSJ
 
AS BUSINESSES work to settle employees into offices, some are pulling out the stops – literally, on kegs, casks and wine bottles – in an attempt to make workplaces seem cool. Sure, executives could simply order people to return to their cubicles, and some have, but many want their workers to come back and like it. 
 
That means giving people what they want, or at least what bosses think they want. People like to wear comfy hoodies, right? OK! They miss their dogs when they go to work, don’t they? The canines can come! They love an afternoon cocktail, yes? Check out our new office bar!
 
— The Wall Street Journal

Week InAdvance: April 11, 2022

Mon Apr 11 EU foreign ministers have Russia on the agenda. | Tue Apr 12 U.S. CPI. Equal Pay Day in the EU. | Wed Apr 13 Thomas Jefferson Day commemorates the birthday of the 3rd president. | Thu Apr 14 U.S. bond market closes at 2 p.m. ahead of the Good Friday holiday. | Fri Apr 15 Good Friday. U.S. stock and bond markets are closed. U.S. government is open. U.K. financial markets are closed.
 
Inflation remains front and center as the war in Ukraine, now into a seventh week, amplifies price pressures.
 
In the holiday-shortened trading week, U.S. consumer price-inflation data is due Tuesday. Economists expect an 8.4% gain in March’s index from a year earlier, a fresh four-decade high.
 
The European Central Bank and Bank of Canada decide on monetary policy, while investors will learn how Wall Street fared last quarter amid heightened volatility stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and a focus on the Federal Reserve’s tightening path.

Week InReview: April 8, 2022

Button up.
 
Recent sales figures suggest that men are ending their affair with patterned Zoom shirts and opting for updated versions of the more traditional dress shirt. Photo: F. Martin Ramin | WSJ, Styling by Deidre Rodriguez
 
MEN SHUNNED stifling dress shirts in the WFH era, but collared button-ups have surprisingly returned — with a twist. As America – largely freed from pandemic restrictions – returns to the workplace, retailers are watching the demand for dress shirts bounce back with force.
 
— The Wall Street Journal

Week InAdvance: April 4, 2022

Mon Apr 4 NATO's 73rd anniversary. | Tue Apr 5 Senate Banking insider trading hearing. | Wed Apr 6 Equity-based swaps trades on SEC's agenda. | Thu Apr 7 UN food price index. World Health Day. | Fri Apr 8 FSOC executive session. Sun Apr 10 | First round of voting in the French presidential election.
 
The Federal Reserve releases minutes from its March policy meeting Wednesday. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has indicated that it’ll include details on the discussion over the central bank’s balance-sheet reduction plan.
 
The United Nations’ food-price index, due Thursday, could reach a second consecutive all-time high. The war in Ukraine threatens to cause further chaos in global crop trading, leading to even higher food prices.
 
Ketanji Brown Jackson is set to become the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court after Republican Senator Susan Collins said she’ll vote to confirm. The committee vote is Monday.

Week InReview: April 1, 2022

The numbers are in.
 
2021 was the most profitable year for American corporations since 1950.
 
PROFITS SURGED 35% last year, according to data published on Wednesday by the Commerce Department, driven by strong household demand, which was underwritten by government cash transfers during the pandemic. In all four quarters of the year, the overall profit margin stayed above 13%, a level reached in just one other three-month period during the past 70 years.
 
It was a solid year for workers, too – just not in comparison to shareholders. Employee compensation rose 11%, but the so-called labor share of national income – essentially, the portion that’s paid out as wages and salaries – fell back to pre-pandemic levels. That tends to undermine the argument that soaring labor costs are what’s driving the current surge in inflation, a case the Federal Reserve is starting to make as it accelerates interest-rate increases.
 

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