Week InReview

Friday | Sep 22, 2023

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Down at the close.

The S&P 500 fell to its lowest since June while 10-year Treasury yields climbed, as the latest reading on the labor market reinforced the case for the Federal Reserve’s higher-for-longer policy stance. All of the major US equity benchmarks broke below their 100-day moving averages — seen as a bearish signal by some technical analysts. Amazon.com led a rout in megacaps.

let's recap...

Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday allowed that one reason the economy and labor market remain resilient is that the ’neutral rate’ has risen. Photo: Seth Wenig | Associated Press

Higher interest rates not just for longer, but maybe forever

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve officials surprised markets by signaling interest rates won’t fall as much as previously planned. The tweak might be more important than it looks. In their projections and commentary, some officials hint that rates might be higher not just for longer, but forever. In more technical terms, the so-called neutral rate, which keeps inflation and unemployment stable over time, has risen. (The Wall Street Journal | Sep 21)

Treasury yields hit 16-year high ahead of Fed meeting

US yields hit a 16-year high ahead of the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on Wednesday, at which the central bank is expected to hold rates steady, but may indicate its willingness to keep monetary policy tighter for longer. (Financial Times | Sep 19)

Trillion-dollar industry powering Chicago at risk of leaving

Some of the derivatives firms that collectively handle trillions of dollars a year in trades, greasing the wheels of global markets with everything from stock options to corn futures. Now, the firms’ commitment to the Windy City is being tested by some $800 million in taxes proposed by a new mayor staring down a budget gap that’s swelled to half a billion dollars. (Bloomberg Wealth | Sep 18)

You might be paying too much for that index fund

Push toward zero-cost ETFs nears the finish line. The arrival of a 0.02% fund fee — about as close to zero as many in the market expect major funds to get — is the culmination of a decades-long fee war among asset managers. (The Wall Street Journal | Sep 18)

Wall Street is grasping how wrong it's been in 2023

Stock-market strategists who were largely wrong about this year’s rally are finally starting to come to face their mistake, raising year-end targets for the S&P 500 Index. Some strategists lift 2023 calls, and remain bears for next year. Investors’ quandary is whether the pessimists are still wrong. (Bloomberg Markets | Sep 17)

the cyber cafe

Illustration: Daniel Pudles | Financial Times

AI: a new tool for cyber attackers — or defenders?

Technology groups have heralded the generative AI boom as an opportunity to boost the effectiveness of workers and to slash costs. But there is also growing concern about the technology being weaponized by hackers to enable devastating cyber attacks. Hackers and researchers are racing to find out whether systems can write computer malware.

— Financial Times

Companies remain reluctant to admit paying off hackers

Companies often refrain from disclosing that they paid ransoms to cybercrime groups after an attack, fearing that such an admission could bring legal and reputational risks. The issue reflects the challenges federal regulators face in forcing more transparency around how companies deal with cyberattacks.

— The Wall Street Journal

FBI and CISA release advisory on Snatch ransomware

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) #StopRansomware: Snatch Ransomware, which provides indicators of compromise (IOCs) and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) associated with the Snatch ransomware variant. FBI investigations identified these IOCs and TTPs as recently as June 1, 2023.


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binge reading disorder

Illustration: Kyle Platts | Bloomberg Businessweek

Starbucks is desperate to cut the wait for 383 billion lattes

The biggest thing keeping people from their local Starbucks these days isn’t that a grande blonde vanilla latte costs $7 or that a venti mocha cookie crumble Frappuccino has 590 calories. It’s the wait.

— Bloomberg Businessweek

‘Monk mode’ promises to improve your attention span

“Monk mode” is a “new” productivity trend that promises to help with an increasingly common scenario: Surrounded by a sea of screens, you’re caught in a whirlwind of distractions. Slack’s knock-knock fills you with dread. Your inbox overflows with unread emails. You frantically task-switch as your productivity crumbles under the weight of digital chaos.

— Fast Company

An oral history of the fear index

The Cboe Volatility Index — commonly known as Vix because of its ticker — turned 30 years old earlier this year. But an arguably more important if less appreciated marker took place two decades ago today.

— Financial Times

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