Week InReview

Friday | Feb 24, 2023


Bumpy ride.

Asian equity futures point to a mixed opening after US stocks closed higher in a volatile session as investors await inflation data for clues on the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike campaign. Contracts for share benchmarks in Australia and Japan pointed to modest gains while those for Hong Kong signaled further declines. Oil snapped its longest losing streak since December. Japanese markets will be under the spotlight today, with price data due that’s expected to show core inflation above 4%. That comes as the government’s nominee to be the next central bank governor, Kazuo Ueda, faces his first grilling in parliament.

let's recap...

Illustration: Mathieu Labrecque | Bloomberg Businessweek

Wall Street’s fintech binge turns into a writedown hangover

Over the past few years, venture capitalists and Wall Street giants paid eye-popping prices for companies that promised new ways to bank, borrow or buy insurance. In 2021, global spending on these so-called fintechs reached a fever pitch at $139.8 billion, almost triple the previous year’s level. But in 2022 that money dried up as a broader bear market took hold. And with fintech valuations falling precipitously, some big players are admitting they paid too much. (Bloomberg Businessweek | Feb 23)

Markets bracing for 'no landing' world economy scenario curb risk appetite

Markets, bracing for a "no landing" scenario where global economic growth is resilient and inflation stays higher for longer, are dialing back appetite for both risk assets and government debt. For months, investors have bet on global growth softening just enough to cool inflation and persuade hawkish central banks to pause their rate hikes. (Reuters | Feb 23)

Fed minutes: Almost all officials backed quarter-point hike

Nearly all Federal Reserve policymakers agreed earlier this month to slow the pace of their rate increases to a quarter-point, with only “a few” supporting a larger half-point hike. The minutes from the Fed’s Jan. 31-Feb.1 meeting said most of the officials supported the quarter-point increase because a slower pace “would better allow them to assess the economy’s progress” toward reducing inflation to their 2% target. (Associated Press | Feb 23)

This bear market (probably) isn't over yet

Tuesday’s drop is less a blip than a harbinger of another rough patch. Is yet another bear-market rally coming to an ignominious end, or has the stock market entered a new and more forgiving paradigm? Investors grappling with the confusing signals from the economy and markets can be forgiven for struggling to explain the switch in behavior by stocks this year. The puzzle is easy enough to see. (The Wall Street Journal | Feb 22)

Office landlord defaults are escalating as lenders brace for more distress

The number of big office landlords defaulting on their loans is on the rise, fresh evidence that more developers believe that remote and hybrid work habits have permanently impaired the office market. (The Wall Street Journal | Feb 21)

the cyber cafe

NIST plots biggest ever reform of Cybersecurity Framework

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is planning significant changes to its Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) — the first in five years, and the biggest reform yet. First published in 2014 and updated to version 1.1 in 2018, the CSF provides a set of guidelines and best practices for managing cybersecurity risks. The framework is designed to be flexible and adaptable rather than prescriptive, and is widely used by organizations and government agencies, both within and outside the US, to create cybersecurity programs and measure their maturity.

— The Daily Swig

NSA releases best practices for securing your home network

The National Security Agency (NSA) released Best Practices for Securing Your Home Network Cybersecurity Information Sheet (CSI) to help teleworkers protect their home networks from malicious cyber actors. The guide includes recommendations for securing routing devices, implementing wireless network segmentation, ensuring confidentiality during telework, and more.


A new kind of bug spells trouble for iOS and macOS security

For years, Apple has hardened the security systems on iPhones and Macs. But no company is immune from such issues. Research reveals a new class of bugs that can affect Apple’s iPhone and Mac operating systems and if exploited could allow an attacker to sweep up your messages, photos, and call history.

— Wired

Sign up for cybersecurity advisories from the

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency here.

binge reading disorder

Credit: Inspired | Adobe Stock

'Nothing' doesn’t exist. Instead, there is 'quantum foam'.

When you combine the Uncertainty Principle with Einstein's famous equation, you get a mind-blowing result: Particles can come from nothing.

— Big Think

The return to the office could be the real reason for the slump in productivity. Here’s the data to prove it.

US productivity jumped in the second quarter of 2020 as offices closed, and stayed at a heightened level through 2021. Then, when companies started mandating a return to the office in early 2022, productivity dropped sharply in Q1 and Q2 of that year. Productivity recovered slightly in Q3 and Q4 as the productivity loss associated with the return to office mandate was absorbed by companies – but it never got back to the period when remotecapable employees worked from home.

— Fortune

Foolproof — how misinformation works, and how to counter it

Book of the Week: In 'Foolproof' a social psychologist offers an authoritative guide to tackling fake news and false claims. There are plenty of people trying to fool us these days — and plenty of people happy to be fooled. Sander van der Linden, a professor of social psychology at Cambridge university, has been studying the problem for years, and promises to help us “build immunity” to misinformation.

— Financial Times

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