Initial Jobless Claims Turn Up, Continuing Claims Reach 1.71 Million, Highest Level Since February… Initial jobless claims inched up from 216,000 last week to 225,000.
What it means— The initial jobless number remains well below 250,000, the level that would start to show substantial layoffs in the labor force. Rising continuing claims show that more people are taking longer to find new jobs, but this remains well below levels that should cause concern. Continued claims averaged more than two million during the 1990s and 2000s, when the labor force was smaller, and only averaged below two million during the late 2010s, when unemployment fell to 50-year lows. We’re not seeing stress in the labor force yet, which gives the Fed leeway to remain hawkish on rates.
Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) Loses $1 Trillion in Market Cap This Year… Even though the electric vehicle (EV) company expects to book record profits for 2022, investors lost faith as sales growth eased, competitors introduced new models, and Founder Elon Musk turned his attention to projects like Twitter.
What it means— At one point, Elon Musk was worth more than $300 billion. Now he’s worth less than $100 billion, which is more than almost any other person on the planet, so it’s hard to work up any sympathy for his paper loss. The same can be said about Tesla. While the company’s stock price dropped dramatically this year, it’s still worth more than every other car company, even though Volkswagen makes nine million cars per year and Tesla makes around one million. After rebounding in early January to make up for tax loss harvesting, Tesla might have a tough road ahead, as gas-powered vehicles return to dealer lots in large numbers and EV consumers get to choose among dozens of models.
China Lifts International COVID Travel Restrictions for Departing Travelers… China lifted all restrictions concerning COVID testing on people in China who want to travel to international destinations, leading to a dramatic increase in bookings to countries such as Japan, South Korea, and the U.S.
What it means— Because China all but ended its widespread COVID testing, outdoor activity restrictions, and reporting, foreign governments are concerned that the newly free-to-travel population will contract the disease and spread it around the world. Several destinations, now including the U.S., will require passengers from China to have a negative COVID test. This is part of China’s process to dismantle both domestic and international travel restrictions ahead of the country’s Lunar New Year near on January 22, a time when hundreds of millions of Chinese buy gifts and travel to their home towns. China desperately needs a boost in economic growth but is risking a public health meltdown to get it.
Movie Fans Sue Universal Pictures Because Actress in Trailer, Ana de Armas, Was Not in the Film… Peter Rosza and Conor Woulfe claim they each paid $3.99 to watch the 2019 film “Yesterday” because Armas was in it. But when they saw the film, they realized that she did not make the final cut, even though she appeared in the trailer. The two men sued Universal for false advertising. Universal asked that the suit be dismissed because the trailer falls under free speech, but the judge disagreed. Instead, the judge ruled that the trailer is commercial speech, specifically meant to sell movie tickets with the preview, and falls under honest advertising. The two men are claiming $5 million in damages for disappointed fans.
Data supplied by HS Dent Research
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