Big Tech Earnings and the New Hampshire Primary: Sunday US Briefing

(Bloomberg) -- Hello, from Washington. This week all eyes are on Big Tech earnings, ongoing US strikes on Yemen-based Houthis who’ve been targeting Red Sea commercial traffic for weeks and, of course, New Hampshire.

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The big standoff: Attacks against Houthis continued this weekend as US air strikes destroyed a Houthi anti-ship missile that was expected to launch into the Gulf of Aden. The Yemen-based militants have targeted Red Sea commercial traffic for weeks, sparking attention from oil market investors who are preparing for weeks-long disruption to shipping in the region. With the spillover from Israel’s war on Hamas rattling the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates has urged the US to support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, warning that the risk of a regional conflagration is growing daily.

The big stat: The US economy is expected to grow moderately in the fourth quarter. That, on top of the 4.9% third-quarter advance, would mark the strongest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2021, feeding expectations that an economic expansion will remain intact. Slowing inflation has opened the door for central bankers to lower interest rates this year, but many policymakers are reluctant to commit to such a move as early as March.

The big tech takeover: Earnings season is in full swing and all eyes are on Big Tech this week, with results to come from Netflix, Tesla and Intel. Bets on the US stock market rally broadening out beyond a handful of tech giants this year are finding that those megacaps remain Corporate America’s most l ikely source of profit growth.

The big week for Haley: The New Hampshire Republican primaries are this week. Although former president Donald Trump is polling in first place, the state could be an opportunity for Nikki Haley to pull ahead. State Republican Party Chairman Chris Ager said her challenge against Trump could receive a boost on Tuesday from New Hampshire’s more moderate electorate. Haley has the backing of a number of prominent Wall Street billionaires, who will co-host a fundraiser for her campaign later this month.

The big boycott: Vanguard Group founder Jack Bogle warned people to “avoid Bitcoin like the plague” in 2017. Now, Vanguard is doubling down, snubbing Bitcoin-spot products and futures-backed Bitcoin funds from its platform. Crypto die-hards aren’t taking it too well, with some vowing to boycott the firm.

The big deal: Congress avoided a government shutdown last week, but lawmakers remain deadlocked on a sweeping deal to overhaul the southern border and unlock aid to Ukraine. President Joe Biden said on Friday he is open to “massive changes” in US border policy, including to asylum laws, to secure a deal and release aid to its allies overseas. The president expressed confidence the Senate could “work out” an emerging bipartisan border compromise as soon as this week.

The big thought: Black women in academia have filled national news headlines in recent weeks, from the ouster of Claudine Gay from Harvard University to the suicide of Lincoln University’s vice president of student affairs, Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey. The potential for an exodus of Black leaders will have significant consequences on the lives of students and the future workforce, Anna Branch writes in Bloomberg Opinion.

Enjoy your week. Thanks for reading.

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